TCM TiVo ALERT



TCM TiVo ALERT
For
November 23–November 30

DAVID’S BEST BETS:

THE FRESHMAN (November 24, 11:45 pm): It's a shame that Harold Lloyd is either largely forgotten or most film fans never heard of him because he was a brilliant comedian during cinema's silent days. (Of course his peak was about 90 years ago so it's understandable, but disappointing nonetheless.) In this 1925 film, Lloyd plays Harold Lamb, a naive guy who goes to college thinking life on campus is like it is in the movies. He learns out the hard way that the two are not the same and comes across to his classmates as a fool. He tries out for the football team and goes from being the water boy to playing the key role in the big game with hilarious results. Lloyd was the master of the sight gag, typically better at it than Buster Keaton and that's saying a lot, and there are plenty of them in this film. The plot is predictable, but Lloyd makes this a fun and funny film to watch and enjoy.

TOM THUMB (November 26, 9:15 am): A delightful 1958 film based on the classic fairy tale with Russ Tamblyn bringing great energy and an outstanding ability to entertain in the title role. The best part of this film, with a mostly British cast, is the performances of Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers as two criminals who try to exploit Tom by tricking him to be a part of their various swindles. It's geared toward a younger audience though there is plenty of humor, particularly from the two bumbling, very funny bad guys, to keep the interest of adults. The handful of songs are entertaining. While the special effects are dated, they are charming as well as impressive for its day.

ED’S BEST BETS:

LA POINTE COURTE (November 23, 4:00 am): Director Agnes Varda gained international renown with this study of a husband and wife trying to rescue their marriage interwoven with the life and times of Ste, a fishing village on the Mediterranean. Known only as Him and Her, the couple comes to the village because it’s the place where He grew up and still loves, while She is from Paris and has the requisite cosmopolitan tastes. Will they be able to work things out? Meanwhile, we are drawn into the drama that plagues the town: Will the father let his daughter marry the man she loves, even if he's kind of a wimp? Will the cops arrest the guy who harvested his shellfish from an off-limits stretch of water? Will the big-city couple stay together or split up? The movie’s climax takes place at the annual water-jousting tournament (which actually takes place in Ste each year), a sort of slow-motion skirmish where men knock each other off boats with medieval-style lances while onlookers cheer their favorites. This is the sort of film that will pull one in slowly and once in, it never lets up for a minute. The village life and drama is fascinating and the individual dramas compelling.

IL SORPASSO (November 28, 1:30 am): Road pictures are always fun to watch, and this is among the best. One Sunday morning, blowhard Vittorio Gassman demands to use the phone of shy law student Jean-Louis Trintignant’s phone. From this innocuous beginning, the two get acquainted, which leads to a invitation from Gassman for Trintignant to accept a ride that turns out to be a multi-day journey up the Tyrrhenian coast. During their voyage, the contrasting natures of the blustery, hot dogging, middle-aged Gassman and the quiet, conservative, scholarly young Trintignant clash and eventually rub off on one another as they both discover their perceived family lives aren’t what they supposed them to be, and which can only end tragically. Both Gassman and Trintignant are superb, and, along with director Dino Risi’s eye for analogy, make this a film to be caught and savored.

WE DISAGREE ON . . . WINGS OF DESIRE (November 25, 5:00 am):

ED: B-. Wings of Desire, a film about two angels Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander), who amble through Berlin offering solace to those in pain, even though they are invisible. Things go wrong when Damiel is inspired to seek mortality after watching an American actor (Peter Falk) shooting a movie, and a beautiful trapeze artist (Solveig Dommartin) at a circus. This is a two-hour movie that only seems like five hours. If you want to see this, by all means record it, even of you’re staying up to sit through it. You will fall asleep. Wim Wenders is notorious for his arty-farty films, and this is no different. The idea of two angels wandering the streets of Berlin listening to people’s thoughts is amusing for about 10 minutes max, but Wenders stretches it out for about 90 minutes. The kicker is that none of the thoughts our angels are listening to has any sort of point whatsoever. I’m sure a lot of pseudo-intellectuals will wring their hands over this, looking for Deep Meaning, but take it from me, this is nothing more than pretentious hogwash. Oh well, the cinematography is excellent and it does boast a good performance from Bruno Ganz. For those who can’t quite place Ganz, he probably better known for being a phenomenon on You Tube for his portrayal of Hitler in Downfall, which many clever people have taken and made into parodies of Old Screwball by titling them “Hitler Discovers Hostess Is No Longer Making Twinkies,” or “Hitler Meets the Tralololo Man.” Stick with those - they’re far more entertaining than Wings of Desire.

DAVID: A. If you love film, you will love Wings of Desire, an ingenious and moving picture from 1987. The visually-stunning film focuses on Damiel (Bruno Ganz), an angel in Berlin around the end of the Cold War. He stands on top of tall buildings, in a crowd or nearly anywhere, watching people and listening to their thoughts, many of them quite depressing. Damiel and Cassiel (Otto Sander), an another angel featured in the film, can't really do anything to directly comfort people except touch someone's shoulder to give a little hope to those with troubled existences. It's beauty is in its subtlety. The acting is brilliant, particularly Ganz and of all people, Peter Falk, who plays himself. Falk is in Berlin to film a movie, and it turns out, he was angel who chose to give up his immortality to become a person. Falk's ability to play himself with an unexpected twist is one of the most compelling aspects of this most compelling film. Damiel is growing tired of being an angel and yearns to be a human. He tells Cassiel: "It would be rather nice, coming home after a long day to feed the cat, like Philip Marlowe; to have a fever, and blackened fingers from the newspaper; at last to guess, instead of always knowing.” Damiel falls in love with Marion (Solveig Dommartin), a beautiful trapeze artist who fears she will fall. For Damiel, it's love at first sight. He longs for the simple things humans experience, but often don't notice, such as touching someone or having a conversation. Damiel risks his immortality to have an opportunity at love. Is the film's tempo slow? Perhaps, but that allows the viewer to better understand Damiel's existence as an angel and the quandary he faces in choosing mortality and love. I agree with Ed about the excellent cinematography. It was done by Henri Alekan, who also had the same job in the 1946 French version of Beauty and the Beast, another magnificent film. Rather than a Deep Meaning, the film provides a simple lesson: It is the small things in life that make it worth living.

Schedule Subject to Change (All Times Eastern)

November 23

9:45 am – CITIZEN KANE (RKO, 1941): Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten & Everett Sloane. The story of newspaper mogul Charles Foster Kane and what made him tick. A++

12:00 am – 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-

2:00 pm – THE BIG SLEEP (WB, 1946): Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall. Bogart is Philip Marlowe in Raymond Chandler’s tale of corruption and decadence in Los Angeles. A+

4:00 pm – THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (WB, 1938): Errol Flynn, Claude Rains, Olivia de Havilland, & Basil Rathbone. Errol Flynn as Robin Hood battles Prince John and Sir Guy of Gisbourne. A+

6:00 pm – IVANHOE (MGM, 1952): Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, & Joan Fontaine. Robert Taylor stars in the title role in Sir Walter Scott’s novel about a noble knight torn between two women. B+

8:00 pm – PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE (MGM, 1952): Spencer Tracy, Gene Tierney, & Van Johnson. An all-star cast in this superficial dramatization of the Pilgrims’ landing. C+

10:00 pm – NORTHWEST PASSAGE (MGM, 1940): Spencer Tracy, Robert Young & Walter Brennan. Based on the story of Rogers’ Rangers and their fight to open new frontiers for Colonial America. A

2:15 am – LA CIENAGA (Cinemien, 2001): Martin Adjemian, Diego Baenas. A rundown country home is the site for drinking and teen sexual explorations. B

4:00 am – LA POINTE COURTE (Cine Tamaris, 1955): Phillippe Noiret, Silvia Monfort. The story of a husband and wife to repair their broken marriage is interwoven with the story of a fishing village. B+

November 24

8:30 am – BROADMINDED (WB, 1931): Joe E. Brown, Ona Munson. A rejected suitor leaves town and gets mixed up in an international chase. C+

11:00 am – LOCAL BOY MAKES GOOD (WB, 1931): Joe E. Brown, Dorothy Lee. A timid student turns into a track-and-field star. C+

12:15 pm – SIT TIGHT (WB, 1931): Winnie Lightner, Joe E. Brown. A young man enters the wrestling win to win over a pretty young trainer. C

1:45 pm – FIREMAN, SAVE MY CHILD (WB, 1932): Joe E. Brown, Guy Kibbee. Brown is a fireman who plays baseball on the side. C

5:30 pm – EARTHWORM TRACTORS (WB, 1936): Joe E. Brown, June Travis. To make his girlfriend happy by bringing in more money, salesman Joe E. Brown begins selling caterpillar tractors. C+

8:00 pm – A DOG’S LIFE (First National, 1918): Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance. The Little Tramp and his dog companion struggle to survive in the inner city. A

10:00 pm – SEVEN CHANCES (MGM, 1925): Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer. In order to inherit a fortune, a man must find a wife by 7 pm. A

11:45 pm – THE FRESHMAN (Harold Lloyd Corp., Pathe, 1925): Harold Lloyd, Brooks Benedict. Lloyd is a naïve student trying to make the football team after making a fool of himself on the campus. A-

3:30 am – FATTY AND MABEL ADRIFT (Keystone, 1916): Fatty Arbuckle, Mabel Normand. Fatty and Mabel’s beach house is let out to sea by villains. B

November 25

6:00 am – BRIGADOON (MGM, 1954): Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, & Cyd Charisse. Two American hunters in Scotland discover a village that materializes only once every century. A

8:00 am – MY FAIR LADY (WB, 1964): Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, & Stanley Holloway. Phonetics instructor Henry Higgins (Harrison) bets that he can pass a street urchin off as a lady. B+

11:00 pm – THAT’S DANCING! (MGM, 1985): Gene Kelly, Liza Minnelli and Mikhail Baryshnikov host this compilation of some of the greatest dance numbers in movie history. A+

1:45 pm – THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT! (MGM, 1974): An all-star cast introduces clips from MGM’s greatest musicals. A+

3:30 pm – THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT II (MGM, 1976): Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly. Fred and Gene dance together and introduce more clips from MGM’s musicals. A+

5:45 pm – THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT III (MGM, 1994): An all-star cast introduces clips from MGM musicals along with behind the scenes footage showing how the films were made. A+

8:00 pm – TCM’s A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: FANTASY (Turner, 2014): A look at fantasy films through clips. A

9:15 pm – THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (RKO, 1947): Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo & Boris Karloff. Accountant Kaye is a hero in his dreams, but finds it harder in real life. B

12:30 am – THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (UA, 1940): Conrad Veidt, Sabu. Sabu must battle monsters and an evil wizard to restore the King of Baghdad back to his throne. Filmed in Technicolor. A

2:30 am – A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM (WB, 1935): James Cagney, Joe E. Brown, & Mickey Rooney. Director Max Reinhardt’s staging of the Shakespeare play. Cagney (Bottom) and Rooney (Puck) are excellent. B-

5:00 am – WINGS OF DESIRE (Argos Films, 1987): Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin. An angel, tired of overseeing human activity, wishes to become human after falling in love with a mortal. Ratings: See above.

November 26

7:30 am – THE 7 FACES OF DR. LAO (MGM, 1964): Tony Randall, Barbara Eden. A Chinese showman uses his magical powers to save a Western town from itself. B+

9:15 am – TOM THUMB (MGM, 1958): Russ Tamblyn, Alan Young, Terry-Thomas, & Peter Sellers. The six-inch tall boy takes on a pair of bumbling crooks. A

11:00 am – THE GLASS SLIPPER (MGM, 1955): Leslie Caron, Michael Wilding. Caron stars in this musical adaptation of Cinderella and her magical trip to the prince’s ball. C+

12:45 pm – THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (Columbia, 1958): Kerwin Matthews, Kathryn Grant. Sinbad the Sailor needs the egg of a giant two-headed bird of prey to restore a shrunken princess. B

4:30 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-

6:30 pm – PORTRAIT OF JENNIE (Selznick, 1949): Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten. A beautiful ghost provides the inspiration for a young artist. A

8:00 pm – ARSENE LUPIN (MGM, 1932): John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore. The notorious jewel thief tries to top himself by stealing the Mona Lisa. Guerchard is the police detective pursuing him. A-

9:30 pm – GAMBIT (Universal, 1966): Shirley MacLaine, Michael Carter. Thief Cater dreams of the perfect robbery, but can’t seem to pull it off. B

1:00 am – THE HAPPY THIEVES (UA, 1961): Rex Harrison, Rita Hayworth. Worldly art thief Harrison gets more than he bargained for when a theft goes awry and ends up in murder. C+

2:45 am – THE LIGHT TOUCH (MGM, 1951): Stewart Granger, Pier Angelli, & George Sanders. An art thief tries to double cross his gangster boss. C+

4:30 am – CRACK-UP (RKO, 1946): Pat O’Brien, Claire Trevor. An art curator (O’Brien) risks his reputation and life to track down forgers. C+

November 27

8:00 am – JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (WB, 1952): Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, & Buddy Baer. Abbott and Costello’s take on the famous fairy tale. C

9:30 am – THE LITTLE PRINCESS (Fox, 1939): Shirley Temple, Richard Greene. When her father is reported dead in the war, a young girl fights harsh conditions at her boarding school. B+

1:45 pm – THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET (WB, 1964): Don Knotts, Carole Cook. A World War II 4-F saves the U.S. Navy when he’s transformed into a dolphin. A-

3:30 pm – THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN (Tristar, 1984): Bruce Edward Hall, James J. Kroupa. Kermit and his friends try to get their play produced on Broadway. A

8:00 pm – THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS (Columbia, 1966): Rosalind Russell, Hayley Mills, & Mary Wickes. Two free-spirited girls cause havoc at a convent school. B+

10:00 pm – BRIGHT EYES (Fox, 1934): Shirley Temple, James Dunn. Society snobs get more than they bargained for when they take in their late housekeeper’s orphaned daughter. C+

5:30 am – THE LADY VANISHES (Gainsborough, 1938): Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave. A young woman creates an international incident looking for an elderly friend who has disappeared. A-

November 28

7:30 am – SABOTEUR (Universal, 1942): Priscilla Lane, Robert Cummings, & Otto Kruger. Falsely accused of sabotage, a munitions worker goes on the lam to prove his innocence. B

9:30 am – SHADOW OF A DOUBT (Universal, 1943): Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright. A young girl fears her favorite uncle may be a serial killer. A+

11:30 am – 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

1:30 pm – MARNIE (Universal, 1964): Sean Connery, Tippi Hedren. A rich man marries a compulsive thief and tries to unlock the secrets of her mind. B

3:45 pm – THE BIRDS (Universal, 1962): Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren. Alfred Hitchcock directed this ultimate tale of nature-gone-wild when birds suddenly begin attacking humans. A+

6:00 pm – PSYCHO (Paramount, 1960): Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, & Anthony Perkins. A woman on the run falls prey to a disturbed young man and his violent “mother.” A+

8:00 pm – ROAD TO UTOPIA (Paramount, 1946): Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, & Dorothy Lamour. Hope and Crosby are two vaudeville performers at the turn of the century that go to Alaska to make their fortune. B

9:45 pm – SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS (Paramount, 1941): Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake. Preston Sturges directed this classic about a director who wants to make “message films” and gets his comeuppance when his plans go wrong. A++

1:30 am – IL SORPASSO (Embassy, 1961): Vittorio Gassman, Jean-Louis Trintignant. A shy law student meets a bon vivant who takes him for a drive through the Roman and Tuscan countryside. A+

3:30 am – THE HAPPY ROAD (MGM, 1957): Gene Kelly, Barbara Laage. Two single parents join forces when their children run away from a French boarding school. C+

November 29

8:15 am – GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT (Fox, 1947): Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire. A reporter pretends to be Jewish to cover a story on anti-Semitism. A

10:30 am – BETWEEN TWO WOMEN (MGM, 1937): Franchot Tone, Maureen O’Sullivan. A nurse with an alcoholic spouse falls for a doctor, but his interests lie elsewhere. C

12:30 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 Minelli. A

4:15 pm – THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (RKO, 1951): Kenneth Tobey, Robert Cornwaithe & Margaret Sheridan. The staff of an Arctic base fights a murderous visitor from outer space. A++

6:00 pm – BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (Fox, 1969): Paul Newman, Robert Redford. George Roy Hill directed this fascinating take on the two famous bank robbers who fled the U.S. for Bolivia. A

8:00 pm – BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (DisCina, 1946): Jean Marais, Josette Day. Jean Cocteau directed this unique and beautiful version of the classic fairy tale. A++

10:00 pm – THE JUNGLE BOOK (U.A., 1942): Sabu, Joseph Calleia. A boy raised by wolves tries to adapt to civilized life. Based on the stories of Rudyard Kipling. A-

12:00 am – THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (RKO, 1939): Charles Laughton, Maureen O’Hara. A deformed bell ringer rescues a gypsy girl falsely accused of witchcraft and murder. A+

2:00 am – DEATHDREAM (Entertainment Int’l Pictures, 1972): John Marley, Lynn Carlin. A young man killed in Vietnam inexplicably returns home as a zombie. B+

3:45 am – THE FEARMAKERS (UA, 1958): Dana Andrews, Dick Foran. Great Red Scare stuff about a Korean War veteran who returns home to find that Commies have taken over his PR firm! B-

November 30

6:00 am – RING OF BRIGHT WATER (Palomar, 1969): Bill Travers, Virginia McKenna. A pet shop otter changes a man’s life when he decides to release it along the coast. B+

12:00 pm – SOUNDER (Fox, 1972): Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield. Black sharecroppers during the Depression fight to get their children an education. A+

2:00 pm – ZEBRA IN THE KITCHEN (MGM, 1965): Jay North, Martin Milner. A young boy tries to liberate animals from the city zoo. C-

8:00 pm – THE BLACK STALLION (UA, 1979): Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney & Teri Garr. A boy and a horse forge a close friendship after being shipwrecked together in Africa. B+

10:15 pm – NATIONAL VELVET (MGM, 1944): Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor. English farm girl Taylor struggles to train a difficult horse for the Grand National Steeplechase. A+

12:30 am – MARE NOSTRUM MGM, 1926): Uni Apollon, Alex Nova. A Spanish army captain falls head-over-heels for a German spy. Silent. A-

2:30 am – ARMY - RIKUGUN (Shochiku Ofuna, 1944): Chishu Ryu, Ken Mitsuda. Keisuke Kinoshita directed this multi-generational epic about the military legacy of a Japanese family. A+

4:15 am – GOOD MORNING (Shochiku Eiga, 1959): Koji Shidara, Masahiko Shimazu. Two boys go silent to pressure their parents into buying them a television set in this poignant satire. A


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2 comments:

  1. Village of the damned sounds like an interesting story

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely worth your time to watch it. It's a great film.

      Delete