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Monday, February 22, 2010

Carter Stevens' Guide to TCM This Week (Feb. 22-Mar. 3)

Still part of the 31 days of Oscar. Great Movie after Great Movie after Great Movie. These are just a few of them.

Feb 22

6:00pm Sunset Boulevard (1950)
A failed screenwriter falls into a mercenary romance with a faded silent-film star.
Cast: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson Dir: Billy Wilder BW-110 mins, TV-PG

One of the greatest movies about movies ever made. Miss the first 5 minutes and you are in for the biggest surprise ending you ever saw.

Feb 23

1:15am American in Paris, An (1951)
An American artist finds love in Paris but almost loses it to conflicting loyalties.
Cast: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guetary Dir: Vincente Minnelli C-114 mins, TV-PG

OK Fred Astaire was Mr. Suave, but Gene Kelly was Mr. Cool. He made dancing seem Macho.

Feb 24

10:30am 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

If it takes you more than three notes to recognize this movie's music you're tone deaf. Orson Welles gets all the press but it's Joseph Cotton's performance (his best work short of Shadow of a Doubt ) that sells the film.

2:00pm Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
Three prospectors fight off bandits and each other after striking-it-rich in the Mexican mountains.
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett Dir: John Huston BW-126 mins, TV-PG

The perfect film. Watch old man Huston's speech in the flop house lay out the entire film. Second only to the Maltese Falcon as my favorite film of that period and funny both were directed by the same guy.

8:00pm Diary of Anne Frank, The (1959)
A young girl comes of age while hiding from the Nazis.
Cast: Millie Perkins, Joseph Schildkraut, Shelley Winters, Richard Beymer Dir: George Stevens BW-171 mins, TV-PG

It's OK to get choked up. In fact if you don't you have no soul.

Feb 25

8:00pm Killers, The (1946)
An insurance investigator uncovers a string of crimes when he tries to find a murdered boxer's beneficiary.
Cast: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien, Albert Dekker Dir: Robert Siodmak BW-102 mins, TV-14

10:00pm Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The (1962)
An experienced gunman and a peace-loving tenderfoot clash with a Western bully.
Cast: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin Dir: John Ford BW-123 mins, TV-14

12:15am Dirty Dozen, The (1967)
A renegade officer trains a group of misfits for a crucial mission behind enemy lines.
Cast: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown Dir: Robert Aldrich C-150 mins, TV-PG

3:00am Ice Station Zebra (1968)
A sub commander on a perilous mission must ferret out a Soviet agent on his ship.
Cast: Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan, Jim Brown Dir: John Sturges C-152 mins, TV-PG

SHIT. There goes my whole Thursday!! OK I'll grant you Ice Station Zebra doesn't belong. It's not a great film but I saw it when it opened in Cinerama and to me it was my Avatar.

Feb 26

5:45pm Victor/Victoria (1982)
An unemployed female singer poses as a female impersonator and becomes a star.
Cast: Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren Dir: Blake Edwards C-134 mins, TV-MA

Damn I miss Robert Preston. His musical number at the end would be worth sitting through the whole movie if it wasn't as good as it is. The film also showed that Blake Edwards could do more than churn out bad Pink Panther sequels.

3:00am Seconds (1966)
A bored rich man buys a new life from a secret organization.
Cast: Rock Hudson, Salome Jens, John Randolph, Will Geer Dir: John Frankenheimer BW-106 mins, TV-14

Starring Rock Hudson in one of his best roles and Uncle Johnny Randolph. (OK he wasn't my Uncle but I knew his Brother and his Niece so I still think of him as “Uncle Johnny”) one of the finest character actors to ever grace the screen.

Feb 27

8:45am Dick Tracy (1990)
The intrepid comic strip detective fights off a ruthless gangster and his seductive girlfriend.
Cast: Warren Beatty, Madonna, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman Dir: Warren Beatty C-105 mins, TV-14

A film that proves the old saying, “If you notice the Art Direction, the movie stinks.” But I can't help feeling that Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman had more fun making this picture than any other in their careers.

10:30am Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
A Korean War hero doesn't realize he's been programmed to kill by the enemy.
Cast: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury Dir: John Frankenheimer BW-127 mins, TV-PG

Forget Murder She Wrote, the bitch could ACT. Still chilling after all these years.

2:45pm Elmer Gantry (1960)
A young drifter finds success as a traveling preacher until his past catches up with him.
Cast: Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy, Dean Jagger Dir: Richard Brooks C-147 mins, TV-PG

Burt Lancaster chews the scenery but he chews it well.

8:00pm Tom Jones (1963)
In this adaptation of Henry Fielding's novel, a country boy in 18th-century England becomes a playboy.
Cast: Albert Finney, Susannah York, Hugh Griffith, Edith Evans Dir: Tony Richardson C-122 mins, TV-14

Who knew just eating a meal could be so...dirty.

Feb 28

12:00am Oliver! (1968)
Musical version of the Dickens classic about an orphan taken in by a band of boy thieves.
Cast: Ron Moody, Shani Wallis, Oliver Reed, Harry Secombe Dir: Carol Reed C-154 mins, TV-PG

I'm reviewing the situation... and I still love both of Ron Moody's numbers. A few rough spots but all in all a great musical.

March 1

2:30am Tootsie (1982)
An unemployed actor masquerades as a woman to win a soap-opera role.
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Terry Garr, Dabney Coleman Dir: Sydney Pollack C-116 mins, TV-MA

My then girlfriend was the script girl on this picture and everyday she would come home with stories about Hoffman driving everyone crazy but obviously his method was worth it.

4:30am Little Big Man (1970)
An American pioneer raised by Indians ends up fighting alongside General Custer.
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Martin Balsam, Richard Mulligan Dir: Arthur Penn C-140 mins, TV-14

“Sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn't.” This time it does.

9:30am 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

My Favorite Movie. The thing Dreams are made of. If you don't love it, you have no heart, you have no soul, you have no taste, and there is no way you are reading this guide anyway.

6:00pm Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954)
When their older brother marries, six lumberjacks decide it's time to go courting for themselves.
Cast: Howard Keel, Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Rall Dir: Stanley Donen C-102 mins, TV-G

The greatest argument in favor of letter boxing ever made. The dancing is flawless, the music, not so much.

8:00pm West Side Story (1961)
A young couple from dueling street gangs falls in love.
Cast: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno Dir: Jerome Robbins C-152 mins, TV-PG

I can just picture the pitch...Let's make Romeo and Juliet into a musical. Well, Damn if it doesn't work. From the opening dance number (nothing ever better put on film) to the fade out Leonard Bernstein's music is hypnotic.

March 3

12:15am Heaven's Gate(1981)
A Wyoming sheriff tries to protect immigrant farmers from ruthless ranchers.
Cast: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Sam Waterson Dir: Michael Cimino C-219 mins, TV-MA

The single most beautiful outstandingly boring piece of shit ever put on film. 4 hours of my life I will never get back. Stunningly Beautiful but stunningly boring. Go out and try and get laid it will be a much better use of your time.

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