April 15–April 22

JAILHOUSE ROCK (April 15, 10:00 pm): This 1957 film is easily one of Elvis' best. He’s in prison on a manslaughter conviction. His cellmate, a former country-and-western singer played by Mickey Shaughnessy, recognizes Vince Everett (Presley) has musical talent after hearing him sing, and serves as a mentor. When Everett is released after 20 months in prison, he looks for work as a singer. He becomes a success thanks to a producer and his love interest, played by Judy Tyler (she and her husband died shortly after the film wrapped up production). Presley does a solid job, showing that if he had the right material, he was a good actor. The film is critical of the music industry with Vince, tired of getting ripped off, creates his own record label with Judy. The film's highlight is the iconic “Jailhouse Rock” performance Everett does for a television special. It doesn’t get much better than this. 

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (April 22, 10:00 p.m.): I'm not a John Wayne fan, but I certainly recognize when he gives an excellent performance. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) is his finest film. It doesn't hurt that he gets to play off the legendary James Stewart and Lee Marvin, one of cinema's most underrated actors who is at ease playing the hero or the villain; he's great as the latter in this movie. Told in a flashback, this film, directed by John Ford, is extraordinary and one of the finest Westerns you'll ever see. It also features one of film's most iconic lines, told to Stewart's character, a U.S. senator, by a newspaperman: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Don't miss this one if you haven't seen it.


THE REMAINS OF THE DAY (April 16, 8:00 pm): Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson follow up their acclaimed performances in Howard’s End with this classic character study about a butler who sacrifices personal happiness for his duties. Emma Thompson is simply wonderful as the one he loves and loses; the housekeeper who nearly penetrates his Stoic armor. It’s the director-producer team of Ivory and Merchant at their finest. Scriptwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala does a marvelous job in adapting the Booker Prize winning novel by Japanese-born Englishman Kazuo Ishiguro. This is a thoughtful, intelligent, quietly intense movie that stands out in an era where the mindless, CGI action picture was beginning to establish box office dominance. I always thought it a shame that Hopkins and Thompson never teamed for another film, especially with Ivory and Merchant.

MY MAN GODFREY (April 16, 12:00 am): William Powell was an actor who improved any film in which he appeared. So imagine what he could do when given a first-rate film with first-rate co-stars, first-rate script, and a first-rate director. Thus we have My Man Godfrey, a film that artfully combines screwball comedy with social commentary without becoming annoying in the process. Powell plays a bum, a “forgotten man” who becomes the butler for a very rich – and very zany and self-absorbed – household, managing to serve their needs while teaching them about caring for their fellow men. Carole Lombard was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as the dizzy heiress who discovers Powell in the city dump while on a “scavenger hunt” for a charity event. Lombard decides the best thing to do would be to hire him as the family butler, which sets everything in motion. The chemistry is so strong between Powell and Lombard that one wonder why they ever divorced a couple of years earlier. Gail Patrick is great as Lombard’s scheming sister, Alice Brady as the girl’s scatterbrained mother, and always memorable Eugene Pallette as the family’s exasperated father. Mischa Auer also gives a wonderful performance as the “mascot” of the household. (Watch for his imitation of a gorilla.) In short, this is film in which everything adds up to a masterpiece of the genre, and one that can stand up to repeated viewings.

WE DISAGREE ON ... A KING IN NEW YORK (April 19, 6:00 am)

ED: B-. There comes a time when an artist reaches the end of the road. This film is a perfect example, a mixture of excellent social commentary and self-indulgent sermonizing about the McCarthy era. Most of the second half of the film is devoted to this tedious and pompous dialogue. The fact that Chaplin uses his own 10-year old son – playing a schoolboy whose parents are damaged by the anti-communist purges – to utter the dialogue, is testament to the futility that creeps in when the humor leaves. The young man’s lines don’t come across so much as normal conversation as they do as political pronouncements delivered with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. They manage to undo the first half of the film, which was riding along quite nicely. Charlie would have been better served if he would have just gotten over it. Thus the grade.

DAVID: A-. In his last starring role, Charlie Chaplin goes out with a bang. This satirical look at America's Red-baiting in the early 1950s is both biting, dead-on and quite funny. Chaplin's personal liberal leaning landed him in hot water with the U.S. House on Un-American Activities Committee, and he takes great joy in exposing its members and supporters as he did with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in The Great Dictator, though that film is better than A King in New York. This film is ahead of its time as it shows America's obsessions with television and advertising that still resonate today. Chaplin is the deposed king of a fictional European country who escapes to New York to live in a luxury hotel. That is until his prime minister steals the royal treasury leaving Chaplin's character with no other choice than to be a TV pitchman and media celebrity to pay the bills. It's not an all-time classic, but it's an entertaining and interesting film made all the more important as it's Chaplin's final movie.

Schedule Subject to Change (All Times Eastern)

April 15

7:00 am – SON OF A SAILOR (WB, 1933): Joe E. Brown, Jean Muir. A lovesick fool bumbles his way into espionage and finds a stolen plane. C+

8:15 am – ON AN ISLAND WITH YOU (MGM, 1948): Esther Williams, Peter Lawford, & Ricardo Montalban. Movie star Williams falls for naval officer Lawford while location shooting in Hawaii. B-

10:15 am – THE SAILOR TAKES A WIFE (MGM, 1946): Robert Walker, June Allyson. A sailor gets more than he bargained for when he gets a quickie marriage. C

1:45 pm – MISTER ROBERTS (WB, 1955): Henry Fonda, James Cagney, & Jack Lemmon. An officer aboard a supply ship tries to transfer to a fighting ship. B+

4:00 pm – DON’T GO NEAR THE WATER (MGM, 1957): Glenn Ford, Gia Scala. Navy office workers scheme to build a recreation center on a remote island. C-

8:00 pm – BYE BYE BIRDIE (Columbia, 1963): Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke, & Ann-Margaret. A rock star’s unscheduled appearance turns a town upside down. B

10:00 pm – JAILHOUSE ROCK (MGM, 1957): Elvis Presley, Mickey Shaugnessy. Elvis plays a guy sent to prison for murder. While there he learns to play guitar there and becomes a big star. A-

12:00 am – GO, JOHNNY GO (Hal Roach, 1959): Alan Freed, Jimmy Clanton. Tale of a poor orphan boy named Johnny Melody and his rise to rock ‘n’ roll stardom helped by Freed and Chuck Berry. C-

1:30 am – GREAT BALLS OF FIRE (Orion, 1989): Dennis Quaid, Winona Ryder. Quaid plays Jerry Lee Lewis is this weak biopic. F

3:30 am – JAMBOREE (WB, 1957): Kay Medford, Bob Pastene. Two young people try to find love and success by making it in the music industry. Watch it for the music. C-

5:00 am – ELVIS: THAT’S THE WAY IT IS (MGM, 1970): Elvis Presley. Concert footage is combined with a backstage documentary of Elvis in Las Vegas. A-

April 16

7:00 am – THE RACKET (Paramount, 1928): Thomas Meighan, Marie Provost. A police captain is out to nab a gang leader responsible for killing a policeman. Silent. A

8:30 am – PAID (MGM 1930): Joan Crawford, Robert Armstrong. Young innocent Crawford is out for revenge for being unjustly sent to the big house. B

10:00 am – WAR NURSE (MGM, 1930): Robert Montgomery, Anita Page. A nurse fights to survive when she’s caught behind enemy lines in World War One. A-

11:30 am – GENTLEMAN’S FATE (MGM, 1931): John Gilbert, Leila Hyams. A bootlegger goes to pieces after his wife leaves him. C

1:15 pm – THE SIN OF MADELON CLAUDET (MGM, 1931): Helen Hayes, Lewis Stone. A woman must take to the streets to provide for her illegitimate son. B+

4:15 pm – CARNIVAL BOAT (RKO, 1932): Bill Boyd, Ginger Rogers. A logger defies his father when he courts a showgirl. C+

5:30 pm – HELL DIVERS (MGM, 1932): Wallace Beery, Clark Gable. Naval Air force officers Beery and Gable carry on their competition on and off the field. C+

8:00 pm – THE REMAINS OF THE DAY (Sony, 1993): Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson. A wonderful character study – a proper English butler sacrifices his happiness in order to remain faithful to his position. A++

10:30 pm – IF YOU COULD ONLY COOK (Columbia, 1935): Herbert Marshall, Jean Arthur. An unhappy executive gets a job as a butler on a lark, only to fall for the family cook. C

12:00 am – MY MAN GODFREY (Universal, 1936): Carole Lombard, William Powell. A Park Avenue socialite on a scavenger hunt (Lombard) finds a “forgotten man” (Powell) and brings him home. A+

1:45 am – MERRILY WE LIVE (MGM, 1938): Billie Burke, Constance Bennett, & Brian Aherne. Society matron Burke, hiring hobos and ex-cons as domestic help, mistakes vacationing author Aherne for a hobo. B+

3:30 am – ENGLISH WITHOUT TEARS (Two Cities, 1944): Michael Wilding, Penelope Dudley-Ward. A Butler and his employer’s niece fall in love. B-

April 17

6:00 am – BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST (MGM, 1925): Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman. This is the original silent version with Novarro as Ben-Hur and clocks in at 143 minutes. A+

8:30 am – DINNER AT EIGHT (MGM, 1933): Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow. David O. Selznick produced this excellent ensemble about the goings-on behind the scenes during an elegant dinner party. A+

10:30 am – THE THIN MAN (MGM, 1934): William Powell, Myrna Loy. Powell and Loy as filmdom’s most celebrated couple: Nick and Nora Charles. A+

12:15 pm – THE GOOD EARTH (MGM, 1936): Paul Muni, Luise Rainer. Sidney Franklin and Victor Fleming directed this epic adaptation of Pearl Buck’s classic novel about Chinese farmers battling the elements. A+

2:45 pm – BOYS TOWN (MGM, 1938): Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney. The story of Father Flanagan and his fight to found Boys Town, a refuge for orphaned boys. B+

4:30 pm – GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS (MGM, 1939): Robert Donat, Greer Garson. The evolution of a cold-hearted British schoolteacher from disliked pariah to favorite as his marriage brings out the best in him. A+

8:00 pm – FLESH AND THE DEVIL (MGM, 1926): Greta Garbo, John Gilbert. A femme fatale comes between childhood friends in this silent melodrama. B

10:00 pm – GRAND HOTEL (MGM, 1932): Greta Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore. Guests at a posh Berlin hotel struggle through scandal and heartache. A

12:00 am – MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (MGM, 1935): Clark Gable, Charles Laughton. This is the classic, and still the best, version of the H.M.S. Bounty story. Required viewing. A+

2:15 am – NINOTCHKA (MGM, 1939): Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas. A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest. A+

4:15 am – MARIE ANTOINETTE (MGM, 1938): Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power, & John Barrymore. Shearer stars as the doomed French queen from her betrothal and marriage to her beheading. B

April 18

7:00 am – THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (MGM, 1940): Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, & James Stewart. Society lady Hepburn finds herself being wooed by ex-husband Grant and tabloid reporter Stewart. A-

9:00 am – THE BAND WAGON (MGM, 1953): Fred Astaire, Nanette Fabares, Oscar Levant, & Cyd Charisse. Astaire is a Hollywood song and dance man whose transition to Broadway proves painful. A+

11:00 am – NORTH BY NORTHWEST (MGM, 1959): Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint. Cary Grant is an advertising man mistaken for a government agent by spies, triggering a cross-country chase. A+

1:30 am – HOW THE WEST WAS WON (MGM, 1962): Henry Fonda, James Stewart, & Gregory Peck. An all-star cast highlights this film about three generations of pioneers settling the West. A-

4:15 pm – DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (MGM, 1965): Omar Sharif, Julie Christie. Director David Lean’s adaptation of Pasternak’s novel about two lovers caught up in the Russian Revolution. A+

8:00 pm – MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (MGM, 1944): Judy Garland, Mary Astor. Garland in one of her most famous films about a year in the life of a mid-western family. Directed by Vincente Minnelli. A

10:00 pm – THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (MGM, 1946): John Garfield, Lana Turner. A drifter and a married woman fall in love and kill her husband, unleashing consequences they had not foreseen. A+

12:00 am – SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (Columbia, 1952): Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds & Donald O’Connor. A great cast stars in this great musical satire of the early days of sound musicals. A+

2:00 am – BEN-HUR (MGM, 1959): Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge. A+

April 19

6:00 am – A KING IN NEW YORK (Attica Productions, 1957): Charles Chaplin, Maxine Audley. A European king loses his money while stranded in the United States. Ratings: See above.

8:00 am – THE LOVED ONE (MGM, 1965): Robert Morse, Jonathan Winters, & John Gielgud. A filmed adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s wicked satire of the funeral business in Southern California. A

10:30 am – MEXICAN SPITFIRE AT SEA (RKO, 1942): Lupe Velez, Leon Errol & Charles “Buddy” Rogers. An ad executive and his temperamental wife sail to Hawaii in search of business. C

2:00 pm – THE BIG COUNTRY (U.A., 1958): Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston. Big ranchers Peck and Heston feud over water rights in this classic Western directed by William Wyler. B+

5:00 pm – WHERE EAGLES DARE (MGM, 1969): Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood. An Allied team sets out to rescue an American officer held prisoner in a mountaintop castle. C-

8:00 pm – LAURA (Fox, 1944): Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, & Clifton Webb. A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he’s been investigating. A+

9:45 pm – WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS (20th C. Fox, 1950): Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney. Andrews is a cop whose anger management issues prevent him from being effective. C

11:30 pm – THE IRON CURTAIN (Fox, 1948): Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney. A saga based on the true story of Igor Gouzenko, a Soviet spy who, along with his wife, attempts to defect to the West with top-secret papers. A

2:00 am – HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON (G.G.P. Pictures, 1969): Stephen Forsyth, Dagmar Lassander. A bridal designer kills brides-to-be to unlock a repressed childhood trauma that makes him murder. C+

3:45 am – THE TERROR (AIP, 1963): Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson. Roger Corman directed this tale of a lost soldier who discovers a mysterious beauty in a half-deserted castle. D+

5:45 am – THE SILVER CHALICE (WB, 1954): Paul Newman, Virginia Mayo. Newman is a silversmith who made the chalice for The Last Supper. The sets are so cheap that we can notice that the walls supposedly made of stone look as if made from cardboard. D-

April 20

8:00 am – BARABBAS (Columbia, 1961): Anthony Quinn, Silvana Magnano. The story of the criminal released by Pilate and who is haunted by the specter of the prophet for the rest of his life. D+

10:30 am – THE BIG FISHERMAN (Buena Vista, 1959): Howard Keel, Susan Kohner. A three-hour epic based on the life of St. Peter. B-

1:30 pm – KING OF KINGS (MGM, 1961): Jeffrey Hunter, Robert Ryan, Hurd Hatfield, & Rip Torn. Nicholas Ray directed this re-telling of the life of Christ with emphasis on the politics of the day. A-  

4:30 pm – THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (UA, 1965): Max Von Sydow, Charlton Heston. Von Sydow is Jesus and Heston plays John the Baptist in this all-star epic about the life of Christ. B

8:00 pm – EASTER PARADE (MGM, 1950): Judy Garand, Fred Astaire, & Ann Miller. Irving Berlin wrote the music about a dancer rising to fame with a new partner, but who can’t forget his ex-partner. A

10:00 pm – ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (MGM, 1950): Betty Hutton, Howard Keel. Hutton dazzles in this musical take on sharpshooter Annie Oakley. A-

12:00 am – SPIONE (Ufa, 1928): Rudolf Klien-Rogge, Gerda Maurus. A criminal mastermind learns of a romance between a Russian lady in his employ and a dashing agent from the government’s secret service. A

2:00 am – LOLA MONTEZ (Gamma Films, 1955): Martine Carol, Peter Ustinov. Max Orphuls directed this story of a notorious beauty reduced to living in a circus, and spends her time thinking back on her past loves. A-

4:00 am – THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (RKO, 1942): Joseph Cotten, Tim Holt, & Dolores Costello. A spoiled heir to a dying fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved. A+

April 21

6:00 am – DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE (AIP, 1965): Vincent Price, Frankie Avalon. Dr. Goldfoot tries to grab the fortunes of the world’s wealthiest men through an army of beautiful woman robots. C

7:30 am – SKI PARTY (AIP, 1965): Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman. Two college students go to a ski lodge in drag in order to meet women. Lesley gore and James Brown play themselves. C

9:15 am – BEACH PARTY (AIP, 1963): Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, & Robert Cummings. Anthropologist Cummings studies the dating habits of teenagers at a nearby beach. C

11:00 am – MUSCLE BEACH PARTY (AIP, 1964): Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, & Don Rickles. The beach gang resists the takeover of their beach by bodybuilders from a nearby gym. C

12:45 pm – BIKINI BEACH (AIP, 1964): Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, & Keenan Wynn. A millionaire (Wynn) tries to prove his pet chimp is as smart as the local teens. C

2:30 pm – PAJAMA PARTY (AIP, 1964): Tommy Kirk, Annette Funicello. A Martian teenager sent to prepare an invasion falls in love with an Earth Girl. C-

4:00 pm – BEACH BLANKET BINGO (AIP, 1965): Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello. Frankie, Annette and the gang rescue a beautiful singer (Linda Evans) from Eric Von Zipper and the Rats.  C

6:00 pm – HOW TO STUFF A WILD BIKINI (AIP, 1965): Annette Funicello, Dwayne Hickman. A sailor stationed in Tahiti hires a witch doctor to keep an eye on his girlfriend. C

8:00 pm – THE BIG TRAIL (Fox, 1930): John Wayne, Marguerite Churchill. Wayne leads a wagon train westward, through hostile country and natural wonders. B+

10:30 pm – SEA SPOILERS (Universal, 1936): John Wayne, Nan Grey. When a Coast Guard commander visits his actress girlfriend’s yacht he finds the owner dead and his girlfriend missing. C

12:00 am – HAUNTED GOLD (WB, 1932): John Wayne, Sheila Terry. A cowboy and his girl fight bandits and a ghost over an abandoned mine. C+

1:15 am – SOMEWHERE IN SONORA (WB, 1933): John Wayne, Henry B. Walthall. A young cowhand is roped into the criminal life when he’s falsely accused of a crime. D+

2:30 am – BABY FACE (WB, 1933): Barbara Stanwyck, Theresa Harris. In this, the most notorious of the Pre-Code films, a beautiful schemer sleeps her way to the top of a banking empire. A+

5:30 am – THE TELEGRAPH TRAIL (WB, 1933): John Wayne, Frank McHugh. An Army scout volunteers to string telegraph wire through hostile Indian Territory. C

April 22

7:00 am – THE LIFE OF JIMMY DOLAN (WB, 1933): Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Loretta Young. A boxer accused of murder finds refuge in a children’s home. Remade as They Made Me a CriminalC+

8:30 am – RIDE HIM, COWBOY (WB, 1932): John Wayne, Ruth Hall. A cowboy tames a horse accused of killing a man, then goes out to find the real culprit. D

9:45 am – THE BIG STAMPEDE (WB, 1932): John Wayne, Noah Beery. A new sheriff faces the gang that killed his predecessor. C

11:00 am – THE MAN FROM MONTEREY (WB, 1933): John Wayne, Ruth Hall. A U.S. Cavalry Officer protects settlers in California. C-

12:15 pm – THE SAGEBRUSH TRAIL (Monogram, 1933): John Wayne, Nancy Shubert. A man wrongfully imprisoned for murder escapes to find the real killer. C+

1:30 pm – RANDY RIDES ALONE (Monogram, 1934): John Wayne, George “Gabby” Hayes. A cowboy finds the culprits behind saloon slayings. It’s worth watching just for the title alone. C

2:45 pm – THE STAR PACKER (Monogram, 1934): John Wayne, George Hayes. A. U.S. Marshal must bring a mysterious criminal to justice. C

3:45 pm – THE LAWLESS FRONTIER (Monogram, 1935): John Wayne, Sheila Terry. Twp gunman team up to go after a Mexican bandit who done them both wrong. D+

5:00 pm – ALLEGHENY UPRISING (RKO, 1939): John Wayne, Claire Trevor. It’s settlers versus corrupt British officials in Colonial America. C

6:30 pm – 1939: HOLLYWOOD’S GREATEST YEAR (Turner, 2009): A documentary about the great movies released by Hollywood in 1939. A+

8:00 pm – STAGECOACH (UA, 1939): Thomas Mitchell, Claire Trevor. John Ford’s great Western with a breakout performance by John Wayne as The Ringo Kid. A

10:00 pm – THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (Paramount, 1962): James Stewart, Lee Marvin, & John Wayne. John Ford’s Western about the real story behind Senator Stewart’s heroism. A+

12:15 am – FORT APACHE (RKO, 1948): Henry Fonda, John Wayne. Fonda is an arrogant cavalry officer who alienates his troops and almost causes their annihilation in a showdown with Cochise. A-

2:30 am – THE SEARCHERS (WB, 1956): John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, & Vera Miles. An Indian-hating Civil War veteran tracks down the tribe that slaughtered his family and kidnapped his niece. A+

4:45 am – THE LONG VOYAGE HOME (U.A., 1940): Thomas Mitchell, John Wayne. John Ford directed this tale of a merchant ship’s crew surviving the loneliness of the sea and the coming of war. A

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