TCM Tuesday 7/24

Summertime in Texas is guaranteed hot temperatures and crazy, out of nowhere, thunderstorms. Both, ideal reasons to head indoors for some classic movies on Turner Classic.

via Boston.com/AP

However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the events in Aurora, Colorado last Friday. We are a movie family. We always have been. In my May 29th post, I wrote that going to a theater to watch a movie was where “all is right in the world for 120 minutes.” How wrong does that sound for the victims of that early Friday morning massacre?

My daughter Jordan, an aspiring filmmaker in Boston, got right back on the horse and went to see a movie, alone. She was not giving that perpetrator the power to take her passion and have it jaded it with fear or anger. She saw Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom”, which we all highly recommend, by the way.

Magic happens in movies theaters. You are transported to a different place and time. You relate to a hero or heroine. You can be inspired. You get swept away with the score. You can have your heart-broken. You can be driven to eruption of out loud laughter.  You root for the little guy. You boo the bad guy.

And, that was one, bad guy in Colorado.

We probably won’t ever sit in a theater again and NOT think about Aurora. But, we will still go. We will still go and have our 120 minutes of magic, where all is right in the world.

Now, for this week’s DVR alerts; movie magic from long ago.

 

Thursday July 24

6:00 AM

DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES (1962)

A husband and wife fight to conquer alcoholism.

Dir: Blake Edwards Cast:  Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford

BW-117 mins, TV-14, CC, Letterbox Format

The official tag line for this film says it all: “This, in its own terrifying way, is a love story.” Lemmon and Remick were both nominated for Oscars for their brilliant performances as raging alcoholics, in love. Hailed as one of the first movies to introduce AA as a realistic option for struggling alcoholics. Edwards also earned esteem for his groundbreaking portrayal of alcoholism as a disease. While the synopsis has “bleak” written all over, the performances will keep you riveted and sympathetic for these two broken souls. (Probably shouldn’t include a cocktail recipe with this post.)

Saturday July 28

The Essentials with Robert Osborne 

8:00 PM

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962)

A crazed, aging star torments her sister in a decaying Hollywood mansion.

Dir: Robert Aldrich Cast:  Bette Davis , Joan Crawford , Victor Buono

BW-134 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

As per the above, this is simply terrifying! Period. Incredible performances by two of the greatest actresses of all time, Davis and Crawford. They apparently enjoyed an off-screen, career long feud with each other. In one fight scene, Davis kicked Crawford so hard that she required stitches. In a turn of fair play, Crawford filled her pockets with weights so that when Davis had to drag her body, she threw out her back.  This film was a box office hit, initially grossing $9 million dollars. Today, that would mean an opening weekend of roughly $65 million. Not too bad for watching, as Jack Warner referred to them, “two old broads” slugging it out. I guess the equivalent of that today would be…hmmm…..Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith going at it?

3:30 AM

JOAN CRAWFORD: THE ULTIMATE MOVIE STAR (2002)

A TCM original documentary that examines Crawford’s life and unparalleled movie career. Narrated by Angelica Huston.

C-87 mins, TV-14, CC

A great biography of the infamous actress without the emphasis on her “Mommie Dearest” parenting skills.

Sunday July 29

7:15 AM

PAINTED VEIL, THE (1934)

A wife strays, then fights to redeem herself to her husband.

Dir: Richard Boleslawski Cast:  Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall, George Brent

BW-85 mins, TV-G, CC

This is classic romantic drama with the ever-elusive Garbo. Most Garbo fans agree that this is one of their favorites as it shows her acting depth and because she actually smiles in this film…a rarity. The film was not a success here in the U.S. but very popular in the UK. The Somerset Maugham story received more acclaim in 2006, when it was remade with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. I would categorize this in to the rainy Sunday afternoon file. When the NFL isn’t on, of course.

1:45 PM

ROOM FOR ONE MORE (1952)

A family with three children takes in troubled orphans.

Dir: Norman Taurog Cast:  Cary Grant, Betsy Drake, Lurene Tuttle

BW-95 mins, TV-G

This is a great little romantic comedy with real life husband and wife, Grant and Drake, giving sweet, uncomplicated performances. All you have to do is kick back and enjoy. Full of 1950’s idealism, this movie feels like a pilot for a long running early television sitcom. With Cary Grant as the dad! Can you imagine? Some of the narratives and lessons depicted in this film are very “Cosby”-ish. I think we could all use a little of that, this week.

Enjoy.

 

.

TCM Tuesday 6/19

Some Like It Hot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello, all! Hope you’re enjoying a fabulous summer week. We’ve been having some cool New England days, but it looks like a few warm beach days are heading our way. If your trying to beat the heat by staying indoors, here are my picks for this week on Turner Classic…including one of our family favorites, Some Like It Hot. (Sorry, Texans. No pun intended.) Enjoy!

Friday June 22

8:00 AM

SEVEN YEAR ITCH, THE (1955)

A married man whose wife is on vacation falls for the blonde bombshell upstairs.

Dir: Billy Wilder Cast:  Marilyn Monroe, Tommy Ewell, Evelyn Keyes

BW-104 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

I appreciate Marilyn Monroe, but I wouldn’t consider myself a devoted fan. I guess I just didn’t relate to her dark and troubled life or her whole blonde bombshell thing.  (I’m a dark-skinned Latina; I didn’t even play with Barbies.) If you have always wanted to see the infamous white dress, billowing up around her legs, then here is your chance. The iconic scene was shot on Lexington Avenue at 1 am with over 5000 onlookers, including her husband, Joe Di Maggio. Monroe was really battling a bout of depression and self-medication during the making of this film and was having trouble taking direction, remembering lines and her cues. She had to shoot the scene many times, with the crowd cheering and clamoring each time her dress blew up. Di Maggio was not pleased. Neither was Wilder since he couldn’t use any of the footage due to the noise from the crazed fans. He recreated the street on a studio lot to finally achieve the scene he envisioned, but only after over 40 takes, as Monroe still could not remember her lines. In 2011, the white dress was auctioned at Sotheby’s for 4.6 million dollars.

 

2:45 PM

SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)

Two musicians on the run from gangsters masquerade as members of an all-girl band.

Dir: Billy Wilder Cast:  Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon

BW-121 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

When my children were quite young, they became enamored with this hilarious film. They would pop in the DVD like a Disney flick, and watch it over and over. They also loved “Tootsie” and “The Birdcage”. I used to wonder if cross-dressing would be in their futures. Nope, just savvy taste in movies. Voted #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Funniest Movies. This is comedy at its best. Four years after “The Seven Year Itch”, Monroe was still such a mess. You can see her eyes tracking, reading her lines from a chalk board that Wilder brought in to help get the film completed. Many of her scenes took upwards of 30 takes. By the end, she had alienated many of her fellow actors on set and was not invited to the wrap party hosted by Wilder. Her personal destruction, however, did not affect the amazing performances of Lemmon and Curtis. Later, when Tony Curtis told Cary Grant that he was, indeed, impersonating him in this role, Grant replied, “I don’t talk like that!” And, Lemmon’s tango scene: pure brilliance.

 

11:00 PM

STAND BY ME (1986)

Four friends share a rite of passage on a long walk to view a dead body.

Dir: Rob Reiner Cast:  Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman

C-89 mins, TV-MA, CC, Letterbox Format

Ummmm….1986. I saw this at the theatre. It is on TCM. It’s official: I am old.

 A fabulous movie that had that “real” feel; like peering in on these four boys lives. The movie is based on a short story called “The Body” by Stephen King from a book of short stories called “Different Seasons”. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Reiner won a Golden Globe for Best Director. This was Jerry Connelly’s film debut. Watch the boys faces in the train scene, as they are truly scared and crying. Reiner had such a time getting them to act realistically, that he finally lost his temper and really yelled at them. They were so upset, Reiner called “action” and got it all on film. 

 Did I mention that I saw this in the theatre?

 

Saturday June 23

1:15 PM

BAD SEED, THE (1956)

A woman suspects that her perfect little girl is a ruthless killer.

Dir: Mervyn LeRoy Cast:  Gage Clarke, Jesse White, Joan Croyden

C-129 mins, TV-PG, CC

Freaking creepy! You can put this right up there, with all of your modern thrillers and it still holds up.  Three different endings were written and the end of the film was kept secret, with the last five pages of the script undistributed until they were ready to shoot. Patty McCormick was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Golden Globe at the age of 11. She is THAT “bad”! Eerily, you will be humming “Au Claire de la Lune” for the rest of the day. *high voice* Cr-e-e-e-py

 

Sunday June 24

4:00 PM

BORN YESTERDAY (1950)

A newspaper reporter takes on the task of educating a crooked businessman’s girlfriend.

Dir: George Cukor Cast:  Judy Holliday, Broderick Crawford, William Holden

BW-102 mins, TV-PG, CC

I wrote about Judy Holliday in a post about “Adam’s Rib.” I believe her to be one of the most underrated comedic actresses of classic film. Holliday had created this role on Broadway. Cukor wanted to capture her comedic timing on film, so he had the three main actors rehearse as a play, inevitably bringing in an audience to react so that he could time for laughter. Katharine Hepburn purposely created a “buzz” for Holliday during the filming of “Adam’s Rib”, stating she was “stealing scenes” from she and Spencer Tracy, just so that Judy was sure to get the “Born Yesterday” role. Holliday sadly succumbed to cancer at the age of 43, having only made a dozen movies. She did, however, win the Oscar for Best Actress for this fabulous performance.

 

 

TCM Tuesday

It is Turner Classic Tuesday and here are my picks for this week, including a birthday movie tribute for Audrey Hepburn.

(CST)

May 1, 2012

11:00 AM
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. 

9:15 PM
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

4:00 PM
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

10:45 AM
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.

10:00 AM
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. 

2:45 PM
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.

5:00 PM
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.

8:45 PM
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

4:00 PM
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”.

3:00 AM
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

1:00 PM
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.

5:00 PM
MARTY (1955)

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

9:00 PM
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!