The Plot Thickens

The Plot Thickens

For our third season, we're bringing you the iconic Lucy. How did a small-town girl who was told she had no talent become the funniest, most recognizable woman in America? From her early years as a model to her triumphant takeover of television, this is the story of Lucille Ball, as never heard before. Join host Ben Mankiewicz as he delves into the private world of America’s funniest redhead and hear for yourself the many triumphs and tragedies, with surprising revelations at every turn.

Episodes

March 26, 2020 2 min

Peter Bogdanovich was a young cinephile who quickly rose to become one of Hollywood's top directors. But he soon found himself a victim of jealousy, hubris, public scorn – and a devastating crime.  Now, he looks back on a life of fame and failure, and through it all, an enduring love of the movies. A new seven-part documentary podcast from Turner Classic Movies. Premiering April 28.

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Learn more about the first season of The Plot Thickens, the new podcast from Turner Classic Movies.  The first two episodes premiere on April 28.

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April 28, 2020 32 min

A young film buff named Peter Bogdanovich grows up in New York, learning to obsess over the movies the way his father obsesses over art.  With his sights set on acting, Peter lies his way into the most prestigious acting class in the world.  That’s where he unexpectedly finds his calling as a director – by sparring with one of the biggest TV stars of all time.

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April 28, 2020 28 min

Peter meets Polly Platt, his closest creative collaborator – and soon, his young wife.  The newlyweds drive across the country to break into the movie business, starting with a low-budget directing gig for Roger Corman.  And Peter finally encounters Orson Welles, who becomes an important mentor to the eager young filmmaker.

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May 5, 2020 36 min

Peter challenges himself to film an “unfilmmable” book and creates one of the seminal movies of the 1970s: The Last Picture Show.  His actors win Academy Awards and the accolades pour in, including comparisons to Orson Welles himself.  But Peter risks losing his family after an affair with his leading lady, Cybill Shepherd.

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May 12, 2020 49 min

Following The Last Picture Show, Peter directs two more major hits, What’s Up, Doc? and Paper Moon.  But then his wife leaves him, and his next three movies are high-profile flops.  As his relationship with Cybill is splashed across the tabloids, Peter finds himself despised by the public and ostracized in Hollywood.

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May 19, 2020 38 min

Feeling betrayed, Orson Welles humiliates Peter on national television.  So Peter heads overseas to shoot a daring new movie, filming in secret to evade government censors.  While his career starts to recover, he embarks on an affair with his new leading lady – causing his relationship with Cybill to crumble.

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May 26, 2020 46 min

Alone for the first time, Peter finds love in an unexpected place: the Playboy Mansion.  His passionate romance with Playmate Dorothy Stratten ignites his creativity, culminating in his best movie in years.  But Peter’s life is forever changed by a devastating murder and a series of disastrous financial decisions.

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June 2, 2020 44 min

Grief-stricken for years, Peter finally goes back behind the camera and ends up shooting one of his most popular films.  But he sues the studio before the movie is released, further endangering his career.  While trying to recover, Peter once again becomes a target of the press after he marries Dorothy’s sister.

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June 16, 2020 27 min

For our first bonus episode, Peter Bogdanovich interviews director Howard Hawks in the Palm Springs desert in April 1972.  Hawks tells Peter how he got started in showbiz and provides insight into many of his best movies, including Rio Bravo, The Dawn Patrol, His Girl Friday, Hatari! and Scarface.

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June 30, 2020 28 min

Peter Bogdanovich sits down with one of his filmmaking heroes, Alfred Hitchcock, for a wide-ranging conversation about Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Rear Window and more.  Plus, Hitchcock shares stories about being arrested as a child, appearing in his own movies, and why he doesn’t like eggs.

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Highlights from Peter Bogdanovich’s interviews with three of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars, who talk about the unique challenges of working with director and legendary curmudgeon John Ford.

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November 2, 2020 30 min

TCM host Alicia Malone hosts a conversation with Peter Bogdanovich and Ben Mankiewicz, who share memorable stories and answer questions from listeners about Season 1 of The Plot Thickens.

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We've got two new seasons coming your way in 2021, and the first is dropping soon.  

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June 9, 2021 4 min

A blockbuster book, an all-star cast... what could possibly go wrong?  For our second season, we're telling the inside story of The Bonfire of the Vanities, a movie that was supposed to be a hit – but wasn't.  Come with us onto the closed set and hear actual recordings of Brian De Palma, Tom Hanks, Melanie Griffith and others, to find out how a highly-anticipated film became a cautionary tale for the ages.

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June 29, 2021 46 min

One decision could make or break The Bonfire of the Vanities: who will play the female lead?  It comes down to two actresses – established, expensive Melanie Griffith or an unknown, alluring 19 year-old named Uma Thurman. Suddenly the producer, Peter Guber, vanishes from the scene, departing both the movie and the studio in a whirl of bad publicity.

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As Tom Hanks researches his role, nobody recognizes how wrong he is for the part. There's more immediate pushback against the casting of Bruce Willis, since his part was written as British.  But the hardest decision comes when the director insists that a Jewish judge be played by a Black actor, to soften the film’s racial tensions.

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July 13, 2021 40 min

Shooting hasn't even started and the movie is already under attack.  Detailed leaks and star outbursts are reported daily by a hungry press.  Bit parts, courtroom locations, snippets of dialogue, even a single shot of a plane landing at JFK – every little decision becomes a battle as the crew preps for filming.

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July 20, 2021 42 min

The cast shows its true colors: some are easygoing and relatable, but not Bruce Willis.  The New York shoot spirals over budget as the courtroom scene can only be shot at night, and the film’s entire opening is scrapped in favor of the most expensive Steadicam shot ever devised.  Meanwhile, Bronx residents show up to throw garbage at the filmmakers, and one irate New Yorker confronts Brian De Palma directly.

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July 27, 2021 34 min

As production moves to Los Angeles, the specter of sexism clouds the movie. Rumors swirl among the crew about Melanie Griffith’s plastic surgery, Kim Cattrall's weight loss, and an affair between actress Beth Broderick and director Brian De Palma.

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