Some interesting films on US television, July 25-31

By David Walsh
25 July 1998

Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest

Saturday, July 25

6:00 a.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.

*7:30 a.m. (TCM)-- 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.

*11:00 a.m. (TCM)-- High Noon (1952)--Gary Cooper stars in this Fred Zinnemann-directed Western about a sheriff who, on his wedding and retirement day, has to confront a gunman seeking revenge. With Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, et al.

12:00 p.m. (AMC)-- The Heiress (1949)--William Wyler directed this screen version of the stage play based on Henry James's Washington Square. Some memorable moments, with Olivia de Haviland as the poor, neglected heroine, Ralph Richardson as her monstrous father, and Montgomery Clift as her fortune-hunting suitor. Score by Aaron Copland.

*1:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Night of the Hunter (1955)--Robert Mitchum is a sinister religious fanatic in pursuit of a couple of children and the money their father stole, in the only film Charles Laughton ever directed. James Agee wrote the screenplay, from a novel by David Grubb. With Lillian Gish, Shelley Winters.

5:00 p.m. (TCM)-- A Day at the Races (1937)--Marx Brothers foolishness. Set in a sanitarium where rich and hypochondriacal Margaret Dumont is the most prominent patient. Directed by Sam Wood.

6:00 p.m. (AMC)-- The Glenn Miller Story (1954)--By no standard a great film--it is burdened with a sentimental and largely fictitious story, as well as insipid June Allyson as Miller's wife--but everything by Anthony Mann of this period is worth seeing. Beautifully done. James Stewart is fine as Miller.

7:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu --A profile of the silent screen actress Louise Brooks, one of the most extraordinary figures of the 1920s, the devastating star of Pandora's Box (1928).

8:00 p.m. (AMC)-- A Shot in the Dark (1964)--Blake Edwards directed the second of the Inspector Clouseau films, starring the inimitable Peter Sellers. With Elke Sommer, George Sanders and Herbert Lom.

*9:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Henry V (1989)--Kenneth Branagh's exuberant production of the great Shakespeare historical play about Britain's warrior-king. "He which hath no stomach to this fight,/Let him depart ..."

10:00 p.m. (History)-- A Walk in the Sun (1945)--Earnest Lewis Milestone directed, from a screenplay by earnest Robert Rossen, this study of American soldiers attacking a Nazi entrenchment in Italy.

Sunday, July 26

*1:00 a.m. (Bravo)-- Henry V (1989)--See Saturday, at 9:00 p.m.

1:00 a.m. (TCM)-- What's New, Pussycat? (1965)--Silly, but sometimes very funny film directed by Clive Donner and written by Woody Allen (in his first such effort), about fashion editor Peter O'Toole who goes to psychiatrist Peter Sellers for advice. Mayhem ensues.

3:00 a.m. (AMC)-- The Glenn Miller Story (1954)--See Saturday, at 6:00 p.m.

3:00 a.m. (TCM)-- The Party (1968)--Peter Sellers is an Indian actor attending a fashionable Hollywood party in this uneven film by Blake Edwards. With Claudine Longet.

8:15 a.m. (AMC)-- The Song of Bernadette (1943)--Jennifer Jones is a nineteenth century French girl who sees visions and stirs up a storm in her village, in Henry King's version of the Franz Werfel novel.

11:00 a.m. (AMC)-- The Crimson Pirate (1952)--A swashbuckling adventure, with Burt Lancaster at his most athletic. The German émigré Robert Siodmak directed.

12:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Lost Patrol (1934)--An interesting John Ford film about a squad of British soldiers stranded at a desert outpost somewhere in the Mesopotamian desert during World War I, and picked off one by one. With Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford, Reginald Denny, Alan Hale.

1:30 p.m. (TCM)-- The Fugitive (1947)--Henry Fonda is an unorthodox priest wanted by the government in Mexico. He is turned in by a man who once helped him, in this John Ford film.

3:15 p.m. (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.

5:30 p.m. (TCM)-- Citizen Kane (1941)--Orson Welles's classic work, the tragic story of a newspaper tycoon with delusions of grandeur. Based loosely on the life of millionaire William Randolph Hearst, the film was essentially suppressed when it came out.

8:00 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.

10:00 (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.

11:00 p.m. (FX)-- The French Connection (1971)--Gene Hackman is fine as a New York City policeman chasing drug traffickers. William Friedkin directed the proceedings at a breakneck pace. His subsequent work shows that this film was overrated at the time. With Roy Scheider, Tony LoBianco.

Monday, July 27

12:00 a.m. (TCM)-- The Big Parade (1925)--King Vidor directed this powerful silent work about World War I, with John Gilbert as an American soldier who comes of age in the fighting. With Renee Adoree, Hobart Bosworth and Claire McDowell.

2:15 a.m. (TCM)-- Battleground (1949)--William Wellman directed this dramatic reenactment of World War Two's Battle of the Bulge. The large cast includes Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban and George Murphy.

3:00 a.m. (AMC)-- The Song of Bernadette (1943)--See Sunday, at 8:15 a.m.

8:00 a.m. (AMC)-- The Crusades (1935)--A Cecil B. DeMille extravaganza about the holy wars of the Middle Ages, with Loretta Young as a queen abducted by nonbelievers. Richard the Lion-Hearted (Henry Wilcoxon) must save her.

10:00 a.m. (History)-- Zulu (1964)--In 1879 British soldiers hold out against Zulu warriors. One's sympathies lie with the Zulus, but the massive battle scene is spectacular. Directed by Cy Enright.

11:30 a.m. (AMC)-- The Star (1952)--Stuart Heisler directed this film about a movie star whose career is a thing of the past, with Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden and a young Natalie Wood.

*12:30 p.m. (Bravo)-- Effi Briest (1974)--Somewhat self-conscious and slow-moving, but extremely thoughtful, insightful adaptation of Theodor Fontane's novel about a young woman in nineteenth century Prussia suppressed by marriage, family and her own conformism. Hanna Schygulla is wonderful as Effi; with Wolfgang Schenck, Karl-Heinz Böhm, Irm Hermann. Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

3:00 p.m. (History)-- Zulu (1964)--See Monday, at 10:00 a.m.

*8:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978)--R.W. Fassbinder's epic film of postwar German economic and emotional life: a woman whose husband goes missing in World War II builds a business empire at a considerable cost. With the remarkable Hanna Schygulla. Essential viewing.

8:00 p.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.

*10:05 p.m. (Bravo)-- Effi Briest (1974)--See Monday, at 12:30 p.m.

11:15 p.m. (AMC)-- Battle Cry (1955)--Raoul Walsh World War II melodrama, about the lives and loves of a group of Marines getting ready for battle, with Van Heflin, Aldo Ray, Tab Hunter and Dorothy Malone.

Tuesday, July 28

*1:30 a.m. (Bravo)-- The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978)--See Monday, at 8:00 p.m.

*3:30 a.m. (Bravo)-- Effi Briest (1974)--See Monday, at 12:30 p.m.

4:00 a.m. (A&E)-- Lilith (1964)--Warren Beatty and Jean Seberg starred in this work about a therapist who falls for a troubled patient. One critic called it director Robert Rossen's "noblest and most lyrical failure."

*4:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Two Weeks In Another Town (1962)--One of my favorite titles for a film. Vincente Minnelli's adaptation of Irwin Shaw's novel about the making of a film in Rome. A "garish drama" with Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse, George Hamilton.

7:30 a.m. (AMC)-- The Flame of New Orleans (1941)--One of French director René Clair's American films. Marlene Dietrich, the principal reason to watch the film, has to choose between wealthy Roland Young and hard-working Bruce Cabot.

*12:00 p.m. (AMC)-- His Girl Friday (1940)--See Saturday, at 7:30 a.m.

*3:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978)--See Monday, at 8:00 pm.

6:30 p.m. (AMC)-- Take Me To Town (1953)--Ann Sheridan as a showgirl on the run and Sterling Hayden as a widowed small-town preacher who falls for her. The very talented Douglas Sirk, who had little choice in his scripts, directed.

*8:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Henry V (1989)--See Saturday, at 9:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962)--Vincente Minnelli directed this melodrama about a wealthy Argentine family all of whose members are caught up in World War II. With Glenn Ford, Ingrid Thulin, Charles Boyer and Lee J. Cobb, among others.

10:15 p.m. (Bravo)-- Mickey One (1965)--Arthur Penn's interesting film about a nightclub comic (Warren Beatty) in trouble with the mob. An American attempt at a French New Wave film.

Wednesday, July 29

12:00 a.m. (TNT)-- The Deer Hunter (1978)--Michael Cimino's somewhat strained portrait of a group of Pennsylvania steelworkers, their experiences in Vietnam and back home again. With Robert De Niro, John Cazale, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, John Savage.

3:00 a.m. (Bravo)-- Mickey One (1965)--See Tuesday, at 10:15 p.m.

*8:00 a.m. (TCM)-- My Man Godfrey (1936)--A millionaire invites a tramp (William Powell) to be his butler in this memorable Gregory LaCava screwball comedy. Carole Lombard is the millionaire's daughter.

*8:30 a.m. (AMC)-- The Tarnished Angels (1958)--One of a series of remarkable melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk. This one, in black and white, is based on William Faulkner's Pylon, about a stunt pilot (Robert Stack), his wife (Dorothy Malone) and a newspaperman (Rock Hudson) in the 1930s.

3:00 p.m. (History)-- The Buccaneer (1938)--Cecil B. DeMille presided over this film about Jean LaFitte, the pirate who aided the American side in the War of 1812. With Fredric March, Franciska Gaal, Margot Grahame and Akim Tamiroff.

4:35 p.m. (Bravo)-- Henry V (1989)--See Saturday, at 9:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Sergeant Rutledge (1960)--Woody Strode plays a black US cavalry officer charged with rape and murder in post-Civil War America. John Ford directed.

Thursday, July 30

8:30 a.m. (AMC)-- The Big Sky (1952)--One of Howard Hawks's most unsettling Westerns. For the first hour and a half the film seems simply to be a picturesque adventure story, then Hawks makes something different out of it. With Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin, Arthur Hunnicutt and Elizabeth Threatt.

8:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Four Daughters (1938)--The Lane Sisters star, with Claude Rains as their musical father, star in this film about small-town life. The four young women have their lives changed by four young men. Directed by Hungarian émigré Michael Curtiz.

10:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Four Wives (1939)--A Michael Curtiz film, sequel to Four Daughters, about a quartet of women in small-town America. Sentimental, but well directed and acted. With Claude Rains, John Garfield and the Lane sisters (Priscilla, Rosemary and Lola.)

12:30 p.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.

6:30 p.m. (AMC)-- Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)--Jayne Mansfield, at her most disproportionate, and Tony Randall star in this Frank Tashlin film about an ad man who tries to persuade a glamour girl to endorse one of his products. A satire of advertising, television and 1950s morals, based on a George Axelrod play.

Friday, July 30

12:30 a.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 a.m. (USA)-- Dead Ringers (1988)--David Cronenberg's remarkable film about twin gynecologists, played by Jeremy Irons, and their descent into madness. With Genevieve Bujold as an actress who comes between them.

9:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Battleground (1949)--See Monday, at 2:15 a.m.

3:00 p.m. (AMC)-- The Set-Up (1949)--Dull Robert Wise directed this story about a washed-up fighter refusing to give up or throw a fight. Robert Ryan, an underrated actor, is excellent as the boxer. With Audrey Totter, George Tobias and Wallace Ford.

8:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Hombre (1967)--Martin Ritt directed, from an Elmore Leonard story, this film about Indian-raised Paul Newman trying to survive in Arizona in the 1880s.

8:00 p.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.

10:00 p.m. (History)-- Merrill's Marauders (1962)--It's questionable how much this has to do with real history, but engrossing war film directed by Samuel Fuller; Jeff Chandler as commander of US soldiers fighting Japanese in Burmese jungle.

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