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Welcome to another edition of Fedya's “Movies to Tivo” Thread, for the week of May 21-27, 2018. It's hard to believe we're getting to the end of May, with Memorial Day being this weekend. (Yay! I actually get a paid holiday!) But before the holiday there are any number of interesting movies, including stuff from Star of the Month Marlene Dietrich, and a movie that's interesting for just how awful it is. As always, all times are in Eastern unless otherwise mentioned.

 

TCM's Monday lineup includes a bunch of Robert Mongtomery movies. A search claims that I haven't mentioned But the Flesh is Weak before; that one will be on at 9:00 AM. Montgomery plays Max Clement, a gold-digger living in London with his widower father Florian (C. Aubrey Smith). Florian married for love all those years ago and was poor his whole life for it; he doesn't want the same for his son, hence recommending marrying for money. Indeed, Florian is going after the rich widows himself now. Max has been seeing a bunch of rich women, but has never found the right one. Now, he meets Lady Joan (Heather Thatcher), and she could be the right one, until he meets Rosine (Nora Gregor). Max loves Rosine, but she's in a relationship with stuffy Sir George (Edward Everett Horton). The problem is that Rosine is poor too, and a fellow gold digger looking for a rich guy, something that Max decidedly isn't.

 

StarzEnore Westerns, meanwhile, has the western Colorado Serenade on at 6:05 AM Monday. Singing cowboy Eddie Dean plays a character of the same name, with a sidekick Soapy (Roscoe Ates). The plot, such as it is, involves Judge Hilton who is coming into town to try to put a group of outlaws before justice. But the outlaws try to hold up his stage and attempt to murder him. Another attempt results in the judge deputizing Eddie and Soapy to work alongside the Judge's staff to figure out what's really going on, because the town winds up being a den of iniquity. The judge put a man behind bars decades ago; that man broke out of prison, kidnapped the judge's son, and now father and foster son are leading a gang of outlaws holding up gold shipments. It's as if they took Peyton Place and moved it out to the old west or something. Dean sings a few songs along the way. The one big surprise is that though this was released by Poverty Row studio PRC, it was filmed in color, although the cheaper Cinecolor instead of Technicolor.

 

TCM is showing a bunch of Sylvia Sidney movies on Tuesday morning and afternoon. One of the most interesting, because of how badly off the rails it goes, is One Third of a Nation, at 9:15 AM. Sidney plays sweet innocent Mary, a working girl living in a tenement with her younger brother Joey (14-year-old Sidney Lumet, who wisely turned to directing when he grew up). Joey gets injured in a fire, and wealthy Peter (Leif Erickson) offers to pay for Joey's medical treatment. Peter and Mary fall in love, but what Mary doesn't know is that Peter's family owns the building. Sparks fly when she does find out, and since the tenements are a death trap, there's more to come. This was based on a play made by the Federal Theater Project, a New Deal scheme designed to have otherwise out-of-work artists create New Deal propaganda, and as such, it's hilariously didactic. Probably the best (worst) scene involves poor Sidney having a fever dream in which the building talks to him and shows him there's no way out of the tenements.

 

The King and I is getting a showing this week, at 3:45 AM Wednesday on 5Star Max for those of you with the Cinemax package. In 1860, Welsh schoolteacher Anna Owens was hired by King Mongkut of Siam who wanted to learn about Western ways so that he could put on an air of modernity when he had to deal with Western leaders, what with Europeans trying to colonize the rest of the world. Of course, heading too fast into western culture would have presented huge problems for his tradition-bound country, and how far he wanted to go is an open matter. Anna kept a journal of her time in Siam, later published and in the 1940s made into a movie Anna and the King of Siam starring Rex Harrison as the king. Rodgers and Hammerstein took that and turned it into a musical starring Yul Brynner as the King and Gertrude Lawrence as Anna. 20th Century Fox then decided to make a movie version. They brought Brynner from Broadway, but Lawrence had died so they brought actress Deborah Kerr to play Anna. There's also a secondary love story involving Rita Moreno.

 

Wednesday (well actually starting Tuesday in prime time) brings a whole bunch more movie series to TCM. This week it's going to be detective series. William Powell and Myrna Loy memorably played Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man (8:00 PM Wednesday), and the movie was so successful that five sequels were made. Those five will be airing the rest of Tuesday prime time into the wee hours of Thursday morning. Powell also played Philo Vance before playing Nick Charles, but those aren't airing this month. Tuesday night brings several female detectives: Nancy Drew first, followed by Margaret Rutherford as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and then Glenda Farrell as Torchy Blane.

 

Just in time for the unofficial start of summer, FXM Retro is brining Wild on the Beach back out of mothballs, and airing it at 9:10 AM Wednesday. Director Maury Dexter, who made a whole bunch of ultra-cheap B movies distributed by Fox in the early and mid 1960s, returns to do his take on the beach movie genre. The only thing is, there's no color (I told you they were cheap), they couldn't get anybody charming like Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, and there's not even that much beach. Instead, there's a beach house, and two people in it who claim they signed the legal contract to rent it out for the summer. The problem for the two of them is, Adam (Frankie Randall) is a guy, and Lee (Sherry Jackson) is a she. Nowadays that would be pretty tame, but in the relatively innocent world of the beach movie, having a group of guys sharing a house with a group of ladies is an issue. On the bright side, we get one song from Sonny and Cher, who were at the very beginning of their career when they did this.

 

Thursday night brings another night of Marlene Dietrich movies to TCM, concluding at 6:00 AM Friday with The Lady Is Willing. Dietrich plays Liza Madden, a musical star who gives away so much of her money that she's in trouble with the taxman. For some reason, they think they should be paid first. Anyhow, Liza finds an abandoned baby and gets a motherly urge, so she takes it in and plans to be a mother. There's a problem, however. Not only does she owe those back taxes; she's single. And there's no way she's going to be allowed custody of the child if she's both unmarried and insolvent. So she comes up with the brilliant idea of a sham marriage to Dr. McBain (Fred MacMurray), the pediatrician she had give the baby a once-over. He agrees (I hope he signed a prenup to not inherit the debt), but things get complicated when the two actually fall in love with each other. There's also the issue of McBain's first wife (Arline Judge) who makes life difficult for him and Liza.

 

Friday after work is the start of Memorial Day weekend; more on that in a bit. Before that, though, we'll remember World War II with MacArthur, which will be on StarzEncore Classics at 8:58 AM Wednesday. Douglas MacArthur, played here by Gregory Peck, was a general who served in World War II and Korea, whose strong leadership skills and opinions on how the wars should be prosecuted would inevitably cause conflicts with the Navy in the form of admirals like Nimitz (Addison Powell), and with the civilian command in the form of Presidents Roosevelt (Dan O'Herlihy) and Truman (Ed Flanders). Still, MacArthur was able to lead the return of US forces to the Philippines, be a capable head of the occupation of Japan after the end of World War II, and lead the fight in Korea, at least until his actions scared people into thinking it might start World War III. The movie as a whole isn't quite as good as Patton, but Peck gives a good performance as MacArthur.

 

TCM is celebrating the Memorial Day weekend with a bunch of war movies, starting at 8:00 PM on Friday. We just had one Gregory Peck war movie, so how about another: Twelve O'Clock High, at 6:15 AM Saturday. Dean Jagger won an Oscar as Major Stovall, who at the start of the movie sees an old ceramic mug in the window of a London shop, which immediately brings back memories…. Dissolve to an air base in England manned by US pilots, leading bombing missions on Germany. The thing is, some of the missions have to be carried out in broad daylight to make certain the targets get hit, but these missions are also extremely dangerous and lead to high casualties. So it's up to the newly appointed general, Savage (Gregory Peck), and his adjutant Stovall, to get the men at the base into fighting shape. Savage is tough to the point that the men hate and fear him, while the pressure Savage is under to have some success may cause him to crack. To solve all these problems, he's going to have to lead a bombing run himself….

 

Noir Alley isn't taking a break for Memorial Day, because there are a couple of noirs with war themes. They've already run Crossfire and Act of Violence in Noir Alley, and this week it's the turn of The Clay Pigeon, at 10:00 AM Sunday. Bill Williams plays Jim Fletcher, who wakes up from a coma to find himself in a military hospital in Long Beach CA. A blind fellow veteran runs his fingers over Jim's face and then tries to strangle Jim: he says he wants to know what a traitor looks like. But why would Jim be a traitor? He doesn't know why; all he knows is everybody in the hospital is talking about how he's going to go on court-martial for treason. Jim is no dummy, so he knows he has to get out of the hospital and figure out why he's going on trial, and how he can clear his name if at all possible. So he goes first to the widow (Barbara Hale) of one of his army buddies and eventually to LA's Chinatown as he learns that he might have ratted on some of his fellow POWs when they were in a Japanese POW camp together. This even though Jim too was tortured.

 

J.J. Watt's humanitarian efforts know no bounds.

The Houston Texans' star defensive end is willing to pay funeral expenses for the 10 people killed in Friday morning's mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas.

At least 10 people died and 10 more were injured after a 17-year-old suspect opened fire. Most of those killed were also students.

Watt, who has been known for his humanitarian efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, is now offering to pay for victims' funerals, a source told KHOU 11 in Houston. KHOU is a TEGNA affiliate, which is part of Gannett.

Shortly after Friday morning's shooting, Watt tweeted, "Absolutely horrific."

https://www.usatoday.com/story...g-victims/625522002/

 

Yesterday the Bucks introduced Mike Budenholzer as the new coach. He brings with him experience, a track record of success as a tactician and developer of talent, and a pedigree of Championships from the Spurs organization. While it is unknown how this will end in Milwaukee (championships or just a rise to contending status in a possibly Lebron-less Eastern Conference), there is little argument against the decision. The only pause one could have is playoff success- but this will be the first coaching job that Mike Budenholzer will have had with that one indispensable thing that playoff success tends to require- a generational superstar. And Giannis is all of that. 

So a check mark goes in the “get a coach that knows what the f he’s doing” block. 

Jon Horst is guiding the Bucks through the most important off season in the franchises history. He was a surprise last season when he was selected the Bucks GM to replace John Hammond. But now he’s in the perfect storm- and what happens from here determines the path this team will ultimately tread going forward. Head coach- check.

Now on to the really important stuff- what to do with a young roster that  flashes both eye opening potential and hair pulling frustration. Was it the stink of Kidd? Did Kidd’s complete ineptitude as a tactician merely hold back the development of players like Jabari Parker, John Henson, Thon Maker, and others, or does this roster need a complete overhaul? In particular, Parker and Maker, who at 23 and 21 and still raw a fresh picked peppers and green as the day is long are exhibit a and b of the eye opening and hair pulling that represented the 2017-18 season. The play of both in the playoffs turned a disaster of a series against the probable EC Champion Celtics into a 7 game slugfest. And with Budenholzer’s penchant for developing average into good and winning with it (see the roster of the 2014-15 Atlanta Hawks, who won 60 games with a roster that had 6 players average double figures but only one more than 12 ppg- Paul Millsap with 16.7), there’s at least the thought that if this roster has any talent “Bud” was find it. 

But with a new arena opening and albatross contracts for Henson, Dellavadova, and Snell has n the books for 2 more years, the time is now to get it right. Giannis is 24- entering the prime of his career. The east is rising- the Celtics and Sixers have their own baselines for the next decade of contention. And if Lebron stays in the East, that problem isn’t going away. 

Jon Horst has the best and worst job in the NBA. And if he becomes “the guy who made all the right moves” and gets hardware on the shelf, he’ll cement his legacy and the Bucks will no longer be “that team that once had Kareem Abdul Jabbar for a few years and won a championship.” 

But if he gets it wrong- they’ll be “the same old Bucks” and the taxpayers will have a billion dollar tax subsidized entertainment complex in a downtown that won’t be too entertaining...

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