Some interesting films on US television, August 29-September 4

Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest

Saturday, August 29

7:05 a.m. (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.

*9:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Sullivan's Travels (1941)--A classic Preston Sturges satire. A Hollywood director (Joel McCrea) suddenly discovers a social conscience and sets out to make a 'serious' film, much to the consternation of the film studio. Veronica Lake is the working class girl he meets on his travels.

9:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Executive Suite (1954)--A power struggle erupts after the death of a major executive. Interesting to compare the corporate culture of the 1950s (and Hollywood myths about them) with today's. With William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, June Allyson, Fredric March, Walter Pidgeon. Robert Wise directed.

*10:30 a.m. (AMC)-- The Palm Beach Story (1942)--Preston Sturges's delirious film about a wife (Claudette Colbert) who leaves her husband (Joel McCrea) because of their financial woes. She heads for Palm Beach, where millionaires congregate. With Rudy Vallee, Mary Astor.

12:00 p.m. (AMC)-- An Affair to Remember (1957)--Leo McCarey directed this remake of his own 1939 Love Affair (Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer), this time with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. A shipboard romance has unexpected complications on land. Sentimental, but it has something.

*8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Some Like It Hot (1959)--Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Billy Wilder's black comedy about musicians and gangsters during Prohibition.

8:05 p.m. (TBS)-- Carrie (1976)--Director Brian De Palma can never entirely restrain himself, but this film is more interesting than most of his others. Sissy Spacek plays a high school misfit, equipped with telekinetic powers, who wreaks revenge on her tormentors. Piper Laurie, a fine actress, is memorable as her mother.

10:00 p.m. (History)-- Dark Command (1940)--Raoul Walsh directed this lively Hollywood version of the rise and fall of the murderous Quantrill raiders, active in Kansas during the Civil War. Walter Pidgeon plays William Quantrill, John Wayne is the marshal with whom he clashes.

10:30 (TCM)-- Tootsie (1982)--Dustin Hoffman is amusing as an actor who can't find work as a man, but finds great success as the female star of a television soap opera. Sidney Pollack directed; with Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman.

Sunday, August 30

12:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Victor/Victoria (1982)--Julie Andrews masquerades as a man to make a career for herself in Paris night-clubs in the 1930s. Director Blake Edwards wants to say something about sexual roles, but the results seem a little weak. With James Garner. Lesley Ann Warren is painful to watch.

1:00 a.m. (USA)-- Heaven Can Wait (1978)--Warren Beatty starred as a football player who dies before his time and returns to earth in another body, that of a millionaire businessman. Julie Christie is a social activist who awakens his conscience. With Jack Warden. Directed by Beatty and Buck Henry. Good-natured, but not extraordinarily insightful.

2:00 a.m. (History)-- Dark Command (1940)--See Saturday, at 10:00 p.m.

*3:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Sylvia Scarlett (1935)--Disconcerting, interesting film about a father (Edmund Gwenn) and daughter (Katharine Hepburn), who take to the road with a touring show, which later includes Cary Grant. Hepburn disguises herself as a boy, which turns all sorts of social and sexual relationships upside down. George Cukor directed.

4:00 a.m. (AMC)-- A Face in the Crowd (1957)--Andy Griffith, in his film debut, as country boy made into a huge television star. With Lee Remick, also in her debut. Directed by Elia Kazan, script by Budd Schulberg (same team as On the Waterfront).

10:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Tension (1949)--A gem of a film noir, directed by John Berry, soon to be blacklisted. Pharmacist Richard Basehart plots to kill his wife's lover, only to discover someone has beaten him to it. With Audrey Trotter and Barry Sullivan.

*12:00 p.m. (TCM)-- A Night at the Opera (1935) --One of the funniest of the Marx Brothers' films. The scene in the stateroom is particularly memorable. With Margaret Dumont, Sig Rumann, and, unfortunately, Allan Jones and Kitty Carlisle. Directed by Sam Wood.

2:00 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.

3:00 p.m. (TNT)-- No Time for Sergeants (1958)--Occasionally funny film about hillbilly Andy Griffith and his adventures in the US Air Force. Myron McCormick is memorable as his harried sergeant. With Nick Adams and Don Knotts. Directed by veteran Mervyn LeRoy.

4:00 p.m. (TCM)-- 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.

*6:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Mildred Pierce (1945)--Powerful melodrama, directed by Michael Curtiz, about a woman (Joan Crawford) who goes from rags to riches and her ungrateful daughter.

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.

*8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Clock (1945)--A charming wartime story set in New York City. Robert Walker, a soldier on two-day leave, meets and falls for Judy Garland. They spend the day and night (innocently) together. Vincente Minnelli directed with extraordinary style.

10:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Friendly Persuasion (1956)--William Wyler directed this film about a family of Quakers and, therefore, pacifists, trying to survive with dignity during the Civil War. With Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire and Anthony Perkins.

10:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Vacation from Marriage (1945)--Robert Donat and Deborah Kerr are a married couple whose wartime adventures have woken them from a deep emotional sleep. Directed by Hungarian émigré Alexander Korda. With Glynis Johns and Ann Todd.

Monday, August 31

2:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Gunga Din (1939)--If one sets aside the history and politics of this film, about the heroic British army fighting off the thuggee cult in nineteenth century India, 'the most entertaining of the juvenile Kipling movies.'

7:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Mary of Scotland (1936)--John Ford's sympathetic and largely fanciful, from a historical point of view, account of the last years in the life of Mary Queen of Scots, Catholic queen and rival of Elizabeth I of England. Based on the play by Maxwell Anderson. Katharine Hepburn is Mary.

8:30 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.

10:00 a.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.

12:30 p.m. (AMC)-- Kiss of Death (1947)--Perhaps best known for Richard Widmark's turn as a giggling, psychopathic killer. Victor Mature is a criminal who goes to work for the authorities. Directed by Henry Hathaway.

2:15 p.m. (AMC)-- The Crimson Pirate (1952)--A swashbuckling adventure, with Burt Lancaster at his most athletic. The German émigré Robert Siodmak directed.

3:00 p.m. (History)-- Merrill's Marauders (1962)--See Monday, at 10:00 a.m.

*6:30 p.m. (AMC)-- Man Without a Star (1955)--King Vidor-directed western, with Kirk Douglas as a drifter, Jeanne Crain as a manipulative rancher.

Tuesday, September 1

1:30 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.

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. (AMC)-- Champion (1949)--Effective boxing drama, with Kirk Douglas as selfish, ambitious fighter determined to get to the top and stay there. Paul Stewart is his friend whom he betrays. Directed by Mark Robson.

*12:00 p.m. (TNT)-- 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.

2:05 p.m. (TCM)-- Follow the Fleet (1936)--One of the more mediocre Rogers-Astaire films, with a plot involving a double romance (Randolph Scott and Harriet Hilliard (Nelson) form the other pair). The film's highlight is Irving Berlin's 'Let's Face the Music and Dance.' Directed by Mark Sandrich.

6:30 p.m. (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.

8:00 p.m. (AMC)-- A Night to Remember (1958)--Well-made film about the sinking of the Titanic, directed by Roy Ward Baker. With Kenneth More, David McCallum, Jill Dixon, Laurence Naismith. Novelist Eric Ambler wrote the script based on the book by Walter Lord.

8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Fort Apache (1948)--One of John Ford's classic cavalry trilogy. Henry Fonda is an unbending officer who can't get along with his own men, or the neighboring Apaches. With John Wayne and Shirley Temple.

*10:30 p.m. (TCM)-- She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)--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 McLaglen.

Wednesday, September 2

*12:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Rio Grande (1950)--One of John Ford's great cavalry films. John Wayne is an officer with family problems. Claude Jarman Jr., is his son, Maureen O'Hara his wife.

1:00 a.m. (VH1)-- Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)--A Russ Meyers extravaganza, more or less about a female rock trio trying to make it in Hollywood. Not for the tastefully inclined.

2:05 a.m. (TBS)-- No Time for Sergeants (1958)--See Sunday, at 3:00 p.m.

5:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)--One of Buster Keaton's later silent films, not directed by him (Charles F. Riesner). Buster must prove his toughness to his father, a steamboat captain. Anything with Keaton is essential viewing.

6:15 a.m. (AMC)-- Ride the Pink Horse (1947)--Robert Montgomery directed himself as a man coming to a New Mexico town to blackmail a gangster (Fred Clark) during a fiesta. Interesting film noir type, with Wanda Hendrix and Thomas Gomez.

7:00 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).

*11:00 a.m. (Bravo)-- Foreign Correspondent (1940)--Joel McCrea is the correspondent caught up in a spy intrigue in Alfred Hitchcock's film, with George Sanders, Robert Benchley, Herbert Marshall, Laraine Day.

*2:30 p.m. (AMC)-- I Walk Alone (1948 )--Interesting film noir, with Burt Lancaster as a man out of prison after 14 years, looking to settle some scores or at least make sense of things. With Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas, Marc Lawrence and Wendell Corey. Byron Haskin directed.

4:15 p.m. (AMC)-- I Confess (1953)--Alfred Hitchcock's tale of priest, played by Montgomery Clift, who hears a confession of a murder and later becomes accused of the crime. Filmed in Quebec.

*8:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Bend of the River (1952)--Excellent Anthony Mann-James Stewart collaboration. Stewart is former outlaw guiding wagon trains west; Arthur Kennedy is his ex-partner in crime who now steals settlers' supplies. Remarkable moral drama about what violent events do to people and the choices they have.

Thursday, September 3

12:45 a.m. (TCM)-- The Blackboard Jungle (1955)--Glenn Ford is a high school teacher in an inner-city school in this social realist film. He deals with violence, racism and threats against his family. With Anne Francis, Vic Morrow, Sidney Poitier, Louis Calhern, Richard Kiley; directed by Richard Brooks.

6:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Ninotchka (1939)--Greta Garbo is an unlikely Soviet official in Paris, who gets seduced by Melvyn Douglas and the pleasures of capitalism, in Ernst Lubitsch's comedy.

8:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Across the Pacific (1942)--World War II spy and action drama, with Humphrey Bogart as an army officer cashiered so that he can make contact with pro-Japanese forces. John Huston directed.

8:00 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.

*8:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Life is Sweet (1990)--Allison Steadman and Jim Broadbent are a British 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)-- Cape Fear (1962)--Robert Mitchum is the best thing about this film, playing a menacing ex-convict in a Southern town who blames lawyer Gregory Peck for his jailing, and plots revenge. Directed by J. Lee Thompson; with Polly Bergen and Martin Balsam. Based on a John D. MacDonald novel, music by Bernard Herrmann.

9:35 p.m. (AMC)-- The Gunfighter (1950)--Gregory Peck is a gunslinger trying to live down his past. Henry King directed, from a script by William Bowers and Andre de Toth.

Friday, September 4

12:00 a.m. (TCM)-- The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)--Peter Yates directed this lively version of the George V. Higgins novel about Boston lowlifes. A little too colorful for its own good at times. With Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan.

*1:30 a.m. (Bravo)-- Life is Sweet (1990)--See Thursday, at 8:00 p.m.

2:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Thunder Road (1958)--Robert Mitchum masterminded and starred in this film about moonshiners in the South. He is at war with both federal agents and organized crime. With Gene Barry, Keely Smith and Mitchum's son, Jim. Mitchum also wrote the title song, which became a hit record.

3:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Unfinished Business (1941)--A remarkable film in many ways, despite its conventional story. Irene Dunne is an aspiring singer from a small town who goes to the big city. Rejected by one brother (Preston Foster), she marries the other (Robert Montgomery) on the rebound. Early scene on the train between Dunne and Foster is remarkable for its sexual frankness. Gregory La Cava directed.

6:30 a.m. (AMC)-- A Face in the Crowd (1957)--See Sunday, at 4:00 a.m

10:00 a.m. (TCM)-- On the Town (1949)--Memorable MGM musical--three sailors with 24 hours' leave in New York City. Based on the show by Betty Comden-Adolph Green-Leonard Bernstein, with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Vera-Ellen and Betty Garrett. Directed by Stanley Donen and Kelly.

12:15 a.m. (AMC)-- Murder, My Sweet (1944)--Worthy, hard-boiled adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Farewell My Lovely, with Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe. Directed by future HUAC informer Edward Dmytryk.

*2:45 p.m. (Bravo)-- Life is Sweet (1990)--See Thursday, at 8:00 p.m.

6:30 p.m. (AMC)-- The Steel Helmet (1951)--Gene Evans stars in this Samuel Fuller war drama about US troops behind enemy lines in Korean War.

*8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Virgin Spring (1959)--One of Ingmar Bergman's most somber works. A girl from a religious family is raped and murdered by itinerants, in medieval Sweden. With Max von Sydow, Brigitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom.

8:00 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.

*10:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Through a Glass Darkly (1961)--Four unhappy people spend a summer together on a remote island. A study of mental disintegration, by famed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman.

*11:00 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.