Wednesday, August 01, 2007

turner this month - bravo!

Note: This is a regular monthly feature, highlighting, well, the highlights on Turner Classics' schedule. Why? Simple. Because Turner Classics remains a veritible college education in film. Say no more.

Aug. 2: – It’s Peter O’Toole day on Turner with screenings of Herbert Ross’ new-style musical, “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” Arthur Hiller’s more traditional musical adaptation, “Man of La Mancha,” and Peter Glenville’s “Becket.” Unsolicited pronouncement: "Man of La Mancha" exists only to demonstrate that before Nathan Lane, there was James Coco. (I dislike the film, but then I found the play even more resistible.)

Aug. 3: – Look for Isabelle Huppert and Kim Cattrall as two of the teenage victims in Otto Preminger’s “Rosebud,” co-starring with O’Toole and Cliff Gorman and written by Erik Lee Preminger (the son of the director and Gypsy Rose Lee). Also Joan Crawford at her horrifying best in “The Caretakers,” “Berserk” and “Trog” and in Robert Aldrich's touching “Autumn Leaves.”

Aug. 4: – William Holden and Sophia Loren make a sexy duo in Sir Carol Reed’s “The Key,” and Holden returns in Alfred E.Green’s “Meet the Stewarts,” a social drama about a well-heeled woman trying to accustom herself to a lesser lifestyle.

Aug. 5: - Don Siegel directs John Wayne in his final film, “The Shootist,” preceded by another Wayne film, John Ford’s sublime “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.”

Aug. 6: – “Two for the Seesaw,” a fascinating failure. Robert Wise directs the film version of William Gibson’s Broadway hit, with Robert Mitchum grotesquely miscast as a hick middle-American lawyer, and Shirley MacLaine, equally miscast as a Jewish dancer named Gittle. MacLaine’s dancing is a bit heavy-footed here.

Aug. 7: – Jane “Can that Be Muscle?” Russell in the double-header, “The French Line” (originally condemned by the Catholic Church’s Legion of Decency) and “Gentlemen Marry Bunettes,” a half-baked sequel of sorts to you-know-what.

Aug. 8: – “Underwater!” More Russell. With Gilbert Roland for added pleasure.

Aug. 9: – “Hod Rods to Hell,” a surefire guilty pleasure, with Dana Andrews and Jeanne Craine as a couple whose vacationing family is stalked by a group of hellions, including the divine Mimsy Farmer. Plus, “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer,” with Cary and Shirley, respectively.

Aug. 10: – Maureen Stapleton made her film debut in the Montgomery Cliff-Robert Ryan starrer, “Lonelyhearts,” whose cast also includes Myrna Loy and Dolores Hart. Plus, William Castle’s “The Tingler,” tacky fun with Vincent Price.

Aug. 11: – Vincent Prise returns as a ham actor who kills off his critics in the delicious “Theater of Blood.” Plus Doris Day, all day, all the time.

Aug 13: – Spend a day with the most companionable June Allyson.

Aug. 14: – Allyson stars in musical versions of two classics - “You Can’t Run Away from It,” based on “It Happened One Night,” directed by Dick Powell and co-starring Jack Lemmon, and “The Opposite Sex,” a tuneful version of “The Women.” For more on "You Can't Run Away from It," check out my original post from last March, Cinema Obscura: Two with June Allyson - “The Shrike” (1955) and “You Can’t Run Away from It” (1956) Also, Bette Davis and Debbie Reynolds as mother and dauther in “The Catered Affair” and Anthony Quinn in Richard Fleischer’s “Barabbas.”

Aug. 15: – Two with Borgnine – Leslie Norman’s “Season of Passion,” co-starring Anne Baxter, Angela Lansbury and John Mills, and Richard Leacock’s “The Rabbit Trap,” with Bethel Leslie.

Aug. 16: – Elvis all day. The usual. But you might want to check out “Stay Away, Joe,” adapted from the short-lived Broadway musical, “Whoop-Up!”

Aug. 17: – Elvis had his most credible screen role in Philip Dunn’s “Wild in the Country,” thanks to support from co-stars Hope Lange, Tuesday Weld and Millie Perkins. Plus, Tyrone Power in John Ford’s irresistible “The Long Gray Line.”

Aug. 20: – Roz puts the muscle in Russell all day, a festival that includes her “Auntie Mame,” Morton DaCosta’s compulsively watchable, sprawling version of Russell's Broadway hit.

Aug. 21: – More with Roz: Ida Lupino’s charming and bizarrely sad, “The Trouble with Angels” and “Mrs.Pollifax – Spy,” based on “The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax.” (Note in Passing: Angela Lansbury appropriated three Rosalind Russell films, playing “Mame” and “Gypsy” on stage and “The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax” on TV.)

Aug. 22: – “New Faces of 1937.” Per Turner'snotes, "A producer overfinances a Broadway show, expecting it to flop.” Sound familiar, Mr. Brooks?

Aug. 23: – Two musicals – the very fine “Kiss Me, Kate” and the missed-opportunity. “Deep in My Heart.”

Aug. 24: Jane Fonda day on Turner, starting with the difficult-to-see “Tall Story,” her enchanting debut film, a campus comedy directed by Joshua Logan and co-starring Tony Perkins.

Aug. 25: – “All the King’s Men.” The original. With Broderick Crawford.

Aug. 29: – “Meet Me In St. Louis,” in which Judy Garland is more bearable than usual. Directed by Vincente Minnelli.

Aug. 30: – Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter, two mid-50s hunks, are the chief attractions in Gerd Oswald’s“A Kiss Before Dying.” With Joanne Woodward and Mary Astor.

Aug. 31: – The estimable Irvin Kershner directs Wooward and Sean Connery in the highly eccentric “A Fine Madness.” Connery returns late night with Natalie Wood in “Meteor.”

(Artwork: Poster art from "Rosebud" and "Tall Story"; costume check of Jane Fonda in her lead role - her first - in "Tall Story," and Rosalind Russell raising hell as Auntie Mame.)

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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


Daryl Chin said...

A few other notable items on the "Sumer Under The Stars" schedule on TCM:

Monday, Aug. 6 at 4:45 PM (Eastern): FOREIGN INTRIGUE, a 1956 Robert Mitchum espionage vehicle notable because of the two leading ladies, Genevieve Page and Ingrid Thulin (before she met Ingmar Bergman and became serious; she's very sexy here, rather like a Scandinavian Brigitte Bardot);

Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 7:30 AM (Eastern): MAN ON A STRING, a 1960 espionage thriller (very "film noir") directed by Andre De Toth; it's part of Ernest Borgnine day, and he plays a very complex part as a double agent, and Colleen Dewhurst has a substantial part as well;

Wenesday, Aug. 14 at 4:30 PM (Eastern): WOMAN ON THE BEACH, the 1948 Jean Renoir melodrama starring Joan Bennett (it's her day), Robert Ryan and Charles Bickford... it's atmospheric and incoherent;

Friday, Aug. 17 at 4:00 AM (Eastern): THIS LAND IS MINE, Jean Renoir's 1943 World War II melodrama with Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara (it's her day);

Monday, Aug. 20 at 8 PM (Eastern): MY SISTER EILEEN... before there was WONDERFUL TOWN (the Broadway musical) and MY SISTER EILEEN, the 1955 Columbia Pictures musical, there was this, the original movie directed by Alexander Hall in 1942, with Rosalind Russell (her first Academy Award nomination) and Janet Blair; it's one of Russell's best performances;

and finally Friday, Aug. 24 at 3:00 AM: NIGHT UNTO NIGHT, Don Siegel's 1949 melodrama with Viveca Lindfors (his then-wife) and Ronald Reagan, a very odd, touching, messed-up tragic romance.

joe baltake said...


Thanks, again, for the head-up. "Man on a String" is an underrated title that should be seen, and I love "Woman on the Beach." You're right about Roz in "My Sister Eileen."

Carrie said...

Was just about to tout "My Sister Eileen" and see that Daryl C has done it. (Thanks, Daryl.) "Tall Story" with Fonda and Anthony Perkins is lovely, esp. considering that two of the most neurotic actors in Hollywood are so sweet and untroubled in it. And Joe, lay off Judy Garland. Yes, she is mannered. But God is she great.

joe baltake said...

Carrie-- I agree. "Tall Story" is sweet, an uncomplicated romance starring two of filmdom's more complicated personalities. As for Garland, I'll honor the adage that, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. What can I say? She always grated on my nerves.

jbryant said...

Re Garland: A few months back, TCM showed "Listen, Darling" starring her, Mary Astor, Walter Pidgeon, Freddie Bartholomew and Alan Hale. It was quite charming all around, I thought, Judy included. It's not a musical, but they found a way to work a couple of songs in for her.

"The Key" may not be a masterpiece, but it's a good job by Carol Reed, and he hit the acting trifecta with Holden, Loren and Trevor Howard. As good as those three always were, I still tend to think of them as underrated.

You know, I always think I've heard of every movie ever made, then TCM opens their vault and makes me feel like an amateur. I'd never heard of several of those Borgnine titles, for instance, though I've been wanting to see "Man on a String" for a long while (big De Toth fan).

I recorded Jack Webb's "The Last Time I Saw Archie" last night, which was inspired by screenwriter William Bowers' wartime dealings with Archie Hall, better known to shlock film lovers as Arch Hall, Sr., auteur of "Eegah!" and the like. Robert Mitchum plays Hall. With the criminally underrated Webb directing and playing Bowers, I couldn't pass that one up. Hope to watch it tonight.

joe baltake said...

To J. Bryant-

You are so right about the cast of "The Key." As for "Archie," until Turner showed it, it was a veritable lost film. Strange film for Mitchum, but I love it. Wonderful ensemble.