October 8–October 14


STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (October 12, 11:30 am): This is one of Alfred Hitchcock's best films and that is saying a lot. Robert Walker as the crazed Bruno Anthony is hypnotically amazing. His character wants his father dead and believes he's struck a quid pro quo deal with tennis player Guy Haines (Farley Granger). Walker and Granger were solid actors, but Hitch brought out the best in them. Also, the plot of this film is unique and interesting. The two are strangers who meet on a train, talk about solving their problems, namely Walker's father and Haines' wife. Walker suggests they kill the other's problem and no one will be the wiser as they don't know each other. Haines thinks Walker is kidding until the latter kills the former's wife and wants Haines to kill Walker's father. The tension and drama are top-shelf.

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (October 14, 12:00 am): My recommendation of this 1971 dystopian film comes with a caveat – only watch it once. The film is absolutely brilliant, but it's also incredibly disturbing and violent. I was blown away the first time I saw it years ago. I've had several other opportunities to watch it and simply can't make it through the first 20 minutes. It's on Netflix so I can watch it anytime I want, but again, I can't get through it. However, if you've never seen it before, watch it. It's horrifying in parts, but the story is told so well and the acting is superb. Alex (Malcolm McDowell) is the leader of the Droogs, a gang of thugs who get high on drug-laced milk and then terrorize London with "a little of the old ultraviolence," They brutally beat up, rape and/or kill arbitrary people for kicks (pun intended). The scenes are graphic, but some include a bit of entertainment. You'll never hear the song "Singin' in the Rain" the same way again. Alex is caught by the authorities and agrees to go through a process to remove his violent behavior by being repeatedly exposed to graphically violent scenes. He's then sent out into the world without the ability to defend himself, and payback is a bitch. Director Stanley Kubrick points the finger at people and government for society's violence and its failings. It's very well done, but be warned again, it's deeply disturbing. 


THE GENERAL (October 9, 6:00 am): Buster Keaton’s at his absolute height in this tale of a Confederate engineer whose train, “The General,” is stolen by Yankee spies. He must get it back, which leads to a riotous chase through the Southern countryside. There’s another reason he must get it back - his girl, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is aboard that train. She believes Johnnie (Buster) to be a coward because he’s not fighting in the war, but the authorities turned him down, believing he’ll serve the war effort better as an engineer. He grabs “The Texas” and begins chasing his beloved train. Filled with sight gags aplenty, the film never lets up for a minute. It’s a “must see” for those who haven’t yet seen it, and a “must see again” for those who have. A classic no matter how one cuts it.

X THE UNKNOWN (October 10, 11:45 am): Hammer made some really good science fiction movies in the 50s and 60s. This one moves from an absurd premise – intelligent mud from deep in the earth is looking for energy to feed on and sucks us completely in with an intelligent script from Jimmy Sangster, intelligent acting from star Dean Jagger and (especially) Leo McKern, and decent, considering the budget, special effects. It’s the first of the “blob” movies. Watch for Anthony Newley and Ian McNaughton as a pair of comic relief soldiers that later fall victim to the blob. McNaughton went to on produce Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

WE DISAGREE ON ... ADAM’S RIB (October 11, 6:00 pm)

ED: B. Of all the films Tracy and Hepburn collaborated on, this is one of the better efforts, a cheeky romp written especially for them by the husband and wife team of Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin. Add the smooth direction of George Cukor and some wonderful performances by the supporting cast, and this case of married lawyers battling in the courtroom and later at home becomes a harmless and enjoyable way to spend around two hours. In any film dealing with the battle of the sexes one must tread carefully to keep the comedy fresh and funny, which is why Cukor was the perfect choice to direct. He knows when to proceed and when to take the reins in. Tracy is magnificent as Adam Bonner, who sees wife Amanda as perverting the course of justice by using this case as a forum for women's rights instead of a cut-and-dried case of attempted murder. It would be easy to cross the mine and present Adam simply as a misogynist or a curmudgeonly traditionalist. The genius of Gordon and Kanin was instead to portray Adam as a lawyer who refused to see the case beyond what it essentially was: a case against vigilantism and no more. As mentioned earlier, a wonderful supporting cast helps the film, with David Wayne, Tom Ewell, Jean Hagen, and especially Judy Holliday (her performance here led to her being signed to play Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday, which won her the Oscar), providing performances that only caused the leads, in particular Hepburn, who needs someone strong to play off, to up the volume, as it were, instead of simply coasting. It also provides Tracy with one of the best lines in the history of cinema: “Licorice, mmmm. If there's anything I'm a sucker for, it's licorice." Is it a great film? Not really. But is it an enjoyable one? Yes.

DAVID: C-. Despite some amusing moments and a strong performance by Judy Holliday as the ditsy wife who is the defendant in the criminal case at the center of this film, there isn't a lot to enjoy. As I've written numerous times, Katharine Hepburn is cinema's most overrated actress. While Spencer Tracy was an extremely talented actor, he was often dragged down to his former lover's level in the films they did together. This is no exception. In this "battle of the sexes" comedy, Adam Bonner (Tracy) is a prosecuting attorney and his wife, Amanda (Hepburn), is a defense attorney. She is outraged that a woman (Holliday) was charged with attempting to murder her two-timing husband, who she shoots but doesn't kill. Amanda believes that if the roles were reversed a man would not face a similar charge. She maneuvers to defend the woman pro bono while Adam prosecutes the case. As Bosley Crowther, in a largely positive review of the film in late 1949 for The New York Times, wrote: "To be sure, the plot is a frail one and the argument is not profound. As a matter of fact, it gets quite fuzzy and vagrant as the picture goes along. And that is the one plain weakness of the whole thing: it is but a spoof, and the authors are forced to wild devices and shallow nonsense to wind it up." Crowther is too polite. I realize it's supposed to be a comedy, but Hepburn's acting goes even more over-the-top than usual. That makes for a rather implausible story and, quite frankly, a film very difficult to enjoy. The antics Amanda pulls in the courtroom makes a mockery of feminism. To call it a timeless classic – and while Ed doesn't call it one, other critics do – is ridiculous as its humor doesn't hold up well today. I wasn't around in 1949, but I'm sure I wouldn't have found it funny then either.

Schedule Subject to Change (All Times Eastern)

October 8

7:15 am – STREET GIRL (RKO, 1929): Betty Compson, John Harron. A girl from the wrong side of the tracks finds a new life managing a jazz band. C

9:00 am – COLLEEN (WB, 1936): Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, & Hugh Herbert. Nephew Powell must save his Uncle Herbert from gold digger Blondell in this light musical. C

12:15 pm – THE TOAST OF NEW YORK (RKO, 1937): Edward Arnold, Cary Grant, & Frances Farmer. Arnold shines in the story of Jim Fisk from his days as a small-time con man to becoming a post-Civil War millionaire. B

2:15 pm – ANNABEL TAKES A TOUR (RKO, 1938): Lucille Ball, Jack Oakie. More crazy antics of movie star Annabel, this time while on tour. C-

3:30 pm – FIGHT FOR YOUR LADY (RKO, 1937): John Boles, Jack Oakie, & Ida Lupino. A wrestling trainer puts himself in charge of a singer’s love life after his girl jilts him. B-

4:45 pm – RADIO CITY REVELS (RKO, 1938): Bob Burns, Jack Oakie. Burned-out songwriters find a man who composes in his sleep. C-

6:30 pm – SOMETHING TO SHOUT ABOUT (Columbia, 1943): Don Ameche, Janet Blair. A producer on a losing streak accepts backing from a would-be star with no talent. C

8:00 pm – WANDA (Bardene Int’l, 1970): Michael Higgins, Barbara Loden. Loden wrote, directed, and stars in this tale of a rootless working woman who takes up with an abusive criminal. A

10:00 pm – GIRLFRIENDS (WB, 1978): Jane Anderson, Bob Balaban. A young photographer fights to build her career while coping with her best friend's marriage. C+

11:45 pm – VALLEY GIRL (Atlantic Rel. corp., 1983): Nicholas Cage, Deborah Foreman. A girl from the valley falls in love with a boy from the city, despite the fact that they have nothing in common. C+

1:30 am TRUE LOVE (UA, 1989): Annabella Sciorra, Ron Eldard. Bride and groom plan their weddings on their own while grappling with cold feet. C-

3:15 am – BORDER RADIO (International Film Marketing, 1987): Chris Shearer, Dave Alvin. Cult film about three musicians who take the money owed them from a gig and flee to Mexico. D+

October 9

6:00 am – THE GENERAL (UA, Keaton Productions, 1926): Buster Keaton, Marion Mack. A Confederate engineer fights to save his train, The General, and his girlfriend from the Yankees. Silent. A++

7:45 am – THE SILK EXPRESS (WB, 1933): Neil Hamilton, Sheila Terry. A young silk importer fights off threats to his cargo during a perilous train ride. C

10:45 am – MURDER IN THE PRIVATE CAR (MGM, 1934): Charlie Ruggles, Mary Carlisle. A rather convoluted plot about a murder plot against an heiress to a railroad fortune, but the action is well worth it. B

12:00 pm – BERLIN EXPRESS (RKO, 1948): Paul Lukas, Merle Oberon, & Robert Ryan. Allied agents team up to rescue a kidnapped pacifist from Nazi diehards. A

1:30 pm – TERROR ON A TRAIN (MGM, 1953): Glenn Ford, Maurice Denham. Bomb expert Ford has little time to defuse a bomb on a train loaded with explosives. C+

2:45 pm – THE TALL TARGET (MGM, 1951): Dick Powell, Paula Raymond, & Adolphe Menjou. A detective tries to prevent the assassination of President Lincoln during a train ride. A

4:15 pm – DARK OF THE SUN (MGM, 1968): Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux. A mercenary band fights to get refugees and a fortune in diamonds out of the Congo. B

6:15 pm – THE TRAIN ROBBERS (WB, 1974): John Wayne, Ann-Margaret. A bandit's widow enlists a famed gunman to return the gold her husband had stolen. C

8:00 pm – MAD LOVE (MGM, 1935): Peter Lorre, Colin Clive. A mad doctor grafts the hands of a murderer on to a concert pianist's wrists. A

9:30 pm – THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS (WB, 1946): Peter Lorre, Robert Alda. After a famous pianist is murdered, his severed hand comes back to wreak revenge. A

11:15 pm – HANDS OF A STRANGER (Allied Artists, 1962): Paul Lukather, Joan Harvey. This take on Hands of Orlac suffers from incredibly uneven acting and horrible dialogue. F

1:00 am – THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE (AIP, 1962): Jason Evers, Virginia Leith. A scientist keeps the severed head of his fiancée alive while he tries to find another body for her. D+

2:30 am – CORRUPTION (Columbia, 1968): Peter Cushing, Sue Lloyd.  A surgeon’s fiancée is disfigured at a party when a floodlight topples. He kills prostitutes for their skin to repair the damage. C-

4:15 am – EYES WITHOUT A FACE (Lopert, 1959): Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli. A Paris surgeon tries to fix his daughter’s face with skin from kidnapped women. A

October 10

6:00 am – THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS (WB, 1943): All-Star revue highlighted by Bette Davis singing, “They’re Either Too Young or Too Old.” Bogie is his tough self and is totally pushed around by S.Z. Sakall. C

8:30 am – HORSE FEATHERS (Paramount, 1932): Marx Bros., Thelma Todd. Groucho is president of Huxley College, Zeppo is his son, and Chico and Harpo are student/athletes. A+

10:00 am – BATMAN AND ROBIN, Ch. 10 - Batman’s Last Chance (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 IN AFRICA (Paramount, 1938): John Howard, Heather Angel. Drummond, his girlfriend and his butler try to free Inspector Nielson, who has been kidnapped. C+

11:45 am – X THE UNKNOWN (Hammer, 1956): Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman, & Leo McKern. Sci-fi is at its best in this tale of radioactive mud that seeps to the surface in Scotland looking for radioactive energy. A+

1:15 pm – UNDER CAPRICORN (WB, 1949): Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotton. Newly arrived in Australia, a man discovers his childhood love is now an alcoholic. Directed by Hitchcock. C

3:30 pm – MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (20th Century Fox, 1946): Henry Fonda, Victor Mature. Fonda is Wyatt Earp and Mature is Doc Holliday in John Ford’s take on the gunfight at O.K. Corral. A+

5:30 pm – SUNRISE AT CAMPOBELLO (WB, 1960): Ralph Bellamy, Greer Garson. After a bout with polio FDR must rest and contemplate his political future. A

8:00 pm – 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+

10:00 pm – THE LAVENDER HILL MOB (Ealing, 1951): Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway. Charles Crichton directed this comic masterpiece about two clerks that mastermind the theft of a million pounds of gold bullion. A+

11:30 pm – ZAZIE DANS LE METRO (Nouvelles Editions de Films, 1960): Catherine Demongeot, Philippe Noiret. An 11-year old girl takes her uncle on a wild ride on the Paris Metro. C+

2:15 am – STREETFIGHTER (Columbia, 1975): Charles Bronson, James Coburn. A Depression-era boxer tries to succeed despite his gambling-addicted manager. C+

4:00 am – ENTER THE DRAGON (WB, 1973): Bruce Lee, John Saxon. A U.S. agent enters a martial arts tournament to spy on an international super-villain. C+

October 11

6:00 am – MR. LUCKY (RKO, 1943): Cary Grant, Laraine Day. A gambling ship owner tries to fleece a beautiful society woman, but ends up falling in love. Featured in Band of BrothersA-

10:00 am – MOGULS & MOVIE STARS, A HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD: THE DREAM MERCHANTS (TCM, 2010): The years 1920 to 1928. A+

11:00 am – MOGULS & MOVIE STARS, A HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD: BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME? (TCM, 2010): The years 1929 to 1941. A+

12:00 pm – THE BLUE GARDENIA (WB, 1953): Anne Baxter, Raymond Burr. Telephone operator Baxter kills photographer-on-the-make Burr. Or did she? Directed by Fritz Lang. B+

6:00 pm – ADAM’S RIB (MGM, 1949): Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, David Wayne, & Judy Holliday. Tracy and Hepburn are husband and wife lawyers on opposite sides in a murder case. Ratings: See above.

8:00 pm – A STAR IS BORN (WB, 1954): Judy Garland, James Mason. George Cukor directs this lavish musical remake of the 1937 original drama. B+

11:00 pm – IT SHOULD HAPPEN TO YOU (Columbia 1954): Judy Holliday, Peter Lawford. A model who comes to New York to become a star plasters her moniker across a Columbus circle billboard. B

12:30 pm – DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (Paramount, 1920): John Barrymore, Charles Lane. Barrymore is great in this silent version of the Robert L. Stevenson classic. A-

2:00 am – THE GRIM REAPER (Cineriz, 1962): Francesco Fulu, Giancarlo Derosa. Police search for a prostitute's murderer. B+

3:45 am – MAMMA ROMA (Cineriz, 1962): Anna Magnani, Ettore Garofalo. Magnani is a streetwalker who tries to steer teenage son Garofalo away from a life of crime. A

October 12

6:00 am – CAST A DARK SHADOW (Eros Int’l: 1955): Dirk Bogarde, Margaret Lockwood. Bogarde is a psychopath who marries rich, older women for their money and later murders them. A-

7:30 am – EXPERIMENT PERILOUS (RKO, 1944): Hedy Lamarr, George Brent & Paul Lukas. Small town doctor Brent tries to help a woman (Lamarr) with a deranged husband (Lukas). C

9:30 am – SUSPICION (RKO, 1942): Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine. Hitchcock’s classic about a young innocent who marries a con artist and later suspects that he will murder her. A+

11:30 am – STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (WB, 1951): Robert Walker, Farley Granger. Hitchcock’s classic about a psycho socialite determined to drag a pro tennis player into his web of murder. A+

1:30 pm – DIAL M FOR MURDER (WB, 1954): Ray Milland, Grace Kelly. Hitchcock classic about a cheating husband attempting to frame his wife for the murder of the man he hired to kill her. A

3:30 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+

5:30 pm ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS (NEF, 1958): Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet. Louis Malle directed this tale of a man who murders his boss, which provokes an unintentional and ill-fated chain of events. A+

8:00 pm – A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (The Archers, 1946): David Niven, Kim Hunter. An injured pilot must argue for a chance to keep on living in celestial court. Also known as Stairway to Heaven. A++

10:00 pm – THE BISHOP’S WIFE (RKO, 1947): Cary Grant, David Niven, & Loretta Young. A charming angel arrives on earth to help a young Episcopal bishop and his wife build a new church. A+

12:00 am – FIRST OF THE FEW (G.F.D., 1942): Leslie Howard, David Niven. Howard stars and directs this film about the fighter plane that turned the tide against the Germans in the Battle of Britain. A

2:15 am – THE WAY AHEAD (Two Cities, 1944): David Niven, Stanley Holloway. A group of conscripts is slowly molded into combat shape. C+

October 13

8:45 am – THE NAKED KISS (Allied Artists, 1964): Constance Towers, Anthony Eisley. After killing her pimp, a prostitute flees to a small town in a futile search for normalcy. A-

10:30 am – STRANGERS MAY KISS (MGM, 1931): Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery. A sophisticated woman risks her marriage for love of a ruthless schemer. C

12:00 pm – THAT MIDNIGHT KISS (MGM, 1949): Kathryn Grayson, Mario Lanza, & Jose Iturbi. A singing truck driver battles snobbery to become a star. C+

2:00 pm – KISS ME KATE (MGM, 1953): Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel. Feuding co-stars reunite for a musical version of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." A-

4:00 pm – KISSIN’ COUSINS (MGM, 1964): Elvis Presley, Arthur O’Connell, & Glenda Farrell. Singing Air Force officer Elvis gets mixed-up with his twin cousin. C

6:00 pm – THE KISSING BANDIT (MGM, 1947): Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson. A timid young man is forced to follow in his father’s footsteps as a notorious masked bandit. C

8:00 pm – CROSSING DELANCEY (WB, 1988): Amy Irving, Peter Rieger. A Manhattan single meets a man through her Jewish grandmother's matchmaker. A

10:00 pm – LOOK WHO’S TALKING (Tristar, 1989): Kirstie Alley, John Travolta. A fatherless baby tries to influence his mother's love life. D

11:45 pm – A DRY WHITE SEASON (MGM, 1989): Donald Sutherland, Janet Suzman. In South Africa, a white teacher's life and values are threatened when he asks about a black boy who died in police custody. B+

1:30 am – MRS. SOFFEL (MGM, 1984): Diane Keaton, Mel Gibson, & Matthew Modine. In turn-of-the-century Pennsylvania, prison warden’s wife Keaton falls for convicted murderer Gibson. C+

3:30 am – COOKIE (Loirimar/WB, 1989): Peter Falk, Emily Lloyd. A paroled mobster hires his illegitimate daughter to work as his chauffeur. C-

October 14

6:00 am – INTOLERANCE (Triangle Film, 1916): Mae Marsh, A.A. Turner. A poor woman is separated by prejudice from her husband and baby in a tale interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history. Silent. B

9:30 am – LA BOHEME (MGM, 1926): Lillian Gish, John Gilbert. A group of starving artists tries to survive in 1830’s Paris, including a seamstress and her would-be playwright lover. Silent. A-

11:15 am – BROKEN BLOSSOMS (U.A., 1919): Lillian Gish, Donald Crisp, & Richard Barthelmess. Story set in London of a protective Chinese man and an abused girl. Silent. A-

1:00 pm – THE SCARLET LETTER (MGM, 1926): Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson. It’s the first big screen adaptation of the classic Hawthorne novel about adultery and guilt. Silent. A

3:00 pm – WAY DOWN EAST (UA, 1920): Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess. A country girl tries to return home after being abandoned by her wealthy seducer. A

5:30 pm – THE WHITE SISTER (Metro, 1923): Lillian Gish, Ronald Colman. Thinking her lover was killed in the war, as young woman becomes a nun. Silent. A-

8:00 pm – LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (Fox, 1945): Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde. A beautiful neurotic will stop at nothing to hold on to her love. A

10:00 pm THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (Fox, 1947): Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison. A spirited widow rents a haunted cottage and develops a friendship with its resident ghost. B+

12:00 am – A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (WB, 1971): Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee. In future Britain, a jailed teenage gangster volunteers for experimental aversion therapy, but t doesn’t go as planned. A

2:30 am – TIME AFTER TIME (Orion, 1979): Malcolm McDowell, David Warner. When Jack the Ripper steals his time machine, author H.G. Wells travels to modern-day San Francisco to track him down. A

4:30 am – HANDS OF THE RIPPER (Hammer/Rank, 1971): Eric Porter, Angharad Rees. The daughter of Jack the Ripper is possessed by her late father’s spirit. C+

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