Which classic ‘A Star Is Born’ is better? TCM weighs in

31 Days of Oscar | Daily, Turner Classic Movies

For its annual “31 Days of Oscar” festival, Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz is introducing “Double Features.” Two films connected by theme, performer or history are programmed back-to-back. Topics include alcoholism (“The Lost Weekend,” “Days of Wine and Roses”) and true crime (“Bonnie & Clyde,” “Dog Day Afternoon”) and Mankiewicz relates behind-the-scenes anecdotes.

Sunday night’s double feature is Favorite Movie Nun. The films are “The Nun’s Story” with Audrey Hepburn at 8 p.m. and “Agnes of God” with Jane Fonda and Anne Bancroft at 10:45 p.m. Mankiewicz, 51, has the dish on “Agnes”: “Anne Bancroft got the role [of Mother Miriam Ruth] by going to [director] Norman Jewison’s office and looking bad,” he says. “She gets nominated for Best Actress and loses to Geraldine Page, who originated that same role on Broadway, for ‘The Trip to Bountiful.’”

Mankiewicz spoke to The Post from LA, where he lives.

On Wednesday, TCM has “The Private Life of Henry VIII” and “A Man For All Seasons.” Who was the better king, Charles Laughton in the first film or Robert Shaw in the second?
I would almost pick Shaw because it’s a more human performance. Laughton was brilliant, though. That’s how I grew up thinking of Henry VIII. He’s a big guy, belching, eating turkey legs and murdering his wives. It affected how everyone saw Henry VIII for 100 years.

On Saturday night, viewers can see two versions of “A Star Is Born.” The 1937 version with Janet Gaynor at 8 p.m. is followed by the Judy Garland version from 1954 at 10 p.m. Which is the better movie?
I like the Janet Gaynor. It’s a better movie. Gaynor is a much more credible ingénue than Judy Garland. I know I’m in the minority. What you see now with the Garland version is close to [director George] Cukor’s [original] version. Some of that version was melted down. There are production stills in the middle of the movie. The whole thing cannot be recreated. The studio melted part of the film down to get the silver.

What do you think of the 2018 version with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper?
I think it’s excellent. It’s also a nice reminder to people to stop panicking. The classic you love is already a remake of a classic. Nobody dislikes the 1937 version. The current version is incredibly powerful. I like that it gets people talking about classic movies. I think Bradley Cooper did a great job directing.

The latest version of “A Star Is Born” is nominated for Best Picture this year. Which movies are you rooting for going into the Feb. 24 Oscar ceremony?
The movies I loved were “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Eighth Grade” and “A Quiet Place.” They aren’t nominated for Best Picture. “Eighth Grade” was so unbelievably good so I was disappointed. I’d be happy if “Roma” won Best Picture. Or “BlackKKlansman,” “Vice” or “A Star Is Born.”

And here’s what else to watch this week:

OG | Saturday, 10 p.m., HBO

Louis (Jeffrey Wright) has served 24 years at Pendleton Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Indiana. Mere weeks before his release he faces an existential crisis involving a new inmate. With William Fichtner and Mare Winningham.

This Is Us | Tuesday, 9 p.m., NBC

Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) trip home to see her mother (Phylicia Rashad) sparks a realization.

Will & Grace | Thursday, 9:30 p.m., NBC

Will’s (Eric McCormack) flirtation with a co-worker takes a turn when details about his home life put him in an ethical dilemma.

The Passage | Monday, 9 p.m., Fox

Lear (Henry Ian Cusick) helps Elizabeth (Jennifer Ferrin) understand the decisions he’s made at Project NOAH. Sykes (Caroline Chikezie) and Babcock (Brianne Howey) bond.

The Big Bang Theory | Thursday, 8 p.m., CBS

When the gang finds out Wil Wheaton is hosting a celebrity Dungeons and Dragons involving William Shatner, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kevin Smith, deception and betrayal carve their path to seize the one open seat.

A Million Little Things | Thursday, 9 p.m., ABC

As Maggie’s (Allison Miller) friends anxiously await the outcome of her surgery, the unexpected arrival of her mother (Melora Hardin) leads to a tense first meeting with Gary (James Roday). John (Ron Livingston) would know what to do with this, even though he is dead.

Black-ish | Tuesday, 9 p.m., ABC

Junior (Marcus Scribner) is working with his dad Dre (Anthony Anderson) at Stevens & Lido as an intern and it takes some time to find his footing, but when he offers an idea during a pitch meeting, Dre puts him in his place.

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