Some interesting films on US television, July 3-9
Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW)
3 July 1999
Video pick of the week—find it in your video store
Shoot the Moon (1982)—Harrowing, unsparing film about the breakup of a marriage. Albert Finney plays a TV writer and Diane Keaton his wife in remarkable, extreme performances. The husband takes a lover and tells his wife; from that point everything quickly slides into chaos. We see the effects on each of them, and especially on their young daughters. A perceptive film that is painful to watch. Directed by Alan Parker, written by Bo Goldman. (MJ)
Asterisk indicates a film of exceptional interest. All times are EDT.
A&E = Arts & Entertainment, AMC = American Movie Classics, FXM = Fox Movie Channel, HBOF = HBO Family, HBOP = HBO Plus, HBOS = HBO Signature, IFC = Independent Film Channel, TCM = Turner Classic Movies, TMC = The Movie Channel, TNT = Turner Network Television
Saturday, July 3
6:00 am (IFC)— La Strada (1954)—Federico Fellini directed this work about a brutal carnival strongman (Anthony Quinn), his long-suffering girl-friend (Giuletta Masina) and a kindhearted acrobat (Richard Basehart). (DW)
6:00 am (FXM)— Carousel (1956)—Hollywood turned a great dark Broadway musical into a perky feel-good film. Most of the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs are intact, however. Starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones. Directed by Henry King. (MJ)
7:00 am (HBOS)— A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)—Elia Kazan's version of the Tennessee Williams drama about the strong and the weak in a New Orleans tenement. Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden. (DW)
*8:30 am (Sundance)— Last Year at Marienbad (1961)—Alain Resnais' enigmatic film is one of the classics of French cinema. It asks questions (never answered) about the nature of time and memory. A marvelous film to watch, with its energetically mobile camera and lengthy tracking shots down ornate corridors. (MJ)
10:30 am (HBOS)— Marathon Man (1976)—Exciting, convoluted spy thriller about stolen jewels, Nazis hiding out in the US, and the CIA. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Roy Scheider. Laurence Olivier is particularly effective as a sadistic Mengele-type dentist. Directed by John Schlesinger. (MJ)
11:00 am (TCM)— The Man from Laramie (1955)—Top-notch Anthony Mann Western, with James Stewart looking for the man who killed his brother. Morally ambiguous, as Mann's best films generally are. With Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, Cathy O'Donnell, Alex Nicol. (DW)
12:05 pm (IFC)— La Strada (1954)—See 6:00 am.
1:00 pm (AMC)— A Shot in the Dark (1964)—Blake Edwards directed the second of the Inspector Clouseau films, starring the inimitable Peter Sellers. With Elke Sommer, George Sanders and Herbert Lom. (DW)
1:00 pm (TCM)— A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)—Richard Lester directed this film version of the Broadway musical comedy (with a score by Stephen Sondheim) about ancient Rome. The wonderful Zero Mostel plays a slave in a jam. Frenzied and trying too hard. (DW)
2:00 pm (FXM)— The Razor's Edge (1946)—An overlong film, with some embarrassingly silly moments, but also some extraordinarily believable ones. With Tyrone Power, looking for the meaning of life, Gene Tierney, Anne Baxter. Directed by Edmund Goulding, from the novel by Somerset Maugham. (DW)
*2:00 pm (Cinemax)— Miller's Crossing (1990)—The Coen Brothers do their version of the Red Harvest (Dashiell Hammett) story: gangsters wage a civil war for control of a city. Overblown and self-conscious, but it holds one's attention. With Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney. (DW)
*3:30 pm (HBOS)— The Graduate (1967)—Important coming-of-age film about a young man (Dustin Hoffman, in his first big role) deciding whether to throw in his lot with the adult world. Should he cast off his rebelliousness and join the prospering middle class of the late sixties—i.e., go into "plastics"? Anne Bancroft is the memorable middle-aged seductress (and mother of his fiancee) Mrs. Robinson. Excellent music by Simon and Garfunkel. Directed by Mike Nichols. (MJ)
*3:30 pm (Sundance)— Last Year at Marienbad (1961)—See 8:30 am.
5:30 pm (HBOS)— A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)—See 7:00 am.
*8:00 pm (TCM)— The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)—John Garfield and Lana Turner play the illicit and doomed lovers in the film based on James M. Cain's novel. They kill her husband, the owner of a roadside diner, and suffer the consequences of nearly getting away with it. Tay Garnett directed. (DW)
*10:00 pm (TCM)— Detour (1945)—Edgar G. Ulmer, German expatriate and legendary denizen of Hollywood's Poverty Row, directed this remarkable low-budget work. Tom Neal is a drifter who becomes tragically involved with Ann Savage—and Fate—while hitch-hiking from one coast to the other. Not to be missed. (DW)
11:30 pm (HBO)— Face/Off (1997)—Hong Kong action director John Woo lets out all the stops in this exciting, humorous, and (of course) preposterous film about a government agent (John Travolta) and his terrorist nemesis (Nicolas Cage) exchanging faces. (MJ)
*11:30 pm (TCM)— Dark Passage (1947)—Bizarre film, with Bogart as an escaped convict who undergoes plastic surgery and then tries to uncover a murderer. Directed by Delmer Daves. (DW)
12:55 am (TBS)— Year of the Dragon (1985)—Michael Cimino directed this violent, wildly uneven film about a New York cop, a Vietnam veteran, going up against the Chinese mafia. It contains both convincing and unconvincing elements. Mickey Rourke, John Lone, Ariane. Oliver Stone wrote the script. (DW)
*1:30 am (TCM)— Tension (1949)—A gem of a film noir, directed by John Berry, soon to be blacklisted. Pharmacist Richard Basehart plots to kill his wife's lover, only to discover someone has beaten him to it. With Audrey Trotter and Barry Sullivan. (DW)
3:30 am (Bravo)— The Molly Maguires (1970)—Sean Connery and Richard Harris co-starred in this well-meaning film about the secret organization of Irish-born miners in Pennsylvania in the 1870s. Directed by Martin Ritt. (DW)
4:00 am (A&E)— Robin and Marian (1976)—Likable, evocative film about the later years of Robin Hood. After years in exile, Robin (Sean Connery) returns to Sherwood Forest, takes up with Marian (Audrey Hepburn) again. Richard Lester directed; James Goldman wrote the script. (DW)
4:00 am (FXM)— The Razor's Edge (1946)—See 2:00 pm.
Sunday, July 4
6:20 am (TMC)— The Tall Guy (1989)—Moderately funny film about an American actor (Jeff Goldblum) trying to make it in British theater. Highlights are the daffy musical version of The Elephant Man and Rowan Atkinson's inspired mugging. Also with Emma Thompson. Directed by Mel Smith. (MJ)
*7:05 am (TNT)— The Big Country (1958)—William Wyler's sprawling tale of a blood feud between two families in the West is given sustenance by superb photography and one of the best musical scores ever written for a film, by Jerome Moross. With Burl Ives, Jean Simmons, Gregory Peck, and Charlton Heston. (MJ)
7:50 am (TMC)— Detective Story (1951)—William Wyler's somewhat dated film about the activities inside a New York City police station. Kirk Douglas is a bitter cop, Eleanor Parker his wife, William Bendix another detective. The good cast also includes Horace McMahon, Lee Grant and Joseph Wiseman. (DW)
9:00 am (HBOS)— Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)—Another of Sidney Lumet's tales of police corruption. They are usually incisive, with a good feel for urban realities, but this one, with Andy Garcia as a cop turned crusading DA, is a bit paint-by-numbers. (MJ)
*10:00 am (AMC)— The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)—Vincent Price stars in this very strange, baroque horror film about a man who devises imaginative forms of revenge. Price's character has been injured in an accident, so he speaks but never moves his lips—an eerie touch. Directed by Robert Fuest. (MJ)
*10:40 am (TNT)— For a Few Dollars More (1966)—The sequel to A Fistful of Dollars. One of the more memorable "spaghetti Westerns"; with Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Gian Maria Volonte, directed by Sergio Leone. (DW)
*12:00 pm (Sundance)— Harlan County, U.S.A. (1977)—Powerful documentary by Barbara Kopple about the mineworkers strike in Harlan County, Kentucky. (MJ)
12:00 pm (USA)— The Fly (1986)—David Cronenberg's film about a scientist (Jef Goldblum) who experiments on himself and evolves into a human fly. Cronenberg apparently saw his character's condition as a metaphor for AIDS. Geena Davis is the woman who stands by him. As usual, Cronenberg gets caught up in the machinery of his conceits and loses track of his theme. (DW)
*1:30 pm (HBOS)— The Producers (1968)—Mel Brooks wrote and directed his funniest film, about two producers whose plan—to mount a deliberately awful Broadway musical that will flop and thereby bring them a tax bonanza—backfires. Starring Gene Wilder and the great, rarely seen (because of blacklisting) Zero Mostel. (MJ)
*1:30 pm (TNT)— A Fistful of Dollars (1964)—In the first of Sergio Leone's Italian Westerns Clint Eastwood, in the role that made him a star, plays the Man With No Name. The story, a remake of Kurosawa's Yojimbo, involves warring families in a border town. Ennio Morricone's score is striking. With Gian Maria Volonte and Marianne Koch. (DW)
2:00 pm (Bravo)— The Molly Maguires (1970)—See Saturday, at 3:30 am.
5:30 pm (TMC)— The Tall Guy (1989)—See 6:20 am.
*6:00 pm (HBOS)— The Ice Storm (1997)—Excellent film by Ang Lee of aimlessness and disillusionment in the 1970s. As the middle class disintegrates in suburbia, we see the disintegration of the White House playing out in the background as the Watergate crisis runs its course. The fine cast includes Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Jamey Sheridan, and Christina Ricci. (MJ)
7:00 pm (TMC)— Saturday Night Fever (1977)—A hardware store salesman in Brooklyn becomes a champion disco dancer at night. This is the film that launched John Travolta's film career, and he is a marvel as a dancer. Music by the Bee Gees. Directed by John Badham. (MJ)
*8:00 pm (TCM)— Rebel Without a Cause (1955)—Nicholas Ray's socially conscious portrait of disaffected youth, with James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo. Memorable scene in a planetarium. (DW)
*8:00 pm (Family)— Lost in America (1985)—Yuppies, played by Albert Brooks (who also directed) and Julie Hagerty, give up their good corporate jobs to tour the country in an RV, with disastrous (and funny) results. (MJ)
*9:50 pm (Encore)— Five Easy Pieces (1970)—Early Jack Nicholson film that helped define his sardonic screen persona. He plays a concert pianist from a wealthy family who opts to work on an oil rig. Watch for the memorable scene in the diner between Nicholson's character and a waitress. Directed by the underappreciated Bob Rafelson. With Karen Black, Billy "Green" Bush, and Susan Anspach. (MJ)
11:00 pm (FX)— Wall Street (1987)—Oliver Stone directed this film about Wall Street sharks and their comeuppance with his usual subtlety and restraint. With Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen and Michael Douglas. (DW)
12:45 am (TNT)— How the West Was Won (1963)—An "epic" saga, with more weaknesses than strengths, about three generations of western pioneers. Henry Fonda, Carroll Baker, Gregory Peck, George Peppard and countless others star. Co-directed by John Ford, Henry Hathaway, and George Marshall. (DW)
2:20 am (TBS)— Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)—A lightweight film, but some lively performances by a remarkable group of young actors: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Robert Romanus, Phoebe Cates, Forest Whitaker, Anthony Edwards, Nicholas Cage. (DW)
3:05 am (HBOP)— Serpico (1973)—Al Pacino plays a loner cop taking on corruption in the New York Police Department. As always, director Sidney Lumet captures the texture of New York City. (MJ)
*4:00 am (Sundance)— Harlan County, U.S.A. (1977)—See 12:00 pm.
Monday, July 5
5:55 am (Encore)— At Long Last Love (1975)—Burt Reynolds and Sybill Shepherd can neither sing nor dance—they are definitely not Astaire and Rogers. Still, it's fun to watch them mangle Cole Porter's beautiful music and lyrics. Peter Bogdanovich's glitzy, expensive film proves that a warm affection for 1930's film musicals is not enough. One of the great bombs. With Madeline Kahn (often funny, despite her material) and John Hillerman. (MJ)
6:00 am (TCM)— Ah, Wilderness! (1935)—Based on the relatively lighthearted Eugene O'Neill play about turn-of-the-century small-town life. Directed by Clarence Brown, with Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore and Mickey Rooney. (DW)
*6:10 am (HBOS)— The Graduate (1967)—See Saturday, at 3:30 pm.
7:00 am (Cinemax)— Ship of Fools (1965)—Ponderous film that attempts to show the social elements responsible for the rise of Nazism in the microcosm of a ship bound for Hamburg in 1933. By the self-important liberal producer/director Stanley Kramer—the Oliver Stone of his day. Even a star-filled cast (Vivien Leigh, Oskar Werner, Simone Signoret, José Ferrer, Lee Marvin) can't keep this wooden boat from sinking. Interesting only because it shows what passed for serious film in the mid-1960s. (MJ)
*7:00 am (TNT)— Gettysburg (1993)—Ronald Maxwell's meticulous recreation of the great Civil War battle. With Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, Martin Sheen, Sam Elliott and many others. (DW)
*9:15 am (IFC)— Rashomon (1950)—Well-known work by Japanese master Akira Kurosawa. In medieval Japan, four people give differing accounts of violent attack by a bandit on a nobleman. With Toshiro Mifune. (DW)
12:15 pm (Cinemax)— Lifeboat (1944)—Alfred Hitchcock's tale of shipwreck survivors during World War II. With Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, and Walter Slezak as a Nazi taken aboard. (DW)
1:15 pm (AMC)— People Will Talk (1951)—Odd film, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, with Cary Grant as a philosophizing doctor, married to Jeanne Crain. He is accused of malpractice and has to defend himself. (DW)
2:00 pm (HBOP)— Play It Again, Sam (1972)—Woody Allen's very funny homage to Bogart and Casablanca. Starring and written by Allen, but directed by Herbert Ross. With Diane Keaton. (MJ)
*2:45 pm (IFC)— Rashomon (1950)—See 9:15 am.
3:15 pm (AMC)— Sodom and Gomorrah (1963)—Robert Aldrich directed this above average Biblical epic. Starring Stewart Granger and Pier Angeli. (MJ)
5:30 pm (HBOS)— Contact (1997)—An intelligent, refreshingly non-xenophobic film on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Jodie Foster plays the single-minded astrophysicist in this adaptation from the novel by the late Carl Sagan. Unfortunately, toward the end the film becomes mushy-minded and tries to make its peace with religion. (MJ)
5:45 pm (Cinemax)— The Poseidon Adventure (1972)—Of interest because it was made when disaster films were peopled by real actors and not filled with ultra-expensive special effects, cartoonish characters, and pretty faces. The preposterous story has a luxury liner and its passengers being turned over by a gigantic ocean wave; the passengers must find their way out of the upside-down vessel. The good cast includes Gene Hackman, Roddy McDowell, Shelley Winters, Ernest Borgnine, and Jack Albertson. Directed by Ronald Neame. (MJ)
6:00 pm (AMC)— Land of the Pharaohs (1955)—Howard Hawks' historical epic is full of the typical Hollywood hokum, but the scenes of the building of the pyramids are truly impressive. William Faulkner helped write the screenplay. With Jack Hawkins and Joan Collins. (MJ)
*6:30 pm (HBOP)— Chinatown (1974)—The best example of modern film noir. A convoluted tale of incest, corruption, and the fight over access to southern California water. Jack Nicholson plays the private detective. With Faye Dunaway, John Huston. Directed by Roman Polanski. (MJ)
*9:00 pm (HBOS)— The Graduate (1967)—See Saturday, at 3:30 pm.
10:00 pm (HBO)— The Devil's Advocate (1997)—Satan (portrayed in an over-the-top performance by Al Pacino) runs a white-shoe law firm in New York City. Keanu Reeves, as an ambitious young lawyer, makes a Faustian bargain and suffers for it. A very funny horror film that trades on the public's distrust of the legal profession. (MJ)
12:00 am (FXM)— Julia (1977)—Vanessa Redgrave won an Oscar for her performance as the anti-fascist Julia based on Lillian Hellman's autobiographical work, Pentimento. With Jane Fonda, Jason Robards; directed by Fred Zinnemann. (DW)
12:00 am (TCM)— Treasure Island (1934)—A solid version of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of pirates and treasure. With Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper, directed by Victor Fleming. (DW)
1:00 am (AMC)— Land of the Pharaohs (1955)—See 6:00 pm.
3:15 am (IFC)— Ran (1985)—Akira Kurosawa's epic version of Shakespeare's King Lear, about a warlord who provokes a conflict between his sons by handing over power to the eldest. (DW)
Tuesday, July 6
6:00 am (HBOS)— A Star Is Born (1954)—Judy Garland is the star on the way up and James Mason the unfortunate drunk on the way down, in George Cukor's version of the tragic tale. A remake of the 1937 film made by William Wellman, with Fredric March and Janet Gaynor. (DW)
*7:35 am (TMC)— The Big Carnival (1951)—Billy Wilder's highly bitter film about a down-on-his-luck reporter who exploits a man trapped in a deep cave for the sake of a big story. Fifty years later, with the media even more ravenous and cynical, the film is still timely. Kirk Douglas is outstanding in the kind of snarling role he perfected. With Jan Sterling. Also known as Ace in the Hole. (MJ)
*7:45 am (IFC)— Rashomon (1950)—See Monday, at 9:15 am.
9:00 am (HBOS)— Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)—See Sunday, at 9:00 am.
11:00 am (TNT)— Andersonville (1996)—John Frankenheimer's made-for-television film about the Confederate prison camp where 13,000 Union soldiers died from disease, starvation and brutality. (DW)
*2:00 pm (Sundance)— Last Year at Marienbad (1961)—See Saturday, at 8:30 am.
4:00 pm (TCM)— The Fountainhead (1949)—King Vidor directed Ayn Rand's adaptation of her own reactionary novel in hyperbolic style, reaching extremes that are often hilarious. Gary Cooper plays the heroic, unbending, individualist architect, Patricia Neal the heiress who carries on a love-hate relationship with him. (MJ)
4:00 pm (AMC)— The Molly Maguires (1970)—Sean Connery and Richard Harris co-starred in this well-meaning film about the secret organization of Irish-born miners in Pennsylvania in the 1870s. Directed by Martin Ritt. (DW)
8:00 pm (Encore)— Young Frankenstein (1974)—One of Mel Brooks' funnier and more successful parodies, this time of the classic horror film by James Whale. Particularly effective because it uses many of the original sets. With Peter Boyle (as the monster) and Gene Wilder (as Dr. Frankenstein). (MJ)
9:00 pm (HBOS)— Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)—See Sunday, at 9:00 am.
*11:00 pm (TCM)— The Gay Divorcee (1934)—One of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals. Not famous for its plot, but for its musical numbers, including "Continental" and Cole Porter's "Night and Day." Directed by journeyman Mark Sandrich. (DW)
1:15 am (IFC)— Ran (1985)—See Monday, at 3:15 am.
2:05 am (Encore)— Repulsion (1965)—Catherine Deneuve starred as a sexually repressed girl who goes homicidal when her sister leaves her on her own in an apartment for a few days. Startling at the time, it seems dated today. Directed by Roman Polanski. (DW)
2:30 am (HBOS)— Marathon Man (1976)—See Saturday, at 10:30 am.
Wednesday, July 7
7:10 am (Cinemax)— Leave Her to Heaven (1945)—Extraordinary melodrama by John Stahl, about a woman (Gene Tierney) consumed by jealousy and possessiveness, to the point of madness and murder. With Cornel Wilde and Vincent Price. (DW)
8:00 am (TCM)— The Philadelphia Story (1940)—George Cukor directed this film adaptation of Philip Barry's stage play about a spoiled mainline socialite yearning for—well, what exactly? One critic calls it "simply the breaking, reining, and saddling of an unruly thoroughbred," i.e., Katharine Hepburn. (DW)
9:00 am (AMC)— I Was a Male War Bride (1949)—Cary Grant is a French officer marrying a WAC (Ann Sheridan) and encountering a series of dilemmas. The film is very funny, and it also provides director Howard Hawks an opportunity to examine sexual roles, and subvert them. (DW)
9:30 am (HBO)— The Fifth Element (1997)—Vacuous, silly science fiction film in which the future of the universe hinges on a Brooklyn cabdriver (played in proletarian style by Bruce Willis) finding something called "the fifth element." Worth seeing only for its imaginative settings and special effects. Typical scenery-chewing villainy by Gary Oldman. Directed by Luc Besson. (MJ)
11:00 am (AMC)— Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951)—Raoul Walsh directed this sea epic set in the Napoleonic wars, based on the C.S. Forester novels, in his vivid, muscular style. Some remarkable sequences. The normally dull Gregory Peck is well-cast as Hornblower. (DW)
2:00 pm (TCM)— The Actress (1953)—The film is based on the experiences of Ruth Gordon struggling to be a stage performer in the early part of the century in Massachusetts. With Jean Simmons, Spencer Tracy, and a youthful Anthony Perkins. George Cukor directed. (DW)
*3:30 pm (IFC)— The Dead (1987)—John Huston's deeply felt adaptation of James Joyce's short story, one of the best in the English language. This was Huston's last film; it ended his great career on a high note. With Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann. (MJ)
*4:30 pm (HBOS)— The Ice Storm (1997)—See Sunday, at 6:00 pm.
5:30 pm (HBOP)— Contact (1997)—See Monday, at 5:30 pm.
5:45 pm (HBO)— The Fifth Element (1997)—See 9:30 am.
6:30 pm (HBOS)— Play It Again, Sam (1972)—See Monday, at 2:00 pm.
8:00 pm (TCM)— King Kong (1933)—Beauty and the Beast story, with Fay Wray as the former and an animated ape as the latter. Last ten minutes are worth waiting for. Directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. (DW)
8:15 pm (AMC)— Dark Command (1940)—Raoul Walsh directed this lively Hollywood version of the rise and fall of the murderous Quantrill raiders, active in Kansas during the Civil War. Walter Pidgeon plays William Quantrill, John Wayne is the marshal with whom he clashes. (DW)
*9:35 pm (Encore)— Barry Lyndon (1975)—An intelligent adaptation of William Thackeray's novel about an 18th-century scoundrel, directed by Stanley Kubrick. (DW)
*10:00 pm (TCM)— The Birds (1963)—Alfred Hitchcock's terrifying drama about swarms of birds attacking humans in a small northern California town. With Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren and Jessica Tandy. (DW)
10:45 pm (HBOP)— City of Industry (1997)—Harvey Keitel gives an excellent performance (almost a reprise of his role in Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs) as an old-school criminal at the end of his career. Otherwise, this is a competently made film about a jewel heist and its aftermath, set in the rundown Los Angeles that is becoming familiar to moviegoers. Directed by John Irvin. (MJ)
2:00 am (AMC)— Dark Command (1940)—See 8:15 pm.
Thursday, July 8
*7:45 am (IFC)— The Dead (1987)—See Wednesday, at 3:30 pm.
8:00 am (HBOS)— Little Women (1933)—George Cukor's film version of the Louisa May Alcott classic, perhaps the best of the lot. Four sisters growing up in Civil War America, with Katharine Hepburn and Joan Bennett. (DW)
*9:00 am (TCM)— Lolita (1962)—Relatively daring film version of the Vladimir Nabokov novel about a middle-aged English academic who develops a passion for a young girl. Stanley Kubrick directed James Mason, Sue Lyon, Shelley Winters and Peter Sellers. (DW)
*9:35 am (TMC)— The Shootist (1976)—John Wayne plays a gunfighter dying of cancer who returns to his home town for a last bit of peace. James Stewart is the doctor. This excellent, moving film was Wayne's last. Directed by Don Siegel. (MJ)
12:00 pm (TCM)— The Champ (1931)—Wallace Beery is an over-the-hill boxer and Jackie Cooper his adoring son in this sentimental, but very moving work, directed by King Vidor. (DW)
*12:15 pm (IFC)— The Dead (1987)—See Wednesday, at 3:30 pm.
1:45 pm (AMC)— Love in the Afternoon (1957)—Billy Wilder directed this film about the affair between a young Parisian woman (Audrey Hepburn) and a middle-aged American businessman (Gary Cooper). Maurice Chevalier is her father, a private detective. This was Wilder's first film cowritten with I.A.L. Diamond. (DW)
5:45 pm (HBOP)— Serpico (1973)—See Sunday, at 3:05 am.
6:00 pm (IFC)— La Strada (1954)—See Saturday, at 6:00 am.
12:45 am (HBOS)— A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)—See Saturday, at 7:00 am.
2:30 am (Bravo)— Things Change (1988)—A poor Italian-American shoemaker willingly takes the rap for a mobster. David Mamet wrote and directed this disappointing, poorly resolved film that is distinguished by a remarkable performance by the elderly Don Ameche. With Joe Mantegna. (MJ)
3:25 am (HBO)— The Devil's Advocate (1997)—See Monday, at 10:00 pm.
Friday, July 9
*6:00 am (TCM)— I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932)—Heavy-handed, but powerful expose of conditions on prison farms. Mervyn LeRoy directed Paul Muni as the innocent man framed up by the justice system. (DW)
*6:00 am (Sundance)— Harlan County, U.S.A. (1977)—See Sunday, at 12:00 pm.
6:00 am (Cinemax)— Them! (1954)—One of the extraordinary 1950s black-and-white science fiction films, products of Cold War paranoia and insecurity, among other things. This one is about giant ant mutations terrorizing the Southwest and ultimately Los Angeles. Directed by Gordon Douglas. James Whitmore and Edmund Gwenn co-star. (DW)
7:45 am (IFC)— La Strada (1954)—See Saturday, at 6:00 am.
8:00 am (TCM)— The Fugitive (1947)—Henry Fonda is a unorthodox priest wanted by the government in Mexico. He is turned in by a man who once helped him, in this John Ford film. (DW)
10:00 am (FXM)— The Hustler (1961)—Basically a boxing film, but set among serious pool sharks. Robert Rossen's movie is beautifully shot and capably acted, but the dialogue is full of stagey, pseudo-profound, high-proletarian language. With Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, and Jackie Gleason. MJ)
10:00 am (TMC)— Saturday Night Fever (1977)—See Sunday, at 7:00 pm.
*12:00 pm (AMC)— The Parallax View (1974)—An exceptional, haunting conspiracy film from director Alan Pakula. Journalist (Warren Beatty) investigates a political assassination and the murders of all witnesses to it. He finds himself completely involved and his life in peril. Marvelous vertiginous beginning at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle. With Paula Prentiss, Hume Cronyn, William Daniels. (MJ)
1:00 pm (Cinemax)— Super Mario Brothers (1993)—Underrated, highly imaginative film version of the popular video game, to which it bears only a slight resemblance. The two plumber brothers (Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo) visit an alternate universe in which evolution took a different course, leaving dinosaurs as the dominant species. Dennis Hopper overacts wonderfully as the dinosaur dictator of this world. (MJ)
*1:15 pm (Sundance)— Harlan County, U.S.A. (1977)—See Sunday, at 12:00 pm.
4:00 pm (Bravo)— Things Change (1988)—See Thursday, at 2:30 am.
*6:00 pm (AMC)— The Grapes of Wrath (1940)—John Ford's version of the John Steinbeck classic novel, about the Joad family, driven from their home in the 1930s "Dust Bowl." Henry Fonda plays Tom Joad. With Jane Darwell, John Carradine. (DW)
*6:15 pm (HBOS)— The Graduate (1967)—See Saturday, at 3:30 pm.
*6:30 pm (HBOP)— Last Action Hero (1993)—Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle that proves to be a delight. A boy goes to a movie theater and meets his idol—an action hero—who steps out of the screen and takes him back in. A good action film that spoofs the genre and plays with the tension between movies and reality. It also includes hilarious sendups of Olivier's Hamlet and Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Directed by John McTiernan. (MJ)
8:00 pm (TNT)— Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)—Sissy Spacek, who did her own singing, is excellent in this slightly sanitized biography of country singer Loretta Lynn, born in poverty in Kentucky. Tommy Lee Jones as her husband, Beverly D'Angelo as Patsy Cline and Levon Helm as her coal-miner father also stand out. Directed by Michael Apted. (DW)
*8:00 pm (TCM)— The Mask of Dimitrios (1944)—Not as good as the wonderful political drama/suspense novel by Eric Ambler, about inter-war intrigue in the Balkans (eerily echoed in today's headlines), but a solid film in its own right. With Zachary Scott, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet; directed by Jean Negulesco. (DW)
*10:00 pm (Encore)— Full Metal Jacket (1987)—Stanley Kubrick directed this film about the Vietnam war, which in its first half—Marine training at Parris Island—may be the most harrowing depiction of military life ever put on film (mainly due to the presence of ex-drill instructor Lee Ermey). However, as a coherent anti-war film, it does not equal Kubrick's own Paths of Glory. (MJ)
10:45 pm (TNT)— Coogan's Bluff (1968)—A good action film, directed by veteran Don Siegel, concerning an Arizona lawman (Clint Eastwood) who comes to New York City to pick up a prisoner (Don Stroud); complications ensue. (DW)
12:00 am (FXM)— The Hustler (1961)—See 10:00 am.
2:25 am (HBOP)— Face/Off (1997)—See Saturday, at 11:30 pm.