October 23–October 31


ON BORROWED TIME (October 27, 8:00 pm): I'm recommending two films this week starring one of my favorite actors: Lionel Barrymore. On Borrowed Time is one of the most emotional and touching films I've ever seen. It's also one of the most unique films I've ever seen. Like he did in numerous movies, Barrymore plays a grumpy old wheelchair-bound man (Gramps) who is raising his grandson, Pud (played by Bobs Watson; yeah Bobs as in more than one Bob). Pud's mother and father are killed in a car accident before the film starts, and his aunt wants to raise him, primarily to get her hands on the money left to the boy by his parents. But Pud and Gramps can't stand her, see right through her, and share an exceptionally close bond. But unlike most movies in which Barrymore is the grumpy old guy, the plot twist in 1939's On Borrowed Time is one for the ages. Gramps has an apple tree and the fruit is constantly being stolen so he makes a wish that anyone who climbs the tree gets stuck up there until he permits them to come down. Well, Death (masterfully played by Cedric Hardwicke) comes calling for Gramps and is tricked into climbing up the tree. Not only can't he take Gramps, but he can't take anyone else. The aunt thinks Gramps is crazy and sees this as an opportunity to get him committed and have Pud – and his money – for herself. As the movie progresses, Death tricks Pud into climbing the tree with disastrous results. Just thinking about the film's conclusion gives me chills. Not only does the film have a wonderful storyline, with many funny scenes, but a loving and touching message. Also, the acting is outstanding. Barrymore proves yet again that he never gave a bad performance in a film.

THE DEVIL DOLL (October 31, 8:15 am): Because Lionel Barrymore's characters are so likable in nearly every role he played, it's somewhat difficult to imagine him playing a vengeful criminal (wrongfully convicted, of course). His character escapes Devil's Island and plots his revenge against those who framed him in this 1936 film directed by Tod Browning, who co-wrote it. Oh, and he dresses like an old woman at times. But Barrymore was such a pro that he handles himself exceptionally well in this science fiction classic in which he shrinks people to one-sixth their size. Maureen O'Sullivan is good as his daughter and Rafaela Ottiano is amazing as his partner in crime who takes evil to new heights.


ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (October 23, 9:00 am): Humphrey Bogart had many good qualities as an actor, but the ability to take a bad film and elevate it with his performance was not one of them. However, give him a good film and he often elevated it with the quality of his performance. This is a perfect case in point – a film with a lead that, in the wrong hands, could potentially sink it. Bogart, however, takes to it like a fish to water and comes off totally believable as a gangster who finds himself up against Nazi saboteurs led by Naughty Nazi Conrad Veidt. The performances supplied by such as Judith Anderson as Veidt’s assistant, Peter Lorre (in a wonderful turn as a sadistic henchman), William Demarest as Bogie’s sidekick, Jane Darwell as Bogie’s mom, and Kaaren Verne as a singer in peril give the film a luster that raises it above others released in 1941. The fact that this was made as Bogie began to catch fire with movie-going public as an actor to watch certainly helped, but we must also give kudos to director Vincent Sherman (his first film) and producer Hal Wallis, who kept a close watch on the movie as it was shot. It’s a film that works on every level.

DIABOLIQUE (October 26, 2:15 am): Frankly, I cannot recommend this picture enough. Think of a perfect Hitchcock film without Hitchcock. That’s Diabolique, which is directed by Henri-Georges Cluzot. To no one’s surprise, he’s known as “the French Hitchcock," and Hitchcock himself was influenced by this film. This is a masterful psychological horror film that builds slowly to a final 15 minutes that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Although the twist ending murder plot has been done many times since, it’s never been done better. Diabolique takes place at a school where Simone Signoret helps her friend Vera Clouzot (real life wife of the director) drown her ogre of a husband (Paul Meurisse), who “returns to life” in a really terrifying scene. It’s a taut, beautifully woven thriller with a climax that will truly shock you. Fans of Hitchcock will love this, as will anyone that loves a well-written thriller with the emphasis on character rather than going for the cheap thrill.

WE DISAGREE ON . . . CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (October 27, 6:00 pm)

ED. A-. The censors watered down Tennessee Wiliiams’s classic Pultizer Prize winning play about greed and mendacity in the South, but it still packs one hell of a punch, thanks to a great cast, especially Elizabeth Taylor, who gives one of her best performances and steams up the screen in doing so. Jack Carson scores in one of his last roles as Paul Newman’s brother (and Burl Ives’ son). Newman himself isn’t as dominant in this as he usually is in other films, but still manages to give a powerful performance nevertheless. However, considering the censorship, this is a film that should have been made during the ‘80s, when such topics could be honestly addressed, as Williams did in his play. It’s the excellent cast that puts this film over the hump for the audience, and it’s a wonderful film to see just for the performances.

DAVID: C+. This isn't a bad film, but there are a number of reasons I don't think it's anything special. First the good: Burl Ives is fantastic as Big Daddy, the patriarch of the dysfunctional family featured in the movie. He plays his role to near perfection. To begin the not-so-good list, the screenplay of this Tennessee Williams' play is too melodramatic. As I've mentioned before, I'm not much of a fan of Paul Newman or Elizabeth Taylor. This 1958 film is an example of why. The pair lack chemistry together, and, yes, I know the idea is the two have marital issues. But that doesn't mean Newman and Taylor can't work together to make a good film. Taylor's character goes from understanding to psychotic in the snap of a finger, and she fails to convey any authenticity, which comes as no surprise to me. As for Newman, he overuses "method" acting in this film as he was prone to do when playing angst-ridden characters. His character broods and then lashes out during the entire film for no logical reason. The Hays Code wouldn't permit the heavily suggested homosexual aspects of Newman's character that are in the play to be included in the film so viewers are left to wonder: why is any of this occurring? To make matters worse, the characters and the film are pretentious.

Schedule Subject to Change (All Times Eastern)

October 23

6:00 am – NIGHT OF THE LEPUS (MGM, 1972): Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh. One of the best laff riots about a herd of giant mutated rabbits that devour everything in sight, including us. F

9:00 am – ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (WB, 1942): Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Judith Anderson, & Conrad Veidt. Gloves Donahue and his gang turns patriotic to track down a Nazi spy ring. A+

12:30 pm – 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

2:30 pm – THE 39 STEPS (Gaumont, 1939): Robert Donat, Madeline Carroll. A man falsely suspected of killing a spy travels across Scotland handcuffed to the wrist of the woman who turned him in. A

8:00 pm – THE INNOCENTS (Fox, 1961): Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave. A governess (Kerr) becomes convinced the children in her charge may be haunted. A

10:00 pm – THE UNINVITED (Paramount, 1944): Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey. This is a superior ghost story about a brother and sister who rent a haunted house on the Cornish coast of England. A-

12:00 am – THE WOMAN IN WHITE  (WB, 1948): Sydney Greenstreet, Agnes Moorehead, & Eleanor Parker. Greenstreet is a villainous count, Moorehead is his wife, and Parker twin sisters in this tale set on a ghostly country estate. B+

October 24

6:00 am – THE DEVIL’S BROTHER (MGM, 1933): Laurel & Hardy, Dennis King, Thelma Todd. Two wannabe bandits are hired as servants by the real thing. A

7:45 am – THE CONSTANT NYMPH (WB, 1943): Charles Boyer, Joan Fontaine, & Alexis Smith. A composer finds inspiration in his wife’s romantic cousin. B+

9:45 am – CASS TIMBERLANE (MGM, 1947): Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner. An aging judge creates a scandal when he marries a woman from the wrong side of the tracks. B-

1:30 pm – LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (Allied Artists, 1957): Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn. An aging American tycoon overcomes his inhibitions to date a young Parisian. Directed by Billy Wilder. B

5:45 pm – THE V.I.P.S (MGM, 1963): Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor. Wealthy passengers fogged in at London’s Heathrow Airport struggle with a variety of personal trials. C

8:00 pm – OUT OF AFRICA (Universal, 1985): Meryl Streep, Robert Redford. True-life story of Karen Blixen, a woman trapped in a loveless marriage, who finds happiness with an adventurer. C+

10:45 pm – GORILLAS IN THE MIST (Universal, 1988): Sigourney Weaver, Bryan Brown. Naturalist Dian Fossey risks her life to study and protect gorillas in the wild. A

1:00 am – THE ENGLISH PATIENT (Miramax, 1996): Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche. A man dying from third-degree burns remembers a tragic wartime romance. C

4:00 am – TARZAN AND HIS MATE (MGM, 1934): Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan. In this, the first of many sequels, Tarzan fights to protect Jane from a greedy ivory hunter. A-

October 25

6:00 am – CONVICTS 4 (Allied Artists, 1962): Ben Gazzara, Ray Walston. Gazzara is a convicted killer who discovers a talent for art while behind bars. Vincent Price plays a helpful art critic. B

8:15 am – MRS. SOFFEL (MGM, 1984): Diane Keaton, Mel Gibson & Matthew Modine. In turn-of-the-century Pennsylvania, prison warden’s wife Keaton falls for convicted murderer Gibson. C+

10:30 am – DR. KILDARE’S VICTORY (MGM, 1942): Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore. Dr. Kildare uses a debutante’s crush on him to save the jobs of an intern and a nurse. C-

12:15 pm – BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB (Hammer, 1971): Andrew Keir, Valerie Leon. An evil Egyptian princess' sprit possesses an Egyptologist's daughter. B+

2:00 pm – SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (PBS, 1982): George Hearn, Angela Lansbury. A filmed version of the Broadway musical; it debuted on PBS. A-

4:30 pm – MAD LOVE (MGM, 1935): Peter Lorre, Colin Clive. A mad doctor grafts the hands of a murderer on to a concert pianist's wrists. A

5:45 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+

8:00 pm – THE HAUNTING (MGM, 1963): Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, & Russ Tamblyn. A team of psychic investigators moves into a New England mansion that destroys all who visit. A

10:00 pm – VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (MGM, 1960): George Sanders, Barbara Shelley. Twelve super-intelligent, telepathic, blond, fair-skinned children, born at the same time in a small village, are not of this earth. A

11:30 pm – THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Hammer, 1956): Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee. Hammer’s remake stars Cushing as Victor Frankenstein and Lee as the Monster. A-

1:15 am – A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: THE HORRORS OF STEPHEN KING (Amblin/TCM, 2011): Author Stephen King discusses the various types of horror films and why they are so popular with moviegoers. A

October 26

10:00 am – IN A LONELY PLACE (Columbia, 1950): Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame. Bogie is a top form as a loony screenwriter suspected of murder. B

12:00 pm – TARZAN THE APE MAN (MGM, 1932): Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan. A British lord raised by apes kidnaps a beautiful noblewoman exploring Africa with her father. A

2:00 pm – PLANET OF THE APES (Fox, 1968): Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowell & Kim Hunter. Astronauts land in a planet in the distant future where apes are the dominant species. A

4:00 pm – JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (Columbia, 1963): Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack. Ray Harryhausen’s special effects have never been better in this telling of the classic Greek myth. A

8:00 pm – 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

10:15 pm – JOAN OF ARC (RKO, 1948): Ingrid Bergman, Jose Ferrer. A 15th century girl hears voices from Heaven asking her to lead an army against Orleans and to crown Dauphin Charles VII as King of France. A-

12:45 am – THE MONSTER (MGM, 1925): Lon Chaney, Gertrude Olmstead. Enjoyable nonsense starring of Chaney as a mad scientist who causes car crashes so he can experiment on the survivors. B

2:15 am – DIABOLIQUE (Seven Arts – France, 1955): Paul Meurisse, Vera Clouzot, & Simone Signoret. Forget the Sharon Stone remake; this is the one to watch. A cruel headmaster’s wife and mistress plot to kill him. Weldon: “The twist-ending murder plot has been done countless times, but never better.” A MUST SEE!  A+

October 27

7:15 am – WINGS FOR THE EAGLE (WB, 1942): Ann Sheridan, Dennis Morgan, & Jack Carson. Two aircraft workers compete for the same woman. C

8:45 am – THE MALE ANIMAL (WB, 1942): Henry Fonda, Olivia DeHavilland. A college professor fights both censorship and his wife’s old boyfriend. C

10:30 am – ROUGHLY SPEAKING (WB, 1945): Rosalind Russell, Jack Carson. A man's wild moneymaking schemes leave his wife to raise their family. A-

12:30 pm – MILDRED PIERCE (WB, 1945): Joan Crawford, Ann Blyth, & Eve Arden. A self-made woman’s (Crawford) spoiled rotten teenage daughter (Blyth) embroils her in murder. A

6:00 pm – CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (MGM, 1958): Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, and Burl Ives. Tennessee Williams’ play about an alcoholic ex-football player, his sultry wife, and the family patriarch. Rating: See above.

8:00 pm – ON BORROWED TIME (MGM, 1939): Lionel Barrymore, Cedric Hardwicke, Bobs Watson.  An elderly man (Barrymore) and his grandson (Watson) trap Death (Hardwicke) in a tree. A

10:00 pm – MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (Paramount, 1937): Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi. A devoted couple faces the grim realities of growing older and being shunted aside by their children. A+

12:00 am – ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN (WB, 1941): Frederic March, Martha Scott & Beulah Bondi. A minister and his wife cope with the problems of church life in the 20th century. A

2:00 am – THE SOUTHERNER (UA, 1945): Zachary Scott, Betty Field. Jean Renoir produced and directed this story of a sharecropper who fights the elements to start his own farm. A+

October 28

6:00 am – NOSFERATU (Prana Films, 1922): Max Schreck, Greta Schroder. F.W. Murnau directed this first film version of Dracula with Schreck as vampire Count Orloff. A+

7:45 am – THE VAMPIRE BAT (Majestic, 1933): Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, & Dwight Frye. A vampire is stalking the streets of a village. Is it Frye? Or could mad scientist Atwill be behind it? C

9:00 am – DEAD MEN WALK (PRC, 1943) George Zucco, Mary Carlisle. Zucco plays twins, one a vampire seeking revenge, in this ridiculous entry from PRC. D+

10:15 am – ISLE OF THE DEAD (RKO, 1945): Boris Karloff, Ellen Drew. This Val Lewton tale about the plague during the Balkan generally considered among his worst. D+

11:45 am – THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (Columbia, 1943): Bela Lugosi, Frieda Insecourt. Count Tesla (Lugosi) has returned to wreak vengeance on those who had sought to destroy him. B

3:00 pm – HORROR OF DRACULA (Hammer, 1958): Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing. It’s the first of a seemingly endless supply of Hammer vampire movies and the best of the lot. A

4:30 pm – DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS (Hammer, 1966): Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley. The follow-up to Horror of Dracula: Four travelers unwittingly revive the bloodsucking count. B-

6:15 pm – DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (Hammer, 1968): Christopher Lee, Veronica Carlson. The third, and most religious of the series as Dracula faces an atheist student who can’t quite bring himself to say the required prayer that will dispatch Dracula once and for all until the next sequel. C-

8:00 pm – DEAD OF NIGHT (Ealing, 1945): Mervyn Jones, Michael Redgrave. An excellent anthology of horror stores told at a country estate. A+

10:00 pm – TWICE-TOLD TALES (UA, 1963): Vincent Price, Sebastian Cabot. A poisonous young beauty, the secrets of eternal life, and a haunted house highlight this collection of Hawthorne stories. C-

12:15 pm – KWAIDAN (Toho, 1965): Rentaro Mikuni, Michiyo Aratama. Four stories mix love and the supernatural. A

3:00 am – THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (Amicus, 1971): Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing. Scotland Yard investigates four mysterious murders connected to the same old house. C+

5:00 am – TORTURE GARDEN (Columbia, 1968): Jack Palace, Burgess Meredith. A sideshow exhibit on torture predicts the deaths of those who view it. C

October 29

6:45 am – NIGHT NURSE (WB, 1931): Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell, & Clark Gable. Stanwyck is a nurse who discovers the children she’s caring for are being slowly killed to gain control over their trust fund. A+

8:00 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-

12:30 pm – THE WOMAN ON THE BEACH (RKO, 1947): Joan Bennett, Robert Ryan, & Charles Bickford. A coast guard sailor begins to believe that his mistresses’ blind husband can really see. D+

1:45 am – THE CROOKED WAY (UA, 1949): John Payne, Sonny Tufts. A war hero’s amnesia prevents him from dealing with his criminal past. C

4:30 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+

8:00 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+

10:00 pm – TOUCH OF EVIL (Universal, 1958): Orson Welles, Charlton Heston. When Mexican-American narcotics officer Heston investigates a murder, his wife is kidnapped and shot up with heroin. A-

12:00 am – ACT OF VIOLENCE (MGM, 1949): Robert Ryan, Van Heflin.  An embittered vet (Ryan) searches for the POW (Van Heflin) who informed on him to the Nazis. C+

4:00 am – AN AMERICAN DREAM (WB, 1966): Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh. A man suspected of murdering his wife must elude both the police and a gang of hoodlums. C-

October 30

8:00 am – DARBY’S RANGERS (WB, 1958): James Garner, Jack Earden. William Wellman directed this action-packed feature about Major William Darby, the founder of the Army Rangers. D+

12:00 pm – THE HANGING TREE (WB, 1959): Gary Cooper, Maria Schell, & Karl Malden. An enigmatic doctor (Cooper) tries to control the lives of those he saves. B+

3:45 pm – I WAS A COMMUNIST FOR THE F.B.I. (WB, 1951): Frank Lovejoy, Dorothy Hart. Lovejoy stars as Matt Cvetic, an F.B.I. agent who infiltrates the Commie Party. B+

5:15 pm – FIRST YANK INTO TOKYO (RKO, 1945): Tom Neal, Barbara Hale. An army pilot infiltrates the Japanese during World War II. D+

8:00 pm – HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (Allied Artists, 1958): Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart. Millionaire Price offers $10,000 for five people chosen at random to spend a night in his haunted house. B+

9:30 pm – THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE (20th Century Fox, 1973): Roddy McDowell, Pamela Franklin. Scientists and psychics team to solve the secrets of a murderously haunted house. C+

11:15 pm – 13 GHOSTS (Columbia, 1960): Donald Woods, Martin Milner. A family inherits a house haunted by 13 ghosts and a living killer. C

October 31

7:00 am – MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (MGM, 1935): Bela Lugosi, Lionel Barrymore. A remake of London After Midnight with Chaney’s role divided between Lugosi as the vampire and Barrymore as the Inspector. B-

8:15 am – THE DEVIL DOLL (MGM, 1936): Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan. A Devil's Island escapee shrinks murderous slaves and sells them to his victims as dolls. A-

9:45 am – I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (RKO, 1943): Frances Dee, Tom Conway. Are you ready for Jane Eyre in Haiti? Then tune into this lyrical horror film produced by Val Lewton. A

11:00 am – CAT PEOPLE (RKO, 1942): Kent Smith, Simone Simon. Val Lewton produced this horror classic about a woman who fears a ancient family curse will turn her into a snarling beast. A

12:15 pm – THE TINGLER (Columbia, 1959): Vincent Price, Darryl Hickman. William Castle again in a tale starring Price as a scientist who discovers a creature that lives on fear. A-

1:45 pm – SPINE TINGLER: THE WILLIAM CASTLE STORY (Sony, 2007): Documentary about the career of scare and hype master William Castle. A

3:15 pm – DEMENTIA 13 (AIP, 1963): William Campbell, Luana Anders. Members of an Irish family are being killed off by one of their own after the family fortune. C+

4:45 pm – CARNIVAL OF SOULS (Herts-Lion, 1962): Candace Hilligoss, Merk Harvey. After surviving a car crash, a church organist is haunted by the undead. It’s a classic of the genre. A

6:15 pm – REPULSION (Royal Films, 1965): Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry. It’s Roman Polanski’s first English-language film. A disturbed young woman’s mental state deteriorates as her dreams become ever more real. A+

8:00 pm – NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (Walter Reade, 1968): Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea. It’s the mother of all modern zombie films! Radiation from a falling satellite brings the dead back to life, seeking out human flesh to eat. A

10:00 pm – CURSE OF THE DEMON (Columbia, 1958): Dana Andrews, Niall MacGinnis. Anthropologist Andrews crosses swords devil cult leader MacGinnis and the demon he summons to dispatch his enemies. A+

11:45 pm – HOUSE OF WAX (WB, 1953): Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy. A splashy Technicolor remake of the two-strip color Mystery of the Wax Museum originally released in 3-D. C

1:30 am – POLTERGEIST (MGM, 1982): Craig T. Nelson, Jobeth Williams. Evil spirits abduct a suburban couple’s daughter, causing terror and havoc. B-

3:30 am – STRAIT-JACKET (Columbia, 1964): Joan Crawford, Diane Baker. Joan stars in this William Castle opus as a decapitating murderer convinced she is returning to her old habits. C

5:15 am – EYES WITHOUT A FACE (Lopert, 1959): Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli. A Paris surgeon tries to fix his daughter’s face with skin from kidnapped women. A-

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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.