Friday, July 22, 2016

TCM TiVo Alert for July 23-31

July 23–July 31


THE GOODBYE GIRL (July 24, 6:00 pm): This film came during the peak of Richard Dreyfuss' acting career and is one of his best performances. He won an Oscar for Best Actor (becoming, at the time, the youngest to win the award) for this 1977 film. The screenplay, written by Neil Simon, is good, but the acting and interaction between Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason and Quinn Cummings (the latter two were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively) are outstanding. Cummings, who was 10 when the film was released (and flamed out as an actress a couple of years later), is marvelous as Mason's precocious daughter. It's a very charming and entertaining romantic comedy.

THE CAINE MUTINY (July 25, 12:00 am): Humphrey Bogart in his last great role as Lieutenant Commander Philip Frances Queeg, the head of the USS Caine, a Navy destroyer minesweeper. Queeg is losing his wits and desperately trying to have a final moment of glory as a commander, which puts his crew at risk. The final straw is his refusal to avoid a typhoon and then freezes when told of the danger facing the ship. That leads to a peaceful mutiny – thus the clever title – and a court martial. The supporting cast – Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson and Fred MacMurray (the latter in particular) – is excellent. 


HOBSON’S CHOICE (July 23, 8:00 pm): David Lean directed this wonderfully droll comedy with Charles Laughton in one of his best and most unforgettable performances. He’s a widower with three daughters to marry off, but things don’t quite turn out like he expected. See this once and you’ll want to see it again ... and again. Gentle comedies such as this aren’t made anymore; mores the pity. Look for Prunella Scales – later best known as Sybil Fawlty – as one of Laughton’s daughters. If you haven’t seen this before, you’re in for a real treat. And if you have seen it before, I don’t need to tell you to watch it again; you’ll be doing that anyway.

THE ENTERTAINER (July 23, 10:00 pm): Laurence Olivier gives an unforgettable performance as has-been song-and-dance man Archie Rice, who will stop at nothing to hit the big time once more, even if it means ruining the lives of those around him. Brenda DeBanzie gives a terrific performance as his alcoholic wife, Phoebe, and Roger Livesey is wonderful as his father Billy, a retired music hall performer. Director Tony Richardson does a superb job of capturing the flavor and atmosphere of the cheesy seaside resorts that Archie is reduced to playing, which compliments perfectly Olivier’s brilliant touches as the egotistical Archie Rice. Olivier had perfected the role on stage in John Osborne's play and hits every discordant note on his way down. A true essential.

WE DISAGREE ON … LITTLE BIG MAN (July 27, 9:30 pm)

ED: B. Little Big Man is an interesting movie, as it’s concerned with a specific period of American history. Unfortunately, whenever Hollywood meets history, truth is the thing sacrificed. There are several glaring inaccuracies in the film concerning matters of historical fact, mainly the depiction of Custer as a bigoted loony murderer. That’s as far from the truth as the depiction of him as a gallant martyr in They Died With Their Boots On. Keep in mind that the film was made in 1970, when it was chic to be anti-establishment. I have never seen any reason to bend historical fact to fit an ideology. History is interesting enough without hiding or distorting the facts to make a “better” story. As a film it is first-rate, but it’s historical inaccuracy is enough to make me drop it a grade.

DAVID: A+. There is no doubt that, as Ed wrote, this isn't an accurate telling of historical events. However, simply dismissing this satirical film for that reason is short-sighted. It's a fascinating story of the many legends of the Wild West as told by Jack Crabb, a 121-year-old man who supposedly lived through them. Dustin Hoffman is positively brilliant in the lead role, showing amazing versatility playing the character in a variety of scenarios and at different ages. The makeup is fantastic, and while Hoffman is the star of this 1970 film, he has a solid supporting cast including Martin Balsam as a snake oil salesman and Chief Dan George, who plays his Indian "father." It's a great combination of comedy and drama told through what is definitely a very liberal, but extremely entertaining, telling of historical events. 

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

1 comment:

  1. I'm with David here...Little Big Man is one of those great films that I see every time it's presented. As with all fiction, it's not historical facts that are important, but rather the look at two different cultures and the affects of their clash. The movie uses satire to illustrate human foibles in a very entertaining way. This film gives much to think about.