007 *FINALLY* gets some respect on U.S. TV: Connery films coming to TCM

TCM, the Time Warner cable channel that shows movies uncut and in their original form (e.g. widescreen, where applicable) will be showing the Sean Connery Bond movies in May. Or, to be more precise, the six Connery films in the “official” series produced by Eon Productions Ltd. since 1962.

In recent years, Bond has fared worse with U.S. cable networks than he did with the foes of his movies. In general, the movies are shown in pan-and-scan (taking a rectangular original and showing it almost square, lopping off major parts of shots). The end titles get squeezed into tiny type on the side or bottom of the screen so cable networks can promote other shows. And worst, they’re often turned into hackathons, including a major mutilation of The World Is Not Enough in December.

The schedule (all times ET):

May 1: 8 p.m., Dr. No; 10 p.m. From Russia With Love.

May 2: 2 p.m., Dr. No; 4 p.m., From Russia With Love.

May 8: 8 p.m., Goldfinger; 10 p.m., Thunderball

May 9: 2 p.m., Goldfinger; 4 p.m., Thunderball

May 15: 8 p.m., You Only Live Twice; 10 p.m., Diamonds Are Forever.

May 16: 2 p.m., You Only Live Twice; 4 p.m., Diamonds Are Forever

There are a number of other Connery films playing that month on TCM, including The Hill, The Anderson Tapes and The Wind And the Lion. But there is one non-Bond film that may be of particular interest to 007 fans. On May 1, after From Russia With Love, TCM will show 1961’s On The Fiddle, which was one of the Connery movies that caught the eye of 007 producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman and led to Connery’s casting as Ian Fleming’s secret agent.

On the Fiddle is sometimes known as Operation Snafu, as it was retitled for a 1965 U.S. release. The movie’s film editor was Peter Hunt, who’d be an important crew member of the early Eon 007 films.

The prime showings on TCM also include introductions by host Robert Osborne, which ususally include some nice details about the films.