Saturday, March 26, 2011

dave kehr: when movies mattered

Ryan O'Neal is Hill's driver in a movie that matters
Übercritic Dave Kehr celebrates his upcoming, aptly title anthology of reviews, "When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade" (University of Chicago Press), with two days of screenings of five titles analyzed in his tome at The Museum of Modern Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, New York (718-777-6888), on March 26–27.

The exceptional titles include "Sailor's Luck" (Raoul Walsh, 1933); "The Driver" (Walter Hill, 1978); "That Obscure Object of Desire" (Luis Buñuel, 1977); "Melvin and Howard" (Jonathan Demme; 1980), and "Every Man for Himself" (Jean-Luc Godard; 1980).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

the last movie star

She's with Richard now. Her beloved Richard.

And with Mike and Monty and Roddy and Rock and Jimmy.

Elizabeth Taylor, second only to Mickey Rooney in terms of having the capacity to hang around seemingly forever, has had her final fade-out. The End. But she's left us with a wealth of films and a score of memories of someone who was not just a bona fide Renaissance woman, but a woman for all seasons - a reason to cuddle up with on a long, lazy summer night at an outdoor screening or on a long, chilly wintry night in front of a TV glowing with one of her movies.

She made her film debut at the wee age of 10 - in Harold Young's "There's One Born Every Minute" of 1942 - and for the past 70 or so years, some of us have watched her grow, grow up, carouse, suffer and survive. She seemed to have one hell of a good time, and we all shared in it vicariously, because Elizabeth Taylor was probably the most public - and, reportedly, generous - person we've ever known.

Close to being "family."

Elizabeth Taylor was - is - The Last Movie Star, certainly the last representative of the Golden Age of Movies. In her, we saw a blend of the theatrical and the real (she was never outright artificial), which I think is the essence of stardom. Taylor remained glamorous and larger than life, even at a time when those qualities were either denigrated or turned into something camp. She was the last remaining goddess in a godless age.

Taylor, in addition to her rapturous beauty and spunk, had a penchant for acting out our fantasies, a time-honored tradition in movies.

She had been a powerful presence on screen in something like 50 movies. In life, she was critiqued, analyzed by the press and deified by fans. There have been in-depth magazine articles, a few books and, predictably, an attempt (albeit aborted) to do a televison movie on her life.

The fact is, however - and this is the reason for her enduring box-office appeal - her life's tale has been told already, time and time again, via several thousand miles of celluloid, in everything frrm Fred M. Wilcox's "Lassie Come Home" (1943), her first major role, to Harold Prince's "A Little Night Music" (1978), a movie and role (as Desiree Armfeldt) that probably captured the Taylor temperament and charm better than any others. "Night Music" is her story - only told in song.

Courtesy of Stephen Sondheim.

When she sings Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns" in her tiny, tentative voice, it just sounds right. That little girl's voice somehow redefined the weary maturity of the song, making it more poignant.

Growing up with Elizabeth Taylor, from "Lassie" to "Night Music," we've been able to see her through several incarnations. We've seen that "grown-up" child's face give way to the face of a sensualist (with never an "awkward period" in-between), commanding our attention with haughty violet eyes that were like jewels. (God - those eyes glorious, shining eyes have been dimmed!) Only the snippiness of her little girl's voice remained the same, the one link between little Velvet Brown in "National Velvet" (1944), arguably her greatest movie role, and wanton Gloria Wandrous in "BUtterfield 8" (1960), a role and film that the actress thoroughly detested, despite the Oscar it brought her. And she had the confidence to say so.

It's a toss-up, I guess, as to when Elizabeth Taylor was at her most beautiful, looking every inch Hollywood royalty. I, for one, find it impossible to watch "National Velvet," a rare family film about passion and obsession, without losing myself to that painfully beautiful face, which was already the face of an adult. And she was only 12.

Elizabeth Taylor's career was clearly divided into three parts, starting with her MGM period, during which she was largely wasted. Her resources weren't really tapped until 1951, when MGM loaned her to Paramount for George Stevens' "A Place in the Sun" and her power wasn't evident until 1956 when she was loaned out again to Stevens and Warner Bros. for "Giant."

She remained artistically in control of those resources and power until 1967, the year of Franco Zeffirelli's "The Taming of the Shrew" and John Huston's "Reflections in a Golden Eye." Thereafter, her career went downhill with only a few features, mostly lackluster, and TV appearances.

But there have been roles to savor... Kay Banks, the young bride in Vincente Minnelli's "Father of the Bride" (1950) and Angela Vickers, the debutante she played in "A Place in the Sun" are women of that great combination - good breeding and accessibility. In "Giant," she played the mature, liberated family woman, a role that Taylor socked across by dint of her own feisty personality. She imbues Edna Ferber's heroine, Leslie Lynnton Benedict,
with a soft facade and a core of steel. She voices a need for self-expression, fulfillment and assertion that were rare for a woman in films in the 1950s. She, of course, played Tennessee Williams' Maggie the Cat in Richard Brooks' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1958). Maggie the Cat, indeed - as a child, her nickname was Kitten. But she is even better in another film version of a Williams play, Joseph Mankiewicz's "Suddenly, Last Summer" (1960), in which she perfectly limns the psychic trauma of a woman, Catherine Holly, whose haunted memories of rejection have left her mentally maimed, confused and suicidal. Her gestures as Catherine are exact.

Taylor with Len Cariou in "A Little Night Music"

Taylor was joined by her dear "Place in the Sun" co-star, Montgomery Clift, in "Suddenly, Last Summer" and they also starred together in Edward Dmytryk's epic, "Raintree County" (1957). At that point in their respective careers, both had graduated to playing out emotional masochism. And Taylor was joined by yet another illustrious screen masochist, Marlon Brando, in Huston's perversely fascinating "Reflections in a Golden Eye" ('67) in which she played a character with the nifty name, Lenora Penderton.

In perhaps her most controversial movie, Mike Nichols' screen version of Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966), Taylor essayed the role of Martha, an emotionally upset dishrag who manges to muster up a little self-esteem by the end of the movie. With this film, she illustrated her prowess. Only great actresses have that special gift of making a character's interior life utterly transparent. With Martha, we see right through Taylor's eyes (not violet but gray in this black-&-white film), read between the lines and see the woman inside the rampaging harpy.

Taylor's powerful performance in "Virginia Woolf," arguably her best performance, ironically brought her to a dead end, career-wise. Her following appearances on screen (big and small) became more infrequent and less challenging. But some were playful.

Among my many secret guilty pleasures, for example, is her game characterization in a lost Peter Ustinov movie, "Hammersmith Is Out" (1972). In this fractured Faustian comedy, Taylor slithers through the role of hash-slinger Jimmie Jean Jackson as if she were slumming and having the time of her life. She was a good sport. And who could help but be amused by the big-league bitchiness she brought to her guest appearances in those "General Hospital" episodes decades ago?

GH should really interrupt its schedule and re-air those episodes.

Taylor as Jimmy Jean Jackson

Taylor was nominated for an Academy Award as best actress for four consecutive years - in 1957 for "Raintree County," in 1958 for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," in 1959 for "Suddenly, Last Summer," and in 1960 for "BUtterfield Eight," which finally won her one. Her second Oscar, of course, came in 1966 for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Unfortunately, however, she worked for an industry much more interested in the marketing of notoriety than of talent, and so a lot of her screen work has been eclipsed by her media adventures, specifically by her eight marriages to seven men - to Nicky Hilton, Michael Wilding, Mike Todd, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton, Richard Burton (she married him twice), John Warner and Larry Fortensky.

As it turned out, for most of her life, Elizabeth Taylor, the screen actress, has been upstaged by Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky, the ultimate celebrity. This had a tremendous effect on her screen work - both in how she worked and the way she was preceived. She lost credibility rather quickly, undeservedly so, and one can only look at those early performances, at Velvet Brown and Angela Vickers, and wonder how Elizabeth Taylor might have developed as an actress if she hadn't been so celebrated as a Star.

Velvet Brown. Kay Banks. Desiree Armfeldt. Jimmie Jean Jackson. Catherine Holly. Maggie the Cat. Gloria Wandrous. Martha. Elizabeth.

The Last Movie Star.

ELIZABETH CAPTURED! (Taylor on celluloid, including TV, cameo, uncredited and documentary appearances):
There's One Born Every Minute (1942)
Lassie Come Home (1943)
Jane Eyre (1944)
White Cliffs of Dover (1944)
National Velvet (1944)
Courage of Lassie (1946)
Cynthia (1947)
Life with Father (1947)
A Date with Judy (1948)
Julie Misbehaves (1948)
Little Women (1949)
Conspirator (1949)
The Big Hangover (1950)
Father of the Bride (1950)
A Place in the Sun (1951)
Father's Little Dividend (1951)
Quo Vadis (1951)
Love Is Better Than Ever (1952)
Ivanhoe (1952)
The Girl Who Had Everything (1953)
Rhapsody (1954)
Elephant Walk (1954)
Beau Brummel (1954)
The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)
Giant (1956)
Raintree County (1957)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
BUtterfield 8 (1960)
Scent of Mystery (1960)
Cleopatra (1963)
The V.I.P.s (1963)
The Sandpiper (1965)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)
The Comedians (1967)
Doctor Faustus (1968)
Secret Ceremony (1968)
Boom! (1968)
Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)
The Only Game in Town (1970)
Under Milk Wood (1971)
X, Y and Zee (1972)
Hammersmith Is Out (1972)
Divorce His; Divorce Hers (1972)
Night Watch (1973)
Ash Wednesday (1973)
The Driver's Seat (1973)
That's Entertainment! (1974)
The Blue Bird (1976)
Victory at Entebbe (1976)
A Little Night Music (1978)
Winter Kills (1978)
The Mirror Crack'd (1980)
General Hospital (1981)
Genocide (1981)
Between Friends (1983)
All My Children (1984)
Hotel (1984, TV-series version)
George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1985)
North & South (1985)
Poker Alice (1986)
There Must Be a Pony (1986)
Malice in Wonderland (1988)
Young Toscanini (1988)
Sweet Bird of Youth (1989)
The Simpsons (1992)
The Flintstones (1994)
God, the Devil and Bob (2001)
These Old Broads (2001)

Note in Passing: Turner Classic Movies has set aside Sunday and Monday, 10-11 April for a memorial tribute to Elizabeth Taylor, screening the following titles (all times Eastern):
6 a.m. – Lassie Come Home (1943)
7:30 a.m. – National Velvet (1944)
10 a.m. – Conspirator (1952)
11:30 a.m. – Father of the Bride (1950)
1:15 a.m. – Father’s Little Dividend (1951)
2:45 p.m. – Raintree County (1957)
6 p.m. – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
8 p.m. – BUtterfield 8 (1960)
10 p.m. – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
12:30 a.m. – Giant (1956)
4 a.m. – Ivanhoe (1952)

Monday, March 21, 2011

odd couple

Eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire - of "Rabbit Hole" fame - signed on to work on the screenplay for Sam Raimi's "Oz: The Great and Powerful," a prequel slated to star James Franco and Mila Kunis.

Actually, Raimi and Lindsay-Abaire nearly collaborated on the film version of Lindsay-Abaair's "Rabbit Hole." If you go back and do some research, you'll find that Raimi was the first director originally linked to the Nicole Kidman-starrer.

After Raimi bowed out, John Cameron Mitchell signed on.

Now you know.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

red riding hood is (gasp!) a woman

Catherine Hardwicke's "Red Riding Hood," starring the sublime Amanda Seyfried, has been reviewed - and dismissed - mostly by male critics.

Clueless male critics.

While the reviewers were busy thinking of oh-so-clever quips to level at Hardwicke's film, what was lost on them is what Hardwicke actually accomplished here, for better or worse, in terms of feminist filmmaking.

Major positions on Hardwicke's team are filled by ... women.

The film's director of photograhy is Mandy Walker.

Her film was edited by Nancy Richardson and Julia Wong.

Cindy Evans did the costume designs.

Maxine Gervais worked as the film's all-important digital intermediate colorist, and Katie Largay served as digital editor/assistant colorist.

Go, Hardwicke!

Friday, March 04, 2011

jeune fille en fleur

Yes, "jeune fille en fleur." That's how British film historian Douglas McVay referred to Catherine Deneuve's presence in Jacques Demy's "Les parapluies de Cherbourg"/"The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964), one of 25 Deneuve titles that make up the BAMcinématek's simply-titled retrospect, "Deneuve," which plays 4 March through 31 March. (BAMcinématek is, of course, part of the Brooklyn Art Museum.)

The ambitious program includes only Deneuve's foreign-language performances (she's made a jaw-dropping 111 films to date) and I've taken the liberty of highlighting personal favorites with an asterisk.

Here's the dazzling line-up:

-"Potiche"/"Trophy Wife" (including a Q&A with Catherine Deneuve and director François Ozon) | 4 March @ 7 pm

-"Repulsion" | 4 March @ 940 pm and 12 March @ 2, 4:30, 6:50 & 9:15pm (Deneuve herself will introduce the 4 March screening) *

-"Changing Times"/"Les temps qui changent" | 5 March @ 4:30pm

-"Genealogies of a Crime"/"Généalogies d'un crime" | 6 March @ 4:30pm

-"Thieves"/"Les voleurs" | 6 March @ 2 and 9:30pm

-"The Creatures"/"Les Créatures" | 8 March @ 7pm

-"Heartbeat"/"La chamade" | 9 March @ 7pm

-"The Umbrellas of Cherbourg"/"Les parapluies de Cherbourg"(top photo) | 10 March @ 7 pm *

-"A Matter of Resistance"/"La vie de château" | 11 March @ 2, 4:30, 6:50 & 9:15pm

-"Belle de Jour" | 13 March @ 2, 4:30, 6:50 & 9:15pm *

-"Le sauvage"/"Call Me Savage" | 15 March @ 4:30, 6:50 & 9:15pm

-"Don't Touch the White Woman"/"Touche pas à la femme blanche" | 16 March @ 6:50 & 9:15pm *

-"Manon 70" | 17 March @ 7:30 & 9:40pm

-"Mississippi Mermaid"/"La sirène du Mississipi" (upper left photo, with Jean-Paul Belmondo) | 18 March @ 2, 4:30, 6:50 & 9:15pm *

-"Tristana" | 19 March @ 6:50 & 9:15pm *

-"The Young Girls of Rochefort"/"Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" (bottom photo with her late sister Françoise Dorléac) | 20 March @ 2, 4:30, 7 & 9:30pm *

-"Liza" | 22 March @ at 7pm *

-"Time Regained"/"Le temps retrouvé, d'après l'oeuvre de Marcel Proust" | 23 March @ 6:30 & 9:40pm

-"Scene of the Crime"/"Le lieu du crime" | 24 March @ 6:50 & 9:15pm

-"My Favorite Season"/"Ma saison préférée" (upper right photo with Daniel Auteuil) | 25 March @ 3, 6 & 9pm *

-"The Last Metro"/"Le dernier métro" | 26 March @ 3, 6 & 9pm *

-"Donkey Skin"/"Peau d'âne" | 27 March @ 2, 4:30, 6:50 & 9:15pm *

-"A Talking Picture"/"Um Filme Falado" | 29 March @ 4:30, 6:50 & 9:15pm

-"8 Women"/"8 femmes" | 30 March @ 4:30, 6:50 & 9:15pm *

-"A Christmas Tale"/"Un conte de Noël" | 31 March @ 6:30 & 9:30pm

All screenings are at the BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11217 (718.636.4100 | tickets@BAM.org)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

indelible moment: H.C. Potter's "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House"

The scene: Muriel Blandings (Myrna Loy) going over color schemes with Mr. PeDelford (Emory Parnell), a contractor working on her house-in-progress, and Charlie (Don Brodie), a painter who will do the work...

Muriel: "I want it to be a soft green, not as blue-green as a robin's egg, but not as yellow-green as daffodil buds."

Mr. PeDelford (in agreement): "A-ha."

Muriel: "Now, the only sample I could get is a little too yellow, but don't let whoever does it go to the other extreme and get it too blue. It should just be a sort of grayish-yellow-green."

Mr. PeDelford (repeating himself): "A-ha."

Muriel: "Now, the dining room. I'd like yellow. Not just yellow; a very gay yellow. Something bright and sunshine-y. I tell you, Mr. PeDelford, if you'll send one of your men to the grocer for a pound of their best butter, and match that exactly, you can't go wrong!"

Mr. PeDelford (repeating again): "A-ha."

Muriel: "Now, this is the paper we're going to use in the hall. It's flowered, but I don't want the ceiling to match any of the colors of the flowers. There's some little dots in the background, and it's these dots I want you to match. Not the little greenish dot near the hollyhock leaf, but the little bluish dot between the rosebud and the delphinium blossom. Is that clear?"

Mr. PeDelford (almost robotic now): "A-ha."

Muriel: "Now the kitchen is to be white. Not a cold, antiseptic hospital white. A little warmer, but still, not to suggest any other color but white."

Mr. PeDelford (clearly growing weary): "A-ha."

Muriel: "Now for the powder room - in here - I want you to match this thread, and don't lose it. It's the only spool I have and I had an awful time finding it! As you can see, it's practically an apple red. Somewhere between a healthy winesap and an unripened Jonathan. (There's commotion in the background.) Oh, excuse me..."

Mr. PeDelford: "You got that, Charlie?"

Charlie: "Red, green, blue, yellow, white."

Mr. PeDelford: "Check!"

-written by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, from the novel by Eric Hodgins.

turner classic movies. march. 2011.

With February's "31 Days of Oscar," my least favorite Turner event, out of the way, the premiere movie channel can get back to what it does best - showing movies of all sorts without bias. I mean, Presley's "Clambake" (1967) gets the star spot - the 8 p.m. slot - on 4 March.

The star of the month is the irresistible Jean Harlow, seen here on the studio backlot with her snazzy convertible; with the magnetic James Cagney in William A. Wellman's "The Public Enemy" (1931), screening at 8 p.m. (est) on 15 January, and with the inimitable Wallace Beery in George Cukor's "Dinner at Eight" (1933) airing at 8 p.m. on 29 March: A month after my own heart, March kicks off with three favorites which I find compulsively watchable - Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" (1959), a rare film which becomes more enjoyable with each viewing (12:30 p.m., 3 March); Robert Aldrich's "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962), a camp fest noted for its unusual restraint (9:30 p.m., 7 March), and Vincente Minnelli's "Two Weeks in Another Town" (also 1962, a very good year), an obscenely watchable industry pic (5 p.m., 8 March). Michael Gordon's "Pillow Talk," released by Universal in October of 1959, is largely regarded as something of a first - "the fluff sex comedy," a modern subgenre of the time-tested battle-of-the-sexes romps. It was a huge hit, both a turning point in Doris Day's career and an on-going source of references for subsequent comedies trying to be just like it.

But predating it by a few months was Charles Walter's "Ask Any Girl," a working-girl lark released by Metro in May of that year. This difficult-to-see title airs on Turner at 8 p.m., 9 March.

Shirley MacLaine, in a role that Day would patent, plays a career woman and romantic naïf caught between two men - both her bosses, who happen also to be brothers. She's interested in nabbing dashing Gig Young, see, but leans on his older brother, stuffy David Niven, for pointers and guidance, not realizing that he's really the guy for her - or that, in fact, he's interested.

On the sidelines is Rod Taylor, delightfully on the prowl.
"Ask Any Girl," a bit of wispy fun with a distant relationship to "Pygmalion," doesn't have the legendary reputation of "Pillow Talk." It virtually has no reputation at all because it's been almost impossible to see. But it's worth searching out, if only for the ace supporting cast - Elisabeth Fraser, Dodie Heath (fresh off "The Diary of Anne Frank" that year), Jim Backus, Claire Kelly, and the sublime Carman Phillips (left).

There are a couple interesting connections here: MacLaine previously appeared with Niven in Michael Anderson's "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956) and with Phillips in Vincente Minnelli's "...Some Came Running" (1958). Niven would play opposite Day a year later in Walters' "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" (1960), and Young, of course, was something of a Day staple, appearing with her in Gordon Douglas' "Young at Heart" (1954), George Seaton's "Teacher's Pet" and Gene Kelly's "Tunnel of Love" (both 1958) and Delbert Mann's "That Touch of Mink" (1962).

The British "kitchen sink" drama of the 1960s, an inherently dreary but not unappealing genre, hit something of a peak with Tony Richardson's superb filming of the Shelagh Delaney play, "A Taste of Honey" (1961). The singular Rita Tushingham broke through with this film as the indomitable Jo (inspired perhaps by Louisa May Alcott's Jo?), ably supported by Dora Bryan and Robert Stephens as the contemptible adults in her life), but most memorable of all is Murray Melvin, playing arguably the first unabashed gay man on screen as Jo's closest friend.

"A Taste of Honey" screens at 10:15 p.m., 10 March.

Two always reliable players, Melvyn Douglas and Joan Blondell, team in Alexander Hall's charming romance, "Good Girls Go to Paris" (1936). Don't miss it at 10:30 a.m., 11 March.

A must-see double-bill screens on 12 March, beginning at 5:30 p.m. - Howard Hawks' great "Rio Bravo" (1959), which features (among other things) incredible chemistry among John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan and Angie Dickinson (quite an atypical crew), and Rouben Mamoulian scintillating musical, "Love Me Tonight" (1932) with the divine Jeanette MacDonald, perfectly cast opposite Maurice Chevalier, with Charlie Ruggles on hand for good measure. A quartet of films about Joan of Arc dominate Turner's schedule on 13 March, kicking off at 8 p.m. with Victor Fleming's "Joan of Arc" (1948), starring Ingrid Bergman (and José Ferrer), followed by Otto Preminger's "Saint Joan" (1957); with Jean Seberg (above with Richard Widmark); Carl Theodor Dryer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (1928), with Renée Falconetti, and Robert Bresson's "LeProces de Jeanne D'arc" (1962), starring Florence Delay.

John Kerr, one of the more interesting young actors of the 1950s, had a relatively brief film career and one of his titles was Curtis Bernhardt's remake of "Waterloo Bridge" - "Gaby," a 1956 Leslie Caron vehicle (disliked by Caron), airing at 4:30 p.m. on 14 March. Edna Ferber's durable "So Big" was filmed three times, first in 1924 by Charles Brabin with Colleen Moore as Ferber's gutsy heroine and also in 1953 by Robert Wise, a particularly weak version starring Jane Wyman. But the second remains the best - directed by William A. Wellman in 1932 and with a remarkable performance by Barbara Stanwyck (shown in the photos with Dickie Moore, playing her son, and Mae Madison), airing at 8 a/m/, 16 March. Look for Bette Davis, excellent in a small but telling role.

By the way, Richard Beymer, who played the older version of the son in the Wyman version, would be cast by Wise again nearly a decade later as the hero in his 1961 Academy Award-winner, "West Side Story."

Gene Nelson (left), for my money the best male dancer on screen ever (apologies to Fred and the other Gene), had a modest career as a film director and Turner airs what may well be his best effort - "Your Cheatin' Heart" (1964), the Hank Williams biopic starring George Hamilton - at 8:30 a.m., 19 March.

At 4:15 a.m. on 20 March, Turner airs Bud Yorkins' film of "Never Too Late," the stage comedy with the inimitable Paul Ford and Maureen O'Sullivan recreating their Broadway roles as a late middle-aged couple dealing with the wife's unexpected pregnancy. It provided a rare (the only?) leading role for Ford. Jim Hutton and Connie Stevens co-star as the younger second generation dealing with ... pregnancy problems. Good fun.

I'm a sucker for anything with Roz Russell and, this month, Turner airs W.S. Van Dyke II's aptly titled "The Feminine Touch" (1941) at 1:45 p.m, 21 March. And, finally, the month winds down, just as it started - with a handful of titles that will have me committed to my Sony Bravia. And they are... Samuel Fuller's crack-up masterwork, "Shock Corridor" (1963), starring Constance Towers and Peter Breck; Vincent Sherman's enchanting homefront comedy (1:30 p.m., 23 March); "Pillow to Post" (1945), starring an equally enchanting Ida Lupino and the Fonda-like William Prince (at 11:45 p.m., 25 March); Delbert Mann's "Dear Heart" (1964), an intelligent soaper well-cast with Glenn Ford and Geraldine Page (below), plus Angela Lansbury and Barbara Nichols (4 p.m., 27 March), and Herbert Ross' intoxicating "The Last Of Sheila" (1973), an all-star "fluff thriller" penned by no less than Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim (10:30 p.m., 31 March).