Some interesting films on US television, January 9-15

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

A&E=Arts E=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, January 9

7:30 a.m. (Sundance)-- The Wanderers (1979)--Philip Kaufman's film is an excellent adaptation of Richard Price's fine novel about youth gangs in the Bronx in 1963. With Ken Wahl. (MJ)

8:00 a.m. (Comedy)-- Heaven Help Us (1985)--On-the-mark depiction of life in a Catholic high school in 1960s Brooklyn. With Donald Sutherland, Andrew McCarthy and Wallace Shawn. Directed by Michael Dinner. (MJ)

*9:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Flamingo Road (1949)--Michael Curtiz directed this political melodrama about a stranded carnival performer who runs up against a corrupt local politician when she marries into a distinguished family. With Joan Crawford, Zachary Scott and Sydney Greenstreet. (DW)

9:30 a.m. (TMC)-- Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)--Bizarre crime thriller about horrific revenge exacted by mob boss (played with extreme creepiness by Christopher Walken in a motorized wheelchair) upon local hoods. With Andy Garcia and Steve Buscemi. Directed by Gary Fleder. (MJ)

*11:30 a.m. (HBOS)-- 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)

12:00 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. (DW)

*12:00 p.m. (USA)-- Red Rock West (1993)--Modern attempt at film noir, only partially successful, with Nicholas Cage, Dennis Hopper and the late (great) J.T. Walsh. Directed by John Dahl. (DW)

12:15 p.m. (Cinemax)-- 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)

12:30 p.m. (TCM)-- The Misfits (1961)--The last film of both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. John Huston directed this sour tale, written by Arthur Miller, of divorcee Monroe and some unhappy cowboys. With Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach. (DW)

*1:35 p.m. (Encore)-- A Passage to India (1984)--A decent approximation of the great E.M. Forster novel about British colonialism in India--its effects on both the oppressed Indians and the clueless British settlers. A hapless Indian is put on trial for the rape of a British woman. The power of the novel, however, is 90 percent in its language and rhythms, and no film could be expected to capture that. Directed by David Lean. Starring Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee, Peggy Ashcroft and the irrepressible Alec Guinness. (MJ)

*2:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- The Grapes of Wrath (1940)--John Ford's version of the John Steinbeck classic novel, about the Joad family, driven from their home in the 1930s "Dust Bowl." Henry Fonda plays Tom Joad. With Jane Darwell, John Carradine. (DW)

*2:00 p.m. (HBOP)-- Rosemary's Baby (1968)--John Cassavetes is excellent as ambitious actor who involves himself in diabolical activities to advance his career. Mia Farrow is his unsuspecting wife. Roman Polanski wrote the screenplay, based on the Ira Levin potboiler, and directed. (DW)

2:15 p.m. (AMC)-- 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. (DW)

*3:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Beggar's Opera (1953)--Laurence Olivier in something of an oddity, John Gay's eighteenth century work, brought to the screen by famed theater director Peter Brook ( Marat/Sade et al). Play that inspired Brecht/Weill's Threepenny Opera. (DW)

3:30 p.m. (HBOS)-- The Sun Also Rises (1957)--Star-filled adaptation of the Hemingway novel. Glossy and inadequate. Directed by Henry King. (MJ)

4:00 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. (USA)-- Casino (1995)--Martin Scorsese directed this story about gambling and thugs in Las Vegas in the 1970s. The first 10 minutes are spectacular. The drama never really gets going, in the director's typical fashion. With Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods. (DW)

5:30 p.m. (Sundance)-- The Wanderers (1979)--See 7:30 a.m.

8:00 p.m. (IFC)-- Vanya on 42nd Streeet (1994)--Louis Malle directed this film, his last, about a group of actors rehearsing an adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. Andre Gregory is the director; writer Wallace Shawn plays the lead character. (DW)

12:00 a.m. (Comedy)-- Heaven Help Us (1985)--See 8:00 a.m.

1:45 a.m. (IFC)-- Vanya on 42nd Streeet (1994)--See 8:00 p.m.

4:00 a.m. (Sundance)-- The Wanderers (1979)--See 7:30 a.m.

Sunday, January 10

8:45 a.m. (TMC)-- Lone Star (1996)--John Sayles wrote and directed this well-done, politically astute film about the ethnic divisions in Texas. Unfortunately, it suffers from a contrived, hard-to-believe ending. With Chris Cooper and Elizabeth Pena. (MJ)

10:10 a.m. (Encore)-- 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)

*12:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Champ (1931)--Wallace Beery is an over-the-hill boxer and Jackie Cooper his adoring son in this sentimental, but very moving work, directed by King Vidor. (DW)

12:00 p.m. (Cinemax)-- Days of Wine and Roses (1962)--Blake Edwards's somber film about alcoholic Jack Lemmon who drags Lee Remick into his orbit. (DW)

12:00 p.m. (FXM)-- Five Fingers (1952)--James Mason stars as a valet doing espionage in World War II. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. (MJ)

2:15 p.m. (IFC)-- Vanya on 42nd Streeet (1994)--See Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

*3:00 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. (DW)

6:00 p.m. (Comedy)-- National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)--Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo star in this often hilarious low comedy about a quintessentially middle-class family's cross-country trip to the Wally Land theme park. The sequences with Imogene Coca are especially funny. Directed by Harold Ramis. (MJ)

6:30 p.m. (HBO)-- John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--Francis Coppola took a John Grisham potboiler and made it into an engrossing but pedestrian film. Nonetheless, it is rich in characters, with particularly good work by Danny DeVito and Mickey Rourke (in a surprising stand-out performance as an ultra-sleazy lawyer) Also starring Matt Damon, John Voight, and Claire Danes. (MJ)

6:40 p.m. (TMC)-- Lone Star (1996)--See 8:45 a.m.

8:00 p.m. (FXM)-- The Razor's Edge (1946)--An overlong film, with some embarrassingly silly moments, but also some extraordinarily believable ones. With Tyrone Power, looking for the meaning of life, Gene Tierney, Anne Baxter. Directed by Edmund Goulding, from the novel by Somerset Maugham. (DW)

*9:00 p.m. (HBOS)-- Barbarians at the Gate (1993)--James Garner is outstanding in this saga of the 1980s, about the corporate piracy that led to the takeover of RJR Nabisco. Larry Gelbart wrote the witty screenplay for the made-for-cable film. (MJ)

*10:00 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. With Jeffrey Hunter, Constance Towers. (DW)

10:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Red Badge of Courage (1951)--John Huston's intelligent adaptation of Stephen Crane's Civil War novel, about a young soldier in the Union army who runs from his first encounter with the enemy, but comes to terms with his fear. (DW)

*12:00 a.m. (TCM)-- The Birth of a Nation (1915)--D.W. Griffith directed this film about events before and after the Civil War. The film, impossibly racist, revolutionized Hollywood filmmaking. With Lillian Gish. (DW)

2:00 a.m. (FXM)-- Five Fingers (1952)--See 12:00 p.m.

2:00 a.m. (TNT)-- The Beguiled (1971)--Don Siegel directed this film about a wounded Confederate soldier (Clint Eastwood) who meets his emotional and physical match when he is tended to by a school full of women. Geraldine Page and Elizabeth Hartman co-star. (DW)

*4:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Sergeant Rutledge (1960)--See 10:00 p.m.

Monday, January 11

*6:00 a.m. (IFC)-- 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. (DW)

8:30 a.m. (AMC)-- The Light That Failed (1939)--Ronald Colman is an artist going blind, determined to finish the portrait of his love, in this version of the Rudyard Kipling story. Directed by William Wellman. With Walter Huston and Ida Lupino. (DW)

10:15 a.m. (AMC)-- To Each His Own (1946)--Wartime drama, with Olivia de Haviland as an unwed mother giving up her child and pretending to be his aunt. John Lund plays both her lover and her son. Directed by Mitchell Leisen with some finesse. (DW)

11:00 a.m. (TNT)-- The Beguiled (1971)--See Sunday, at 2:00 a.m.

*12:30 p.m. (AMC)-- Phantom Lady (1944)--Unsettling film noir, perhaps emblematic of the genre, about a man convicted of a murder and the search for an elusive witness. With Franchot Tone, directed by Robert Siodmak. (DW)

*1:00 p.m. (TMC)-- Once Upon a Time in the West (1969)--Sergio Leone's drawn-out classic anti-Western, with Claudia Cardinale as the owner of land made valuable by the impending arrival of the railroad. Henry Fonda is a cold-blooded killer. With Jason Robards and Charles Bronson. Memorable score by Ennio Morricone. (DW)

1:30 p.m. (HBO)-- 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)

6:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Artists and Models (1955)--An extravagant Frank Tashlin cartoon, with Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Dorothy Malone and Shirley MacLaine. (DW)

8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Big House (1930)--Called by one critic "the most powerful prison movie of all time," the film, directed by George Hill, stars Wallace Beery and Chester Morris. Prisoners stage such a powerful revolt that army tanks have to be called in. The censors would never again allow "such massive violence in the screen's penal system." (DW)

8:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Love in the Afternoon (1957)--Billy Wilder directed this film about the affair between a young Parisian woman (Audrey Hepburn) and a middle-aged American businessman (Gary Cooper). Maurice Chevalier is her father, a private detective. This was Wilder's first film cowritten with I.A.L. Diamond. (DW)

9:30 p.m. (TCM)--20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1933)--Michael Curtiz's prison drama, with Spencer Tracy as a hardened criminal and Bette Davis as his girlfriend. (DW)

12:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Artists and Models (1955)--See 6:00 p.m.

12:05 a.m. (Encore)-- After Hours (1985)--Griffin Dunne is a young upwardly mobile professional who has a rough night in lower Manhattan in Martin Scorsese's not terribly funny comedy. (DW)

*12:40 a.m. (TMC)-- Bound (1996)--A fine first film by brothers Andy and Larry Machowski. Cinematically, it's a bit of a show-off, but it all works, re-mining familiar film noir elements. A mob money launderer's mistress and her ex-con lesbian lover conspire to run off with the mobster's loot. Played broadly, and often with humor, by Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon and Joe Pantoliano. (MJ)

*1:00 a.m. (Bravo)-- The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)--Described by one critic as famous Spanish director Luis Bunuel's "most completely achieved fusion of satire, comedy, fantasy and (controlled) emotion." (DW)

2:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Love in the Afternoon (1957)--See 8:00 p.m.

*3:15 a.m. (Starz)-- The Boys in Company C (1978)--One of the better realistic films about the Vietnam War. Avoids the cliches of most other war films. With James Whitmore, Jr. and Stan Shaw. Directed by Sidney J. Furie. (MJ)

*4:00 a.m. (IFC)-- The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978)--See 6:00 a.m.

Tuesday, January 12

*6:20 a.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)

*10:30 a.m. (AMC)-- Monkey Business (1952)--Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers in Howard Hawks's comedy about a chemistry professor who comes up with youth serum. Marilyn Monroe and Charles Coburn costar. (DW)

*11:00 a.m. (Showtime)-- A Place in the Sun (1951)--A George Stevens film based on Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy. Not very faithful to the book, but valuable in its own right. Elizabeth Taylor is extraordinary as Montgomery Clift's dream girl. (DW)

12:00 p.m. (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. (DW)

12:00 p.m. (FXM)-- Lifeboat (1944)--Alfred Hitchcock's tale of shipwreck survivors during World War II. With Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix and Walter Slezak as a Nazi taken aboard. (DW)

*12:30 p.m. (Bravo)-- The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)--See Monday at 1:00 a.m.

*1:45 p.m. (HBOS)-- Barbarians at the Gate (1993)--See Sunday at 9:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m. (History)-- Hell to Eternity (1960)--Remarkable account of US World War II hero Guy Gabaldon, who had been raised by Japanese foster parents. With Jeffrey Hunter, David Janssen, Vic Damone. Directed by underrated Phil Karlson. (DW)

5:25 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)

6:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Breaking Away (1979)--Intelligent story of group of "townies" in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University. Directed by Peter Yates. (DW)

10:30 p.m. (HBOP)-- 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)

*10:30 p.m. (TCM)-- Escape from Alcatraz (1979)--Clint Eastwood plays a convict determined to break out of Alcatraz, the supposedly inescapable prison. Based on a true story, the film methodically follows Eastwood's efforts. Directed by Don Siegel. (DW)

12:30 a.m. (AMC)-- Breaking Away (1979)--See 6:00 p.m.

1:00 a.m. (Cinemax)-- Breakdown (1997)--Suspenseful thriller in which the wife of a meek computer programmer (played by Kurt Russell) disappears during a cross-country trip. One of the last performances by the late, great character actor J.T. Walsh. (MJ)

*1:50 a.m. (HBOS)-- Chinatown (1974)--See Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

2:00 a.m. (FXM)-- Lifeboat (1944)--See 12:00 p.m.

2:35 a.m. (Cinemax)-- The Firm (1993)--Another film that takes a shot at the legal profession. In this paranoid potboiler, a young, ambitious lawyer finds out that his high-toned firm is totally owned by organized crime. An unremarkable film is saved by a remarkable performance by Gene Hackman (always dependable) playing a cynical partner. From the bestseller by John Grisham. (MJ)

3:30 a.m. (TCM)-- I Want to Live! (1958)--Susan Hayward is prostitute-crook Barbara Graham, framed up, according to the movie, and sent to the gas chamber. A remarkable anti-death penalty film made at a time when opposition to capital punishment was gaining strength in the US. Directed by Robert Wise. (DW)

3:45 a.m. (HBOF)-- John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--See Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

4:00 a.m. (A&E)-- Nothing Sacred (1937)--Fredric March is a cynical reporter who sets out to make headlines with the story of a Vermont girl (Carole Lombard) supposedly dying from radium poisoning. Ben Hecht wrote the script and William Wellman directed. (DW)

Wednesday, January 13

6:00 a.m. (Sundance)-- The Wanderers (1979)--See Saturday at 7:30 a.m.

7:30 a.m. (AMC)-- Seminole (1953)--Modest film, about an army officer, Rock Hudson, doing his best to help an Indian tribe preserve itself against the advances and intrusions of the white man's civilization. Directed by Budd Boetticher. (DW)

10:00 a.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. (DW)

*11:15 a.m. (Showtime)-- The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)--Woody Allen combines Keaton's Sherlock Jr. and Fellini's The White Sheik to come up with a satisfying tale about a drab housewife (Mia Farrow) romanced by a character (Jeff Daniels) who literally steps out of the movie screen. (MJ)

*12:00 p.m. (AMC)-- The Great Dictator (1940)--Chaplin plays the twin role of a Jewish barber and Adenoid Hynkel of Tomania, in this extraordinary attack, which also manages to be very funny, on Hitler and Nazism. Jack Oakie is Benzino Napaloni of Bacteria. (DW)

1:00 p.m. (Sundance)-- The Wanderers (1979)--See Saturday at 7:30 a.m.

3:00 p.m. (History)-- A Walk in the Sun (1945)--See 10:00 a.m.

*4:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Written on the Wind (1956)--One of Douglas Sirk's extraordinary films about 1950s America and its discontents. Robert Stack is a drunken heir to an oil fortune, Dorothy Malone his restless sister. They destroy themselves and others without ever understanding why. Not to be missed. (DW)

6:00 p.m. (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). (DW)

7:00 p.m. (Sundance)-- The Wanderers (1979)--See Saturday, at 7:30 a.m.

*9:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Charley Varrick (1973)--A modest, intelligent Don Siegel action picture, superior to most films of the 1970s. Varrick is a smalltime crook who robs money from the Mob by accident. With Joe Don Baker, as a menacing hitman, Sheree North and John Vernon. (DW)

10:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Land of the Pharaohs (1955)--Howard Hawks's historical epic is full of the typical Hollywood hokum, but the scenes of the building of the pyramids are truly impressive. William Faulkner helped write the screenplay. With Jack Hawkins and Joan Collins. (MJ)

12:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Men in War (1957)--See 6:00 p.m.

*1:00 a.m. (TCM)-- The Beggar's Opera (1953)--See Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

*1:00 a.m. (Bravo)-- Charley Varrick (1973)--See 9:00 p.m.

3:00 a.m. (TMC)-- 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)

4:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Land of the Pharaohs (1955)--See 10:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 14

*6:00 a.m. (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. (DW)

*12:30 p.m. (Bravo)-- Charley Varrick (1973)--See Wednesday, at 9:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m. (TMC)-- 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). (DW)

*4:10 p.m. (Encore)-- Charade (1963)--Delightful Hitchcockian light thriller directed by Stanley Donen. Starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, and Walter Matthau. (MJ)

*8:00 p.m. (AMC)-- The Manchurian Candidate (1962)--A Korean War hero (Laurence Harvey) returns to the US, brainwashed by his Chinese captors and programmed to kill a presidential candidate. Ostensibly a cold war conspiracy thriller, this film turns around and becomes an intense satirical attack on right-wing politics. Angela Lansbury gives a superb performance as the war hero's villainous mother, as does James Gregory, playing a politician based on Senator Joe McCarthy. The baroque direction is by John Frankenheimer, from the novel by Richard Condon. With Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh. (MJ)

8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Caged (1950)--In the words of one critic, a "minor classic of repression." A prison drama, with Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorehead and Hope Emerson. Directed by John Cromwell. (DW)

9:00 p.m. (Comedy)-- National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)--See Sunday at 6:00 p.m.

*2:30 a.m. (AMC)-- The Manchurian Candidate (1962)--See 8:00 p.m.

*4:15 a.m. (IFC)-- Living in Oblivion (1995)--Sometimes amusing look at the making of a (relatively) low-budget film, with Steve Buscemi as the harassed director. James Le Gros as a spoiled, self-important rising star (allegedly based on director Tom DiCillo's experiences with Brad Pitt) is the highlight of the film. (DW)

Friday, January 15

*6:20 a.m. (Cinemax)-- Badlands (1973)--Terrence Malick's strangely idyllic recounting of a killing spree in the 1950s Midwest. Martin Sheen plays the main character, based on killer Charles Starkweather, and Sissy Spacek plays his teenaged girlfriend, who narrates the film with naive, romantic passages from her diary. Beautifully photographed. (MJ)

8:00 a.m. (Encore)-- Play It Again, Sam (1972)--Woody Allen's very funny homage to Bogart and Casablanca. Written by and starring Allen, but directed by Herbert Ross. With Diane Keaton. (MJ)

*12:00 p.m. (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. (DW)

*1:15 p.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)

3:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Don't Bother to Knock (1952)--Marilyn Monroe, in an early role, is a demented baby-sitter who threatens to kill the child in her care. With Richard Widmark, Anne Bancroft, Jim Backus. Directed by Roy Ward Baker. (DW)

6:00 p.m. (AMC)-- 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. (DW)

8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Great Escape (1963)--Steve McQueen and James Garner stand out in this World War II prisoner of war escape film. Routine in many ways, directed by John Sturges. (DW)

*11:00 p.m. (HBOP)-- Chinatown (1974)--See Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

11:30 p.m. (HBOF)-- Gattaca (1997)--In this future capitalist society, your place in the productive process is determined by your genetic makeup--which is mapped at birth and stays with you as your main ID for life. One man rebels against the system. Andrew Niccol wrote and directed this intelligent film, highly derivative of the fiction of Philip K. Dick. (MJ)

12:00 a.m. (Comedy)-- National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)--See Sunday at 6:00 p.m.

*12:00 a.m. (FXM)-- How Green Was My Valley (1941)--John Ford's powerful film about Welsh coal miners. With Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Donald Crisp and Roddy McDowall. (MJ)

12:05 a.m. (AMC)-- The Buccaneer (1938)--See 6:00 p.m.

12:30 a.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. (DW)

1:20 a.m. (HBOF)-- Contact (1997)--See Sunday, at 1:30 p.m.

4:30 a.m. (TCM)-- As You Desire Me (1932)--Fairly inept version of a Pirandello play, directed by George Fitzmaurice, about an amnesiac returning to a husband she doesn't remember. Greta Garbo has some memorable moments as the woman, with Melvyn Douglas and Erich von Stroheim. (DW)