September 1–September 7


THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER (September 5, 8:15 am): I'm a huge fan of the British kitchen sink/angry young man film genre, and there are very, very few finer than this one. Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay in his brilliant film debut) is a rebellious teenager in post-World War II England who ends up in a juvenile delinquent institution. While there, he discovers he has a talent for long-distance running. He's able to avoid the hard labor the other boys must endure because of his abilities. But the anger and resentment against a system that chews kids like him up and spits them out when they are no longer of any use is always in the back of his mind. The day of the big race against the nearby public school is an opportunity to shine leave Colin conflicted. In the end, he does what he believes to be the right thing to maintain his integrity and independence despite the consequences.

THE LION IN WINTER (September 7, 6:00 am): I've never shied away from expressing my intense dislike for Katharine Hepburn's acting. I think she had very little talent, and is the most overrated mainstream actress in the history of cinema. But I've got to give the devil her due - she is absolutely brilliant in The Lion in Winter, a 1968 film in which she stars as Eleanor of Aquitaine in the year 1183. She is imprisoned by her husband, Henry II (Peter O'Toole delivering yet another fantastic performance), as the two greatly differ over which of their sons will be next in line to the thrown of England. While not historically accurate, it's a wildly entertaining film with Hepburn and O'Toole trading biting lines with each other. One of my favorites has the two of them walking arm-in-arm smiling at their subjects while Eleanor is giving Henry grief. He says, "Give me a little peace." Without skipping a beat, Eleanor responds: "A little? Why so modest? How about eternal peace? Now, that's a thought." A great story, great costumes, great directing and a great cast that also includes Anthony Hopkins in his film debut, Timothy Dalton and Nigel Terry.


THE BANK DICK (September 4, 8:00 pm): W.C. Fields was never funnier than in this film about a no-account who is given a job as a bank guard after he unwittingly foils a robbery. His daughter’s nitwit fiancé works there and Fields soon gets him involved in using the bank’s money to finance a stock scheme that looks as if it will go bust, so they must distract the bank examiner (a wonderfully fussy Franklin Pangborn) until the money can be returned. It all results is a crazy and hilarious car chase when the bank is robbed again.

IT’S A GIFT (September 4, 9:30 pm): This 1934 Paramount production was probably W.C. Fields’ funniest film. He plays a downtrodden, henpecked grocer living in Camden, N.J., who wants desperately to own an orange grove in California, so he buys one sight unseen and moves his family out to California. It’s a beautiful melding of comedy routines and plot, with Charles Sellon as a blind grocery customer and T. Roy Barnes as a salesman who interrupts Fields’ sleep looking for Carl LaFong. It’s Fields at his delightfully cynical best.


ED: C. Elvis films are exercises in mediocrity, mainly because his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, never allowed his client to step outside what was thought to be a winning formula. As a result we never got to see Elvis in anything that wasn’t predictable and heavily telegraphed. But some are more excruciating than others. This film is a case in point. It starts out well with Elvis and Gary Lockwood as bush pilots who lose their plane because of Lockwood’s gambling debts. Trying to earn money to retrieve it they hitch it to Seattle, where the World’s Fair just happens to be. Once there, Danny tries to earn money in a poker game (Hasn’t he ever heard of Las Vegas?) while Elvis takes care of a small girl named Sue Lin (Vicky Tiu) who became separated from her Uncle Walter (Kam Tong). When cute little Sue gets sick from pigging out on junk food, Elvis takes her to the clinic, where he meets attractive nurse Diane Warren (Joan O’Brien) and, of course, is smitten. And if you can’t guess what’s going to happen next, you’ve never seen an Elvis picture. The only interesting things about this cardboard comedy is seeing Kurt Russell as a kid Elvis pays to kick him in the shins to attract the nurse’s attention, and the late, gorgeous, scorching supernova (to quote IMdB reviewer pooch-8) Yvonne Craig. Russell would later go on to play The King himself in the 1979 TV movie Elvis.

DAVID: D+. I'm a huge fan of Elvis Presley films, even many of the bad ones. Elvis had a ton of potential, but opted during a long stretch of time to stick to the "Formula," in which he played the same type of character with a minimal plot, and an over-reliance on his charisma and a pretty co-star. Some of them are absolutely charming like ClambakeSpinout and Kid Galahad. Some of them are horribly stupid with no redeeming qualities such as Harum ScarumThe Trouble With Girls, and this movie. It Happened at the World's Fair (1962) is painfully boring and way too long at 105 minutes with the World's Fair in Seattle theoretically used in an effort to entertain the audience. It fails to do that. You can tell Elvis wishes he was anywhere else but in this film. It's hard to blame him. The effort at creating a plot is embarrassingly bad. For someone like me who loves Elvis and watched this entire movie as I'm a Presley completist, there is nothing to enjoy. You'd think there would be a good song as Elvis sings 10 of them in this movie. But unfortunately there isn't a single catchy one to be found.

Schedule Subject to Change (All times Eastern Daylight Time)

September 1

6:00 am – BOYS’ RANCH (MGM, 1946): Jackie “Butch” Jenkins, James Craig. A ball player creates a ranch for troubled kids from the city. C+

8:00 am – BILLY THE KID (MGM, 1930): Johnny Mack Brown, Wallace Beery. A town marshal struggles to capture a rebellious kid turned outlaw. Directed by King Vidor. C+

11:00 am – THE OKLAHOMA KID (WB, 1939): James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart. Cagney and Bogart as cowboys in a way ahead of its time camp classic. D+

12:30 pm – THE KID FROM TEXAS (MGM, 1939): Dennis O’Keefe, Florence Rice. A playboy turns cowboy and sets up a polo match with an Indian tribe. C

2:00 pm – BILLY THE KID (MGM, 1941): Robert Taylor, Brian Donlevy. Taylor is the wanted outlaw in this early biopic. Donlevy is the marshal. C

6:45 pm – STAGECOACH KID (RKO, 1949): Tim Holt, Richard Martin. Stagecoach owners try to save a friend’s ranch from crooks. C

8:00 pm – MEET JOHN DOE (Columbia, 1941): Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck. A reporter’s fraudulent story makes a tramp into a national political hero and a pawn of big business. A-

10:15 pm – PRELUDE TO WAR (Fox, 1943): Walter Huston, Capt. Anthony Veiller (Narrators). The rise of fascism in Germany and Italy, and Japan’s growing aggression. A

11:15 pm – THE BATTLE OF RUSSIA (Fox, 1943): Capt. Anthony Veiller (Narrator). The Soviet Union resists the Nazi invasion. A

12:15 am – THE NEGRO SOLDIER (U.S. War Dept., 1944): Documentary about the contributions of African-American soldiers during World War II. A

1:45 am – TUNSIAN VICTORY (MGM, 1944): Lt. Col. Leo Genn, Capt. Anthony Veiller (Narrators). Documenting the story of our final victory in North Africa during World War II. A

3:30 am – THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN (U.S. War Dept., 1943): Walter Huston, John B. Hughes (Narrators). Great Britain stands against the Nazi war machine. A

4:30 am – KNOW YOUR ALLY: BRITAIN (U.S. War Dept., 1943): Walter Huston (Narrator). Documentary capturing the British character and how they got involved in World War II. A

5:15 am – WAR COMES TO AMERICA (U.S. War Dept., 1945): Walter Huston (Narrator). A documentary detailing the events that led to our participation in World War II. A

September 2

6:30 am – ROCKABYE (RKO, 1932): Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea. A Broadway star tries to hold onto an adopted child and a younger man. C-

7:45 am – OUR BETTERS (RKO, 1933): Constance Bennett, Violet Kemble-Cooper. An American heiress marries into the British nobility. C+

9:15 am – SUSAN AND GOD (MGM, 1940): Joan Crawford, Frederic March. Flighty socialite Joan neglects and alienates her family when she joins a religious group. B

11:15 am – TWO-FACED WOMAN (MGM, 1941): Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas. Garbo’s last film finds her as a ski instructor pretending to be her twin sister in order to win back her straying husband.  D

3:00 pm – HER CARDBOARD LOVER (MGM, 1942): Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor. A flirt tries to make her fiancé jealous by hiring a gigolo in Norma Shearer’s last film. D+

4:45 pm – THE ACTRESS (MGM, 1953): Spencer Tracy, Jean Simmons & Teresa Wright. Based on the true story of Ruth Gordon’s struggles on the road to stardom. B-

8:00 pm – A MAN CALLED HORSE (Nat’l general, 1970): Richard Harris, Judith Anderson. An English lord kidnapped by Indians becomes a part of their tribe. C+

10:00 pm – BARRY LYNDON (WB, 1975): Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson & Patrick Magee. An Irish rogue cheats his way to the top of 18th-century British society. A-

1:15 am – AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE (WB, 1978): Steve McQueen, Charles Durning. A scientist stands against an entire town when he discovers their medicinal spa is poisoned in this adaptation of Ibsen’s play. B-

3:15 am – THE LORD OF THE RINGS (UA, 1978): Christopher Guard, William Squire. Ralph Bakshi directed this animated version of J.R.R. Tolkein’s classic. C+

September 3

7:30 am – THE FALCON IN MEXICO (RKO, 1944): Tom Conway, Mona Maris, & Martha McVicar. The famed sleuth’s investigation of an art dealer takes him to Mexico. C

2:00 pm – FIESTA (MGM, 1947): Esther Williams, Ricardo Montalban. A sister (Williams) takes the place of her toreador brother (Montalban) in the bullring so he can pursue his musical career. C

3:45 pm – HOLIDAY IN MEXICO (MGM, 1946): Walter Pidgeon, Jose Iturbi, & Jane Powell. Ambassador Pidgeon’s daughter Powell falls for famous musician Iturbi with the usual musical consequences. A-

8:00 pm – BEAU GESTE (Paramount, 1939): Gary Cooper, Ray Milland. William Wellman directed this adventure of three brothers who join the French Foreign Legion. A

10:00 pm – ADAM HAD FOUR SONS (Columbia, 1941): Ingrid Bergman, Warner Baxter. A governess becomes the center of a wealthy family after the death of her employer’s wife. B-

11:30 pm – REAP THE WILD WIND (Paramount, 2942): Ray Milland, John Wayne, & Paulette Goddard. Two sailors compete for the affection of a southern temptress while fighting off pirates. B-

September 4

6:30 am – SMASH-UP, THE STORY OF A WOMAN (Universal, 1947): Susan Hayward, Lee Bowman. A singer's wife turns to the bottle when she fears she's lost her husband to success. B+

8:15 am – DEADLINE AT DAWN (RKO, 1946): Susan Hayward, Paul Lukas & Bill Williams. Hayward is an aspiring actress who risks much to prove murder suspect Williams’s innocence. C+

9:45 am – GIRLS ON PROBATION (WB, 1938): Jane Bryan, Ronald Reagan. A young ex-con is framed in a robbery. The girl who set her up now shows up with a blackmail scheme. C-

11:45 am – A STAR IS BORN (Selznick International, 1937): Frederic March, Janet Gaynor. A fading alcoholic leading man (March) marries the young beginner (Gaynor) he mentored to stardom. A+

3:15 pm – MAKE ME A STAR (WB, 1932): Joan Blondell, Stuart Merton, ZaSu Pitts, & Ben Turpin. A small town delivery boy travels to Hollywood in hopes of becoming a star. Directed by William Beaudine. C-

4:45 pm WHAT PRICE HOLLYWOOD? (RKO, 1932): Constance Bennett, Lowell Sherman. A dipso director whose career is fading (Sherman) helps a waitress (Bennett) achieve stardom. B+

6:30 pm GOING HOLLYWOOD (MGM, 1933): Marion Davies, Bing Crosby, & Fifi D’Orsay. Davies is a fan who goes all out to lure singer Crosby away from screen star D’Orsay. B+

8:00 pm – THE BANK DICK (Universal, 1940): W.C. Fields, Una Merkel. When he foils two robberies in one day, the town drunkard is hired to guard the local bank. It’s a comedy classic. A+

9:30 pm – IT’S A GIFT (Paramount, 1934): One of the funniest comedies ever made. W.C. Fields is a henpecked New Jersey grocer who wants to own an orange ranch on California. A++

11:00 pm – YOU CAN’T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN (Universal, 1939): W.C. Fields, Edger Bergen. A circus manager tries to break up his daughter’s romance with a ventriloquist. A+

12:30 am – DAVID COPPERFIELD (MGM, 1936): Freddie Bartholomew, Basil Rathbone, & W.C. Fields. Dickens’ classic tale of an orphaned boy’s fight for happiness and the characters he meets. A+

5:00 am – OLIVER TWIST (First National, 1922): Lon Chaney, Jackie Coogan. This is a silent version of the Dickens classic with an outstanding performance by Chaney as Fagin. A-

September 5

6:30 am – BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936 (MGM, 1936): Jack Benny, Eleanor Powell. Benny stars, but Powell will tap dance her way into your hearts. C+

8:15 am – THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER (British-Lion/Columbia, 1962): Tom Courtney, Michael Redgrave. A rebellious Irish youth channels his aggression into running. A+

10:00 am – BATMAN AND ROBIN, Ch. 5 “ROBIN RESCUES BATMAN”  (Columbia, 1949): Robert Lowery, Johnny Duncan, Jane Adams, & Lyle Talbot. The Caped Crusaders take on the black hooded super-villain The Wizard. C

10:30 am – BULLDOG DRUMMOND ESCAPES (Paramount, 1937): Ray Milland, Heather Angel. Drummond falls for an heiress who is being victimized by her own guardian. C

12:00 pm – THEODORA GOES WILD (Columbia, 1936): Irene Dunne, Melvyn Douglas. Dunne plays a quiet small town woman who secretly writes a scandalous best seller. A+

1:45 pm – I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (RKO, 1943): Frances Dee, Tom Conway. Are you ready for Jane Eyre in Haiti? Then tune into this lyrical horror film produced by Val Lewton. A

5:00 pm – McLINTOCK (U.A., 1963): John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara. Wayne is a cattle baron and O’Hara his wife in this version The Taming of the ShrewA-

8:00 pm – NOW VOYAGER (WB, 1942): Bette Davis, Paul Henried, & Claude Rains.  Classic about a repressed spinster (Davis) set free by psychiatry and her love for a married man (Henreid). A+

10:00 pm – MRS. PARKINGTON (MGM, 1944): Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon. A lady’s maid marries a man whose prospects push her into high society. C+

12:15 am – THE PIRATE (MGM, 1948): Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, & Walter Slezak. An actor poses as a notorious pirate to court a romantic Caribbean girl. B+

2:00 am – THE BORN LOSERS (AIP, 1967): Tom Laughlin, Elizabeth Allen. A Vietnam vets stands lone against a motorcycle gang terrorizing a small town. B+

4:00 am – THE GLORY STOMPERS (AIP, 1967): Dennis Hopper, Jody McCrea, & Jock Mahoney. A tough motorcycle gang leader abducts a rival and his girlfriend. D+

September 6

8:00 am – PENNY SERENADE (Columbia, 1941): Irene Dunne, Cary Grant. A woman on the verge of divorce recalls her heartbreaking attempts to adopt a child. A

10:15 am – BERLIN EXPRESS (RKO, 1948): Paul Lukas, Merle Oberon, & Robert Ryan. Allied agents team up to rescue a kidnapped pacifist from Nazi diehards. A

12:00 pm – THE SECRET GARDEN (MGM, 1949): Margaret O’Brien, Herbert Marshall. A orphaned girl changes the lives of those she encounters at a remote estate. A-

2:00 pm – HEAVEN CAN WAIT (Fox, 1943): Gene Tierney, Don Ameche. An old rake arrives in Hades to review his life with the Devil, who will determine his eligibility to enter the underworld. A

4:00 pm – IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR (MGM, 1963): Elvis Presley, Joan O’Brien. Elvis helps a lost young girl at the Seattle World’s Fair and falls in love with social worker Joan. Ratings: See above.

8:00 pm – THRILL OF A ROMANCE (MGM, 1945): Van Johnson, Esther Williams. Williams, abandoned by her husband on their honeymoon, finds romance with war hero Johnson in this slight romantic musical. C

10:00 pm – MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID (MGM, 1952): Esther Williams, Victor Mature, & Walter Pidgeon. Esther stars in this biopic about Annette Kellerman, the great swimming star of turn-of-the-century America. B-

12:00 am – THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (UFA, 1919): Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt. Veidt is a somnambulist used by fairground hypnotist Caligari (Krauss) to kill for revenge. A++

1:30 am – KURUTTA IPPEIJI (Page of Madness) (Shin Kanaku-Ha Eiga Renmei, 1926): Masao Inoue, Yoshie Makagawa. A former sailor who drove his wife mad takes a job as a janitor in her mental asylum. Silent. A+

2:45 am – HAKUCHI (Shochiku, 1951): Masayuki Mori, Toshiro Mifune, & Setsuko Hara. Kurosawa directed this drama about a former mental patient whose romantic involvements lead to tragedy. A

September 7

6:00 am – THE LION IN WINTER (Avco Embassy, 1968): Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn, & Anthony Hopkins. King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine argue over the choice of an heir. A+

9:15 am – YO YO (Magna Pictures, 1967): Pierre Etaix, Claudine Auger. The con of a ruined millionaire and horsewoman becomes a clown and restores their fortune. A

12:30 pm – WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (UA, 1957): Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton. Billy Wilder directed this adaptation of Agatha Christie about the prosecution of a case that brings surprise after surprise. A+

2:30 pm – BERGMAN ISLAND (Svt Sales Release, 2006): A look at the life of the famous director, including previously unseen footage from Bergman’s private archive. A

4:00 pm – SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT (Svensk Filmindustri, 1955): Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck. An actress schemes to win back her married lover from his still virginal wife. A++

8:00 pm – OF MICE AND MEN (U.A., 1940): Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney, Jr. Lewis Milestone directed this top-notch adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel about a drifter and the dim-witted pal he tries to protect. A

10:00 pm – FRAGMENTS (Flicker Alley, 2011): A documentary including rare scenes, reels and segments from lost silent’s and early sound films. A

12:00 am – THX 1138 (WB, 1971): Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasance. Two residents in a mechanized future plot to escape to freedom in George Lucas’ first directorial stint. C

1:45 am – THE TIN DRUM (UA, 1979): Mario Adorf, David Bennett. A story set in 1930s Danzig about a boy with an unusual way of protesting the chain of events that led to war. C+

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