Thursday, June 29, 2017

TCM TiVo Alert for July 1-7

July 1–July 7


BADLANDS (July 1, 6:00 pm): Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek show their incredible talents in this 1973 film, loosely based on a serial killer and his girlfriend on a 1958 cross-country killing spree. The two become more detached to reality and violent as the film progresses. The film focuses on the alienation and hopelessness felt by the two doomed young criminals. Despite their horrific actions, you feel somewhat sorry for them. An excellent script, a remarkable job by Terrence Malick in his directorial debut, and outstanding acting from Sheen and Spacek, who would go on to be major film stars. It's an exceptional film that shouldn't be missed.

THE DEVIL'S DISCIPLE (July 4, 12:00 pm): Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas co-starred in a number of excellent films, but besides Seven Days in May, this is their best. The Devil's Disciple is a delightfully funny and fun story of a straight-laced preacher (Lancaster) and a colonial rebel (Douglas) during the Revolutionary War. Add Sir Laurence Olivier as British General John Burgoyne and a screenplay based on the George Bernard Shaw play and you've got an outstanding film that's a must-see for anyone who considers themselves a film fan. The chance to see Lancaster, Douglas and Olivier together is reason enough to see this. On top of that, it's lively, filled with action and incredibly entertaining.


THE MUMMY (July 1, 6:30 am): Boris Karloff gives one of his strongest and best-remembered performances as Imhotep, an Egyptian mummy revived after thousands of years. Zita Johann co-stars as his reincarnated love. Billed as “Karloff the Uncanny” in publicity for this film, Boris lives up to the moniker – and then some. Watch for the great scene when archaeologist Bramwell Fletcher reads the magic scroll that brings Karloff back to life and laughs himself insane when Karloff revives and walks away with the scroll. The makeup was years ahead of its time, adding to the eerie atmosphere. It’s one Karloff performance not to be missed.

1776 (July 4, 10:45 pm): 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.

WE AGREE ON ... SCARLET STREET (July 5, 8:30 am)

ED: A. Though its plot is somewhat akin to the previous year’s The Woman in the Window, directed by Fritz Lang with Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett as the leads, a trick ending reveals it was all a dream. Not so with Scarlet Street. This film, an adaptation by Dudley Nichols of Jean Renoir’s 1931 La Chienne, is a nightmare, or, more aptly, a noir mare. Bennett, this time aided by her pimp boyfriend, Dan Duryea, takes advantage of vulnerable amateur painter Robinson to try to con him out of a fortune they think he has. When Duryea has Joan sign Robinson’s paintings that he is too modest to sign, they are discovered by critics and sell for high prices. In the hands of a lesser talented director, this fact could steer the movie into a screwball comedy. But Lang uses this plot twist to make the film into an existential theatre of the absurd. There is nothing funny about Robinson losing what little identity his paintings gave him to a couple of low lifes. Also unique about this film is that it is the first time since the Code was rigorously enforced on July 1, 1934 where the murderer gets away with his crime. Lang’s ending, where the guilt-ridden Robinson roams the streets trying in vain to turn himself in while the late Joan’s “self-portrait” is selling for big bucks, is the height of existential irony.

DAVID: A. Director Fritz Lang does a superb job with this 1945 film noir that has Edward G. Robinson in a role that's different from any other he played in his career. Eddie G. is Chris Cross, a bland, boring clothing company cashier who's never done anything interesting in his life. Business picks up quickly after he saves Kitty March (Joan Bennett), a beautiful femme fatale, being accosted on the street by a guy who turns out to be Johnny (Dan Duryea), her lowlife boyfriend/pimp. Completely out of character for Chris, he dispatches Johnny with his umbrella and quickly falls in love with Kitty as he's in a loveless marriage with a wife who constantly henpecks him. Because he talks of painting, Kitty and more importantly Johnny think he's a rich artist. The two work out a plan to make money from Chris' love for Kitty and his ability as a painter. The story, based on the French novel La Chienne (The Bitch), has a number of unforeseen (and excellent) plot twists as Chris' life goes from humdrum to one filled with way too much passion, deceit and tragedy.

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

1 comment:

  1. I will be there for Scarlett Street. Sounds delicious!