Tuesday, January 01, 2013

turner this month - bravo!

Ringing in the new year, Turner celebrates the exquisite Loretta Young (left) as its Star of the Month, screening 37 of her films during prime time and late-night hours every Wednesday during the month. Also showcased are Sal Mineo (via four titles on January 10th), Shelley Winters (five titles on January 19th ) and, on the occasion of his 100th Birthday, the antic and underappreciated Danny Kaye (with 13 features on the following night, January 20th ). Dick Van Dyke is showcased on January 21st.

The month kicks off on January 1st with a selection of roadshow musicals, all based on Broadway hits, natch, and all made at a time when the film musical reached its zenith, the 1960s, thanks to 70mm, stereophonic sound and unchecked choreographic enthusiasm. These five titles make the current “Les Misérables” look like the dreary stick that it is.

The mini-marathon starts at 6 a.m. with Francis Ford Coppola’s “Finian’s Rainbow” (1968), the third and final Tommy Steele roadshow musical (the other two being Disney’s “The Happiest Millionaire” and George Sidney’s “Half a Sixpence”); followed by William Wyler’s “Funny Girl” (1968), in which Wyler recruits Walter Pidgeon and Anne Francis from “Forbidden Planet” for supporting roles; George Cukor’s masterful “My Fair Lady” (1964), with Audrey Hepburn (above) in a role she was born to play; Joshua Logan’s towering “Camelot” (1967), in which cinematographer Richard H. Kline shoots stars Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Harris up close while honoring the work’s innate intimacy, and Gene Kelly’s “Hello, Dolly!” (1969), an elephantine lollipop that has, yes, improved with age.

Going in the complete opposite direction are two titles being screened in the wee hours of Janaury 5th , both by film miminalist Amos Poe – “The Foreigner” (1978) at 2 am and “Alphabet City” (1984) at 3:45 a.m.

Later that night, you can savor an early William Castle title, the clever “The Whistler” (1944) at 10 p.m., followed by Anthony Asquith’s “Libel” (1959), based on the venerable play by Edward Wooll (that had just been revived on Broadway) and starring Dirk Bogarde and Olivia de Havilland.

January 6th offers the top Kim Novak sex comedy, “Boys’ Night Out” (1962), directed by Michael Gordon, at noon, and a Jimmy Stewart-Henry Koster double-bill, “Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation” (1962) and the film of the Henry Ephron and Phoebe Ephron 1961 play, “Take Her, She’s Mine” (1963), starting at 8 p.m. (That's Sandra Dee, essentially playing Nora Ephron in the latter film.)

The American New Wave of the ‘70s is well repped on January 8th, starting at 12:30 a.m. with Robert Altman’s “California Split” (1974), one of the filmmaker's better, least self-conscious films, and Hal Ashby’s electric “The Last Detail” (1973), with a first-rate Jack Nicholson. Later that night, Turner has fun with a selection of caper flicks, screening everything from Lewis Milestone’s “Ocean’s 11” (1960), less fun than it tries to be, at 8 p.m. and Jean-Pierre Melville’s silky “Bob le Flambeur” (1955), at 12:15 a.m.

The Mineo films, starting at 1 p.m. on January 10th include Don Weis’ “The Gene Krupa Story” (1959), with Susan Sohner, Alfred L. Werker’s “The Young Don’t Cry” (1957) and Don Siegel’s “Crime in the Streets” (1956), both with James Whitmore, and Mineo’s seminal film performance, in Nicholas Ray’s “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), with Jimmy and Nat.

An unsual trio of films (clashing subject matters! clashing styles!) dominate the early hours of January 14th – Jacques Tati’s “Jour de Fete” (1949), starting at 2 a.m. and followed by Nicolas Roeg’s haunting “Walkabout” (1971) and Elliot Silverstein’s “A Man Called Horse” (1970).

Write this one down: “Carnal Knowledge” @ 12:30 a.m. on January 15th. Nicholson, again, soars in Mike Nichols’ consummate, most emblematic work from 1971. Now, watch it or, better yet, record it.

Rome is showcased in five daytime titles on January 17th, starting at 10:45 a.m. with Mario Lanza in Roy Rowland’s “The Seven Hills of Rome” (1959), followed by José Quintero’s “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone” (1961), based on a Tennessee Williams novel (as adapted by Gavin Lambert), Guy Green’s affecting/intelligent “Light in the Piazza” (1962), featuring a very fine Yvette Mimieux, and Delmer Dave’s “Rome Adventure” (1962), where Suzanne Pleshette met Troy Donahue.

Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers romp delightfully in Howard Hawks’ blissful “Monkey Business” (1952). Join the fun at 6 p.m. on January 18th.

Winters' gets her night on January 19th with back-to-back screenings, starting at 8 p.m. iwht Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita” (1962) and then Robert Aldrich’s “The Big Knife” (195), George Cukor’s “The Chapman Report” (1962), Stuart Heisler’s “I Died a Thousand Times” (1955) and Fred M. Wilcox’s “Tennessee Champ” (1954). Eleven films and two TV specials showcase Danny Kaye on January 20th, starting at 6 a.m. with an episode of “The Danny Kaye Show” (1961), directed by Bud Yorkin and, at 10:30 a.m. an episode of “The Dick Cavett Show” (1971). Among the films to catch are Peter Glenville’s “Me and Colonel” (1958), with Curt Jurgens (@ 4 p.m.); Charles Vidor’s “Hans Christian Andersen” (1952), featuring an top Frank Loesser score (@ 8 p.m.), and Frank Tashlin’s very funny “The Man from the Diner’s Club” (1963), airing at 4 a.m. on January 21st.

Dick Van Dyke, meanwhile, twinkles his way through five films on January 21st – Bud Yorkin’s “Divorce, American Style” (1967), at 8 p.m., and Norman Lear’s “Cold Turkey” (1971), Delbert Mann’s “Fitzwilly” (1967), George Sidney’s “Bye Bye Birdie” (1963) and Garson Kanin’s “Some Kind of Nut” (1969). (“Divorce” encores at 3:30 p.m.on January 31st.)

Moving along, several titles jump out at me – Robert Aldrich’s “Autumn Leaves” (1956) at 11:30 a.m. on January 22nd; George Marshall’s “The Happy Thieves” (1962), at 12:30 a.m. on January 23rd; Sidney Lumet’s “The Anderson Tapes” (1971) at 4 a.m. on January 23rd, and a wacky trio beginning at 11:30 p.m. on January 24th – George Roy Hill’s thoroughly awful “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (1967), Vincente Minnelli’s great “Some Came Running” (1958), with a great Sinatra and David Swift’s breezily sleazy “Under the Yum Yum Tree” (1963).

Airing on January 27th are Nunnally Johnson’s “Black Widow” (1954), which is essentially “All About Eve” done as a murder mystery and stars Ginger Rogers in n atypically camp performance, and the Howard Hawks classic, “His Girl Friday” (1940). They play back-to-back, starting at noon.

Robert DeNiro had one of his early roles in “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” (1971), a whirling comedy that nominally stars Jerry Orbach (also in an early role), along with Leigh Taylor-Young and Jo Van Fleet, who’s a hoot. James Goldstone, a solid filmmaker who died way too young, directed. It screens at 4:30 a.m. on January 28th.

The 29th offers three Otto Preminger films – “Carmen Jones” (954) at 6 a.m., “The Man with the Golden Arm” (1955) at 7 :45 a.m. , “Saint Joan” (1957) at 1:15 p.m. and “Anatomy of a Murder” (1959) at 3:15 p.m. Finally, following “Murder” is the Tony Curtis vehicle, “Not with My Wife, You Don’t!” (1966), directed by Norman Panama.


j.r. holm said...

Nice appreciation of the '60s widescreen musicals.

wwolfe said...

I remember seeing "Cold Turkey" at a drive-in theater in North Carolina with my family when I was about eleven. We thought it was very funny, and my mom was a big fan of Randy Newman's mournful "He Gives Us All His Love," which opens and closes the movie. It would be interesting to watch this on a double bill with "MASH" and see which holds up as a sharper satire today.