September 23–September 30


CLAIRE'S KNEE (September 28, 2:30 am): This 1970 French film, directed by Eric Rohmer, is an excellent erotic comedy about a diplomat in his 30s who becomes obsessed with a teenage girl. Well, not really her - he's in love with the thought of touching the young girl's knee as a sort of sexual conquest. However, the film is so much more than that. It's about a man trying to recapture his youth before getting married with the implication that marriage means his life will forever change and not for the better. It's about a younger teenage girl, Laura, Claire's half-sister, and her maturation. It's about Claire, who appears to be care-free and not very bright, but someone who is also insecure and vulnerable. Its story is brilliant and incredibly emotional. The legendary Roger Ebert described it as "a movie for people who still read good novels, care about good films, and think occasionally." That sums it up quite nicely.

THE INFORMER (September 29, 2:00 am): This 1935 film, directed by John Ford, is a fascinating and intelligent drama about a simple man in desperate need of money and even more so in desperate need of attention. Victor McLaglen is captivating as Gypo Nolan, the simple man in question. He is kicked out of the Irish Republican Army during its 1922 War of Independence for not killing an English Black-and-Tan as retribution for that man's murder of an IRA member. Now even more desperate and an outcast in his hometon, Gypo sells out a friend wanted as a fugitive, for 20 pounds. Gypo proceeds to spend nearly all of the money on liquor, food and showing off. After passing the blame for the incident, that leads to the death of Ford's character, onto someone else, Gypo finally admits what he did and realizes how wrong he was. The film - with Oscar wins for McLaglen and John Ford - is a morality story that is dark, tragic and raw.  


PATTON (September 25, 8:00 pm): George C. Scott was never better in this biopic of World War II’s most iconic general, and the Academy knew it as well, awarding him the Best Actor Oscar for his efforts (which he refused). It’s a good, old-fashioned epic. We knew who the Good Guys were and who the Bad Guys were, and never the twain did meet. There are historical inaccuracies galore, but this is Hollywood. If it’s a case of legend versus fact, print the legend. Karl Malden is excellent as General Omar Bradley, and Michael Bates makes for a feisty Montgomery, with whom Patton was always in competition. Does it tell us much about the inner Patton? Not really, but just go along for the ride. You won’t be disappointed.

THREE ON A MATCH (September 26, 1:00 am): The Pre-Code era was noted for producing some pretty strong films, and this entry was among the strongest. Ann Dvorak, Joan Blondell, and Bette Davis are three childhood friends who have a reunion at a restaurant and vow to stay in touch. They then light their cigarettes on one match, hence the title. The famous superstition predicts bad things for those who do so, and each suffers her share of the bad life. However, the one who falls the furthest gives the movie both its twist and its reputation as among the most lurid of the Pre-Code films. Humphrey Bogart is on hand as well as (what else?) a gangster. He turns in a good performance, as does Warren William, playing a good guy for once. For those new to Pre-Code films, this is one to watch.

WE DISAGREE ON . . . HUD (September 24, 9:45 pm)

ED: AHud is one great movie, boasting a good story, a great script, excellent acting from its leads, wonderful photography from the great James Wong Howe, and taut direction from Martin Ritt. Based on Larry McMurtry’s novel, Horseman, Pass By, it’s a uncompromising look at the gulf between the values of the Old West, personified by Homer Bannon (Melvyn Douglas) and the New West, more ruthless, less traditional, personified by Paul Newman. Newman gave one of his greatest performances as the amoral Hud Bannon, whose philosophy of life was that he interpreted the law in a lenient manner: “Sometimes I lean to one side and sometimes I lean to the other.” Hud is one of the great heels of film, and Newman's usual scenery chewing actually helps, rather than hinders, the progression of the plot. When his father discovers his herd has contracted hoof and mouth disease, Hud’s solution is to sell them off before anyone finds out. Hud also wants to lease out the ranch for oil exploration, which Homer is dead set against. In between the two are Hud’s nephew, Lonnie (Brandon DeWilde) and housekeeper Alma Brown (Patricia Neal), who Hud is forever trying to seduce. Hud is also a wonderful character study. As we get to know the Bannons, we gradually discover why they are what they are, especially Hud. And near the end, with Homer’s death, there is no soapy deathbed scene, where Hud sees the error of his way and promises to reform, Alma returns (after Hud has driven her away), and Hud and nephew Lonnie work the ranch together while Hud learns the value of good, hard work. Academy awards went to Douglas, Neal, and cinematographer Howe. Shooting the film in black and white was a terrific idea, for it emphasizes the rift between father and son and keeps the film somber. If ever a film deserved to a labeled “Essential,” it is Hud.

DAVID: C+. First, a declaimer: I'm not a big Paul Newman fan and really don't understand why people consider him a great actor. I can't stand Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and can only tolerate Cool Hand LukeThe Hustler and Nobody's Fool. I don't dismiss him as he's made some excellent pictures; just not enough of them to earn his status as a Hollywood legend. Hud definitely falls into the "can only tolerate" category. Newman was often given the anti-hero role, and this film is yet another though numerous reviews of the 1963 film state the viewing audience saw his character as the hero, unable to tell the difference. To summarize, Hud (Newman in the title role) is an arrogant, self-centered, hard-living son of Homer Bannon (Melvyn Douglas, who is splendid in this film), a successful and honorable rancher. The two clash with a full-scale blow-up when their cattle get hoof and mouth disease. Hud wants to sell the cattle without disclosing the disease while Homer is dead-set against it. The film fails to provide insight into the troubled father-son relationship except to show their personality differences. Also, Patricia Neal is very good as a middle-aged housekeeper abused by Hud, and Brandon DeWilde is fine as Lonnie, Hud's nephew who idolizes his uncle to the point of being blind to his many faults until the end. But the storyline is weak and lacks originality. Some have called it a Western ripoff of 1955's Rebel Without a Cause, another highly-overrated. I can somewhat see it except Hud is a stronger character than James Dean's brooding Jim Stark. Despite some good performances, Hud is a dull and shallow movie. Among the memorable lines in this flat film are: "It don't take long to kill things, not like it takes to grow," from Homer, and "Nobody gets out of life alive," from Hud. Words to live, or die, by.

Schedule Subject to Change (All Times Eastern)

September 23

6:30 am – THE CHIEF (MGM, 1933): Ed Wynn, Dorothy Mackaill. Ed Wynn works himself up to fire chief and then is asked to enter politics. D

9:00 am – RIFFRAFF (MGM, 1936): Spencer Tracy, Jean Harlow. Fisherman Tracy marries cannery girl Harlow. After he’s booted from his union and fired he leaves Hattie, who continues to love him to the point of stealing for him. B

10:45 am – LIVE, LOVE AND LEARN (MGM, 1937): Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell. Society girl (Russell) marries bohemian artist (Montgomery) and adopts his lifestyle. A-

1:45 pm – LORD JEFF (MGM, 1938): Freddie Bartholomew, Mickey Rooney, & Charles Coburn. Good-boy-gone-astray Freddie is sent to military school to straighten out. C

3:15 pm – JUDGE HARDY’S CHILDREN (MGM, 1938): Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney. The Hardy family’s Washington trip lands Andy in hot water with a diplomat’s daughter. C+

4:45 pm – THE HARDYS RIDE HIGH (MGM, 1939): Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone. Our favorite family has trouble adjusting after inheriting a family fortune.B-

6:15 pm – LOVE LAUGHS AT ANDY HARDY (MGM, 1946): Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone. Andy returns to college after the war only to find his sweetheart engaged to another. C

8:00 pm – THE HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD (UA, 1934): George Arliss, Robert Young. Arliss stars in the story of the rise of the Rothschild financial empire, fighting both Napoleon and anti-Semitism. A-

10:00 pm – GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT (Fox, 1947): Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire. A reporter pretends to be Jewish to cover a story on Anti-Semitism. A

12:15 am – CROSSFIRE (RKO, 1947): Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, & Robert Young. A man is murdered by one of a group of soldiers just out of the army. But who done it and why? B

2:00 am – FOCUS (Paramount, 2001): William H. Macy, Laura Dern. During World War II a man notices anti-Semitism in his New York neighborhood when a locals target a Jewish man. B

4:00 am – THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA (WB, 1938): Paul Muni, Joseph Shildkraut, & Gale Sondergaard. Muni is the great French writer Emile Zola, who braved the mobs defending Captain Dreyfuss. A+

September 24

7:45 am – EASY TO LOVE (MGM, 1953): Esther Williams, Van Johnson, & Tony Martin. Two men compete for the heart of a Cypress Gardens swimming star. C+

12:30 pm – THE MIRACLE (WB, 1959): Carroll Baker, Roger Moore. When a 19th century nun elopes, the Virgin Mary takes her place at the convent. B-

2:45 pm – SOMETHING WILD (UA, 1961): Carroll Baker, Ralph Meeker & Mildred Dunnock. A rape victim runs away from her family and takes shelter with her would-be attacker. B-

8:00 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+

9:45 pm – HUD (Paramount, 1963): Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, & Patricia Neal. An unrepentant heel makes those around him miserable. Douglas and Neal won Oscars. Ratings: See above.

11:45 pm – SEA OF GRASS (MGM, 1947): Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn. Elia Kazan directed this Western drama about farmers on the plains, the “sea of grass,” and their travails. B+

2:00 am – ADVANCE TO THE REAR (MGM, 1964): Glenn Ford, Stella Stevens & Melvyn Douglas. Civil War rejects are set to the West, supposedly out of harm’s way. C

3:45 am – THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY (MGM, 1964): James Garner, Julie Andrews. Andrews is a British war widow who falls for opportunistic Naval officer Garner during World War II. B+

September 25

6:00 am – MY FORBIDDEN PAST (RKO, 1951): Robert Mitchum, Ava Gardner. A beauty with a skeleton in her closet seeks revenge on the suitor that jilted her. C+

7:15 am – ONE IS A LONELY NUMBER (MGM, 1972): Trish Van Devere, Janet Leigh. A pretty divorcee tries to build a new life. C

9:00 am – WE WERE DANCING (MGM, 1942): Norma Shearer, Melvyn Douglas. A Polish princess gives up society for the love of a gigolo in this hokey adaptation of Noel Coward’s TonightC-

10:45 am – BROADWAY LIMITED (UA, 1941): Victor McLaglen, Marjorie Woodworth. A Hollywood publicity stunt goes awry, ruining the leading lady’s love life and bringing in the feds. C

1:45 pm – COVER-UP (UA, 1949): William Bendix, Dennis O’Keefe. Insurance investigator O'Keefe looks into an apparent suicide that turns out to be anything but. B

4:45 pm – RAW DEAL (Eagle-Lion, 1948): Denis O’Keefe, Claire Trevor. When the gangster he took the rap for welches, a convict breaks out of prison to extract revenge. A-

6:15 pm – T-MEN (Eagle-Lion, 1948): Dennis O’Keefe, Mary Meade, & Alfred Ryder. U.S. agents infiltrate a deadly counterfeit ring. Directed by Anthony Mann. A-

8:00 pm – PATTON (Fox, 1970): George C. Scott, Karl Malden. Scott won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the acerbic military genius. A+

11:00 pm – THE HOSPITAL (UA, 1971): George C. Scott, Diana Rigg. Paddy Chayefsky’s black comedy about a murderer stalking a hospital while a suicidal doctor reviews his own life. C+

1:00 am – DR. STRANGELOVE (Columbia, 1963): Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, & Sterling Hayden. Mentally unstable General Jack D. Ripper launches a nuclear strike to stop Russia from fluoridating our water. A+ 

September 26

6:00 am – A FREE SOUL (MGM, 1931): Lionel Barrymore, Norma Shearer, & Clark Gable. An alcoholic lawyer ‘s freethinking daughter falls hard for one of the rats he’s defending. A-

8:00 am – DOWNSTAIRS (MGM, 1932): John Gilbert, Paul Lukas. An evil chauffeur seduces and blackmails his way through high society. A

9:30 am – LADIES THEY TALK ABOUT (WB, 1933): Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster, & Lyle Talbot. Bank robber Stanwyck is sent to prison, where she becomes boss of her cellblock. B+

10:45 am – LOOSE ANKLES (WB, 1930): Loretta Young, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.  A young woman will inherit a fortune if she behaves herself and marries well. B

12:00 pm – THEY CALL IT SIN (WB, 1933): Loretta Young, George Brent and Una Merkel. An innocent young chorus girl must fight off the lecherous advances of her producer. C+

1:15 pm – HEROES FOR SALE (WB, 1933): Richard Barthelmess, Loretta Young. This great Pre-Code film is about a veteran fighting off drug addiction to make his way in the business world. A

2:30 pm – EMPLOYEES ENTRANCE (WB, 1933): Warren William, Loretta Young. An amoral, ruthless department store manager stops at nothing to get what he wants. B+

4:00 pm – MIDNIGHT MARY (MGM, 1933): Loretta Young, Ricardo Cortez. Anita Loos penned & William Wellman directed this story of an abused orphan that drifts into a life of crime. B+

5:15 pm – OTHER MEN’S WOMEN (WB, 1931): Grant Withers, James Cagney & Mary Astor. A railroad worker falls for his co-worker’s wife. C+

6:30 pm – THE PUBLIC ENEMY (WB, 1930):  James Cagney, Jean Harlow. The film that made James Cagney a star and certainly the Pulp Fiction of its time, as it still shocks today. A+

8:00 pm – SCARFACE, SHAME OF A NATION (UA, 1931): Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, & Boris Karloff. The original Howard Hawks directed saga of ambitious gangster Tony Camonte (Muni). Karloff is great as his rival. A

9:45 pm – LITTLE CAESAR (WB, 1930): Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.  Robinson is mesmerizing as a small-time hood who rises to the top of the rackets and falls dramatically. A+

11:15 pm – PENTHOUSE (MGM, 1933): Warner Baxter, Myrna Loy. Framed for murder by the Mob a lawyer enlists the help of a call girl to prove his innocence in this good, all-around mystery. B

1:00 am – THREE ON A MATCH (WB, 1932): Joan Blondell, Bette Davis, and Ann Dvorak. One of the best Pre-Code dramas as three childhood friends go their different ways and later meet up as adults. It’s pretty strong stuff. A+

2:15 am – CALL HER SAVAGE (Fox, 1932): Clara Bow, Gilbert Roland & Thelma Todd. A sexy Texas girl storms her way through life until her luck runs out and she learns the error of her ways. B-

3:45 am – THE HATCHET MAN (WB, 1932): Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young. Can you see Eddie G. and Loretta as Chinese? He’s a hit man for the Tong who must whack a boyhood friend. C-

5:00 am – STATE’S ATTORNEY (RKO, 1932): John Barrymore, Helen Twelvetrees. The arrogance of district attorney Barrymore almost ends up costing him his career. A

September 27

7:30 am – THE GROUP (U.A. 1966): Candace Bergen, Joan Hackett. Eight friends from a woman’s college fight for happiness during the Great Depression.C+

10:30 am – DR. KILDARE GOES HOME (MGM, 1940): Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, & Laraine Day. Dr. Kildare takes a leave from Blair General to help his father set up a small-town clinic. C+

12:00 pm – DEATH VALLEY RANGERS (Monogram, 1943): Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard. Government agents are called in to stop a series of gold shipment robberies. C+

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

3:30 pm – 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+

8:00 pm – LAURA (Fox, 1944): Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, & Clifton Webb. A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he’s been investigating. A+

9:45 pm – THE APARTMENT (UA, 1960): Jack Lemmon, Fred MacMurray, & Shirley MacLaine. An aspiring executive lets his boss use his apartment for trysts, only to fall for the big chief's mistress. A

12:00 pm – AUNTIE MAME (WB, 1958): Rosalind Russell, Forrest Tucker, & Coral Browne. An orphaned young boy goes to live with his free-spirited aunt (Russell). A-

2:30 am – DARKTOWN STRUTTERS (New World, 1975): Trina Parks, Edna Richardson. Blaxploitation film about an all-female biker gang that take action when their leader’s mother is kidnapped. C-
September 28

8:00 am – THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL (WB, 1957): Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe. An American showgirl in London causes a stir when falls for a European prince. C+

10:00 am – HENRY V (Eagle-Lion/U.A., 1944): Laurence Olivier, Ernest Thesiger & Leslie Banks. Olivier directed and stars in this version of Shakespeare’s play about the Battle of Agincourt. A++

2:00 pm – BUS STOP (Fox, 1956): Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray. An innocent cowboy kidnaps a small-time singer with whom he’s infatuated. A-

4:00 pm – SWEET NOVEMBER (WB, 1968): Sandy Dennis, Anthony Newley. A woman refuses to let her romances last longer than a month. C+

8:00 pm – METROPOLITAN (New Line, 1990): Carolyn Farina, Edward Clements. A group of friends from New York’s haute-bourgeoisie gather during the holiday season. C

10:00 pm – BARCELONA (Fine Line, 1994): Taylor Nichols, Chris Eigeman. An American businessman living in Spain and his naval officer cousin discuss women and their home country. C+

12:00 am – THE MERRY WIDOW (MGM, 1925): Mae Murray, John Gilbert. A European nobleman courts the wealthy American widow he once loved to save his bankrupt homeland. Silent. A-

2:30 am – CLAIRE’S KNEE (Les Films Du Losange, 1970): Jean-Claude Brialy, Aurora Cornu. Despite his betrothal to one woman, a man lusts after her stepsisters. B+

September 29

6:00 am – THE DESERT SONG (WB, 1929): John Boles, Carlotta King. Boles plays two roles: The Red Shadow and Pierre Bierbeau, in this first adaptation of the Romberg operetta. D+

8:15 am – THREE FACES EAST (WB, 1930): Constance Bennett, Erich Von Stroheim. During World War I, a female agent tries to unmask a German spy. C

9:30 am – MY PAST (WB, 1931): Bebe Daniels, Lewis Stone. A stage star is torn between a wealthy older man and a handsome younger one. C

10:45 am – BARBARY COAST GENT (MGM, 1944): Wallace Beery, Binnie Barnes. A bandit from the gold fields moves to San Francisco and tries to go straight. C

12:15 pm – HARD TO GET (WB, 1929): Dorothy Mackaill, Charles Delaney. Dress shop clerk Mackaill has a chance to marry a millionaire, but is unsure of her social position. C

1:45 pm – PENROD AND SAM (WB, 1931): Leo Janney, Junior Coughlin. William Beaudine directed this adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s story about two youths and their adventures in Indiana. C

3:00 pm – FATHER TAKES A WALK (WB, 1936): Paul Graetz, Violet Fairbrother. A Jewish businessman leaves his job when his sons bring in modern technology. B

5:45 pm – PHANTOM KILLER (Monogram, 1942): Dick Purcell, Joan Woodbury. A district attorney investigates a criminal who appears to be in two places at the same time. C+

7:00 pm – THE MYSTERY OF THE 13TH GUEST (Monogram, 1943): Helen Parrish, Dick Purcell. When a heiress goes to collect her inheritance she experiences a series of strange happenings. C+

8:00 pm – DODGE CITY (WB, 1941): Errol Flynn, Bruce Cabot. Soldier of fortune Flynn takes on old enemy Cabot, who runs Dodge City. B

10:00 pm – GONE WITH THE WIND (MGM, 1939): Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia deHavilland, & Leslie Howard. This classic version of Margaret Mitchell’s bestseller was the biggest grossing movie for decades. A

2:00 am – THE INFORMER (RKO, 1935): Victor McLaglen, Preston Foster. John Ford directed this story about an Irish rebel ousted from the rebel organization who betrays his former comrade for a reward. A

4:00 am – NOW VOYAGER (WB, 1942): Bette Davis, Paul Henried, & Claude Rains.  Classic about a repressed spinster (Davis) set free by psychiatry and her love for a married man (Henreid). A+

September 30

6:45 am – VACATION FROM MARRIAGE (MGM, 1945): Robert Donat, Deborah Kerr. A couple changed by their service in World War II dread their reunion. B+

8:30 am – THE HUCKSTERS (MGM, 1947): Clark Gable, Sydney Greenstreet. War veteran Gable fights for honesty in the advertising game. A

10:30 am – EDWARD, MY SON (MGM, 1949): Spencer Tracy, Deborah Kerr. Tracy is determined to make his son a success at all costs and destroys anyone who threatens that determination. B+

2:00 pm – COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS (MGM, 1959): Deborah Kerr, Rossano Brazzi. After a wartime separation, Kerr discovers her French husband is a womanizer. C

3:45 pm – THE SUNDOWNERS (WB, 1960): Robert Mitchum, Deborah Kerr. An Australian sheepherder and his wife clash over their nomadic existence and their son’s future. A+

6:00 pm – MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS (WB, 1965): Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, & Dean Martin. A couple accidentally divorces during a wild Mexican vacation. B

8:00 pm – THE YOUNG LIONS (Fox, 1958): Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, & Dean Martin. A Jewish soldier faces anti-Semitism after he enlists to fight in World War II. B-

11:00 pm – THE WAY WE WERE (Columbia, 1973): Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand. A ‘30s student radical and her writer husband fight to keep their marriage together over the years. B-

1:15 am – HEARTS OF THE WEST (MGM, 1975): Jeff Bridges, Andy Griffith. Bridges is great as a dime store Western writer whose wish to be a cowboy star comes true. B+

3:15 am – THE CHOSEN (Contemporary Films, 1981): Maximillian Schell, Rod Steiger, & Robby Benson. Two boys from different Judaic traditions form a friendship. B+

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  1. Village of the damned sounds like an interesting story

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