Some interesting films on US television, May 30-June 5

By David Walsh
30 May 1998

Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest

Saturday, May 30

2:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Love on the Run (1979)--A fairly slight effort by François Truffaut, part of his series of films, loosely autobiographical, about the character Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud). Doinel divorces his wife and goes on another search for love. With Marie-France Pisier, Claude Jade.

10:30 a.m. (AMC)-- Rebecca (1940)--Alfred Hitchcock's first US-made film, with Joan Fontaine as the second wife of nobleman Laurence Olivier. The first wife's presence hovers over the place. Judith Anderson is memorable as the sinister housekeeper, loyal to the first wife.

11:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Ride the High Country (1962)--Sam Peckinpah directed this anti-Western, with Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, as two aging gunfighters guarding a gold shipment shipped from a remote mining town.

2:00 p.m. (USA)-- Canadian Bacon (1995)--To divert attention from domestic problems the US president (Alan Alda) and his advisers cook up a scheme to launch a war against a most unlikely enemy, Canada. John Candy has several marvelous moments as a red-blooded American patriot, but, all in all, Michael Moore's script and direction are too buffoonish (Also, Saturday at 10:00 p.m.)

2:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- America, America (1963)--Director Elia Kazan's account of the immigrant experience, based on his uncle's emigration in the late nineteenth century.

2:30 p.m. (TNT)-- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)--A Serge Leone Western, the third in a trilogy, with Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach. Three outlaws look for Confederate treasure, during the Civil War.

5:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Call Northside 777 (1948)--A solid, matter-of-fact drama about a reporter (James Stewart) righting a wrong: proving that a convicted killer is innocent. With Richard Conte and Lee J. Cobb.

5:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Queen Christina (1933)--Greta Garbo is memorable as the seventeenth century Swedish queen who gave up her throne for love. John Gilbert, one of her real-life amours, plays her aristocratic lover. Rouben Mamoulian directed.

9:15 p.m. (AMC)-- People Will Talk (1951)--Odd film, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, with Cary Grant as a philosophizing doctor, married to Jeanne Crain. He is accused of malpractice and has to defend himself.

Sunday, May 31

*10:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Kiss Me Deadly (1955)--Ralph Meeker is Mike Hammer, Cloris Leachman and Albert Dekker also star, in this startling film noir, directed by Robert Aldrich. In many ways, a very frightening film, and not simply because of its explosive conclusion.

12:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Treasure Island (1934)--A solid version of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of pirates and treasure. With Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper, directed by Victor Fleming.

1:00 p.m. (TNT)-- For a Few Dollars More (1966)--The sequel to A Fistful of Dollars. One of the more memorable "spaghetti Westerns;" with Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Gian Maria Volonte, directed by Sergio Leone.

2:00 p.m. (COM)-- High Anxiety (1978)--Uneven, to say the least, Mel Brooks comedy, but with rewards for the patient. Brooks is the new chief of a sanitarium, in this homage to and spoof of Hitchcock. With Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman. (Also, Sunday at 8:00 p.m.)

3:30 p.m. (TCM)-- The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)--John Huston's adaptation of B. Traven's story about three prospectors who come to grief through greed. With Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston, the director's father.

6:00 p.m. (TCM)-- She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1950)--The second part of John Ford's cavalry trilogy, with John Wayne as an officer about to retire, drawn into campaign against a group of Indians. With Joanne Dru, Ben Johnson, Victor McLagen.

8:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Niagara (1953)-- Marilyn Monroe is an adulterous wife planning to kill her husband (Joseph Cotton) on their honeymoon at Niagara Falls, in this somewhat overwrought, but tense film, directed by Henry Hathaway. (Also, Monday at 8:30 p.m.)

8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Late Show (1977)--An amusing twist on the private eye film, with Art Carney as an aging detective, who has to take a bus to get around, hooked up with Lily Tomlin as a slightly loopy client. Robert Benton directed, with Bill Macy.

9:35 p.m. (AMC)-- Leave Her to Heaven (1945)--Extraordinary melodrama by John Stahl, about a woman (Gene Tierney) consumed by jealousy and possessiveness, to the point of madness and murder. With Cornel Wilde and Vincent Price.

10:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Big Sleep (1946)--Howard Hawks version of Raymond Chandler novel, with a script by William 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.

Monday, June 1

3:30 a.m. (AMC)-- Daisy Kenyon (1947)--One of director Otto Preminger interesting postwar melodramas. Joan Crawford, Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda form a love triangle.

10:30 a.m. (AMC)-- The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)--Gary Cooper and Franchot Tone star as British soldiers in colonial India. Reactionary as history, but a lively and colorful film, directed by Henry Hathaway. With Richard Cromwell, C. Aubrey Smith and Douglas Dumbrille.

*8:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Ju Dou (1990)--Young peasant woman (Gong Li) is forced to marry an elderly factory owner and commences an affair with his nephew, in this story about China in the 1920s. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the film was banned in China. (Also, Tuesday, at 2:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.)

8:00 p.m. (TCM)--Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)--Exuberant James Cagney in a lively biography of showman George M. Cohan, with Walter Huston and Joan Leslie. Directed by Michael Curtiz.

Tuesday, June 2

2:45 a.m. (TCM)-- A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)--Famed German theater director Max Reinhardt oversaw this oddity, with James Cagney as Bottom and Mickey Rooney as Puck in Shakespeare's magical play.

10:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Yolanda and the Thief (1945)--Fred Astaire is a con man in this Vincente Minnelli musical, trying to convince Lucille Bremer, a Latin American heiress, that he is her guardian angel. With Frank Morgan.

12:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Undercurrent (1946)--In the Gaslight genre: a woman (Katharine Hepburn) discovers her husband is evil and conniving. Robert Mitchum is her ultimate savior. Directed by Vincente Minnelli.

12:30 p.m. (AMC)-- Arch of Triumph (1948)--Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman falling for each other in wartime France, from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque. Directed by the stolid Lewis Milestone.

2:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Madame Bovary (1949)--Vincente Minnelli's film version of the Gustave Flaubert novel about a bored provincial wife who thinks she has found true love. Jennifer Jones is Emma Bovary, with Van Heflin, James Mason.

*2:30 p.m. (AMC)-- I Was a Male War Bride (1949)--Cary Grant is a French officer marrying a WAC (Ann Sheridan) and encountering a series of dilemmas. The film is very funny, and it also provides director Howard Hawks an opportunity to examine sexual roles, and subvert them.

6:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Moby Dick (1956)--John Huston's not entirely successful adaptation of Herman Melville's classic novel. Gregory Peck is an unexciting Captain Ahab; Richard Basehart is Ishmael. Huston and Ray Bradbury wrote the screenplay.

10:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Strawberry Blonde (1941)--Evocative film about turn-of-the-century New York, with James Cagney as a dentist who loves Rita Hayworth, and marries Olivia de Haviland. Raoul Walsh directed.

Wednesday, June 3

3:00 a.m. (TCM)-- The Lady Killer (1933)--James Cagney is a mobster who becomes a Hollywood movie star, and has to choose between the two professions. Mae Clarke is his girlfriend. Directed by Roy Del Ruth.

4:00 a.m. (A&E)-- Algiers (1938)--John Cromwell directed this remake of the French Pepe Le Moko, about an elusive criminal living and loving in the casbah in Algiers. Police official uses Hedy Lamarr to lure Pepe (Charles Boyer) out of the quarter.

4:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Hard to Handle (1933)--Mervyn LeRoy directed this Depression-era comedy about a fast-talking public relations man (James Cagney) who promotes a series of fads and courts Mary Brian.

*10:15 a.m. (TCM)-- Sweet Smell of Success (1957)--A remarkably frank look at the public relations and gossip column rackets, with Tony Curtis as a press agent who makes a deal with an egomaniacal columnist (Burt Lancaster) to break up the romance of the latter's sister. Directed by the talented Alexander Mackendrick.

12:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Operation Petticoat (1959)--Cary Grant stars as the commander of a damaged submarine, Tony Curtis is a con man junior officer, in this comedy set during World War II. Blake Edwards directed.

12:30 p.m. (AMC)-- Hold Back the Dawn (1941)--Charles Boyer is a European refugee living in a Mexican border town. He woos unmarried Olivia de Haviland in an effort to get into the US. Mitchell Leisen directed with a certain flair. Billy Wilder cowrote the script, basing it in part on his own experiences as a German refugee.

*2:10 p.m. (TCM)-- Don't Make Waves (1967)--Tony Curtis is a swimming-pool salesman in this satire about life in southern California. He gets involved with beauty queens and body builders; with Sharon Tate and Claudia Cardinale. Alexander Mackendrick directed.

2:30 p.m. (AMC)-- Reap the Wild Wind (1942)--Cecil B. DeMille directed this intriguing film about nineteenth century salvagers off the coast of Georgia. Ray Milland and John Wayne fight over Paulette Goddard, as a spirited Southern belle.

5:15 p.m. (Bravo)-- Black Orpheus (1958)--Much was made of this French-Brazilian film at the time, a version of the Orpheus-Euridice story, set in Rio during carnival. Romance between a streetcar conductor and a country girl. Directed by Marcel Camus. (Also, Thursday, at 11:00 a.m.)

Thursday, June 4

2:00 a.m. (AMC)-- No Highway in the Sky (1951)--James Stewart gives a remarkable performance as an aviation engineer who tries to persuade the authorities that planes should be grounded after a given time. With Marlene Dietrich.

9:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Black Angel (1946)--Woman tries desperately to prove that her husband did not kill another man's wife. Based on a story by Cornell Woolrich and directed by Roy William Neill, the film stars Dan Duryea, June Vincent, Peter Lorre, Broderick Crawford and Wallace Ford.

10:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Reckless (1935)--Chorus girl (Jean Harlow) marries a drunk of a millionaire and finds herself in deep water. With William Powell and Franchot Tone. Directed by Victor Fleming. Remade as Written on the Wind in 1957.

12:00 p.m. (AMC)-- The Glass Key (1942)--Stuart Heisler directed this version of the Dashiell Hammett novel about a hard-nosed operator (Alan Ladd) who tries to defend his boss (Brian Donlevy), a wardheeler, against murder charges. Veronica Lake is the object of Ladd's affections.

*1:30 p.m. (AMC)-- All That Heaven Allows (1955)--Extraordinarily perceptive view of postwar America. Jane Wyman plays a rich woman in love with a gardener. Her children and friends do everything to disrupt the relationship. The scene in which her children give her a television as a present is a classic. Directed by Douglas Sirk, the basis for R.W. Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul.

3:00 p.m. (AMC)-- The Lodger (1944)--John Brahm's atmospheric retelling of the Jack the Ripper story, with Laird Cregar, Merle Oberon and George Sanders, among others.

8:00 p.m. (TNT)-- El Dorado (1967)--Robert Mitchum, a drunken sheriff, and John Wayne, a gunfighter, join forces to defeat a rapacious rancher and keep peace on the range. Directed by Howard Hawks.

*10:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Winchester '73 (1950)--Remarkable Western, directed by Anthony Mann, about a man (James Stewart, in the first of his films with Mann) tracking down a stolen Winchester rifle and the man who took it. The gun is the connection between the different episodes. With Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea and Stephen McNally. Script by Robert L. Richards and Borden Chase.

Friday, June 5

2:45 a.m. (TCM)-- The Crowd Roars (1932)--James Cagney is a race car driver in this early sound film, directed by Howard Hawks. With Joan Blondell and Ann Dvorak (who was to star in Hawks's immortal Scarface the same year).

4:00 a.m. (AMC)-- What Price Glory (1952)--Minor John Ford film, which he transformed from its pacifistic silent original (1926, directed by Raoul Walsh), into "a nostalgic celebration of military camaraderie." With James Cagney, Corinne Calvet and Dan Dailey.

6:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Wings (1927)--Silent film, directed by William Wellman, about two American flyers, in love with the same girl, who enlist in US forces during World War I. Flying sequences are famous. With Clara Bow, Charles "Buddy" Rogers, Richard Arlen and Gary Cooper.

10:30 a.m. (AMC)-- Hell's Angels (1930)--An oddity, one of the two films directed by Howard Hughes (the other, The Outlaw, is famous for Jane Russell's décolletage). James Whale apparently wrote and directed a good portion of the film, a World War I aviation story. The film also propelled Jean Harlow to fame.

12:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Fallen Sparrow (1944)--John Garfield and Maureen O'Hara star in a pro-Loyalist film about a Spanish Civil War veteran tracked by Nazis in New York City. Richard Wallace directed; with Walter Slezak.

12:45 p.m. (AMC)-- All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)--Film adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's anti-war novel about German youths experiences as soldiers in World War I. Some memorable sequences, although the overall effect is not as strong as one would like. Directed by Lewis Milestone, with Lew Ayres. (Also, Friday, at 9:30 p.m.)

*3:15 p.m. (AMC)-- The Road to Glory (1936)--Howard Hawks directed this film about a hardened officer (Warner Baxter) who discovers his father (Lionel Barrymore) is serving under him in France in World War I, with Fredric March and June Lang. William Faulkner cowrote the script.

5:00 p.m. (AMC)-- A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1958)--Director Douglas Sirk was saddled with two terrible actors, John Gavin and Lilo Pulver, as lovers in this World War II drama, but he managed to salvage a fascinating film. From the novel by Erich Maria Remarque.

*8:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Life is Sweet (1990)--Allison Steadman and Jim Broadbent are a suburban, working class couple in Mike Leigh's moving, occasionally irritating film. Jane Horrocks is remarkable as their self-loathing daughter; Claire Skinner is her sister.

8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Public Enemy (1931)--James Cagney as a Prohibition gangster in William Wellman's crude, but energetic film. Mae Clarke gets a grapefruit pushed in her face in a famous scene.

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