It is Turner Classic Tuesday and here are my picks for this week, including a birthday movie tribute for Audrey Hepburn.
May 1, 2012
TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON, THE (1956)
An Okinawan translator introduces U.S. occupation forces to the joys of local life.Dir: Daniel Mann Cast: Marlon Brando , Glenn Ford , Machiko Kyo .C-123 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
The 1954 Tony for best play and won the Pulitzer for Drama that same year. Apparently, Marlon Brando’s performance was so convincing as his asian character, that theater managers reported moviegoers requesting refunds because Brando was never on-screen.
OLD MAN AND THE SEA, THE (1958)
A Cuban fisherman believes his long dry spell will end when he catches a legendary fish.
Dir: John Sturges Cast: Felipe Pazos Jr. , Harry Bellaver , Spencer Tracy .
C-87 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
I am a huge Spencer Tracy fan, thus the recommendation. Although Hemingway, himself, was not a fan of Tracy’s portrayal of his infamous literary character. Academy critics disagreed and Tracy was nominated for an Oscar.
May 2, 2012
MY FAIR LADY (1964)
A phonetics instructor bets that he can pass a street urchin off as a lady.
Dir: George Cukor Cast: Audrey Hepburn , Rex Harrison , Stanley Holloway .
C-172 mins, TV-G, CC, Letterbox Format
Totally obvious, I know. But, just try and NOT imagine Stewie of “Family Guy” as Rex Harrison. ‘Tis difficult. But, cheers to Seth MacFarlane for basing a cartoon character after such a cultured, well…character. Always a classic, but it does bother me a little that Hepburn’s voice had to be dubbed.
May 3, 2012
BELLS ARE RINGING (1960)
An answering service operator gets mixed up in her clients’ lives.
Dir: Vincente Minnelli Cast: Judy Holliday , Dean Martin , Fred Clark .
C-126 mins, TV-G, CC, Letterbox Format
If you have never seen a Judy Holliday movie, you will either totally love or hate her. I weigh in on the “love her” side . I think she created the Hollywood version of the “dumb, actually smart,you can’t fool me blonde”. I feel that Melanie Griffin was most likely influenced by her, although she has never told me that directly. Holliday re-created this role from Broadway, where she won the 1957 Best Actress(Musical). Sadly, this was her last film.
May 4, 2012
Happy Birthday, Audrey Hepburn!
No “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or the usual Hepburn films, but, hey…it’s Audrey! Simply fabulous.
NUN’S STORY, THE (1959)
A headstrong girl fights the strictures of the Catholic church in Europe and the Belgian Congo.
Dir: Fred Zinnemann Cast: Audrey Hepburn , Peter Finch , Dame Edith Evans .
C-152 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
Generally considered Hepburn’s personal favorite of her movies.
LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (1957)
An aging American tycoon overcomes his inhibitions to court a young Parisian.Dir: Billy Wilder Cast: Gary Cooper , Audrey Hepburn , Maurice Chevalier .BW-130 mins, TV-G, CC, Letterbox Format
One of my sister’s personal favorites! Cary Grant was offered Cooper’s role, but turned it down because he thought himself too old to play against Hepburn. (Psshaw! Too old? Never, Mr. Grant, never!) Four years later he would star with her in “Charade”, also NOT airing today.
WAIT UNTIL DARK (1967)
A blind woman fights against drug smugglers who’ve invaded her home.
Dir: Terence Young Cast: Audrey Hepburn , Alan Arkin , Richard Crenna .
C-108 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
Ranked #55 on AFI’s “100 Years, 100 Thrills” list. Stephen King claims this as one of the scariest movies of all time, calling out Arkin’s performance as “the greatest evocation of screen villainy ever”. A great, even, stylish thriller. Hepburn picked out and bought her own clothes for this film in Paris. Thus, there is not a costume design credit. Tres chic.
12 ANGRY MEN (1957)
A jury holdout tries to convince his colleagues to vote not guilty.
Dir: Sidney Lumet Cast: Henry Fonda , Lee J. Cobb , Ed Begley .
BW-96 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
Ranked #2 in AFI Courtroom Drama. I think it is a perfectly made film, and quite economical, as well. It was shot in an astounding 21 days for $350,000. Henry Fonda is sublime and although he couldn’t watch himself on screen, it is noted that he knew the film was stunning and praised Lumet for his work.
May 5, 2012
BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, THE (1957)
The Japanese Army forces World War II POWs to build a strategic bridge in Burma.
Dir: David Lean Cast: William Holden , Alec Guinness , Jack Hawkins .
C-162 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
If you have the time or room on the DVR, my husband recommends this. I have never seen it in its entirety, even though it has Obi-Wan Kenobi in it. In comparison to the above film, said “Bridge” cost $250,000 and was built before anyone was even cast. Not so economical…or safe; Director David Lean almost drowned on set, swept away by a current. Actor Geoffrey Horne saved his life. This film won Best Picture in 1958 over “12 Angry Men”.
FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN, THE (1981)
Co-stars have an affair while filming the story of a doomed love.
Dir: Karel Reisz Cast: Meryl Streep , Jeremy Irons , Leo McKern .
C-124 mins, TV-MA, Letterbox Format
It is freaking Meryl Streep! Show your respect for the greatest actress of our time and set your DVR’s!
May 6, 2012
JANE EYRE (1944)
A governess at a remote estate falls in love with her brooding employer.
Dir: Robert Stevenson Cast: Orson Welles , Joan Fontaine , Margaret O’Brien .
BW-96 mins, TV-PG, CC
Just one of the many adaptation’s of Charlotte Bronte’s classic. Jane Eyre fan=DVR.
A lonely butcher finds love despite the opposition of his friends and family.
Dir: Delbert Mann Cast: Ernest Borgnine , Betsy Blair , Esther Minciotti .
BW-94 mins, TV-PG, CC
This is a movie that, today, would win the audience award at a film festival. And, in 1955, it did. It was the first American film to win the Palm d’Or at Cannes. The first time I saw it, I could not wrap my head around Borgnine as a leading man. Yet, I fell in love with his character and this film instantly. He did win the Oscar for his portrayal of an everyman looking for true love.
May 7, 2012
WEST SIDE STORY (1961)
A young couple from dueling street gangs falls in love.
Dir: Robert Wise Cast: Natalie Wood , Richard Beymer , Russ Tamblyn .
C-153 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
What can I say…I’m a dancer. The choreography is amazing. The first film to win Best Director for two directors, Wise and Jerome Robbins. This wouldn’t happen again until Joel and Ethan Coen shared the award for “No Country for Old Men” in 2007. Elvis Presley was the first choice to play “Tony”; Audrey Hepburn to play “Maria”. Now, that would’ve been a totally different movie!
I hope you enjoy the classics!