Some interesting films on US television, July 31-August 6
Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW)
31 July 1999
Video pick of the week—find it in your video store
We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974)—Director Ettore Scola's celebration of Italian cinema. The film follows the friendship and diverging paths of three friends and the woman they all love, for three decades, starting with their camaraderie as partisans in World War II. Various Italian cinematic styles are used during the different periods of the story. The great director Federico Fellini makes a cameo appearance, filming his La Dolce Vita. With Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi, Satta Flores and Stefania Sandrelli. (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 31
6:00 a.m. (FXM)— At Long Last Love (1975)—Burt Reynolds and Cybill 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 1930s film musicals is not enough. One of the great bombs. With Madeline Kahn (often funny, despite her material) and John Hillerman. (MJ)
6:00 a.m. (TCM)— The Shop Around the Corner (1940)—James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan are coworkers who, unbeknownst to themselves, have entered into a romance through letters. Marvelous Ernst Lubitsch film, occasionally precious, but deeply felt. (DW)
6:30 a.m. (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)
8:00 a.m. (TCM)— 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. Codirected by John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall. (DW)
1:45 p.m. (HBOS)— 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)
3:35 p.m. (TMC)— Sliding Doors (1998)—Charming, likable light comedy hinges on a gimmick that works well: the film shows the two paths the main character's life could take depending on whether or not she misses her train. A vehicle for the talented Gwyneth Paltrow, performing with a flawless British accent. (MJ)
*6:15 p.m. (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 fiancée) Mrs. Robinson. Excellent music by Simon and Garfunkel. Directed by Mike Nichols. (MJ)
*6:30 p.m. (HBOP)— 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)
8:00 p.m. (TCM)— Act of Violence (1949)—Fred Zinnemann directed this well-meaning effort. Robert Ryan is a crippled, former soldier in pursuit of a former officer who betrayed his men while a prisoner. With Van Heflin, Janet Leigh, Mary Astor. (DW)
*10:45 p.m. (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 send-ups of Olivier's Hamlet and Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Directed by John McTiernan. (MJ)
4:50 a.m. (TMC)— Sliding Doors (1998)—See 3:35 p.m.
Sunday, August 1
7:45 a.m. (HBOS)— The Sun Also Rises (1957)—Star-filled adaptation of the Hemingway novel. Glossy and inadequate. Directed by Henry King. (MJ)
8:05 a.m. (AMC)— Sodom and Gomorrah (1963)—Robert Aldrich directed this above average Biblical epic. Starring Stewart Granger and Pier Angeli. (MJ)
9:00 a.m. (Comedy)— Something Wild (1986)—Melanie Griffith, in one her rare performances of substance, turns out to be trouble for Jeff Daniels, an uptight businessman. Ray Liotta is her psychotic boyfriend. Not a great film, but it has its moments. Directed by Jonathan Demme. (DW)
1:30 p.m. (Cinemax)— 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)
3:30 p.m. (Comedy)— Something Wild (1986)—See 9:00 a.m.
5:00 p.m. (TBS)— Rain Man (1988)—Barry Levinson's anti-Reaganite work, with Dustin Hoffman as an autistic man and Tom Cruise, a 1980s Babbitt, as his yuppie hustler brother. (DW)
5:00 p.m. (Bravo)— Finian's Rainbow (1968)—Petula Clark sings beautifully, Fred Astaire is miscast as her dreamy dad, and Tommy Steele quickly wears out his welcome as the broad-smiling, hyperactive leprechaun in Francis Copplola's flat version of the hit populist Broadway musical. In the course of this unrelentingly upbeat film, a tobacco-growing commune struggles for survival and a bigoted Southern senator is turned into an African-American. However, the songs by E.Y. Harburg retain their charm. (MJ)
*6:00 p.m. (TCM)— Casablanca (1942)—The Michael Curtiz classic about life and love in wartime Morocco, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. (DW)
8:00 p.m. (Encore)— Night and the City (1992)—Fair remake of the superb 1950 film noir by Jules Dassin. In this version, directed by Irwin Winkler, Robert De Niro takes the Richard Widmark part, and the scene is shifted from London to New York City. The shady world of boxing promotion is well captured in the screenplay by Richard Price. (MJ)
8:00 p.m. (TCM)— The Pink Panther (1964)—The first of the series, with Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau chasing the famous jewel thief, The Phantom. With David Niven, Claudia Cardinale, Capucine, Robert Wagner. Directed by Blake Edwards. (DW)
*10:05 p.m. (TBS)— Fargo (1996)—A kidnaping goes terribly wrong in Minnesota, and a pregnant, low-key, small-town sheriff (Frances McDormand) tries to solve it. Grotesque, satirical, sometimes cartoonish, often funny, this is one of the Coen Brothers' best films. With Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy, Peter Stormare and Harve Presnell. (MJ)
12:00 a.m. (Showtime)— 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 insired mugging. Also with Emma Thompson. Directed by Mel Smith. (MJ)
3:30 a.m. (Bravo)— Finian's Rainbow (1968)—See 5:00 p.m.
Monday, August 2
*6:00 a.m. (AMC)— Limelight (1952)—Chaplin is a washed-up music hall comic who saves Claire Bloom from suicide in this exquisitely painful look at the art of performance. Chaplin and Buster Keaton, two immortals, team up in one memorable scene. (DW)
6:45 a.m. (HBOS)— Local Hero (1983)—Peter Riegert is an American oil company agent commissioned to buy up a Scottish village whose land is needed for an oil refinery. Directed by Bill Forsyth; with Burt Lancaster, Fulton MacKay. (DW)
12:00 p.m. (Bravo)— Finian's Rainbow (1968)—See Sunday at 5:00 p.m.
12:10 p.m. (Encore)— Topaz (1969)—A lesser Hitchcock film involving US intelligence, French intelligence, Cuba, and the Soviet Union—muddled but still worth watching. It contains an unfortunate cartoonish sequence of Fidel Castro's stay at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem right after the revolution; he and his followers are presented as crude, ignorant buffoons. (MJ)
*12:30 p.m. (TCM)— The Thin Man (1934)—The first of the films featuring husband and wife detective team of Nick and Nora Charles, with more than a touch of madcap comedy. With William Powell and Myrna Loy as the duo. Directed by W.S. Van Dyke. (MJ)
6:00 a.m. (TMC)— At Long Last Love (1975)—See Saturday at 6:00 a.m.
4:00 p.m. (TCM)— What's New, Pussycat? (1965)—Silly, but sometimes very funny film directed by Clive Donner and written by Woody Allen (in his first such effort), about fashion editor Peter O'Toole who goes to psychiatrist Peter Sellers for advice. Mayhem ensues. (DW)
8:30 p.m. (AMC)— Gypsy (1962)—Unfortunate film adaptation of the great Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents musical. Rosalind Russell does not have the necessary fire in her belly for the role of Mama Rose. Worth seeing for the music, but look for the recent, far better, made-for-TV version with Bette Midler. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Also starring Natalie Wood and Karl Malden. (MJ)
9:30 p.m. (FXM)— The Big Trail (1930)—An early sound picture, with John Wayne, in his first starring role, shepherding a flock of pioneers westward. Somewhat stiff and awkward, but with very nice touches. Directed with his customary vigor by Raoul Walsh. (DW)
*11:00 p.m. (Bravo)— Heavenly Creatures (1994)—Odd, compelling film, based on fact and set in 1950s New Zealand. Two inseparable teen-age girls kill the mother of one to prevent their being parted. Directed by Peter Jackson. With Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet. (MJ)
1:20 a.m. (Encore)— Modern Romance (1981)—Occasionally amusing film, directed by and starring Albert Brooks as a neurotic film editor obsessed with Kathryn Harrold. (DW)
3:00 a.m. (AMC)— Gypsy (1962)—See 8:30 p.m.
4:00 a.m. (HBOP)— The Firm (1993)—Another film that takes a shot at the legal profession. In this paranoid potboiler, a young, ambitious lawyer finds out that his high-toned firm is totally owned by organized crime. An unremarkable film is saved by a remarkable performance by Gene Hackman (always dependable), playing a cynical partner. From the bestseller by John Grisham. (MJ)
*4:00 a.m. (TCM)— Ride the High Country (1962)—Sam Peckinpah directed this anti-Western, with Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, as two aging gunfighters guarding a gold shipment shipped from a remote mining town. (DW)
Tuesday, August 3
*6:40 a.m. (Showtime)— All About Eve (1950)—Joseph Mankiewicz wrote and directed this classic about backstabbing in the world of the theater. The dialog is nonstop witty and incisive. Memorable performances by George Sanders and Bette Davis. (MJ)
*7:00 a.m. (AMC)— Pete Kelly's Blues (1955)—Underrated film about a jazz band in the 1920s and its fight against being taken over by the mob, as told by the trumpet player (Jack Webb, who also directed). Excellent jazz score. Director Webb made good use of the wide screen, so the film is best seen in letterbox format. With Peggy Lee (who won an Academy Award). (MJ)
7:50 a.m. (Encore)— Empire of the Sun (1987)—Steven Spielberg directed this version of the J.G. Ballard autobiographical novel about a young British boy during World War II stranded in China. With Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson. Tom Stoppard wrote the script. (DW)
*9:30 a.m. (HBOP)— Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)—James Ivory directed this touching film that follows a reserved Kansas City couple through several decades, revealing much of what really goes on under the surface of their long, seemingly placid relationship. Starring real-life husband and wife Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in quiet, sensitive performances. Adapted—with inevitable changes and abridgements—from the brilliant but unfilmable pair of novels by Evan S. Connell, Jr. (MJ)
10:15 a.m. (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)
10:30 a.m. (Encore)— The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974)—Richard Dreyfuss, in an early role, plays a canny, upwardly striving young man in the Jewish section of Montreal. Ted Kotcheff directed, and Mordecai Richler wrote the screenplay from his own novel. (MJ)
*11:15 a.m. (Showtime)— The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1943)—One of Preston Sturges's wonderful comic looks at American morals and manners. Eddie Bracken, Betty Hutton and William Demarest. (DW)
*12:30 p.m. (Bravo)— Heavenly Creatures (1994)—See Monday at 11:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. (HBO)— The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)—Woody Allen combines Keaton's Sherlock Jr. and Fellini's The White Sheik to come up with a satisfying tale about a drab housewife (Mia Farrow) romanced by a character (Jeff Daniels) who literally steps out of the movie screen. (MJ)
*6:00 p.m. (TCM)— Strange Cargo (1940)—One of the strangest films ever to come out of Hollywood. Prisoners escape from Devil's Island, and it turns out that one of them may or may not be Jesus Christ. With Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, and Ian Hunter. Directed by Frank Borzage. (MJ)
6:10 p.m. (Encore)— Ishtar (1987)—One of the most famous failures in recent Hollywood history, Elaine May directed this $40 million picture, which stars Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. Interesting as an historical curiosity. (DW)
6:10 p.m. (Cinemax)— Gattaca (1997)—In this future capitalist society, your place in the productive process is determined by your genetic makeup—which is mapped at birth and stays with you as your main ID for life. One man rebels against the system. Andrew Niccol wrote and directed this intelligent film, highly derivative of the fiction of Philip K. Dick. (MJ)
8:00 p.m. (TCM)— La Strada (1954)—Federico Fellini directed this work about a brutal carnival strongman (Anthony Quinn), his long-suffering girlfriend (Giuletta Masina) and a kindhearted acrobat (Richard Basehart). (DW)
9:00 p.m. (TMC)— Young Frankenstein (1974)—One of Mel Brooks's 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)
9:35 p.m. (FXM)— 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)
9:40 p.m. (Encore)— Empire of the Sun (1987)—See 7:50 a.m.
Wednesday, August 4
6:30 a.m. (HBOS)— Days of Wine and Roses (1962)—Blake Edwards's somber film about alcoholic Jack Lemmon who drags Lee Remick into his orbit. (DW)
8:00 a.m. (Cinemax)— Gilda (1946)—Rita Hayworth is spectacular (singing "Put the Blame on Mame") in Charles Vidor's drama about a love triangle in postwar South America. George Macready is a shady casino owner, Hayworth his restless wife and Glenn Ford a new employee. (DW)
*8:10 a.m. (Encore)— Saboteur (1942)—Excellent Alfred Hitchcock film, with Robert Cummings as an innocent munitions plant worker accused of sabotage. With Priscilla Lane. (DW)
10:15 a.m. (AMC)— Dallas (1950)—A story set in post-Civil War Dallas, with Gary Cooper seeking revenge on those who wronged him. Ruth Roman and Steve Cochran costar. Directed by Stuart Heisler. (DW)
3:15 p.m. (HBOS)— The Firm (1993)—See Monday at 4:00 a.m.
4:30 p.m. (AMC)— The Naked Jungle (1954)—Above-average jungle adventure directed by Byron Haskin, with Charlton Heston and Eleanor Parker. (DW)
*8:00 p.m. (Bravo)— Indochine (1992)—A fine film that sets its overwrought love story in the context of the developing revolution in Indochina. It spans the period from the birth of the Indochinese Communist Party to the defeat of the brutal French colonialists and the division of Vietnam at the 1954 Geneva Conference. Catherine Deneuve gives a remarkable performance as the owner of a rubber plantation. With Vincent Perez. Directed by Regis Wargnier. (MJ)
*10:00 p.m. (TCM)— Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)—Vincente Minnelli's sentimental, but very evocative musical about turn-of-the-century family life in St. Louis, set during the World's Fair of 1903. Judy Garland is memorable; she sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "The Trolley Song," among others. Margaret O'Brien is her younger sister. With Leon Ames and Mary Astor. (DW)
*10:05 p.m. (TBS)— Fargo (1996)—See Sunday at 10:05 p.m.
*10:30 p.m. (HBOS)— Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)—Paul Mazursky's comic, perceptive look at the sexual mores of the American middle class in the 1960s. With Robert Culp, Natalie Wood, Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon. (MJ)
12:00 a.m. (TCM)— Yolanda and the Thief (1945)—Fred Astaire is a con man in this Vincente Minnelli musical, trying to convince Lucille Bremer, a Latin American heiress, that he is her guardian angel. With Frank Morgan. (DW)
*1:30 a.m. (Bravo)— Indochine (1992)—See 8:00 p.m.
2:00 a.m. (TCM)— The Pirate (1948)—One of Vincente Minnelli's classic MGM musicals, with his wife, Judy Garland. Gene Kelly is a circus clown she mistakes for a pirate. Cole Porter wrote the songs. (DW)
*2:10 a.m. (TBS)— Fargo (1996)—See Sunday at 10:05 p.m.
Thursday, August 5
*6:00 a.m. (TCM)— The Maltese Falcon (1941)—John Huston classic, based on the Dashiell Hammett novel, with Humphrey Bogart as private detective Sam Spade. Sydney Greenstreet, Mary Astor and Peter Lorre brilliantly co-star. (DW)
6:15 a.m. (HBOS)— Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)—See Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.
*6:45 a.m. (AMC)— The Great Dictator (1940)—Chaplin plays the twin role of a Jewish barber and Adenoid Hynkel of Tomania, in this extraordinary attack, which also manages to be very funny, on Hitler and Nazism. Jack Oakie is Benzino Napaloni of Bacteria. (DW)
*6:45 a.m. (Encore)— Shadow of a Doubt (1943)—Teresa Wright is a young girl who comes to realize that her amiable uncle is the Merry Widow murderer, in this remarkable Alfred Hitchcock work. Playwright Thornton Wilder helped write the script. (DW)
8:00 a.m. (TCM)— Across the Pacific (1942)—World War II spy and action drama, with Humphrey Bogart as an army officer cashiered so that he can make contact with pro-Japanese forces. John Huston directed. (DW)
10:00 a.m. (TCM)— Key Largo (1948)—A brutal gangster (Edward G. Robinson) holds a group of people hostage in a hotel during a hurricane. Humphrey Bogart is a returning veteran. Based on Maxwell Anderson's play, script by John Huston (who directed) and Richard Brooks. With Claire Trevor. (DW)
*11:45 a.m. (TCM)— The Asphalt Jungle (1950)—One of the best jewel heist films, and one of director John Huston's best. With Sterling Hayden and Louis Calhern (who has the best line: "Crime is nothing but a left-handed form of endeavor"). (MJ)
1:30 p.m. (Cinemax)— Contact (1997)—See Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
*1:45 p.m. (Showtime)— 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)
6:15 p.m. (AMC)— River of No Return (1954)—Otto Preminger directed this interesting, relatively somber story. Robert Mitchum rescues a man (Rory Calhoun) and a woman (Marilyn Monroe) from drowning. Calhoun promptly steals his horse and takes off. Vengeful Mitchum, with his young son, and Monroe pursue him by raft. (DW)
*8:00 p.m. (TCM)— An American in Paris (1951)—Classic MGM musical directed by Vincente Minnelli and built around its Gershwin score; Alan Jay Lerner wrote the screenplay. Gene Kelly is an artist torn between gamine Leslie Caron and wealthy Nina Foch. With the irrepressible Oscar Levant. (DW)
*9:00 p.m. (HBOS)— Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)—See Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.
*10:00 p.m. (TCM)— The Band Wagon (1953)—Superior Fred Astaire vehicle about a film star trying to make a comeback on Broadway. This is the film that featured the song "That's Entertainment!" Some sharp satire on Broadway pretensions of the time. Directed by Vincente Minnelli. With Cyd Charisse and Jack Buchanan (particularly good). (MJ)
10:50 p.m. (Encore)— Everyone Says I Love You (1996)—Woody Allen at his most romantic and artificial. In this, Allen's only musical, people break into song (not unnaturally) and seem to have a genuinely good time, in a cliquish kind of way. The locales are Venice, Paris, and (of course) the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and very quickly the upper-crust, smug liberal values of the jet set characters become insufferable. With Edward Norton, Goldie Hawn and Alan Alda. (MJ)
12:00 a.m. (AMC)— Don't Bother to Knock (1952)—Marilyn Monroe, in an early role, is a demented baby-sitter who threatens to kill the child in her care. With Richard Widmark, Anne Bancroft, Jim Backus. Directed by Roy Ward Baker. (DW)
12:00 a.m. (TCM)— Brigadoon (1954)—Vincente Minnelli's rendition of the Lerner and Loewe musical about two hikers (Gene Kelly and Van Johnson) in Scotland who happen upon a village that comes to life every 300 years. Colorful and charming, but suffers badly from being shot on an obvious Hollywood soundstage. Also starrring Cyd Charisse. (MJ)
Friday, August 6
6:00 a.m. (Cinemax)— 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)
2:30 p.m. (TCM)— Easy Living (1949)—Victor Mature is a retired professional football player married to a grasping woman (Lizabeth Scott). Irwin Shaw wrote the screenplay; directed by the stylish Jacques Tourneur. With Lucille Ball, Lloyd Nolan, Paul Stewart. (DW)
*6:45 p.m. (TMC)— Last Action Hero (1993)—See Saturday at 10:45 p.m.
*8:00 p.m. (AMC)— How Green Was My Valley (1941)—John Ford's powerful film about Welsh coal miners. With Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Donald Crisp and Roddy McDowall. (MJ)
8:00 p.m. (Comedy)— History of the World—Part I (1981)—An example of Mel Brooks's scattershot humor. Many jokes are forced and lame, and most routines just limp along, but the Spanish Inquisition sequence, staged as a Busby Berkeley water ballet, is hilarious and worth staying for. (MJ)
10:35 p.m. (TBS)— National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)—Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo star in this often hilarious low comedy about a quintessentially middle-class family's cross-country trip to the Wally Land theme park. The sequences with Imogene Coca are especially funny. Directed by Harold Ramis. (MJ)
11:30 p.m. (TCM)— Key Largo (1948)—See Thursday at 10:00 a.m.
*12:00 a.m. (AMC)— How Green Was My Valley (1941)—See 8:00 p.m.
1:40 a.m. (HBOS)— The Cotton Club (1984)—Richard Gere stars in Francis Coppola's sometimes successful attempt to capture the music and gangster violence of Harlem in the 1930s. The production was riddled with problems and the often-rewritten screenplay is by novelists William Kennedy and Mario Puzo. (MJ)