April 1–April 7


SLEEPER (April 1, 8:00 pm): Besides Take the Money and RunSleeper is the best, most clever and entertaining of Woody Allen's "earlier, funnier movies." Allen's character, Miles Monroe, is frozen in 1973 when a routine gall bladder operation goes bad. He's defrosted 200 years later by doctors who are members of a resistance group living in a police state. The gags are fast and funny. One of my favorites is when the scientists ask Miles about life 200 years earlier, including this gem. Allen's interaction with Diane Keaton (Luna, a self-centered socialite) is pure magic, particularly when she helps Miles relive a scene from his younger days and when the two are disguised as surgeons stealing the government leader's nose – all that's left of him after a rebel bomb blows up the rest of him. While the dialogue is smart and funny, Allen also proves himself to be an incredibly talented physical actor. Allen's slapstick comedic talent – think Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton – shines best in this role.

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (April 7, 10:15 pm): An authentic film that pulls no punches about three soldiers returning home from World War II attempting to adjust to life. The film features incredible performances by the legendary and lovely Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March and Harold Russell (an actual WWII vet who lost both his hands in the war). The film won seven Oscars, including Best Picture. Unlike some multi-Oscar films, this one is truly a classic that remains as real and as powerful as it must have been to movie-goers when it was released in 1946. It's very touching and beautiful.


SHADOW OF A DOUBT (April 2, 6:00 pm): One of the things that made Alfred Hitchcock the master of suspense was his attention to the finer points of human nature. And this movie is an insightful essay on what happens when evil comes to a place where no one would expect it; when it is right there sitting nest to you at the dinner table. Teresa Wright is Charlie, an extremely happy young girl in the happy and charming town of Santa Rosa, California, a picture-postcard kind of place. She is elated when her Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) comes to pay a visit, for she is especially devoted to him, with the two sharing almost a sort of telepathic relationship. But what she doesn’t know is that her beloved Uncle Charlie is on the lam, being suspected by the police as the “Merry Widow Murderer,” responsible for bumping off a number of rich widows back east. The fun in the film is her gradual realization that not all is well with Uncle Charlie and her growing suspicion that he’s not what he appears to be. Hitchcock is at his best in exploring their relationship as it develops and starts to change. But what really makes the film so effective is Hitchcock’s emphasis on what Hannah Arendt called “the banality of evil.” To look at Uncle Charlie or talk with him, one wouldn’t notice anything especially unusual. He is nondescript in almost every way, his only talent being in his ability to poison so many women. That a child completely undoes him only adds another dimension of irony to the picture. It was one of Hitchcock’s favorites and it is a film that I don’t believe gets the credit it should when compared to his thrillers of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

DAY FOR NIGHT (April 2, 4:00 am): This is one of Francois Truffaut’s wittiest and most subtle films – a film about the making of a film. While on the set of Je vous presente Pamela (Introducing Pamela), the story of an English wife running off with her French father-in-law, we also get to know the cast and crew shooting the film, each with his or her own set of problems. Hence the title: a technical cinematographic term for simulating a night scene while shooting during the day. Special filters and optical processors are employed to create the illusion. While Nathalie Baye and Jean-Pierre Leaud are wonderful in their roles, Valentia Cortese steals the picture as the fading actress Severine. For those new to Truffaut, this is the perfect introduction and one not to miss.

WE AGREE ON ... CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (April 2, 12:00 pm)

ED: A. As film noir caught on in the late ‘40s, it begat a new sub-genre: the semi-documentary. Of all the films shot in this format, Call Northside 777 is exceeded only by He Walked by Night. Jimmy Stewart is in top form as reporter P. James McNeal, who, the more he digs, comes to believe that Frank Wiecek, (Richard Conte) imprisoned for the murder of a policeman back in 1932, is innocent. To prove Wiecek’s innocence, McNeal must take on City Hall and the corridors of police corruption. Though the odds are greatly stacked against him, the dogged reporter digs through the piles of testimony, eyewitness accounts, and the like to prove his case. The film as the brainchild of producer Louis De Rochemont, famous as the producer of The March of Time newsreels, who came to Fox after the war and put together a unit to make semi-documentary dramas. In the hands of Fox’s best director, Henry Hathaway, a movie that could have bogged down in its own details instead comes to life as an absorbing and compelling slice of life, especially as experienced by the lower classes in Chicago. The only glitch in the film is the obligatory statement from McNeal to Wiecek that not many governments in the worlds would admit to such a mistake, but it is minor and comes at the end, almost as a afterthought. Besides Stewart several performances stand out: Conte as Wiecek. Lee. J. Cobb as McNeal’s editor, and Betty Garde as Wanda Skutnik, whose testimony sent Wiecek to the pen. It’s a film that should be seen, not only by noir lovers, but by all those interested in a good movie.

DAVID: A. As a journalist, I love movies that make reporters look like superheroes. This 1948 film, done in documentary style and based on a true story, stars screen-legend Jimmy Stewart as Chicago Times newspaper reporter P.J. McNeal. After his editor, played by the underrated Lee J. Cobb, sees an ad in the newspaper placed by a woman who believes her son was falsely convicted 11 years earlier of killing a police officer, he sends a skeptical McNeal to talk to her for an article. Over time, McNeal believes the son, Frank Wiecek, played by Richard Conte, is innocent. Despite roadblocks put in his way by state officials who don't want to be embarrassed by a potentially mistaken prosecution and conviction of a cop-killer, McNeal fights on. Do I really need to tell you how it ends? The movie is at its best when Stewart's questioning and tenacity are front and center. This is one of Stewart's finest and lesser-known performances.

Schedule Subject to Change (All Times Eastern)

April 1

8:15 am – THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK (U.A., 1939): Louis Heyward, Joan Bennett. James Whale’s version of the famous tale wherein the Three Musketeers rescue the king’s unjustly imprisoned brother. B+

10:30 am – MAISIE WAS A LADY (MGM, 1941): Ann Sothern, Lew Ayres. Brooklyn showgirl Maisie is hired as a maid for a family of eccentrics. C+

12:00 pm – THE WOLF MAN (Universal, 1941): Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains. This horror classic made a star of Chaney, who portrays the tormented Larry Talbot, bitten by a werewolf and doomed to become one. B-

4:15 pm – CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED (MGM, 1964): Ian Hendry, Alan Badel. Visitors from outer space impregnate six women with their super-powered offspring. C+

8:00 pm – SLEEPER (UA, 1973): Woody Allen, Diane Keaton. A Greenwich Village health-food proprietor goes to the hospital and awakens in 2173. Disguised as a robot, he is sold to Keaton. A-

9:45 pm – IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (U.A., 1963): Spencer Tracy, Dick Shawn. Too many stars spoil the plot in this overrated Stanley Kramer comedy about a madcap treasure hunt. C

12:45 am – TO BE OR NOT TO BE (UA, 1942): Jack Benny, Carole Lombard. Ernst Lubitsch’s classic about a troupe of Polish actors who aid the Underground in duping the Nazis. A-

2:45 am – BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (Allied Artists/WB, 1964): Eva Bartok, Cameron Mitchell. A mysterious killer stalks a design house's models. C-

4:30 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-

April 2

8:15 am – THE MERRY WIDOW (MGM, 1934): Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald. A prince of a small kingdom pursues a wealthy widow to keep her money in the country. A-

10:00 am – 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+

12:00 pm – CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (20th Century Fox, 1948): James Stewart, Richard Conte, & Lee J. Cobb. Convinced the man is innocent, reporter Stewart re-opens a ten-year old murder case. A

4:15 pm – SONG OF THE THIN MAN (MGM, 1947): William Powell, Myrna Loy. Nick and Nora Charles investigate murder in a jazz club. This is the last film in The Thin Man series. C+

6:00 pm – SHADOW OF A DOUBT (Universal, 1943): Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright. A young girl fears her favorite uncle may be a serial killer. A+

8:00 pm – THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (U.A., 1962): Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra & Angela Lansbury. Classic with Harvey as a Korean War vet brainwashed by Commies to become a political assassin. A+

10:30 pm – THE MIND BENDERS (AIP, 1963): Dirk Bogarde, Mary Ure. A scientist makes himself the guinea pig in his experiments with brainwashing. C+

2:00 am – THE 400 BLOWS (Janus Films, 1959): Jean-Pierre Leaud, Albert Remy. Truffaut’s classic about a 12-year old boy whose family problems lead him to a life of crime. A+

4:00 am – DAY FOR NIGHT (Films du Carrosse, 1973): Jacqueline Bisset, Valentina Cortese. A director struggles to complete his film while coping with a myriad of crises among his cast and crew. A+

April 3

8:15 am – REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE (WB, 1967): Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, & Brian Keith. Sex, perversion and betrayal at a military post back in 1948. D+

10:15 am – A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (WB, 1951): Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh. Fading southern belle Leigh tries to build a new life when she moves in with her sister and brutish brother-in-law. A+

4:00 pm – CALAMITY JANE (WB, 1953): Doris Day, Howard Keel. The Wild West heroine brings a star attraction to Deadwood and finds love. B+


9:15 pm – BONNIE AND CLYDE (WB, 1967): Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway. Arthur Penn directed this highly stylized biopic of the murderous duo. A-

12:30 am – NETWORK (MGM, 1976): Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway. Like most Chayefsky screenplays, it’s satire with a sledgehammer, but Finch as Howard Beale is unforgettable. A-

2:45 am – THE ARRANGEMENT (WB, 1969): Kirk Douglas, Faye Dunaway. Elia Kazan directed this adaptation of his novel about a rich ma who reconsiders his life after being in a car crash. C

April 4

7:15 am – ANNA KARENINA (MGM, 1935): Greta Garbo, Frederic March. Garbo dominates this glossy adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic tale of a woman who deserts her family for an illicit love. A+

9:00 am – TREASURE ISLAND (MGM, 1934): Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper. Director Victor Fleming adapted Stevenson’s tale about a young boy out to foil pirates and find buried treasure. A

12:30 pm – THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV (MGM, 1958): Yul Brenner, Lee J. Cobb & William Shatner. Richard Brooks directed this impressive adaptation of the Dostoevsky’s classic. A

3:15 pm – BILLY BUDD (Allied Artists, 1962): Robert Ryan, Peter Ustinov. Ustinov directed and starred in this adaptation of Melville’s tale of good vs. evil aboard a ship. B+

8:00 pm – GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (WB, 1933): Joan Blondell, Guy Kibbee. It‘s one of Busby’s Berkeley’s great Depression musicals with Blondell and Rogers as chorus girls on the make. A

10:00 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+

12:00 am – FIFTH AVENUE GIRL (RKO, 1939): Ginger Rogers, Walter Connolly, & Tim Holt. Unhappy millionaire Connolly takes in homeless waif Rogers in this rather lifeless comedy. C-

3:30 am – JOURNAL OF A CRIME (WB, 1934): Ruth Chatterton, Adolphe Menjou. After shooting her husband’s mistress a woman develops amnesia. Watch for the rather unique ending. B-

April 5

6:00 am – PRESTIGE (RKO, 1932): Ann Harding, Melvyn Douglas. A woman joins her fiancé at a Malaysian prison camp to discover he’s an alcoholic.  C

7:30 am – DANGEROUS CORNER (RKO, 1934): Virginia Bruce, Melvyn Douglas. Friends uncover dark secrets following a theft and suicide. C

12: 00 pm – FAST COMPANY (MGM, 1938): Melvyn Douglas, Florence Rice. Married book dealers attempt to clear a friend in the murder of a rival book dealer. C

1:30 pm – THE AMAZING MR. WILLIAMS (Columbia, 1939): Melvyn Douglas, Joan Blondell. The mayor's secretary competes with her homicide detective fiancé's devotion to his job. B

3:00 pm – GOOD GIRLS GO TO PARIS (Columbia, 1939): Melvyn Douglas, Joan Blondell. An English professor helps a waitress take a dream vacation in Paris. B-

4:30 pm – ON THE LOOSE (RKO, 1951): Joan Evans, Melvyn Douglas. When she's branded as a "bad girl," a troubled teen fights for her parents' approval. D+

8:00 pm – DEATH OF A SCOUNDREL (RKO, 1956): George Sanders, Yvonne DeCarlo. When Sanders is found murdered, his secretary recounts his rise from refugee to ultra-rich New Yorker. C-

10:15 pm – THREE RING CIRCUS (Paramount, 1955): Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin & Joanne Dru. A pair of war veterans wreak havoc when they join the circus. C

12:15 am – QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE (Allied Artists, 1958): Zsa Zsa Gabor, Eric Fleming. A space mission to Venus discovers a society of Amazons. D-

2:15 am – MOULIN ROUGE (UA, 1953): Jose Ferrer, Zsa Zsa Gabor & Suzanne Flon. French painter Toulouse-Lautrec fights to find love despite his physical limitations. B-

4:15 am – LILI (MGM, 1953): Leslie Caron, Mel Ferrer & Zsa Zsa Gabor. An orphaned French girl gets a job with a carnival puppet show. B+

April 6

7:45 am – GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE (MGM, 1933): Walter Huston, Karen Morley. A crooked president undergoes a miraculous reformation and saves the country. A+

9:30 am – KONGO (MGM, 1932): Walter Huston, Lupe Velez. This sound remake West of Zanzibar finds Walter Huston as the handicapped magician who rules an area of Africa as a living god. C-

11:15 am – NIGHT COURT (MGM, 1932): Walter Huston, Lewis Stone. Corrupt judge Huston frames an innocent young couple to avoid prosecution by D.A. Stone. C+

4:00 pm – 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+

5:45 pm – THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (WB, 1948): Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt. A classic about three ordinary men and what gold does to ordinary men. A+

8:00 pm – ONE MAN’S JOURNEY (MGM, 1933): Lionel Barrymore and Joel McCrea play father and son doctors who disagree over the son’s materialism. B

9:45 pm – SING AND LIKE IT (RKO, 1934): ZaSu Pitts, Pert Kelton. A gangster tries to turn his tone-deaf girlfriend into a singing star. C+

11:15 pm – 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+

1:45 am – THE BRIDE WALKS OUT (RKO, 1936): Barbara Stanwyck, Gene Raymond. A model weds a struggling engineer then has her own struggles with domesticity. C

April 7

6:00 am – NINE LIVES ARE NOT ENOUGH (WB, 1941): Ronald Reagan, Joan Perry & James Gleason. A reporter tries to solve a series of boardinghouse murders. B-

9:00 am – KING’S ROW (WB, 1941): Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings & Ronald Reagan. The dark side and hypocrisy of turn-of-the-century American life is seen through the eyes of five children. C+

3:45 pm – THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (MGM, 1952): Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner & Dick Powell. A ruthless producer whose career is now on the rocks needs the help of those he’s crossed over the years. A-

6:00 pm – THE GODDESS (Columbia, 1958): Kim Stanley, Lloyd Bridges. A young woman destined from childhood to be adored by millions but desperately unhappy in her own life. C-

8:00 pm – LOVE LETTERS (Paramount, 1945): Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten. A soldier falls for the woman who may have killed his best friend. C

10:15 pm – THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (Goldwyn/RKO, 1946): Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy. William Wyler’s classic about the trials of three veterans trying to readjust after the war. A+

1:30 am – THE END OF THE AFFAIR (Columbia, 1955): Deborah Kerr, Van Johnson, & John Mills. A woman engages in an extramarital affair in World War II London. C+

3:45 am – FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (Columbia, 1953): Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr & Montgomery Clift. Enlisted men in 1941 Hawaii fight for love and honor on the eve of war. B

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1 comment:

  1. Once again... My main source for "recording" TCM classics! Thanks guys!