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THE INSEPARABLES (article first published : 2005-01-10)

TCM (Turner Classic Movies) on DStv draws from an extensive library of movies ranging from the 1920s to 1990s, presenting them in a contemporary style that re-interprets their place in history and their relevance to people's lives today. TCM brings the silver screen to life by offering viewers exclusive in-depth celebrity interviews, monthly star tributes, special events and original screen tests. Along with hosted seasons with contemporary moviemakers and experts, TCM is a definitive classic movie channel with a style of its own.

A new series called The Inseparables which looks at the synergy that makes an actor and director click and both produce their best work when they collaborate on a project.

From D.W. Griffith and Lillian Gish to Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, the history of the movies has been scattered with close friendships and partnerships between directors and actors. They have sometimes been crucial in getting films made (such as Harvey Keitel’s financial backing of Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs) and sometimes central in launching the careers of both director and actor (think of Al Pacino and Francis Ford Coppola’s work on The Godfather).

There are some actors and directors that have forged professional relationships that have inspired them both to new heights of artistic collaboration and achievement. Without this special collaborative magic the movie would just not be the same.

Every Saturday in January from 22h00 TCM takes a look at some of the most enduring and successful actor/director relationships in Hollywood. On January 15, viewers can look forward to the combined magic of Alfred Hitchcock/Cary Grant and Anthony Mann/James Stewart.

At 22h00, North By Northwest was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released in 1959 with Cary Grant and co-star James Mason. Cary Grant, with his cool and charming demeanour, became one of Alfred Hitchcock's favourite leading men. Perhaps more than any other actor he came to symbolise the glamour of a movie star and Grant played off this star image in his four performances for Hitchcock, including Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), To Catch a Thief (1955) and North by Northwest. Cary Grant, ducking for cover below a swooping airplane in North by Northwest, has become arguably the most iconic moment in Alfred Hitchcock’s work and the film became one of the most successful of his career and Grant’s biggest box-office success.

Following on at 23h35 is The Naked Spur directed by Anthony Mann and released in 1953 starring James Stewart and Janet Leigh. In the 1950s, Anthony Mann and James Stewart collaborated on eight films, most of them popular successes and most of them Westerns. The Naked Spur , their third collaboration, is generally considered their best work together. Mann brought a noir sensibility to the Western where sprawling, bright landscapes contrasted with the dark, personal struggles of his characters. Notable for infusing the characters in his Westerns with a psychological intensity, Mann challenged Stewart to expand his range. Audiences used to seeing Jimmy Stewart as the ‘everyman’ good-guy delivered the most ruthless performance of his career as a cynical bounty hunter haunted by betrayal.




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