Thursday, August 20, 2009

Miriam Hopkins Day

By Chase Kahn

TCM is in the latter half of their "Summer Under the Stars" month, and it's been great so far. Today is Miriam Hopkins day, the blonde actress whose been featured in many Ernst Lubitsch productions like Trouble in Paradise and The Smiling Lieutenant.

Today, I had to mention that William Wyler's These Three (1936) will be airing at 2:45 am tomorrow. This film, starring Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon and Joel McCrea is not available on DVD and is actually the original version of Wyler's own The Children's Hour (1961) starring Shirley McClaine and Audrey Hepburn.

Lillian Hellman's original play "The Children's Hour", written in 1934, was a story about two schoolteachers who are falsely accused of engaging in a lesbian relationship by one of their students.

In 1936, homosexuality was illegal to depict on screen (The Hays Code) and therefore the story was changed for These Three. Of course, by 1961, the code had been significantly dulled by films such as Billy Wilder's Some Like it Hot and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. So, with an increasing tolerance for disputable and controversial material, William Wyler made the faithful adaptation that he always wanted to make.

TCM, tomorrow, 2:45 am -- set your TiVo, DVR, whatever.

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