Intolerance, playing late Sunday night on TCM.
The next episode of TCM’s History of Hollywood series takes us into the 1950s, and they pair it with a bunch of gritty dramas on Monday (a few of which started as teleplays, as befits the 1950s preoccupation with television) and a spattering of other ’50s highlights on Wednesday. One of those is the newly featured The Defiant Ones, which also points to the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement; also note Lilies of the Field on Friday. Not too many other newly featured things: The Girl on the Train on Monday on IFC, a trio of Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney musicals on TCM on Thursday, The Bishop’s Wife getting us ready for Christmas on Sunday, and also Intolerance, which I would rank as my favorite Griffith film.
Monday, December 6
6:40pm – Sundance – The Girl on the Train
In this French film, a young girl claims to be the victim of an anti-Semite attack on a train; a media sensation follows, but is she telling the truth? I’ve been curious about this one for a while, but haven’t made time to see it. Has anyone caught it yet?
2009 France. Director: André Téchiné. Starring: Émilie Dequenne, Michel Blanc, Cahterine Deneuve.
(repeats at 12:00M and 5:10am on the 7th)
7:00pm – IFC – Letters from Iwo Jima
The Japan-focused half of Clint Eastwood’s two-part exploration of World War II, which most people consider superior to the American half, Flags of Our Fathers. Of course, I goofed and only saw the American half, but I keep meaning to go back and see Letters from Iwo Jima as well, not least of all because Ken Watanabe is always worth watching.
2006 USA. Director: Clint Eastwood. Starring: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase, Hiroshi Watanabe.
8:00pm – TCM – Moguls & Movie Stars: Attack of the Small Screens
The sixth episode of TCM’s History of Hollywood series hits up the 1950s, the beginning of the end for the Hollywood studio system, as the original moguls left or were forced out of their empires, the McCarthy era and its blacklist ravaged Hollywood, and television threatened theatre-going. Yet it was also a time of great artistry, with gritty realism staking a firm claim on the cinematic landscape along with lush melodramas, socially conscious dramas, and bright musicals.
12:00M – TCM – A Face in the Crowd
A rare film role for homespun comedian Andy Griffith really shows his chops as he plays an Ozark hobo who becomes an overnight sensation on radio and TV; when the fame and power starts going to his head, the film shows the cynical dark underbelly of media sensations. One of the recently late Patricia Neal’s best roles, too, as the girl who discovers him.
1957 USA. Director: Elia Kazan. Starring: Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, Anthony Franciosa, Walter Matthau, Lee Remick.
12:00M – IFC – Pulp Fiction
Tarantino’s enormously influential and entertaining film pretty much needs no introduction from me. Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta give the performances of their careers, Tarantino’s dialogue is spot-on in its pop-culture-infused wit, and the chronology-shifting, story-hopping editing style has inspired a host of imitators, most nowhere near as good.
1994 USA. Director: Quentin Tarantino. Starring: Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Tim Roth, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames.
2:15am (7th) – TCM – Sweet Smell of Success
One of the most acidically witty films of the 1950s, Sweet Smell of Success turns its gaze on Broadway gossip columnist Burt Lancaster, who connives with press agent Tony Curtis to break up his sister’s romance – a searing indictment of unscrupulous newspaper men, yes, and a bitingly funny one to boot.
1957 USA. Director: Alexander Mackendrick. Starring: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison, Martin Milner, Sam Levene.
4:00am (7th) _ TCM – A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire won Vivien Leigh her second Oscar as fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois, and made a star out of Marlon Brando. It’s also one of the films I’m most embarrassed to say I’ve never seen. I even have it on DVD somewhere! Someday, I will get to it.
1951 USA. Director: Elia Kazan. Starring: Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Kim Stanley, Karl Malden.
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