We’ve been highlighting several ongoing science fiction marathons this week, but those will be drawing to a close with the end of the holidays. If you still want to keep your DVR stocked with science- and science fiction-related programming, you’ll want to figure out where the hell TCM is on your cable or satellite. Beginning tomorrow night, and continuing throughout the month of January, TCM will be filling their Friday-night lineup with classic movies that “delve into issues of scientific discovery, exploration and alteration, with some side trips into science fiction.”
Sure, that description sounds kind of broad, so let’s get specific. Each of the Friday-night events will focus on different scientific themes, ranging from “Scientists on a Mission” to “Great Inventors” to “Mad Scientists.” And as we all know, mad science is the very best science. Tomorrow night’s themes are “Nobel Prize Winners” and one of our favorites here at GFR, “Rocket Science.”
For the former category TCM will be airing 1943’s Madam Curie at 8/7c, followed by 2001’s A Beautiful Mind at 10:15/9:15c. Madam Curie stars Greer Garson as Marie Curie and Walter Pidgeon as her husband, Pierre. Together the pair discovered the scientific elements of polonium and radium. Sadly, her work exposed her to massive amounts of radiation which ultimately resulted in her death in 1934.
A Beautiful Mind is the story of economics Nobel Laueate John Nash, a brilliant and troubled man (played in the film by Russell Crowe). The film was inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name by Sylvia Nassar. Ron Howard directed, from a script by Akiva Goldsman, and the film also starred Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Paul Bettany, and more.
For the “Rocket Science” category, TCM will serve up three films. For All Mankind will kick off at 12:45 a.m. PST, a 1989 documentary about NASA’s Apollo missions. It combines footage from the Apollo missions and features interviews with the likes of Jim Lovell, Michael Collins, Charles Conrad, Jack Swigert, and Ken Mattingly. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1990.
After that, Countdown starts at 2:15 a.m. PST. The 1968 film, directed by Robert Altman, star James Caan and Robert Duvall in the story of two astronauts vying to be the first to set foot on the moon, and to beat the Russians to the prize. It’s based on Hank Searls’ novel The Pilgrim Project.
Finally, the 1969 film Marooned will air at 4:15 a.m. PST. Directed by John Sturges and starring Gregory Peck, Richard Crenna, David Janssen, James Franciscus, and Gene Hackman, Marooned is the story of three American astronauts returning from an experimental space station. Unfortunately there’s an accident along the way and the men are left — you guessed it — marooned in space. The film is based on a 1964 novel of the same name by Martin Caidin.
The Friday night spotlight on Science in the Movies will be hosted by Dr. Sean Michael Carroll, PhD senior research associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He has penned books such as From Eternity to Here and The Particle at the End of the Universe, and has made appearances on History Channel’s The Universe and Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.