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Welcome to another edition of Fedya's "Movies to Tivo" Thread, for the week of July 16-22, 2018.  Training camp is coming soon but is not here yet, so we have another good week to catch up on some old movies.  There's more from Star of the Month Steve McQueen, a look at an actor who just died, and more all up and down the cable dial.  As always, all times are in Eastern unless otherwise mentioned.

 

TCM is running a bunch of Barbara Stanwyck movies on Monday morning and afternoon.  One that I haven't mentioned in a while is These Wilder Years, which will be on at 10:30 AM Monday.  James Cagney is the male lead, playing Steve Bradford, a titan of industry who one days decides he's up and going to take a leave of absence, without telling his board of directors why.  It turns out that 20 years ago, when he was a young, immature man, he knocked up a woman and left her, forcing her to put the baby up for adoption.  Steve wants to know what happened to the child, and he's even dumb enough to think he can truly make the kid his own son.  Stanwyck plays Ann Dempster, the head of the adoption agency where the kid was adopted out ages ago.  She's not about to give Steve the information about what happened to the kid, and has the law on her side.  Steve brings in high-priced attorney James (Walter Pidgeon) to take Dempster to court.  Meanwhile, Steve meets Suzie (Betty Lou Keim), a young woman who is currently pregnant without the means to raise the kid; shades of what happened to Steve all those years ago.  You can probably guess where this is all going, but Cagney and Stanwyck are such professionals they make the material work.

 

Director Lew Landers churned out a bunch of low-budget B movies for RKO and Columbia in the 1930s and 1940s.  An example of his work is Night Waitress, which will be on TCM at 12:30 PM Tuesday.  Margot Grahame plays Helen Roberts, who's recently gotten out of jail and is trying to put her life back together on probation.  To that end, she's gotten a job at a waterfront restaurant run by Torre (Billy Gilbert).  However, it's a seedy enough place that a bunch of unsavory people show up.  One of those people is Martin (Gordon Jones), who becomes Helen's boyfriend.  Supposedly he's got some "cargo", but whether he's come about it legitimately is a valid question.  There are gangsters who want that cargo, and are willing to commit violence to get it.  This leads to Helen winding up on the run from both the law and the gangsters.  Nothing particularly inventive here, but then it's a B movie.  If you watch carefully, you might see that a very young Anthony Quinn is one of the gangsters.

 

I know a lot of you like watching the NASCAR crashes. If you're among that number, then you'll probably enjoy Days of Thunder, on StarzEncore Classics at 3:28 AM Wednesday. Tom Cruise plays Cole Trickle, a racecar driver who's been successful on the open-wheel Indy Car circuit, this being the time before that series split up. But he loses his ride, so NASCAR comes calling in the form of team owner Tim Daland (Randy Quaid), who wants Cole to drive for him. Cole takes the deal since he wants to race, although in shades of The Last American Hero, Cole has to take the pit crew offered by Tim, a crew led by crusty veteran Harry (Robert Duvall). Cole survives crashes, although one of those crashes leads him to meeting Dr. Lewicki (Nicole Kidman, who would become Mrs. Cruise in real life for a time). The two fall in lov, although what effect that will have on Cole is an open question. Dr. Lewicki also has to deal with the health of Cole's main rival….

 

The next movie will probably sound familiar, even if I don't think I've recommended it before: The Clown, at 2:30 PM Wednesday on TCM as part of a morning and afternoon of Red Skelton movies. As you can probably guess, Red plays the titular clown, named Dodo Delwyn. Dodo was famous years ago, but time goes on and passes people by, which is what happened to Dodo. Well, except that Dodo has spent those years drinking to the point that he's only getting jobs in the low end of the entertainment world. His life to life as he chooses, other than the fact that Dodo has a son Dink (Tim Considine several years before My Three Sons), and Dink looks up to him. Having an alcoholic father you have to take care of is no way for a kid to grow up. Mom (Jane Greer) shows up. She divorced Dodo because of the drinking, and now she's gotten remarried to a much richer man (Philip Ober). Mom wants custody of the kid. Dodo, for his part, has gotten a chance at renewed success with a TV special. But can he stay sober long enough to do it? If this material sounds familiar, it's pretty much a remake of The Champ, only moved from boxing to clowns.

 

Michael Caine has done a very broad range of work during his long career, both good and bad.  One of the best is the movie that won him his first Oscar: Hannah and Her Sisters, airing at 7:10 PM Thursday on 5StarMax.  Hannah (Mia Farrow) is one of three sisters in an acting family along with Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Diane Wiest), with parents Evan (Lloyd Nolan) and Norma (Maureen O'Sullivan).  Hannah is married to financial advisor Elliot (Michael Caine), although he's having an affair with Lee.  Lee, meanwhile, has been living with artist Frederick (Max von Sydow).  Hannah also has an ex-husband Mickey (Woody Allen), whom she set up with Holly after Hannah and Mickey were divorced.  Holly's attempts to make it as an actress and singer have gone nowhere, so she opened up a catering business with her friend April (Carrie Fisher).  It all gets more complicated.  Woody Allen also directed, so there's another story arc about Mickey's hypochondria.

 

We get another night of Steve McQueen movies on TCM in prime time Thursday, including Nevada Smith at 3:30 AM Friday.  The movie picks up the story of one of the characters from the movie The Carpetbaggers, although the action here is earlier in time to the story in The Carpetbaggers.  McQueen plays Nevada Smith (Alan Ladd had died since the release of The Carpetbaggers), a Kiowa Indian who has been taken in as a foster child by Jonas Cord (Brian Keith), who's only a gun dealer here and not yet a movie mogul.  Nevada's parents have both been murdered, and Nevada wants to find the men who did it so that he can gain revenge.  It turns out that there are three killers (Karl Malden, Arthur Kennedy, and Martin Landau), and boy does Nevada go to great lengths to get to all three of them.  This even if it changes him for the worse.  Suzanne Pleshette plays Nevada's Hispanic love interest.

 

Over on StarzEncore Westerns, there's One More Train to Rob, at 10:00 AM Friday.  George Peppard plays Harker Fleet, who robs a train with his girlfriend Katy (Diana Muldaur), his friend Nolan (John Vernon), and a couple of other guys.  Before Harker can meet up to split the loot, he gets arrested for a different crime and winds up spending a substantial stretch in prison.  When he gets out he finds that Nolan has taken all of the loot and invested it wisely in the railroads, making Nolan rich.  Worse, though, is that Nolan got married to Katy.  Harker, understandably, wants revenge.  When Harker discovers that Nolan has been exploiting the Chinese who originally came over to help build the railroads, he sees his chance.  Apparently a Chinese syndicate has come into a shipment of gold.  Nolan plans to skim some off the top to pay off his debts, while Harker might just work with the Chinese to get back at Nolan.

 

TCM is spending Friday morning and afternoon with Tab Hunter, who died last Sunday a few days before his 87th birthday.  TCM will be showing eight of Hunter's movies, starting at 6:00 AM with The Steel Lady.  Hunter is Billy Larson, the radioman in a plane crew with pilot Mike (Rod Cameron), mechanic Jim (Richard Erdman), and Sid (John Dehner).  They're working for an oil company doing exploration in the Sahara, when suddenly a sandstorm comes up and forces them to land.  Worse, they find that the plane is beyond repair.  They're in luck, though, when not far away they discover a German Afrika Corps tank that was abandoned in World War II.  Since they've got a good mechanic, he's able to get the tank up and running, and since they've got fuel from the plane, they're on their way to the nearest oasis.  The bad news for them is that the locals at the oasis recognize the tank since the Nazis who were in it during World War II robbed them of a bunch of jewels.  And dammit, the Arabs want their treasure back!  This was right at the beginning of Hunter's career; better stuff was to follow.

 

It's been a while since the movie was on, and even longer since I read the book, but TCM is running the 1958 version of The Brothers Karamazov at 3:30 AM Sunday.  Lee J. Cobb plays Fyodor Karamazov, the patriarch of a family with four sons. Dmitry (You Brynner) is a military officer, engaged to Katya (Claire Bloom) although he falls in love with Grushenka (Maria Schell), who just happens to be Dad's mistress.  This, needless to say, causes all sorts of tension in the family, since the sons have a complicated relationship with their father.  Brother Ivan (Richard Basehart) falls in love with Katya, although he's an atheist.  None of this sits well with Alexei (William Shatner), a monk and the moral conscience of the family.  And then there's Pavel (Albert Salmi), who works for Dad although he may actually be illegitimate.   The family resentments grow until reaching the inevitable climax.

I know I've recommended the 1970s joint production of The Blue Bird before, but there was an earlier version released by Fox in 1940.  FXM Retro is running the 1940 version of The Blue Bird, at 1:35 PM Sunday.  Shirley Temple plays Mytyl, living in the Ukrainian forest with her family, including parents Spring Byington and Russell Hicks, and kid brother Tyltyl (Johnny Russell).  Mytyl is gorssly unhappy because the family is dirt poor, and she wants for things in life, or so she thinks.  If only she could find the bluebird of happiness.  And wouldn't you know it, she's got a fairy godmother type in Fairy Berylune (Jessie Ralph) who takes Mytyl and Tyltyl on a magical journey through space and time ostensibly to try to find that bird, but really to learn that happiness is something you find inside.  Reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, which came out one year earlier, and also in Technicolor with a cast of supporting actors like Gale Sondergaard and Nigel Bruce.

Well, this one was in Georgia, not GB....

A waitress required 15 stitches after she was attacked by four women she served Tuesday night at a Henry County Applebee’s, police said.

The women beat and punched the waitress and stabbed her in the forearm with a steak knife, McDonough police Maj. Kyle Helgerson told AJC.com. They allegedly took her tip money before they skipped out on a $62.57 bill.

[...]

“The waitress had brushed up against her leg,” Helgerson said. “There was an initial conversation about that.”

The waitress, who is in her 20s, reportedly apologized to the woman, claiming it was an accident. After the table complained about not receiving their food, the waitress went to the kitchen to retrieve it, according to a police report.

“She came back a second time to serve them with food or drinks and brushed up against (the woman) again,” Helgerson said. “That infuriated the suspect.”

The patrons/suspects don't want to know what the kitchen staff did to their food....

Down to four players.....winner takes home 8.8 million dollars.  The youngest kid, 21 years old, who won in 2009, was just ousted in 5th place and he’s now 30.  The leader with 192,975,000 in chips will take home the WSOP bracelet and 8.8 million dollars........AND OMGAWD, A HUGE CHANGE IN THE LEADER!!!!!!!   🤭🤭🤭  yikes, I love this poker tournament.   

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