Home #Hwoodtimes TCM’s acclaimed podcast The Plot Thickens returns for season five, focusing on...

TCM’s acclaimed podcast The Plot Thickens returns for season five, focusing on John Ford

Turner Classic Movies’ (TCM) award-winning podcast The Plot Thickens will premiere season five, Decoding John Ford, on June 6, co-produced by Novel. Host Ben Mankiewicz strips back the mythology to reveal Ford’s brilliance – alongside the often ugly, uncomfortable truths about his life and movies, asking whether we can ever truly separate art from the artist.

This season features scores of never-before-heard archival interviews, including John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, James Stewart, Woody Strode, and John Ford himself.

“John Ford is a mercurial figure. Not surprisingly given his stature, the stereotypes about Ford are incomplete,” said TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz. “This is a man defined by contradictions: he revered the military and envied those who served yet bristled at authority; Ford became known as one of Hollywood’s leading conservatives, yet one of his finest films is 1940’s The Grapes of Wrath, one of the most progressive films of classic Hollywood; and he preached loyalty yet frequently berated and degraded his actors during the production of his movies, particularly his most famous leading man, John Wayne.

“Despite all of that, Ford was also contemplative, playful, and a genuine artist. This season of The Plot Thickens has been spent trying to find out what is true about John Ford and what isn’t. It hasn’t been easy getting to the bottom of John Ford, but as you’ll hear, it was worth the trip.”

Meet John Ford, the curmudgeon with an eyepatch who just happened to be the greatest filmmaker of the 20th century.  Ford was a bully and a drunk who ruled Hollywood for five decades, making dozens of seminal movies – though he was incredibly hard to pin down.  His behavior swung wildly from loyalty to cruelty, without notice.  He won more Oscars than any director in history, but never showed up to accept an award.

And he rewrote American history, painting the country with images so beautiful that people wished they were real.  John Ford defined the attitudes of his time, ideas about masculinity and heroism that we’re still grappling with today. This season on The Plot Thickens, TCM brings you Decoding John Ford, a seven-part podcast about cinema’s most mysterious auteur.

Part of that mystery is his classified – and missing – WWII film. In 1944, the U.S. military recruited Ford for the assignment of his career: to cover the largest invasion in history. He went to Normandy Beach to film D-Day and created an on-the-ground film detailing the invasion, but the film goes missing. Host Ben Mankiewicz travels to Europe to trace the mystery of whether the D-Day movie exists. The Plot Thickens returns for season 5 on June 6, the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

In honor of the podcast’s release, Turner Classic Movies will air four of Ford’s films on June 5, co-hosted by Ford’s grandson Dan Ford, followed by a 24-hour marathon of WWII-inspired movies on June 6.

In addition, John Ford’s sweeping western, The Searchers (1956), screened in 70mm at the TCM Classic Film Festival this past May with a World Premiere Restoration completed by Warner Bros. in collaboration with The Film Foundation.

This season of The Plot Thickens has yet another great subject, John Ford.  You will surely learn things you never new about this man and who better to tell us all about his story than Ben Mankiewicz. Ben has a way of telling the stories of the subject of The Plot Thickens that will have you hanging onto his every word and when the episode is finished, you can’t wait to listen to the next episode.  I had the opportunity to listen to a couple of the episodes and believe me you don’t want to miss a second of The Plot Thickens: Decoding John Ford.  Even host Eddie Muller is featured as the voice of John Ford and he did a really good job. So don’t miss is June 6th! Judy Shields, The Hollywood Times

Previous seasons are available on Apple Podcasts, at tcm.com/Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

About The Plot Thickens

The Plot Thickens is the official podcast from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) about movies and the people who make them. Season one premiered in May 2020, diving into the life and work of Oscar®-nominated director, writer, and actor Peter Bogdanovich.

Season two, “The Devil’s Candy,” launched in June 2021 and chronicled the tumultuous production of the 1990 film The Bonfire of the Vanities.

Season three uncovered fresh insights into the life and times of the iconic Lucille Ball and debuted in October 2021.

Season four explored the life and work of trailblazing actor Pam Grier in fall 2022.

The podcast has garnered more than nine million downloads and several industry awards: it was named a Webby Honoree in 2021 and 2022 and a Webby Nominee in 2023; won best branded podcast from the 2021 Adweek Podcast Awards; and was nominated for best entertainment podcast at the Ambie Awards two years in a row. It has been featured on “best-of” lists from The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, NPR and Vanity Fair.

The Plot Thickens returns in June 2024 with “Decoding John Ford.”

About Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents classic films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world highlighting “where then meets now.” TCM features the insights from Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz along with hosts Alicia Malone, Dave Karger, Jacqueline Stewart and Eddie Muller, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests and serves as the ultimate movie lover destination. With more than two decades as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® and Summer Under the Stars. TCM also directly connects with movie fans through popular events such as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise. In addition, TCM produces the wildly successful podcast “The Plot Thickens,” which has had more than 9 million downloads to date. TCM hosts a wealth of material online at tcm.com and through the Watch TCM mobile app. Fans can also enjoy a classic movie experience on the TCM hub on Max.