55 episodes

Our fifth season is Decoding John Ford, a seven-episode series about cinema's most mysterious auteur. Using scores of never-before-heard archival interviews, host Ben Mankiewicz strips back John Ford's self-spun mythology to reveal his brilliance behind the camera – alongside the often ugly, uncomfortable truths about his life and movies, asking whether we can ever truly separate art from the artist. Decoding John Ford starts June 6.

The Plot Thickens TCM & Novel

    • TV & Film
    • 4.7 • 4.6K Ratings

Our fifth season is Decoding John Ford, a seven-episode series about cinema's most mysterious auteur. Using scores of never-before-heard archival interviews, host Ben Mankiewicz strips back John Ford's self-spun mythology to reveal his brilliance behind the camera – alongside the often ugly, uncomfortable truths about his life and movies, asking whether we can ever truly separate art from the artist. Decoding John Ford starts June 6.

    Season 5 Trailer: Decoding John Ford

    Season 5 Trailer: Decoding John Ford

    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. Join host Ben Mankiewicz for a new season of The Plot Thickens, starting June 6.
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    • 4 min
    The Black West

    The Black West

    Growing up in Colorado, young Pam Grier endures racism and trauma, but finds solace in horses and the beautiful countryside. As a teen, she visits Los Angeles for the first time, and gets caught in the middle of the historic Watts Rebellion. But after winning a beauty pageant, she meets a Hollywood agent who encourages her to give L.A. a second chance.

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    • 47 min
    I'm Not From Here

    I'm Not From Here

    Newly arrived in Los Angeles, Pam learns underground filmmaking at UCLA and sings backup for some of the biggest musical acts of the 60s. She also has her first serious romance, with a towering basketball phenom named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Then, a chance audition for a low-budget movie leads to Pam’s first opportunity in front of the camera, as an actor.

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    • 43 min
    An Actor Prepares

    An Actor Prepares

    Pam heads to the Philippines to star in a pair of “women in prison” movies, where she endures volatile weather, skimpy costumes, and cobra encounters. She studies acting and learns everything she can about filmmaking, and her raw talent is soon recognized on the set. But Pam’s relationship with Kareem is tested when his religious convictions clash with her feminist ideals.

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    • 50 min
    The Queen of Blaxploitation

    The Queen of Blaxploitation

    Pam’s career hits new heights as Black-themed movies take the country by storm. She stars in four low-budget films in the span of one year, including two bonafide hits: Coffy and Foxy Brown. Yet her celebrity is tied to controversy, as Blaxploitation gets criticized by the Black community and snubbed by the Hollywood establishment.

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    • 48 min
    Bonus: Pam Grier in Italy

    Bonus: Pam Grier in Italy

    Pam is almost killed when a horse goes wild on the set of a gladiator movie. But instead of losing her life, she meets a new friend, who just happens to be one of the most famous filmmakers in the world.

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    • 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
4.6K Ratings

4.6K Ratings

Dellums ,

Great podcast

Thoroughly enjoying the podcast. Listening to the interviews from the original recording. Superb.

MaryE Z ,

One of the best

Well-researched, produced, and edited. I’m hoping for another season. The material is exceptional, and Ben Mankeniewicz is the most professional host.

KarlNapa ,

Waiting for the 5th Season!

Love the podcast but when does the 5th season debut?

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