Happy Scribe Logo


Proofread by 0 readers

This message comes from NPR sponsor W.W. Norton and company publisher of Underland A Deep Time Journey by Robert McFarlane, hailed by Terry Tempest Williams as a portal of light and dark times, now available in paperback. Visit Underland Book Dot for more. From W.H y in Philadelphia, I'm Terry Gross with Fresh Air. Today, we talk with Terry Jones. She's nominated for an Emmy for her performance in the HBO series Succession. She won Emmys for her performance in the series 24 as the president of the United States and in The Handmaid's Tale.


As Oxford's mother on the series Transparent, she played an iconic lesbian, feminist poet and professor. One of her two Tony Awards was for her starring role in the play Doubt. We'll talk with Jones about her roles. And growing up gay in Paris, Tennessee, where there was a Confederate statue in the center of the town later. TV critic David Bianculli will review a new documentary series on Turner Classic Movies called Women Make Film about Female Filmmakers, featuring clips from throughout the history of film.


My guest, Cherry Jones, is nominated for an Emmy for her guest appearance on the HBO series Succession. She's already won two Emmys for her performance on 24 as President Allison Taylor and her performance on A Handmaid's Tale. As Alfred's mother in the Amazon series Transparent, she played a celebrated lesbian poet and professor and an Apple TV's recent series defending Jacob. She played a defense attorney for many years. She was best known as a theater actor. She got her first Tony award for her performance in the 1995 Broadway revival of The Heiress and her second for her performance in the 2005 original production of Doubt.


Jones appeared in The Glass Menagerie Moon for the Misbegotten Angels in America and many other plays. Her current Emmy nomination is one of 18 nominations for succession. The series is about a rich family who owns and runs a global media empire. The head of the family, Logan Roy, is a ruthless tyrant who manipulates and emotionally abuses his four grown children as they each compete to win his favor and be named his successor. The family's media empire is being threatened by a hostile takeover and to fight it off, Logan is trying to acquire a media rival called Piggot.


Cherry Jones plays Nan Pearce, who runs BGM, which is owned by her family, her family and her media company. Contrast with Logan Roys, she's from old money, very stately, and her media company is known for its progressive politics. The royal family is more crude. They're all about power and money, and their flagship news operation is comparable to Fox News. In this scene, Nan Pierce has invited the royal family to her estate to discuss the deal.


She's accepted the price the royal family is willing to pay for her company, but she has other terms she insists they agree to before she's willing to sell. Logan Roy is played by Brian Cox. Here's Cherry Jones as Nan Pearce.


Very well. If we can clear up our ethical concerns, I think we can talk. We would like to retain some board seats and get iron clad editorial protections in place.


I think that could be hammered out also. Also, I think we would also like to have a conversation about management.


Uh huh.


I won't have that man overseeing our news. I'm sorry. It's just not tenable. That won't be a problem. More important, we would like you to publicly announce a successor.


Mm hmm. And we would like the person you publicly announce to be Shavon Roy.


Well, that's not quite how I do things.


Well, it will have to be or there's no deal. We want to announce the sale and ship the same time because frankly, she may be one of you, but she's young, she's a woman, and her politics fit better with the core values of our family business. So. That's the offer. Well, to be fair, you don't have an offer. I have an offer. And if I announce my daughter, my daughter will be announced on my time.


OK, let me explain something. Oh, please.


You can't put a value on what we do.


Honey, I have put a value on what you do.


Well, if you won't budge, then I'm afraid we have no deal.


Then we're done. Jerry Jones, welcome to Fresh Air, welcome back to Fresh Air. Congratulations on your Emmy nomination.


It's a pleasure to be back with you, Terry. So, you know, I know you are so great. I love that you can so convincingly play like an old money, very entitled woman. So did you have people to draw on for your character in succession?


Were there people who like old money entitled with an estate that you could draw on for, you know, the the style of speaking and the body language? Because her body language conveys like I've always had privilege. I've never known anything but that.


Well, you know, it was interesting because I, I know that I played her maybe as a woman who no longer completely exists. Those gals are leaving us. But I, I, I wanted her to be that sort of last stand of that old guard of old old blue blood wasp money where they go to the camps in the summer and sleep under horse blankets and then come back to their their mansions or their Ivy League schools in the fall. And I because I'm in the theater and I'm in the not for profit theatre, had been for many years, of course, that these board dinners and I have met many of these women.


So it was delicious to get to tap in to all those different women that I've I've met and either enjoyed or have been slightly appalled by.


You have to play the contradiction in her life in that she she runs a progressive, you know, media group. But in her own life, you know, she she lives in an in a state that's kind of a bubble. And she has a cook who's, you know, preparing this dinner for a whole lot of people where the royal family and her family get together to discuss this, this this takeover or merger.


And so she says she says to the cuckoos, like serving or like you never take time out for yourself.


You should have a drink with us. And of course, like the woman who's overseeing all this big dinner can't do that.


Yes. When I came to that line, I thought, well, there goes any sense of nobility about this woman? You know, it was that was probably the most telling line for me as an actress about about this character. For an actor, it's always so much more interesting to have a character who on one hand seems to be trying to do everything with a sense of of responsibility for society. And and then you see her patronise this woman who works for her, who is doing 50 things at once to put together this magnificent meal for all these fabulously wealthy people.


And it's just so cringe worthy in an instant understanding who this woman is.


And it really did make me cringe when I read it on the page.


So one of the things I love about succession is the dialogue is so good, it's so cutting. Everybody's always like cutting each other and it's played as a drama. But there's something really funny about it because they're so over-the-top, selfish and like money hungry. It must be so much fun to read these lines.


It is. And to, you know, to watch the show and think each one of these scripts is a masterpiece because they are so wretched, these people.


And at the same time, we so enjoy laughing at how ludicrous they are. And and the writers just get that that edge, that tight wire rope walk just right. And and at the same time, you see these grown children who have been created as monsters and who at the end of the day are just starved for love. And it has so thwarted them as human beings. And so as much as you find them appalling, you also have at the end of the day, a little bit of sympathy for people who really have known no healthy relationship in their life.


My understanding is that Frank Rich recommended you for the role. Now, Frank Rich's to be the New York Times theater critic and was during those years probably the most powerful theater critic in America. And you were performing mostly on stage back then. And he's since gone on to work on TV shows and. Shooting veep and, of course, succession. So when you first met him, were you still thinking of him as like the theater critic who could make or break a show?


The first time I actually got to meet Frank Rich was I had gone to San Francisco to do an interview on City Arts and lecture Sidney Goldstein City Arts and lectures. And the night I arrived, Frank was being interviewed and afterwards we were all introduced. And I was 50 years old at that point. But I was like a schoolgirl, you know, to be with Frank Rich, we lived in fear and terror of Frank Rich in the theater. And of course, he was absolutely delightful.


So I'd gotten to know him a little bit. Holly Hunter and George Smith, Cameron and I all have come up together and Jay plays Jerry on succession. The Council to Logan Roy and Holly Hunter plays a wretched character who is stabbing me in the back. And at at one point we walked past Frank's director's chair and there it was in black and white, Frank Rich. And we both sort of shudder just to see it in black and white again, his name.


So what kind of reviews did he give you when you were in theater?


You know, as I was coming up, he was very close to leaving the Times. And the one review that I remember best was for a marvelous Paula Vogul play called The Baltimore Walls. And Frank Rich really got that play and wrote an exquisite review of it and and lovely. I got a lovely notice with that. But he he wrote it was a play about AIDS that wasn't Paula did a remarkable thing where it's not directly about AIDS, but it is.


And Frank Rich, all those years when he was reviewing theater at the height of the AIDS epidemic, wrote so beautifully about each each AIDS play. And then as he started doing op ed, he was such a champion so early on for getting getting federal help towards curing AIDS.


Were you working on Broadway or off Broadway at the peak of the AIDS epidemic? Because I imagine that a lot of people working on Broadway then had HIV and that many of them died and that that would have had quite an effect on you.


I graduated from college in 1978 and then by 82, 83, I was working in Boston. And so I was not an established actor in New York. But the people I were I was losing were were college friends who were starting to become ill and college friends who'd managed to get into productions of A Chorus Line or different different shows as dancers who were dying of AIDS. And and of course, it continued. We were still losing friends well into the mid and late 90s.


And we all still try to imagine what the world would be like if all of those extraordinary men and women were with us.


Now, what impact did it have on you to lose so many friends at a young age? It was so infuriating because you felt that there could have been help so much earlier and you knew that help was a long, long way away because it was gay men. And as a young gay woman, you know, it was not threatening to my health, but it was to every young gay man I knew. And there was also the anger at your friends.


If they were not careful, they were just so many different emotions of watching young men die, wretched deaths and some supported by their families, others shunned by their families.


Has the pandemic has covered made you think a lot about the early days of the AIDS epidemic?


No, it actually hasn't. This feels so different because there's not a soul on earth that has any protection against this. It it affects everyone. So there isn't this. Stigma that there was with AIDS, but there's still, unfortunately, blind people leading the government who were, regardless of what was said at the Republican convention, were woefully slow and just wanted everything to be rosy. And that's not how this is playing out. I come from a beautiful little town in Tennessee, Paris, Tennessee, and my partner and I had badly injured my knee.


And so in March, we drove down and stayed with my sister for four months in Tennessee. We had no idea when we left New York, mainly because I couldn't get up and down my apartment stairs that we were going to be there for months. And of course, coming from New York in mid-March, Broadway had just closed. We were very, very, very careful. And my sister took us in with open arms. But we basically all three quarantine together, my wife, my sister and and I and everyone in town, once we were out of quarantine, you know, no one was taking it seriously because there had been no cases reported.


And we left Tennessee. There were 65 cases in my county. And as of yesterday, there were about 410.


It must have been so frustrating for you to come from New York at the time when New York was the epicenter of the virus in the U.S. and then go down to a small town, Paris, Tennessee, where you grew up and no one's taking it seriously.


It's like you knew what could happen, but no one was taking it seriously, like everywhere until it hits your town. People just don't take it seriously. And honestly, I do understand that. But it's you know, it's why we're in the in the state we're in. And unfortunately, it does seem like the numbers are coming down because people are understanding now how you stop the spread. What was most remarkable about being in my hometown during those those months was that after George Floyd was murdered in my little town of Paris, Tennessee, with the Confederate statue on the court square, there immediately started to be people holding signs around the court square, Black Lives Matter signs.


And my sister and Sophie and I started participating. And one of the things about masks was that this wonderful man named Reverend Andre when we first went to hold signs on the court square, he had masks, individual masks in baggies that he gave everyone who arrived and said, now, this is so that you protect other people. It's so you protect yourself and it's for the optics.


What did it mean to you to have a Confederate statue at the center of your town when you were growing up?


Well, when I was a child in the early 60s, you know, one was I grew up proud of being a great great granddaughter of the Confederacy. I think I even when I was a child, my daddy made a little float for the world's biggest fish pride parade. And I was a Confederate wife on the on the porch of my cabin, holding my baby with a gun at my side and a Confederate flag off the little log cabin that I was in.


And I remember, of course, as I grew older, it was apparent to me and I remember that I was about 12 years old when Martin Luther King was killed. And I was one of the seminal moments in my life. A black woman worked for my family, and the day after Martin Luther King was shot, my grandmother was sitting, who was born in 1955 in the South, and she said. It's just terrible. I hate to see a fine young man killed, but perhaps it's for the best because he is starting to stir up so much trouble.


And she responded by saying, yes, ma'am. Oh, gosh. And I remember at that moment wanting to rip my white skin off because, you know, it's it's it's by generation. My grandmother, who would never have considered herself racist, felt that it was better that this man had died, then lived to continue the work he was doing. And this was, you know, as a Vietnam, he was starting the it wasn't so much about black civil rights anymore.


It was about economic civil rights, you know, and and then here I was just two generations later and I wanted to take my white skin off in that moment. It was so horrible.


If you're just joining us, my guest is Terry Jones. She's nominated for an Emmy for her performance as a guest star in the HBO series Succession.


We'll talk more after we take a break. I'm Terry Gross and this is Fresh Air.


This message comes from NPR sponsor Capital One. Welcome to Banking Reimagined Capital One. Checking and savings accounts have no fees or minimums and a top rated banking app that lets you manage your money any time anywhere. Check on the account balance deposit checks, pay bills and transfer money on the go. This is banking reimagined. What's in your wallet? Capital One and a member FDIC. Let's get back to my interview with Cherry Jones. She's nominated for an Emmy for her performance in the HBO series Succession.


She's already won two Emmys for her performance in 2004 as President Allison Taylor and in The Handmaid's Tale as Alfred's mother in the series Transparent, she played a lesbian who is a well-known poet and professor. Cherry Jones has had a long theater career and has won two Tony Awards. So I want to talk with you about Transparent. You play Leslie Mackinaw, a famous poet and professor who has become a lesbian icon. And Gaby Hoffman plays Ali Fesperman, who is the daughter of a transgender woman named Maura, who only recently came out as trans.


So Alia starred in graduate school and has been taken under your wing because you're her professor. And you've both also recently attended a women's festival called Idlewild. And Ali brought along her parent, Maura, unaware that trans women were not welcome at this women's festival. This is also where your character and Ali first sleep together. So this scene takes place a little later at your office. And Gaby Hoffmann as Ali speaks first.


Yeah, so it's official. AM no longer career undergrad diplomas in the mail. That is tremendous.


That's great. I am. I'm proud of you. Thank you. It's kind of weird. Big change. Plus, I'm still recovering from my wild and Nawfal.


Well, you know, it kind of depends on the year. I mean, sometimes the a while, the hangover can we can take a few days and sometimes I can take a few weeks and my Red Bull budget man just goes right, right through the roof.


Is Mara OK? I don't know. I think she will be. Yeah, yeah, I just I guess I wish I'd known, you know, about the divisiveness in that whole community. Yeah, well, I would have told you if if you told me that night, you would bring it up. Yeah.


But it actually kind of relates to what I've been thinking about, you know, this whole pain and anxiety that's just been passed down through the generations and just the Holocaust or the pogroms of the Jews, who's sort of more like a metaphorical Holocaust.


You don't have to perform for me. I didn't I didn't know that I was be yourself. OK, I want you to be one of my Tas next year. Oh, my God, really. Thank you. That's great. That's great. But let me just let me just toss an idea at you. OK?


You know, we we really we had some fun at the first event, huh? Yes, we did. And I didn't know we were going to bring that up is up OK?


Honestly, you were someone that I would really like to take more time with. I would really like to take my time getting to know. But it's against the faculty code of conduct for professors, students in their grad students and even grad students.


So. Take your pick, you want to be my student, are you going to be my old lady?


So Terry Jones, this character, I think, is supposed to be modeled on Eileen Myles, who is a poet and professor and who at this point in the life of Jill Soloway, the showrunner for Transparent, they were having a relationship at this point. So did you think of your character being modeled on Eileen Myles, who also has some scenes in Transparent? So I imagine you met her?


I certainly did think of myself as being modeled on Eileen because it's very clear to me, made clear to me by Jill that that that's basically who I was playing. And of course, I couldn't get close to playing Eileen because she is such an original.


And I had to really butch up because I, I, I always thought, you know, I was always such a tomboy and sort of big boned.


And I never thought of myself as butch, but I thought, oh, it'll be easy to do that. But I learned very quickly that I it was one of the more difficult roles I'd ever had, because as I attempted it, I, I and my seduction of Gabby Hoffman's character, I would often just blush so much that we would I would have to it was it was very funny to play because I haven't played a lot of I've played a lot of single women and women who are not married.


And so I haven't played a lot of love scenes in my life. So to find myself at 60 with these younger women playing these love scenes, is this butch lesbian? It was it was daunting and kind of thrilling at the same time because it felt so unlikely.


So I want to hear what else you had to do to butch up. Well, let's just say my wife got a kick out of it.


She said I really was about getting the right kind of boots. I was thin. I had sort of a boyish figure. I had that sort of my fantasy sort of butch costume. But I just had to get in touch with my masculinity, I guess. But I definitely had to develop an easy confidence swagger.


That's when I noticed the swagger. Yeah, yeah. And that that that that thing that I've been told by heterosexual girlfriends that all men to their dying day find themselves incredibly appealing.


And whereas whereas women, you know, the older we get, the the less appealing we feel.


So I had to sort of, again, get in touch with that masculinity that allows one to be incredibly confident no matter what, sexually.


Well, let me reintroduce you here. If you're just joining us, my guest is Terry Jones. She's nominated for an Emmy for her performance as a guest star in the HBO series Succession. We'll talk more after we take a short break. This is Fresh Air.


This message comes from NPR. Sponsor Best Breastfeeds when sprawling grocery lines stall, drivethrough and the ever growing list of end of week tattoos conspire to foul up your weekend. You don't even flinch. Why? Because you download it best feeds the five star rated mobile puzzle game, which means you've got a boredom busting secret weapon ready to launch. So let drudgery take its best shot. You came prepared download best fiends free today on the Apple App Store or Google Play.


That's friends without the best fiends.


Let's get back to my interview with Cherry Jones, who's nominated for an Emmy for her performance in the HBO series Succession. If she wins, it will be her third Emmy after winning for her performances in 2004 as President Allison Taylor and in A Handmaid's Tale as our friend's mother, 24. There's a lot of torture in twenty four, I mean, including a scene where your daughter is being threatened as you watch with having, you know, her. I cut out and then her other I cut out and then her tongue come out unless you step out of your safe room and present yourself to the captors.


So how did you respond to being in a series where there's where torture is so central to the series?


I compromised myself. And I did it because my parents were both in steep decline in health and being in the theater. You get one day off a week and suddenly out of nowhere, I'd been playing Sister Ali wishes and doubt. And I guess the people at twenty four thought it was just a lateral move from that none to the president of the United States. And I got the job and and I had never watched it. And I remember calling a friend who I trusted and I said, Do you watch that show, don't you?


And she said, I do. And I, I said, is it is it just full of gratuitous violence? And her response was, it's not gratuitous. He's saving the country. And that was that was just enough cover that I needed to say yes to it. And the miracle of that show is that because of that, I managed to be home with my parents in Tennessee two weeks every month for the last three years of their lives. And during the writers' strike, my mother had a massive stroke and I was there for four months.


And then Kiefer had to have some minor surgery that took him out for three weeks. And I was able to be with my mother the last three weeks of her life. And we made sure both our parents died at home, which were their their wishes. And so to me, I do have a great deal of trouble with violence. But I sold my I sold my soul for that one for the time with my parents. Now let's Segway to Handmaid's Tale.


Insanely violent and the second season I had, which I appeared in, I had a tremendous amount of trouble with the violence. And I and I actually I let it be known that I I didn't really want to participate anymore because I felt that it was, you know, and and they they say on that show that they they show no violence that isn't happening to women all around the world every day at any given point. And that's true. But it is at the end of the day, entertainment.


And it's not a documentary and that makes it very different. Now, coming up to this next season on Handmaid's Tale, I feel differently because of where we are in this country. And Alfred Junn is starting to finally be in control of her now, certainly not in control of her life, but is is now able to have more power. She's making power for herself. And I am. So fed up with where we are that I, I would certainly reconsider if if I were to be needed again, I it's as though you need an outlet at this point to to vent.


You know, we march, we write, we petition, we send money. But I need another way of venting my anger. So I want to ask you about growing up gay in Tennessee, in Paris, Tennessee, which is a, you know, a small town, you you were basically always out professionally, but you didn't tell your parents until you were 25.


How did they handle it?


I had always known because our parents had told Susan and me all of our lives that there was that they would always love us unconditionally, that their love for us was unconditional. So I knew I wasn't going to lose them. But it was, as is often the case, it was much more difficult for my mother. And she suffered with it for years because, of course, she wanted me to know what she had known and and to grow up and marry a wonderful man and have children and grandchildren.


And she was so afraid that I was going to go through such sadness and loneliness. And she was born in the 20s. So to be a lesbian to her meant you were going to lead this sad, lonely, dreadful life of living in a closet and having no intimacy ever in your life. And I finally one day we talked and. I said, Mother, are you still having trouble with all of this? This was years later. I was in my early 30s at this point, and she said, darling, intellectually, I'm OK.


It's just emotionally I'm still a basket case. And my family is religious and has a very strong, very open, enlightened faith. And I said, Mother, for you to grieve over your healthy, happy, stable child for the rest of your life is a sin.


And she said that that actually helped a lot.


She she started to realize that was ludicrous, to spend all this time grieving over such a relatively well-adjusted, happy child. And then she became the counselor for the parents of other children in her hometown who were grappling with their child being gay.


She was an educator. She was an English teacher, a brilliant, brilliant teacher. So she used that in later life to help a lot of a lot of folks in my hometown with their gay children.


So this might be too personal, but I'm going to ask it.


And you could tell me you don't want to answer it, OK? Because I don't want to be intrusive.


I think a lot of actresses, a lot of journalists who are on television, a lot of everybody who is in film or television or stage or politics even that a lot of women and men to feel pressure to have cosmetic surgery so that they look younger and so that the lines don't show because, you know, wrinkles are considered like very unflattering and people want to get rid of them.


Seeing you, I suspect you have not had cosmetic surgery. And if that's true, I want to say thank you. And it's not because I disapprove of cosmetic surgery. I just don't think it should be required. I don't think that people should feel like they have to do it or else they no longer have a career or they can no longer feel decent about themselves.


Indeed, you were right, Terry. I have not had cosmetic surgery.


You know, I am wrinkly like my my father's mother. I like my face. I see my friends who've had Botox or whatever. And I think, oh, man, they look so young. They look so great. And and I and I'm happy for them. But there's something that that that can do that. But it's just never been anything. I guess I just never cared about it. And also as an actor, they're going to have to be some actors left who can play the old craggy women, you know, and and you cannot apply crabbiness to a good lifted Botox face.


You just you cannot maybe one day they'll be able to to to do it and post as the CGI, the wrinkles on. But I, I think I get a lot of jobs, honestly, because I haven't had cosmetic surgery. I mean, it wouldn't be right for Alfred's mother in Handmaid's Tale to look to Dunta or the character in Transparent or or even Nan Nan Pierce in succession. Those those old WASP gals, you know, they let their hair go gray and they don't touch their faces.


So, you know, it actually works to my benefit more often than not.


Cherry Jones, thank you so much for coming back to Fresh Air. It's been great to talk with you, Terry.


I'll come back any time you have me.


Cherry Jones is nominated for an Emmy for her performance in the HBO series Succession. After we take a short break, our TV critic David Bianculli will tell us about a new documentary series on Turner Classic Movies about female filmmakers featuring clips from throughout the history of cinema.


This is Fresh Air. This message comes from NPR sponsor one, finance one is life based banking billed for how you really live. Spend, save and share money in one app with one card and one account. Watch your savings grow easily, share money with anyone in your life and spend flexibly with debit or credit. No fees, no minimums. And among the industry's best interest rates get started today at one finance dotcom fresh air.


Beginning tomorrow and concluding in December, Turner Classic Movies presents an ambitious 14 hour series about female filmmakers looking at their collective work internationally and throughout the history of cinema. Episodes of the series called Women Make Film will be shown each Tuesday night, accompanied by some of the movies being featured. Our TV critic David Bianculli has this review. Each of the 14 hours of TKM women make film begins the same way with actress Tilda Swinton, one of the documentary's narrators and executive producers, describing the journey to come.


Most films have been directed by. Most of the recognized so-called movie classics were directed by men. But for 13 decades and on all six filmmaking continents, thousands of women have been directing films to. Some of the best films Women Make Film, which premiered last year at the Toronto Film Festival, takes us on a trip that's both intellectual and emotional. But as road movies go, this documentary doesn't follow any traditional map. In fact, its approach is so unusual it arrives with its own disclaimer with the narrator Tilda Swinton, again explaining what viewers are not about to see.


What follows is not about the director's lives. It's not a chronological history. It's not an analysis of how women directors are different from men. And it's not one of those lists of the best films ever made. No, it has cleaner lines than that. Our film is about the films, the scenes he dances, practical questions, what's an engaging way to start a film? How do you set its tone? How do you make it believable? So what approach does women make?


Film and its writer director Mark Cousins, take. Instead of stepping back and looking at the big picture and only the big pictures, this documentary zooms in on individual scenes.


It pulls almost a thousand examples from 130 years of film history covering six continents. But it doesn't cover that ground by starting at the beginning or by highlighting the most recognizable or significant names.


Wolinsky Blusher. The first woman, director and filmmaker of the silent era doesn't show up until Episode four.


Ida Lupino, one of the first female members of the Directors Guild of America, arrives in Episode two, and there aren't a lot of talking heads or interviews women make.


Film allows the film excerpts to speak for themselves, except that is for the almost constant narration, which points out specifics as each scene on spools, the documentary is subdivided into 40 topics or chapters, starting with the way certain movies open and covering subjects as general as dreams and as specific as editing.


The observations are very specific, and we return to certain movies time and again, watching them illustrate various points.


It's a unique approach, but it works.


And the point here is that it covers the entire history of cinema and provides hundreds of examples of both artistic and technical achievement.


While showcasing only the work of female filmmakers from around the globe. Film historians haven't paid as much attention to them as to their male counterparts. But this documentary series does and goes a long way towards correcting that. And let's talk about that narration. Those duties are divided throughout the documentary by a series of international voices in the U.S. We're likely to be most familiar with Jane Fonda and Debra Winger, but it's Tilda Swinton who stands out the most here. She approaches each film like a sportscaster providing play by play and delivers her words poetically with a quiet passion that brings to mind the narration of David Attenborough or Werner Herzog.


Here she is describing a 1947 movie called The Last Stage as we watch one of its scenes. I'd never seen this movie before, but I really, really want to see it now.


We're back in Poland again. A smile broken by a. Not even across the road isn't safe. So they're back here. And a slight ban, right, but then a German soldier and families left and left, still no cut. Then hustled, hustled, deported. And then the dreaded dissolve to the dreaded place, Auschwitz. Astonishingly, writer director Der Jakubowski had been a prisoner in Auschwitz now just one year after it was liberated. She's back there as a moviemaker shooting this film The Last Stage.


It's a masterpiece. Women make film doesn't exclude the blockbusters or prominent successes, Wonder Woman by Patty Jenkins is here, as are The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow and big by Penny Marshall.


But the primary joy of this documentary is seeing one small, unfamiliar scene that makes you passionate about seeking out the entire film. I walked away with a long list, including not only the last stage, but blackboards, evolution, tomboy and others.


None of those, it turns out, will be shown by TCM during its Tuesday night showcases this fall.


But I'll find them anyway. Meanwhile, the movies that are presented alongside women make film include a lot of other great titles from the well-known The Hurt Locker and The Night Porter to relatively obscure but eminently worthwhile international productions.


Those films, like the documentary, will be presented by TCM hosts Alicia Malone and Jacqueline Stewart, whose enthusiasm matches their expertise. I expect they'll be great guides for this cinematic road trip and I can't wait to start. After all, how else can we safely travel around the world right now?


David Bianculli is the editor of the website TV Worth Watching and professor of TV studies at Rowan University. Tomorrow on Fresh Air, we'll get an inside look at the early years of the CIA from journalist Scott Anderson in his new book, The Quiet Americans, he says the agency's covert operations to overthrow elected governments damaged the United States moral standing after the defeat of Nazi Germany and earned the hatred of many in the developing world. I hope you'll join us.


Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.


Fresh Air's executive producer is Danny Miller, our technical director. An engineer is Audrey Bentham. Our interviews and reviews are produced and edited by Amy Salit, Phyllis Myers, Roberta Shorrock, Sam Briger, Lauren Krenzel, Heidi Saman, Teresa Madden, Thea Challoner and Kayla Latimore. Our associate producer of digital media is Molly Queensborough.


Seth Kelly directed today's show. I'm Terry Gross. Support for NPR comes from this station and from total wine and more, we're in-store teams can recommend a bottle of wine, spirit or beer for any occasion. Shoppers can explore more than 8000 wines, 2500 beers and 3000 spirits, more at total wine dotcom. And from HubSpot, whose enterprise CRM platform is designed to help marketing, sales and customer service teams generate leads, grow sales and innovate the customer.


Experience more at HubSpot dotcom grow better.