Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TCM TiVo Alert for November 15-22

November 15 – November 22


IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (November 18, 6:00 pm): An absolute classic, directed by Frank Capra, about a runaway snobby socialite (Claudette Colbert) and a reporter (Clark Gable) in the film that put the two on the movie map even though they both already had about 20 credits to their names. It's a wonderful screwball romantic comedy with great chemistry between the two. The story takes place over more than one night despite the title. It's a wonderful film with two of cinema's most famous scenes. The first has Colbert successfully hitching a ride for the two, after Gable fails, by lifting up her skirt and showing her leg. See it here. The other has the two of them sharing a room and Gable putting up a blanket to separate them, calling it "the walls of Jericho," which ties in nicely at the end of the film. Released in 1934, it has aged well.

JULES AND JIM (November 20, 6:00 pm): I'm going to cheat a little as I recommended this two months ago, but this is one of the greatest films ever made. If you don't like foreign films and reading subtitles, give this one a chance. It's well worth it. It's a masterpiece by Francois Truffaut, the best of the French New Wave directors. The story takes place over a period of about 25 years before, during and after World War I. The film is about the close and complex relationship between Jules (played by Oskar Werner), Jim (played by Henri Serre) and Catherine (played by the legendary Jeanne Moreau). A compelling storyline with unforgettable acting and cinematography. The plot is detailed, but it is easy to follow when watching the movie. No review can properly describe this great film. It's like reading a beautiful poem and understanding everything the writer meant to convey. I remember being completely awestruck watching this movie for the first time. It's one I go back to from time to time and it never leaves me disappointed.


GREEN FOR DANGER (November 15, 12:00 pm): If you like mysteries, this is one of the really great ones. It’s the last years of World War II and the Nazis are peppering London with their V-1 “buzz bombs.” A postman is wounded, but not badly, and taken to a rural hospital, where dies while under anesthesia. How could that possibly happen? A Scotland Yard detective (the great Alaistair Sim) is sent to investigate and he narrows the list of suspects to six, including the anesthesiologist (Trevor Howard). The tension of the situation is nicely balanced by Sim’s droll wit and method of investigation, which is driving everyone crazy.  As I have said before, even if mysteries are not your cup of tea, tune this one in for its intelligence and wonderful acting.

BEDAZZLED (November 17, 10:pm): The Devil, in the form of Peter Cook, meets Dudley Moore in this hilarious takeoff on Faust set in the swinging London of 1967. Moore is a short order cook who yearns for the waitress (Eleanor Bron) at his hamburger café. Enter the Devil, who offers seven wishes in exchange for his soul. Moore signs and life is never the same. It’s not a question of whether the Devil will screw poor Dudley out of his desire in each wish, but rather a question of how he will do it. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, intelligently written and actually quietly religious. Those who have seen it know what I mean. For those who haven’t: you’re in for a great surprise.

WE DISAGREE ON . . . I LOVE YOU AGAIN (November 18, 10:00 am):

ED: B. I will be the first to admit that the duo of Myrna Loy and William Powell is one of the best and most enjoyable in the history of film. The combination of Loy and Powell directed by Woody Van Dyke is formidable indeed. Add a supporting actor to the mix like Frank McHugh and the film sounds eve more like a winner, if possible. So why do I give it only a “B?" Simply because all that talent cannot make up for a dopey plot: Powell is a conman who recovers from a nine-year spell of amnesia to discover that not only has he has become a shrewd businessman and pillar of the community, but that he’s married to Myrna Loy. The kicker to all this is that Loy is about to divorce him on the grounds of boredom. The premise sounds great, but the execution exposes and ruins and promise the premise had. There’s a bit later in the film where Powell, as his real conman self, leads a pack of Boy Rangers into the woods on a wild goose chase for oil. The scene is so drawn out and slowly paced that it not only causes the film to lose the momentum it was building towards its climax, but threatens to sink it right there and then. Some screwball comedies are too screwy for their own good. For those that want to see a top notch Loy-Powell screwball comedy, try Love Affair.

DAVID: A. Cinema's greatest couple, William Powell and Myrna Loy, are reunited with W.S. Van Dyke, who directed them in the 1934 classic, The Thin Man. Is this 1940 film as good? No, but few movies are. When you have Powell and Loy working together, the chemistry is magic. It's a fun film to watch with Powell showing great range, playing the same character two completely different ways. Unlike Ed, I think the Boy Rangers' scene is hysterical. Before the head injury that reverts his character back to his old self as a conman, he promised to take the Boy Rangers on trip into the woods to learn about deer-tracking techniques. He has no idea what to do so he makes stuff up. He ends up falling into holes, getting caught in traps and is completely lost. It's Powell's best physical-comedy role that I've seen. And Myrna, what can you possibly write to capture her beauty and talent? Well, you could write a book. But I'll leave it as she is wonderful and delightful in this movie with her character evolving with the changes in Powell's character. A funny and entertaining film. 

For the complete list of films on the TCM TiVo Alert, click here.

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