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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Carter Stevens' Guide to TCM This Week (March 20-26)

March 20

8:30am Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
Detective Mike Hammer fights to solve the murder of a beautiful hitchhiker with a mysterious connection to the Mob.
Cast: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Juano Hernandez Dir: Robert Aldrich BW-106 mins, TV-PG

I was about 12 when I saw this film. I read all the Mickey Spillane books I could get my almost teenage hands on. I wanted to be Mike Hammer. I don't think I've seen this film since, but I still want to be Mike Hammer so it couldn't be too bad.

4:15pm 12 Angry Men (1957)
A jury holdout tries to convince his colleagues to vote not guilty.
Cast: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E. G. Marshall Dir: Sidney Lumet BW-96 mins, TV-PG

Sidney Lumet teaches us how you take a crackerjack stage play and turn it into a crackerjack movie without moving out of the one room setting.

8:00pm Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
A British military officer enlists the Arabs for desert warfare in World War I.
Cast: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins Dir: David Lean C-227 mins, TV-14

The exact opposite of 12 Angry Men. As big as all outdoors. Vast spaces of desert filled with action. The thing I remember most about seeing this film during it's theatrical opening was the entire audience rising up en mass to rush to the water fountain during the intermission. You can feel every grain of sand in your face. Add to that a stunning performance by Peter O'Toole makes this a not to be missed film.

March 21

8:30am Ma And Pa Kettle (1949)
On the verge of eviction, the hillbilly family wins a slogan contest and moves into an automated home.
Cast: Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride, Richard Long, Meg Randall Dir: Charles Lamont BW-76 mins, TV-G

Long long before the Clampetts there was Ma and Pa Kettle.

8:00pm Outrage, The (1964)
A Mexican bandit's crimes receive wildly different interpretations from four witnesses.
Cast: Paul Newman, Laurence Harvey, Claire Bloom, Edward G. Robinson Dir: Martin Ritt BW-96 mins, TV-PG

Rashomon lite. Why they would run this during a month dedicated to the great Akira Kurosawa is beyond me. It would be a good film if it wasn't for Kurosawa's original.

10:00pm Magnificent Seven, The (1960)
Seven American gunmen hire themselves out to protect a Mexican village from bandits.
Cast: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson Dir: John Sturges C-128 mins, TV-PG

Another Kurosawa rip off. This time much better done. Again, this might be a great film if it wasn't for Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. All right I admit it I love the Magnificent 7 just as much as I love Seven Samurai (and what a musical score!) but I just want to make sure Kurosawa gets the credit he deserves.

March 22

10:00pm Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
Hard-boiled detective Sam Spade gets caught up in the murderous search for a priceless statue.
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre Dir: John Huston BW-101 mins, TV-PG

THE GREATEST FILM EVER MADE! The stuff dreams are made of.

12:00am Shootist, The (1976)
A dying gunfighter tries to set his affairs in order.
Cast: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, James Stewart Dir: Don Siegel C-99 mins, TV-14

John Wayne's last film, and by far his greatest.

March 23

TWELVE count them 12 Akira Kurosawa films in a row. And right in the middle...

8:00pm Rashomon (1950)
In medieval Japan, four people offer conflicting accounts of a rape and murder.
Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Takashi Shimura, Masayuki Mori Dir: Akira Kurosawa BW-88 mins, TV-PG

9:30pm Seven Samurai(1954)
Japanese villagers hire a team of traveling samurai to defend them against a bandit attack.
Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Kuninori Kodo, Yoshio Inaba Dir: Akira Kurosawa BW-207 mins, TV-14

You watched The Outrage and the Magnificent 7 now watch the originals in all their glory.
Oh and don't forget...

1:00am Yojimbo (1961)
A samurai-for-hire sets the warring factions of a Japanese town against each other.
Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Eijiro Tono, Seizaburo Kawazu, Isuzu Yamada Dir: Akira Kurosawa BW-111 mins, TV-14

Based on the works of Dashiell Hammett. And the blue print for Leone's A Fist Full of Dollars and later, Walter Hill's Last Man Standing. Again see this original in all it's glory.

March 24

11:30am Nevada Smith (1966)
A part-Indian cowboy avenges his parents' murder.
Cast: Steve McQueen, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Arthur Kennedy Dir: Henry Hathaway C-131 mins, TV-14

Based on a very small section of the novel The Carpetbaggers. This is actually a prequel in the life of the Alan Ladd character in the movie version. I rather watch the Carpetbaggers but this is a good companion piece. Too bad TCM didn't run them back to back.

March 25

10:00pm Ordinary People (1980)
When a young man drowns, his family fights to recover from the trauma.
Cast: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Timothy Hutton, Judd Hirsch Dir: Robert Redford C-124 mins, TV-MA

Robert Redford proves he can direct and Mary Tyler Moore proves she can act.

March 26

6:30pm Suddenly (1954)
Gunmen take over a suburban home to plot a presidential assassination.
Cast: Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason, Nancy Gates Dir: Lewis Allen BW-76 mins, TV-PG

Supposedly Sinatra bought the rights and all the copies to this film after Kennedy was assassinated, and nobody saw it again till after Sinatra died. I can believe it. A tight little film.

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