TCM TiVo ALERT
May 15–May 22
DAVID’S BEST BETS:
ADVISE AND CONSENT (May 16, 3:45 pm): This 1962 film about the confirmation process of a secretary of state nominee (Henry Fonda) was ahead of its time. Having the president (Franchot Tone) dying while the proceedings occur is somewhat overdramatic, but the storyline rings true with politics of later years that saw and still see numerous presidential nominees have their entire lives scrutinized just for the sake of partisanship and not for the betterment of the country. It's dialogue heavy, but the dialogue is so good that it elevates the quality of the film. Add the excellent cast – Fonda, Lew Ayres, Charles Laughton, Walter Pidgeon, and Burgess Meredith (in a small but memorable role) – and great directing by Otto Preminger and you get a film that's interesting, intelligent and compelling.
BONNIE AND CLYDE (May 19, 10:15 pm): A groundbreaking film in terms of style, content and graphic violence from 1967, which I consider to be among the two or three finest year in cinematic history. The leads – Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway – are outstanding in their roles as the famed outlaw duo oozing passion, raw sexuality, violence, charisma and charm at every turn. The supporting cast – notably Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons – are equally strong. The movie's violence goes from almost comic to intensely graphic. The final scene in which the two are shot dozens of times is outstanding, particularly the quick looks of horror Beatty and Dunaway give each other when they realize they're about to die a very brutal death. It conveys more emotion and intensity than almost anything you'll seen in film.
ED’S BEST BETS:
BLOOD SIMPLE (May 15, 12:00 am): The first film directed by the prodigious Coen brothers, this is a great noir about a Texas bar owner (Dan Hedaya) who hires a shady private detective (M. Emmett Walsh) to get photographic evidence of his wife (Frances McDormand) and her lover Ray (John Getz), one of his bartenders. It's when he hires the detective to kill them that things go dreadfully wrong. And when things go wrong in a Coen Brothers film they never follow the usual route, which makes it a film to catch.
BELLE DU JOUR (May 19, 2:00 am): Catherine Deneuve is outstanding as a self-loathing housewife who turns tricks to fill the emptiness in her life and live out her sexual fantasies. As for the film itself, it’s yet another exercise by Bunuel in surrealism and it hasn’t aged well over they years. It can best be seen as a historic exercise, much like Birth of a Nation, rather than as a groundbreaking film. Watch it for Deneuve and how she projects sexiness on screen in a manner much beyond what most other screen beauties can reach. Also watch it for Bunuel’s use of color – for his first color film, he uses the shades like a master.
WE DISAGREE ON ... GILDA (May 20, 8:00 pm)
ED: B. This tale of intrigue and romance has some resemblance to the later – and superior – Notorious. However, unlike the Hitchcock film, Gilda is a noir. What mars the film for me is, given the unpleasantness and perversity going on throughout the film, it ends on an optimistic note that seems to come out of nowhere. I think it’s a rather heavy-handed attempt to distract us from the obvious homoerotic relationship between Johnny and Mundson, since Johnny’s devotion to his employer feels more romantic than either of their relationships with Gilda. For her part, Gilda’s sexuality, blatant as it is, is more directed towards the audience, as evidenced in the famous “Put the Blame on Mame” number. What helps the movie is the performances of George Macready as the sleazy Mundson and Rita Hayworth, who gives a larger-then-life performance as the title character. The film is also populated by a group of tried-and-true character actors such as Joseph Calleia, Stephen Geray, Joe Sawyer, Gerald Mohr, and Donald Douglas. And has any character made an entrance quite like Gilda and her hair flip?
DAVID: A. Rita Hayworth is one of cinema's greatest femme fatale in the title role of this 1946 film noir classic. She incredibly gorgeous, and her form-fitting dresses and how she is filmed only adds to her sex appeal. Glenn Ford had a number of memorable roles in his career, but his portrayal of Johnny Farrell, a down-on-his-luck hustler in this film, is among his best. George Macready is strong as Ballin Mundson, a casino owner who also happens to be working with the Nazis. Little does anyone know that Gilda, married to Mundson, had a torrid affair with Farrell years earlier, and the two haven't resolved their feelings. In this role, Hayworth could have chemistry with a rock. Fortunately, Ford has considerably more talent than said rock and the two sizzle on the screen. The cinematography, Hayworth's performance and the dynamics between the three main characters makes this a classic even though the plot could use some assistance.
For the complete list of films on the TCM TiVo Alert, click here.