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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Carter Stevens' Guide to TCM This Week (June 23-30)


It must be China's birthday. Every film has something to do with China today.


11:00pm  Steel Helmet, The (1951)  
Americans trapped behind enemy lines fight off Communists during the Korean War.
Cast: Robert Hutton, Steve Brodie, James Edwards, Richard Loo Dir: Samuel Fuller BW-84 mins, TV-14

Sam Fuller could take a penny and make it look like a dollar on screen. Speilburg could have learned a thing or two about making war films from him.  Tough and gritty just don't do this film justice.

3:45am  Battle Circus (1953)
A doctor fights for his life during the Korean War.
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, June Allyson, Keenan Wynn, Robert Keith Dir: Richard Brooks BW-90 mins, TV-PG

The original M.A.S.H., but in no way a comedy.


9 more Korean war films.


5:15am   Perversion For Profit(1965)
This anti-porn documentary shows a floodtide of filth engulfing the country in the form of newsstand obscenity  Cast: George Putnam narrates. BW-31 mins, TV-MA

My very favorite documentary. Notice they never run it except in the very early morning hours. Worth getting up and watching for a good laugh. If your still up from the night before fire up a doobie and enjoy it more.

8:30am  Third Man, The (1949)  
A man's investigation of a friend's death uncovers corruption in post-World War II Vienna.
Cast: Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard Dir: Carol Reed BW-104 mins, TV-14

Three notes to name that movie and if you can't you are tone deaf.

2:00am  Frances (1982)  
Actress Frances Farmer's mind snaps under the pressures of Hollywood life and a domineering mother.
Cast: Jessica Lange, Kim Stanley, Sam Shepard, Bart Burns Dir: Graeme Clifford C-140 mins, TV-MA

Jessica Lange proved she could act in this one.


2:00pm   Annie Get Your Gun (1950)   
Fanciful musical biography of wild West sharpshooter Annie Oakley.
Cast: Betty Hutton, Howard Keel, Louis Calhern, J. Carrol Naish Dir: George Sidney C-107 mins, TV-G 

Great music, horrible film. And keep an eye out for that great Irish born Indian J. Carrol Naish.

4:00pm  Plaza Suite (1971) 
A New York hotel room is the setting for three stories of romantic squabbles.
Cast: Walter Matthau, Lee Grant, Barbara Harris, Maureen Stapleton Dir: Arthur Hiller C-114 mins, TV-14

I like Walter Matthau, I really do,  but he is horribly miscast in two of the three acts in this film. I'll let you judge which two.    I have a soft spot for this play as I used to make money directing it for little theater groups before I started doing films.


1:00am  Brainstorm (1983) 
A scientist battles the military for control of a machine that records sensory experiences-including death.
Cast: Natalie Wood, Christopher Walken, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson Dir: Douglas Trumbull C-106 mins, TV-14

I have a soft spot for this film. Maybe it's because of the guy who loops the porn film and orgasms himself into a nervous breakdown. Now that is a real porn fan.


4:45am  Loved One, The (1965) 
An Englishman in Hollywood moves into the funeral business.
Cast: Robert Morse, Jonathan Winters, Anjanette Comer, Rod Steiger Dir: Tony Richardson BW-121 mins, TV-PG

I love "Black" comedy and this is as dark as they come.  Plus Rod Steiger as Mr. JoyBoy who could resist.

8:00pm  How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (1967)  
With the help of his handy guidebook, a window washer talks his way into the executive suite.
Cast: Robert Morse, Michele Lee, Rudy Vallee, Anthony Teague Dir: David Swift C-121 mins, TV-PG

One of the truly great underrated musicals.


10:00pm  Bell, Book and Candle (1959) 
A beautiful witch puts a love spell on an unknowing publisher.
Cast: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs Dir: Richard Quine C-102 mins, TV-PG

Kim Novak never got the attention she deserved as an actress. I guess that's what happens when you are stunningly beautiful. Ernie Kovacs never got a part worthy of his true genius--I guess that's what happens when you are not.

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