TCM TiVo ALERT
July 1–July 7
DAVID’S BEST BETS:
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (July 3, 11:15 pm): It's one of the most visually-stunning and fascinating films every made. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the story of man from pre-evolution to a trip to Jupiter, and how superior beings on that mysterious planet made it all possible. The storyline is fascinating and the ending is very much open to interpretation, which makes the film even more compelling. The interaction between astronaut David Bowman (Keir Dullea) and the HAL 9000 computer that controls the spaceship and has a mind of its own reflects how mankind has experienced gains and losses through the use of advanced technology. The cinematography, special effects and music take this film to a special level.
THE CANDIDATE (July 7, 2:45 am): This is an excellent political satire, and its message of having to sell your soul and give up your integrity to get elected is timeless. Robert Redford is Bill McKay, a liberal attorney and son of a former California governor (played by the great Melvyn Douglas), recruited by Democratic political operative Marvin Lucas (Peter Boyle) for a long-shot challenge to popular Republican Senator Crocker Jarmon (Don Porter). At Lucas' recommendation, McKay softens his message a little bit, compromising his principles – and it works. McKay and Jarmon essentially become one as both say the same thing, but the difference is McKay is young and good-looking, and Jarmon is older and doesn't look like Robert Redford. The storyline is intelligent and compelling, giving viewers a fascinating inside look at the political process in a documentary-style of filming.
ED’S BEST BETS:
1776 (July 4, 1:30 am): A musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence? You’re kidding, right? No, we’re not kidding, and furthermore, it’s quite good. Based on the play, it retains many of those originally performed it. William Daniels is splendid as John Adams, Ken Howard makes for a most effective Thomas Jefferson, and Howard DaSilva is the spitting image of Ben Franklin. Throw in Virginia Vestoff as Abigail Adams and Blythe Danner as Martha Jefferson, and the film really rocks. Watch out, however, for John Cullum as Edward Rutledge of South Carolina. He brings down the house with “Molasses to Rum to Slaves.” Other numbers to look for include “But Mr. Adams,” “Cool Cool, Considerate Men” (my favorite), and the heart tugging “Mama Look Sharp.” American history was never this much fun.
ANNIE OAKLEY (July 5, 2:15 pm): Barbara Stanwyck is a marvelous actress. Even in bad movies she still manages to shine. Put her in a film worthy of her talents and there’s no ceiling. This is such a film – a wonderful, lively biography of one of the legends of the West. It’s Stanwyck’s picture and she dominates as the woman popularly known as “Little Miss Sure Shot.” Preston Foster provides solid support as Toby Walker, at first Annie Oakley’s rival at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and later the love of her life. George Stevens’s direction is nearly flawless as he keeps a tight rein on the picture, which in turn amps up the realism and believability. The result is a movie that’s fun to watch and can be seen numerous times without tiring out the viewer.
WE DISAGREE ON ... CAPTAIN BLOOD (July 1, 5:15 am)
ED. B. Captain Blood is a solid adventure with great performances from its cast, including Errol Flynn in his first swashbuckler, Olivia de Havilland as his leading lady, Lionel Atwill and Basil Rathbone as the heels, and that wonderful Warner’s stock company in support. The only fault, and that which prevents a higher grade, is the rather primitive way it’s presented. The use of title cards makes it almost seem as if it were made in the silent era or as an early talkie. This is 1935, and sound recording had been mastered. Perhaps the reason was due to it being a low-budget production; Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland were unknowns at this time. Note the difference in production values between this film and later Flynn adventures. Otherwise, it’s a great way to spend one’s time.
DAVID: A. The movie that launched the career of Errol Flynn as a swashbuckling icon is not only historically important, but is an excellent film. The cast is top-notch with Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Guy Kibbee and Lionel Atwill. Flynn is Dr. Peter Blood, condemned to a Jamaican plantation to serve out a sentence for treating an English rebel. When the Spanish invade Jamaica, the fun and the action begins. Blood leads a prison rebellion with the men stealing a Spanish ship – the Spaniards are busy looting the town – and later the French on his way to becoming a hero when England is overthrown by William of Orange. Flynn is as dashing as you'll see him on screen showing great charisma during the fight scenes, though he needed work at times with dialogue. There's no arguing that it's a low-budget film. It was so low budget that stock footage from silent films were used. However, I strongly disagree with Ed that it diminishes from the impact of the movie. The action sequences are top-notch. Flynn and de Havilland are perfect together without being over-the-top in the romance department, and of course, Rathbone is outstanding.
For the complete list of films on the TCM TiVo Alert, click here.