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Jack Reacher Creator Talks Movies on TCM

By Rich Heldenfels Published: November 28, 2012

Considering how many Reacher fans have expressed their unhappiness over Tom Cruise playing the character, I am now more attentive to anything involving Reacher, and author Lee Child. To wit, this official word:

British thriller novelist Lee Child, whose books include award-winning Killing Floor and the recent #1 international best seller A Wanted Man, will sit down with Robert Osborne to present an evening of his favorite films on Thursday, Dec. 6. Child's appearance on TCM comes just two weeks before the Dec. 21 theatrical release of Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise as the former military policeman at the center of Child's books.

Child's night in the Guest Programmer chair opens with Michael Curtiz's quintessential wartime romantic drama Casablanca (1942), starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The night also includes Carol Reed's exciting thriller The Third Man (1949), with Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles; Terrence Malick's turn-of-the-century drama Days of Heaven (1978), starring Richard Gere and Brooke Adams; and Michael Anderson's World War II thriller The Dam Busters (1955), with Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave.

In his conversation with Osborne, Child explains the influence movies have had on his writing. "Influence is too small a word," he says. "Movies are part of my imagination. They have formed my narrative sensibility." The following is the complete schedule for TCM's Dec. 6 Guest Programmer lineup, featuring Lee Child:

8 p.m. (ET) – Casablanca (1942) – Lee Child chose Casablanca because of its iconic status and wonderful dialogue. He also points out that many of the actors playing refugees in the film had been displaced themselves because of wartime tensions in Europe. Widely regarded as one of the screen's best romantic dramas of all time, Casablanca stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains. Bergman plays the wife of a French freedom fighter (Henreid) hoping to escape from the Nazis with the help of her former lover, a nightclub owner named Rick (Bogart). Casablanca earned three Oscars®, including Best Picture, Best Director (Michael Curtiz) and Best Writing, Screenplay (Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch).

10 p.m. (ET) – The Third Man (1949) – In talking about director Carol Reed's classic thriller based on a book by Graham Greene, Child highlights its "fabulous look and compelling storyline." He also points out that the film is "one of the few cinematic records we have of that amazing period in Europe, with the utter devastation of the defeated countries." The Third Man stars Joseph Cotten as a pulp novelist who comes to post-war Vienna to investigate the death of an old friend. Alida Valli, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard and Bernard Lee also star. Robert Krasker's black and white cinematography won an Oscar, and the film's score by zither maestro Anton Karas became an overnight sensation.

Midnight (ET) – Days of Heaven (1978) –Richard Gere, Brooke Adams and Sam Shepherd star in director Terrence Malick’s drama about farm laborers in the Midwest at the turn of the century. Referring to Nestor Almendros' Oscar®-winning cinematography, Child says the film is "beautiful, just beautiful to look at." He also heaps praise on Linda Manz's "breathtaking" voiceover narration.

2 a.m. (ET) – The Dam Busters (1955) – Child chose this drama about British soldiers targeting a German dam for sentimental reasons. It was the very first movie he ever saw as a youngster in Birmingham, England. He says the film is a reminder that culturally, emotionally and economically, his homeland did not emerge from the shadow of World War II until the mid-1960s. The film stars Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave under the direction of Michael Anderson.
 

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