In its continuing effort to help adults introduce kids to classic cinema, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is running Essentials Jr. this spring and summer on Sundays at 8 pm. Hosted by Abigail Breslin and Chris O'Donnell (co-stars of the July 2008 film Kit Kittredge: An American Girl), Essentials Jr will do just what the grown-up version Essentials (which airs Saturdays at 8 pm) does: provide background information on the films and explain why the selected films are enjoyable for viewers no matter how old they are.
Essentials Jr. debuts on June 1st with National Velvet (1944) starring Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney. I saw this film for the first time on a weeknight last summer. I was in a bad mood because the Detroit Tigers had just suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Chicago White Sox. After the game, I started channel surfing and found that National Velvet would be airing on TCM shortly. I gotta tell you, that movie made me forget about the Tigers' loss rather quickly. Because of her well-publicized personal life, it's easy to forget that Elizabeth Taylor is a magnificent actress (even when she was 12, her age at the time she made National Velvet). Because we live in such a cynical world, I enjoyed getting caught up in the wide-eyed innocence of Velvet (played by Taylor) and her faith in Pie (the horse she won in a town lottery). Even if you are like me and aren't into horses, National Velvet is a film worth checking out.
Some of the other movies that Chris and Abigail will be presenting on Essentials Jr. include: The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963), Mutiny On the Bounty (1935), Meet Me In St. Louis (1944), On the Town (1949), and Yours, Mine, and Ours (1968). For a complete schedule of all the films airing on Essentials Jr., click here.
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