Monday, January 01, 2007

turner this month - bravo!

Note: This will be a regular monthly feature, highlighting, well, the highlights on Turner Classics' schedule.

Turner Classics has quietly established itself as a veritable on-air college education in film, with its programming ranging from vintage Hollywood classics to little-seen gems from the 1950s and ‘60s, from maverick underground films to subtitled foreign-language masterworks. It’s compulsively watchable.

Among the difficult-to-see titles showing this month include:

George Sidney’s “The Eddie Duchin Story” (airing Thursday, January 4th at 3:30 p.m./12:30 p.m.), handsomely photographed by the great Harry Stradling.

Herbert Ross’ “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (Mon., Jan. 8, 5:15 p.m./2:15 p.m.), a serious, new-style musical experiment featuring a truly poignant turn by Peter O'Toole in the title role.

George Cukor’s “The Marrying Kind” (Sun., Jan. 14, 11:30 a.m./8:30 a.m.), a bracing, insightful dramedy about divorce, written by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon.

Sir Carol Reed’s “The Key” (Tue., Jan. 16, 6 a.m./3 a.m.), with William Holden and Sophia Loren demonstrating palpable chemistry.

Mark Robson’s “Phffft!” (Fri., Jan. 19, 9:15 a.m./12:15 a.m.), a still very contemporary comedy written by George Axelrod, and the second 1954 film teaming Judy Holliday with Jack Lemmon.

Robert Aldrich’s “The Legend of Lylah Clare” (Mon., Jan. 22, Noon/9 a.m.), delicious camp with a game Kim Novak in the title role.

Billy Wilder’s “Ace in a Hole” (Thurs., Jan. 25, 2:30 a.m./Wed., Jan. 24, 11:30 a.m.), arguably the darkest, most relevant commentary about the American media and Americans in general to ever be sold as a commercial movie.

Silvio Narizzano’s “Die! Die! My Darling!” (Thurs., Jan. 25, 6:15 p.m./3:15 p.m.), featuring a rare screen appearance by the legendary Tallulah Bankhead as a religious fanatic, with a copy of the Bible in one hand and a gun in the other, casually tormenting her late son's fiancee, Stephanie Powers.

Norman Taurog’s “Living It Up” (Sun., Jan. 28, 8:30 a.m./5:30 a.m.), the Broadway musical, "Hazel Flagg," by no less than Ben Hecht, restructured for Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, with most of the music retained.

Paul Wendkos’ “Because They’re Young” (Mon., Jan. 29, 5:45 p.m./2:45 p.m.), '60s teen flick with Tuesday Weld, Michael Callan and Dick Clark.

BTW, the Billy Wilder film is listed in Turner’s Now Playing program under its alternate title, “The Big Carnival,” but a spy tells me that the original title, “Ace in a Hole” is on the print that Turner will air.

(Artwork: Poster art from Paramount's "Ace in a Hole," aka "The Big Carnival,"Columbia's "The Marrying Kind")

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Anyone interested in perusing some 2060 of my film reviews, dating back to 1994, can do so by simply going to RottenTomatoes.Com


Jim Anderson said...

Joe, this is a great blog and a great feature. Turner is the best and I appreciate that you are scanning its schedule to find some cinematic nuggets that might otherwise go unnoticed. Like you, I'm tired of "the usual suspects," and prefer to watch hard-to-see flicks. Thanks again!

Pat said...

"The Marrying Kind" is a film I love and haven't seen in ages. Why is that? Thanks for the tip. I definitely plan to watch it. Hope Turner will air "The Notorious Landlady" one day.

The Passionate Moviegoer said...

To Pat: I hope so, too. "Landlady" is among my favorite Jack Lemmon films. --Joe

Ray said...

Thanks for the recommendations. All things said I think Turner does a real great job educating us about film. It’s a shame they have only one channel and that they show certain films over and over again. I've had enough of "West Side Story," for example. But that's a minor quibble.

Anne Grant said...

So nice to be find this kind of astute blog online, and I especially enjoy this post on Turner. Keep it coming!

Tom & Linda said...

We basically agree with all your picks. A few that you mentioned are films that we've been wanting to see for some time. Can't wait for Turner to unveil some more titles long unseen. Turner rocks!

Danno said...

I came across Ace in the Hole while flipping through channels one day and it blew my mind. Dark, dark, dark. Then I went to tell a friend about it and noticed it had a different name in the channel guide. What gives?

Lissy Loomis said...

Turner Classics is the best. We just keep the TV set on that 24 hours a day.

Dan B (no, not Bennett, think harder) said...

Speaking of Tallulah Bankhead, There is a popular new group on Yahoo called THE JUDY GARLAND EXPERIENCE.They just don't feature Judy exclusively. This week in their rare audio files they are featuring a recording of Tallulah trying to make a record, and she can't sing, I mean the girl really can't sing!. Besides that, she is explicit, offensive, politically incorrect, and of course,wonderful. It's only about 8 minutes long but you get the full force of Tallulah's over the top personality. You should check it out.

The Passionate Moviegoer said...

Tom & Linda--

The unofficial word is that Turner just picked up 500 titles from Columbia. I'm assuming that "Eddie Duchin" and "The Marrying Kind" were among them, as they were both Turner premieres. Given that, there should be a lot of interesting viewing coming up. Thanks for reading -- and responding to -- my blog. --Joe