Some interesting films on US television, March 20-26
Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW)
20 March 1999
Video pick of the week--find it in your video store
Tous les Matins du Monde (1991)--The mystical, obsessive master of the viol Sainte-Colombe takes the younger Marin Marais as his student in seventeenth century France. After a long, successful apprenticeship, however, Marais betrays his master by becoming a court composer at Versailles. Alain Corneau's film is a beautiful evocation--visually and aurally--of the world of early music. It explores the conflict between creating music for God (Saint-Colombe) and for the King (Marais). Marin Marais is played effectively by Gerard Depardieu, and as a young man by Depardieu's son Guillaume; Sainte-Colombe is played by Jean-Pierre Marielle. (MJ)
Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest. All times are EDT.
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
Saturday, March 20
*6:00 a.m. (TCM)-- My Man Godfrey (1936)--A millionaire invites a tramp (William Powell) to be his butler in this Gregory LaCava screwball comedy. Carole Lombard is the millionaire's daughter. (DW)
6:30 a.m. (AMC)-- Canyon Passage (1946)--Stylish Jacques Tourneur directed this Western set in Oregon about settlers facing Indian attacks and the consequences of white man's greed. With Brian Donlevy, Susan Hayward and Dana Andrews. (DW)
7:00 a.m. (HBOS)-- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)--Cold War melodrama of double- and triple-agents, based on the John Le Carre novel, with Richard Burton as the embittered British agent and Oskar Werner. Directed by Martin Ritt. (DW)
8:05 a.m. (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)
8:15 a.m. (AMC)-- The Naked Jungle (1954)--Above-average jungle adventure directed by Byron Haskin, with Charlton Heston and Eleanor Parker. (DW)
*10:00 a.m. (HBOS)-- 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)
*10:00 a.m. (TCM)-- 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 girlfriend. 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)
*10:00 a.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)
12:00 p.m. (TCM)-- National Velvet (1944)--Elizabeth Taylor is dazzling as a teenager determined to enter her beloved horse in the Grand National Steeplechase. With Anne Revere, Donald Crisp and Mickey Rooney; directed by Clarence Brown. (DW)
12:00 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. (DW)
*12:05 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. (DW)
*12:35 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)
2:00 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)
*2:30 p.m. (TMC)-- The Godfather (1972)--Francis Coppola's classic film about the Mafia as a form of capitalist endeavor. With Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall. (MJ)
*5:30 p.m. (TMC)-- The Godfather, Part II (1974)--A rarity--a sequel that measures up to its predecessor. The origins of the enterprising, murderous Corleone family. With Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Diane Keaton. Directed by Francis Coppola. (MJ)
5:45 p.m. (HBOS)-- 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)
6:00 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. (DW)
*8:00 p.m. (Encore)-- Fearless (1993)--Jeff Bridges experiences the eerie effects of having survived a jetliner crash. Stunning performance by Rosie Perez. Directed by Peter Weir. (MJ)
*9:00 p.m. (Sundance)-- Lone Star (1996)--See 12:35 p.m.
9:00 p.m. (HBOP)-- 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)
10:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)--Melodrama set in Hong Kong during the Korean War, with Jennifer Jones as a Eurasian doctor who falls for William Holden. Directed by Henry King. (DW)
11:00 p.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. (DW)
*11:10 p.m. (TMC)-- 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)
11:40 p.m. (Encore)-- Against All Odds (1984)--Decent remake of the 1947 film noir Out of the Past. Good performances by Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward, and James Woods. Directed by Taylor Hackford. (MJ)
12:00 a.m. (IFC)-- Mississippi Masala (1992)--Mira Nair's story of cross-cultural romance between Denzel Washington and Indian-born Sarita Choudhury, set in Greenwood, Mississippi. (DW)
12:00 a.m. (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 boyfriend. Not a great film, but it has its moments. Directed by Jonathan Demme. (DW)
3:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Northwest Passage (1940)--King Vidor's vivid film about Rogers' Rangers, an elite corps opening up territory in pre-Revolutionary America. Spencer Tracy is Rogers, with Robert Young and Walter Brennan. (DW)
4:00 a.m. (AMC)-- Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)--See 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 21
5:55 a.m. (TBS)-- Coogan's Bluff (1968)--A good action film, directed by veteran Don Siegel, concerning an Arizona lawman (Clint Eastwood) who comes to New York City to pick up a prisoner (Don Stroud); complications ensue. (DW)
*6:00 a.m. (Cinemax)-- The Graduate (1967)--Important coming-of-age film about a young man (Dustin Hoffman, in his first big role) deciding whether to throw in his lot with the adult world. Should he cast off his rebelliousness and join the prospering middle class of the late sixties--i.e., go into "plastics"? Anne Bancroft is the memorable middle-aged seductress (and mother of his fiancÃ©e) Mrs. Robinson. Excellent music by Simon and Garfunkel. Directed by Mike Nichols. (MJ)
6:00 a.m. (IFC)-- Mississippi Masala (1992)--See Saturday at 12:00 a.m.
7:45 a.m. (TMC)-- Rebecca (1940)--Alfred Hitchcock's first US-made film, with Joan Fontaine as the second wife of nobleman Laurence Olivier. The first wife's presence hovers over the place. Judith Anderson is memorable as the sinister housekeeper, loyal to the first wife. (DW)
*8:00 a.m. (TBS)-- 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)
*8:30 a.m. (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)
9:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Now, Voyager (1942)--A well-done melodrama with a remarkable cast. Bette Davis is an isolated, neurotic woman helped by psychiatrist Claude Rains, and falling in love with Paul Henreid. Directed by Irving Rapper. (DW)
11:00 a.m. (HBO)-- 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)
12:30 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)
1:00 p.m. (AMC)-- Gypsy (1962)--Unfortunate film adaptation of the great Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents musical. Rosalind Russell does not have the necessary fire in her belly for the role of Mama Rose. Worth seeing for the music, but look for the recent, far better, made-for-TV version with Bette Midler. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Also starring Natalie Wood and Karl Malden. (MJ)
*1:25 p.m. (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)
*1:30 p.m. (Cinemax)-- 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)
1:50 p.m. (TBS)-- 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)
4:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Of Human Bondage (1934)--Bette Davis stars as the waitress with whom doctor Leslie Howard becomes "inexplicably" enamored. An interesting film, directed by John Cromwell, but W. Somerset Maugham's story is pretty stupid and insensitive. (DW)
6:00 p.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)
*6:30 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)
8:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Oliver! (1968)--Excellent, spirited film version of the musical based on Dickens' Oliver Twist.. There is no pulling back on the harshness of life in Victorian England. Outstanding costumes, sets, and choreography. With Oliver Reed, Ron Moody, and Mark Lester. Directed by Carol Reed. (MJ)
9:00 p.m. (TMC)-- Saturday Night Fever (1977)--See 11:00 a.m.
*10:15 p.m. (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)
*11:00 p.m. (HBOS)-- A Clockwork Orange (1971)--Stanley Kubrick's brilliant but thoroughly nasty film about a sadistic young street thug (Malcolm McDowell) in the near future turned into a passive, spiritless citizen by means of a cruel form of aversion therapy. In the process, he also loses his ability to enjoy Beethoven. Kubrick adapted this from the novel by Anthony Burgess, and Burgess always hated the result. (MJ)
3:05 a.m. (Encore)-- The Rain People (1969)--One of Francis Ford Coppola's first efforts: an unhappy housewife takes off and picks up a football player on the road. With Shirley Knight, James Caan and Robert Duvall. (DW)
*4:15 a.m. (IFC)-- The Rapture (1991)--See 10:15 p.m.
Monday, March 22
7:00 a.m. (HBOS)-- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)--See Saturday at 7:00 a.m.
8:00 a.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)
8:15 a.m. (Cinemax)-- The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)--Lively, eye-catching version of the Robin Hood story, with Errol Flynn, Olivia de Haviland, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains. Directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley, with an award-winning score by Wolfgang Korngold. (DW)
*10:15 a.m. (AMC)-- You Can't Take It With You (1938)--Frank Capra's version of the George S. Kaufman-Moss Hart comedy about the antics of an eccentric during the Depression. Starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur. (DW)
10:30 a.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)
11:45 a.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)
12:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Philadelphia Story (1940)--George Cukor directed this film adaptation of Philip Barry's stage play about a spoiled mainline socialite yearning for--well, what exactly? One critic calls it "simply the breaking, reining, and saddling of an unruly thoroughbred," i.e., Katharine Hepburn. (DW)
*1:50 p.m. (TMC)-- Spellbound (1945)--Psychiatrist Ingrid Bergman attempts to unravel patient Gregory Peck's dilemmas. Has he committed a murder? Alfred Hitchcock directed. (DW)
*3:00 p.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 p.m. (TCM)-- The Pink Panther (1964)--The first of the series, with Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau chasing the famous jewel thief, The Phantom. With David Niven, Claudia Cardinale, Capucine, Robert Wagner. Directed by Blake Edwards. (DW)
8:00 p.m. (Bravo)-- Dog Day Afternoon (1975)--Based on a true story about a man who held up a Brooklyn bank to raise the money for his lover's sex-change operation. With Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durning. Directed by Sidney Lumet. (DW)
8:00 p.m. (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)
9:00 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)
10:00 p.m. (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. (DW)
1:30 a.m. (Bravo)-- Dog Day Afternoon (1975)--See 8:00 p.m.
2:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Pride and Prejudice (1940)--Hollywood's version of the Jane Austen classic about five sisters in early nineteenth century England. Laurence Olivier is the standout as the proud Darcy; Greer Garson plays the "prejudiced" Elizabeth Bennett. Robert Z. Leonard directed; Aldous Huxley helped write the screenplay. (DW)
3:40 a.m. (HBOP)-- The Devil's Advocate (1997)--See Saturday at 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 23
*6:00 a.m. (HBOS)-- Strangers on a Train (1951)--See Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
8:00 a.m. (AMC)-- The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)--Gary Cooper and Franchot Tone star as British soldiers in colonial India. Reactionary as history, but a lively and colorful film, directed by Henry Hathaway. With Richard Cromwell, C. Aubrey Smith and Douglas Dumbrille. (DW)
9:30 a.m. (IFC)-- Breaker Morant (1979)--See Monday at 11:45 a.m.
*10:00 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. (DW)
11:30 a.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)
11:30 a.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. (DW)
12:00 p.m. (AMC)-- All I Desire (1953)--Barbara Stanwyck is a woman who abandoned her family for a career on the stage and returns to her hometown for her daughter's graduation in this Douglas Sirk melodrama. (DW)
1:00 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)
*1:30 p.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)
3:00 p.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. (DW)
4:00 p.m. (Comedy)-- Something Wild (1986)--See Saturday at 12:00 a.m.
5:30 p.m. (TCM)-- Random Harvest (1942)--Ronald Colman is a World War I veteran who loses his memory. Greer Garson is a music-hall entertainer who brings him back to life. Hard to take in parts, but it has perceptive moments. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. (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. (TCM)-- Rashomon (1950)--Well-known work by Japanese master Akira Kurosawa. In medieval Japan, four people give differing accounts of violent attack by a bandit on a nobleman. With Toshiro Mifune. (DW)
*10:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Rebel Without a Cause (1955)--Nicholas Ray's socially conscious portrait of disaffected youth, with James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo. Memorable scene in a planetarium. (DW)
*12:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Red River (1948)--Montgomery Clift is a young cattleman who rebels against his guardian/father figure, John Wayne (in a relatively rare unsympathetic role), in Howard Hawks's extraordinary Western. With Walter Brennan, Joanne Dru and John Ireland. (DW)
2:00 a.m. (Comedy)-- Something Wild (1986)--See Saturday at 12:00 a.m.
*2:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Reds (1981)--Warren Beatty's account of the life and times of John Reed, American socialist and author of Ten Days that Shook the World, the authoritative chronicle of the October Revolution of 1917. With Diane Keaton and others. (DW)
Wednesday, March 24
6:20 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)
*6:30 a.m. (Cinemax)-- 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)
*8:00 a.m. (Showtime)-- Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)--Spirited acting (by Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas) and direction (by John Sturges) make this one of the more memorable films of this legendary clash. (MJ)
*9:45 a.m. (IFC)-- I Shot Jesse James (1949)--See Tuesday, at 1:30 p.m.
10:00 a.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)
11:00 a.m. (HBOS)-- Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)--See Monday at 9:00 p.m.
11:30 a.m. (TCM)-- Romeo and Juliet (1936)--Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard were a good deal too old for their starring roles, but they perform admirably, in George Cukor's version of the tragedy. (DW)
*11:30 a.m. (HBOP)-- The Ice Storm (1997)--See Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
2:30 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)
4:00 p.m. (AMC)-- 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. (DW)
4:00 p.m. (FXM)-- At Long Last Love (1975)--Burt Reynolds and Cybill Shepherd can neither sing nor dance--they are definitely not Astaire and Rogers. Still, it's fun to watch them mangle Cole Porter's beautiful music and lyrics. Peter Bogdanovich's glitzy, expensive film proves that a warm affection for 1930's film musicals is not enough. One of the great bombs. With Madeline Kahn (often funny, despite her material) and John Hillerman. (MJ)
6:15 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. (DW)
*9:35 p.m. (IFC)-- Ju Dou (1990)--See Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
10:05 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. (DW)
10:05 p.m. (TBS)-- Rio Lobo (1970)--Howard Hawks's last film (he died in 1977), something of a disappointment. John Wayne is an ex-Union colonel who discovers a gold shipment and uncovers a traitor. Jennifer O'Neill was not up to the task in this film. (DW)
12:00 a.m. (FXM)-- Lifeboat (1944)--See 10:00 a.m.
3:20 a.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)
4:00 a.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)
4:00 a.m. (TCM)-- The Search (1948)--In postwar Germany, an American GI (Montgomery Clift) looks after a child; meanwhile his mother desperately searches for him. Fred Zinnemann directed. (DW)
4:15 a.m. (AMC)-- A Night to Remember (1958)--See 10:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 25
6:00 a.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)
6:00 a.m. (FXM)-- At Long Last Love (1975)--See Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.
6:30 a.m. (AMC)-- Ladies of Leisure (1930)--Remarkably frank film, early Frank Capra, about the relationship between the poor and somewhat loose Barbara Stanwyck, who gives a luminous performance, and Ralph Graves, an artist and a playboy. (DW)
*7:45 a.m. (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)
9:00 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)
12:15 p.m. (AMC)-- Bend of the River (1952)--See Wednesday at 6:15 p.m.
12:30 p.m. (TCM)-- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)--A lively musical directed by Stanley Donen. When Howard Keel decides to find a wife, his brothers follow suit. With Jane Powell, Russ Tamblyn, Virginia Gibson. A Johnny Mercer-Gene DePaul score and Michael Kidd's choreography. (DW)
1:00 p.m. (HBO)-- Saturday Night Fever (1977)--See Sunday at 9:00 p.m.
*2:15 p.m. (IFC)-- The Baron of Arizona (1950)--See 7:45 a.m.
*2:30 p.m. (TCM)-- The Seven Samurai (1954)--Classic Kurosawa film about a village in medieval Japan that hires samurai warriors to defend them against bandits. (DW)
5:45 p.m. (HBOS)-- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)--See Saturday at 5:45 p.m.
*6:00 p.m. (IFC)-- Ju Dou (1990)--See Saturday, at 10:00 a.m.
6:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Seventh Cross (1944)--Seven men are pursued by Gestapo, after their escape from a concentration camp. Directed by Fred Zinnemann, with Spencer Tracy. (DW)
*8:00 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. (DW)
9:30 p.m. (IFC)-- House of Games (1987)--See 6:00 a.m.
9:55 p.m. (Encore)-- Against All Odds (1984)--See Saturday at 11:40 p.m.
10:15 p.m. (AMC)-- The Court Jester (1956)--Classic Danny Kaye farce of confused identities in the Middle Ages. Lots of witty verbal humor. Directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama. (MJ)
*11:30 p.m. (TCM)-- Singin' in the Rain (1952)--Is there anyone who hasn't seen this film by now? Anyway, it's a remarkable musical, with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, about the days of silent film. Stanley Donen and Kelly directed. (DW)
1:05 a.m. (HBOS)-- The Devil's Advocate (1997)--See Saturday at 9:00 p.m.
*1:30 a.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. (DW)
2:00 a.m. (Comedy)-- Heaven Help Us (1985)--See 9:00 a.m.
2:25 a.m. (IFC)-- House of Games (1987)--See 6:00 a.m.
4:00 a.m. (TCM)-- Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)--Robert Wise directed this competent biography of New York-born boxing champion Rocky Graziano. Paul Newman plays Graziano; with Pier Angeli, Everett Sloane and, in his film debut, Steve McQueen. (DW)
4:10 a.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)
4:30 a.m. (AMC)-- The Court Jester (1956)--See 10:15 p.m.
Friday, March 26
*6:00 a.m. (Showtime)-- 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)
*8:00 a.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. (DW)
*8:15 a.m. (HBOS)-- Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)--See Monday at 3:00 p.m.
9:45 a.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)
12:00 p.m. (TCM)-- Splendor in the Grass (1961)--Warren Beatty and Sandy Dennis made their debuts in Elia Kazan's film about a small-town Kansas girl (Natalie Wood) in the 1920s suffering the consequences of sexual repression. (DW)
12:00 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)
*1:30 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)
2:30 p.m. (TCM)-- Stage Door (1937)--Amusing, lively comedy-drama set in a theatrical boarding-house. Extraordinary cast includes Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Franklin Pangborn and Jack Carson. Directed by Gregory La Cava. (DW)
*5:30 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 mom, 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)
*6:00 p.m. (TMC)-- The Godfather (1972)--See Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
6:30 p.m. (TCM)-- 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. (DW)
10:00 p.m. (TCM)-- The Sting (1973)--A pair of conmen (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)
*11:00 p.m. (HBOS)-- Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)--See Monday at 3:00 p.m.
*11:55 p.m. (Encore)-- Fearless (1993)--See Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
12:30 a.m. (TCM)-- The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)--Paul Muni stars as the legendary French nineteenth century scientist in this well-meaning biography. Directed by German Ã©migrÃ© William Dieterle. (DW)
2:00 a.m. (TCM)-- La Strada (1954)--Federico Fellini directed this work about a brutal carnival strongman (Anthony Quinn), his long-suffering girlfriend (Giuletta Masina) and a kindhearted acrobat (Richard Basehart). (DW)
*4:00 a.m. (A&E)-- The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)--Overlooked film by Bob Rafelson about the American dream and those who foolishly pursue it. Jack Nicholson atypically plays an introvert. With Bruce Dern, Ellen Burstyn and Scatman Crothers. (MJ)
*4:55 a.m. (HBO)-- 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)