Some interesting films on US television, March 13-19
Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW)
13 March 1999
Video pick of the week--find it in your video store
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)--Billy Wilder's bittersweet account of the case the great detective couldn't solve. Of all the pastiches of Sherlock Holmes, this one is the best. Wilder probes into the personality of Holmes and finds a melancholy man whose life is thrown off-base by a beautiful, mysterious woman. Fine performances by Robert Stephens as Holmes and Colin Blakeley as Watson. (MJ)
A&E=Arts & 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
Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest. All times are EDT.
Saturday, March 13
*6:00 a.m. (IFC)-- I Shot Jesse James (1949)--Samuel Fuller's remarkable film--done mostly in close-ups--about the shooting of Jesse James by Robert Ford, "that dirty little coward." With Reed Hadley and John Ireland. (MJ)
6:00 a.m. (HBOP)-- 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)
*7:00 a.m. (HBOS)-- Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)--James Ivory directed this touching film that follows a reserved Kansas City couple through several decades, revealing much of what really goes on under the surface of their long, seemingly placid relationship. Starring real-life husband and wife Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in quiet, sensitive performances. Adapted--with inevitable changes and abridgements--from the brilliant but unfilmable pair of novels by Evan S. Connell, Jr. (MJ)
*8:00 a.m. (Cinemax)-- Alien (1979)--A bloodthirsty alien creature pursues the crew members of a merchant space vessel. Beautifully done, one of the most frightening films ever made. Sigourney Weaver plays Ripley, one of the first smart and clever heroines in modern film. With Yaphet Kotto, Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm and John Hurt. (MJ)
8:00 a.m. (TMC)-- The Spiral Staircase (1946)--Taut thriller with Dorothy McGuire as a deaf-mute servant employed in a household in 1906 New England. Directed by Robert Siodmak. (DW)
8:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Humoresque (1946)--A remarkable performance by John Garfield, as a classical violinist from the slums, who falls for a wealthy society lady. With Joan Crawford, Oscar Levant. Directed by Jean Negulesco. (DW)
11:00 a.m. (TCM)-- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)--Not a great, but a remarkable, sensual and disturbing film. Charles Laughton is Victor Hugo's Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer. Maureen O'Hara is unforgettable, in her US film debut, as Esmerelda. (DW)
*11:15 a.m. (IFC)-- I Shot Jesse James (1949)--See 6:00 a.m.
*12:15 p.m. (AMC)-- My Darling Clementine (1946)--John Ford directed this Western about the lead-up to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Henry Fonda is Wyatt Earp and Victor Mature Doc Holliday. With Ward Bond, Tim Holt, Walter Brennan. (DW)
*1:00 p.m. (TCM)-- I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932)--Heavy-handed, but powerful exposé of conditions on prison farms. Mervyn LeRoy directed Paul Muni as the innocent man framed up by the justice system. (DW)
1:00 p.m. (TMC)-- Saturday Night Fever (1977)--A hardware store salesman in Brooklyn becomes a champion disco dancer at night. This is the film that launched John Travolta's film career and he is a marvel as a dancer. Music by the Bee Gees. Directed by John Badham. (MJ)
2:15 p.m. (HBO)-- The Fifth Element (1997)--Vacuous, silly science fiction film in which the future of the universe hinges on a Brooklyn cabdriver (played in proletarian style by Bruce Willis) finding something called "the fifth element." Worth seeing only for its imaginative settings and special effects. Typical scenery-chewing villainy by Gary Oldman. Directed by Luc Besson. (MJ)
3:00 p.m. (TCM)-- I Remember Mama (1948)--George Stevens, in his first film after returning from war, directed this saga of Scandinavian immigrants in San Francisco. With Irene Dunne, Barbara Bel Geddes and Oskar Homolka, among others. (DW)
5:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Rosa Luxemburg (1986)--Margarethe von Trotta's evocative, if sometimes a little pat, biographical portrait of the great Polish Marxist and co-founder of the German Communist Party, murdered in 1919. With Barbara Sukowa. (DW)
5:30 p.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)
*8:00 p.m. (AMC)--12 Angry Men (1957)--Gripping film that takes place in only one room as 12 jurors struggle to reach a verdict. During the process each reveals his character. Great cast headed by Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb and E.G. Marshall. Directed by Sidney Lumet. (MJ)
*8:00 p.m. (FXM)-- The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)--A visitor from another galaxy visits our planet to issue a stern warning. Robert Wise's film is a liberal plea for peace and understanding; as such, it defied the McCarthyite xenophobia and bellicosity dominating Hollywood at the time. It stands up surprising well almost 50 years later. Starring Patricia Neal and Michael Rennie. (MJ)
*10:00 p.m. (IFC)-- Barton Fink (1991)--One of the Coen Brothers' weakest and most inadvertently revealing efforts, a cynical look at a socially conscious playwright working in Hollywood in the 1930s and the "American reality" he uncovers. With John Turturro, John Goodman. (DW)
*1:10 am (HBOS)-- Strangers on a Train (1951)--Hitchcock classic, with Farley Granger as a callow tennis player and Robert Walker as a psychopath, based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, co-scripted by Raymond Chandler. (DW)
*2:00 am (AMC)--12 Angry Men (1957)--See 8:00 p.m.
*3:15 am (IFC)-- Barton Fink (1991)--See 10:00 p.m.
*4:15 am (IFC)-- The Rapture (1991)--In this strange, compelling film, writer-director Michael Tolkin considers the Apocalypse literally but non-religiously. A promiscuous woman joins a religious cult, marries, has a child and awaits the Second Coming in the desert. With David Duchovny. (MJ)
Sunday, March 14
6:00 am (TCM)-- Inherit the Wind (1960)--A film version of the Jerome Lawrence-Robert E. Lee play based on the Scopes trial, the 1925 case of a Southern schoolteacher charged with teaching evolutionary theory. Spencer Tracy, Fredric March and Gene Kelly starred. Stanley Kramer, with his customary earnestness, directed. (DW)
6:30 am (TBS)-- 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. (DW)
8:30 am (TCM)-- 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. (DW)
*1:30 p.m. (HBOP)-- The Ice Storm (1997)--Excellent film by Ang Lee of aimlessness and disillusionment in the 1970s. As the middle class disintegrates in suburbia, we see the disintegration of the White House playing out in the background as the Watergate crisis runs its course. The fine cast includes Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Jamey Sheridan and Christina Ricci. (MJ)
2:00 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)
2:30 p.m. (TBS)-- Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)--Sissy Spacek, who did her own singing, is excellent in this slightly sanitized biography of country singer Loretta Lynn, born in poverty in Kentucky. Tommy Lee Jones as her husband, Beverly D'Angelo as Patsy Cline and Levon Helm as her coal-miner father also stand out. Directed by Michael Apted. (DW)
5:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Isadora (1968)--Occasionally silly biography of the modern dancer Isadora Duncan (1878-1927), starring a young Vanessa Redgrave, who, unfortunately, couldn't dance very well. Directed by Karel Reisz. (DW)
5:45 p.m. (Cinemax)-- 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)
7:15 p.m. (HBOP)-- 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)
8:00 p.m. (Cinemax)-- Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)--Another of Sidney Lumet's tales of police corruption. They are usually incisive, with a good feel for urban realities, but this one, with Andy Garcia as a cop turned crusading DA, is a bit paint-by-numbers. (MJ)
8:00 p.m. (IFC)-- House of Games (1987)--Disappointing film about the world of con artists. David Mamet wrote and directed and (as usual) his characters talk in a peculiar, stilted way. Much promise, but short on delivery. With Lindsay Crouse and Joe Mantegna. (MJ)
10:00 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 co-written with I.A.L. Diamond. (DW)
1:15 am (IFC)-- House of Games (1987)--See 8:00 p.m.
2:10 am (TBS)-- The Sting (1973)--A pair of con men (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) pull an intricate scam on a gangster during the Depression. Good, playful, with lots of surprises. Memorable score made up of Scott Joplin ragtime music. With Robert Shaw. Directed by George Roy Hill. (MJ)
4:00 am (TCM)-- Jezebel (1938)--Bette Davis again, as an antebellum Southern belle causing trouble with her willful behavior. Also Henry Fonda. Directed by William Wyler. (DW)
4:00 am (FXM)-- The Razor's Edge (1946)--See 2:00 p.m.
4:30 am (AMC)-- Love in the Afternoon (1957)--See 10:00 p.m.
Monday, March 15
7:00 am (AMC)-- America, America (1963)--Elia Kazan's account of the immigrant experience, based on his uncle's emigration in the late nineteenth century. (DW)
2:00 p.m. (Cinemax)-- 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)
3:45 p.m. (Cinemax)-- Marathon Man (1976)--Exciting, convoluted spy thriller about stolen jewels, Nazis hiding out in the US and the CIA. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Roy Scheider. Laurence Olivier is particularly effective as a sadistic Mengele-type dentist. Directed by John Schlesinger. (MJ)
5:45 p.m. (TCM)-- Julius Caesar (1953)--Joseph L. Mankiewicz's intelligently filmed version of Shakespeare's tragedy. James Mason as Brutus, John Gielgud as Cassius, Louis Calhern as Caesar and Marlon Brando as Antony. (DW)
*8:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- The Dead (1987)--John Huston's deeply felt adaptation of James Joyce's short story, one of the best in the English language. This was Huston's last film; it ended his great career on a high note. With Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann. (MJ)
*8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Key Largo (1948)--A brutal gangster (Edward G. Robinson) holds a group of people hostage in a hotel during a hurricane. Humphrey Bogart is a returning veteran. Based on Maxwell Anderson's play, script by John Huston (who directed) and Richard Brooks. With Claire Trevor. (DW)
8:30 p.m. (HBO)-- Face/Off (1997)--Hong Kong action director John Woo lets out all the stops in this exciting, humorous and (of course) preposterous film about a government agent (John Travolta) and his terrorist nemesis (Nicolas Cage) exchanging faces. (MJ)
1:10 am (TBS)-- The Dirty Dozen (1967)--Twelve convicts, serving life sentences, are recruited for a suicidal commando raid in Robert Aldrich's film. (DW)
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. (DW)
*2:30 am (Bravo)-- The Dead (1987)--See 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 16
*6:45 am (Cinemax)-- Sunset Boulevard (1950)--Billy Wilder's classic about illusions hanging on and the old Hollywood versus the new. A once-glamorous star of the silent screen living in a gothic Hollywood mansion takes a younger, cynical screenwriter as a lover. One of the great films. With Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Eric von Stroheim and Buster Keaton. (MJ)
7:30 am (AMC)-- Rain (1932)--W. Somerset Maugham story about the South Sea island tramp (Joan Crawford) and the preacher (Walter Huston) who, at first, is determined to save her soul. This film has been made numerous times. Lewis Milestone directed this version. (DW)
*8:00 am (TCM)-- Lady for a Day (1933)--Frank Capra directed this story about an apple vendor transformed into a society lady by a kindhearted hoodlum. With May Robson and Warren Williams. (DW)
8:35 am (Cinemax)-- 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)
9:25 am (TMC)-- 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. (FXM)-- 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. With Diane Cilento, Fredric March, Richard Boone. (DW)
*1:00 p.m. (USA)-- The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)--Real-life brothers Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges play musician brothers in this emotionally gripping story of sibling rivalry, With Michelle Pfeiffer. Directed by Steve Kloves. (MJ)
*1:30 p.m. (Sundance)-- 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)
4:00 p.m. (IFC)-- Breaker Morant (1979)--Australian film, directed by Bruce Beresford, about three soldiers in Boer War court-martialed for murdering prisoners. With Edward Woodward and Bryan Brown. (DW)
*4:00 p.m. (Sundance)-- Last Year at Marienbad (1961)--Alain Resnais' enigmatic film is one of the classics of French cinema. It asks questions (never answered) about the nature of time and memory. A marvelous film to watch, with its energetically mobile camera and lengthy tracking shots down ornate corridors. (MJ)
*4:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- The Dead (1987)--See Monday at 8:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Artists and Models (1955)--An extravagant Frank Tashlin cartoon, with Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Dorothy Malone and Shirley MacLaine. (DW)
*5:45 p.m. (HBOS)-- Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)--See Saturday at 7:00 a.m.
8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Life of Emile Zola (1937)--A stolid and not particularly accurate version of the life of the French writer (Paul Muni). The final speech, in Zola's own words, is moving. Directed by William Dieterle. (DW)
8:05 p.m. (TBS)-- Rain Man (1988)--Barry Levinson's anti-Reaganite work, with Dustin Hoffman as an autistic man and Tom Cruise, a 1980s Babbitt, as his yuppie hustler brother. (DW)
*9:00 p.m. (HBOS)-- The Producers (1968)--Mel Brooks wrote and directed his funniest film, about two producers whose plan--to mount a deliberately awful Broadway musical that will flop and thereby bring them a tax bonanza--backfires. Starring Gene Wilder and the great, rarely seen (because of blacklisting) Zero Mostel. (MJ)
*11:00 p.m. (Sundance)-- Lone Star (1996)--See 1:30 p.m.
11:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Swing Time (1936)--Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in top form, but at a time when their popularity had begun to decline. Immortal songs by Jerome Kern include "The Way You Look Tonight," "A Fine Romance," and "Never Gonna Dance." George Stevens directed. (DW)
*1:30 am (Sundance)-- Last Year at Marienbad (1961)--See 4:00 p.m.
2:00 am (FXM)-- Hombre (1967)--See 12:00 p.m.
*2:00 am (TCM)-- Little Caesar (1930)--Mervyn LeRoy directed Edward G. Robinson as a smalltime hood who rises to the top of the crime world. From the novel by W.R. Burnett. (DW)
4:00 am (AMC)-- Swing Time (1936)--See 11:00 p.m.
*4:30 am (HBOS)-- The Producers (1968)--See 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 17
6:00 am (TCM)-- Little Women (1949)--Mervyn LeRoy directed this, the second version of Louisa May Alcott's novel about a quarter of sisters growing up in New England during the Civil War. This version is inferior to George Cukor's 1933 film. June Allyson, Margaret O'Brien, Elizabeth Taylor and Janet Leigh co-star. (DW)
7:30 am (HBOS)-- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)--See Saturday at 6:00 a.m.
7:45 am (IFC)-- Breaker Morant (1979)--See Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.
*8:15 am (TMC)-- Spellbound (1945)--Psychiatrist Ingrid Bergman attempts to unravel patient Gregory Peck's dilemmas. Has he committed a murder? Alfred Hitchcock directed. (DW)
8:45 am (Cinemax)-- 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)
*10:30 am (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. (DW)
*11:30 am (Sundance)-- Hamlet (1996)--Kenneth Branagh starred in and directed this long, unabridged film of Shakespeare's play. It is exciting and lucid and it dispenses with the oedipal nonsense of other recent versions. Branagh is strong in the part and Derek Jacobi is the definitive Claudius. Also starring Julie Christie and Kate Winslet. (MJ)
*12:30 p.m. (Cinemax)-- Alien (1979)--See Saturday at 8:00 a.m.
1:50 p.m. (Starz)-- 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)
2:00 p.m. (TBS)-- 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. (DW)
2:15 p.m. (IFC)-- Breaker Morant (1979)--See Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.
2:30 p.m. (AMC)-- Dallas (1950)--A story set in post-Civil War Dallas, with Gary Cooper seeking revenge on those who wronged him. Ruth Roman and Steve Cochran co-star. Directed by Stuart Heisler. (DW)
4:15 p.m. (AMC)-- A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)--Elia Kazan's version of the Tennessee Williams drama about the strong and the weak in a New Orleans tenement. Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden. (DW)
*6:00 p.m. (Showtime)-- Looking for Richard (1996)--Al Pacino directed this good-humored, casual documentary about the making of a film of Richard III. It popularizes but never cheapens Shakespeare. Interviews with acors, academics and passersby on the street are interwoven with cast discussions, rehearsals and sequences from the production. Enjoyable and educational. With Pacino, Kevin Spacey, Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones, Peter Brook and many others. (MJ)
*6:00 p.m. (HBOS)-- The Ice Storm (1997)--See Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
*8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)--Considered by some to be Orson Welles's finest work. The film, based on a Booth Tarkinson novel, examines the impact of social and economic change on a small town family. Joseph Cotten, Ray Collins, Agnes Moorehead are brilliant. The film was taken out of Welles's hands and an ending added. (DW)
2:00 p.m. (TNT)-- The Quiet Man (1952)--see 2:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Finian's Rainbow (1968)--Petula Clark sings beautifully, Fred Astaire is miscast as her dreamy dad and Tommy Steele quickly wears out his welcome as the broad-smiling, hyperactive leprechaun in Francis Copplola's flat version of the hit populist Broadway musical. In the course of this unrelentingly upbeat film, a tobacco-growing commune struggles for survival and a bigoted Southern senator is turned into an African-American. However, the songs by E.Y. Harburg retain their charm. (MJ)
10:30 p.m. (HBO)-- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)--See Saturday at 6:00 a.m.
10:45 p.m. (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. (DW)
11:30 p.m. (IFC)-- Police (1984)--Gerard Depardieu and Sophie Marceau star in this film about a brutal policeman who falls for Marceau, involved in the narcotics trade. Directed by talented French director Maurice Pialat. (DW)
*12:30 am (Sundance)-- Hamlet (1996)--See 11:30 a.m.
*12:30 am (TCM)-- The Maltese Falcon (1941)--John Huston classic, based on the Dashiell Hammett novel, with Humphrey Bogart as private detective Sam Spade. Sydney Greenstreet, Mary Astor and Peter Lorre brilliantly co-star. (DW)
2:50 am (HBOS)-- The Devil's Advocate (1997)--Satan (portrayed in an over-the-top performance by Al Pacino) runs a white-shoe law firm in New York City. Keanu Reeves, as an ambitious young lawyer, makes a Faustian bargain and suffers for it. A very funny horror film that trades on the public's distrust of the legal profession. (MJ)
4:00 am (AMC)-- Finian's Rainbow (1968)--See 10:00 p.m.
4:00 am (IFC)-- Police (1984)--See 11:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 18
6:00 am (TCM)-- Marie Antoinette (1938)--Lavish MGM spectacle about the life of the doomed queen of France. Criticized in its time, it stands up to a certain extent. Robert Morley is memorable as Louis XVI; Norma Shearer is Marie. Directed by W. S. Van Dyke. (DW)
8:15 am (TMC)-- Duel in the Sun (1946)--King Vidor's intense Western psychodrama. Jennifer Jones, a "half-breed," is caught between two brothers (Gregory Peck and Joseph Cotten). With Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Herbert Marshall, Charles Bickford and Walter Huston. (DW)
8:45 am (HBOP)-- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)--See Saturday at 6:00 a.m.
11:00 am (TCM)-- Meet John Doe (1941)--Gary Cooper as John Doe, the barefoot Everyman, suspicious of ideas and doctrines, in Frank Capra's populist fable. (DW)
2:00 p.m. (TBS)-- 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. (DW)
*3:15 p.m. (HBOP)-- Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)--See Saturday at 7:00 a.m.
*3:30 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)
*5:30 p.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. (DW)
6:00 p.m. (Cinemax)-- Gattaca (1997)--See Monday at 2:00 p.m.
*6:15 p.m. (HBOS)-- Strangers on a Train (1951)--See Saturday at 1:10 a.m.
8:00 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. Based on the novel by James M. Cain. (DW)
*2:25 am (TBS)-- Raging Bull (1980)--Martin Scorsese directed Robert De Niro in this film biography of the boxer Jake La Motta. An interesting work, even if its themes are somewhat obscure. With Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci. (DW)
Friday, March 19
*6:00 am (FXM)-- The Gang's All Here (1943)--Delightful Busby Berkeley film, with the usual lush and intricate musical sequences, but this time in rich Technicolor. Watch for the not-so-subliminal chorus line of bananas in Carmen Miranda's "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" number. (MJ)
6:30 am (Cinemax)-- Days of Wine and Roses (1962)--Blake Edwards's somber film about alcoholic Jack Lemmon who drags Lee Remick into his orbit. (DW)
7:45 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. (DW)
8:00 am (HBO)-- The Fifth Element (1997)--See Saturday at 2:15 p.m.
9:45 am (TCM)-- Morning Glory (1935)--Katharine Hepburn is a small-town girl who tries to make it as an actress in New York City. Hepburn, according to one critic, displays "a self-mocking irony and delirious rapture that few actresses have ever attempted, much less achieved." Directed by Lowell Sherman. (DW)
*10:00 am (IFC)-- The Baron of Arizona (1950)--In the great Samuel Fuller's intense film, a swindler tries to use forged land grant documents to grab the entire Arizona Territory. With Vincent Price, Ellen Drew and Reed Hadley. (MJ)
11:00 am (TCM)-- Moulin Rouge (1952)--John Huston's engrossing account of the life of nineteenth century French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, with Jose Ferrer. (DW)
*12:00 p.m. (HBOS)-- Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)--Paul Mazursky's comic, perceptive look at the sexual mores of the American middle class in the 1960s. With Robert Culp, Natalie Wood, Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon. (MJ)
1:15 p.m. (AMC)-- Captain Lightfoot (1955)--Rock Hudson is a somewhat unlikely nineteenth century Irish rebel in Douglas Sirk's costume drama. With Barbara Rush and Jeff Morrow. Made in Ireland with Sirk's usual visual precision and beauty. (DW)
*2:00 p.m. (IFC)-- 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. (DW)
4:35 p.m. (TMC)-- The Spiral Staircase (1946)--See Saturday at 8:00 a.m.
5:45 p.m. (HBO)-- The Fifth Element (1997)--See Saturday at 2:15 p.m.
*8:00 p.m. (IFC)-- Ju Dou (1990)--See 2:00 p.m.
8:00 p.m. (Comedy)-- Married to the Mob (1988)--Michelle Pfeiffer is the widow of a Mafia hit man, trying to change her life. Dean Stockwell is the crime boss who lusts for her. With Matthew Modine. A semi-amusing, semi-conformist film, directed by Jonathan Demme. (DW)
9:00 p.m. (USA)-- Working Girl (1988)--Mike Nichols' relatively superficial look at a working class girl (Melanie Griffith) from Staten Island who aspires to yuppiedom. Harrison Ford is the object of her affections, Sigourney Weaver her boss. (DW)
*10:00 p.m. (FXM)-- The Name of the Rose (1986)--A murder mystery set in a medieval monastery (the McGuffin is a lost book by Aristotle). Though lacking much of the rich detail of Umberto Eco's fine novel, the film stands well on its own. Sean Connery is perfect as the monk-detective, John of Baskerville. With Christian Slater, F. Murray Abraham and William Hickey. Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. (MJ)
11:30 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. (DW)
*11:45 p.m. (IFC)-- Barton Fink (1991)--See Saturday at 10:00 p.m.
*1:10 am (TMC)-- All About Eve (1950)--Joseph Mankiewicz wrote and directed this classic about backstabbing in the world of the theater. The dialogue is nonstop witty and incisive. Memorable performances by George Sanders and Bette Davis. (MJ)
1:30 am (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. (DW)
2:00 am (Comedy)-- Something Wild (1986)--Melanie Griffith, in one her rare performances of substance, turns out to be trouble for Jeff Daniels, an uptight businessman. Ray Liotta is her psychotic boy-friend. Not a great film, but it has its moments. Directed by Jonathan Demme. (DW)
*3:45 am (Showtime)-- 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)
4:00 am (TCM)-- My Favorite Year (1982)--Richard Benjamin directed this uneven look at early television. In 1954 a young man has the job of chaperoning the star (Peter O'Toole) of that week's show. Joseph Bologna plays a Sid Caesar type. (DW)
*4:00 am (A&E)-- Mean Streets (1973)--Excellent, highly influential film by Martin Scorsese about growing up in New York's Little Italy. With Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, both very young, (MJ)