Welcome to another edition of Fedya's "Movies to Tivo" thread, for the week of November 24-30, 2014. It's hard to believe that we've already reached the final week of November, which means the final week of silent stars in the Star of the Month, as well as the final wek of road movies on Friday night. Thanksgiving is also this week, so we're going to get some family movies. As always, all times are in Eastern, unless otherwise mentioned.
Monday on TCM sees a whole bunch of movies from the 1930s starring Joe E. Brown, even though his birthday is in July. Brown used his facial expressions to great comic effect, as well as using his skills at physical comedy. As such, it's not surprising that a lot of Monday's films have Brown playing athletes even though he's much too old for the roles. The first film, Eleven Men and a Girl at 6:00 AM, has Brown playing a college football player who gets the dean's daughter (Joan Bennett) to use her sex appeal to lure the top players from around the country to play for her school and save the college with a winning football team. There's also Local Boy Makes Good (11:00 AM) which has Brown as a track star, or Fireman, Save My Child (1:45 PM) with Brown as a baseball player. One of Brown's movies that I don't think I've recommended before is 6 Day Bike Rider, at 3:00 PM. The subject here is the bizarre sport of six-day bicycle races, with Borwn playing a man who gets roped into entering one such event with teammate Frank McHugh (a good comic character actor who was however miscast as an athletic type) in order to try to keep his girlfriend (Maxine Doyle), since he thinks she's gone off with another bike racer (Gordon Westcott). If you want a Brown movie with no sports, you could try Broadminded at 8:30 AM, which starts off with a bizarre "baby party" (that is, everybody dresses up and acts like infants!) and which eventually has Brown running into Bela Lugosi, who plays a decidedly comic role and looks like he's having the time of his life.
This last Monday in November brings a bunch of silent comedians to TCM's Silent Stars of the Month festival. One of the best is Buster Keaton, who is being honored with the film Seven Chances, at 10:00 PM. Keaton plays a man who has an elderly relative die and leave him $7 million, which was a princely sum back in 1925. However, as in Brewster's Millions, there's a bizarre condition. This time, it's that Keaton get married by his 27th birthday. Oh dear -- that 27th birthday is like today! Now, you'd think his girlfriend would marry him since they're presumably in love and who wouldn't want $7 million on top of that. But she declines at first when he screws up the proposal, and a further series of proposals leads to Keaton's business partner putting an ad in the paper looking for a wife -- leading to a horde of women showing up at the church! But now Buster's girlfriend decides she really wants him! Will Buster get the girl and the $7 million?
There are more women in the movie The Secret of Convict Lake, on FXM Retro at 7:30 AM Tuesday. Set in the 1870s, Zachary Scott and Glenn Ford play two of a group of convicts who escape from prison and make an overland escape to a out-of-the-way town. All of the men have gone off to look for the escaped convicts, leaving the women behind, which causes all sorts of problems. Ford, you see, was framed by one of the townsfolk and came here looking for revenge, but starts to like Gene Tierney, who is the fiancée of the guy who framed him. Scott, for his part, thinks that Ford came here because this is where he hid the money, which of course he didn't. Meanwhile, Scott tries to get information out of Tierney's future sister-in-law (Ann Dvorak) and Ford has to try to keep all the women safe. Rounding out the cast is Ethel Barrymore as the matriarch who would settle everything if it weren't for her declining health.
If you like musicals, you're in luck, since TCM is showing a bunch of them on Tuesday. Or, at least, clips from them, as That's Entertainment! shows pu at 1:00 PM. Made at MGM in honor of the studio's 50th anniversary, the movie includes clips from a bunch of the classic MGM musicals from the roughly 15 years after World War II when that's what the studio's prestige product was, interspersed with clips of many of MGM's famous stars in their faded 1970s glory presenting the material, from the old MGM back lot, which was soon to disappear since the studio needed money and the developers needed land. Of the presenters, I think Liza Minnelli and Debbie Reynolds are the only ones still alive. Boy do we need it now.
The trailer said, "It will never happen again", but two years later, we got That's Entertainment II, which comes on at 3:30 PM. Many years after that, we got a That's Entertainment III, airing at 5:45 PM, and in between there was That's Dancing, which you can see at 11:00 AM.
On Tuesday night, we get a new installment in TCM's occasional series "A Night at the Movies". This one is called "George Lucas and the World of Fantasy Cinema", and presumably (I obviously haven't seen it yet) looks at fantasy movies. It airs at 8:00 PM Tuesday, and as with most o the TCM premiere documentaries, it will be getting a second airing after one feature at a time more convenient for our friends out on the west coast, which is 11:15 PM. In between that, at 9:15 PM is the Danny Kaye version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, in which Kaye plays the James Thurber character who constantly dreams of big things, being iunable to accomplish such things in real life. The rest of the Tuesday night lineup, through Wednesday, will be moveis taht have various elements of fantasy, be it Mickey Rooney as Puck the fairy in A Midsummer Night's Dream at 2:30 AM Wednesday; Russ Tamblyn as somebody Johnny Z would love in [b[Tom Thumb[/b] at 9:15 AM Wednesday; or Jennifer Jones playing a woman from the past in Portrait of Jennie at 6:30 PM Thursday.
John and Lionel Barrymore appeared together in several movies in the 1930s. The first of them, Arsène Lupin, is on TCM at 8:00 PM Wednesday. John Barrymore plays the title role, also the Parisian Duke of Chamerace, an upper-class gentleman whose avocation is committing heists among the high society set. Not only that, but he taunts the police by letting them know there's going to be a crime, yet still gettin gaway with it. This understandably enrages the police, who put Detective Guerchard (Lionel Barrymore) on the case. He's the one guy who is convinced the Duke is actually Lupin, and sets out to prove it to everybody else who disagrees. It all leads to a climax involving the Mona Lisa from the Louvre, which had actually happened in 1911. (The Mona Lisa was painted on wood, not canvas, however, so a key plot point in the movie couldn't have happened.) Karen Morley, who would appear with the two Barrymores again in Dinner at Eight as the doctor's wife, plays the woman here.
Thursday being Thanksgiving, it's no surprise that TCM is going to be showing a bunch of family movies. Among them is The Muppets Take Manhattan, at 3:30 PM, or just after the Detroit Lions lose to the Chicago team (one can hope, can't one?). Kermit and the rest of the gang show up again, this time as characters who, while at college, put on a musical comedy revue. And Kermit thinks the revue is good enough to appear on Broadway. So the gang decamps to New York, finds out they can't get the money to finance the show, and then have to go their separate ways. Eventually, Kermit is able to get the money, but then tragedy strikes when he gets hit by a car and develops amnesia! Will our Muppet friends be able to put the show on after all? Among the humans appearing in the movie are Art Carney, Liza Minnelli, and Joan Rivers.
The road movies feature for one more Friday on TCM, and this week includes a foreign film: Il Sorpasso, at 1:30 AM Saturday. Vittorio Gassman plays older, extroverted man Bruno celebrating the summer holidays in Rome who meets introverted law student Roberto (Jean-Louis Trintignant). Although Roberto has an important exam coming up, Bruno convinces him to get in Bruno's lovely sports car and come with him for a weekend joy ride. It turns out to be not quite what either of them bargained for as Bruno is shown to be a bit of a blowhard who is nowhere near as successful with the women as he claims, and Roberto wondering whether he should have stayed in Rome to study for his exams. Ah, but there's so much vintage scenery what with the road movie being done mostly on location, and that car.
Back to FXM, we have a movie that I haven't recommended in quite some time: Dragonwyck, at 9:15 AM Sunday. Gene Tierney plays Miranda, the daughter in a poor farming family in 1840s Connecticut. One day, distant cousin Nicholas (Vincent Price) sends word that he's looking for a governess to take care of his daughter on his palatial Hudson Valley estate. She accepts, and then finds that Nicholas isn't all she bargained for, as he's possibly a madman what with all the strange things going on in the house. Never mind that all of Nicholas' tenant farmers are rebelling. Still, when the mother of Miranda's charge dies, Miranda finds herself falling in love with Nicholas! Vincent Price was actually an accomplished actor before he started doing all that horror stuff, and gets a chance to show his skill here. Gene Tierney was lovely to look at, and the atmosphere is rich, making this an entertaining movie all the way around.
And now for the shorts, which this week take us around North America. First is Mighty Manhattan, New York's Wonder City at 6:09 PM Wednesday. This one was made by James A. Fitzpatrick who did the Traveltalks shorts, bit it's not branded quite that way and it's also a two-reeler, looking at the borough of Manhattan as it was in the late 1940s. There's a scene of where the UN headquarters is being built, or was at the time. But the big thing to notice is there's virtually no traffic!
My high school just won the 2A state championship here in Iowa and helping them do it was a Wisconsin transplant named Juan Harris, 6' 4" 365 pound. He's just a sophomore who played the whole game showing some nice moves on both offensive and defensive lines. Here he forced the QB into throwing and int!!
what has happened to this once proud program? 0 and 7 and counting. I attended lasts nite game against Colorado College and to my eye they were completely outclassed, they were consistently slower, not as strong in the slot and unable to keep the puck in their zone. This was against a team that had lost 7 in a row. Tonite they play at Denver who shut out Air Force last nite 7 to zip. Not good.
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