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October 28, 2002

TV Alert

Friedrich --

I’m limiting my list of tips to the week on TV to two resources, the E! Channel’s showbiz documentary series "The True Hollywood Story,” and Turner Classic Movies.

“The E! True Hollywood Story” is a glitzy, tabloid-style series that the Wife is addicted to and that I’ve also come to be a fan of -- imagine People magazine cover stories done as TV shows. But the shows seem responsibly researched, the producers are tenacious and successful in getting key sources to talk, and, as for the brassy style... Well, do you really want to watch something sober on a topic like Divine? It runs and repeats itself numerous times during the week. Here are a few of this week’s highlights:

On the E! True Hollywood Story
Friday 10 a.m.: Marlon Brando
Friday 8 p.m.: Divine
Monday at 8 pm, Tuesday at 9 am: Liza Minelli
Thursday 9 am: Alfred Hitchcock
Thursday 1:30 pm: Jaws

Back in college, I had the film-history bug bad; I attended screenings of old movies nearly every afternoon and evening and ran a film series of my own for a few years. I’m told that old movies are now in short supply on most campuses. When I moved to New York in the late ‘70s, the city had a half-dozen repertory theaters where buffs could find old movies to watch. Nearly all are now closed. Where’s a film-history buff -- or an eager film-history neophyte -- to turn? The video store, of course. But Turner Classic Movies too. Better prints than you’ll see on video rental tapes (better prints, in fact, than the ones that used to be shown in specialized movie theaters), imaginative programming, the occasional good documentary about film history. It’s an amazing resource, a movie rep house available at home 24/7. Here’s just some of what’s on this week.

On Turner Classic Movies
Monday at 10 pm, Rebecca. Hitchcock does Daphne du Maurier -- Hollywood Gothic romance at its most luscious.
Wednesday at 1:30 am, Notorious. Primo romantic suspense: one of Hitchcock’s best, with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman showing what star power really is. Shhhh -- I’ll never be caught saying this in public (too pretentious!), but I think it’s a masterpiece, and one of the greatest studio entertainments ever made. Now let's pretend I didn’t say that.
Wednesday at 3:30 am, The Stranger. Early Orson Welles suspense, far more trim and fast than his more famous films, but every bit as stylized.
Wednesday at 2 pm, Lord Love a Duck. George Axelrod’s frenetic Southern-California-in-the-’60s satire is hilarious, almost exhaustingly inventive, and a legend among comedy professionals. It also means a lot to people who grew up in Southern California -- it does a likably wonderful job of capturing the cheerful, heaven-on-earth inanity of the place.
Wednesday at 4 pm, Holiday. Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in a George Cukor adaptation of Philip Barry’s classy romantic comedy.
Wednesday at 11 pm, Duel in the Sun. Overheated King Vidor-directed camp classic. To be savored in the company of someone you love giggling with.
Thursday at 1:15 pm, Strangers on a Train. More tiptop American Hitchcock.
Thursday at 3 pm, The Lady from Shanghai. More early Welles suspense.
Thursday at 4:30, Detour. Edgar Ulmer’s small b-picture, full of resourcefully-created atmosphere, isn’t a personal fave, but it’s one of those movies that has been so influential that any self-respecting film buff simply has to have seen it.
Thursday at 6 pm, Double Indemnity. Another Hollywood masterpiece: Billy Wilder directing Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in a sexy James M. Cain noir yarn. Perfect, or not-quite? I vote for perfect.
Thursday at 10:15 pm, Vampyr. Intense early horror from the Danish genius Carl Dreyer. Minimal means; maximal impact. Essential viewing for horror buffs.
Saturday at 2 a.m., Ossessione. James M. Cain’s lusty, lowdown “Postman Always Rings Twice,” as directed by the operatically-inclined (read "homosexual") Italian aristocrat Luchino Visconti.

And that's only the half of what TCM makes available...



posted by Michael at October 28, 2002


Thank you for alerting me to a showing of Notorious as well as the other films on the TCM list. Our satellite guide is only barely useful.

Posted by: dargie on October 28, 2002 9:30 PM

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