TCM TiVo ALERT



TCM TiVo ALERT
For
April 15–April 22
   
DAVID’S BEST BETS:

EXECUTIVE SUITE (April 17, 1:15 pm): A fascinating look inside the cutthroat world of the business boardroom as allegiances are formed through a variety of ways, including blackmail and seduction, as top executives at a major furniture company fight it out to see who will run the company after the president drops dead on the sidewalk. The dialogue is riveting and the storyline is compelling. A large part of the film takes place inside an office, particularly the boardroom, which normally detracts from a film. But this is quite the engaging movie. The film's strength is its all-star cast – William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, Frederic March and Walter Pidgeon are at the top of the bill.

KNIFE IN THE WATER (April 20, 1:45 am): Roman Polanski's directorial debut from 1962 is filled with suspense and drama and remains one of his finest films. It's a psychological thriller about an arrogant rich man and his bored wife who invite a young hitchhiker for a ride on their boat. The wealthy husband's primary goals on the trip are to show off all his possessions, including his younger trophy wife, and brag of his accomplishments. The man and the hitchhiker get into a heated argument, after much tension, with the man knocking the other off the boat, and fearing his committed murder. That's not the case, and what ensues shows that even on his first film, Polanski had an incredible talent to tell a compelling story. The Polish government quickly banned the film and Polanski left for Paris. 

ED’S BEST BETS:

RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS (April 15, 6:30 am): A wonderful film from MGM about the court of Nicholas II of Russia and the evil monk Rasputin, who came to have such a influence. As Leonard Maltin notes, a good film that should have been great, an opinion with which I concur. The production was troubled, the script by Charles MacArthur was never really on point, and the direction by Charles Brabin and his successor, Richard Boleslavsky was weak. What the set needed was a driving director, not two who couldn’t establish their authority. But this was the first – and only – time all three Barrymores – Lionel, John, and Ethel – acted together in a picture, and that makes it worth catching. Lionel, by the way, has the meatiest role as Rasputin, and he makes the most of it. It’s also the film debut of Diana Wynyard.

KISS ME DEADLY (April 20, 8:00 pm): This is one of director Robert Aldrich’s best films, a moody and violent film that seemingly moves at the speed of sound. Ralph Meeker makes for a fine Mike Hammer in the lead, playing what my just be the most unsympathetic and violent private eye in the history of film. From the time Hammer pulls over to pick up distraught hitchhiker (Cloris Leachman) who has just escaped from a mental institution, the film never lets up for one minute as Meeker growls, punches, and kicks his way from one encounter to the next, using the same nefarious tactics as his criminal foes and serving as an unwitting accomplice in the search for the mysterious box that contains “the great whatzit.” This is a film truly ahead of its time and was a huge influence on the French New Wave, who even went ga-ga over the way the opening credits come up on the windshield of Hammer’s sports car. Its influence can also be seen in such later American films as Repo Man and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I would list Kiss Me Deadly as one of my Essentials.

WE DISAGREE ON ... INTOLERANCE (April 19, 12:00 am)

ED: A. When we sit down and think about it, Intolerance is one of the wildest films ever made. This is director D.W. Griffith’s follow up to The Birth of a Nation, one of the most intolerant films ever made. And the critics called him on it. So what does D.W. do? He makes Intolerance, in which he castigates his critics for their intolerance of his racist views by showing intolerance through four distinct ages: ancient Babylon, Calvary, 16th century France, and modern-day America, with each story depicting a disaster resulting from with a government edict or a puritanical group that imposes their mistaken beliefs upon others. He’ll show us. Just for the sheer chutzpah alone, this film gets an “A.” D.W. is obviously the type of guy who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan. So, taken from this point alone, Intolerance is worth the time. But there’s more to it other than the overly melodramatic story. This is what critics mean when they use the word “epic.” Just take a look at the sets for the Babylonian sequence. They positively towered over the streets of Hollywood, looking as if an ancient city had suddenly sprouted up right in the midst of Los Angeles. The credit – or blame – for this magnificent piece of true Americana slob art goes to Frank “Huck” Wortman, who served as Griffith’s chief set builder, carpenter, and all-around “go to” guy. He saved Griffith money by taking thin wood and covering it over with plaster to make it look imposing. And it worked - the sets are stupendous. The real value of the film lies in its interest to students of film history, and that is why I give it the grade I do.

DAVID: C-. The sheer arrogance and self-importance of D.W. Griffith is on full display in this 1916 film that drags on for almost 3 1/2 hours. Ed is dead-on when he wrote Griffith made Intolerance as a response to critical outrage over his intolerant and offensive The Birth of a Nation a year prior. In Birth, which is about 10 minutes shorter in length than Intolerance, Griffith makes heroes out of the Ku Klux Klan. Offended that people were angry about his racist epic, Griffith made Intolerance a year later to show his critics that they were wrong about him. He goes so over the top that Intolerance is one of those films you have to force yourself to finish, usually not in a single sitting, just to say you've seen it. It's incredibly long, boring and often confusing. I don't doubt that Griffith purposely did that as rather than using a gentle touch, he preferred to smash the audience in the face with a metal shovel to prove what he "genius" he believed himself to be. The film started as the current-day American love story and grew and grew and grew. None of the four stories are compelling and all are extraordinary heavy handed. For a silent film, there is way too much "dialogue" in the form of title cards. However, what saves this from the trash heap is some of the sets – particularly in the Babylon story – are visually impressive, and Griffith uses some innovative, though often frantic, camera angles. If you are a cinephile and haven't seen this, watch it just to check it off your list. If you're a casual film fan or someone who watches movies to be entertained, stay far away from Intolerance. I saw it once and never plan to view it again. I'm not a bad person and don't deserve to be punished.

Schedule Subject to Change (All Times Eastern)

April 15

6:30 am – RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS (MGM, 1932): John, Ethel, and Lionel Barrymore. All three Barrymores shine in this story of the mad monk who plotted to rule Russia. A-

8:45 am – MEN MUST FIGHT (MGM, 1933): Lewis Stone, Diana Wynyard. Wynyard is excellent in this top-notch drama and a prophetic tale of a mother in 1940 trying to keep her son out of war. A-

10:00 am – LET’S TRY AGAIN (RKO, 1934): Diana Wynyard, Clive Brook. A doctor and his wife almost succumb to the lure of outside relationships. C

11:15 pm – GASLIGHT (Anglo-American, 1940): Anton Walbrook, Diana Wynyard. An insane criminal drives his wife crazy in order to discover hidden jewels. Remade by MGM in 1944. A

12:45 pm – THE PRIME MINISTER (WB, 1941): John Gielgud, Diana Wynyard. Gielgud makes one of his rare American film appearances as Prime Minister Disraeli. A

2:30 pm – AN IDEAL HUSBAND (London Films, 1947): Paulette Goddard, Michael Wilding. Oscar Wilde’s comedy about a politician haunted by his past when a blackmailer threatens to reveal a youthful indiscretion. B+

6:15 pm – I COULD GO ON SINGING (U.A., 1963): Judy Garland, Dirk Bogarde. Garland’s final film finds her as an American singing star in London trying to reclaim the son she gave up for adoption. C+

8:00 pm – 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. C-

10:30 pm – THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN (MGM, 1968): Anthony Quinn, Laurence Olivier, & Oskar Werner. The election of the first Russian pope triggers international intrigue. C+

1:15 am – LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (Columbia, 1962): Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness & Anthony Quinn. O’Toole became a star as T.E. Lawrence in this epic about a flamboyant and controversial military figure. A+

5:15 am – THIEVES FALL OUT (WB, 1941): Eddie Albert, Joan Leslie & Jane Darwell. A young man tries to rescue his grandmother from kidnapers. C

April 16

6:30 am – BULLETS FOR O’HARA (WB, 1941): Anthony Quinn, Joan Perry. A gangster’s wife helps the FBI nail him. D+

8:30 am – I, VITTELLONI (Cite Films, 1953): Alberto Sordi, Franco Interlenghi. Federico Fellini directed this story of five friends struggling to escape the boredom of their provincial hometown in Italy. A+

10:30 am – THE SYSTEM (AIP, 1964): Oliver Reed, Jane Merrow. A group of young men on the lookout for one-night stands has a crisis when their leader falls in love with one of his conquests. AKA: The Girl GettersB+

12:00 pm – NIGHT TIDE (AIP, 1961): Dennis Hopper, Linda Lawson. Eerie fantasy about a sailor falling for a young girl who believes she's a mermaid. A           

1:30 pm – MOONFLEET (MGM, 1955): Stewart Granger, George Sanders, Joan Greenwood, & Viveca Lindfors. Fritz Lang directed this adventure of a pirate caught between three seductive women. B

3:00 pm – MIRANDA (Gainsborough, 1948): Glynis Johns, Googie Withers & Griffith Jones. A doctor on fishing holiday catches a mermaid by mistake. B-

6:00 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. A

8:00 pm – HOLIDAY (Columbia, 1938): Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Doris Nolan, & Lew Ayers. An unhappy heiress (Hepburn) falls in love with her stodgy sister’s freethinking fiancé (Grant). C+

9:45 pm – HAPPINESS AHEAD (WB, 1934): Dick Powell, Josephine Hutchinson. An heiress falls for a singing window washer. C+

11:30 pm – THE BRIDE CAME C.O.D. (WB, 1941): James Cagney, Bette Davis. A pilot is stranded in the desert with a temperamental heiress. C

1:15 am – HARD TO GET (WB, 1938): Dick Powell, Olivia de Havilland. Unemployed architect Powell falls for heiress Olivia. A

2:45 am – BREAKFAST FOR TWO (RKO, 1937): Barbara Stanwyck, Herbert Marshall, & Glenda Farrell. A Texas heiress competes with a gold digger for the love of a playboy in this screwball comedy. B-

4:45 am – B.F.’S DAUGHTER (MGM, 1948): Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, & Charles Coburn. A professor doesn't know his wife is an heiress. C

April 17

6:45 am – INVISIBLE STRIPES (WB, 1939): George Raft, Humphrey Bogart & William Holden. Raft is a recently paroled convict trying to keep his younger brother from joining with his ex-cellmate. C+

8:15 am – OUR TOWN (UA, 1940): Frank Craven, William Holden. Sam Wood directed this sensitive adaptation of Thornton Wilder's play about small New England town with human drama and conflict in every family. B-

10:00 am – RACHEL AND THE STRANGER (RKO, 1948): Loretta Young, William Holden. A mail-order bride is strongly attracted to a handsome drifter. B+

1:15 pm – EXECUTIVE SUITE (MGM, 1954): William Holden, June Allyson & Barbara Stanwyck. Robert Wise directed this slick, well-done story of intrigue in a board of directors when a business magnate dies. A-

3:15 pm – BORN YESTERDAY (Columbia, 1950): Judy Holliday, William Holden, & Broderick Crawford. A crooked tycoon hires a tutor to teach his girlfriend Holliday etiquette with unexpected results. A-

5:00 pm – THE MOON IS BLUE (U.A., 1953): William Holden, David Niven, & Maggie McNamara. Otto Preminger directed this film about two womanizers that fall for a woman determined to keep her virginity. C+

8:00 pm – GREEN DOLPHIN STREET (MGM, 1947): Lana Turner, Van Heflin & Donna Reed. Sprawling epic about two sisters pursuing the same man in 19th century New Zealand. C-

12:15 am – SCARAMOUCHE (MGM, 1952): Stewart Granger, Janet Leigh & Eleanor Parker. During the French Revolution, a young man (Granger) masquerades as an actor to avenge his friend’s murder. B-

2:30 am – THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE (MGM, 1959): Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston. The skipper of a sunken ship stands trial for negligence. C+

4:30 am – CHINA SEAS (MGM, 1935): Clark Gable, Wallace Beery, Rosalind Russell, & Jean Harlow. A sea captain (Gable) is caught in a romantic triangle and also has to fight off Malaysian pirates. B-

April 18

6:00 am – STAGE FRIGHT (WB, 1950): Jane Wyman, Richard Todd & Marlene Dietrich. Hitchcock directed this story of an actress who tries to prove the innocence of a man accused of murder. B

8:00 am – AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (Fox, 1945): Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston. Guests at a remote island mansion realize a crazed killer is stalking them. A+

10:00 am – BATMAN: THE PHONEY DOCTOR (Columbia, 1943): Lewis Wilson, Douglas Croft. Batman takes on Japanese saboteurs in this 15-chapter serial. C+

10:30 am – WALTZ OF THE TOREADORS (Cont. Dist., 1962): Peter Sellers, Dany Robin. A retiring Lothario finds himself in a jam when his mistress returns with plans for marriage. C

12:15 pm – CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED (MGM, 1964): Ian Hendry, Alan Badel. Visitors from outer space impregnate six women with their super-powered offspring. C+

2:00 pm – ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT WOMAN (Allied Artists, 1958): Alison Hayes, William Hudson. A woman abducted by an alien later grows to outsized proportions and looks for her cheating hubby. D-

3:15 pm – AIRPORT (Universal, 1970): Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin. A mad bomber plots to blow up a jet on a snowy night. C+

8:00 pm – THE HUSTLER (Fox, 1961): Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason & Piper Laurie. A pool shark falls into the clutches of a crooked gambler. A+

10:30 pm – THE BRAVE BULLS (Columbia, 1951): Mel Ferrer, Miroslava & Anthony Quinn. A matador must recover his courage after being gored in the ring. A-

12:30 am – ALL THE KING’S MEN (Columbia, 1949): Broderick Crawford, Mercedes MacCambridge & John Ireland. Crawford stars in this adaptation of Warren ‘s classic novel about Huey Long. A+

2:30 am – CAT O’NINE TAILS (Nat’l General, 1971): Karl Malden, James Franciscus & Catherine Spaak. A blind man and a reporter investigate a break-in at a center for genetic research. B+

4:30 am – THE STRANGLER (Allied Artists, 19674): Victor Buono, David McLean. Buono’s a lab technician with low self-esteem (brought on by domineering Mommy) and who becomes a serial killer of female nurses. B

April 19

6:00 am – EASY TO WED (MGM, 1946): Van Johnson, Esther Williams, & Keenan Wynn. Editor Wynn hires Johnson to compromise the woman (Williams) suing his paper for libel in this remake of Libeled LadyB-

8:00 am – NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH (Renown Pictures/RKO, 1948): Linden Travers, Jack LaRue. An ultra-rich heiress falls in love with the leader of the gang that kidnapped her. B-

9:45 am – YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (Columbia, 1938): James Stewart, Jean Arthur. Capra’s adaptation of the Kaufman-Hart play about a man from a staid family engaged to a woman from an eccentric family. B+

1:30 pm – IN COLD BLOOD (Columbia, 1967): Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, & John Forsythe. Two vagrants commit a savage crime in this real-life shocker based on the best seller by Truman Capote. A+

4:00 pm – THE CHINA SYNDROME (MGM, 1979): Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon & Michael Douglas. A television newswoman stumbles onto deadly secrets at a nuclear power plant. A+

6:15 pm – THE THIRD MAN (London Film Productions, 1949): Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, & Valli. A man's investigation of a friend's death uncovers corruption in post-World War II Vienna. A++

8:00 pm – MY REPUTATION (WB, 1946): Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent. A widow generates small-town gossip when she falls in love too soon after her husband's death. A

10:00 pm – 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+

12:00 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. Ratings: See above.

3:30 am – THE MAKIOKA SISTERS (Toho, 1983): Keiko Kishi, Yoshiko Sakuma. Four sisters are the focus in this study of the decline of a formerly successful Osaka merchant family in prewar Japan. A+

April 20

6:00 am – THE NUN’S STORY (WB, 1959): Audrey Hepburn, Peter Finch. Director Fred Zinneman captures the struggle between faith and authority in the life of a nun. B

8:45 am – HAWAII (UA, 1966): Julie Andrews, Max Von Sydow. Missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands fight nature, disease and their own passions. B+

12:00 pm – THE SINGING NUN (MGM, 1966): Debbie Reynolds, Ricardo Montalban & Greer Garson. Reynolds headlines this fanciful biography of the Belgian nun who briefly made the hit parade. B-

1:45 pm – SEVEN WOMEN (MGM, 1966): Anne Bancroft, Margaret Leighton. The women staffing an isolated Chinese mission fight to survive a bandit attack. B

3:15 pm – THE CAT’S PAW (Fox, 1934): Harold Lloyd, Una Merkel. Naïve Lloyd is duped by corrupt politicians into running for mayor, but double crosses them and turns the tables. A-

5:00 pm – SHE DONE HIM WRONG (Paramount, 1933): Mae West, Cary Grant. A saloon singer fights off smugglers, and escaped con, and a Salvation Army officer out to reform her. A+

6:15 pm – THE BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN (Columbia, 1933): Barbara Stanwyck, Nils Asther. This weird love story directed by Frank Capra is about a Chinese General in love with a missionary. B

8:00 pm – KISS ME DEADLY (MGM, 1955): Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker & Paul Stewart. Mike Hammer tries to solve the murder of a hitchhiker with a connection to the Mob and a mysterious chest. A-

10:00 pm – THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (WB, 1940): George Raft, Ida Lupino & Humphrey Bogart. Psycho widow Lupino frames truck driver Raft for murder by in this superior remake of BordertownA-

11:45 am – THREE (UA, 1969): Charlotte Rampling, Sam Waterston. A pretty female hitchhiker creates tensions for two friends touring France. C

1:45 am – KNIFE IN THE WATER (Kanawha Films, 1963): Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka. A young businessman and a hitchhiker develop a fatal rivalry during a boating weekend in Roman Polanski’s first feature. A+

3:30 am – DETOUR (PRC, 1945): Tom Neal, Ann Savage. Edgar Ulmer’s cult classic about a hitchhiker who takes a dead man’s identity only to face blackmail by an unscrupulous woman. A+

4:45 am – THE HITCH HIKER (RKO, 1952): Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy. Ida Lupino directed this great noir about two men on their way to a vacation who pick up a killer. A-

April 21

6:00 am – VAGABOND LADY (MGM, 1935): Robert Young, Evelyn Venable & Reginald Denny. A department store owner’s sons compete for his secretary’s heart. C

7:15 am – MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE (RKO, 1948): Cary Grant, Myrna Loy. A couple looking to escape Manhattan for life in the Connecticut suburbs finds it’s not that easy. A

9:00 am – CALLAWAY WENT THATAWAY (MGM, 1934): Fred MacMurray, Howard Keel. A real cowboy star signs on to impersonate a faded western star for public appearances. C

10:30 am – STRICTLY DISHONORABLE (MGM, 1951): Ezio Pinza, Janet Leigh. An opera star risks disaster when he marries a lovesick fan. C

12:15 pm – ABOVE AND BEYOND (MGM, 1953): Robert Taylor, Eleanor Parker. Taylor stars as Col. Paul W. Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, and his struggles with the demands of the mission. B+

2:30 pm – THE ROAD TO HONG KONG (UA, 1962): Bob Hope, Bing Crosby & Joan Collins. Two con men get mixed up in international intrigue and the space race. C-

4:15 pm – NOT WITH MY WIFE, YOU DON’T (WB, 1966): Tony Curtis, Virna Lisi, & George C. Scott. Two fliers during the Korean War compete for a beautiful Italian nurse. C+

6:15 pm – THE MALTESE BIPPY (MGM, 1969): Dan Rowan, Dick Martin. A porn star thinks he's become a werewolf. C-

8:30 pm – MARRIAGE, ITALIAN STYLE (Embassy, 1964): Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni. A businessman's discarded mistress refuses to tell him which of her three sons is his. A-

11:00 pm – TWO WOMEN (Comp. Cinemat. Champion, 1960): Sophia Loren, Jean-Paul Belmondo. Moroccan soldiers rape a mother and daughter leaving World War II Rome. Directed by Vittorio DeSica. A+

1:00 am – THE GOLD OF NAPLES (Rialto, 1954): Toto, Sophia Loren. Director Vittorio DeSica’s pays homage to Naples with six stories of Napoliitean life. A

3:00 am – MAN OF LA MANCHA (UA, 19872): Peter O’Toole, Sophia Loren. Plodding version of the Broadway musical adaptation of Don QuixoteF

April 22

6:00 am – ANDY HARDY COMES HOME (MGM, 1958): Mickey Rooney, Patricia Breslin. Andy returns to his hometown of Carvel to negotiate a land deal, in the last of the series. C

7:30 am – LOVE LAUGHS AT ANDY HARDY (MGM, 1946): Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone. Andy returns to Carvel from college only to find his sweetheart engaged to another. C

9:15 am – ANDY HARDY’S BLONDE TROUBLE (MGM, 1944): Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone. Andy, on his way to start college at Wainwright, meets sisters Kay and Katy and gets into trouble with them. C

11:15 am – ANDY HARDY’S DOUBLE LIFE (MGM, 1942): Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone. Andy, trying to raise money for a car, gets into a jam when he tries to date one girl too many. C+

1:00 pm – THE COURTSHIP OF ANDY HARDY (MGM, 1942): Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone. Andy dates a girl whose parents’ divorce is being decided by Judge Hardy. C+

2:45 pm – LIFE BEGINS FOR ANDY HARDY (MGM, 1941): Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland. Having graduated high school, Andy Hardy heads to New York City to see if he can live on his own. C+

4:30 pm – ANDY HARDY’S PRIVATE SECRETARY (MGM, 1941): Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone. On the verge of his graduation, Andy decides he needs a social secretary. C+

6:15 pm – ANDY HARDY MEETS DEBUTANTE (MGM, 1940): Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone. Andy goes into debt to court a Manhattan socialite. C+

8:00 pm – MAN FROM DEL RIO (UA, 1956): Anthony Quinn, Katy Jurado. An uneducated Mexican gunfighter wins a town over when he shows his courage. C

9:30 pm – GUNS FOR SAN SEBASTIAN (MGM, 1968): Anthony Quinn Anjanette Comer. A Mexican bandit disguised as a priest is roped into helping villagers defend against an Indian attack. B-

11:30 pm – DEAF SMITH AND JOHNNY EARS (MGM, 1973): Anthony Quinn, Franco Nero. A deaf gunslinger joins the fight for Texas' independence. C+

1:45 am – RIDE, VAQUERO! (MGM, 1953): Robert Taylor, Anthony Quinn, & Ava Gardner. Ranchers in New Mexico fight both Indians and bandits. C+

3:30 am – THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON (WB, 1942): Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland. Flynn is George Custer in this romanticized, but well-done, biopic about the man who lost the battle of Little Big Horn. B



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