Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Upcoming movies on TCM

Ok, so it is now, and has been for awhile, known as "Wizard World Chicago," but it will always be referred as the "Chicago Comic Convention" around here. I'm volunteering to work half the day for the first two days, thereby getting free admission. Hopefully, that will give me enough time to get to everything, but if not, I'll go back on Saturday. I'll post pictures if there is anything of interest and/or said pictures are actually postable.

Even though I'll be gone for only a couple of days, I'm posting a list of movies, taken from TCM's schedule that I think are worth watching. (All times are Central.)

4 Thursday
12:15 AM Dead End (1937) A killer returns to his childhood home to
plot his escape from the law. Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart. D: William Wyler. BW
92m. CC

Dead End should be watched for a variety of reasons. It is stagy,basically a one set play and it isn't that hard to see how it was done on the stage. Still, I think it is an interesting movie for the staginess. Watch it for Bogart, if nothing else, but also remember that this is the film that gave the world "The Dead-End Kids," back when they were really kids in a rather tragic place in the world, and before they were doughy adults passing themselves off as "The Bowery Boys."

3:00 PM Lawrence of Arabia (1962) A British military officer
enlists the Arabs for desert warfare in World War I. Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness.
D: David Lean. C 227m. LBX CC

The first time I watched this, I felt more a sense of obligation than desire; Lawrence of Arabia is one of the "classic" movies and those aren't always audience pleasers. Well, I was wrong. Even on a small television set, I was blown away by the force of this movie's images (and the story and music aren't bad either). Something will be lost watching it at home on a small screen with distractions, but if you can actually watch it for the full time, it is worth every moment.

5 Friday
9:00 PM The Philadelphia Story (1940) Tabloid reporters crash a
society marriage. Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart. D: George Cukor. BW 112m. CC
11:00 PM Holiday (1938) An unhappy heiress falls in love with her
stodgy sister's freethinking fiancé. Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Edward Everett Horton. D:
George Cukor. BW 96m. CC

I've loved The Philadelphia Story since the first time I saw it and I don't know why. Some of this movie is foreign to me still, but there is something in the interaction between the four leads (add Ruth Hussey to the cast list), that makes me watch and enjoy it every time. Watch the scene between when a drunk Stewart visits Grant at his home. Sitting across from each other, Grant ad libs a line and you can see both men trying not to laugh.

In many ways, Holiday feels like a trial run for The Philadelphia Story. Both were written by Philip Barry and both starred Hepburn in the original stage versions. I think this movie works less well because Barry was writing a fantasy of the wealthy for the wealthy.

6 Saturday
7:00 AM How the West Was Won (1962) Three generations of
pioneers take part in the forging of the American West. James Stewart, Henry Fonda, John
Wayne. D: John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall. C 165m. LBX CC DVS

Three directors and it is still a great movie. Filmed in VistaVision or Panavision, no matter how large a screen you have none of will ever be able to appreciate the vision of watching this movie on a screen that required three projectors; if you look closely, you can see where the negatives overlap to create the print being shown. Still, thank God for letterboxing; I've seen this movie cropped for television and it wasn't pretty.

5:00 PM She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949) An aging Cavalry officer
tries to prevent an Indian war in the last days before his retirement. John Wayne, Joanne Dru,
Ben Johnson. D: John Ford. C 104m. CC DVS
7:00 PM Fort Apache (1948) An experienced cavalry officer tries to
keep his new, by-the-books commander from triggering an Indian war. John Wayne, Henry Fonda,
Shirley Temple. D: John Ford. BW 128m. CC DVS

Two of John Ford's "calvary trilogy" (Rio Grande (1950) was the third). Henry Fonda may be showing his true character playing the jerk commander in Fort Apache.

10 Wednesday
11:00 PM Words And Music (1948) Songwriters Richard Rodgers and
Lorenz Hart search for love while rising to the top. Mickey Rooney, Janet Leigh, Tom Drake. D:
Norman Taurog. C 121m. CC

Through this movie, I gained an appreciation for the songs created by Rodgers and Hart. A partial list of those songs include "Where or When," "I Wish I Were In Love Again," "My Funny Valentine," "Johnny One-Note," "The Lady is a Tramp" (for Babes in Arms); "Blue Moon"; "Falling In Love with Love," "This Can't Be Love," "Sing for Your Supper" (The Boys from Syracuse); "Thou Swell" (A Connecticut Yankee; "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" (Jumbo); "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" (Pal Joey); "Mountain Greenery" (the second edition of The Garrick Gaieties). I'd list more, but I wouldn't want to go overboard. The story of the movie is pure Hollywood circa 1948; Hart's homosexuality is played as more an inability to find a woman to really love him, for instance, and his death when it happened has no connection to reality, but I dare you to watch this movie and not like just because of the music.

11 Thursday
9:30 AM The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) An unscrupulous movie
producer uses everyone around him in his climb to the top. Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Dick Powell.
D: Vincente Minnelli. 78m. CC DVS

I was hooked on this movie during the title music and things only get better. This is actually a very mature movie, considering when it was made, in both character development and story construction. Much like , you watch Douglas's character rise to the top through the eyes of three people who know him at various points in his life. When the movie is over ask yourself if Kirk Douglas's character is really unscrupulous. Gloria Grahame won her Oscar, and a well-deserved one, for her supporting role as Dick Powell's wife. If you can't record this one, stay home from work and watch it.