Welcome to another edition of Fedya's "Movies to Tivo" Thread, for the week of April 22-28, 2019. The NFL Draft is this week, when the Packers will be selecting new potential boyfriends for Goldie, but that doesn't come until the end of the week. The best way to deal with the wait is to watch some good movies, and once again I've selected a bunch of interesting stuff across a wide range of genres and time for all of you. As always, times are in Eastern, unless otherwise mentioned.
This week's TCM Import is Day of Wrath, at 3:45 AM Monday. In 17th century Denmark, Anne is a young woman who marries the widowed pastor Absalom (this being a Lutheran country where the clergy can marry). However, he's extremely severe and trying to root out witches in his community. His mother doesn't particularly like Anne, and Absalom is unable (or unwilling) to satisfy Anne's needs. Since Absalom has an adult son Martin from his previous marriage, Anne starts talking to him, which eventually leads to the two of them falling in love. Merete is liable to accuse Anne of witchcraft if she should ever find out about the affair, and if she does, will Martin come to Anne's defense? This was made by Carl Theodor Dreyer, best known for the silent The Passion of Joan of Arc; this movie like the previous one has a lot of striking visuals. Perhaps more shocking, however, is that Dreyer made this one in Denmark in 1943, when the Nazis were occupying the country. The movie is as much a commentary on totalitarianism in general as it is about the Denmark of 300 years earlier.
We've got a couple of relatively recent movies this week, by which I mean the 1980s. The first of them is One Crazy Summer, at 3:08 PM Tuesday on StarzEncore Classics. John Cusack plays Hoops, a high school senior from a family of basketball players (hence the nickname) who failed at the sport himself, so is trying to become a cartoonist writing a graphic novel/love story. To that end, his friend George (Joel Murray) suggests they spend a couple of weeks at George's summer house on Nantucket. Along the way they pick up motley crew of characters, with the most notable for plot advancement being a young singer Cassandra (Demi Moore) whose grandfather has a place on Nantucket as well. Or had, since Grandpa died recently. And a wealthy family of developers is trying to buy Grandpa's old place for their own financial benefit. Hoops, George, and all their other crazy friends decide to help Cassandra. Hoops also falls in love with Cassandra, and will that help him write his book?
TCM is honoring Shirley Temple on Tuesday with several of her films, including That Hagen Girl, at 7:45 AM. One of Temple's young adult roles (she was 19 when she made this), the movie sees her as Mary, a young woman in a small midwestern town whose life is about to get a whole lot worse thanks to gossip. Lawyer Tom Bates (Ronald Reagan) returns to town after being away for many years, and the rumors start flying about him and Mary. Before Tom left, he had been seeing another woman who left town suddenly and returned a broken woman; at the same time the Hagens adopted Mary. So the gossip has always been that Tom was Mary's biological father. Now that he's back in town, the gossip is going to rise to a full scream. It doesn't help that Tom shows sympathy for Mary. But who's really Mary's father? Lois Maxwell of all people plays one of Mary's teachers and a possible love interest for Tom, while Rory Calhoun plays a young man pressured into dumping Mary because of the gossip.
Dragonwyck is back on the FXM schedule, at 7:25 AM Wednesday. Gene Tierney plays Miranda Wells, daughter in a hardscrabble Connecticut farm family in the 1940s led by father Ephraim (Walter Huston). One day distant cousin Nicholas van Ryn (Vincent Price) asks Miranda to be governess to his child at the van Ryn estate called Dragonwyck in New York's Hudson Valley. The van Ryns are the final generation of patroons, people who owned large swathes of land dating back to the New Netherlands days two centuries earlier, and who let the land to tenant farmers. The tenants, led by Bleecker (Harry Morgan), are protesting the high rents, but there are problems closer to home. Nicholas and his wife don't seem very close to their daughter, and then the wife dies. There are also whispers about dark secrets going on in the house. And then after the wife dies, Nicholas asks Miranda to marry him. Miranda eventually accepts, but surely she has to know all is not right. An interesting little gothic drama about a period of history that doesn't get much mention in the movies.
If you want silly fun, you could do worse than to watch The Corpse Vanishes, at 1:30 PM Wednesday on TCM. There's been a series of strange deaths that have heretofore baffled police: young brides die at the altar, and when the hearse picks them up, the bodies go missing! Intrepid reporter Patricia Hunter (Luana Walters learns about this, and after the latest death decides to investigate it herself. She discovers that all of the brides were given a rare breed of orchid by Dr. Lorenz (Bela Lugosi), so why not visit him and pump him for information. She goes there with Dr. Foster (Tris Coffin), and what she finds is quite strange. Lorenz lives with his old wife and has as assistants a dwarf, his hulking brute of a brother, and their shrewish mother. Oh, and Lorenz sleeps in a coffin! The reporter learns that Lorenz needs glandular fluid from young brides to keep his wife alive, hence all the dead brides. But Lorenz gets wise to Hunter; will she be next?
I didn't realize I picked three movies for Wednesday, but the third of them is the 1987 film No Way Out, at 5:55 PM Wednesday on Showtime Showcase. Kevin Costner plays Tom Farrell, a Navy hero who is hired as chief of staff for US Senator David Brice (Gene Hackman). He then meets the lovely Susan Atwell (Sean Young), and begins a relationship, but he finds out not only that she's seeing another man, but that said other man is in fact Senator Brice! The Senator finds out that his mistress is seeing another man, not knowing it's Farrell, and gets in a fight with Susan that winds up accidentally killing her, with Farrell in hiding watching it all go down. There's a photographic negative of Susan and Farrell together which would make him the prime suspect, so Farrell, given the task of investigating the case, knows that it's only his word against senator's, so he creates a fake Soviet mole to throw off suspicion from himself before that negative can be developed. This is a remake not of the 1950 film No Way Out, but of a stylish 1948 film called The Big Clock.
Having read these posts for years, you should all be aware of the comic duo of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey (the one with the glasses), who appeared in a string of movies at RKO until Woolsey's untimely death 1938. TCM is running a bunch of their movies on Friday, including Dixiana at 9:15 AM. They're not the stars; that honor goes to Bebe Daniels, playing the title character, who works as a circus antebellum New Orleans with the Wheeler and Woolsey characters, who are here more for comic relief and to perform their routines that had been a big hit in their first two RKO movies. She meets Carl Van Horn (Everett Marshall), son of a plantation owner. The Van Horns are rich, and Carl's mom is none too pleased that her son is going to be marrying a common entertainer, so she puts the kibosh on the marriage, even though you know they're going to get back together in the Technicolor finale. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson even does a number; I'm not certain if he's in worn-out shoes. Unfortunately, the two leads sing in a Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy style that was popular in the early 1930s; nowadays the songs are a real slog.
It's been nearly two years since I last mentioned The Redhead from Wyoming, which will be on StarzEncore Westerns this week, at 6:37 AM Saturday. Astute readers of these posts will probably be able to figure out that if you put "redhead" and "western" together, you're probably going to get Maureen O'Hara, who is indeed the redhead. Here she plays Kate Maxwell, who comes west to run a saloon in one of those growing towns where settlers are coming in. The influx of settlers means trouble for the ranchers who have been used to having an open range to graze their cattle, and cattle baron Reece Duncan (Alexander Scourby) plans to stop the settlers. When one of them, Kate's old boyfriend Averell (William Bishop) gets too big for his britches, it ignites conflict between him and Reece which leads to his bringing Kate out west to try to buy up cattle so there won't be any for Reece. Or at least, that's the plan until Kate figures out she's being used. Can she get the sheriff (Alex Nicol) to help her?
One of the things to come this week is, in fact, Things to Come, at noon Saturday on TCM. Based on the book by HG Wells, who suffered from Top Man Syndrome and fancied himself one of the Top Men, it tells the story of the next 100 years in Everytown, starting in 1940 (the movie was released in 1936, so everything is in the future). World War comes to Everytown, and John Cabal (Raymond Massey) knows that society is going to pay a heavy price for the war. The war goes on for a quarter century until a plague nearly wipes everybody out until a group of pilots including Cabal show up as Top Men and forcibly pacify everybody. Those like the "Boss" (Ralph Richardson) who don't want to be die, eggs to be broken for the omelet of the Top Men. Fast forward to 2036, and the new society is planning for the first voyage to the moon, and yet there are still people opposed to the advance of science. The film is interesting despite its heavy-handed message, thanks to the dazzling art-deco sets
This week's entry in Noir Alley is the 1951 version of M, at 10:00 AM Sunday on TCM. You probably know the story from the classic 1931 version with Peter Lorre, but in the remake, David Wayne plays Martin, a man who has an obsession with little girls and their shoes, leading him to abduct girls and kill them, keeping their shoes. The serial killings have all of Low Angeles on edge, and the police investigation led by Inspector Carney is extensive. So all-encompassing, in fact, that it puts a serious crimp on all the other underworld activity going on in the city. The crime bosses, led by Charlie Marshall (Martin Gabel), conclude that they have to take matters into their own hands by finding the killer themselves and bring him to justice -- even if that's vigilante justice -- so that they can get back to the business of crime. Luther Adler plays a drunken mob lawyer who sees the case as a chance to redeem himself. The movie would have a better reputation if it had been an original instead of a remake of Fritz Lang's classic; in fact it's' quite good.
This seems to be working nicely, so we’ll continue the latest in our weekly installment of Manufactured Content. This week we’re getting a bit Stalky McStalkerson with “What City/States and/or countries have you lived in?" and let's go for both Chronological and Ranked from your favorite to least.
Milwaukee, WI – Born and lived in Milwaukee proper until I was 8
Wauwatosa, WI – Here from 8-17.
Roselle, IL – Lived here for the year before college 17-18. Lemme tell ya, nothing better than moving between your Jr and Sr years of high school!
Champaign, IL – Undergrad 18-22 (and also in Roselle with parents on off time)
Ann Arbor, MI – MBA 22-23 (see above)
Lombard, IL – after school, got job back in IL 23-24 and moved out on my own
San Jose, CA – Moved here for work, loved a lot of it, hated the cost of living 24-29
Portland, OR – 29 to present
Portland, OR (love everything about it here and no where has been even close)
Champaign, IL (it’s considerably nicer today than when I went, but it’s a great classic midwestern college town)
Wauwatosa, WI (there was a time I thought about trying to move back to this area for work. Now? Noooooooooope.)
San Jose, CA (I love so much of the Bay Area. I hate the traffic. I’m not a huge fan of some of the culture/people. And the cost of living is ludicrous)
Ann Arbor, MI (It’s a fine city, but I was heads down getting through school here)
Roselle, IL (It’s a suburb. I mean, it’s fine)
Lombard, IL (It's a shitty suburb)
Milwaukee, WI (We lived in a part that today is much nicer and rebuilt with lots of hip areas, but back then was sketchy as hell)
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