Turner has a varied and full schedule during September, with the great Kim Novak highlighted a few times throughout the month. Two of the films are comedies that she made a year apart but, thanks to the vagaries of studio release patterns, both opened during the summer of 1962. They would be Richard Quine's "The Notorious Landlady," airing Sept. 2 @ 4:15 a.m. (est) and Michael Gordon's "Boys' Night Out," on tap for Sept. 6 @ 2 p.m.
Quine's film, which he cowrote with Blake Edwards from a Colliers short story by British nutmeggy Margery Sharp, is a sly mystery farce that quotes Hitchcock. The scene of Jack Lemmon and Kim - that's them above - scurrying among an endless sea of wheelchairs at the end is a witty reference to the railroad red-cap sequence in "North by Northwest."
Quine, a perfectionist, kept "Landlady" in post-production so long, that Kim was able to make and release "Boys' Night Out," the first and last film made under her Kimco banner. It's a hugely watchable, affable film about a post-grad sociologist (Novak) who poses as a kept woman to four men in order to do research on the sexual quirks of the suburban male.
Perhaps not coincidentally, a year earlier, the same studio, MGM, made the Bob Hope comedy, Jack Arnold's "Bachelor in Paradise," in which Hope (below with Janis Paige) plays the author of male-oriented sex guides who moves into suburbian to study the sexual quirks of suburban housewives. Whether one film is a remake of the other has never been documented, but you can judge for yourself. "Bachelor in Paradise" airs on Turner on Sept. 12 @ 10 p.m. Dan Curtis' "Burnt Offerings" - Sept. 4 @ 2 a.m. - is of the Good Actors Slumming subgenre, in this case a bit of haunted-house horror starring Oliver Reed, Karen Black, Bette Davis, Eileen Heckart, Dub Taylor and Burgess Meredith. A guilty pleasure. Definitely.
Turner examines courgar territory with a batch of films about older women and younger men, starting at 9 p.m. on Sept. 4 with Mike Nichols' "The Graduate" and including Robert Mulligan's "Summer of '42." Of more interest, to me at least, are Alexander Singer's "A Cold Wind in August" (@ 10 p.m.) starring the wonderful Lola Albright and Scott Marlowe, and "Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing" (Sept. 5 @ 1:30 a.m.), Alan J. Pakula's third film as a director, from an Alvin Sargeant script and starring Maggie Smith and Timothy Bottoms.
Vincente Minnelli's "The Long, Long Trailer" (Sept. 5 @ 4:15 p.m.), starring Luci and Desi in their first film together after the success of their TV sitcom, "I Love Lucy," was eagerly awaited but quickly dismissed because it was not the kind of movie that the public or critics expected. A dark commentary of the new consumerism of the 1950s, "Trailer" has been best analyzed by Dave Kehr in his astute DVD essay.
Films dealing with old age are rare for obvious reasons, but the few that have been secure enough to tackle the issue have been commanding, among them Yasujirô Ozu's "Tôkyô monogatari"/"Tokyo Story," Gilbert Cates' "I Never Sang for My Father," Stephen Verona's "Boardwalk" and, above all, Leo McCarey's superb "Make Way for Tomorrow" (Sept. 6 @ 8 p.m.), starring Victor Moore (excellent!) and the ineffable Beulah Bondi as an elderly couple (both pictured above) who are separated and made to live apart, victims of the economy. Made it 1937, McCarey's masterwork is as timely and relevant as ever. It's also one of the saddest films.
September 7th is a good day to take off for moviewatching, starting at 11:15 a.m. with McCarey's "The Milky Way," followed by Powell-Pressburger's "A Matter of Life and Death," Anthony Mann's "Border Incident" and Jacques Demy's "Model Shop."
William Asher, the auteur behind "I Love Lucy," directs his wife Elizabeth Montgomery in a sexy performance opposite exotic Henry Silva in "Johnny Cool" on Sept. 10 @ 3:15 a.m. For some exuberant fun, later in the day, check out Robert Wise's sly "This Could Be the Night" (@ 12:30 p.m.) in which schoolteacher Jean Simmons finds herself in a nightclub and surrounded by a bunch of its denizens Paul Douglas, Anthony Franciosa, Joan Blondell, Julie Wilson, J. Carrol Naish and Neile Adams.
Vincent J. Donehue guides his Broadway triumph about Franklin Roosevelt and his struggle with polio, "Sunrise at Campobello," with is original stage star Ralph Bellamy in tow. The film version, which airs Sept. 12 @ noon, adds Greer Garson to the mix, most cannily as Eleanor.
There's an eclectic array of titles about men with problems on Sept. 13 & 14, starting at 8 p.m. with Nunnally Johnson's "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit," followed by Fielder Cook's "Patterns," Philip Leacock's "The Rabbit Trap" and José Ferrer's "The High Cost of Living," in which Ferrer stars opposite Gena Rowlands in one of her earlier film roles.
Mary Hayley Bell wrote (with John Prebble) the script and John Mills directed "Gypsy Girl" (Sept. 14 @ 12:15 p.m.), a vehicle for their daughter, Hayley - an unsual film about youth and death.
The talented George Axelrod, ace writer and occasional director, had his script for "Breakfast at Tiffany's" undermined by its star Audrey Hepburn (who he felt was seriously miscast), so when he moved on to "Lord Love a Duck" (Sept. 15 @ 6 p.m.), he made the film he wanted. It's a quirky to-do about high-school politics starring Tuesday Weld who was well beyond the ingénue stage and Roddy McDowell who was well into middle age as high-school students, no less. Having lost John Frankeheimer to Blake Edwards on "Tiffany's," Axelrod wisely decided to direct this one himself. It's odd but it works.
Following Axelrod's film (@ 8 p.m.) is Richard Wilson's gangster film, "Al Capone" - small, fabulous and black-&-white - starring a magnetic Rod Steiger and that ever underrated actress, Fay Spain.
Anne Bancroft and Otto Preminger, both of whom came with a bracing edge, are showcased on Sept. 17, starting with a trio of Bancfort films at 2:15 p.m. - Jack Clyton's "The Pumpkin Eater," John Ford's "Seven Women" and Richard Attenborough's "Young Winston." Preminger, meanwhile, pushed the envelop with "The Moon Is Blue" & "The Man with the Golden Arm," airing back-to-back starting at 8 p.m.
Getting back to Audrey Hepburn, despite my reservations about the overrated "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (a truly strange film), she remains a personal favorite and she is shown to better advantage opposite Gary Cooper in Billy Wilder's "Love in the Afternoon" on Sept. 18 @ 10:15 p.m. Later (Sept. 19 @ 4 a.m.), catch "Jessica," Jean Negulesco and Oreste Palella's clever take on "Lysistrata," which Angie Dickenson heading a women's sex strike against their husbands in a Sicilian village.
Suzanne Pleshette also pops up in Italy in Delmar Daves' enjoyable "Rome Adventure" (Sept. 19 @ 3:445 p.m.), the movie on which Pleshette met future husband Troy Donahue.
September 20 is a good night for wine and a movie - maybe two - what with Powell-Pressburger's "The Red Shoes" and John Cassavetes's "Shadows" being screened back-to-back on Sept.20 @ 10 p.m.
Arguably his best film - or at least his most emblematic - Robert Altman's singular "Brewster McCloud" (Sept. 22 @ 11:45 p.m.) is a bracing cheer for noncomformity - even if it kills you. (Spoiler alert!) While I'm not particularly fond of Altman's taste in actors or his ensembles, the cast here is terrific, particularly Shelley Duvall, a Houston fixture and nonactress, who was added to film when Altman set up production there and found her irresisably charming.
"A Family Affair" (Sept. 23 @ 11:45 a.m.) is the first Hardy family flick, with Mickey Rooney on hand as Andy but most of the cast different from the one we've come to know. Lionel Barrymore and Spring Byington play the parents here. Look for Julie Haydon who plays the oldest Hardy child, a character who was eliminated from subsequent Hardy films because Haydon made demands. The actress bounced back when she went to Broadway to create the role of Laura opposite Laurette Taylor in the original production of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie."
William Shatner fans may want to stay up for Leslie Stevens' forgotten "Incubus" (Sept. 25 @ 2 a.m.), in which Shatner plays a man whose soul is taken possession by an evil spirit.
Spencer Tracy excels in John Sturges' "The Old Man and the Sea" (Sept. 25 @ 2:30 p.m.), based on the Hemingway story, which leads into a night of Tennessee Williams, starting with Elia Kazan's "A Streetcar Named Desire" (@ 8 p.m.), followed by Richard Brooks' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Joseph L.Mankiewicz's "Suddenly, Last Summer," Brooks' "Sweet Bird of Youth" and George Roy Hill's "Period of Adjustment."
"Critic's Choice" (Sept. 25 @ 10 a.m.), the Lucille Ball-Bob Hope comedy directed by Don Weis, started life as a Broadway play by Ira Levin, directed on stage by Otto Preminger, no less, and starring Henry Fonda in the Hope role. It's about an acidic theater critic to has to review his wife's play and is known to be based on the lives of Walter and Jean Kerr.
The Kerrs also figure prominently in Charles Walter's urbane "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" (Sept. 26 @ 6 p.m.), based on the book by Jean Kerr, which was about a theater critic and lightly based on her husband. Doris Day and David Niven star, backed up by the excellent Jack Weston, Janis Paige, Richard Hayden, Carmen Phillips and Spring Byington.
Finally, end the month with Fred Zinnnemann's very fine, incisive and atmospheric Austalia-set drama about sheephearding,"The Sundowners" (Sept. 29 @ 10 p.m.), with Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr, inexplicably compatible in one of three films they made together, the others being John Huston's "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison" and Stanley Donen's "The Grass Is Greener" (made in 1960, the same year as "The Sundowners").