Welcome to another edition of Fedya's "Movies to Tivo" thread, for the week of October 5-11, 2015. I know all of you are heartbroken over the Badgers' loss to an equally crappy Iowa team, so a good way to deal with those bad feelings are to watch some enjoyable movies! This week sees a new Star of the Month on TCM, as well as some more lady directors, and movies that are appropriate for October. As always, all times are in Eastern, unless otherwise mentioned.
This Monday sees the first of four nights dedicated to the new Star of the Month: David Niven. The night kicks off with one of Niven's first starring roles, in Raffles, at 8:00 PM. Niven plays the title role of Raffles, a man known for being a top-flight cricket player, but who has a secret: he's a master thief. When he meets somebody from his childhood now grown up, Gwen (Olivia de Havilland), he falls in love with her and thinks about reforming. However, he's got a friend in trouble for having embezzled and plans to help that friend out with one final heist. The plan is to steal a necklace from Dame May Whitty, but things get complicated because Scotland Yard begins to figure Raffles out. Further complicating things is that at the party where Raffles plans to commit the deed, there's another thief who shows up. They won't let charming David Niven go to jail in the final reel, will they?
David Niven has a brief appearance in the movie Rose Marie, which is airing at noon Tuesday on TCM. Jeannette MacDonald is the star here, playing Marie, an opera singer who learns that her brother (a very young James Stewart) is in trouble because he's allegedly committed murder and now he's trying to stay one step ahead of the Mounties. Marie goes off to find her brother, but runs into Sgt. Bruce (Nelson Eddy) instead. She doesn't realize it, but he's the man the RCMP has put on the case of finding her brother. She falls in love for him, and the feeling is mutual, but of course Sgt. Bruce is a professional and isn't supposed to let romantic feelings get in the way of doing his job. This being a MacDonald/Eddy film, you know that you're going to get a lot of operetta musical numbers, which may not be your cup of tea. But it was big with audiences of the time.
One movie that's returning to FXM Retro after an absence is Can-Can, at 7:15 AM Monday. Shirley MacLaine plays Simone, who runs a nightclub in the Paris of the belle époque. There's a dance called the "can-can" that's become popular, but it's a scandalous dance. Simone's club performs it every night, much to the consternation of the law. However, she's got laywer François (Frank Sinatra) in love with her. Showing up is judge Philippe (Louis Jourdan), who is determined to shut down Simone's club. Unless, of course, Simone can use her feminine ways to get Philippe to fall for her. Maurice Chevalier plays a role reminiscent of the one he had in Gigi, another film set in the Paris of that era. This one, however, is set to the music of Cole Porter.
For those of you who like more recent movies, you could try White Nights, which is on Encore at 9:55 AM Tuesday and 6:05 AM Wednesday (and again three hours after those times if you've got the west-coast feeds). Mikhail Baryshnikov plays Nikolai, a Soviet-born ballet dancer who defected to the West several years earlier. His international flight takes him through Soviet airspace where the plane develops technical problems and is forced to land, at which point the Soviets detain him. There, he is watched by Raymond (Gregory Hines), an American who deserted from the Vietnam War and defected to the Soviets. Of course, Nikolai wants to escape, and is eventually able to get word to his ex-lover and dance partner Galina (Helen Mirren!) who gets word to the Americans. Will Raymond stay true to the Soviets and keep Nikolai from leaving, or is he having doubts about having defected? Rounding out the leads is Isabella Rossellini as Darya, Raymond's Soviet wife. If you like dancing, you'll probably really like this movie.
Tuesday night brings the second night of the spotlight on woman directors, this time looking at what few female directors there were in the days of the studio system. One of them was actress-turned-director Ida Lupino. TCM will be showing Outrage at 9:45 PM Tuesday. Mala Powers stars as Ann, a young woman who works as a secretary at a factory and still lives with her parents, as was common back then, although she's got a fiancé. One night, however, after she works late at the plant, she's stalked by a stranger and then raped! (Not that they could call it rape back in those days. Ann is too ashamed to tell anybody what really happened, and thinks that everybody now sees her differently, so she decides to "solve" her problem by... running away! She winds up in some small town in the heart of California's agriculture belt, where she meets kindly Rev. Ferguson (Tod Andrews), who is willing to help her with whatever problem she has, if only she could tell people what that problem is.
Wednesday, October 7, is the birth anniversary of actress June Allyson. A movie that I might have recommended once several years ago, but doesn't show up all that often, is The Bride Goes Wild, on TCM at 1:00 PM Wednesday. Van Johnson stars as Greg, an author of children's books who, in his non-public life, is actually a big-city playboy who woos women at the drop of a hat. His new book needs an illustrator, and winning a contest to find the new illustrator is small-town teacher Martha (Allyson), who goes to New York even though she's got a would-be fiancé back at home. Greg tries to put the moves on Martha and she's unimpressed, so he "adopts" an orphan to play the part of his son and try to keep Martha around. All sorts of complications ensue, except that since this is a romantic comedy you can probably guess how those complications are going to work out. Hume Cronyn plays the long-suffering publisher.
TCM is honoring Jack Oakie on Thursday morning and afternoon, even though his birthday isn't until November. The Oakie movies kick off at 7:15 AM with Street Girl. Compson plays Frederika, a European immigrant who briefly winds up looking for a place to stay in New York. That is, until she meets Mike Fall (John Harron), who leads the combo the Four Seasons, so named because each of them is named after a season. (Oakie plays Joe Spring; acerbic Ned Sparks is Happy Winter.) Frederika turns out to be a talisman for them, helping them to get a gig at a good club, while Mike falls in love with her. But then a prince from her old home country (Ivan Lebedeff) shows up, which is a problem because Frederika has a crush on him and that may just break up the band. Oh, what am I saying, you know a movie like this, just as with The Bride Goes Wild, is going to have a happy ending. Even though it's a very early talkie, it's still well done, and the story held up well enough that RKO would remake it twice.
Halloween is this month, so every Friday in October TCM is showing a bunch of horror movies. This Friday's theme is movies that have disfigured characters, with perhaps the granddaddy of them all being 1935's Mad Love, at 8:00 PM. (Like Street Girl above, it's been remade multiple times with one of the remakes coming up later in the night.) Colin Clive plays concert pianist Stephen Orlac, married to actress Yvonne (Frances Drake). Unfortunately for Stephen, he's injured in a train accident which causes him to lose the use of one of his hands. Nothing helps, until he goes to see mad Doctor Gogol (Peter Lorre). Gogol is working in experimental transplantation, and gets a new, functioning hand for Stephen. The only thing is, Gogol got it off an executed murderer, a man who committed his crimes by throwing knives. So the result is that Stephen's new hand takes on a life of its own, remaining a talented knife-throwing hand and compelling him to do that instead of play piano! Oh, and to complicate matters, Gogol is in (unrequited) love with Yvonne.
The oher movie back on FXM Retro is The Keys of the Kingdom, at 8:00 AM Saturday and again at 3:30 AM Sunday. Gergory Peck plays Fr. Francis Chisholm, who at the start of the movie is an old man in a Catholic parish in Scotland. His friend the monsignor (Cedric Hardwicke) comes to visit and deliver the bad news that the bishop wants him to give up his unorthodox sermons or retire. But the monsignor reads Fr. Francis' journal, and finds out just why he's so unorthodox. It turns out that Francis spent much of his life as a missionary in China, running the mission without very much help from the larger church while the clergy at home (like Vincent Price) grew wealthy. A couple of nuns come to help run the mission, and along the way, Fr. Francis gains the respect of the local Chinese, if not necessarily their eternal spirits, all against the backdrop of various civil wars that always seem to trouble China in Hollywood movies of this period.
Saturday night on TCM sees a series of comedies with the Eiffel Tower as an important plot point. They're all good, but this week I'll give another mention to The Lavender Hill Mob at 10:00 PM. Alec Guinness stars as Holland, a mild-mannered man who works for the Bank of England transporting gold shipments and keeping an account of them to make certain all the gold gets there. He's scrupulously honest, but the tedium of the job eventually gets him to thinking about whether it would be possible to rob a shipment. Of course, there's the problem of how to dispose of all that gold. But then he has an idea! His friend Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) makes kitschy Eiffel Tower statuettes for the tourists who visit the tower to buy as souvenirs. So Holland can get Pendlebury to melt the gold down and cast it as Eiffel Towers, which will allow the pair to export the gold. Of course, something in the plan winds up going wrong. Audrey Hepburn has a very smal part in the opening framing sequence.
An article about Mike Sherman, who's now a high school coach at a Cape Cod school. It doesn't sound as if he thinks he's found his place or is really happy to be there, but he might be where he should be. Click here.
Eddie goes wild on the Niners, well over 100 yards and two TDs, one on a screen pass. Matthews three sacks and a forced fumble, one defensive TD, Rodgers makes the Monday night game look like a PFF failure, Pack up 20-3 at the half, and walk to it 37-17. Niner faithful imitate the Falcons fans after halftime and rush home to make a good latte.
Steffen impressed the hell out of me at the U-20 WC...supposedly Horvath has been even more impressive.
DEFENDERS (5): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea,England), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.)
Carter-Vickers and Miazga are the straws that stir this drink. Both have shown flashes they are the future of the USMNT backline.
MIDFIELDERS (8): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield; Arlington, Va.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wis.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; Gahanna, Ohio), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.).
This is a very young and inexperienced MF...Ariyibi, Hyndman and Zelalem are the most gifted...but outside of Hyndman, the other two are sorely lacking in international competition experience.
FORWARDS (4): Alonso Hernandez (C.D. Juarez; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Maki Tall (FC Sion; Washington, D.C.)
Maki Tall was a force at the U-20 till he got hurt. And Jordan Morris I think could make a case to start in a 4-4-2 on the USMNT. I have a feeling 2016 in Rio will be his coming out party for the big club. I am interested to see if Kiesewetter actually has skills, or if he's another Klinsmann project because he's a German national...much like Julian Green appeared to be. And speaking of...that he did not make this squad is a huge indictment of his talent, and really underscores the question, why was he on the 2014 WC squad? I mean, yeah, the Bundesliga is big cheese, but he's on basically their equivalent of Single-A baseball (4th division).
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