September 23–September 30


CAGED (September 24, 6:30 am): Unlike nearly all the others in the unusual but often-visited women-in-prison film genre, Caged is well acted. Eleanor Parker was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar as the young innocent Marie Allen, Agnes Moorehead is great as warden Ruth Benton, and Hope Emerson was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as the deliciously evil matron Evelyn Harper. Almost anything bad you can imagine happens to Marie: her new husband is killed in a robbery, she ends up in prison because she is waiting in the getaway car, she's pregnant while serving her sentence, she's victimized by other inmates and Harper, she has to give up her baby for adoption, and finally becomes bitter and hardened from all of her bad experiences. The story is similar to other women-in-prison movies minus the T&A. We still get a shower scene (no nudity as this is during the Code era) and the stereotypical prison lesbian. But there's a huge difference between Caged and the women-in-prison films of the 1970s. It's not only the excellent acting, but the powerful dialogue and actual plot – it was nominated for a Best Writing Oscar – that makes this gritty, stark, realistic film stand out among others in the genre.

THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER (September 25, 2:45 am): I'm a huge fan of the British kitchen sink/angry young man film genre, and there are very few finer than this one. Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay in his brilliant film debut) is a rebellious teenager in post-World War II England who ends up in a juvenile delinquent institution. While there, he discovers he has a talent for long-distance running. He's able to avoid the hard labor the other boys must endure because of his abilities. But the anger and resentment against a system that chews kids like him up and spits them out when they are no longer of any use is always in the back of his mind. The big race against the nearby public school is an opportunity to for Colin, but leaves him conflicted. In the end, he does what he believes to be the right thing to maintain his integrity and independence despite the consequences. It's a lousy time to air a great movie.


THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (September 24, 8:30 am): This is the original – and the best – version of James M. Cain’s classic novel (which also inspired Albert Camus, by the way). When it comes to noir, one would think that the MGM gloss was off-putting, but I think it actually helps the film. Garfield has never been better and Turner has never been more gorgeous. Not only can we see that they’re going to hook up, we can understand why they must hook up. The performances from the supporting cast are superb, the photography by Sidney Wagner is sharp and inviting, and Tay Garnett’s direction workmanlike, as he keeps the characters and the story in constant play. Despite the complaints of the changes in Cain’s original story (for censorship purposes), the film still outdoes the 1981 Nicholson-Lange remake in terms of the heat between the stars, not to mention the fact that Turner, while hardly a serious actress, ran rings around Lange’s performance.

TOP SECRET (September 28, 9:45 pm): This follow-up to the wildly popular Airplane wasn’t as well received at the box office, but it is still hysterically funny, with gaga flying everywhere. This spoof of rock ’n’ roll musicals and espionage pictures stars Val Kilmer as an Elvis-type rocker touring East Germany who gets mixed up with a woman whose father is being held in prison and who herself works for the Resistance. The Zucker Brothers and Jim Abrahams leave no stone unturned in search of a gag. Some gags are painfully obvious while others are subtle, taking us by surprise. Kilmer turns in an excellent performance as signer Nick Rivers and is ably assisted by a slew of famous actors in cameo roles. It may not quite be Airplane, but it’s still hilarious in its own right.


ED: D. I have never found Will Farrell to be funny. Given a stronger plot, as in Elf or Old School, he can be tolerable – barely. But here, with a plot that is paper thin at best and a lousy script, Farrell is exposed for the boor he really is. It begins with as bang, but quickly fizzles as the plot gives way and we discover that Farrell is incapable of carrying what’s left. What’s left is the usual collection of potty jokes and situations that only go to show how dumbed down comedies and our expectations of them have become over the years. Both Christina Applegate and Fred Willard, two talented comic actors, are totally wasted playing second bananas to a piece of rotted fruit. Those tuning in expecting to see a parody in the manner of Ted Baxter at WJM will be very disappointed by this witless comedy. Shame on you, TCM, for wasting valuable resources on this turkey.

DAVID: C-. I don't dislike this film as much as Ed. While it has some funny moments and lines that spoof the 1970s, it's inconsistent and largely forgettable. More so than the movie, that it's being shown is what disturbs me. TCM is a network that shows classic films and not-so-classic films from decades ago. If TCM is going to show movies from the early 2000s, they better be of excellent quality. Anchorman is most definitely not. If I want to watch mediocre films from a decade ago, I have a dozen stations from which to choose. Among several TCM viewers, there have been growing concerns and complaints about the network showing films from the 1990s and 2000s as the "C" in "TCM" stands for "classic." Again, not everything shown on TCM is a classic, but if the decision has been made to show movies like this rather than films from long ago, it's a disturbing trend. One movie is not going to ruin TCM. However, if this isn't an isolated incident, I'm concerned about the future of TCM. Let's hope this is simply an anomaly. 

Schedule Subject to Change (All Times Eastern)

September 23

8:00 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

10:00 am – GREEN FIRE (MGM, 1955): Stewart Granger, Grace Kelly. An emerald prospector clashes with a beautiful plantation owner in South America. B-

12:00 pm – HIGH SOCIETY (MGM, 1956): Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, & Grace Kelly.  Sinatra and Crosby shine in this musical remake of The Philadelphia StoryA-

4:00 pm – WEDDING IN MONACO (MGM, 1956): A documentary on the wedding of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainer of Monaco. A

5:45 pm – JUNE BRIDE (WB, 1948): Bette Davis, Robert Montgomery. Two bickering reporters manage to turn a small-town wedding into a battleground. A-

8:00 pm – ANOTHER WOMAN (Orion, 1988): Gene Hackman, Mia Farrow. While dealing with her own tortured past, an aging writer becomes obsessed with a psychiatric patient. C

9:30 pm – I NEVER SANG FOR MY FATHER (Columbia, 1970): Melvyn Douglas, Gene Hackman. When his mother dies, a grieving son is torn between his demanding father and his need to live his own life. C+

11:15 pm – BITE THE BULLET (Columbia, 1975): Gene Hackman, Candice Bergen, & James Coburn. Cowboys compete in a grueling horse-riding marathon. A

1:45 am – ZANDY’S BRIDE (WB, 1974): Gene Hackman, Liv Ullmann. A Western rancher treats his mail order bride more as a servant than as a wife. D+

September 24

6:30 am – CAGED (WB, 1950): Eleanor Parker, Hope Emerson, & Agnes Moorehead. It’s the Godmother of all women-in-prison movies. Look for lots of over-the-top acting and scenery chewing. B-

8:30 am – 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+

10:30 am – CLIPPED WINGS (AA, 1953): The Bowery Boys. The Boys join the Air Force and turn it upside down. D

12:00 pm – GENTLEMAN JIM (WB, 1942): Errol Flynn, Alan Hale, & Alexis Smith. Entertaining film starring Flynn as 19th century boxer “Gentleman” Jim Corbett. Directed by Raoul Walsh. B+

4:00 pm – A FACE IN THE CROWD (WB, 1956): Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal. Griffith makes his film debut in Elia Kazan’s film about a female reporter who turns a drifter into a powerful media star. A+

8:00 pm – SHANE (Paramount, 1953): Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, & Jack Palance. Former gunfighter Ladd comes to the aid of homesteaders fighting off a vicious gunman. A+

10:15 pm – PATTERNS (UA, 1956): Van Heflin, Everett Sloane, & Ed Begley. When Heflin is recruited onto the board of a high-powered New York corporation, he finds his ethics and ambition at odds. A

12:00 am – THE FEMININE TOUCH (MGM, 1941): Rosalind Russell, Don Ameche, & Kay Francis. A psychology professor writing a book on jealousy finds his wife is an expert on the subject. B

2:00 am – NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR (Visto Int’l, 1985): Barbara Wyler, Jamie Scoggin. God and Satan are on a train discussing the fate of three individuals in a trio of vignettes. D

3:45 am – HORROR EXPRESS (Granada Film, 1972): Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, & Telly Savalas. An anthropologist discovers a frozen monster that he believes may be the Missing Link. C+

September 25

6:00 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

8:00 am – MEET THE PEOPLE (MGM, 1944): Lucille Ball, Dick Powell. Fading stage star Ball tries to revive her career by taking a job in a shipyard. C+

10:00 am – LYDIA (UA, 1941): Merle Oberon, Alan Marshal, & Edna May Oliver. An unmarried woman stages a reunion with her former suitors to recapture the romance of her past. A

12:00 pm – SUSAN SLADE (WB, 1961): Troy Donahue, Connie Stevens, & Dorothy McGuire. A pregnant teen allows her mother to pass the baby off as her own. B-

4:30 pm – MUSCLE BEACH PARTY (AIP, 1964): Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, & Don Rickles. The gang resists the takeover of their beach by bodybuilders from a nearby gym. C

6:15 pm – JAILHOUSE ROCK (MGM, 1957): Elvis Presley, Mickey Shaugnessy. Elvis plays a guy sent to prison for murder, where he learns to play guitar and later becomes a big star. A-

8:00 pm – STORMY WEATHER (MGM, 1943): Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, & Cab Calloway. A relationship develops between an aspiring dancer and a popular singer. A

9:30 pm – THE LITTLEST REBEL (20th Century Fox, 1935): Shirley Temple, John Boles. A Confederate officer risks al when he returns home to see his daughter. B

11:00 pm – KING FOR A DAY (WB, 1934): Bill Robinson, Ernest Whitman. A talented dancer who can't get an audition uses his skill at craps to gain ownership of a musical show and make himself the star. B-

12:00 am – THE LOVES OF PHAROAH (Paramount, 1922): Emil Jannings, Paul Wegener. The Ethiopian King offers his daughter to a powerful Pharaoh to secure peace between the two countries. Silent. C+

2:00 am – LA PROMESSE (Eurimages, 1996): Jeremie Renier, Olivier Gourmet. A father and son renting apartments to illegal immigrants finds things unraveling after a building inspector visits. A-

3:45 am – THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER (British-Lion/Columbia, 1962): Tom Courtney, Michael Redgrave. A rebellious Irish youth channels his aggression into running. A+

September 26

6:00 am – THE STORY OF SEABISCUIT (WB, 1949): Shirley Temple, Barry Fitzgerald. A fictionalized account of the famed racehorse’s training and triumphs. C

9:00 am – THOROUGHBREDS DON’T CRY (MGM, 1937): Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney. A young jockey goes crooked to land a valuable riding job. C+

10:30 am – WINE, WOMAN AND HORSES (WB, 1937): Barton MacLane, Ann Sheridan. A reformed gambler risks his marriage when he returns to the betting table. C-

11:45 am – HOT TIP (RKO, 1935): ZaSu Pitts, James Gleason. A racing fan's predictions go wrong and land his friends in debt. C-

1:00 pm – YOU CAN’T BUY LUCK (RKO, 1937): Onslow Stevens, Helen Mack. A racehorse owner tries to buy victory by performing good deeds, but gets mixed up in murder instead. C

2:15 pm – SHE WENT TO THE RACES (MGM, 1945): James Craig, Frances Gifford, & Ava Gardner.  A pretty scientist with a system for horse-race betting falls in love with a trainer. C

8:00 pm – TORCH SONG (MGM, 1953): Joan Crawford, Michael Wilding. Tough-ass Broadway star Joan meets her match in the new pianist, a blind war veteran. C

9:45 pm – TORCH SONG TRILOGY (New Line, 1988): Anne Bancroft, Matthew Broderick. Nine years in the life of a NYC gay man - his love life, his relationship with his mother, and his hopes to adopt a son. A

12:00 am – TONIGHT AND EVERY NIGHT (Columbia, 1945): Rita Hayworth, Lee Bowman. An American girl falls for an RAF pilot while performing at an English music hall. B

2:00 am – THE SEA HAWK (WB, 1940): Errol Flynn, Flora Robson, & Brenda Marshall. Flynn protects Queen Elizabeth (Robson) and Good Old England from those pesky Spaniards. B+

4:15 am – THE SEA WOLF (WB, 1941): Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino, & John Garfield. A sadistic captain rescues the survivors of a shipwreck in this adaptation of Jack London’s story. A

September 27

6:30 am – THE KING’S VACATION (WB, 1933): George Arliss, Marjorie Gateson. A monarch thinks he can find a simpler life with his former wife. C+

9:30 am – VARSITY SHOW (WB, 1937): Dick Powell, Rosemary Lane & Ted Healy. A Broadway producer puts on a show at his alma mater. B+

11:00 am – STATION WEST (RKO, 1948): Dick Powell, Jane Greer, & Agnes Moorehead. Federal agent Powell takes on a gang of gold thieves. B

12:30 pm – BATTLE CIRCUS (MGM, 1953): Humphrey Bogart, June Allyson. Bogart’s a surgeon and Allyson is a nurse in a MASH unit during the Korean War. C

2:15 pm – THE STRATTON STORY (MGM, 1949): James Stewart, June Allyson. Based on the true story of pitcher Monty Stratton, who made a comeback after losing a leg in a hunting accident. B

4:15 pm – 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

8:00 pm – BANANAS (UA, 1971): Woody Allen, Louise Lasser. A New York nebbish gets mixed up in a South American revolution to impress the woman he loves. B+

9:30 pm – YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (Fox, 1974): Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn. Mel Brook’s spoof on the Frankenstein films, as a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein continues his work. A+

11:30 pm – FOUL PLAY (Paramount, 1978): Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase. An innocent woman stumbles onto a plot to murder the pope. C+

1:30 am – THE THREE MUSKETEERS (Fox, 1974), 1950): Michael York, Oliver Reed, & Faye Dunaway. Richard Lester directed this version of the classic Dumas novel. B

September 28

7:30 am – I’LL CRY TOMORROW (MGM, 1955): Susan Hayward, Richard Conte. Hayward stars in this true story of singer-actress Lillian Roth, who spent much of her career battling alcoholism. A

9:45 am – LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE (WB, 1951): Ruth Roman, Richard Todd. An actress champions the cause of a man she believes is falsely accused of killing his wife. B-

11:30 am – SHADOW OF DOUBT (MGM, 1935): Ricardo Cortez, Virginia Bruce. The marriage plans of actress Bruce are threatened by a murder charge. C+

1:00 pm – THE HARD WAY (WB, 1943): Ida Lupino, Joan Leslie, & Dennis Morgan. Lupino shines as a woman who will stop at nothing in order to make her younger sister a star. B-

3:00 pm – THE STAR (Fox, 1952): Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden. Bette is a bankrupt Hollywood queen still living in the past and headed for financial ruin until Hayden bails her out. It’s wonderfully trashy. C+

4:45 pm – THE VELVET TOUCH (RKO, 1948): Rosalind Russell, Leo Genn. After accidentally killing her lecherous producer, a famous actress tries to hide her guilt. C+

8:00 pm – THE NAKED GUN (Paramount, 1988): Leslie Nielsen, George Kennedy. The first movie spun from the television show and it’s hilarious. B+

9:45 pm – TOP SECRET (Paramount, 1984): Val Kilmer, Lucy Gutteridge. Kilmer debuts as a rock singer caught up on a spy mission in East Germany. From the producers and director of Airplane!  B+

11:30 pm – ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY (Universal, 2004); Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate. A new face threatens San Diego's top television news anchor. Ratings: See above.

1:15 am – STRANGE BREW (MGM, 1983): Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis. Hosers Bob and Doug McKenzie get jobs at the Elsinore Brewery, only to learn that something is rotten with the state of it. C+

September 29

6:00 am – WHEN LADIES MEET (MGM, 1941): Joan Crawford, Robert Taylor & Greer Garson. Remake of the 1932 film with Crawford, Taylor, and Garson as the publisher’s wife. B+

8:00 am – ADVENTURE (MGM, 1946): Clark Gable, Greer Garson. A rough-living sailor has trouble adjusting to domestic life when he marries a librarian. C

10:15 am – DESIRE ME (MGM, 1947): Greer Garson, Robert Mitchum, & Richard Hart. War widow Garson falls for the man who informs her that her husband has been killed in the war. But has he? C

12:00 pm – JULIA MISBEHAVES (MGM, 1948): Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, & Elizabeth Taylor. Showgirl Garson returns to stuffy hubby Pidgeon when daughter Taylor gets engaged. B+

1:45 pm – THE LAW AND THE LADY (MGM, 1951): Greer Garson, Michael Wilding, & Fernando Lamas. A society jewel thief falls for one of her marks. B-

3:30 pm – STRANGE LADY IN TOWN (WB, 1955): Greer Garson, Dana Andrews, & Cameron Mitchell. The arrival of a woman doctor causes a stir in a Western town. C+

8:00 pm – ROLE MODEL: GENE WILDER (Turner, 2008): A retrospective on the actor’s life and career.

9:15 pm – YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (Fox, 1974): Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn. Mel Brook’s spoof on the Frankenstein films, as a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein continues his work. A+

11:15 pm – ROLE MODEL: GENE WILDER (Turner, 2008): A retrospective on the actor’s life and career. Repeat.

12:30 am – START THE REVOLUTION WITHOUT ME (WB, 1970): Gene Wilder, Donald Sutherland. Two sets of twins - aristocrat and peasant - mistakenly exchange identities on the eve of the French Revolution. C

2:15 am – THE FRISCO KID (WB, 1979): Gene Wilder, Harrison Ford. The misadventures of a Polish rabbi in the Old West as he makes his way to San Francisco. C

4:30 am – BONNIE AND CLYDE (WB, 1967): Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway. Arthur Penn directed this highly stylized biopic of the murderous duo. A-

September 30

7:00 am – DOUBLE HARNESS (RKO, 1933): Ann Harding, William Powell. After tricking a playboy into marriage, a woman sets out to win his love honestly. B

8:15 am – ANN VICKERS (RKO, 1933): Irene Dunne, Walter Huston. Social worker Dunne’s fight for reform is corrupted by her love for dishonest judge Huston. C+

9:45 am – OF HUMAN BONDAGE (RKO, 1934): Leslie Howard, Bette Davis. A club-footed medical school student (Howard) falls for an illiterate, slutty waitress (Davis). A

11:15 am – THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (Selznick International, 1937): Ronald Colman, Madeline Carroll. Colman must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped. A

1:00 pm – ALGIERS (UA, 1938):  Charles Boyer, Hedy Lamarr. Walter Wanger produced this remake of Jean Gabin’s Pepe LeMoko with Boyer as the notorious jewel thief. Nowhere near Gabin’s. B

4:45 pm – THE ENCHANTED COTTAGE (RKO, 1945): Dorothy McGuire, Robert Young. A scarred veteran and a homely woman are transformed by love. C+

8:00 pm – REDS (Paramount, 1981): Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton. Beatty’s overlong bio of Communist journalist John Reed, the only American buried at the Kremlin. B+

11:30 pm – UNDER FIRE (Lion’s Gate, 1983): Nick Nolte, Gene Hackman. Three journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somoza regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979. B-

1:45 am – A BRIDGE TOO FAR (U.A., 1977): Sean Connery, Michael Caine. The failed attempt to capture several bridges to Germany in World War II in a campaign called Operation Market-Garden. A

4:45 am – BAT 21 (Tristar, 1988): Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, & Jerry Reed. An Air Force officer crashes behind enemy lines during the Vietnam War. C+

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1 comment:

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