TCM TiVo ALERT



TCM TiVo ALERT
For 
November 1–November 7

DAVID’S BEST BETS:

DODSWORTH (November 6, 2:15 am): This 1936 film is one of the greatest film you haven't seen. Actually, that was the introduction of Dodsworth from Robert Osborne on TCM the first time I saw it a few years ago. He is absolutely correct. This is a wonderful film. Sam Dodsworth (Walter Huston) is a rich automobile manufacturer who loves his job, but is convinced to retire early by his wife Fran (Ruth Chatterton), a vain woman who is fearful of growing old. She wants to see the world, particularly Europe, lead an exciting life. Sam is a regular guy who wants to please his wife. Fran quickly grows bored of Sam and spends most of her time with other men. She eventually dumps him for a European noble, leaving Sam to mope around Italy, where he sees a divorcee (Mary Astor), who he first met while traveling on the Queen Mary to Europe. The two fall in love, but Fran wants to reconcile. A very adult film, which is surprising as the Hays Code that restricted such themes went into effect two years before Dodsworth was released. I won't ruin the ending. Everything works exceptionally well in this film. The acting is top-notch (besides the three leads, David Niven is great in a smaller role in one of his earliest films, and Maria Ouspenskaya as a baroness is a scene-stealer), the story is first-rate, and with William Wyler as the director, the movie is paced perfectly.

BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (November 7, 6:00 am): An excellent JD movie with Glenn Ford as the teacher trying to put high school kids on the right track. Sidney Portier and Ford work exceptionally well with Portier as the defiant student and Ford seeing promise in him and trying to bring it out into the open. Vic Morrow plays the worst of the worst kids to near perfection. The scene in which Morrow’s character destroys a teacher's most-beloved items, his record collection, in class as the teacher is trying to reach the kids, is an incredibly haunting piece of cinema. And the soundtrack is great, particularly the opening credits with “Rock Around the Clock.” While most people think of the film as the first with a rock-and-roll song in it, it is so much more than that and a must-see.

ED’S BEST BETS:

TO BE OR NOT TO BE (November 1, 8:00 pm): They didn’t call it “the Lubitsch Touch” for nothing, and it’s in full regalia in this film, an extremely witty send up of Hitler and his Nazi thugs. Black comedy has never been better than here in the hands of a true master like Lubitsch. Jack Benny has a role of a lifetime as the egocentric Polish actor Joseph Tura, who in reality is one of the biggest hams ever to appear on stage. Carole Lombard, tragically in her last film, is Tura’s co-star and suffering wife. When the Germans invade Poland, Tura’s theater is closed and his troupe put out of business – until they become involved in espionage trying to save Polish Underground fighters from being handed over to the Gestapo by a traitor, and they find their acting skills put to a real test. Lubitsch took quite a beating from critics over this film, and it was not a success at the box office. Many felt that treating the Nazis as comical characters was in poor taste, but Lutisch defended his position by saying that "What I have satirized in this picture are the Nazis and their ridiculous ideology. I have also satirized the attitude of actors who always remain actors regardless how dangerous the situation might be, which I believe is a true observation.” Today, the film is viewed as a classic and the 1983 Mel Brooks remake is faithful to the original both in letter and spirit. Brooks himself echoed Lubitsch by saying that if one were to argue with a dictator, he would lose because the dictator has the fanaticism of his ideas, but if one were to take both the dictator and his ideas and make fun of them, it’s far more effective in discrediting both. Look for the great opening gag with Tom Dugan parading around as Der Fuehrer. This is a film not to be missed.

THE SILENCE OF THE SEA (November 2, 2:00 am): Jean-Pierre Melville chose Jean Brullers’ novel of the same name to make his directing debut. It’s an intimate look at France during the Occupation. A patrician German general is billeted with a provincial French family who is unwilling even to speak to him. Nevertheless, each evening he reminisces about life and war in the face of their stubborn silence. He is firm in his belief that the family and France will one day see the true nature of him and Germany. It is only later that the naive general visits Paris and finally sees the brutality of the occupation, as well as learning of the death camp in Treblinka. Melville provides glimpses of what he would later accomplish in such films as Bob le flambeur (1956), and L' Arme des ombres (1969). And it’s always interesting to see a director’s first feature.

WE DISAGREE ON ... WAIT UNTIL DARK (November 1, 4:00 am)

ED: A-. I’m not an Audrey Hepburn fan by any stretch of the imagination, although I am fond of several pictures she stars in, such as The Nun’s StoryTwo for the RoadThe Children’s HourLove in the Afternoon, and Sabrina. If the film is interesting, then I’m in, but not for Hepburn. Wait Until Dark is another on my list. It’s not so much Hepburn, but the story and cast around her that makes this film such a delectable thriller. The film began life as a 1966 Broadway play by Frederick Knott that starred Lee Remick. The basic plot itself was a rehash of a 1958 film titled The Lineup, with psycho gangster Eli Wallach after a heroin-filled doll accidentally brought back from a trip abroad. The key change, a nice little twist, was to make the heroine a recently blinded woman, which added even more thrills to the plot. Hepburn, I must admit, was brilliant in the role. She and director Terrence Young studied for the role at The Lighthouse for the Blind in New York, where Hepburn learned how to use a cane, how to do her hair and make-up with her eyes shut, and even donned special contact lenses to make the transformation complete. Her main competition in the movie is Alan Arkin, who gives one hell of a performance as Roat, who is simply Wallach’s character, Dancer. Some say Arkin steals the movie, but Hepburn gives it everything she can without going overboard and overemoting. The rest of the cast is excellent, Richard Crenna and Jack Weston in particular. The ending, where Hepburn levels the playing field with Roat, is the highlight of the film. Author Stephen King, in his non-fiction work, Danse Macabre, declared Wait Until Dark to be the scariest movie of all time. And he should know. By the way, a little piece of ironic trivia: Hepburn served as a nurse in World War II Holland, and one of the patients she treated was young British paratrooper Terrence Young, the film’s director.

DAVID: C-. In comparison to me, Ed is a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn. Outside of Sabrina and The Children's Hour, I'm at a loss to name another film she's in that I enjoy. What do I think of Love in the Afternoon? Read this We Disagree. How about My Fair Lady? Read this We Disagree.  That we've never done a We Disagree on Breakfast at Tiffany's is because neither one of us is a fan. She's not as bad as Katharine Hepburn, but that's primarily because Audrey didn't make as many films. So what is it about Wait Until Dark that I don't like? It's quicker to write what I like or rather who I like. Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna are quite good and save the film from getting a D rating from me even though both over-exaggerate their roles. The movie came out in 1967, considered a landmark year in cinema. This movie wasn't one of the reasons for that year in film to be celebrated. Hepburn is horribly miscast as the film's heroine, a blind woman being pursued by bad guys over heroin sewn into a doll. She's not even slightly convincing as a woman who's recently lost her sight. The plot is completely ridiculous, almost nonexistent at times and seems to be just there to pass the time. It gets out of hand fast with the silliness escalating to the film's supposed tense showdown with the blind Hepburn breaks all the lights in her apartment to even the odds by putting the criminals in the dark with her. Of course, she misses one light. The attempts to build tension come across as contrived and forced. There's no need to give away the ending. Even if you've never seen it, you know how it ends. That predictability is typical of this movie's many flaws. But if you're looking for good news, it also signals the end of the film.

Schedule Subject to Change (All Times Eastern)

November 1

6:45 am – DOCTOR X (WB, 1932): Lee Tracy, Lionel Atwill, & Fay Wray. Wonderful old horror film about “the full moon murders.” Directed by Michael Curtiz in two-strip Technicolor. B+

8:15 am – DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (MGM, 1941): Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman. Tracy is the title character in MGM’s lush remake of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of good versus evil. A

10:30 am – CALLING DR. GILLESPIE (MGM, 1942): With Dr. Kildare in the Service, the series picks up with Dr. Gillespie tangling with a homicidal maniac. C-

4:00 pm – THE SEARCHERS (WB, 1956): John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, & Vera Miles. An Indian-hating Civil War veteran tracks down the tribe that slaughtered his family and kidnapped his niece. A+

6:15 pm – POINT BLANK (MGM, 1967): Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson. It’s a great revenge tale about a gangster planning revenge on his faithless wife and his partner. B+

8:00 pm – 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. It was Lombard’s final movie before her death. B+

10:00 pm – MURDER MOST FOUL (MGM, 1965): Margaret Rutherford, Ron Moody.  Miss Marple joins a small-town theater to investigate a murder. B

11:45 pm – NORTH BY NORTHWEST (MGM, 1959): Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint. Cary Grant is an advertising man mistaken for a government agent by spies, triggering a cross-country chase. A+

2:15 am – BONE (New World, 1972): Yaphet Kotto, Andrew Duggan. A thief who breaks into a happily married couple’s house in Beverly Hills discovers they are neither happy nor wealthy. B-

4:00 am – WAIT UNTIL DARK (WH, 1967): Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin & Richard Crenna. A blind woman fights against drug smugglers who've invaded her home. Rating: See above.

November 2

8:00 am – THIRD FINGER, LEFT HAND (MGM, 1940): Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas. A magazine editor pretends to be married in order to avoid advances by male colleagues. C

2:00 pm – AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (MGM, 1951): Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, & Nina Foch. An American artist (Kelly) loves Caron, but loyalty to his patron, Foch, almost ruins it all. A+

8:00 pm – THE JAZZ SINGER (WB, 1953): Danny Thomas, Peggy Lee. This slick remake of the 1927 film breaks no new ground and retains all the schmaltz. C+

10:00 pm – PETE KELLY’S BLUES (WB, 1955): Jack Webb, Janet Leigh. Jazz bandleader Webb gets mixed up with gangsters in 1920’s Kansas City. C

2:00 am – THE SILENCE OF THE SEA (Melville Prod., 1949): Howard Vernon, Nicole Stephane. A cultured German officer billeted in a French house has a change of heart when he sees occupied Paris. A

3:30 am – THE STRANGE ONES (Gaumont, 1950): Nicole Stephane, Edouard Dermithe. A brother and sister close themselves off from the world by playing a series of mind games with the people who enter their lair. A

November 3

6:00 am – 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+

7:30 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+

10:00 am – TOUGH GUY (MGM, 1936): Jackie Cooper, Joseph Calleia. To save his dog, a boy runs away from home, only to become involved with gangsters. C+

11:30 am – THE GREAT O’MALLEY (WB, 1937): Pat O’Brien, Humphrey Bogart. A vengeful cop costs Bogart a job, and when he turns to crime to feed his family, the cop has him sent to prison. C+

12:45 pm – KING OF THE UNDERWORLD (WB, 1939):  Kay Francis, Humphrey Bogart. A remake of Paul Muni’s Dr. Socrates stars Francis as the doctor and Bogie as the gang leader. C

2:00 pm – BULLETS FOR O’HARA (WB, 1941): Anthony Quinn, Joan Perry. A gangster’s wife helps the FBI nail him. D+

6:00 pm – IMPACT (UA, 1949): Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, & Charles Coburn. After surviving a murder attempt, an auto magnate goes into hiding so his wife can pay for the crime. B+

8:00 pm – POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL (Artcraft, 1917): Mary Pickford, Madeline Traverse. A neglected rich girl's health crisis shows her and her parents some bitter truths. A-

9:30 pm – IT (Paramount, 1927): Clara Bow, Antonio Moreno. A salesgirl with plenty of “It” pursues a handsome playboy in this film that began the jazz and flapper movie fad. Silent. B

11:00 pm – SADIE THOMPSON (UA, 1928): Gloria Swanson, Lionel Barrymore. A South Seas prostitute runs afoul of a fire-and-brimstone preacher. Silent. A

2:15 am – PANDORA’S BOX (Nero-Film AG, 1929): Louise Brooks, Francis Lederer. The rise and inevitable fall of amoral but naive young Lulu and the lust and violence she inspires in those around her. Silent. A+

November 4

1:30 pm – THE LUSTY MEN (RKO, 1952): Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, & Arthur Kennedy. A faded rodeo star becomes a mentor for a younger rider, but falls for his wife. A-

8:00 pm – THE CAT AND THE CANARY (Paramount, 1939): Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard. An attorney tries to protect the sole heir to a millionaire’s creepy estate. A

9:30 pm – MY FAVORITE BLONDE (Paramount, 1942): Bob Hope, Madeline Carroll. A vaudevillian gets mixed up with a beautiful blonde spy. A-

11:00 pm – MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE (Paramount, 1947): Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Peter Lorre, & Lon Chaney, Jr. In one of his best outings, Bob Hope is a baby photographer mistaken for a private eye. B

2:30 am – THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE (RKO, 1944): Bob Hope, Virginia Mayo. A cowardly knight rescues a disguised princess from pirates. B+

November 5

6:00 am – THE SPORT PARADE (RKO, 1932): Joel McCrea, William Gargan. Football teammates follow different paths after graduation. One becomes a sports reporter while the other fails as a pro and ends up as a pro wrestler. B

7:15 am – BIRD OF PARADISE (RKO, 1932): Dolores Del Rio, Joel McCrea. An island visitor falls for a woman scheduled to be a sacrifice to the gods. C

8:45 am – THE COMMON LAW (RKO, 1931): Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea. A kept woman gives up luxury to move in with a struggling artist. C

10:15 am – ROCKABYE (RKO, 1932): Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea. A Broadway star tries to hold onto an adopted child and a younger man. C-

11:30 am – BED OF ROSES (RKO, 1933): Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea. A girl from the wrong side of the tracks is torn between true love and a life of sin. C

2:00 pm – GAMBLING LADY (WB, 1934): Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea. Two gamblers fall in love, but one is already married to a possible murderer. B-

4:30 pm – THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (RKO, 1932): Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks. Noted big game hunter McCrea is shipwrecked on an island and hunted by Count Zaroff (Banks). A-

5:45 pm – FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (UA, 1940): Joel McCrea, Laraine Day. On the eve of World War II a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London. A+

8:00 pm – NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA (Columbia, 1971): Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman. Russia's last czar, Nicolas II, and his ill-fated family, the Romanovs, are the subject of this epic. B

11:15 pm – ANASTASIA (Fox, 1956): Ingrid Bergman, Yul Brenner. A group of exiled Russians claim to have found the daughter of Nicholas II, thought executed in 1918. A+

1:15 pm – RASPUTIN, THE MAD MONK (Hammer/20thCentury Fox, 1966): Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley. Lee is Rasputin in this film about his rise and fall in the court of Nicholas II. D+

3:00 am – THE RISE OF CATHERINE THE GREAT (London Films, 1934): Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Elisabeth Bergner. The story of how the Czarina came to power in 18th Century Russia. A-

November 6

8:15 am – BRUTE FORCE (Universal, 1947): Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn. Jules Dassin directed this noir about a personal battle between a convict Lancaster and sadistic captain of the guards Cronyn. A-

12:00 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 – MEET JOHN DOE (Columbia, 1941): Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck. A reporter’s fraudulent story makes a tramp into a national political hero and a pawn of big business. A-

10:15 pm – BULLITT (WB, 1968): Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset. When his witness is killed Detective Frank Bullitt (McQueen) takes his own steps to solve the case with a great car chase. B+

12:15 am – 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++

2:15 am – DODSWORTH (Goldwyn/U.A., 1936): Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton. An industrialist and his frivolous wife retire to Europe, where their marriage ends. Based on the Sinclair Lewis novel. A

November 7

6:00 am – THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (MGM, 1955): Glenn Ford, Anne Francis. Ford is a teacher who must face the problems of juvenile delinquency in his high school. A

8:00 am – REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (WB, 1954): James Dean, Natalie Wood. Nicholas Ray directed this teenage angst drama about an alienated kid (Dean) and his troubles at school and home. C+

11:45 am – UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE (WB, 1967): Sandy Dennis, Eileen Hackart. Dennis stars in the trials and tribulations of a young English teacher in a New York City high school. C+

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-

8:00 pm – DETOUR (PRC, 1945): Tom Neal, Ann Savage. Edgar Ulmer’s cult classic about a hitchhiker that takes a dead man’s identity only to face blackmail by an unscrupulous woman. A+

9:15 pm – 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-

10:45 am – GUN CRAZY (UA, 1949): John Dall, Peggy Cummins. This ahead-of-its-time sex and guns cult classic about a loosely based on Bonnie and Clyde helped inspire the French New Wave. A+

4:00 am – HELL’S ANGELS ON WHEELS (U.S. Films, 1967): Adam Roarke, Jack Nicholson & Sabrina Scharf. A gas station attendant falls for the girlfriend of a vicious motorcycle gang. C


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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