Some interesting films on US television, June 6-12

By David Walsh
6 June 1998

Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest

Saturday, June 6

9:00 am (TCM) -- Gilda (1946) -- Rita Hayworth is spectacular (singing 'Put the Blame on Mame') in Charles Vidor's drama about a love triangle in postwar South America. George Macready is a shady casino owner, Hayworth his restless wife and Glenn Ford a new employee.

1:00 pm (TCM) -- Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) -- Charles Laughton is memorable as the abominable Captain Bligh on board a British ship bound for the South Seas. Clark Gable is Fletcher Christian. Directed by Frank Lloyd.

1:30 pm (AMC) -- Fixed Bayonets (1951) -- Samuel Fuller, the "authentic American primitive," directs this Korean War drama about a unit cut off from the rest of its outfit. Be prepared for Cold War politics, visual audacity and emotional intensity.

3:00 pm (AMC) -- Men in War (1957) -- The seriously underrated Anthony Mann directed this film about the Korean War. With a cast of stalwart character actors, including Robert Ryan, Aldo Ray and Vic Morrow (father of Jennifer Jason Leigh).

5:00 pm (TCM) -- The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) -- Robert Redford directed this story of a conflict between a poor farmer and a rich land developer in New Mexico. With Chick Vennera, Richard Bradford, Ruben Blades and Sonia Braga. From the novel by John Nichols.

*8:00 pm (TCM) -- White Heat (1949) -- Not-to-be-missed crime drama about criminal with a serious mother complex. James Cagney is unforgettable in Raoul Walsh's film.

10:00 pm (A&E) -- Harper (1966) -- Competently made private eye film, with Paul Newman as detective hired by Lauren Bacall to find her missing millionaire husband. With Julie Harris, Shelley Winters, Arthur Hill, Pamela Tiffin. Directed by Jack Smight, based on Ross Macdonald's The Moving Target. (Also, Sunday at 2:00 am.)

10:00 pm (TCM) -- The Roaring Twenties (1939) -- James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart as rival crime bosses in this Raoul Walsh classic. Script is cliched, but action and finale are not.

11:30 pm (AMC) -- Apocalypse Now (1979) -- Overrated and overblown Vietnam war film by Francis Ford Coppola, based loosely on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Special agent Martin Sheen is sent into Cambodia to find maverick US officer, played by Marlon Brando, and dispatch him. The film perhaps says more about Coppola and his circle than it does about Vietnam. Worth viewing. (Also, Sunday at 2:00 am.)

Sunday, June 7

1:40 am (TCM) -- Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) -- Michael Curtiz directed this story of gangsters and slum kids. James Cagney is the gangster who pretends to be a coward on his way to the electric chair to scuttle his reputation with the kids.

6:30 am (AMC) -- Report from the Aleutians (1942) -- A rarity. One of the three World War II documentaries directed by John Huston.

10:00 am (TCM) -- Side Street (1949) -- Anthony Mann directed this story about a young man driven to theft, whose troubles multiply. The same stars as Nicholas Ray's They Live By Night (1949): Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell.

11:30 am (AMC) -- The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) -- William Wyler's occasionally affecting drama about ex-servicemen in postwar America. With Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy, Virginia Mayo and Teresa Wright.

*11:30 am (TCM) -- North by Northwest (1959) -- One of Alfred Hitchcock's wondrous late 1950s' color pieces, with Cary Grant as an ad executive turned into a wanted and hunted man.

12:00 pm (A&E) -- 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.

2:00 pm (TCM) -- Marnie (1964) -- Tippie Hedren is a woman who can't stop stealing and Sean Connery is her employer, and admirer, who is trying to figure out why. The story traces her problem to psychological trauma. Alfred Hitchcock directed.

4:15 pm (TCM) -- Suspicion (1941) -- Joan Fontaine is a new bride who believes her husband, Cary Grant, is trying to kill her. According to the book, he was, but Hollywood's production Code forbid it. With Nigel Bruce; directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

4:30 pm (AMC) -- Home of the Brave (1949) -- Mark Robson directed this well-meaning film about black GI suffering abuse from fellow US soldiers in the Pacific during World War II. One of the first to deal with racial discrimination.

*5:15 pm (TNT) -- The Searchers (1956) -- John Ford classic. John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter search for Wayne's niece, taken by Indians. Natalie Wood plays the girl. An essential American film.

6:00 pm (TCM) -- Gunga Din (1939) -- If one sets aside the history and politics of this film, about the heroic British army fighting off thuggee cult in 19th century India, "the most entertaining of the juvenile Kipling movies."

Monday, June 8

*12:35 am (TNT) -- The Naked Spur (1953) -- One of the best Westerns of the 1950s. James Stewart is a bounty hunter in post- Civil War US, bringing in Robert Ryan. Janet Leigh is Ryan's girl-friend. To Stewart, Ryan is simply a congealed amount of cash; apparently he will do anything for the money. Shot beautifully in the Rockies. Directed by Anthony Mann.

1:00 am (AMC) -- The Steel Helmet (1951) -- Gene Evans stars in this Samuel Fuller war drama about US troops behind enemy lines in Korean War.

2:35 am (TNT) -- How the West Was Won (1963) -- An "epic" saga, with more weaknesses than strengths, about three generations of western pioneers. Henry Fonda, Carroll Baker, Gregory Peck, George Peppard and countless others star. Co-directed by John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall.

2:30 pm (TCM) -- Moonfleet (1955) -- A Fritz Lang film, with Stewart Granger as an 18th century smuggler seeking a lost gem. With Jon Whiteley, George Saunders, Viveca Lindfors and Joan Greenwood.

Tuesday, June 9

1:30 am (TCM) -- Mogambo (1953) -- A remake of Victor Fleming's Red Dust (1932), with Clark Gable playing the same role, Ava Gardner replacing Jean Harlow and Grace Kelly stepping in for Mary Astor. John Ford directed the film, about big-game hunting and a love triangle in Africa.

7:30 am (TCM) -- The Valley of Decision (1945) -- Tay Garnett directed this interesting film about romance and labor strife. Greer Garson is a maid who becomes involved with Gregory Peck; his family owned a mine in which her father and brother were killed. Laid in Pittsburgh in 1870.

1:00 pm (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.

Wednesday, June 10

2:00 am (AMC) -- Unfaithfully Yours (1948) -- Not Preston Sturges at his best, but still amusing. Rex Harrison is a symphony conductor convinced of his wife's (Linda Darnell's) infidelity.

2:00 am (TCM) -- Kiss Me Kate (1953) -- Vulgar, brassy production of Cole Porter musical, with Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson, based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Directed by George Sidney.

2:30 am (TNT) -- Arizona Dream (1993) -- Yugoslav director Emir Kusturica ( Underground) directed this self-consciously offbeat film about a drifter (Johnny Depp), his car salesman uncle (Jerry Lewis), and an oddball mother and daughter (Faye Dunaway and Lili Taylor.)

6:00 am (TCM) -- Broadway Melody of 1938 (1938) -- Eleanor Powell tap-dances her way to immortality and Judy Garland sings show-stopping "Dear Mr. Gable" in this star-studded film. With Robert Taylor, Buddy Ebsen, Sophie Tucker, Robert Benchley et al.

12:00 pm (TCM) -- Babes in Arms (1939) -- One of the original "Hey, kids, let's put on a show" movies, with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland as teenagers of vaudeville parents. Busby Berkeley directed with his customary energy.

12:30 pm (AMC) -- The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) -- James Stewart, a little long in the tooth, plays Charles Lindbergh in this Billy Wilder film about the first trans-Atlantic flight in 1927.

2:00 pm (TNT) -- Apache (1954) -- Pro-Indian film about an Apache (Burt Lancaster) who wages a one-man war against the US government and military for his tribe's rights. With Jean Peters and John McIntire.

3:00 pm (AMC) -- 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.

*6:00 pm (TCM) -- Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) -- Vincente Minnelli's sentimental, but very evocative musical about turn-of-the-century family life in St. Louis, set during the world's fair of 1903. Judy Garland is memorable; she sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "The Trolley Song," among others. Margaret O'Brien is her younger sister. With Leon Ames and Mary Astor.

8:00 pm (AMC) -- Jane Eyre (1944) -- Robert Stevenson directed this version of the Charlotte Brontë classic about a poor governess thrown into a mysterious household. Joan Fontaine is Jane and Orson Welles an unforgettable Rochester.

10:00 pm (TCM) -- The Pirate (1948) -- One of Vincente Minnelli's classic MGM musicals, with his wife, Judy Garland. Gene Kelly is a circus clown she mistakes for a pirate. Cole Porter wrote the songs.

10:30 pm (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.

Thursday, June 11

11:30 am (AMC) -- Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) -- Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur play the leading roles in one of Frank Capra's Depression parables. Longfellow Deeds (Cooper) has twenty million dollars and wants to give it away to those in need; Arthur is the hard-boiled reporter trying to figure him out.

1:30 pm (TCM) -- The Quiet Man (1952) -- John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara star in this John Ford film about an Irish-American boxer who goes back to his native country.

4:00 pm (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 at 8:00 pm.)

8:00 pm (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.

10:05 pm (TBS) -- The Longest Yard (1974) -- A prison comedy-drama, with Burt Reynolds, as a former football player, who directs a team against warden Eddie Albert's squad. Directed by Robert Aldrich.

*11:00 pm (TCM) -- The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) -- John Garfield and Lana Turner play the illicit and doomed lovers in the film based on James M. Cain's novel. They kill her husband, the owner of a roadside diner, and suffer the consequences of nearly getting away with it. Tay Garnett directed.

Friday, June 12

*10:00 am (AMC) -- His Girl Friday (1940) -- Marvelous film version of Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur's The Front Page, co-scripted by Hecht, with Cary Grant as scheming editor and Rosalind Russell as his star reporter trying to get married to Ralph Bellamy. Directed by Howard Hawks.

11:45 am (AMC) -- Detective Story (1951) -- William Wyler's somewhat dated film about the activities inside a New York City police station. Kirk Douglas is a bitter cop, Eleanor Parker his wife, William Bendix another detective. The good cast also includes Horace McMahon, Lee Grant and Joseph Wiseman.

3:00 pm (AMC) -- Seven Sinners (1940) -- Lively film, with Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne, about the US sailors somewhere in the tropics. Dietrich is definitely one of the sinners. With an excellent supporting cast, including Broderick Crawford, Mischa Auer, Billy Gilbert.

6:30 pm (AMC) -- Destry Rides Again (1939) -- James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich have memorable moments in this western comedy, directed by George Marshall. Dietrich sings the classic See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have.

8:00 pm (TCM) -- The Good Earth (1937) -- Pearl Buck's novel about peasants in China brought to the screen and directed by dull and earnest Sidney Franklin. Despite everything, the film is moving. With Paul Muni and Luise Rainer.

8:00 pm (USA) -- The Remains of the Day (1993) -- James Ivory directed this story of 1930s England, with Emma Thompson as a housekeeper and Anthony Hopkins as the repressed, self-abnegating butler in the service of a pro-fascist aristocrat (James Fox).