Some interesting films on US television, November 6-12
Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW)
6 November 1999
Video pick of the week—find it in your video store
Prime Cut (1972)—An enforcer (Lee Marvin) from Kansas City confronts a crooked, brutal slaughterhouse owner (Gene Hackman) who is cheating the mob. Some remarkable sequences, such as the enforcer being chased through cornfields by a tractor driven by a blond, innocent-looking thug in bib overalls. A dark, ironic crime film by the talented director Michael Ritchie in which Lee Marvin's hit man character ends up being a kind of knight. Cissy Spacek's film debut. (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, November 6
8:00 am (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 1930s film musicals is not enough. One of the great bombs. With Madeline Kahn (often funny, despite her material) and John Hillerman. (MJ)
*10:20 am (TMC)— 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)
11:00 am (TCM)— The Big Sky (1952)—One of Howard Hawks' most unsettling Westerns. For the first hour and a half the film seems simply to be a picturesque adventure story, then Hawks makes something different out of it. With Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin, Arthur Hunnicutt and Elizabeth Threatt. (DW)
1:00 pm (Bravo)— Foreign Correspondent (1940)—Joel McCrea is the correspondent caught up in a spy intrigue in Alfred Hitchcock's film, with George Sanders, Robert Benchley, Herbert Marshall, Laraine Day. (DW)
2:00 pm (Comedy)— History of the World—Part I (1981)—An example of Mel Brooks' scattershot humor. Many jokes are forced and lame, and most routines just limp along, but the Spanish Inquisition sequence, staged as a Busby Berkeley water ballet, is hilarious and worth staying for. (MJ)
2:00 pm (VH1)— The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)—A cult film that is actually quite good, in a campy way. The performance by Tim Curry is particularly outrageous. (MJ)
2:00 pm (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)
*2:00 pm (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)
2:30 pm (AMC)— Deadline U.S.A. (1952)—Humphrey Bogart as a crusading editor, trying to keep a big city newspaper alive. Ethel Barrymore plays the paper's owner. Directed by Richard Brooks. (DW)
*3:00 pm (Sundance)— The Big Lebowski (1998)—A lovable, sprawling mess of a film by the Coen brothers about mistaken identity and bowling. Generally hilarious. With Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi. (MJ)
8:00 pm (TCM)— The Fountainhead (1949)—King Vidor directed Ayn Rand's adaptation of her own reactionary novel in hyperbolic style, reaching extremes that are often hilarious. Gary Cooper plays the heroic, unbending, individualist architect, Patricia Neal the heiress who carries on a love-hate relationship with him. (MJ)
10:00 pm (TCM)— Friendly Persuasion (1956)—William Wyler directed this film about a family of Quakers and, therefore, pacifists, trying to survive with dignity during the Civil War. With Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire and Anthony Perkins. (DW)
*10:30 pm (HBOS)— Chinatown (1974)—The best example of modern film noir. A convoluted tale of incest, corruption, and the fight over access to southern California water. Jack Nicholson plays the private detective. With Faye Dunaway, John Huston. Directed by Roman Polanski. (MJ)
*10:35 pm (Sundance)— The Big Lebowski (1998)—See 3:00 pm.
*4:00 am (FXM)— The Gang's All Here (1943)—See 2:00 pm.
Sunday, November 7
10:00 am (TCM)— Caged (1950)—In the words of one critic, a "minor classic of repression." A prison drama, with Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorehead and Hope Emerson. Directed by John Cromwell. (DW)
12:00 pm (TCM)— The Wings of Eagles (1957)—John Ford directed this biographical film about Frank "Spig" Wead (John Wayne), an aviator who turned to screenwriting (for Ford and others) after an accident. With Maureen O'Hara, Dan Dailey, Ward Bond. (DW)
12:35 pm (TMC)— At Long Last Love (1975)—See Saturday, at 8:00 am.
2:00 pm (TCM)— Battleground (1949)—William Wellman directed this dramatic reenactment of World War II's Battle of the Bulge. The large cast includes Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban and George Murphy. (DW)
4:30 pm (Showtime)— Sliding Doors (1998)—Charming, likable light comedy hinges on a gimmick that works well: the film shows the two paths the main character's life could take depending on whether or not she misses her train. A vehicle for the talented Gwyneth Paltrow, performing with a flawless British accent. (MJ)
6:00 pm (TCM)— Little Women (1933)—George Cukor's film version of the Louisa May Alcott classic, perhaps the best of the lot. Four sisters growing up in Civil War America, with Katharine Hepburn and Joan Bennett. (DW)
8:00 pm (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)
10:00 pm (FXM)— Heaven Can Wait (1943)—Don Ameche stars as a dead man seeking entry to hell, who recounts in flashback what he thinks has been a life full of sin. With Gene Tierney and Charles Coburn. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch. (DW)
Monday, November 8
6:00 am (TCM)— Cry Terror! (1958)—Andrew L. Stone and his helpful wife-editor made this little suspense drama about psychopath Rod Steiger who kidnaps and bombs to blackmail an airline. With James Mason, Inger Stevens, Angie Dickinson and Neville Brand. (DW)
6:00 am (Cinemax)— They Drive by Night (1940)—Intense, vivid portrait of two truck-driving brothers (Humphrey Bogart and George Raft) and their lives, and the woman they come up against, played passionately by Ida Lupino. With Ann Sheridan and Alan Hale. Directed by Raoul Walsh. (DW)
8:00 am (TCM)— Tennessee Johnson (1942)—Van Heflin plays US President Andrew Johnson, who became president upon the assassination of Lincoln and came into conflict with Congress, in this biopic. With Lionel Barrymore, Ruth Hussey, Marjorie Main; directed by William Dieterle. (DW)
10:00 am (FXM)— Gentlemen's Agreement (1947)—Gregory Peck is a writer who pretends to be Jewish to gauge anti-Semitism. Moss Hart wrote the relatively tame script; Elia Kazan directed. (DW)
*10:30 am (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)
12:00 pm (TCM)— Executive Suite (1954)—A power struggle erupts after the death of a major executive. Interesting to compare the corporate culture of the 1950s (and Hollywood myths about them) with today's. With William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, June Allyson, Fredric March, Walter Pidgeon. Robert Wise directed. (DW)
1:00 pm (Bravo)— Foreign Correspondent (1940)—See Saturday, at 1:00 pm.
*1:30 pm (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)
2:00 pm (Cinemax)— Tin Men (1987)—Barry Levinson's comedy-drama about the aluminum-siding business, set in Baltimore in 1963, with Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito. (DW)
*8:00 pm (HBOS)— The Ice Storm (1997)—See 10:30 am.
*8:05 pm (TBS)— Fargo (1996)—A kidnapping goes terribly wrong in Minnesota, and a pregnant, low-key, small-town sheriff (Frances McDormand) tries to solve it. Grotesque, satirical, sometimes cartoonish, often funny, this is one of the Coen brothers' best films. With Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy, Peter Stormare, and Harve Presnell. (MJ)
*9:45 pm (TCM)— The Gay Divorcee (1934)—One of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals. Not famous for its plot, but for its musical numbers, including "Continental" and Cole Porter's "Night and Day." Directed by journeyman Mark Sandrich. (DW)
10:30 pm (AMC)— Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)—The pioneer auto-maker (played by Jeff Bridges) and his company are destroyed by the giants of the auto industry. Director Francis Coppola obviously meant this as a parable about the independent artist versus the film industry, with Tucker standing in for Coppola. The whole thing seems oversimplified. Good performance by Martin Landau. (MJ)
*1:05 am (TBS)— Fargo (1996)—See 8:05 pm.
*3:15 am (TCM)— 42nd Street (1933)—Classic 30s musical, with Warner Baxter as ailing director and Ruby Keeler as the newcomer who is called on at the last moment when the star injures her ankle. With Dick Powell, directed by Lloyd Bacon. (DW)
4:00 am (A&E)— The Drowning Pool (1975)—Paul Newman, as private detective Harper, becomes entangled in a murder case. Joanne Woodward is his ex-wife. Based on the Ross McDonald novels. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg. (DW)
Tuesday, November 9
*6:45 am (Cinemax)— The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)—John Huston directed this bitter version of the B. Traven story about three prospectors searching for gold in Mexico. Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt and Huston's father, Walter, make up the trio. (Also, Wednesday at 2:30 am.) (DW)
7:30 am (TCM)— David Copperfield (1935)—W.C. Fields as Mr. Micawber and Basil Rathbone as Murdstone are highlights of this lavish film version of the Dickens novel. Freddie Bartholemew is the young David Copperfield. Directed by George Cukor. (DW)
9:50 am (Encore)— Oklahoma! (1955)—Fred Zinnemann's tepid film adaptation of the watershed 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. The performances (by Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones) do not measure up to those of the original Broadway production, but the dance sequences are spectacular, especially the dream ballet choreographed by Agnes DeMille. (MJ)
12:00 pm (TCM)— Dinner at Eight (1933)—A collection of individuals from various social classes, all facing a crisis, prepare to dine at eight. George Cukor directed this MGM version of the George Kaufman-Edna Ferber play, with Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery and John Barrymore. (DW)
2:00 pm (FXM)— An Affair to Remember (1957)—Leo McCarey directed this remake of his own 1939 Love Affair (Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer), this time with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. A shipboard romance has unexpected complications on land. Sentimental, but it has something. (DW)
*4:00 pm (HBOS)— Chinatown (1974)—See Saturday, at 10:30 pm.
4:00 pm (FXM)— Young Frankenstein (1974)—One of Mel Brooks' 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)
*8:00 pm (Encore)— Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)—The affairs and careers of neurotic, middle class New Yorkers. Barbara Hershey is excellent, as are Mia Farrow and Dianne Wiest. One of Woody Allen's serious efforts—how successful an effort, let the viewer decide. (DW)
8:00 pm (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)
*10:00 pm (FXM)— Blood and Wine (1996)—Jack Nicholson plays a bankrupt wine merchant pulling off a jewel heist with an over-the-hill, nerved-up safecracker (Michael Caine, in an unusual role as a murderous heavy). With Judy Davis and Stephen Dorff. Another neglected film by underrated director Bob Rafelson. (MJ)
*11:00 pm (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)
4:00 am (FXM)— An Affair to Remember (1957)—See 2:00 pm.
Wednesday, November 10
6:00 am (FXM)— Young Frankenstein (1974)—See Tuesday, at 4:00 pm.
6:00 am (IFC)— A Midnight Clear (1992)—Strong anti-war film about a squad of US soldiers in France near the end of World War II. Ethan Hawke, Peter Berg, Kevin Dillon, Gary Sinise starred. Directed by Keith Gordon, from William Wharton's novel. (DW)
6:00 am (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)
9:40 am (Encore)— Cape Fear (1962)—Robert Mitchum is the best thing about this film, playing a menacing ex-convict in a Southern town who blames lawyer Gregory Peck for his jailing, and plots revenge. Directed by J. Lee Thompson; with Polly Bergen and Martin Balsam. Based on a John D. MacDonald novel, music by Bernard Herrmann. (DW)
*10:25 am (Starz)— The Inner Circle (1991)—A meek movie projectionist (Tom Hulce) finds himself suddenly a favorite of Stalin's. A harrowing picture of life during the purges. With Lolita Davidovich and Bob Hoskins. Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. (MJ)
10:45 am (TMC)— Detective Story (1951)—William Wyler's somewhat dated film about the activities inside a New York City police station. Kirk Douglas is a bitter cop, Eleanor Parker his wife, William Bendix another detective. The good cast also includes Horace McMahon, Lee Grant and Joseph Wiseman. (DW)
*1:30 pm (AMC)— Flying Down to Rio (1934)—Early Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers film with wonderful dance sequences. The one with the chorus girls dancing on the wings of flying planes is amazing. Directed by Thomas Freeland. (MJ)
*1:40 pm (Encore)— The Culpepper Cattle Company (1972)—An unjustly forgotten film about a naive young man joining up with a cattle drive. Grittily realistic depictions of the daily working life of cowboys—the kind of detail rarely shown in Westerns. A gem. With Gary Grimes, Billy "Green" Bush, and Geoffrey Lewis. Directed by Dick Richards. (MJ)
*4:00 pm (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 sendups of Olivier's Hamlet and Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Directed by John McTiernan. (MJ)
*6:00 pm (AMC)— How Green Was My Valley (1941)—John Ford's powerful film about Welsh coal miners. With Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Donald Crisp, and Roddy McDowall. (MJ)
7:00 pm (HBOP)— Enemies, A Love Story (1989)—See Saturday, at 2:00 pm.
*8:05 pm (AMC)— Stagecoach (1939)—Famed western, directed by John Ford, about a group of disparate passengers thrown together on the same eventful journey. Starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine. Dudley Nichols wrote the script. (DW)
9:30 pm (FXM)— 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)
9:30 pm (IFC)— Tommy (1975)—The Who's rock opera done with dazzling, overheated images that assault and often insult your eyes. Often hard to take, but for once director Ken Russell has found a work for which his often annoying style is suitable. Filled with stars such as Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner, Ringo Starr, and Eric Clapton. (MJ)
*10:30 pm (TNT)— M*A*S*H (1970)—The film that brought Robert Altman his first major success, a cynical and sometimes facetious look at the Korean War and the military in general. Made in the midst of the Vietnam War. With Elliott Gould, Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman. (DW)
1:00 am (IFC)— A Midnight Clear (1992)—See 6:00 am.
*2:05 am (AMC)— Stagecoach (1939)—See 8:05 pm.
2:50 am (IFC)— What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)—Woody Allen's first film is actually a hilarious redubbing of an atrocious Japanese spy thriller. With music by the Lovin' Spoonful and the voices of Allen and Louise Lasser. (MJ)
3:30 am (Encore)— Cape Fear (1962)—See 9:40 am.
Thursday, November 11
6:00 am (TCM)— The Set-Up (1949)—Dull Robert Wise directed this story about a washed-up fighter refusing to give up or throw a fight. Robert Ryan, an underrated actor, is excellent as the boxer. With Audrey Totter, George Tobias and Wallace Ford. (DW)
9:45 am (IFC)— What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)—See Wednesday, at 2:50 am.
10:00 am (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)
1:30 pm (AMC)— Battle Cry (1955)—Raoul Walsh World War II melodrama, about the lives and loves of a group of Marines getting ready for battle, with Van Heflin, Aldo Ray, Tab Hunter and Dorothy Malone. (DW)
2:00 pm (IFC)— Tommy (1975)—See Wednesday, at 9:30 pm.
4:30 pm (HBOS)— Play It Again, Sam (1972)—Woody Allen's very funny homage to Bogart and Casablanca. Starring and written by Allen, but directed by Herbert Ross. With Diane Keaton. (MJ)
6:00 pm (TCM)— A Guy Named Joe (1943)—Spencer Tracy is a World War II pilot who is killed and comes back to earth to whisper advice in the ear of his replacement, Van Johnson, in the affections of Irene Dunne. Sentimental as can be, but affecting. Directed by Victor Fleming. (DW)
10:00 pm (Cinemax)— Carnival of Souls (1962)—Effective very low-budget horror film shot with an unknown cast at a deserted amusement park in Lawrence, Kansas. Directed by Herk Harvey. (MJ)
*11:30 pm (TCM)— Fort Apache (1948)—One of John Ford's classic cavalry trilogy. Henry Fonda is an unbending officer who can't get along with his own men, or the neighboring Apaches. With John Wayne and Shirley Temple. (DW)
*12:00 am (Showtime)— Five Easy Pieces (1970)—Early Jack Nicholson film that helped define his sardonic screen persona. He plays a concert pianist from a wealthy family who opts to work on an oil rig. Watch for the memorable scene in the diner between Nicholson's character and a waitress. Directed by the underappreciated Bob Rafelson. With Karen Black, Billy "Green" Bush, and Susan Anspach. (MJ)
12:00 am (FXM)— The Razor's Edge (1946)—See 10:00 am.
2:00 am (TCM)— They Died with Their Boots On (1941)—Hollywood's version of the George Custer story. Surprisingly sympathetic to the Indians, in fact. Custer is made out to be an opponent of the campaign that led to his death. The last of the Errol Flynn-Olivia de Haviland cycle of films; directed vividly by Raoul Walsh, with a score by Max Steiner. (DW)
3:40 am (Encore)— The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)—Peter Yates directed this lively version of the George V. Higgins novel about Boston lowlifes. A little too colorful for its own good at times. With Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan. (DW)
4:00 am (AMC)— Home of the Brave (1949)—Mark Robson directed this well-meaning film about black GI suffering abuse from fellow US soldiers in the Pacific during World War II. One of the first to deal with racial discrimination. (DW)
4:10 am (IFC)— A Midnight Clear (1992)—See Wednesday, at 6:00 am.
Friday, November 12
5:40 am (Encore)— The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)—Otto Preminger directed this film about a heroin addict (Frank Sinatra), the woman who loves him (Kim Novak) and the lowlifes he consorts with. Based on the book by Nelson Algren. (DW)
6:00 am (AMC)— I Walked with a Zombie (1943)—One of the Val Lewton-Jacques Tourneur collaborations, a stylish horror film about a nurse who turns to voodoo to cure a patient. Francis Dee and Tom Conway co-starred. (DW)
*6:40 am (Starz)— Last Action Hero (1993)—See Wednesday, at 4:00 pm.
*6:45 am (Cinemax)— 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 am (TCM)— To Have and Have Not (1944)—Howard Hawks classic, based (very loosely) on a short story by Ernest Hemingway, with Bogart as an apolitical fishing boat captain who gets dragged in to French Resistance efforts. Lauren Bacall is outstanding in her debut. Dialogue by William Faulkner and Jules Furthman. (DW)
10:00 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)
*12:00 pm (Sundance)— The Big Lebowski (1998)—See Saturday, at 3:00 pm.
12:00 pm (TCM)— High Society (1956)—Glossy musical version of The Philadelphia Story has music and lyrics by the great Cole Porter. Starring Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Louis Armstrong. Directed by Charles Walters. (MJ)
1:00 pm (HBOS)— Enemies, A Love Story (1989)—See Saturday, at 2:00 pm.
*1:15 pm (Encore)— Barry Lyndon (1975)—An intelligent adaptation of William Thackeray's novel about an 18th-century scoundrel, directed by Stanley Kubrick. (DW)
4:00 pm (TCM)— The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)—Director Richard Brooks' strained effort to capture F. Scott Fitzgerald's story, now set in post-World War II Europe. A tale of disillusionment and loss. With Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson. (DW)
*5:45 pm (Starz)— Last Action Hero (1993)—See Wednesday, at 4:00 pm.
6:00 pm (AMC)— 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)
6:00 pm (Showtime)— Sliding Doors (1998)—See Sunday, at 4:30 pm.
*7:00 pm (Sundance)— The Big Lebowski (1998)—See Saturday, at 3:00 pm.
*8:00 pm (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)
9:00 pm (HBOS)— 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)
9:00 pm (USA)— Serial Mom (1994)—Middle-aged suburban mom (played with relish by Kathleen Turner) kills to preserve traditional American values, like rewinding before you return your tape to the video store and not wearing white shoes after Labor Day. This hilarious satire was directed by John Waters. (MJ)
*10:00 pm (TCM)— The Apartment (1960)—Billy Wilder's cynical-sentimental comedy-drama about a corporate lackey (Jack Lemmon) who tries to climb the company ladder by loaning his apartment to his bosses for their trysts. He falls for Shirley MacLaine. Fred MacMurray is memorable as a particularly unpleasant company executive. (DW)
12:00 am (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)
*12:30 am (TCM)— 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 him very human, 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)