Limelight, playing on TCM on Saturday
Not too many new ones this week – in fact, almost all of the ones programmed along with TCM’s next installment of Moguls and Movie Stars are ones we’ve seen a bunch before on TCM, but that’s okay – moving into the history of sound era with Warner Bros gangsters, classic musicals, and the Marx Brothers is A-OK with me. TCM has also got one of Bette Davis’s first big films Of Human Bondage early Thursday morning, Chaplin’s last American film Limelight on Saturday, and Sundance has the first part of the Red Riding trilogy on Sunday. Among previously featured films, check out the Hitchcock triple feature on TCM on Friday.
Monday, November 22
7:00am – TCM – Kiss Me Deadly
Fairly iconic noir film, with hard-boiled action, nuclear paranoia, and one of the more memorable non-Hitchcock McGuffins in movie history. Plus some great LA locations. I didn’t quite love it as much as I wanted to the first time I saw it, but I’m due for a rewatch, and it definitely needs to be seen at least once, especially if you’re a noir fan.
1955 USA. Director: Robert Aldrich. Starring: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Cloris Leachman, Marian Carr.
8:15am – IFC – Mrs. Dalloway
Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is likely my all-time favorite book or very close to it, and it’s a book that you’d never expect could be made into a good film. It depends an awful lot on stream of consciousness, internal monologue and memory, and a subjective experience of time – all stylistic and narrative elements that don’t translate well to film. However, this 1997 version of the novel with Vanessa Redgrave perfectly cast as the older Clarissa Dalloway and Natascha McElhone (why the heck isn’t she in more stuff?) as flashback-Clarissa comes about as close as I think is cinematically possible. It doesn’t come close to matching the book for me, but it is a solid film and captures a lot of Woolf’s spirit.
1997 USA/UK. Director: Marleen Gorris. Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, Natascha McElhone, Michael Kitchen, Alan Cox, Sarah Badel, Lena Headey, John Standing.
2:00pm – Sundance – The Darjeeling Limited
Not perhaps my favorite Wes Anderson film, but that’s not really that much of a negative statement for one of my favorite directors. Certainly the central image of the train is a fitting one for his flat, widescreen visual style, and the Indian setting allows for great use of color, so if nothing else, it looks freaking gorgeous.
2007 USA. Director: Wes Anderson. Starring: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Angelica Huston.
(repeats at 5:25pm on the 25th and 1:45am on the 26th)
8:00pm – TCM – Moguls and Movie Stars: Brother Can You Spare a Dream
This week Moguls and Movie Stars jumps out of the silent era and into the 1930s, showcasing the films that Hollywood made during and just after the Depression Era – and the films programmed to go along with it tonight are apropos: Warner Bros. backstage musicals and gangster films.
8:30pm – IFC – Office Space
Anyone who’s ever worked in an office will identify with Office Space immediately – with the paper-jamming printers, the piles of beaurocratic paperwork, and the difficulty of keeping up with staplers if not the plot to make off with boatloads of money due to an accounting loophole. In fact, if you do or have worked an office job, I’m gonna call this required viewing.
1999 USA. Director: Mike Judge. Starring: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston.
(repeats at 1:35am on the 23rd)
9:00pm – TCM – Footlight Parade
Other Busby Berkeley-choreogaphed films are better known than this one (42nd Street, the Gold Diggers series), but this one is one of my favorites, with James Cagney taking on a musical role and giving the film that extra burst of energy that he brings to everything. Though known mostly for his gangster roles, Cagney was actually a song-and-dance man before he came to the movies, and it’s fun to see him hoofing his stuff.
1933 USA. Director: Lloyd Bacon. Starring: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell.
12:00M – TCM – The Public Enemy
Famous for the scene where James Cagney smashes a grapefruit into Mae Clarke’s face, this is one of the gold standards of early gangster films, along with Little Caesar and Howard Hawks’s Scarface.
1931 USA. Director: William A. Wellman. Starring: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods, Joan Blondell, Mae Clarke.
1:30am (23rd) – TCM – Little Caesar
One of the classic early 1930s gangster films, the one that essentially typecast Edward G. Robinson in the role of the cigar-chewing tough guy. It’s a little more abrupt than some of the others in the genre, but still worth watching if you’re a fan.
1931 USA. Director: Mervyn LeRoy. Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Glenda Farrell.
3:00am (23rd) – TCM – I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
Paul Muni plays an initially optimistic and energetic young man who struggles to find a job during the Depression. Eventually he ends up unwillingly involved in a robbery and sentenced to the chain gang. One of Warner Bros’ best “ripped from the headlines” socially conscious films – they did a lot of them in the 1930s.
1931 USA. Director: Mervyn LeRoy. Starring: Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson.