Video pick of the week—find it in your video store
Chimes at Midnight (1966)—Orson Welles directed this synthesis of five of Shakespeare's plays, and stars as the rotund, knavish character Sir John Falstaff as well. It remains one of the best film adaptations of Shakespeare. The battle scenes, mostly occurring in the mud, are especially harrowing. With Jeanne Moreau, John Gielgud and Margaret Rutherford. (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, August 21
6:45 a.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)
7:45 a.m. (AMC)— The Molly Maguires (1970)—Sean Connery and Richard Harris co-starred in this well-meaning film about the secret organization of Irish-born miners in Pennsylvania in the 1870s. Directed by Martin Ritt. (DW)
8:00 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 boy-friend. Not a great film, but it has its moments. Directed by Jonathan Demme. (DW)
11:00 a.m. (IFC)— La Strada (1954)—Federico Fellini directed this work about a brutal carnival strongman (Anthony Quinn), his long-suffering girl-friend (Giuletta Masina) and a kindhearted acrobat (Richard Basehart). (DW)
12:15 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)
1:45 p.m. (HBOP)— 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)
5:55 p.m. (Encore)— Family Plot (1976)—Late and mild-mannered Alfred Hitchcock, but still worth watching. Barbara Harris is a fake medium who unwittingly gets involved in a murder plot. William Devane is the mastermind. (DW)
*6:00 p.m. (AMC)— 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)
9:00 p.m. (HBOP)— 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)
*9:30 p.m. (TCM)— Kiss Me Deadly (1955)—Ralph Meeker is Mike Hammer, Cloris Leachman and Albert Dekker also star, in this startling film noir, directed by Robert Aldrich. In many ways, a very frightening film, and not simply because of its explosive conclusion. (DW)
12:00 a.m. (Comedy)— Something Wild (1986)—See 8:00 a.m.
*12:05 a.m. (AMC)— Sunset Boulevard (1950)—See 6:00 p.m.
*2:40 a.m. (Starz)— Fearless (1993)—Jeff Bridges experiences the eerie effects of having survived a jetliner crash. Stunning performance by Rosie Perez. Directed by Peter Weir. (MJ)
4:40 a.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)
Sunday, August 22
6:00 a.m. (TCM)— Strange Cargo (1940)—One of the strangest films ever to come out of Hollywood. Prisoners escape from Devil's Island, and it turns out that one of them may or may not be Jesus Christ. With Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Ian Hunter. Directed by Frank Borzage. (MJ)
*1:00 p.m. (AMC)— The Thief of Bagdad (1940)—Thoroughly enchanting version of the tale of magic and heroism based on The Arabian Nights. Dazzling Technicolor, superb Miklos Rosza score. With Sabu, Conrad Veidt, and Rex Ingram (as the genie). Directed by Ludwig Berger, Tim Whelan and Michael Powell. One of the fine films produced by Alexander Korda. (MJ)
1:45 p.m. (HBOS)— Enemies, A Love Story (1989)—Set in post-World War II Brooklyn and the Catskills, Paul Mazursky's faithful adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer's novel has Herman, a Jewish intellectual married to the Polish woman who sheltered him during the war, carrying on an affair with a seductive married woman. Then his first wife, presumed dead in Poland, appears at his door. Mazursky's film is humorous and, at the same time, sad, with superb performances by Ron Silver, Anjelica Huston and Lena Olin. (MJ)
*2:20 p.m. (Encore)— The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)—An American couple (James Stewart and Doris Day) become involved in an international conspiracy when their child is kidnaped in London and they try to find him. Good remake by Alfred Hitchcock of his 1934 film has its high points (the assassination attempt during an Albert Hall concert) and its low points (Ms. Day singing "Que Sera, Sera"). (MJ)
3:15 p.m. (TMC)— Young Frankenstein (1974)—One of Mel Brooks's funnier and more successful parodies, this time of the classic horror film by James Whale. Particularly effective because it uses many of the original sets. With Peter Boyle (as the monster) and Gene Wilder (as Dr. Frankenstein). (MJ)
3:45 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)
4:15 p.m. (HBOS)— The Sun Also Rises (1957)—Star-filled adaptation of the Hemingway novel. Glossy and inadequate. Directed by Henry King. (MJ)
*5:30 p.m. (Cinemax)— 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)
5:30 p.m. (FX)— Wall Street (1987)—Oliver Stone directed this film about Wall Street sharks and their comeuppance with his usual subtlety and restraint. With Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen and Michael Douglas. (DW)
*6:00 p.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. (DW)
8:00 p.m. (TCM)— The Party (1968)—Peter Sellers is an Indian actor attending a fashionable Hollywood party in this uneven film by Blake Edwards. With Claudine Longet. (DW)
9:30 p.m. (Encore)— Empire of the Sun (1987)—Steven Spielberg directed this version of the J.G. Ballard autobiographical novel about a young British boy during World War II stranded in China. With Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson. Tom Stoppard wrote the script. (DW)
10:00 p.m. (Cinemax)— 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)
10:45 p.m. (HBOP)— The Cotton Club (1984)—Richard Gere stars in Francis Coppola's sometimes successful attempt to capture the music and gangster violence of Harlem in the 1930s. The production was riddled with problems and the often-rewritten screenplay is by novelists William Kennedy and Mario Puzo. (MJ)
10:45 p.m. (HBOS)— Enemies, A Love Story (1989)—See 1:45 p.m.
12:10 a.m. (Encore)— Frenzy (1972)—An innocent man is accused of being the "necktie murderer" in London. Suspenseful film by Alfred Hitchcock has great menace and wonderful moments, but is marred by some cheap effects. With Jon Finch and Barry Foster. (MJ)
Monday, August 23
6:45 a.m. (HBOS)— Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)—see Saturday at 6:45 a.m.
8:00 a.m. (TCM)— Words and Music (1948)—Colorful, upbeat, less-than-true "biography" of the great Broadway musical team of Richard Rodgers (Tom Drake) and Lorenz Hart (Mickey Rooney). From the Golden Age of the MGM Musical. Helped by exuberant acting by Drake and Rooney, and by great musical performances by Gene Kelly, Judy Garland and Lena Horne. Directed by Norman Taurog. (MJ)
9:20 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)
*10:00 a.m. (AMC)— Monsieur Verdoux (1947)—Chaplin plays a Parisian Bluebeard who murders women for their money. His famous courtroom speech, in which he describes himself as a small fry among mass murderers, did not endear him with US authorities. With the unlikely Martha Raye. (DW)
11:00 a.m. (HBOS)— 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)
11:00 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)
11:10 a.m. (Encore)— The Trouble with Harry (1955)—Fair black comedy by Alfred Hitchcock about a dead body (Harry's) that keeps turning up in differents spots in a New England village. With Shirley MacLaine, Edmund Gwenn and John Forsythe. (MJ)
12:00 p.m. (TCM)— Inherit the Wind (1960)—A film version of the Jerome Lawrence-Robert E. Lee play based on the 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)
*2:30 p.m. (HBO)— 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)
4:00 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)
6:00 p.m. (TCM)— Pride and Prejudice (1940)—Hollywood's version of the Jane Austen classic about five sisters in early 19th 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)
6:10 p.m. (Encore)— Ishtar (1987)—See Monday at 9:20 a.m.
*8:30 p.m. (AMC)— Laura (1944)—A murder mystery about a woman believed to be dead who suddenly makes an appearance. Otto Preminger directed an extraordinary cast, including Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Vincent Price and Clifton Webb. (DW)
9:00 p.m. (HBOS)— Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)—See Saturday at 6:45 a.m.
11:50 p.m. (Encore)— Everyone Says I Love You (1996)—Woody Allen at his most romantic and artificial. In this, Allen's only musical, people break into song (not unnaturally) and seem to have a genuinely good time, in a cliquish kind of way. The locales are Venice, Paris, and (of course) the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and very quickly the upper-crust, smug liberal values of the jet set characters become insufferable. With Edward Norton, Goldie Hawn and Alan Alda. (MJ)
12:30 a.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)
2:30 a.m. (TCM)— The Awful Truth (1937)—Classic screwball comedy. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne divorce, and plan to re-wed. Each does his or her best to interfere in the other's life. Ralph Bellamy is memorable as Dunne's would-be Oklahoman of a husband. Perhaps Leo McCarey's best film. (DW)
*3:00 a.m. (AMC)— Laura (1944)—See 8:30 p.m.
3:55 a.m. (HBOS)— Local Hero (1983)—Peter Riegert is an American oil company agent commissioned to buy up a Scottish village whose land is needed for an oil refinery. Directed by Bill Forsyth; with Burt Lancaster, Fulton MacKay. (DW)
*4:15 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)
Tuesday, August 24
6:00 a.m. (HBOS)— The Sun Also Rises (1957)—See Sunday at 4:15 p.m.
*6:00 a.m. (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)
7:50 a.m. (Encore)— The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974)—Richard Dreyfuss, in an early role, plays a canny, upwardly striving young man in the Jewish section of Montreal. Ted Kotcheff directed, and Mordecai Richler wrote the screenplay from his own novel. (MJ)
9:00 a.m. (Cinemax)— Ishtar (1987)—See Monday at 9:20 a.m.
10:00 a.m. (FXM)— The Hustler (1961)—Basically a boxing film, but set among serious pool sharks. Robert Rossen's movie is beautifully shot and capably acted, but the dialogue is full of stagey, pseudo-profound, high-proletarian language. With Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott and Jackie Gleason. (MJ)
*10:15 a.m. (IFC)— The Baron of Arizona (1950)—See Monday at 4:15 a.m.
*10:30 a.m. (AMC)— Modern Times (1936)—Chaplin on the machine age. Consistently funny and perceptive, with Paulette Goddard. Chaplin's last silent film. (DW)
12:00 p.m. (TCM)— Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)—Michael Curtiz directed this story of gangsters and slum kids. James Cagney is the gangster who pretends to be a coward on his way to the electric chair to scuttle his reputation with the kids. (DW)
*12:30 p.m. (HBOS)— The Last Hurrah (1958)—John Ford adapted this film about US big-city machine politics from the novel by Edwin O'Connor, which was based on the career of Boston's rogue mayor, James Curley. The great Spencer Tracy is perfect in the lead role, as Mayor Frank Skeffington. (MJ)
*2:00 p.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)
*2:15 p.m. (Cinemax)— Last Action Hero (1993)—Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle that proves to be a delight. A boy goes to a movie theater and meets his idol—an action hero—who steps out of the screen and takes him back in. A good action film that spoofs the genre and plays with the tension between movies and reality. It also includes hilarious send-ups of Olivier's Hamlet and Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Directed by John McTiernan. (MJ)
2:30 p.m. (HBOS)— Days of Wine and Roses (1962)—Blake Edwards's somber film about alcoholic Jack Lemmon who drags Lee Remick into his orbit. (DW)
4:00 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)
*4:00 p.m. (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)
6:00 p.m. (AMC)— What Price Glory (1952)—Minor John Ford film, which he transformed from its pacifistic silent original (1926, directed by Raoul Walsh), into a nostalgic celebration of military camaraderie. With James Cagney, Corinne Calvet and Dan Dailey. (DW)
6:30 p.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)
7:25 p.m. (TMC)— Modern Romance (1981)—Occasionally amusing film, directed by and starring Albert Brooks as a neurotic film editor obsessed with Kathryn Harrold. (DW)
8:00 p.m. (Comedy)— Something Wild (1986)—See Saturday at 8:00 a.m.
9:00 p.m. (HBOS)— The Sun Also Rises (1957)—See Sunday at 4:15 p.m.
10:00 p.m. (IFC)— Crumb (1994)—Remarkable portrait of family of cartoonist Robert Crumb. His two dysfunctional brothers prove to be considerably more interesting than he. Directed by Terry Zwigoff. (DW)
1:25 a.m. (Encore)— The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974)—See 7:50 a.m.
2:15 a.m. (IFC)— Crumb (1994)—See 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 25
*6:00 a.m. (FXM)— The Gang's All Here (1943)—See Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.
*7:05 a.m. (Encore)— Shadow of a Doubt (1943)—Teresa Wright is a young girl who comes to realize that her amiable uncle is the Merry Widow murderer, in this remarkable Alfred Hitchcock work. Playwright Thornton Wilder helped write the script. (DW)
*8:00 a.m. (TCM)— Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)—Busby Berkeley did the spectacular, mind-boggling dance numbers, connected by the usual thin and negligible plot. Highlights in this film—one of Berkeley's best—are "the Ballad of the Forgotten Man" and "We're in the Money" (sung partly in Pig Latin), both of which are sardonic comments on the great Depression. With Dick Powell, Ginger Rogers and Joan Blondell. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. (MJ)
*9:45 a.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)
9:45 a.m. (IFC)— Black Orpheus (1958)—Much was made of this French-Brazilian film at the time, a version of the Orpheus-Euridice story, set in Rio during carnival. Romance between a street-car conductor and a country girl. Directed by Marcel Camus. (DW)
10:00 a.m. (FXM)— Julia (1977)—Vanessa Redgrave won an Oscar for her performance as the anti-fascist Julia based on Lillian Hellman's autobiographical work, Pentimento. With Jane Fonda, Jason Robards; directed by Fred Zinnemann. (DW)
10:55 a.m. (Encore)— Family Plot (1976)—See Saturday at 5:55 p.m.
11:30 a.m. (HBOP)— The Firm (1993)—See Monday at 11:00 a.m.
*12:00 p.m. (AMC)— The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)—One of John Ford's best films. The story of a man who rises to fame because he shot a notorious outlaw, though the shooting was done by someone else, embodies Ford's philosophy of myth and the West. Starring Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne, in fine performances. (MJ)
*1:30 p.m. (TCM)— Show Boat (1936)—Paul Robeson is unforgettable singing "Old Man River" in James Whale's version of the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical about riverboat entertainers. Helen Morgan is also memorable singing "Bill." With Irene Dunne, Allan Jones. (DW)
2:00 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)
2:15 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)
2:30 p.m. (Comedy)— Something Wild (1986)—See Saturday at 8:00 a.m.
4:00 p.m. (FXM)— Carousel (1956)—Hollywood turned a great dark Broadway musical into a perky feel-good film. Most of the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs are intact, however. Starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones. Directed by Henry King. (MJ)
4:15 p.m. (IFC)— Black Orpheus (1958)—See 9:45 a.m.
5:45 p.m. (HBOS)— Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)—See Saturday at 1:45 p.m.
6:00 p.m. (TCM)— The Valley of Decision (1945)—Tay Garnett directed this interesting film about romance and labor strife. Greer Garson is a maid who becomes involved with Gregory Peck; his family owned a mine in which her father and brother were killed. Laid in Pittsburgh in 1870. (DW)
8:00 p.m. (FXM)— 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)
10:00 p.m. (Encore)— Family Plot (1976)—See Saturday at 5:55 p.m.
*10:30 p.m. (TCM)— Some Came Running (1958)—Remarkable melodrama, directed by Vincente Minnelli, about disillusionment in a small town after World War II; more generally, this is an extraordinary film about disillusionment with postwar America. With Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine, Martha Hyer. (DW)
12:00 a.m. (FXM)— Julia (1977)—See 10:00 a.m.
1:50 a.m. (Encore)— Frantic (1988)—Roman Polanski's failed attempt to make a Hitchcock-type suspense film. With Harrison Ford. (MJ)
3:45 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. (DW)
Thursday, August 26
6:00 a.m. (FXM)— Carousel (1956)—See Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.
*6:30 a.m. (AMC)— Sherlock Jr. (1924)—A work of genius, made by Buster Keaton. A projectionist walks into a movie screen and becomes part of the action. Not to be missed. (DW)
*7:00 a.m. (Encore)— The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)—See Sunday at 2:20 p.m.
7:15 a.m. (AMC)— The Molly Maguires (1970)—See Saturday at 7:45 a.m.
8:00 a.m. (IFC)— Black Orpheus (1958)—See Wednesday at 9:45 a.m.
9:30 a.m. (AMC)— Limelight (1952)—Chaplin is a washed-up music hall comic who saves Claire Bloom from suicide in this exquisitely painful look at the art of performance. Chaplin and Buster Keaton, two immortals, team up in one memorable scene. (DW)
*4:00 p.m. (TCM)— The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)—John Garfield and Lana Turner play the illicit and doomed lovers in the film based on James M. Cain's novel. They kill her husband, the owner of a roadside diner, and suffer the consequences of nearly getting away with it. Tay Garnett directed. (DW)
*4:25 p.m. (Encore)— The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)—See Sunday at 2:20 p.m.
*9:00 p.m. (TMC)— Last Action Hero (1993)—Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle that proves to be a delight. A boy goes to a movie theater and meets his idol—an action hero—who steps out of the screen and takes him back in. A good action film that spoofs the genre and plays with the tension between movies and reality. It also includes hilarious send-ups of Olivier's Hamlet and Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Directed by John McTiernan. (MJ)
9:00 p.m. (Sci-Fi)— The Fly (1986)—David Cronenberg's film about a scientist (Jef Goldblum) who experiments on himself and evolves into a human fly. Cronenberg apparently saw his character's condition as a metaphor for AIDS. Geena Davis is the woman who stands by him. As usual, Cronenberg gets caught up in the machinery of his conceits and loses track of his theme. (DW)
*9:50 p.m. (Encore)— Deconstructing Harry (1997)—Woody Allen's film is mean-spirited, misanthropic, bitter, cynical, crude, and foul-mouthed, but it is deliberately provocative, often funny, and one of his best films of recent years. A writer (Allen) confronts the friends and family members that he has cruelly featured in his novels, as well as their fictional representations. Also, Allen and his character confront their horror at growing old. Compare this film with the one preceding it, the light-hearted romantic musical Everyone Says I Love You (1996), which this film seems to rebut. (MJ)
*11:00 p.m. (TCM)— Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)—Vincente Minnelli's adaptation of Irwin Shaw's novel about the making of a film in Rome. A "garish drama" with Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse, George Hamilton. (DW)
1:00 a.m. (Sci-Fi)— The Fly (1986)—See 9:00 p.m.
Friday, August 27
*5:50 a.m. (TMC)— Last Action Hero (1993)—See Thursday at 9:00 p.m.
6:00 a.m. (IFC)— La Strada (1954)—See Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
*6:30 a.m. (Showtime)— 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. (TCM)— The Cincinnati Kid (1965)—Norman Jewison directed this film about a big poker game in New Orleans. The performances of Steve McQueen, Tuesday Weld and Edward G. Robinson are the best things in the film. (DW)
10:00 a.m. (TCM)— The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)—Historically distorted, but surprisingly moving account of British soldiers in colonial India and Crimean War. With Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland, directed by Michael Curtiz. (DW)
*10:30 a.m. (AMC)— City Lights (1931)—Chaplin's tramp in love with a blind flower girl. Sentimental, but unforgettable. (DW)
11:30 a.m. (HBOS)— Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)—See Saturday at 6:45 a.m.
12:00 p.m. (IFC)— La Strada (1954)—See Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
12:45 p.m. (Cinemax)— Gattaca (1997)—See Sunday at 3:45 p.m.
1:05 p.m. (TMC)— 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)
1:15 p.m. (HBOS)— The Firm (1993)—See Monday at 11:00 a.m.
2:10 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)
3:00 p.m. (HBOP)— Enemies, A Love Story (1989)—See 1:45 p.m.
4:25 p.m. (Encore)— Ishtar (1987)—See Monday at 9:20 a.m.
5:40 p.m. (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)
*8:00 p.m. (IFC)— 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. (DW)
8:00 p.m. (Bravo)— Gas Food Lodging (1992)—Amiable film about a waitress (Brooke Adams) at a diner in Laramie, New Mexico, trying to get by, with two daughters. Directed by Allison Anders; with James Brolin, Ione Skye, Fairuza Balk. (DW)
*8:00 p.m. (TCM)— The Narrow Margin (1952)—A policeman has to transport a gangster's widow to a trial to testify. They have to avoid various attempts to kill them. With Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor, both B-movie standouts. Directed by Richard Fleischer. (DW)
*11:45 p.m. (AMC)— The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)—Vincent Price stars in this very strange, baroque horror film about a man who devises imaginative forms of revenge. Price's character has been injured in an accident, so he speaks but never moves his lips—an eerie touch. Directed by Robert Fuest. (MJ)
12:00 a.m. (Encore)— The Last Waltz (1978)—Martin Scorsese directed the filming of the last concert performance by The Band, with friends and colleagues Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins et al. (DW)
1:30 a.m. (Bravo)— Gas Food Lodging (1992)—See 8:00 p.m.
4:10 a.m. (FXM)— The Razor's Edge (1946)—See 2:10 p.m.
*4:25 a.m. (IFC)— Life Is Sweet (1990)—See 8:00 p.m.
4:25 a.m. (HBO)— Ulee's Gold (1997)—Peter Fonda gives a strong, sensitive performance as a Florida beekeeper who struggles to keep his troubled family from spinning apart. The film is weakened by a neat, uplifting ending. Directed by Victor Nunez. (MJ)
*4:30 a.m. (TCM)— Journey into Fear (1942 )—A traveling engineer unwittinly becomes involved in international intrigue. From the novel by Eric Ambler. Credited to Norman Foster, but generally considered to be directed by Orson Welles (who also plays a Turkish general under much makeup). Very good, but not one of Welles's best. With Joseph Cotten and Dolores del Rio. (MJ)