Some interesting films on US television, July 17-23

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW)
17 July 1999

Video pick of the week—find it in your video store 

Cold Comfort Farm (1995)—Hilarious made-for-TV film by John Schlesinger sends up all the books and films that have romanticized British rustic life. A young woman (Kate Beckinsale) in London, recently orphaned, decides to move in with eccentric relatives at Cold Comfort Farm (down the road from the Hanged Man Tavern) in order to experience life as it is really lived. The farm is horribly run down, the inhabitants' existence is brutish and depressed, and the young relative decides to change their lives. Ian McKellen is particularly good as a Bible-thumping preacher, as is Joanna Lumley playing the sophisticated friend in the city. Stephen Fryer keeps popping up as an aesthete who quotes Jane Austen and D.H. Lawrence. From the novel by Stella Gibbons. (MJ) (MJ)

Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest. All times are EDT.

A&E=Arts & Entertainment, AMC=American Movie Classics, FXM=Fox Movie Channel, HBOF=HBO Family, HBOP=HBO Plus, HBOS=HBO Signature, IFC=Independent Film Channel, TCM=Turner Classic Movies, TMC=The Movie Channel, TNT=Turner Network Television

Saturday, July 17

*6:00 a.m. (IFC)— Rashomon (1950)—Well-known work by Japanese master Akira Kurosawa. In medieval Japan, four people give differing accounts of violent attack by a bandit on a nobleman. With Toshiro Mifune. (DW)

6:45 a.m. (TCM)— His Kind of Woman (1951)—A lively tale, as Robert Mitchum heads off to Mexico for a routine pay-off and finds out a gangster boss (Raymond Burr) has plans to kill him and take his identity. Jane Russell is in top form and Vincent Price is amusing as a ham actor. Directed by John Farrow. (DW)

*9:30 a.m. (Sundance)— Harlan County, U.S.A. (1977)—Powerful documentary by Barbara Kopple about the mineworkers strike in Harlan County, Kentucky. (MJ)

*11:30 a.m. (IFC)— Rashomon (1950)—See 6:00 a.m.

12:00 p.m. (TBS)— Spaceballs (1987)—Mel Brooks' send-up of the Star Wars saga. Rick Moranis is Dark Helmet and Daphne Zuniga is Princess Vespa. Other characters include Pizza the Hut. (DW)

*12:30 p.m. (HBOS)— The Ice Storm (1997)—Excellent film by Ang Lee of aimlessness and disillusionment in the 1970s. As the middle class disintegrates in suburbia, we see the disintegration of the White House playing out in the background as the Watergate crisis runs its course. The fine cast includes Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Jamey Sheridan and Christina Ricci. (MJ)

2:30 p.m. (HBOS)— Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)—Another of Sidney Lumet's tales of police corruption. They are usually incisive, with a good feel for urban realities, but this one, with Andy Garcia as a cop turned crusading DA, is a bit paint-by-numbers. (MJ)

*3:00 p.m. (TCM)— 42nd Street (1933)—Classic 30s musical, with Warner Baxter as ailing director and Ruby Keeler as the newcomer who is called on at the last moment when the star injures her ankle. With Dick Powell, directed by Lloyd Bacon. (DW)

*4:30 p.m. (HBOS)— The Producers (1968)—Mel Brooks wrote and directed his funniest film, about two producers whose plan—to mount a deliberately awful Broadway musical that will flop and thereby bring them a tax bonanza—backfires. Starring Gene Wilder and the great, rarely seen (because of blacklisting) Zero Mostel. (MJ)

4:30 p.m. (TMC)— Saturday Night Fever (1977)—A hardware store salesman in Brooklyn becomes a champion disco dancer at night. This is the film that launched John Travolta's film career, and he is a marvel as a dancer. Music by the Bee Gees. Directed by John Badham. (MJ)

6:00 p.m. (AMC)— The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)—James Stewart, a little long in the tooth, plays Charles Lindbergh in this mediocre Billy Wilder film about the first trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. (DW)

*8:00 p.m. (TCM)— Lady in the Lake (1946)—Robert Montgomery directed himself as Raymond Chandler's private detective Philip Marlowe. The camera, as a novelty, takes the first-person (Montgomery's) point of view. (DW)

8:00 p.m. (Bravo)— House of Games (1987)—Disappointing film about the world of con artists. David Mamet wrote and directed, and (as usual) his characters talk in a peculiar, stilted way. Much promise, but short on delivery. With Lindsay Crouse and Joe Mantegna. (MJ)

9:00 p.m. (HBOP)— The Fifth Element (1997)—Vacuous, silly science fiction film in which the future of the universe hinges on a Brooklyn cabdriver (played in proletarian style by Bruce Willis) finding something called "the fifth element." Worth seeing only for its imaginative settings and special effects. Typical scenery-chewing villainy by Gary Oldman. Directed by Luc Besson. (MJ)

*10:00 p.m. (TCM)— Murder, My Sweet (1944)—Worthy, hardboiled adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Farewell My Lovely, with Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe. Directed by future HUAC informer Edward Dmytryk. (DW)

10:00 p.m. (USA)— Dazed and Confused (1993)—Richard Linklater's evocative, unsentimental portrait of the last day of school at a suburban Texas high school in 1976. A variety of narrative strands, too many to mention. With Jason London, Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, among others. (DW)

*12:00 a.m. (TCM)— The Big Sleep (1945)—Howard Hawks's version of Raymond Chandler novel, with a script again by Faulkner. Detective Philip Marlowe (Bogart) becomes involved with wealthy girl (Bacall) and her spoiled, irresponsible sister. Don't bother to figure out who did the murders, the director reportedly wasn't certain. (DW)

12:00 a.m. (AMC)— The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)—See 6:00 p.m.

12:30 a.m. (Bravo)— House of Games (1987)—See 8:00 p.m.

12:45 a.m. (HBOS)— Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)—See 2:30 p.m.

*2:45 a.m. (HBOS)— The Ice Storm (1997)—See 12:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 18

6:00 a.m. (TCM)— In the Good Old Summertime (1949)—This musical remake of The Shop Around the Corner is one of the fine films from MGM's Golden Age. With Judy Garland and Van Johnson. Directed by Robert Z. Leonard. (MJ)

*7:00 a.m. (Sundance)— Last Year at Marienbad (1961)—Alain Resnais' enigmatic film is one of the classics of French cinema. It asks questions (never answered) about the nature of time and memory. A marvelous film to watch, with its energetically mobile camera and lengthy tracking shots down ornate corridors. (MJ)

9:15 a.m. (HBOS)— Serpico (1973)—Al Pacino plays a loner cop taking on corruption in the New York Police Department. As always, director Sidney Lumet captures the texture of New York City. (MJ)

9:35 a.m. (IFC)— La Strada (1954)—Federico Fellini directed this work about a brutal carnival strongman (Anthony Quinn), his long-suffering girlfriend (Giuletta Masina) and a kindhearted acrobat (Richard Basehart). (DW)

11:00 a.m. (Showtime)— Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)—Steven Spielberg's special-effects-filled take on UFO sighting as a religious experience. Starring Richard Dreyfuss. (MJ)

*11:30 a.m. (HBOS)— The Graduate (1967)—Important coming-of-age film about a young man (Dustin Hoffman, in his first big role) deciding whether to throw in his lot with the adult world. Should he cast off his rebelliousness and join the prospering middle class of the late sixties—i.e., go into "plastics"? Anne Bancroft is the memorable middle-aged seductress (and mother of his fiancée) Mrs. Robinson. Excellent music by Simon and Garfunkel. Directed by Mike Nichols. (MJ)

1:30 p.m. (HBOS)— Marathon Man (1976)—Exciting, convoluted spy thriller about stolen jewels, Nazis hiding out in the US, and the CIA. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Roy Scheider. Laurence Olivier is particularly effective as a sadistic Mengele-type dentist. Directed by John Schlesinger. (MJ)

1:35 p.m. (Showtime)— Last Action Hero (1993)—Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle that proves to be a delight. A boy goes to a movie theater and meets his idol—an action hero—who steps out of the screen and takes him back in. A good action film that spoofs the genre and plays with the tension between movies and reality. It also includes hilarious send-ups of Olivier's Hamlet and Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Directed by John McTiernan. (MJ)

4:00 p.m. (IFC)— La Strada (1954)—See 9:35 a.m.

*4:00 p.m. (Sundance)— Last Year at Marienbad (1961)—See 7:00 a.m.

*4:00 p.m. (FXM)— The Gang's All Here (1943)—Delightful Busby Berkeley film, with the usual lush and intricate musical sequences, but this time in rich Technicolor. Watch for the not-so-subliminal chorus line of bananas in Carmen Miranda's "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" number. (MJ)

6:00 p.m. (AMC)— The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)—See Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m. (TCM)— Inside Daisy Clover (1966)—Natalie Wood stars as a rising movie star in the 1930s. Uneven film, directed by Robert Mulligan. With Robert Redford, Christopher Plummer, Roddy McDowall and Ruth Gordon. (DW)

9:30 p.m. (FXM)— Carousel (1956)—Hollywood turned a great dark Broadway musical into a perky feel-good film. Most of the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs are intact, however. Starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones. Directed by Henry King. (MJ)

*10:15 p.m. (TCM)— West Side Story (1961)—Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins co-directed this screen version of the remarkable Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim musical. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer are dull, Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris are memorable. Romeo and Juliet set in New York City of the 1950s. (DW)

*12:00 a.m. (Showtime)— Twilight (1998)—Crisp dialogue and good plotting carry this film about an elderly detective (Paul Newman) solving murders in Hollywood. Excellent cast also includes Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon and James Garner. Many smart observations about growing old. Directed by Robert Benton, from a screenplay by Benton and novelist Richard Russo. (MJ)

12:30 a.m. (TNT)— The Big Red One (1980)—Sam Fuller's war film, semi-autobiographical, about an infantry squadron doing battle in World War II. A vivid account. With Lee Marvin. (DW)

*1:30 a.m. (Bravo)— Blue Collar (1978)—Paul Schrader (screenwriter of Taxi Driver, among other films) wrote and directed this work about corruption in an auto union in Detroit. Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel co-starred. (DW)

Monday, July 19

*6:00 a.m. (FXM)— The Gang's All Here (1943)—See Sunday at 4:00 p.m.

6:30 a.m. (TCM)— Berlin Express (1948)—Spy drama set in postwar Germany, as agents from a number of countries attempt to rescue politician kidnapped by Nazi underground. With Robert Ryan, Merle Oberon and Paul Likas. Directed by Jacques Tourneur. (DW)

8:00 a.m. (IFC)— La Strada (1954)—See Sunday at 9:35 a.m.

10:00 a.m. (TCM)— Act of Violence (1949)—Fred Zinnemann directed this well-meaning effort. Robert Ryan is a crippled, former soldier in pursuit of a former officer who betrayed his men while a prisoner. With Van Heflin, Janet Leigh, Mary Astor. (DW)

10:45 a.m. (Showtime)— One-Eyed Jacks (1961)—Marlon Brando's only directing effort. He plays an outlaw seeking revenge on Karl Malden, a former friend, now a sadistic sheriff. (DW)

11:00 a.m. (TNT)— The Big Red One (1980)—See Sunday at 12:30 a.m.

11:40 a.m. (Encore)— Young Frankenstein (1974)—One of Mel Brooks's funnier and more successful parodies, this time of the classic horror film by James Whale. Particularly effective because it uses many of the original sets. With Peter Boyle (as the monster) and Gene Wilder (as Dr. Frankenstein). (MJ)

11:45 a.m. (HBO)— The Fifth Element (1997)—See Saturday at 9:00 p.m.

12:30 p.m. (AMC)— Finian's Rainbow (1968)—Petula Clark sings beautifully, Fred Astaire is miscast as her dreamy dad, and Tommy Steele quickly wears out his welcome as the broad-smiling, hyperactive leprechaun in Francis Copplola's flat version of the hit populist Broadway musical. In the course of this unrelentingly upbeat film, a tobacco-growing commune struggles for survival and a bigoted Southern senator is turned into an African-American. However, the songs by E.Y. Harburg retain their charm. (MJ)

1:30 p.m. (TCM)— Little Women (1949)—Mervyn LeRoy directed this, the second version of Louisa May Alcott's novel about a quarter of sisters growing up in New England during the Civil War. This version is inferior to George Cukor's 1933 film. June Allyson, Margaret O'Brien, Elizabeth Taylor and Janet Leigh co-star. (DW)

*4:00 p.m. (Bravo)— Blue Collar (1978)—See Sunday at 1:30 a.m.

*4:30 p.m. (IFC)— The Dead (1987)—John Huston's deeply felt adaptation of James Joyce's short story, one of the best in the English language. This was Huston's last film; it ended his great career on a high note. With Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann. (MJ)

8:00 p.m. (Encore)— Young Frankenstein (1974)—See 11:40 a.m.

8:30 p.m. (AMC)— My Fair Lady (1964)—George Cukor's beautiful film of the Lerner and Loewe musical adapted from Shaw's Pygmalion. Memorable costumes and sets by Cecil Beaton. Starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn (whose singing is actually done by Marni Nixon). (MJ)

*9:45 p.m. (Showtime)— Five Easy Pieces (1970)—Early Jack Nicholson film that helped define his sardonic screen persona. He plays a concert pianist from a wealthy family who opts to work on an oil rig. Watch for the memorable scene in the diner between Nicholson's character and a waitress. Directed by the underappreciated Bob Rafelson. With Karen Black, Billy "Green" Bush and Susan Anspach. (MJ)

10:00 p.m. (TCM)— A Guy Named Joe (1943)—Spencer Tracy is a World War II pilot who is killed and comes back to earth to whisper advice in the ear of his replacement, Van Johnson, in the affections of Irene Dunne. Sentimental as can be, but affecting. Directed by Victor Fleming. (DW)

11:00 p.m. (Bravo)— Breaker Morant (1979)—Australian film, directed by Bruce Beresford, about three soldiers in Boer War court-martialed for murdering prisoners. With Edward Woodward and Bryan Brown. (DW)

11:30 p.m. (HBOP)— Face/Off (1997)—Hong Kong action director John Woo lets out all the stops in this exciting, humorous, and (of course) preposterous film about a government agent (John Travolta) and his terrorist nemesis (Nicolas Cage) exchanging faces. (MJ)

3:45 a.m. (AMC)— My Fair Lady (1964)—See 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 20

6:00 a.m. (HBOS)— Contact (1997)—An intelligent, refreshingly non-xenophobic film on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Jodie Foster plays the single-minded astrophysicist in this adaptation from the novel by the late Carl Sagan. Unfortunately, toward the end the film becomes mushy-minded and tries to make its peace with religion. (MJ)

*8:00 a.m. (TCM)— Casablanca (1942)—The Michael Curtiz classic about life and love in wartime Morocco, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. (DW)

*8:15 a.m. (IFC)— The Dead (1987)—See Monday at 4:30 p.m.

8:35 a.m. (AMC)— Niagara (1953)—Marilyn Monroe is an adulterous wife planning to kill her husband (Joseph Cotten) on their honeymoon at Niagara Falls, in this somewhat overwrought, but tense film, directed by Henry Hathaway. (DW)

8:40 a.m. (Encore)— At Long Last Love (1975)—Burt Reynolds and Cybill Shepherd can neither sing nor dance—they are definitely not Astaire and Rogers. Still, it's fun to watch them mangle Cole Porter's beautiful music and lyrics. Peter Bogdanovich's glitzy, expensive film proves that a warm affection for 1930s film musicals is not enough. One of the great bombs. With Madeline Kahn (often funny, despite her material) and John Hillerman. (MJ)

10:00 a.m. (FXM)— Carousel (1956)—See Sunday at 9:30 p.m.

10:00 a.m. (TCM)— Now, Voyager (1942)—A well-done melodrama with a remarkable cast. Bette Davis is an isolated, neurotic woman helped by psychiatrist Claude Rains, and falling in love with Paul Henreid. Directed by Irving Rapper. (DW)

*10:00 a.m. (HBOP)— Last Action Hero (1993)—See Sunday at 1:35 p.m.

10:05 a.m. (Starz)— Ishtar (1987)—One of the most famous failures in recent Hollywood history, Elaine May directed this $40 million picture, which stars Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. Interesting as an historical curiosity. (DW)

10:45 a.m. (HBOS)— Serpico (1973)—See Sunday at 9:15 a.m.

*12:20 p.m. (TMC)— The Shootist (1976)—John Wayne plays a gunfighter dying of cancer who returns to his home town for a last bit of peace. James Stewart is the doctor. This excellent, moving film was Wayne's last. Directed by Don Siegel. (MJ)

12:30 p.m. (Bravo)— Breaker Morant (1979)—See Monday at 11:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m. (TMC)— Touch (1987)—Interesting but disappointing film written and directed by Paul Schrader about faith healing in the South. With Christopher Walken and Bridget Fonda. (MJ)

*2:05 p.m. (IFC)— The Dead (1987)—See Monday at 4:30 p.m.

3:00 p.m. (HBOP)— Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)—See Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

4:15 p.m. (AMC)— Band of Angels (1957)—A remarkably complex look at black-and-white relations in Civil War America. Clark Gable plays a Southern gentleman with a past as a slave trader, Yvonne DeCarlo is a Southern belle who discovers she has black ancestors and Sidney Poitier is an educated slave. Directed by Raoul Walsh, from the novel by Robert Penn Warren. (DW)

6:00 p.m. (HBOS)— Little Women (1933)—George Cukor's film version of the Louisa May Alcott classic, perhaps the best of the lot. Four sisters growing up in Civil War America, with Katharine Hepburn and Joan Bennett. (DW)

6:00 p.m. (TCM)— Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)—A lively musical directed by Stanley Donen. When Howard Keel decides to find a wife, his brothers follow suit. With Jane Powell, Russ Tamblyn, Virginia Gibson. A Johnny Mercer-Gene DePaul score and Michael Kidd's choreography. (DW)

9:00 p.m. (HBOS)— Serpico (1973)—See Sunday at 9:15 a.m.

9:55 p.m. (FXM)— The Hustler (1961)—Basically a boxing film, but set among serious pool sharks. Robert Rossen's movie is beautifully shot and capably acted, but the dialogue is full of stagey, pseudo-profound, high-proletarian language. With Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott and Jackie Gleason. MJ)

11:00 p.m. (Bravo)— Things Change (1988)—A poor Italian-American shoemaker willingly takes the rap for a mobster. David Mamet wrote and directed this disappointing, poorly resolved film that is distinguished by a remarkable performance by the elderly Don Ameche. With Joe Mantegna. (MJ)

11:00 p.m. (AMC)— On the Riviera (1951)—Danny Kaye does his one-of-a-kind humor and plays a dual role in this farce about mistaken identities. Directed by Walter Lang. (MJ)

11:35 p.m. (Encore)— At Long Last Love (1975)—See 8:40 a.m.

12:10 a.m. (FXM)— Carousel (1956)—See Sunday at 9:30 p.m.

1:55 a.m. (HBO)— The Devil's Advocate (1997)—Satan (portrayed in an over-the-top performance by Al Pacino) runs a white-shoe law firm in New York City. Keanu Reeves, as an ambitious young lawyer, makes a Faustian bargain and suffers for it. A very funny horror film that trades on the public's distrust of the legal profession. (MJ)

2:35 a.m. (HBOS)— Contact (1997)—See 6:00 a.m.

3:15 a.m. (AMC)— On the Riviera (1951)—See 11:00 p.m.

Wednesday, July 21

8:45 a.m. (HBOP)— The Fifth Element (1997)—See Saturday at 9:00 p.m.

*9:25 a.m. (TMC)— The Big Carnival (1951)—Billy Wilder's highly bitter film about a down-on-his-luck reporter who exploits a man trapped in a deep cave for the sake of a big story. Fifty years later, with the media even more ravenous and cynical, the film is still timely. Kirk Douglas is outstanding in the kind of snarling role he perfected. With Jan Sterling. Also known as Ace in the Hole. (MJ)

*10:30 a.m. (Cinemax)— Miller's Crossing (1990)—The Coen Brothers do their version of the Red Harvest (Dashiell Hammett) story: gangsters wage a civil war for control of a city. Overblown and self-conscious, but it holds one's attention. With Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney. (DW)

12:30 p.m. (Bravo)— Things Change (1988)—See Tuesday at 11:00 p.m.

*3:00 p.m. (Sundance)— Harlan County, U.S.A. (1977)—see Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

*4:00 p.m. (HBOS)— The Producers (1968)—See Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m. (FXM)— A Wedding (1978)—Robert Altman doing what he does best—directing a large ensemble of actors. Carol Burnett stars in this amusing, farcical film. (MJ)

*8:00 p.m. (TCM)— Paths of Glory (1957)—Stanley Kubrick's fine film about military insanity. In World War I, when a suicidal advance that he ordered has failed, a French officer selects three of his men to be tried and shot for cowardice. With Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker and Adolphe Menjou. (DW)

*11:00 p.m. (TCM)— The Killing (1956)—An early effort by Stanley Kubrick, about an elaborate racetrack heist. With Sterling Hayden, Marie Windsor and Elisha Cook. (DW)

12:30 a.m. (TCM)— Spartacus (1960)—Large-scale epic, which goes on too long, about the great slave rebellion of ancient Rome, directed by Stanley Kubrick (and some scenes by Anthony Mann). With Kirk Douglas as Spartacus, Tony Curtis, Jean Simmons, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov, Charles Laughton and a cast of thousands. (DW)

12:45 a.m. (HBOS)— A Star Is Born (1954)—Judy Garland is the star on the way up and James Mason the unfortunate drunk on the way down, in George Cukor's version of the tragic tale. A remake of the 1937 film made by William Wellman, with Fredric March and Janet Gaynor. (DW)

*3:15 a.m. (Sundance)— Harlan County, U.S.A. (1977)—see Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

Thursday, July 22

7:30 a.m. (FXM)— A Wedding (1978)—See Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

*7:45 a.m. (HBOS)— The Graduate (1967)—See Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

10:00 a.m. (TCM)— Battleground (1949)—William Wellman directed this dramatic reenactment of World War II's Battle of the Bulge. The large cast includes Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban and George Murphy. (DW)

12:00 pm(TCM)— In the Good Old Summertime (1949)—see Sunday at 6:00 a.m.

1:00 p.m. (HBOP)— Contact (1997)—See Tuesday at 6:00 a.m.

*1:00 p.m. (HBOS)— The Ice Storm (1997)—See Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

1:45 p.m. (AMC)— Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951)—Raoul Walsh directed this sea epic set in the Napoleonic wars, based on the C.S. Forester novels, in his vivid, muscular style. Some remarkable sequences. The normally dull Gregory Peck is well-cast as Hornblower. (DW)

4:00 p.m. (TCM)— The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)—Director Richard Brooks's strained effort to capture F. Scott Fitzgerald's story, now set in post-World War II Europe. A tale of disillusionment and loss. With Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson. (DW)

6:00 p.m. (TCM)— Brigadoon (1954)—Vincente Minnelli's rendition of the Lerner and Loewe musical about two hikers (Gene Kelly and Van Johnson) in Scotland who happen upon a village that comes to life every 300 years. Colorful and charming, but suffers badly from being shot on an obvious Hollywood soundstage. Also starrring Cyd Charisse. (MJ)

*8:00 p.m. (Bravo)— The Parallax View (1974)—An exceptional, haunting conspiracy film from director Alan Pakula. Journalist (Warren Beatty) investigates a political assassination and the murders of all witnesses to it. He finds himself completely involved and his life in peril. Marvelous vertiginous beginning at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle. With Paula Prentiss, Hume Cronyn, William Daniels. (MJ)

8:00 p.m. (Cinemax)— Tin Men (1987)—Barry Levinson's comedy-drama about the aluminum-siding business, set in Baltimore in 1963, with Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito. (DW)

8:00 p.m. (Comedy)— History of the World—Part I (1981)—An example of Mel Brooks's scattershot humor. Many jokes are forced and lame, and most routines just limp along, but the Spanish Inquisition sequence, staged as a Busby Berkeley water ballet, is hilarious and worth staying for. (MJ)

*8:00 p.m. (TCM)— Lolita (1962)—Relatively daring film version of the Vladimir Nabokov novel about a middle-aged English academic who develops a passion for a young girl. Stanley Kubrick directed James Mason, Sue Lyon, Shelley Winters and Peter Sellers. (DW)

*9:00 p.m. (HBOS)— The Ice Storm (1997)—See Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

10:00 p.m. (AMC)— Sodom and Gomorrah (1963)—Robert Aldrich directed this above average Biblical epic. Starring Stewart Granger and Pier Angeli. (MJ)

*11:00 p.m. (TCM)— Dr. Strangelove (1963)—Classic satire on nuclear annihilation. Though heavyhanded in parts, it still retains its incisive humor and impact. Peter Sellers is incredible playing several parts, including the President of the United States. Memorable line: "You can't fight in here—it's the War Room!" Directed by Stanley Kubrick. (MJ)

*1:00 a.m. (TCM)— 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)—Stanley Kubrick's science fiction epic. A space vehicle heads for Jupiter in search of aliens. One critic, somewhat unfairly, called it a project "so devoid of life and feeling as to render a computer called HAL the most sympathetic character in a jumbled scenario." Despite silly ending, the film is worth seeing. (DW)

*2:10 a.m. (HBO)— Serial Mom (1994)—Middle-aged suburban mom (played with relish by Kathleen Turner) kills to preserve traditional American values, like rewinding before you return your tape to the video store and not wearing white shoes after Labor Day. This hilarious satire was directed by John Waters. (MJ)

*2:25 a.m. (Encore)— Five Easy Pieces (1970)—See Monday at 9:45 p.m.

*2:30 a.m. (Bravo)— The Parallax View (1974)—See 8:00 p.m.

3:30 a.m. (TCM)— 2010 (1984)—A nuts-and-bolts sequel that tries (and fails) to answer the riddles of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Though it holds one's interest and is well made, it lacks the vision, magic, and mystery of the first film. With Keir Dullea, Roy Scheider and John Lithgow. Directed by Peter Hyams. (MJ)

4:35 a.m. (AMC)— Sodom and Gomorrah (1963)—See 10:00 p.m.

Friday, July 23

*8:00 a.m. (AMC)— Pete Kelly's Blues (1955)—Underrated film about a jazz band in the 1920s and its fight against being taken over by the mob, as told by the trumpet player (Jack Webb, who also directed). Excellent jazz score. Director Webb made good use of the wide screen, so the film is best seen in letterbox format. With Peggy Lee (who won an Academy Award). (MJ)

8:45 a.m. (HBOS)— Little Women (1933)—See Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.

9:15 a.m. (Encore)— The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)—Otto Preminger directed this film about a heroin addict (Frank Sinatra), the woman who loves him (Kim Novak) and the lowlifes he consorts with. Based on the book by Nelson Algren. (DW)

*10:30 a.m. (Sundance)— Last Year at Marienbad (1961)—See Sunday at 7:00 a.m.

10:45 a.m. (HBOS)— A Star Is Born (1954)—See Wednesday at 12:45 a.m.

1:30 p.m. (Showtime)— One-Eyed Jacks (1961)—See Monday at 10:45 a.m.

2:15 p.m. (HBOS)— Serpico (1973)—See Sunday at 9:15 a.m.

3:00 p.m. (Comedy)— History of the World—Part I (1981)—See Thursday at 8:00 p.m.

*3:15 p.m. (HBOP)— Chinatown (1974)—The best example of modern film noir. A convoluted tale of incest, corruption, and the fight over access to southern California water. Jack Nicholson plays the private detective. With Faye Dunaway, John Huston. Directed by Roman Polanski. (MJ)

*4:00 p.m. (Bravo)— The Parallax View (1974)—See Thursday at 8:00 p.m.

4:30 p.m. (HBOS)— Marathon Man (1976)—See Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

6:15 p.m. (AMC)— River of No Return (1954)—Otto Preminger directed this interesting, relatively somber story. Robert Mitchum rescues a man (Rory Calhoun) and a woman (Marilyn Monroe) from drowning. Calhoun promptly steals his horse and takes off. Vengeful Mitchum, with his young son, and Monroe pursue him by raft. (DW)

*6:15 p.m. (Sundance)— Last Year at Marienbad (1961)—See Sunday at 7:00 a.m.

9:00 p.m. (HBO)— Face/Off (1997)—See Tuesday at 11:30 p.m.

3:00 a.m. (TCM)— Cat People (1942)—The first of the Val Lewton-produced horror films, directed with considerable elegance by Jacques Tourneur. Extraordinary moments of psychological terror. (DW)

4:00 a.m. (A&E)— The Drowning Pool (1975)—Paul Newman, as private detective Harper, becomes entangled in a murder case. Joanne Woodward is his ex-wife. Based on the Ross MacDonald novels. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg. (DW)

*4:25 a.m. (Sundance)— Last Year at Marienbad (1961)—See Sunday at 7:00 a.m.

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