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TCM On Demand (Comcast)

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TCM On Demand for March 31-April 6, 2014
 
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 
1. Angel and the Badman (1947) -- John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey, Sr., Bruce Cabot, Irene Rich, Lee Dixon, Stephen Grant, Tom Powers, Paul Hurst, Olin Howland, John Halloran, Joan Barton, Craig Woods, Marshall Reed, Symona Boniface (uncredited). This Western film was directed by James Edward Grant, who wrote many of Wayne's pictures, including "The Alamo" (1960) and "McLintock!" (1963). It stars Wayne, Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month for April 2014, as a wounded gunfighter nursed back to health by a family of Quakers. He soon becomes involved with the family's daughter (Russell), who begins to have a major impact on his thinking. This was the first film produced by Wayne, who went on to create Batjac Productions. Run by Wayne's eldest son Michael, Batjac -- which took its name from a fictional company in "Wake of the Red Witch" (1948) -- was responsible for many of the actor's films from the 1950s to the 1970s. Wayne and Russell also appeared together in "Wake of the Red Witch," but her career was shortened because of a drinking problem. She died of an alcohol-related issue in 1961 at the age of 36. This was one of the last pictures featuring Carey, the longtime film star whose career began in 1909. He died September 21, 1947, seven months after the movie's release. He was 69. Expires April 7, 2014.
 
2. Carson on TCM: George Burns (November 10, 1989) -- The veteran comedian and Oscar-winning  actor was 93 years old when he appeared on NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" to promote his new book, "All My Best Friends." The title referred to Burns' long association with such great entertainers as Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Groucho Marx and George Jessel, whom Burns called the funniest of them all. But Burns also has a lot to say about his best friend Jack Benny, who died in 1974. Burns enjoyed playing practical jokes on Benny and frequently lobbed verbal putdowns at him. When Benny once complained that he had never had a good cup of coffee, Burns said he retorted, "How can you tell this is bad?" During his introduction, Carson mentions that Burns was scheduled to play the London Palladium on January 20, 1996, his 100th birthday. Burns did live to be 100, but fragile health prevented his keeping the London date. He died two months later. This was one of 25 vintage Carson interviews edited for special broadcasts in July 2013 on Turner Classic Movies. Expires April 12, 2014.
 
 
3. The Disorderly Orderly (1964) -- Jerry Lewis, Glenda Farrell, Susan Oliver, Everett Sloane, Karen Sharpe, Kathleen Freeman, Del Moore, Alice Pearce, Milton Frome, John Macchia, Jack E. Leonard, Barbara Nichols. This comedy was directed by Frank Tashlin ("Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?"), a frequent collaborator with Lewis in the early 1960s. Lewis, who served as the film's executive producer, plays Jerome Littlefield, a hapless orderly at a sanitarium and hospital. The catchy title song -- ("Your pills he'll spill/ Your tray he'll drop/ When he picks up your stretcher/ It's two to one you'll flop/ You're sick, but quick, get out of sight/ The disorderly orderly's on duty tonight") -- is performed by Sammy Davis, Jr., whom Lewis directed in the comedy "One More Time" (1970). This was the final film for Sloane, a veteran of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre and co-star of "Citizen Kane" (1941) and "The Lady from Shanghai" (1948). He took his own life on August 6, 1965. Expires April 8, 2014.
 
 
4. Eva Marie Saint: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2014) -- The Academy Award-winning actress, who turned 92 on July 4, 2016, talks to host Robert Osborne about her career -- and some of her well-known leading men. Saint won the 1954 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work opposite fellow award winner Marlon Brando in "On the Waterfront." She followed that five years later with her performance as a femme fatale who charms Cary Grant in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's "North By Northwest." The interview session was filmed during the fourth annual TCM Film Festival in April 2013. Expires April 7, 2014.
 
5. Forbidden Planet (1956) -- Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson, Earl Holliman, George Wallace, Bob Dix, Jimmy Thompson, James Drury, Harry Harvey, Jr., Roger McGee, Peter Miller, Morgan Jones, Richard Grant. Uncredited: James Best, Gavin MacLeod, Frankie Darro (as Robby the Robot), Marvin Miller (as the voice of Robby), Les Tremayne (as the Narrator). Directed by Fred M. Wilcox ("Lassie Come Home"), this futuristic version of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" paved the way for two television favorites of the 1960s -- "Star Trek" and "Lost in Space."

 

Nielsen, whose characters rarely would be taken seriously after the 1980 comedy "Airplane!", stars as the commander of a spaceship dispatched to Altair IV. The planet has three visible inhabitants -- Dr. Morbius (Pidgeon), his fetching daughter Altaira (Francis) and Robby the Robot, an all-purpose servant. There also is a mysterious fourth inhabitant -- an invisible creature that begins threatening the visitors from Earth. 

 

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Special Effects (A. Arnold Gillespie, Irving G. Ries and Wesley C. Miller). But the Oscar went to John P. Fulton for Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments." The film's electronic music score -- the first ever used for an entire feature film -- was created by the husband-and-wife team of Louis and Bebe Barron.

 

Robby would go on to make numerous appearances in films, television series and commercials during the next 50-plus years. One of the memorable Robby sightings was in the inventors' convention scene in the Steven Spielberg-produced 1984 hit "Gremlins," in which the robot winds up talking on a pay phone. Expires April 12, 2014.
 
 
6. The Ladykillers (1955) -- Sir Alec Guinness, Katie Johnson, Cecil Parker, Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Danny Green, Jack Warner, Philip Stainton, Frankie Howerd. Turner Classic Movies aired this comedy from London's Ealing Studios on April 2, 2014, which would have been Guinness' 100th birthday (he died in 2000). Directed by Alexander Mackendrick ("Sweet Smell of Success"), the film focuses on a gang of scheming criminals that uses an elderly woman's home as its base of operations. The group's plan is to pull off a daring heist. The movie was written by William Rose, who received a 1956 Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. He would win the award more than two decades later for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967). Guinness is said to have based his character on fellow British actor Alastair Sim, who played Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1951 version of "A Christmas Carol." Sellers and Lom would co-star as Inspector Jacques Clouseau and Chief Inspector Dreyfus, respectively, in several installments of the "Pink Panther" film series during the 1960s and 1970s. In 2004, this film was remade (and set in Mississippi) by Joel and Ethan Coen with a cast that included Tom Hanks, Marlon Wayans, J.K. Simmons and Irma P. Hall. Expires April 9, 2014.
 
 
7. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) -- Peter O'Toole, Sir Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif, José Ferrer, Sir Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains, Arthur Kennedy, Sir Donald Wolfit, I.S. Johar, Gamil Ratib, Michel Ray. Directed by Sir David Lean ("The Bridge on the River Kwai," "Doctor Zhivago"), this epic drama about British Army officer T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935) and his World War I military campaigns against the Turks won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It also made O'Toole an international star. The film, produced by Sam Spiegel, is considered one of the great all-time screen achievements.

 

In a 1998 survey, the American Film Institute ranked it the fifth greatest film of all time, behind "Citizen Kane" (1941), "Casablanca" (1943), "The Godfather" (1972) and "Gone with the Wind" (1939). When AFI updated the list in 2007, the film dropped two spots to No. 7.

 

In 2005, the AFI selected the Top 25 film scores of all time. Maurice Jarre's unforgettable composition for this movie was ranked third behind John Williams' "Star Wars" (1977) and Max Steiner's "Gone with the Wind."

 

Besides its Best Picture win, the drama also earned Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Color Cinematography (Freddie Young), Best Color Art Direction (John Box, John Stoll), Best Original Score (Jarre), Best Film Editing (Anne V. Coates) and Best Sound (John Cox). 

 

O'Toole, who died December 14, 2013, was nominated for Best Actor, but the award went to Hollywood veteran Gregory Peck for "To Kill a Mockingbird." O'Toole would go on to receive seven other Academy Award nominations, but he never won a competitive Oscar during his career. On March 23, 2003, he was presented an honorary statuette in acknowledgement that his "remarkable talents have provided cinema history with some of its most memorable characters."

 

In its April 2006 issue, Premiere magazine ranked O'Toole's work in the film first among the 100 greatest performances of all time.

 

Sharif, an Egyptian performer who made a splash as Lawrence's friend and ally, Sherif Ali, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in his first English-language film. Lean tapped him to play the title character in "Doctor Zhivago" (1965) after O'Toole declined the role. Sharif died of a heart attack on July 10, 2015. The 83-year-old actor had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. 

 

 

Opening twist: The film biography begins the way that most pictures in the genre end. It shows the serious motorcycle accident on May 13, 1935 that resulted in Lawrence's death six days later at the age of 45. While riding through the countryside of Dorset, England, he swerves to avoid two boys on bicycles. 

 
 
Memorable scenes: In 1917, Lawrence and his Arab allies decide to attack the heavily fortified Jordanian seaport of Aqaba from the rear. In order to surprise the Turks there, a decision is made to cross the inhospitable Nefud Desert. To traverse a particularly harsh section known as "The Sun's Anvil," the group travels at night on camels and rests during the day. At one point, it is discovered that an Arab named Gasim (Johar) has fallen off his camel and is presumed lost. But Lawrence goes back to search, and the images of his triumphant return with Gasim are stunning.
 
 
Memorable quote: "Nothing is written." -- Lawrence's declaration to Sherif Ali after the rescue of Gasim.
 
The inspiration: This was the first film in which O'Toole worked with Wolfit, who played the cantankerous General Archibald Murray. O'Toole told TCM's Robert Osborne in a 2011 interview that Wolfit (1902-1968) was a mentor -- the "bloke who really inspired me when I was a young fellow at drama school...a mighty actor." They would work together again in "Becket" (1964).
 
Jackson Bentley, the brash journalist played by Kennedy, was based on Lowell Thomas (1892-1981), who reported on Lawrence's efforts during the war. 
 
Expires April 9. 2014.
 
8. On the Waterfront (1954) -- Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Pat Henning, Ben Wagner, James Westerfield, Fred Gwynne (uncredited), Leif Erickson (uncredited), Martin Balsam (uncredited), Pat Hingle (uncredited). Elia Kazan's powerful study of a corrupt longshoremen's union received eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), Best Supporting Actress (Saint, in her screen debut) and Best Story and Screenplay (Budd Schulberg). The film was ranked No. 8 on the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 movies of all time. When the list was updated in 2007, the drama dropped to No. 19. In 2005, the AFI credited Brando's character, Terry Malloy, with delivering the third greatest quote in movie history, right behind an infamous line from "The Godfather" that also was uttered by a Brando character. Brando won the Best Actor Oscar on his fourth consecutive nomination in the category. He previously was nominated for "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), "Viva Zapata!" (1952) and "Julius Caesar" (1953). The drama won three other Academy Awards: Best Black-and-White Art Direction-Set Decoration (Richard Day), Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Boris Kaufman) and Best Film Editing (Gene Milford). Malden, Cobb and Steiger were all nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category, but the award went to Edmond O'Brien for "The Barefoot Contessa." Leonard Bernstein also was nominated for his score. Memorable scene: In a great improvisational moment, Brando (as Malloy) walks with Saint (as Edie) on a cold day. When she drops a glove, he immediately picks it up and then toys with it. At one point, he even puts it on his left hand before she retrieves it from him. Brando had a similar moment of improvisation in "The Godfather," in which he made a nearby cat a part of the opening scene in Don Vito Corleone's office. Expires April 7, 2014.
 
 
9. The Pink Panther (1963) -- David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner, Capucine, Claudia Cardinale, Brenda de Banzie, Fran Jeffries. Sellers made the first of his five screen appearances as bumbling French police inspector Jacques Clouseau in this comedy by Blake Edwards. A sixth film -- "Trail of the Pink Panther" (1982) -- was a retrospective of previous scenes released two years after Sellers' death by a heart attack on July 24, 1980. Top billing for the first film went to Niven, who plays Sir Charles Lytton, the smooth jewel thief known as "The Phantom." The movie begins with one of filmdom's most famous opening credits sequences, which introduced the animated Pink Panther character created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and featured Henry Mancini's popular theme song. Mancini received an Academy Award nomination for the film's score, which was ranked No. 20 on the American Film Institute's 2005 list of the Top 25 movie scores of all time. The animated Panther character would later headline several film shorts, including "The Pink Phink," which won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The character then went on to a long-running Saturday morning cartoon show that began in 1969. In the film, the title refers to "the most fabulous diamond in all of the world," which is in the possession of Princess Dahla of Lugash (Cardinale). Of course, Lytton is interested in the jewel. And so is his nephew George (Wagner), who appears to be following in the footsteps of "The Phantom."
 
Memorable scene: Singer Jeffries performs "Meglio Stasera" ("It Had Better Be Tonight") during a ski resort scene. Notice how well Sellers moves on the dance floor.
 
By the way, Clouseau and his wife Simone (Capucine) refer to each other as "my darling" so many times, viewers could start participatory drinking games. In case you were wondering, the four other Sellers-as-Clouseau films were "A Shot in the Dark" (1964), "The Return of the Pink Panther" (1975), "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (1976) and "Revenge of the Pink Panther" (1978). Actor Alan Arkin starred as the sleuth in "Inspector Clouseau," a 1968 version that did not involve Edwards. Subsequent "Pink Panther" films have starred Ted Wass, Roberto Benigni and Steve Martin. Niven's final screen appearances were in "Trail of the Pink Panther" and "Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)." But his voice was weakened because of an illness, and so his lines were dubbed by impressionist Rich Little. Expires April 8, 2014.
 
 
10. Screen Directors Playhouse: "Every Man Has Two Wives" (June 13, 1956) -- Directed by Lewis Allen ("The Uninvited"), this episode of the anthology series originally aired on NBC. It stars Barry Nelson and Janet Blair as Bill and Della Morgan, respectively, a happily married couple living in Los Angeles. But Della begins to tire of her husband's springtime reminiscences of his days with his boyhood sweetheart. So she forces Bill to take her to his small hometown so that she can see her husband's old flame for herself. The half-hour episode also stars Buddy Ebsen, Mary Sinclair, Dave Willock and Margaret Bert. Nelson, who was a frequent guest panelist on the TV game show "To Tell the Truth" in the 1960s, was the first actor to play James Bond onscreen. He starred in a one-hour television version of Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale" on the CBS anthology series "Climax!" in 1954. Expires April 12, 2014.
 
 
11. Soylent Green (1973) -- Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young, Edward G. Robinson, Chuck Connors, Joseph Cotten, Brock Peters, Paula Kelly. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Heston certainly appeared in his share of movies featuring a dystopian view of the future. Directed by Richard Fleischer ("Fantastic Voyage"), this one is set in the year 2020, when overcrowding has severely limited the world's food supply. Heston plays a New York policeman who discovers the truth about a synthetic food product called Soylent Green. His final lines feature four words that the American Film Institute ranked No. 77 on a 2005 list of the greatest movie quotes of all time. This was Robinson's last film after a career that began in 1916. He died of cancer on January 26, 1973, only days after completing the project -- which makes his final scene even more poignant. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had announced he would be presented a special Oscar for career excellence. But he died two months before the March 27, 1973 awards ceremony. The inscription on Robinson's posthumous statuette hailed him as a man "who achieved greatness as a player, a patron of the arts and a dedicated citizen...in sum, a Renaissance man." This film was aired by Turner Classic Movies early on Saturday, April 5th -- the sixth anniversary of Heston's death at the age of 84, TCM showed four other Heston films in a salute that began in prime time on Friday, April 4th. Expires April 11, 2014.
 
12. TCM Twenty Classic Moments (2014) -- Ben Mankiewicz hosts this retrospective of some of the top moments from Turner Classic Movies' first 20 years. Among the highlights is the network's first George Foster Peabody Award in 2008 for its commitment to "the place of film in social and cultural experience." On April 2, 2014, TCM was honored with a second Peabody award for its 15-part presentation in 2013 of Mark Cousins' documentary "The Story of Film: An Odyssey." 
Another highlight: A 1997 "Private Screenings" interview that the late Mickey Rooney did with Robert Osborne. The actor almost frightened the TCM host to death while recounting a particularly heated argument with an abusive director. As Mankiewicz says in the special: "Robert would later confess that he was genuinely afraid Mickey might hit him." Expires April, 2014.
 
13. The Tunnel of Love (1958) -- Doris Day, Richard Widmark, Gig Young, Gia Scala, Elisabeth Fraser, Elizabeth Wilson. This romantic comedy, based on a hit Broadway play, was directed by Gene Kelly -- the first time he directed a film in which he did not appear. The film version stars Day and Widmark as a childless married couple who encounter difficulties when they decide to adopt through an agency. This was one of several films aired by Turner Classic Movies on April 3rd, Day's 90th birthday. Expires April 10, 2014.
 
 
14. The Twelve Chairs (1970) -- Mel Brooks, Ron Moody, Frank Langella, Dom DeLuise, Mel Brooks, Andreas Voutsinas, Diana Coupland, David L. Lander, Vlada Petric, Elaine Garreau, Robert Bernal, Will Stampe. After "The Producers" (1967) and before "Blazing Saddles" (1974), funnyman Brooks wrote, directed and appeared in this adaptation of a 1928 Russian novel by Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov. Brooks also wrote the movie's theme song heard during the opening credits -- "Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst." Set in the newly Communist-run Soviet Union a few years after the 1917 Russian Revolution, the comedy is about a frantic search for pre-Bolshevik era jewels hidden in one of 12 London-made dining chairs. Among those in pursuit of the treasure: a once-wealthy aristocrat (Moody) whose late mother-in-law hid the jewels; a renegade priest (DeLuise) who heard her deathbed confession; and a con artist (Langella, in his film debut) who worms his way into the chase. Brooks plays Tikon, the aristocrat's former servant. This was the first Brooks movie to feature DeLuise, who later appeared in such comedy projects as "Blazing Saddles," "Silent Movie," "History of the World: Part I" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." Expires April 8, 2014.
 
15. What's the Matter with Helen? (1972) -- Debbie Reynolds, Shelley Winters, Dennis Weaver, Agnes Moorehead, Micheál Mac Liammóir, Robbi Morgan, Logan Ramsey, Yvette Vickers, Timothy Carey, Pamelyn Ferdin. Directed by Curtis Harrington ("Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?"), this bizarre thriller was written by Henry Farrell, who wrote or co-wrote the stories that became the films "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962) and "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964). The film stars Reynolds and Winters as Iowa mothers who head for Hollywood after a tragedy involving their sons. Once they are on the West Coast, they become involved in the operation of a dance academy for girls. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design (Morton Haack). Expires April 11, 2014.
 
16. With Six You Get Eggroll (1968) -- Doris Day, Brian Keith, Pat Carroll, Barbara Hershey, George Carlin, Alice Ghostley, John Findlater, Elaine Devry, Herbert Voland, Jamie Farr, William Christopher, Milton Frome, Allan Melvin, Richard Steele, Jimmy Bracken, Mickey Deems, Jackie Joseph, Vic Tayback, The Grass Roots. Uncredited: Peter Leeds, Ken Osmond, Maudie Prickett.  After two decades as a major movie star, Day made her final appearance in a feature film in this family oriented comedy. After its release, she made the transition to television and starred in "The Doris Day Show," a CBS sitcom that ran from September 1968 to March 1973. Directed by erstwhile actor Howard Morris (he played Ernest T. Bass on "The Andy Griffith Show"), the comedy stars Day as a widowed mother of three sons who marries a widower (Keith) with a teen daughter. 

 

The film was one of a couple of projects about instantly combined families, following "Yours Mine and Ours" by four months and predating TV's "The Brady Bunch" by a year. Although it was Day's screen finale, it marked the film debuts of Hershey and Carlin.

 

Farr and Christopher later co-starred in the long-running CBS television comedy "M*A*S*H" from 1972 to 1983, playing Corporal Klinger and Father Mulcahy, respectively.

 
Expires April 10, 2014. 
 

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TCM On Demand for April 7, 2014
 
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 

1. Red Dust (1932) -- Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Mary Astor, Gene Raymond, Donald Crisp, Tully Marshall, Forrester Harvey, Willie Fung. This pre-Hays Code tale, directed by Victor Fleming ("Gone With the Wind," "The Wizard of Oz"), is set at a French Indochina rubber plantation prone to dust storms. It is the story of a romantic triangle involving the plantation's owner and manager (Gable), a tough-talking loose woman (Harlow) on the lam from authorities in Saigon, and the recent bride (Astor) of the plantation's new engineer (Raymond). 

 

 

 

This was the second of six films in which Gable and Harlow both appeared. The five others: "The Secret Six" (1931), "Hold Your Man" (1933), "China Seas" (1935), "Wife vs. Secretary" (1936) and "Saratoga" (1937). Harlow died of uremic poisoning at the age of 26 after completing 90 percent of the latter film. 

 

Memorable scene: Harlow's character, Vantine, takes a bath in a rain barrel. It apparently worked so well for the actress' image as a sex symbol, she did it again in the 1933 film "Bombshell."

 

Memorable quote: "You and what man's army?" -- Vantine's response to the sometimes abusive Dennis Carson (Gable) after he threatens her with physical violence.

 

Two decades after this film, Gable starred in "Mogambo," a 1953 Technicolor remake directed by John Ford and set in Kenya. The film co-starred Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly, who both received Academy Award nominations for their performances. On Sunday, April 6th, Turner Classic Movies aired the two movies back to back, but in reverse chronological order. Expires April 13, 2014.

 

 2. Twenty-Four Eyes (1954) -- Hideko Takamine, Takahiro Tamura, Eisei Amamoto. Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita ("Immortal Love") and based on the 1952 novel by Sakae Tsuboi, this Japanese drama (original title: "Nijûshi no hitomi")  is something of a distaff version of "Goodbye Mr. Chips." The film stars Takamine as Hisako Ōishi, a dedicated but unorthodox teacher of first graders at an isolated Japanese coastal village in the years before World War II. As Japan's government and society become more militaristic, the teacher begins to struggle with encroachments on her freedom. The title refers to her first 12 students, and the story follows their fates through the war and its aftermath. This film was remade in color in 1987 by Japanese director Yoshitaka Asama under the title "Children on the Island."

Takamine, who died on December 28, 2010 at the age of 86, began her film career at an early age. In fact, she was considered the Shirley Temple of Japan. According to her obituary in The New York Times, she was "widely regarded by Japanese and foreign critics as one of the three great actresses of the classical Japanese cinema. Her two peers were the aristocratic Kinuyo Tanaka, who worked extensively with the director Kenji Mizoguchi ('Sansho the Bailiff') and died in 1977, and Setsuko Hara, whose portrayals of modern middle-class women were associated with the films of Yasujiro Ozu ('Tokyo Story')." Hara died in September 2015 at the age of 95. Expires April 13, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 8, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 

1. Forbidden Games (1952) -- Georges Poujouly, Brigitte Fossey, Amédée, Laurence Badie, Suzanne Courtal, Lucien Hubert, Jacques Marin, Pierre Merovée, Louis Saintève. Directed by René Clément ("Is Paris Burning?"), this World War II drama (original title: "Jeux interdits") received a 1952 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film -- an honorary award at the time. It also earned a 1954 Best Story nomination for François Boyer, who wrote the 1947 novel that prompted Clément to make the film. Set in 1940, it is the story of a young French girl named Paulette (Fossey) who is orphaned during the Nazi invasion of France. While the turmoil continues, she is taken in by the family of a 10-year-old named Michel Dollé (Poujouly). She and the boy become fast friends, and they begin coping with the trauma of war by creating a small burial place for animals. Clément's Academy Award for this effort was his second. He also received a 1950 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for "The Walls of Malapaga" (original title: "Au-delà des grilles"). Fossey was five years old when she was selected to star in the film. After its success, she appeared in two other projects -- including Gene Kelly's "The Happy Road" (1957) -- before halting her career for a normal upbringing. She returned to acting in the late 1960s and had major roles in such films as François Truffaut's "The Man Who Loved Women" (1977) and Robert Altman's "Quintet" (1979), in which she played the wife of Paul Newman's character. She observed her 70th birthday on June 15, 2016. Expires April 14, 2014.

 

 

2. The Naked City (1948) -- Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart, Don Taylor, Frank Conroy, Ted de Corsia, House Jameson, Anne Sargent, Adelaide Klein, Grover Burgess, Tom Pedi, Enid Markey, Walter Burke, Virginia Mullen. Directed by Jules Dassin ("Rififi," "Never on Sunday"), this documentary-style drama about New York City detectives won Academy Awards for Best Black-and-White Cinematography (William H. Daniels, Greta Garbo's favorite photographer) and Best Film Editing (Paul Weatherwax). Malvin Wald received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story. The film was produced by Mark Hellinger, who also served as its narrator. Unfortunately, he died three months before the picture was released. This was one of American director Dassin's last movies before he moved to France upon being blacklisted in the 1950s for previous Communist sympathies.The film became the basis for the Emmy Award-nominated ABC television series of the same title that ran from 1958 to 1963. Like the movie, the TV series concluded each week with the following statement: "There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them." The film was selected by special TCM Guest Programmer Tiffany Vazquez of the Bronx in New York. It aired Monday, April 7th. Expires April 14, 2014.

 

 

3. A Night in Casablanca (1946) -- Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Charles Drake, Lois Collier, Sig Ruman, Lisette Verea, Lewis L. Russell, Dan Seymour. Directed by Archie Mayo ("The Petrified Forest"), this penultimate Marx Brothers screen romp is set in post-World War II Morocco, although the place seems to be filled with scheming Nazis. Groucho plays Ronald Kornblow, the new manager of the Hotel Casablanca. It's an unenviable job because the last three managers were mysteriously murdered within a six-month period. Not surprisingly, it's all related to the Nazis and a missing treasure from the war years. The film is full of what you'd expect from the comedy trio -- one-liners from Groucho, sight gags involving Harpo and wisecracks from Chico. The Marxes would team up for only one more film -- 1949's "Love Happy," featuring Marilyn Monroe -- although they appeared individually in different segments of "The Story of Mankind" (1957).

 

Memorable moment: Kornblow has a run-in at the front desk with Mr. Smythe (Paul Harvey), an outraged prospective hotel guest.

 

 

Memorable quote: "We need to speed up things...Chef, if a guest orders a three-minute egg, give it to him in two minutes. If he orders a two-minute egg, give it to him in one minute. And if he orders a one-minute egg, give him a chicken and let him work it out for himself." -- Groucho as Kornblow, upon taking over the hotel.

 

Expires April 14, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 9, 2014

 

The three newest additions to TCM On Demand have two things in common. First, they were selected by three of 20 special TCM Guest Programmers who have helped commemorate the cable network's 20th anniversary this month. Second, the designated films all feature collaborations by well-known married couples. In alphabetical order, the selections are:
 

1. Modern Times (1936) -- Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Stanley "Tiny" Sanford, Chester Conklin, Hank Mann, Stanley Blystone, Henry Bergman, Al Garcia, Dick Alexander, Cecil Reynolds, Myra McKinney, Murdoch McQuarrie, Wilfred Lucas. Chaplin wrote, produced, directed, composed the music and starred in this semi-silent film about Depression-era angst versus hope. He also wrote the tune "Smile," which later became a standard as well as a theme song for another screen comedian -- Jerry Lewis. The picture also is the story of Chaplin's Little Tramp character's attempt to cope with an increasingly mechanized workplace. The filmmaker married his co-star, the gorgeous 26-year-old Goddard, the same year the movie was released. In a 1998 survey by the American Film Institute, the comedy was ranked No. 81 among the Top 100 films of all time. Chaplin had two other films on the list -- "The Gold Rush" (1925) was No. 74 and "City Lights" (1931) was No. 76. When the AFI updated the survey in 2007, this film was bumped up to No. 78, while "The Gold Rush" climbed to No. 58 and "City Lights" jumped 65 spots to No. 11. Memorable scene: There are many famous sight gags in the film, but be sure to look for the Tramp's stint as a waiter when he tries to deliver a roast duck platter across a crowded dance floor. TCM scheduled the film on the recommendation of TCM Guest Programmer Shane Fleming, a 10-year-old boy from New York City. It aired at midnight after the prime-time schedule for Tuesday, April 8th. Expires April 15, 2014.

 

2. Witness for the Prosecution (1957) -- Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, Una O'Connor, John Williams, Henry Daniell, Torin Thatcher, Norma Varden, Philip Tonge, Ian Wolfe, Francis Compton, Ruta Lee. Billy Wilder's film version of the Agatha Christie story-turned-stage play earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Set in 1952 London, the courtroom drama is a showcase for the British husband-and-wife team of Laughton and Lanchester, who received Oscar nominations for their performances as an ailing barrister and his overprotective nurse, respectively. This was the final screen role for Power. He died on November 15, 1958 of a heart attack suffered while filming the Biblical epic "Solomon and Sheba." He was 44 years old. It also was the last film for character actress O'Connor, who plays Janet McKenzie. She retired after the filming and died February 4, 1959 at the age of 78. Spoiler warning: The final seven minutes of the drama contain five surprise bombshells, although one of them will hardly faze viewers who've seen Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles." Memorable quote: "There's no disgrace in being arrested, Mr. Vole. Kings, prime ministers, archbishops -- even barristers -- have stood in the dock" -- Laughton's character, Sir Wilfrid Robarts, consoling his client, a murder suspect played by Power. TCM Guest Programmer Dominique Breckinridge of Plano, Texas suggested Wilder's film, which aired in prime time on Tuesday, April 8th. Expires April 15, 2014.

 

3. A Woman Under the Influence (1974) -- Peter Falk, Gena Rowlands, Fred Draper, Lady Rowlands, Katherine Cassavetes, Matthew Labyorteaux, Matthew Cassel, Christina Grisanti. Independent filmmaker and actor John Cassavetes (1929-1989) wrote and directed this drama, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for directing and a Best Actress nod for his actress-wife, Rowlands. She plays the title character, a suburban L.A. housewife named Mabel Longhetti, whose mood swings and erratic behavior cause problems in her marriage to construction-worker husband Nick (played by frequent Cassavetes collaborator Falk). 
 
 
Memorable scenes: After an emergency that keeps him out all night, Nick returns home with a dozen hungry co-workers. Mabel whips up an impromptu spaghetti dinner, and then serves as a sometimes charming, sometimes annoying hostess. 
 
Cassavetes used other members of his family, his in-laws and friends during the making of this movie.
 
The family tradition has continued with his son Nick Cassavetes, a sometime actor who directed "The Notebook" (2004), in which his mother played the older, dementia-afflicted version of Rachel McAdams' character.
 
 
Daughter Alexandra "Xan" Cassavetes, who appears in her father's movie as a young girl named Adrienne Jensen, also has worked as an actress and filmmaker. Her first feature as a director, the vampire-themed "Kiss of the Damned," was released in 2012. Youngest daughter Zoe Cassavetes has been an actress and director, too. Her best known film behind the camera was the 2007 romantic tale "Broken English."
 
On November 14, 2015, Rowlands was presented an honorary Academy Award as "an original talent whose devotion to her craft has earned her worldwide recognition as an independent film icon."

 

The TCM Guest Programmer who suggested the Cassavetes-Rowland film was USA Today pop culture blogger Whitney Matheson, who is from Brooklyn, New York. It aired in the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 9th. Expires April 15, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 10, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 

1. 12 Angry Men (1957) -- Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, Sr., E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, John Fiedler, Robert Webber, Joseph Sweeney, George Voskovec. Sidney Lumet's debut feature film earned three Academy Award nominations -- Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay (Reginald Rose, based on his 1954 Emmy Award-winning teleplay "Twelve Angry Men," which aired on the live CBS anthology series "Studio One"). Fonda, who co-produced the film with Rose, stars in the courtroom drama as Juror No. 8, the lone panelist who believes that an accused murderer (John Savoca) is innocent. During the jury's deliberations, No. 8 stresses reasonable doubt and relies on his powers of persuasion to change the thinking of the other jurors.

 

 

The screen drama was an auspicious start for former child actor Lumet (1924-2011), who went on to have a monumental career as a filmmaker. Among his other acclaimed films: "The Pawnbroker" (1964), "Fail-Safe" (1964), "Serpico" (1973), "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974), "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975), "Network" (1976) and "The Verdict" (1982). Lumet never won a competitive Academy Award, but on February 27, 2005, he was presented with an honorary Oscar "in recognition of his brilliant services to screenwriters, performers and the art of the motion picture."

 

12_angry_men.jpg?1446541800

 

Actors Sweeney and Voskovec were the only members of the "Studio One" television presentation to appear in the film version. Rose later created the Emmy winning CBS television drama "The Defenders," which ran from 1961 to 1965 and starred Marshall and Robert Reed (the future Mike Brady of "The Brady Bunch") as father-and-son defense attorneys. The last of the "Angry Men" was Klugman -- better known as Oscar Madison on the 1970s ABC sitcom "The Odd Couple" -- who died on Christmas Eve of 2012 at the age of 90.

 

This film was selected for TCM by Guest Programmer Onalee McGraw of Front Royal, Virginia.

 

Expires April 16, 2014.

 

 

2. Went the Day Well? (1942) -- Leslie Banks, Elizabeth Allan, Frank Lawton, Basil Sydney, Valerie Taylor, Mervyn Johns, Edward Rigby, Marie Lohr, C.V. France, David Farrar, Muriel George, Dame Thora Hind, Norman Pierce, James Donald (uncredited). Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti ("Dead of Night"), this World War II British drama was based on a fictional story by Graham Greene and produced by Michael Balcon -- the grandfather of Sir Daniel Day-Lewis -- of Ealing Studios. The film is about the English village of Bramley End, which becomes occupied by Nazi paratroopers posing as British soldiers. In fact, they are an advance group sent to make preparations for a German air and sea invasion of the British Isles. (Didn't anyone tell them that the last successful foreign takeover of England was in 1066, when William the Conqueror toppled King Harold II? No wonder this Nazi effort was doomed to fail). The story is bookended beginning and end by comments from villager Charles Sims, played by Johns, the father of actress Glynis Johns. Banks, who played the title character in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's original version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1934), stars as Bramley End's village squire and head of the local Home Guard. In reality, he is a Nazi collaborator. Sydney plays "Major Hammond," who actually is the German officer in command. The film was selected by TCM Guest Programmer Glenn Taranto of Los Angeles, who compared the resourceful residents of Bramley End with the courageous passengers who perished while trying to regain control of the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. Look for Scottish actor Donald, best known for his performances in "Lust for Life" (1956), "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957) and "The Great Escape" (1963), as a German soldier. Expires April 16, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 11, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 

1. The Lady Vanishes (1938) -- Margaret Lockwood, Sir Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, Dame May Whitty, Cecil Parker, Linden Travers, Naunton Wayne, Basil Radford, Mary Clare, Emile Boreo, Googie Withers, Sally Stewart, Philip Leaver, Selma Vaz Dias, Catherine Lacey, Josephine Wilson, Charles Oliver, Kathleen Tremaine. Sir Alfred Hitchcock's British mystery thriller aboard a train is considered to be one of the best productions from his pre-Hollywood years. The film stars Lockwood as Iris Henderson, a well-to-do British tourist returning home to marry her fiancé after a vacation in an Alpine country. On the train, she becomes acquainted with a matronly English governess and music teacher named Miss Froy (Whitty). But when the woman mysteriously disappears, Iris is the only person who seems to remember ever seeing her. Redgrave co-stars as Gilbert, a fellow passenger who gradually begins to believe Iris is telling the truth.
Hitchcock's film was written by Sidney Gilliatt and Frank Launder, based on the novel "The Wheel Spins" by Ethel Lina White. This was the director's penultimate British picture. After finishing "Jamaica Inn" (1939), he was brought to America by producer David O. Selznick to do a film version of Daphne du Maurier's 1938 best-selling novel, "Rebecca." The movie Hitchcock made received the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1940, and so the director rarely did pictures in Britain after that. This film has been remade for the screen and television several times. A 1979 Hammer Films version starred Elliott Gould, Cybill Shepherd, Herbert Lom and Angela Lansbury as Miss Froy.
 
Memorable scene: During a search for clues about Miss Froy's disappearance, Iris tells Gilbert there's something awfully strange about the nun (Lacey) sitting in a train compartment. She's wearing high heels!
 

Hitch's cameo: The director makes his traditional appearance in the film's final five minutes. Just before Iris and Gilbert disembark in London, Hitchcock can be seen walking alongside the train while smoking a cigarette. Expires April 17, 2014.

 

 

2. A Man Called Adam (1966) -- Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Armstrong, Ossie Davis, Cicely Tyson, Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Mel Tormé, Johnny Brown, George Rhodes, Ja'net DuBois, Lola Falana, Kenneth Tobey, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Carl Lee, Roy Glenn, Sr., Morgan Freeman (uncredited). Directed by Leo Penn ("Judgment in Berlin''), father of two-time Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn, this serious film gave the multi-talented entertainer Davis a chance to showcase his chops as a dramatic actor. He stars as jazz trumpeter Adam Johnson, who is beset by numerous problems -- many of them of his own making. He also is still grieving over the deaths of his wife and child, who were killed in the crash of a car he was driving while intoxicated. This storyline had to hit home for Davis, who was seriously injured in a 1954 West Coast automobile accident that cost him his left eye. The film's score was composed by jazz great Benny Carter, who later provided music for the 1972 Sidney Poitier-Harry Belafonte Western "Buck and the Preacher." Davis' performances on the trumpet were actually provided by the great Nat Adderley, brother of famed saxophone player "Cannonball" Adderley. Tyson, who plays Davis' love interest in the drama, went on to win two 1973-1974 Primetime Emmy Awards for her performance as a 100-year-old former slave in "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman." She also won a third Primetime Emmy for a supporting role in the 1994 miniseries "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All." In June 2013, six months before her 80th birthday, Tyson received a Tony Award for her stage work in the Horton Foote drama "The Trip to Bountiful."  DuBois and Brown later co-starred in the 1970s CBS sitcom "Good Times" -- she played Willona, the housing-project neighbor of the Evans family; he played building superintendent Nathan Bookman. This film marked the screen debut of Davis' protégée Falana, the versatile singer, dancer and actress whose career as a performer was short-circuited in the 1980s and 1990s by multiple sclerosis. Rhodes, who plays Leroy, was a jazz pianist who for many years served as Davis' real-life composer, arranger and musical director. Be on the lookout for a youthful Freeman as a guest during a party scene. Leo Penn (1921-1998), who was blacklisted when he was an actor during the 1950s, turned to directing and excelled in his work on numerous television series. This film was selected for TCM by special Guest Programmer Petri Hawkins Byrd of Elk Grove, California. It aired in prime time on Thursday, April 10th. Expires April 17, 2014.

 

3. Young at Heart (1954) -- Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Gig Young, Ethel Barrymore, Dorothy Malone, Elisabeth Fraser, Robert Keith, Alan Hale, Jr., Lonny Chapman. Directed by Gordon Douglas ("Them!"), this drama with music is a remake of "Four Daughters," the 1938 Best Picture nominee that starred Claude Rains and the Lane Sisters (Priscilla, Rosemary and Lola), and boosted John Garfield to major screen stardom. In this version, Sinatra plays the Garfield role -- a cynical songwriter who becomes involved with Day's character, the oldest of three musically talented daughters in the Tuttle family. This was one of the first Sinatra films released after he won the 1953 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in "From Here to Eternity." It was the next-to-last screen appearance for Barrymore, whose distinguished career in film dated back to 1914. After she starred in the 1957 film "Johnny Trouble," she never made another motion picture. She died of a heart condition on June 18, 1959 at the age of 79. Douglas became a favorite director of Sinatra's. They did four other films together -- "Robin and the 7 Hoods" (1964), "Tony Rome" (1967), "The Detective" (1968) and "Lady in Cement" (1968). The title song, a recorded hit for Sinatra in 1953 and 1954, is now a pop standard. The movie was renamed for the song because of its popularity.This film was the selection of special TCM Guest Programmer Hannah Kass of New York. It also aired in prime time on Thursday, April 10th. Expires April 17, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 12, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 

1. The Blue Gardenia (1953) -- Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Ann Sothern, Raymond Burr, George Reeves, Nat King Cole, Jeff Donnell, Richard Erdman, Ruth Storey, Ray Walker. Directed by Fritz Lang ("The Big Heat"), this drama revolves around the sensational case of Norah Larkin (Baxter), a telephone operator accused of a murder she can't remember committing because of a night of heavy drinking. The movie's cast features three of the top television stars of the 1950s -- Sothern ("Private Secretary"), Burr ("Perry Mason") and Reeves ("Adventures of Superman"). Cole appears as himself and sings "Blue Gardenia." Erdman, who plays Al, is still going strong at the age of 88 as a featured cast member of the NBC comedy series "Community." Expires April 18, 2014.

 

 

2. Nights of Cabiria (1957) -- Giulietta Masina, François Périer, Amedeo Nazzari, Franca Marzi, Dorian Gray, Franco Fabrizi, Aldo Silvani, Ennio Girolami. This production (Italian title: "Le Notti di Cabiria") was the second of three projects by Italy's Federico Fellini that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The two others: "La Strada" (1956) and "8 1/2" (1963). Directed by Fellini and co-written with Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano and Pier Paolo Pasolini, the film stars Masina (who was Signora Fellini in real life). She stars as Cabiria Ceccarelli, a hard-luck but always optimistic Italian streetwalker. For her performance in the film, Masina won the Best Actress award at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival. The film inspired the 1960s American stage musical "Sweet Charity," which was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse and starred his wife at the time, Gwen Verdon. Fosse also directed and choreographed a 1969 screen version of the musical, which starred Shirley MacLaine. Fellini's film was selected for TCM by special Guest Programmer Alberto Ferreras of New York City. It aired at midnight after the prime-time schedule for Friday, April 11th. Expires April 18, 2014.

 

 

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TCM On Demand for April 13, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 

1. The Misfits (1961) -- Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach, James Barton, Kevin McCarthy, Estelle Winwood. Directed by John Huston ("The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"), this bleak 1960s Western proved to be a star-crossed project behind the scenes. It was Gable's last film (the 59-year-old actor suffered a heart attack two days after finishing it, and died 10 days later, on November 16, 1960). It also was Monroe's final completed film before her death at age 36 of an overdose on August 5, 1962. The playwright Arthur Miller, Monroe's third husband, never again wrote an original screenplay for a film. Before the movie was released on February 1, 1961, he and Monroe had decided to end their marriage. Clift, who had serious health problems, appeared in only three more films after this one, and he died on July 23, 1966 at the age of 45. Ritter, who plays Isabelle Steers, would continue to work until her death from a heart attack on February 5, 1969. She is tied with Deborah Kerr and Glenn Close for the most Academy Award nominations by an actress without a win -- six. Wallach, the film's longest-living cast member, died June 24, 2014 at the age of 98. On November 13, 2010, he was presented an honorary Academy Award "for a lifetime's worth of indelible screen characters."
 

The film stars Monroe as Roslyn Tabor, a recently divorced woman who enchants aging cowboy Gay Langland (Gable) and his friend, rodeo rider Perce Howland (Clift). Set in Nevada, the movie's title refers to a group of wild mustangs that Gay hopes to lasso and sell as dog food. Of course, the title has a double meaning as well.

Memorable scene: Roslyn displays her prowess at paddleball in a bar, and wins $145 for her efforts. She also nearly ignites a brawl because of it.

 



Memorable dialogue: These were the final lines ever spoken by Monroe and Gable in a film release:

Roslyn: How do you find your way back in the dark?

Gay: Just head for that big star straight on. The highway's under it. It'll take us right home.

 

 

Expires April 19, 2014.

 

 

2. Neil Simon's 'California Suite' (1978) -- Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Michael Caine, Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Herbert Edelman, Denise Galik, Gloria Gifford, Sheila Frazier, Dana Plato. Smith won her second Academy Award -- a Best Supporting Actress statuette -- for this Neil Simon comedy in which she plays an Oscar nominee who doesn't win. Her first Oscar was in the Best Actress category for her performance as the title character in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1969). Simon's film, directed by Herbert Ross ("The Goodbye Girl," "The Turning Point"), is a West Coast version of his stage play "Plaza Suite," which was turned into a 1971 film starring Matthau. In a February 2013 "60 Minutes" interview, Smith, who was in her late seventies and starring in the acclaimed British television series "Downton Abbey," bluntly told CBS correspondent Steve Kroft she did not enjoy working with the man who directed her second Oscar-winning performance. "I found the director a bit tricky, a bit spiky," Dame Maggie said. "He was jagged. He was very difficult." Ross, who also directed the Peter O'Toole version of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (1969), "The Sunshine Boys" (1975) and "Footloose" (1984), died in 2001 of heart failure. "I had nothing to do with his demise," Smith declared to Kroft. Expires April 19, 2014.

 

3. Shaft (1971) -- Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi, Christopher St. John, Gwenn Mitchell, Lawrence Pressman, Drew Bundini Brown, Victor Arnold, Sherri Brewer, Rex Robbins, Camille Yarbrough, Margaret Warncke, Joseph Leon, Antonio Fargas, Ed Barth. This landmark action picture was by the legendary Life magazine photographer Gordon Parks, Sr. (1912-2006), the first African-American director to make a major studio film ("The Learning Tree" in 1969). Former model Roundtree stars as John Shaft, a fearless black private detective based in New York City. The storyline revolves around Shaft's recruitment by Harlem crime boss Bumpy Jonas (Gunn) to investigate the kidnapping of his nubile daughter Marcy (Brewer). As Shaft quickly discovers, all indications are that the mob is making a big play for territorial control of Harlem. The film's screenplay was written by Ernest Tidyman and John D.F. Black, based on Tidyman's 1970 novel "Shaft." The successes of this movie and independent filmmaker Melvin Van Peeble's 1971 "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" ushered in a spate of 1970s black-themed pictures -- sometimes known as "blaxploitation" films. Roundtree headlined two sequels, "Shaft's Big Score!" (1972) and "Shaft in Africa" (1973). He also reprised the character in a short-lived CBS series of made-for-television movies, and in John Singleton's 2000 version of "Shaft," in which Samuel L. Jackson starred as the NYPD's crime-solving nephew of the private eye.

 

R&B star Isaac Hayes' title theme for Parks' film earned the Academy Award for Best Original Song. On its 2004 list of the greatest movie songs of all time, the American Film Institute ranked "Theme from 'Shaft' " No. 38. Hayes also was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Dramatic Score.

 

 

Cioffi co-stars in the film as Lt. Vic Androzzi, the only NYPD detective that Shaft seems to trust. Brown, who plays Bumpy's right-hand man, Willy, was three-time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali's longtime assistant trainer and sidekick. In the 2001 biopic "Ali," Brown was portrayed by Jamie Foxx. Parks has a cameo in which he can be seen puffing a pipe while Shaft asks about the whereabouts of community activist Ben Buford (St. John). Barth, who plays a mob henchman guarding the hotel room where Marcy Jonas is being held, later appeared as Lt. Al Rossi, Shaft's police department connection in the CBS TV movies. Expires April 19, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 15, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

 1. Citizen Kane (1941) -- Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead, Ruth Warrick, Ray Collins, Erskine Sanford, Everett Sloane, William Alland, Paul Stewart, George Coulouris, Buddy Swan, Harry Shannon, Philip Van Zandt. Uncredited: Alan Ladd. The 25-year-old Welles (1915-1985) produced, directed and starred in this stylish and innovative film about the death and life of a flamboyant newspaper publisher. The film wunderkind also claimed co-writing credit for the original screenplay, which will be addressed later. The black-and-white drama, which was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, is considered by many to be the greatest film of all time. In two different surveys, in 1998 and 2007, the production was ranked No. 1 by the American Film Institute on its lists of the 100 greatest movies in history. Since 1952, the respected British film magazine Sight & Sound has asked critics to select the all-time greatest films. Welles' debut effort was No. 1 in every decade from 1962 to 2002. In the 2012 poll, it was No. 2, supplanted at the top spot by Sir Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo."

 

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Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane

 

The movie's central figure is Charles Foster Kane (Welles), a controversial "yellow journalism" practitioner based on the powerful media tycoon William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951). Through some addition, subtraction and guesswork, it appears that Kane was born the same year as Hearst, although the movie's protagonist died 10 years before his real-life counterpart. It is Kane's death at age 78 that captures the media's fascination in 1941. The mogul expires at his ostentatious Florida Gulf Coast estate Xanadu (modeled after the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California). Kane's last utterance, which the AFI ranked No. 17 on its Top 100 list of greatest movie quotes, inspires one media outlet to dispatch reporter Jerry Thompson (Alland) to find out what it meant.

 

Hearst turned his wrath on the RKO picture, and did all he could to block its release. As a result, the film was not a financial success on its initial run. But it was always an artistic triumph, thanks to Welles and his cast and crew. Many of the actors were a part of the Mercury Theatre repertory company that Welles used for stage and radio presentations. As for the crew members, the film benefited enormously from the photographic brilliance of cinematographer Gregg Toland, who forever will be remembered when the words "deep focus" are used.

 

The movie's editor was Robert Wise, who went on to a long and distinguished career as a director. He won four Academy Awards for producing and directing the movie musicals "West Side Story" (1961) and "The Sound of Music" (1965). One of the montage creators was Don Siegel, who also turned to directing and enjoyed many popular film collaborations -- including "Dirty Harry" and "Escape from Alcatraz" -- with Clint Eastwood in the 1960s and 1970s.

 

And then there was composer Bernard Herrmann, who later provided some of the great music for Hitchcock films in the 1950s and 1960s. He died on Christmas Eve in 1975, after completing his work on the memorable score for Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" (1976).

 

This movie's only Oscar win was for Best Original Screenplay, which Welles supposedly wrote with Herman J. Mankiewicz (grandfather of Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz). On Father's Day in 2013, Ben and his father Frank discussed the credit controversy for a TCM presentation of the film. Frank Mankiewicz contended that Welles did not write a single word of the screenplay, but persuaded Herman Mankiewicz to share the credit. "It was done that way because Welles had a contract with RKO that required him to do all four things [produce, direct, act and write], or he wouldn't get paid at all," Frank Mankiewicz said.

 

In a conversation with Ben Mankiewicz that aired May 29, 2014 on TCM, filmmaker Henry Jaglom, Welles' friend and confidant, said the film great never took credit for the screenplay, although he admitted to some revisions. "He always claimed that he gave [Herman] Mankiewicz the credit," Jaglom said.

 
The film's other Oscar nominations were for Best Director and Best Actor (Welles), Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Toland), Best Black-and-White Art Direction-Interior Decoration (Perry Ferguson, Van Nest Polglase, A. Roland Fields and Darrell Silvera), Best Film Editing (Wise), Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture (Herrmann) and Best Sound (John Aalberg).

Memorable Scene No. 1: A flashback shows an 8-year-old Kane (Swan) playing in the snow outside the Colorado boarding house owned by his parents (Moorehead, Shannon). Inside, his mother makes an arrangement with banker Walter P. Thatcher (Coulouris) that will change the boy's life forever.
 
 
The scene inspired the 1989 Madonna video for "Oh Father," which was directed by future heavyweight Hollywood filmmaker David Fincher ("Gone Girl," "Fight Club," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Social Network"). The cinematographer for the video was Jordan Cronenweth ("Blade Runner").
 
 
Memorable Scene No. 2: Another flashback, but this one features a series of flashforwards that defines the relationship between Kane and his first wife Emily (Warrick). The segments, each showing the Kanes at a dining-room table, range from their early days as lovebirds to a time when they're not speaking at all.
 
 
Memorable Scene No. 3: This is one particularly admired by the late film critic Roger Ebert, who once said he had seen the movie at least 50 times. Here is how he described it: "There is a master image in 'Citizen Kane' you might easily miss. The tycoon has overextended himself and is losing control of his empire. After he signs the papers of his surrender, he turns and walks into the back of the shot. Deep focus allows Welles to play a trick of perspective. Behind Kane on the wall is a window that seems to be of average size. But as he walks toward it, we see it is further away and much higher than we thought. Eventually he stands beneath its lower sill, shrunken and diminished. Then as he walks toward us, his stature grows again. A man always seems the same size to himself, because he does not stand where we stand to look at him."
 
 
Memorable quote No. 1: "It's the only disease, Mr. Thompson, that you don't look forward to being cured of." -- Kane's longtime employee Mr. Bernstein (Sloane), talking about old age in a conversation with reporter Jerry Thompson.
 
Memorable quote No. 2: "It isn't enough to tell us what a man did. You've got to tell us who he was." --Mr. Rawlston (Van Zandt), producer of the "News on the March" movie newsreel.
 
Welles, who died in 1985, has been portrayed a few times on the big and small screens. The late Paul Shenar played him in the 1975 ABC made-for-television movie "The Night That Panicked America," which was a re-creation of the Mercury Theatre's infamous 1938 Halloween Eve radio presentation of "The War of the Worlds." In 1999, Liev Schreiber appeared as Welles in "RKO 281," an HBO TV-movie that recounted the behind-the-scenes controversies during the making of "Citizen Kane." And Zac Efron and Christian McKay co-starred as the title characters, respectively, in "Me and Orson Welles," Richard Linklater's 2008 feature film about the Mercury Theatre in 1937.
 
During the 1975-76 season of NBC's "Saturday Night" (later "Saturday Night Live"), the original Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players performed a parody of "Citizen Kane." A transcript follows:
 
 
Expires April 21, 2014.
 
2. It Happened One Night (1934) -- Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Jameson Thomas, Alan Hale, Sr., Arthur Hoyt, Blanche Fiderich, Charles C. Wilson. Uncredited: Ward Bond, Irving Bacon. Frank Capra's hit comedy was the first of three films to win the five major Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Gable), Best Actress (Colbert) and a screenwriting category (Robert Riskin for Best Writing, Adaptation). The two other films that accomplished the feat were "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) and "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991). Capra's Oscar win was the first of three Best Director awards he would win in five years. He also won the award for "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936) and "You Can't Take It with You" (1938).
 
Colbert stars in this madcap comedy as Ellie Andrews, a headstrong heiress who becomes a media sensation when she runs away from her domineering father (Connolly). A savvy reporter named Peter Warne (played by Gable) soon tracks her down and winds up sharing an eventful cross-country journey with her.
 
In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked the comedy No. 35 on its list of the greatest movies of all time. When the AFI updated the list in 2007, the film dropped to No. 46.
 
Memorable scene:  Warne tries to show the heiress how easy it is to hitchhike on the road.
 
Memorable dialogue: 
 
Ellie: Aren't you going to give me a little credit?
Peter Warne: What for?
Ellie: I proved once and for all that the limb is mightier than the thumb.
Peter Warne: Why didn't you take off all your clothes? You could have stopped 40 cars.
Ellie: Well, I'll remember that when we need 40 cars.
 
There have been two musical remakes of the picture -- "Eve Had Her Apples" (1945) starred Ann Miller, while "You Can't Run Away from It" (1956) teamed June Allyson and Jack Lemmon.
 
Expires April 21, 2014.
 
 
3. Private Screenings: Robert Osborne (2014) -- In observance of TCM's 20th anniversary, Osborne, the cable channel's primary host and interviewer since April 14, 1994, becomes the interview subject. Alec Baldwin, who was a co-host of "The Essentials" for three seasons, gets Osborne to discuss his life and career, including his days as a contract player for Lucille Ball's company and his experiences in print journalism and on television. Osborne also explains how luck and timing led to his longtime stint on TCM. Expires April 21, 2014.
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TCM On Demand for April 16, 2014

 

 The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 

1. The Buddy Holly Story (1978) -- Gary Busey, Don Stroud, Charles Martin Smith, Maria Richwine, Conrad Janis, Neva Patterson, Arch Johnson, William Jordan, John F. Goff, Amy Johnston, Albert Popwell, Fred Travalena, Dick O'Neill, Freeman King, Paul Mooney, Jerry Zaremba, Gailard Sartain, Gilbert Melgar, Craig White, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Joe Renzetti. Busey received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, thanks to his earnest portrayal of the 1950s rock 'n' roll pioneer (born Charles Hardin Holley) whose meteoric rise ended in sudden tragedy. Renzetti, who appears as a studio violinist, won the Best Adaptation Score Oscar for his arrangements of Holly's music -- including the songs "Peggy Sue," "That'll Be the Day," "True Love Ways" and "Not Fade Away." Directed by Steve Rash ("Can't Buy Me Love"), the musical biopic also was nominated for Best Sound (Tex Rudloff, Joel Fein, Curly Thirlwell and Willie D. Burton). The film was significant because the performers sing the songs themselves. This trend would continue two years later with Sissy Spacek's Academy Award-winning performance as Loretta Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter." Stroud and Smith co-star as characters based on Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin, Jr., respectively, who were members of Holly's band, the Crickets. Nine years after this movie's release, Lou Diamond Phillips starred in the hit film "La Bamba," which told the story of Ritchie Valens, a victim of the February 3, 1959 Iowa plane crash that killed Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, Jr., and pilot Roger Peterson. The tragedy became immortalized as "The Day the Music Died" by singer-songwriter Don McLean's 1971 hit recording "American Pie." In the 1987 film about Valens, Holly was portrayed by singer Marshall Crenshaw. Holly was a major musical influence on the Beatles -- who named their band in admiration of the Crickets. Sir Paul McCartney, who will perform in Holly's hometown of Lubbock, Texas on June 14, 2014, has owned the rights to the Holly songbook for many years. Beard, who died in 1981, starred as the derby-hatted Stymie in the "Our Gang" comedies of the 1930s. Impressionist Will Jordan, who made a career of impersonating Ed Sullivan, provides the voice of the TV variety show host in the film. Expires April 22, 2014.

 

 

2. Bye Bye Birdie (1963) -- Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret, Maureen Stapleton, Paul Lynde, Mary LaRoche, Jesse Pearson, Bobby Rydell, Michael Evans, Robert Paige, Gregory Morton, Bryan Russell, Milton Frome, Ed Sullivan. Cameo appearance: John Charles Daly. Uncredited: Trudi Ames, Linda Kaye Henning, Peter Menefee, Kim Darby. Directed by George Sidney ("Anchors Aweigh," "The Harvey Girls"), this film was based on the 1961 Tony Award-winning musical inspired by Elvis Presley's induction into the U.S. Army in 1958. In this version, a teen Ohio schoolgirl named Kim McAfee is chosen to give drafted rock 'n' roll idol Conrad Birdie (Pearson) a live goodbye kiss on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Van Dyke, reprising his Tony-winning stage role, plays a songwriter who must come up with a final song for Birdie. Along for the ride is his longtime fiancée (Leigh) and his clinging vine of a mother (Stapleton).

 
The screenplay was co-written by Michael Stewart, who was responsible for the book of the stage play, and Irving Brecher. Alhough it was only Ann-Margret's third film, her performance made the Swedish-born actress-singer a star, and launched her career as a screen sex symbol. The next year, she starred opposite Presley in "Viva Las Vegas," also directed by Sidney. Her charisma in "Birdie" was the subject of a Season 3 episode of TV's "Mad Men."
 
The movie musical is chock full of memorable songs by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse, including the title tune, "The Telephone Hour," "We Love You Conrad," "Hymn for a Sunday Evening (Ed Sullivan)" "Put on a Happy Face," "Kids," "One Last Kiss" and "A Lot of Livin' to Do." Interestingly, "Put on a Happy Face" was used as the theme song of "The Hollywood Palace," ABC's Sullivan-like variety show that aired on Saturday nights from 1964 to 1970.
 
 
Cast notes: Daly, who appears as a news reporter at the beginning of the movie, hosted the long-running CBS panel game show "What's My Line?" It aired for years on the same Sunday night lineup with Sullivan's variety series. Pearson later appeared on an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" as a TV music star who ruins a song written by Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) and Clara Edwards (Hope Summers). Rydell, who plays Kim's boyfriend Hugo Peabody, was a major teen idol during the early 1960s. But his career was eclipsed in the middle of the decade by Beatlemania and the British Invasion.
 
In 1995, a revised, made-for-television version of "Bye Bye Birdie" starred Vanessa L. Williams and Jason Alexander (George in "Seinfeld") in the roles played by Leigh and Van Dyke, respectively. Chynna Phillips, one-third of the pop music trio Wilson Phillips, played Kim McAfee. Songwriters Adams and Strouse won Primetime Emmys for a new tune written for the TV production -- "Let's Settle Down."
 
 
Van Dyke, who also starred with Dame Julie Andrews in the 1964 screen musical "Mary Poppins," observed his 90th birthday on December 13, 2005. He celebrated it with an organized party at Disneyland.

 

Expires April 22, 2014.

 

 

 3. Go, Johnny, Go! (1959) -- Alan Freed, Jimmy Clanton, Sandy Stewart, Chuck Berry, Jackie Wilson, Ritchie Valens, the Cadillacs, Jo-Ann Campbell, The Flamingos, Harvey Fuqua, Eddie Cochran. Directed by Paul Landres ("Last of the Badmen"), this film about a major talent search takes its title from the song "Johnny B. Goode" by Berry, who performs it during the opening credits. The musical pic stars Freed (1921-1965) -- the real-life Cleveland and New York radio disc jockey credited with popularizing rock 'n' roll during the 1950s -- as himself. Berry also plays himself and co-stars as Freed's sidekick. This was one of many musical pictures in which Freed appeared. His first was "Rock Around the Clock" (1956), in which he played himself opposite such groups as Bill Haley and the Comets and The Platters. The notorious DJ was the subject of the 1978 film "American Hot Wax," in which he was portrayed by Tim McIntire, son of the actors John McIntire and Jeanette Nolan. Berry also appeared as himself in that film, which co-starred Fran Drescher, Jay Leno and "Saturday Night Live" star Laraine Newman. This film marked the only screen appearance of the 17-year-old Valens, who was killed in the infamous February 3. 1959 plane crash in Iowa that also took the lives of Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, Jr., and pilot Roger Peterson. In addition, the film proved to be the cinematic swan song for Cochran, who died on April 16, 1960, as the result of injuries sustained the previous day in a traffic accident in the United Kingdom. He was 21. Fuqua, who was the lead singer of the 1950s group the Moonglows, became a seminal contributor to the success of Motown Records at the dawn of the 1960s. Expires April 22, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 17, 2014

 

The following feature is now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

The Remains of the Day (1993) -- Sir Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, James Fox, Christopher Reeve, Peter Vaughan, Hugh Grant, John Haycraft, Caroline Hunt, Michael Lonsdale, Paula Jacobs, Ben Chaplin, Tim Pigott-Smith, Lena Headey. Hopkins, the actor most nominated for Academy Awards in the 1990s with four, received a Best Actor nod for his performance in this film by producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory. Mike Nichols and John Calley also served as producers for the effort that received seven other Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. The two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who died on April 3, 2013 at the age of 85, adapted the movie's screenplay from the 1989 novel by author Kazuo Ishiguro. In 2017, Ishiguro, the Japan-born British writer, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature because of his "novels of great emotional force [that have] uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."

 

Hopkins stars as a repressed butler so devoted to his duties at a British estate, he overlooks a possible romantic relationship with a housekeeper (Thompson).

 

 

This was one of the last films for Reeve (1952-2004) before the tragic May 27, 1995 horse-jumping accident that left him paralyzed for the rest of his life.

 

Thompson was nominated for two 1993 Oscars -- Best Actress for this film and Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "In the Name of the Father." She lost in both categories, but remains the only person to win Oscars for acting (for 1992's "Howard's End") and screenwriting (for adapting Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" in 1995).

 

This film features an early screen appearance by Headey, who rose to stardom as the queen of Sparta in "300" (2006) and now holds sway as the conniving Cersei Lannister on HBO's "Game of Thrones."

 

Vaughan -- cast as Hopkins' decrepit father, also in service at the estate -- died on December 6, 2016 at the age of 93. Like Headey, the veteran British actor was a cast member of  "Game of Thrones," appearing as the blind Maester Aemon Targaryen of the Night's Watch. Expires April 23, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 18, 2014
 
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

1. The Good Earth (1937) -- Paul Muni, Luise Rainer, Walter Connolly, Tilly Losch, Charley Grapewin, Jessie Ralph, Yong Soo, Keye Luke, Roland Lui, Susanna Kim, Ching Wa Lee, Harold Huber, Olaf Hytten, William Law, Mary Wong. The German-born actress Rainer died on December 30, 2014, less than two weeks shy of what would have been her 105th birthday on January 12, 2015. She became the first person ever to win back-to-back acting Oscars through her performance as a Chinese farm wife in this film. Based on the 1932 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Pearl S. Buck, the drama was directed by Sidney Franklin (with uncredited contributions by Victor Fleming and Gustav Machatý). It was the last project developed by MGM production chief Irving G. Thalberg, who died on September 14, 1936 at the age of 37. The film was released five months after his death. Rainer's first Oscar win was a Best Actress award for her portrayal of the real-life stage actress Anna Held in "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936). She won again the next year for the role of O-Lan, who endures many hardships in her Chinese farming village. The four others who became back-to-back Oscar winners for acting: Spencer Tracy (Best Actor 1937 and 1938), Katharine Hepburn (Best Actress 1967 and 1968), Jason Robards (Best Supporting Actor 1976 and 1977) and Tom Hanks (Best Actor 1993 and 1994).

The Austrian-born Muni, who plays O-Lan's husband Wang_Lung, was nominated for Best Actor that year for his bravura performance as the title French writer in the 1937 Best Picture winner, "The Life of Émile Zola." Muni previously won the 1936 Best Actor award for "The Story of Louis Pasteur." In addition to Rainer's Best Actress win for this movie, an Oscar went to Bohemian-born cinematographer Karl W. Freund, whose film credits included Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (1927) and Tod Browning's "Dracula" (1931). In the 1950s, Freund would serve as the director of photography for the long-running CBS sitcom "I Love Lucy." Other Oscar nominations were for Best Picture, Best Director (Franklin) and Best Film Editing (Basil Wrangell). This film was presented on April 17th by TCM as part of its two-day observance of MGM's 90th anniversay. Expires April 24, 2014.
 
 
2. Ninotchka (1939) -- Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, Alexander Granach, Bela Lugosi, Rolfe Sedan, Gregory Gaye, Edwin Maxwell, Richard Carle, Tamara Shayne (uncredited), George Tobias (uncredited). The early 1930s sound film "Anna Christie," based on the stage play by Eugene O'Neill, famously had the tag line "Garbo Talks!" For this comedy, directed by the distinguished Ernst Lubitsch, the promotional slogan was "Garbo Laughs!" The great drama queen from Sweden, who died April 15, 1990 at the age of 84, received an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress for her work in her first screen comedy. Unfortunately, it was the next-to-last picture of her career, and her final release, the 1941 comedy "Two-Faced Woman," was a disaster.

 

 

Garbo stars as Nina Ivanovna "Ninotchka" Yakushova, a no-nonsense special envoy from the Soviet Union dispatched to Paris to sell jewels confiscated from the former Russian aristocracy. She makes the acquaintance of Count Léon d'Algout (Douglas), an attorney who happens to represent the interests of the Grand Duchess Swana (Claire), whose personal jewels are among those to be sold. Despite their differences, D'Algout somehow teaches Ninotchka to loosen up, enjoy the pleasures of Paris, and fall in love. 

 

The film also was nominated for Best Picture -- it was one of 10 nominees representing what is considered the greatest year in movies -- and for its adapted screenplay by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett and Walter Reisch and its original story by Melchior Lengyel. Turner Classic Movies aired the comedy in the early morning hours of April 18th as part of a two-day observance of MGM's 90th anniversary.
 
Memorable dialogue: When Ninotchka's Soviet colleagues Iranoff (Ruman), Buljanoff (Bressart) and Kopalski (Granach) meet her at the train station, she is carrying two heavy bags. A porter tries to assist her, but she is not cooperative about it:
 
Porter: May I have your bags, Madame?
 
Ninotchka: Why?
 
Kopalski: He's a porter. He wants to carry them.
 
Ninotchka: Why? Why should you carry other people's bags?
 
Porter: Well, that's my business, Madame.
 
Ninotchka: That's no business. That's social injustice.
 
Porter: That depends on the tip.
 
Memorable quote No. 1: "Very good. The last mass trials were a great success. There are going to be fewer but better Russians." -- Ninotchka, responding to Buljanoff's question about how things are in Moscow.
 
Memorable quote No. 2: "I've been fascinated by your five-year plan for the past 15 years." -- D'Algout to Ninotchka, referring to Stalin's failed economic policies of the 1920s and 1930s.
 
The film inspired the 1955 stage musical "Silk Stockings," which featured music and lyrics by Cole Porter. It starred Don Ameche, Hildegard Knef and Gretchen Wyler. In turn, the stage musical became a 1957 film starring Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Janis Paige, Peter Lorre, Jules Munshin and George Tobias. Expires 
April 24, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 19, 2014

 

The following feature is now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) -- Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Leon Ames, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, Marjorie Main, Harry Davenport, June Lockhart, Henry H. Daniels, Jr., Joan Carroll, Hugh Marlowe, Robert Sully, Chill Wills. Vincente Minnelli's musical follows a year in the lives of the Smith family before the opening of the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Garland performs three memorable songs by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane -- "The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (although Martin claimed he wrote the numbers all by himself).

 

 

It was "The Trolley Song" that received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song, but "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" has become a Yuletide classic. Performed in the movie by Garland in an unforgettable scene with the 7-year-old O'Brien, the tune -- with slightly different lyrics -- has been recorded numerous times by such entertainers as Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Bette Midler, the Jackson 5, the Pretenders, Gloria Estefan and Mary J. Blige.

 

On March 15, 1945, O'Brien received a special Juvenile Academy Award as the Outstanding Child Actress of 1944. Her performance as the irrepressible Tootie Smith certainly was a major factor in her award.

 

Astor would play O'Brien's mother again in the 1949 sceen remake of "Little Women," which also starred June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor and Janet Leigh.

 

Garland and Minnelli were married the year after this film's release. Their daughter Liza was born in 1946 and made her first screen appearance at the age of 3 during the finale of "In the Good Old Summertime" (1949). 
 
Expires April 25, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 20, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 

1. Carson on TCM: Jonathan Winters (December 8, 1988) -- Winters, the improvisational comedy genius, appeared on NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" to talk about his book of oil paintings, "Hang-Ups." The cover photo was a hoot: a reproduction of his painting "The First and Last Day of Spring," which depicted bombs raining down on a town below. Winters also talks about Christmastime when he grew up in Ohio, and tells the story of how he once was "partially electrocuted by a Lionel train." The actor-comedian died April 11, 2013 at the age of 87.This was one of 25 vintage Carson interviews edited for special broadcasts in July 2013 on Turner Classic Movies. Expires April 26, 2014. 

 

2. A King in New York (1957) -- Sir Charles Chaplin, Dawn Addams, Oliver Johnston, Michael Chaplin, Maxine Audley, Jerry Desmonde, John McLaren, Robert Arden, Joan Ingram, Harry Green, Sidney James, Phil Brown, Alan Gifford, Shani Wallis. Chaplin's next-to-last film was this biting satire of celebrity, commercialism, American politics and atomic energy advocates. It was filmed in the United Kingdom because Chaplin couldn't go to New York City. After making a trip to his native London in 1952, he was denied re-entry into the United States because of his political views, and remained abroad thereafter. He briefly returned to America in 1972 to receive an honorary Academy Award "for the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of [the 20th] century." In the film, which also was written, directed and scored by Chaplin, he stars as the recently deposed King Shahdov of the fictional nation of Estrovia. He flees to New York, but discovers that his prime minister (Desmonde) has bolted to South America with the country's finances. But he learns that he may be able to cash in on his notoriety.

Memorable scene: Shahdov visits a progressive school for boys and has an interesting conversation with a budding young anarchist named Rupert Macabee (Michael Chaplin). The younger Chaplin apparently knew his father's lines as well as his own. If you look carefully, you can see the boy mouthing the words of his dad. 

 

 

Acting seems to be firmly engrained in the Chaplin bloodline. The film great's daughter Geraldine, who played Omar Sharif's wife in "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), has a 30ish offspring named Oona. She was christened after Sir Charles' wife Oona O'Neill Chaplin, whose father was the great American playwright Eugene O'Neill. The younger Oona Chaplin appeared as Talisa Maegyr Stark in Seasons 2 and 3 of the HBO miniseries "Game of Thrones." Her pregnant character, the wife of Winterfell's heroic leader Robb Stark, was dispatched brutally (along with her husband and mother in law) during the infamous "Red Wedding" massacre in the Season 3 episode "The Rains of Castamere." Since then, the younger Chaplin starred in "The Crimson Field," a 2015 British  drama series about nurses in World War I.

 

Sir Charles' final film was "A Countess from Hong Kong" (1962), in which he directed Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren in a romance set aboard a luxury liner sailing from Hong Kong to the United States. Chaplin made brief appearances as a ship's steward. Expires April 26, 2014.

 

3. The Terror (1963) -- Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Sandra Knight, Dick Miller, Dorothy Neumann, Jonathan Haze. Six years before he became one of Hollywood's hottest stars, Nicholson appeared in this spooky independent film from producer-director Roger Corman. The actor stars as Lt. Andre Duvalier, a French officer during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800s, who becomes lost and exhausted while trying to rejoin his regiment. He becomes intrigued by a beautiful woman named Helene (Knight), who may or may not be real. Karloff, who had served as the host of the creepy NBC anthology series "Thriller" from 1960 to 1962, appears as the mysterious Baron Von Leppe, master of an ominous castle. The film was based on a screenplay co-written by veteran acting heavy Leo Gordon -- possibly best remembered as John Wayne's nemesis in "McLintock!" (1963) -- and Jack Hill, who later wrote and directed the 1968 cult horror film "Spider-Baby." Corman's protégé, Francis Ford Coppola, served as an associate producer of this film.

Nicholson and Knight were married from 1962 to 1968. Their daughter Jennifer appeared in a few movies, but has excelled as a fashion designer and the owner of a Venice, California boutique called Pearl Drop. Miller, billed in the credits as Richard Miller, is 85 years old and still active today. Despite reports to the contrary, Nicholson has insisted he is not retired from acting, although he has not appeared in a film since James L. Brooks' 2010 romantic comedy "How Do You Know." Expires April 26, 2014.

 

 

4. Where Eagles Dare (1969) -- Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure, Patrick Wymark, Sir Michael Hordern, Donald Houston, Peter Barkworth, William Squire, Robert Beatty, Brook Williams, Neil McCarthy, Vincent Ball, Anton Diffring, Ferdy Mayne, Victor Beaumont, Ingrid Pitt. This masterful World War II drama was written directly for the screen by Alistair MacLean, author of two novels that became popular 1960s films -- "The Guns of Navarone" and "Ice Station Zebra." He also wrote a novel based on this movie's screenplay that was published before the release of the film. The film was directed by Brian G. Hutton ("King Creole," "Kelly's Heroes"), who died August 19, 2014 at the age of 79.

 

The action tale stars Burton as Major John Smith, a resourceful British double agent assigned to head a seemingly impossible mission. He must lead a commando unit to retrieve a captured American general (Beatty) from an impenetrable Nazi fortress in the Bavarian Alps. Eastwood, who had just become a major star thanks to Italian director Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, plays Lt. Schaffer, an American Ranger brought along for the special mission. Once the commando raid goes into motion, Smith discovers that someone inside his unit is trying to sabotage the effort.

 

Memorable quote: "Broadsword calling Danny Boy..." -- Burton as Major Smith uses this call sign whenever he tries to contact his British superiors by radio. Burton delivers the line each time with the fervor of an actor performing Shakespeare on stage. And Burton certainly did his share of that!

 

Memorable scene No. 2: Eastwood's Lt. Shaffer tries to hold off advancing Nazi troops in a hallway of the fortress. Hiding behind a corner, he protects himself by sticking out a submachine gun with both hands and firing.

 

 

Memorable scene No. 3: The surviving members of the commando unit flee the fortress in a tramway car, but their escape is threatened by a gun-toting Nazi force on the ground.

 

Cast notes: Ure, who plays Mary Ellison -- Major Smith's love interest and mission confidante, received an Academy Award nomination for her supporting performance in "Sons and Lovers" (1960). The Scottish actress was married to British playwright and screenwriter John Osborne ("Look Back in Anger," "The Entertainer") from 1957 to 1963. She also was married to actor-playwright Robert Shaw ("From Russia with Love," "The Sting," "Jaws") from 1963 until her death from an overdose in 1975. Diffring, who co-stars as Colonel Kramer, played numerous German characters in American and British war films throughout the years. One of his best roles was as Hitler's real-life foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in the 1983 ABC miniseries "The Winds of War."  Pitt, who appears as an Allied undercover operative named Heidi, became known for her many appearances in British horror pics produced by Hammer Films in the early 1970s. Expires April 26, 2014. 

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TCM On Demand for April 21, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

1. Barabbas (1962) -- Anthony Quinn, Silvana Mangano, Jack Palance, Arthur Kennedy, Ernest Borgnine, Katy Jurado, Vittorio Gassman, Valentina Cortese, Norman Wooland, Harry Andrews, Michael Gwynn, Ivan Triesault (uncredited as the Emperor Nero). Two-time Academy Award winner Quinn portrays the New Testament figure, a criminal released from captivity in exchange for the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. Directed by Richard Fleischer ("Soylent Green"), the drama is based on the 1950 novel by the Nobel Prize-winning Swedish author Pär Lagerkvist.

 

Barabbas returns home to find that his love interest Rachel (Mangano) has become a devout Christian. His life becomes even more complicated by the fact that he witnesses the aftermath of the Crucifixion, sees evidence of Christ's resurrection on the third day, and confers with the likes of Simon Peter (Andrews) and Lazarus (Gwynn).

 

 

 

Shot in Italy, the film was produced by Dino De Laurentiis, who was married to Mangano for almost 40 years. Their granddaughter, Giada De Laurentiis, is the host of the Food Network series "Giada at Home." Mangano's brother Roy appears as Christ at the beginning of the film.

 

Borgnine and Jurado had been married since 1959 when they made this film. They divorced in 1963.

 

The movie features an early screen appearance by Sharon Tate, who was an extra in a Roman arena scene.

 

Expires April 27, 2014. 

 

 

2. Spione (1928) -- Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gerda Maurus, Willy Fritsch, Lien Deyers, Louis Ralph, Craighall Sherry, Paul Hörbiger, Hertha von Walther, Lupu Pick, Fritz Rasp. Titled "Spies" in English, this early espionage film was directed by Fritz Lang (1890-1976), the Austrian-born movie pioneer responsible for the classic German films "Metropolis" (1927) and "M" (1931). This was one of his final silent pictures before he fled Germany in the early 1930s after the Nazis took control. He went on to have a productive career directing films in America ("Rancho Notorious," "The Big Heat"). Klein-Rogge, who starred in Lang's German films about a criminal genius named Dr. Mabuse, plays Haghi, the omniscient, wheel-chair bound mastermind of a major spy network creating havoc throughout the world. He also resembles Comrade Lenin, the Bolshevik leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution. Fritsch appears as a government agent  -- known only as No. 326 -- who seeks to smash the nefarious organization. Making things difficult is the fact that he falls in love with femme fatale Sonja Barranikowa (Maurus), Haghi's Russian-born operative. A subplot involves another of Haghi's seductive agents -- Kitty (played by the 18-year-old Dutch-born actress Deyers) -- who sets out to dupe a Japanese official (Pick). The film was restored 10 years ago by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation of Wiesbaden, which is dedicated to the preservation of German films. Expires April 27, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 22, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

1. Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) -- Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Deborah Walley, Harvey Lembeck, John Ashley, Jody McCrea, Donna Loren, Marta Kristen, Linda Evans, Timothy Carey, Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, Buster Keaton, Earl Wilson, Michael Nader, Bobbi Shaw, Donna Michelle. Directed by William Asher, this was the fifth of seven installments of the popular "Beach Party" series of films produced by American International Pictures. Among the developments in this edition are the arrival of Sugar Kane (Evans), a bombshell pop singer with a publicity-mad agent (Lynde); a beautiful mermaid (Kristen) who falls for Bonehead (McCrea); and the usual schemes of Eric Von Zipper (Lembeck) and his Malibu Rat Pack.

 

 

Funicello, who became popular in the 1950s as a TV Mouseketeer on "The Mickey Mouse Club" series, died April 8, 2013 at the age of 70. She had suffered from multiple sclerosis for years. Asher, who helmed most of the "Beach Party" movies, directed numerous episodes of the television series "I Love Lucy" and "Bewitched." The latter show starred his wife Elizabeth Montgomery. The director of photography for this film was Academy Award-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby ("Tabu," "High Noon"), father of rock great David Crosby of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Walley and Ashley were married from 1962 to 1966. Expires April 28, 2014.

 

2. Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965) -- Vincent Price, Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, Susan Hart, Jack Mullaney, Fred Clark, China Lee, Deanna Lund, Leslie Summers, Alberta Nelson, Milton Frome. Directed by Norman Taurog (an early Oscar winner for "Skippy"), this comedy/spy spoof from American International Pictures stars Vincent Price as the title character -- another in a long line of evil geniuses played by the actor. This time, his Dr. Goldfoot creates and unleashes a bevy of bikini-clad female robots (fembots?) programmed to seduce wealthy men for their money. Mullaney plays his bumbling assistant, Igor. The film features cameo appearances by Annette Funicello, Harvey Lembeck, Deborah Walley and Aron Kincaid. The title song is by the Supremes (before lead singer Diana Ross received top billing).

 

Dr.GoldfootBikiniMachine2.jpg

Price as Dr. Goldfoot 

 

Expires April 28, 2014.

 

 

3. Muscle Beach Party (1964) -- Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Luciana Paluzzi, John Ashley, Don Rickles, Peter Turgeon, Jody McCrea, Candy Johnson, Peter Lupus, Valora Noland, Delores Wells, Donna Loren, Morey Amsterdam, Buddy Hackett, Little Stevie Wonder, Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, Peter Lorre. William Asher directed this second "Beach Party" film from American International Pictures. This time, Frankie and Annette and friends discover their beach turf has been invaded by a group of fitness fanatics, including bodybuilders played by Lupus (the "Mission: Impossible" TV star, billed here as Rock Stevens) and Dan Haggerty, who played frontiersman Grizzly Adams on screen and on television.

 
 

Wonder, whose voice hadn't changed yet, performs the song "Happy Street" at a party scene and during the end credits while the luscious Johnson gyrates go-go style. 

 

Rickles, who also appeared in "Bikini Beach" (1964) and "Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965), died on April 6, 2017 at the age of 90.

 

Expires April 28, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 23, 2014
 
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 
1. 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year (2009) -- Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, this TCM documentary looks at the most memorable 365 days in movie history through an examination of studio-by-studio releases. Talk about quality! The 10 Academy Award nominees for the year's Best Picture were: "Gone With the Wind" (Selznick International Pictures-MGM), "Dark Victory" (Warner Bros.), "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (MGM), "Love Affair" (RKO Radio), "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (Columbia), "Ninotchka" (MGM), "Of Mice and Men" (Hal Roach Studios-United Artists), "Stagecoach" (United Artists), "The Wizard of Oz" (MGM) and "Wuthering Heights" (Samuel Goldwyn Productions-United Artists). Expires April 29, 2014.
 
2. The Lawless Frontier (1934) -- John Wayne, Sheila Terry, Jack Rockwell, George "Gabby" Hayes, Jay Wilsey (as Buffalo Bill, Jr.), Yakima Canutt, Earl Dwine. This film was directed by R.N. Bradbury, who collaborated with Wayne on many low-budget 1930s Westerns, including "The Lucky Texan" (1934), "The Star_Packer" (1934), "The Dawn Rider" (1935) and "Westward Ho" (1935). Wayne stars as John Tobin, who vows vengeance against Pandro Zanti (Dwire), a faux Mexican bandit who murdered Tobin's family and stole its cattle. Hayes, who had a long career as a Western sidekick to heroes played by Wayne, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, William "Hoppy" Boyd and Randolph Scott, plays Dusty, who joins forces with Tobin. Wayne's longtime friend Canutt, the pioneer movie stunt man and action director who staged the chariot race in the 1959 version of "Ben-Hur," appears as one of Zanti's henchmen. TCM is airing 58 motion pictures headlined by Wayne (1907-1979), who has been designated as the Star of the Month for April 2014. Expires April 29, 2014.
 

3. The Long Voyage Home (1940) -- John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter, Barry Fitzgerald, Wilfrid Lawson, John Qualen, Mildred Natwick, Ward Bond, Arthur Shields, Joe Sawyer, J.M. Kerrigan, Rafaela Ottiano, Carmen Morales, Jack Pennick, Bob Perry, Constant Franke, David Hughes, 

Constantine Romanoff, Danny Borzage, Harry Tenbrook, Cyril McLaglen, Douglas Walton. One year after Wayne became a star in Ford's Western "Stagecoach," they reteamed for this seafaring drama based on four one-act plays by Eugene O'Neill. Wayne stars as a Swedish crewman aboard the British cargo ship SS Glencairn, which is making a return transatlantic voyage in the early days of World War II.

 

 

The film received six Academy Award nominations: Best Picture; Best Screenplay, Writing (Dudley Nichols); Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Gregg Toland); Best Film Editing (Sherman Todd); Best Original Score (Richard Hageman); and Best Special Effects (R. T. Layton and Ray Binger, photographic; and Thomas T. Moulton, sound).

 

Besides Wayne, the film is dotted with actors who worked in other Ford projects, including Mitchell, Fitzgerald, Bond, Natwick, Qualen and Shields, who was Fitzgerald's brother.

 

Expires April 29, 2014.

 

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TCM On Demand for April 24, 2014

 

The following feature is now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

Screen Directors Playhouse: "Rookie of the Year" (December 7, 1955) -- When it came to television, 1955 was a big year for actor John Wayne. On September 10th, he kicked off the first episode of the CBS Western "Gunsmoke" and introduced series star James Arness, who appeared with Wayne in the 1952 screen drama "Big Jim McLain" and the 1955 World War II-era film "The Sea Chase." Three months after the "Gunsmoke" premiere, Wayne made his TV acting debut, starring as a sports writer in an installment of this anthology series that aired on NBC. Written by Frank S. Nugent ("The Searchers") from a story by W.R. Burnett, the episode was directed by frequent Wayne collaborator John Ford. The cast features many familiar faces from Ford's films, including Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Willis Bouchey and Wayne's son Patrick. In the drama, Wayne's character has a shot at working for a major newspaper when he discovers that a young New York Yankees phenom (Patrick Wayne) is the son of a notorious ex-major leaguer (Bond) banned from baseball. TCM aired the television episode on Wednesday, April 23rd in connection with Wayne's status as the cable channel's Star of the Month for April 2014. Expires April 30, 2014.

 

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TCM On Demand for April 25, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

1. Blood Alley (1955) -- John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Paul Fix, Joy Kim, Berry Kroeger, Mike Mazurki, Anita Ekberg, James Hong (uncredited), Victor Sen Yung (uncredited). This drama teamed Wayne and Bacall for the first time. They would co-star again in the 1976 Western "The Shootist," which turned out to be Wayne's final film. Directed by William A. Wellman ("The High and the Mighty," "Lafayette Escadrille") -- with some reported contributions by Wayne -- the adventure film takes place in China, several years after the Communist takeover in 1949. Wayne stars as a U.S. Merchant Marine captain imprisoned for some time by the Chinese. He is sprung from captivity by the leaders of a small village who have a proposition for him. They want him to transport the villagers by boat to the British-controlled island of Hong Kong, about 300 miles away. It's a risky venture, considering that the vessel is an unreliable sternwheeler -- and there are no maps available.

 

 

The film was based on the 1955 novel by A.S. Fleischman, who also wrote the screenplay. The Swedish actress Ekberg, who plays a Chinese woman named Wei Ling, would become a worldwide sex symbol five years later in Italian director Frederico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita." Andrew V. McLaglen, son of Academy Award-winning actor and frequent Wayne co-star Victor McLaglen, served as an assistant director for this film. He later directed Wayne in such screen projects as "McLintock!" (1963), "Hellfighters" (1968) "Chisum" (1970) and "Cahill: U.S. Marshal" (1973). Memorable scenes: After spending so much time in a Chinese prison, Wayne's character has become accustomed to talking to an imaginary person he calls "Baby." I'm not sure if this was an inside joke or not, but that was one of Bacall's pet nicknames given to her by husband Humphrey Bogart. Expires May 1, 2014.

 

 

2. I Married a Woman (1958) -- George Gobel, Diana Dors, Adolphe Menjou, John Wayne, Jessie Royce Landis, Nita Talbot, William Redfield, Steve Dunne, John McGiver, Steve Pendleton. Wayne, TCM's Star of the Month for April 2014, makes a couple of cameo appearances as himself in this comedy. Interestingly, the black-and-white film switches to Technicolor whenever Wayne pops up on screen. Directed by Hal Kanter ("Loving You"), the film stars Gobel as Marshall "Mickey" Briggs, a New York advertising executive married to Janice (Dors), a former beauty queen. Although they share all the trappings of his success, Mickey can't quite figure out his wife. For one thing, she feels neglected and keeps trying to make him jealous. Naturally, this is the last thing Mickey needs while his boss (Menjou) applies pressure for a new beer advertising campaign. Gobel (1919-1991), primarily a television star in the 1950s, does a creditable job here, although he never experienced success in the movies. Dors (1931-1984) was the United Kingdom's version of Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s and early 1960s. John Lennon admired the blond bombshell so much, she was one of the celebrities depicted on the famous cover of the Beatles' 1967 album "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." A wax figure of the actress can be seen on the far right of the first row. Janice's mother is played Landis, who took on similar roles in two films by Sir Alfred Hitchcock. In "To Catch a Thief" (1955), she appears as Grace Kelly's mother, who infamously puts out a lighted cigarette in an egg yolk. In "North By Northwest" (1959), she is Cary Grant's mother, who doesn't believe a word her son says about a conspiracy he uncovers. Expires May 1, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 26, 2014
 
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

1. Angel and the Badman (1947) -- John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey, Sr., Bruce Cabot, Irene Rich, Lee Dixon, Stephen Grant, Tom Powers, Paul Hurst, Olin Howland, John Halloran, Joan Barton, Craig Woods, Marshall Reed, Symona Boniface (uncredited). This Western film was directed by James Edward Grant, who wrote many of Wayne's pictures, including "The Alamo" (1960) and "McLintock!" (1963). It stars Wayne, Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month for April 2014, as a wounded gunfighter nursed back to health by a family of Quakers. He soon becomes involved with the family's daughter (Russell), who begins to have a major impact on his thinking. This was the first film produced by Wayne, who went on to create Batjac Productions. Run by Wayne's eldest son Michael, Batjac -- which took its name from a fictional company in "Wake of the Red Witch" (1948) -- was responsible for many of the actor's films from the 1950s to the 1970s. Wayne and Russell also appeared together in "Wake of the Red Witch," but her career was shortened because of a drinking problem. She died of an alcohol-related issue in 1961 at the age of 36. This was one of the last pictures featuring Carey, the longtime film star whose career began in 1909. Expires May 2, 2014.
 
2. McLintock! (1963) -- John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers, Jack Kruschen, Chill Wills, Yvonne DeCarlo, Jerry Van Dyke, Edgar Buchanan, Bruce Cabot, Perry Lopez, Strother Martin, Gordon Jones, Robert Lowery, Hank Worden, Michael Pate, Edward Faulkner, Mari Blanchard, Leo Gordon, Chuck Roberson, Bob Steele, Aissa Wayne, Big John Hamilton. Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen ("Shenandoah"), who died August 30, 2014 at the age of 94, this rip-roaring Western comedy stars Wayne as wealthy cattle baron George Washington "G.W." McLintock. He has a lot of problems to deal with on his homestead, including the unexpected return of his estranged wife Katherine (O'Hara), who left him years ago. This was one of five movies in which Wayne and O'Hara were co-stars. The others: "Rio Grande" (1950), "The Quiet Man" (1952), "The Wings of Eagles" (1957) and "Big Jake" (1971). This film marked the final screen appearance of Gordon Jones, who played Matt Douglas. He died of a heart attack on June 20, 1963, about five months before the movie was released. He was 52. Wayne's daughter Aissa, who appears in the movie as the preteen child of DeCarlo's character, is a former prosecutor  now heading her own firm specializing in family law in Los Angeles. Her daughter Jennifer Kuhle and Jennifer's teammate Caroline Cutbirth were "The Country Singers" -- first runners-up for the $1 million prize in "The Amazing Race All-Stars," which concluded Sunday, May 18, 2014 on CBS.

 

Memorable quote: "I haven't lost my temper in 40 years. But, Pilgrim, you caused a lot of trouble this morning, might have got somebody killed. And somebody ought to belt you in the_mouth. But I won't. I won't. The hell I won't!" -- McLintock, just before slugging a contentious settler named Jones (Gordon). The impact sends Jones sliding down to a muddy mine dump and sets off a major brawl. Expires May 2, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 27, 2014
 
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
 
1. Beauty and the Beast (1946) -- Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély, Nane Germon, Michel Auclair, Raoul Marco, Marcel André. Titled "La Belle et la Bête" in France, this fanciful version of the 18th-century fairy tale was the surrealistic vision of French director, poet, writer and artist Jean Cocteau (1889-1963). The film was presented by Turner Classic Movies on Saturday, April 26th during an installment of "The Essentials," co-hosted by TCM's Robert Osborne and actress Drew Barrymore. The late film critic Roger Ebert included the fantasy in his "Great Movies" series and called it "one of the most magical of all films."
 
 
"Before the days of computer effects and modern creature makeup," he wrote in 1999, "here is a fantasy alive with trick shots and astonishing effects, giving us a Beast who is lonely like a man and misunderstood like an animal. Cocteau, a poet and surrealist, was not making a 'children's film' but was adapting a classic French tale that he felt had a special message after the suffering of World War II: Anyone who has an unhappy childhood may grow up to be a Beast."
Marais, who had a long personal relationship with Cocteau, was a frequent star in the director's films. He appears as three characters in the tale, including the lion-like Beast and a handsome villager named Avenant. Day co-stars as Belle, the daughter of a ruined businessman who must pay for a transgression of her father's by agreeing to reside at the Beast's enchanted castle. Although Walt Disney had considered creating an animated version of this story years before Cocteau's film, the French director's version certainly influenced the major 1991 hit from the Disney company. That "Beauty and the Beast" became the first animated film ever to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. It also drew five other nominations, winning for Best Music, Original Score (Alan Menken) and Best Music, Original Song ("Beauty and the Beast" by Menken and Howard Ashman). Expires May 3, 2014.
 
 

2. Big Jake (1971) -- John Wayne, Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Christopher Mitchum, Bruce Cabot, Bobby Vinton, Glenn Corbett, John Doucette, Jim Davis, John Agar, Harry Carey, Jr., Gregg Palmer, Roy Jenson, Virginia Capers, Hank Worden, Ethan Wayne, William Walker, Tom Hennesy, Chuck Roberson, George Fenneman (narrator). Directed by George Sherman ("Count Three and Pray"), this Western  film was written by the husband-and-wife team of Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink, two of the creators of "Dirty Harry." It was the last of 58 Wayne films shown by Turner Classic Movies during its tribute to the actor as its April 2014 Star of the Month. Set in the year 1909, the film stars Wayne as the title character, Jacob McCandles, a rancher renowned for his prowess with a gun. The problem is everyone seems to believe he's been dead for years, which clearly annoys Jake. McCandles goes into action when a sinister band of outlaws -- headed by John Fain (Boone) -- invades the McCandles ranch, wreaks havoc and kidnaps for ransom Jake's grandson and namesake (played by Wayne's youngest son Ethan. The actor named his son after his character in John Ford's 1956 Western "The Searchers"). This was the last of five films in which Wayne and O'Hara appeared together. The others: "Rio Grande" (1950), "The Quiet Man" (1952), "The Wings of Eagles" (1957) and "McLintock!" (1963). She plays McCandles' estranged wife, Martha. His boys are played by Patrick Wayne (his real-life progeny), Mitchum (son of Robert) and pop singer Vinton. The film features many other actors who had worked with Wayne on other projects. Boone, for instance, was also in "The Alamo" (1960) -- he portrayed Sam Houston -- and "The Shootist" (1976), which turned out to "The Duke's" final film. Narrator Fenneman became a familiar television presence during the 1950s as the on-screen announcer for Groucho's Marx's game show "You Bet Your Life."

 

This was one of the final screen appearances by the veteran actor Cabot, who starred in "King Kong" (1933) and became a familiar presence in many of Wayne's films. He died of cancer in 1972 after finishing his work as a villain in the 1971 James Bond film "Diamonds Are Forever."

 

 

Memorable quote: "I am grateful to you both. But I don't think this is a job for the Rangers, Buck, nor for the Army, sir. It is, I think, going to be a very harsh and unpleasant kind of business. And will, I think, require an extremely harsh and unpleasant kind of man to see to it." -- Martha McCandles, politely turning down offers of help from authorities and suggesting that her estranged husband, Jake, is the right man to track down the kidnappers.

 
Memorable dialogue: McCandles has the same reaction whenever someone is surprised that he's still alive. 
 

 
Expires May 3, 2014.
 
3. Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) -- Kim Stanley, Sir Richard Attenborough, Nanette Newman, Mark Eden, Patrick Magee, Gerald Sim, Marian Spencer, Lionel Gamlin, Margaret Lacey, Godfrey James, Ronald Hines, Judith Donner. Stanley earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in this British drama. She plays a fake medium who persuades her husband (Attenborough, sporting a false nose) to kidnap the young daughter (Donner) of a wealthy couple. Her plan is to cash in on her notoriety as the one person who can solve the mystery of the girl's disappearance. The film, based on a novel by Mark McShane, was written and directed by former actor Bryan Forbes ("The Stepford Wives," "Whistle Down the Wind"), who died on May 8, 2013 at the age of 86. Newman, Forbes' wife of more than 50 years, frequently appeared in his films. The movie's original score was composed by five-time Oscar winner John Barry, best known for his work on numerous James Bond films between 1962 and 1987. Be sure to notice how Barry skillfully uses his music to indicate the girl's cries during the kidnapping near her school. Attenborough, who co-produced the film, later won two Academy Awards for producing and directing the 1982 Best Picture winner "Gandhi." The screen biography, which made Sir Ben Kingsley a star, received eight Oscars in 11 nominations. Expires May 3, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 28, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

1. The 39 Steps (1935) -- Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim, Sir Godfrey Tearle, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, John Laurie, Helen Haye, Frank Cellier, Wylie Watson, Gus McNaughton, Jerry Verno, Peggy Simpson. This exciting and suspenseful tale from Sir Alfred Hitchcock's British period follows one of his favorite formulas. A man is accused of a crime he did not commit and goes on the lam in search of evidence that will prove his innocence. Cary Grant appeared as two such characters in Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief" (1955) and "North By Northwest" (1959). It also was the situation for characters played by Robert Cummings in "Saboteur" (1942) and Jon Finch in "Frenzy" (1972). Based on a 1915 novel by John Buchan, the film stars Donat as Robert Hannay, a Canadian temporarily residing in London. He meets a German woman (Mannheim) -- who calls herself Annabella Smith -- during a disturbance at a music hall. Fearing for her safety, she asks to accompany him to his flat. She turns out to be an espionage agent for the British, and hints of an urgent matter that must be prevented. Before she can elaborate further, she is murdered, forcing Hannay to flee. Naturally, he becomes the subject of a nationwide search, but through luck and his resourcefulness, he manages to elude authorities.
Remembering clues from Annabella, Hannay makes his way to Scotland for possible answers to the mystery. Along the way, he winds up with an unwilling companion named Pamela (played by Carroll, the first of Hitchcock's cool blondes). When they meet on a passenger train, she tries to turn him in, but he escapes. When their acquaintance is renewed later on the road, they end up handcuffed together. When she eventually realizes the truth about Hannay, she becomes an ally.
 
Donat went on to star in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (1939), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor over fellow nominees Clark Gable, Mickey Rooney, James Stewart and Sir Laurence Olivier. Another future Oscar winner: Ashcroft, cast as a Scottish farmer's wife who helps Hannay evade authorities. Fifty years after appearing in this film, she became the oldest winner of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was 77 years and 93 days old on March 25, 1985, when she won the Oscar for her performance as Mrs.Moore in Sir David Lean's 1984 drama "A Passage to India."
 
The screenplay for Hitchcock's film was adapted from Buchan's novel by Charles Bennett and Alma Reville (the director's longtime collaborator and wife). The tale has been remade several times. A 1959 version starred Kenneth Moore and Taina Elg, while a 1978 edition was headlined by Robert Powell, David Warner, Sir John Mills and Karen Dotrice (who as a child played Jane Banks in "Mary Poppins"). In 2005, a stage version put together by Patrick Barlow opened in north England with the humorous approach that four actors should play all of the character parts, resulting in lightning-fast wardrobe changes. The production opened in London in 2006 and on Broadway in 2008, where it was nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Direction of a Play (Maria Aitken). It won Tonys for Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design.
 
Memorable dialogue:
 
Annabella Smith: Do you want to know more about me? What do you think I do for a living?
 
Hannay: Actress?           
 
Annabella Smith: Not in the way you mean.
 
Memorable Scene No. 1 -- When Annabella is murdered while hiding in Hannay's flat, he tries to think of a way to elude her killers outside. Then he notices the friendly neighborhood milkman making his early morning rounds... 
 
 
 
Memorable Scene No. 2: As sinister henchmen and authorities begin closing in on Hannay, he evades them for a time by showing up at a political rally. But he is mistaken for a guest speaker named Captain Fraser and finds himself delivering an off-the-cuff speech -- which rouses the people in the audience.
 
 
 
Memorable Scene No. 3 -- When Hannay discovers the identity of the film's No. 1 villain, it turns out to be a seemingly respectable Scottish gentleman (played by Tearle) who looks an awful lot like the man who was the American president when the movie was released. Was this Hitchcock's devilish sense of humor at work?
 
Hitch's traditional cameo: Look for the director during the scene in which Hannay and Annabella board a bus. He's the litterbug in the foreground. 

 

Expires May 4, 2014.

   
 
2. The Match Factory Girl (1990) -- Kati Outinen, Elina Salo, Esko Nikkari, Vesa Vierikko. Directed by Finland's Aki Kaurismäki, this gloomy drama stars Outinen as the title character -- a young woman named Iris who works at a humdrum job at a factory that creates matchsticks for matchboxes. Her domestic life is just as humdrum. She lives with her mother and stepfather, who apparently have little in common with her. As for her social life, she occasionally attends a nightclub, but no one ever asks her to dance. She gradually makes changes in her life, but as the film continues to unfold we learn they aren't necessarily good choices. This is one of many film collaborations between the highly praised Kaurismäki and Finnish actress Outinen. Now 52, she won the Best Actress award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in the director's comedy-drama "The Man Without a Past." Their 2011 film "Le Havre," the story of a shoeshine man who hides a young African refugee in the French port city, was aired by Turner Classic Movies on Labor Day 2013 as part of the cable channel's tribute to the Telluride Film Festival, held annually in September. Expires May 4, 2014.
 
 
3. The Way We Were (1973) -- Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Bradford Dillman, Lois Chiles, James Woods, Patrick O'Neal, Sally Kirkland, Susan Blakely, Viveca Lindfors. Directed by Sydney Pollack, this very popular romantic drama is about opposites (Streisand, Redford) who fall in love and marry despite their differences. She's a liberal Jewish activist; he's a golden boy and an apolitical WASP. Their relationship begins at a college just before World War II. The film reaches its climax during the politically tumultuous McCarthy era of the early 1950s.
 
Marvin Hamlisch won two Academy Awards for this movie: Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song (for the title tune, shared with lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman). Hamlisch picked up a third award on Oscar Night 1974, winning in the Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation category for his use of Scott Joplin rags in "The Sting." Streisand's version of the title song became a No. 1 pop hit and a standard. Redford and Kirkland also appeared together in "The Sting," which won the 1973 Best Picture Oscar and produced the onetime Sundance Kid's only Best Actor nomination. A year later, Redford co-starred with Chiles in the much-hyped remake of "The Great Gatsby," based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel.
 
Pollack and Redford were young actors when they met during the filming of "War Hunt," a 1962 drama about the Korean conflict. It was the first feature film for both of them. After Pollack turned to directing in the mid-1960s, he and Redford collaborated on six other projects, including "Jeremiah Johnson" (1972), "Three Days of the Condor" (1975), "The Electric Horseman" (1979) and the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1985, "Out of Africa." 
 
Expires May 4, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 29, 2014

 

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

 

1. The Racket (1951) -- Robert Mitchum, Lizabeth Scott, Robert Ryan, William Talman, Ray Collins, Joyce Mackenzie, Robert Hutton, Virginia Huston, William Conrad, Walter Sande, Les Tremayne, Don Porter, Walter Baldwin, Brett King, Richard Karlan, Tito Vuolo. Produced by Howard Hughes and directed by John Cromwell -- who was assisted without credit by Nicholas Ray, Tay Garnett, Sherman Todd, and Mel Ferrer -- this crime drama from RKO Radio is a remake of the 1928 silent film. Mitchum stars as Tom McQuigg, an incorruptible police precinct captain who wages war against a sadistic racketeer (Ryan). Cromwell, father of Emmy Award-winning actor James Cromwell, played McQuigg in the 1927 stage version of this story, which starred Edward G. Robinson. Hughes also produced Paramount's 1928 film version, directed by Lewis Milestone ("All Quiet on the Western Front") and starring Thomas Meighan, Marie Prevost and Louis Wolheim. This was one of five films aired by Turner Classic Movies in an April 28th and 29th salute to Mitchum's career. Expires May 5, 2014.

 

 

2. The Sundowners (1960) -- Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, Peter Ustinov, Glynis Johns. Dina Merrill, Chips Rafferty, Michael Anderson, Jr., Wylie Watson, John Meillon, Ronald Fraser, Gerry Duggan, Leonard Teale, Dick Bentley, Peter Carver, Mervyn Johns, Molly Urquhart, Ewen Solon, Max Osbiston, Mercia Barden. Fred Zinnemann's tale of an itinerant Australian family received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Kerr earned her sixth and final Best Actress nod, while Glynis Johns picked up one for Best Supporting Actress. Ustinov won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for that year, but it was for his performance in "Spartacus." Kerr never received a competitive Academy Award -- she is tied with Thelma Ritter and Glenn Close for the most nominations by an actress (six) without a win. But on March 21, 1994, she was presented an honorary statuette "in appreciation for a full career's worth of elegant and beautifully crafted performances." The fifth nomination for the film went to Isobel Lennart for her screenplay adaptation of the 1952 novel by Jon Cleary. This film marked a reunion for Kerr and Mitchum, who co-starred in John Huston's 1957 World War II drama "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison." Anderson was the son of filmmaker Michael Anderson, Sr., who directed the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1956, "Around the World in 80 Days." The junior Anderson's younger stepsister, Laurie Holden, played Andrea during the first three seasons of television's "The Walking Dead." Watson, who plays Herb Johnson, was the encyclopedic brain known as Mr. Memory in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 suspense film "The 39 Steps." Dimitri Tiomkin's "Main Theme from 'The Sundowners' " was played frequently on easy listening AM radio stations for years after the movie's release. Expires May 5, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for April 30, 2014

 

Of all the independent filmmakers who emerged from the post-World War II era, writer-producer-director Samuel Fuller (1912-1997) is one whose screen legacy seems to be appreciated more and more in the years since his death. His films were largely low-budget features, and yet many of them are praised for his innovations. His most familiar pictures are likely his war movies --  he was a military veteran himself  -- particularly "The Steel Helmet" (1951), which revolves around American soldiers during the Korean conflict, and "The Big Red One" (1980), which stars Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill and Robert Carradine as members of the Army's 1st Infantry Division fighting in North Africa and Europe.

Fuller also had an eye for talent. Constance Towers was known for her elegance on film -- and in her real-life role as the wife of actor John Gavin, Ronald Reagan's ambassador to Mexico in the early 1980s. Fuller had the gumption to cast Towers as a stripper in "Shock Corridor" (1963) and a call girl in "The Naked Kiss" (1964), and what resulted were stunning performances by the actress.

Among the director's admirers in the film community: Jean-Luc Godard, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch and Wim Wenders. Scorsese has called Fuller "one of American cinema's most dynamic and inventive artists."

On Tuesday, April 29, 2014, Turner Classic Movies presented eight of Fuller's films in a daytime salute to his work. Four of the movies are now available on TCM On Demand through May 6th. They are listed in chronological order:

 

1. I Shot Jesse James (1949) -- Preston Foster, Barbara Britton, John Ireland, Reed Hadley, J. Edward Bromberg, Victor Kilian, Tom Tyler, Tommy Noonan, Eddie Dunn, Margia Dean, Byron Foulger, Jeni Le Gon, Barbara Woodell, Phillip Pine, Robin Short. After years of working as a newspaper reporter and screenwriter, Fuller made his debut as a director with this film based on Western lore. The storyline is based on the April 3, 1882 murder of the notorious outlaw by his cohort Robert Ford. Legend has it that James, who was residing in a Missouri town under the name Tom Howard, was shot in the back by Ford while dusting off a photograph on a wall. Ireland stars as Ford, who explains that he wanted to be free of his connection to the James Gang, become a farmer and marry his actress-girlfriend Cynthy Waters (Britton). Although he is pardoned by the governor for James' murder, Ford encounters a myriad of problems because of his notoriety. For one thing, he can't escape the public's fascination with his infamous deed, and even winds up re-enacting it onstage at an opera house. Meanwhile, Cynthy isn't sure that she loves him, and she is being swayed by the attentions of John Kelley (Foster), a prospector-turned-lawman. And then there's the threat posed by Jesse's brother Frank (Tyler), who reportedly has vowed to seek vegeance against Ford. Memorable scene: Ford insists that a saloon singer continue performing a ballad about the James murder, including the lyrics about the "dirty little coward what shot Mr. Howard [and] laid Jesse dead in his grave." 

Bromberg, who appears as Cynthy's manager Harry Kane, played the duplicitous George Runyan in the hit 20th-Century Fox Westerns "Jesse James" (1939) and "The Return of Frank James" (1940). This was Bromberg's next-to-last screen appearance. He died of a heart attack in London on December 6, 1951, three weeks before his 48th birthday and not long after he had been blacklisted for Communist leanings. Casey Affleck received a 2007 Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his version of the traitorous character in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." Brad Pitt portrayed Jesse James in that one. Noonan, who plays Ford's brother Charles, was the half brother of Ireland in real life. He went on to appear as Gus Esmond, Marilyn Monroe's wealthy boyfriend in the 1953 musical comedy "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

 

2. The Baron of Arizona (1950) -- Vincent Price, Ellen Drew, Vladimir Sokoloff, Beulah Bondi, Reed Hadley, Robert H. Barrat, Robin Short, Karen Kester, Tina Rome, Margia Dean, Jonathan Hale, Edward Keane, Barbara Woodell, I. Stanford Jolley, Fred Kohler, Jr., Tristram Coffin, Gene Roth, Angelo Rossitto, Ed East, Joe Greene. Fuller's second film was this biography of James Addison Reavis (1893-1914), the master schemer who forged documents and groomed an orphan girl in his efforts to claim the Arizona territory in the 1870s. Price stars as the scoundrel, and much of the fun of the picture is watching him lay the foundation for his fraud, brick by brick. Drew portrays Reavis' wife Sofia de Peralta, whom he contends is the direct descendant of the true owner of the territory. Kester plays her as a child. The film's cinematography was provided by the great James Wong Howe (1899-1976), a fixture in the cinema for more than 50 years. The film features many of the actors who appeared in Fuller's first film, "I Shot Jesse James." One of the stunt doubles for the picture was Edward D. Wood, Jr., who later directed the notorious 1950s films "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and "Glen or Glenda." Johnny Depp portrayed him in Tim Burton's 1994 biopic "Ed Wood."  Memorable quote: "I don't want a dead baron. I want a live husband." -- Sofia, expressing doubts to her husband about the push for the controversial title claim.

 

3. Shock Corridor (1963) -- Peter Breck, Constance Towers, Gene Evans, James Best, Hari Rhodes, Larry Tucker, Paul Dubov, Chuck Roberson, Neyle Morrow, John Matthews, Bill Zuckert, John Craig, Philip Ahn, Frank Gerstle, Rachel Romen. Fuller's daring tale stars Breck (Nick Barkley in TV"s "The Big Valley") as Johnny Barrett, an investigative newspaper reporter who believes he will win a Pulitzer Prize by exposing the truth about a murder at a mental institution. His approach is to go undercover as a patient, a risky measure known only to a few people, including his exotic dancer girlfriend Cathy (Towers). Among the patient/suspects he questions are a Korean War vet (Best) who believes he is Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart; a former African-American student (Rhodes) who achieved notoriety by desegregating an all-white college, but is now anti-black himself; and a once-brilliant rocket scientist (Evans, a frequent Fuller collaborator) whose regression has left him with the mentality of a 6-year-old child. The film, which features scenes of shock treatment and patient hallucinations, was selected in 1966 for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."

Tucker, who plays an opera-loving inmate nicknamed Pagliacci, shared with filmmaker Paul Mazursky a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for the 1969 film "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice."

 

4. The Naked Kiss (1964) -- Constance Towers, Anthony Eisley, Michael Dante, Virginia Grey, Patsy Kelly, Marie Devereux, Karen Conrad, Linda Francis, Bill Sampson, Sheila Mintz, Patricia Gayle, Gerald Michenaud, George Spell, Christopher Barry, Patty Robinson, Betty Robinson, Breena Howard, Sally Mills, Edy Williams, Betty Bronson. Towers stars as Kelly, a troubled call girl who flees to the small town of Grantsville and seeks to begin life there with a clean slate. Her road to redemption includes serving as an angel of mercy at a children's hospital, where she is adored by the patients and the staff. Memorable scene: When Kelly arrives in town at the beginning of the movie, the movie theater next to the bus depot is showing Fuller's 1963 film "Shock Corridor," which also starred Towers.

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TCM On Demand for May 1, 2014

 

The following feature is now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time: 

 

 The Letter (1940) -- Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson, Frieda Inescort, Gale Sondergaard, Bruce Lester, Elizabeth Inglis, (billed as Elizabeth Earl), Cecil Kellaway, Victor Sen Young, Doris Lloyd, Willie Fung, Tetsu Komai. Uncredited: David Newell, Holmes Herbert, Leonard Mudie, John Ridgely, Douglas Walton. For her performance in this drama, Davis received the third of her record five Best Actress nominations in a row. The film, directed by William Wyler, also earned six other Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Stephenson), Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Tony Gaudio), Best Film Editing (Warren Low) and Best Music, Original Score (Max Steiner). 

 

The movie literally begins with a bang -- actually, several bangs.

 

 

Set at a rubber plantation in British Malaya, the film stars Davis as Leslie Crosbie, wife of the operation's manager (Marshall). She stuns the local community when she fatally shoots her lover Geoffrey Hammond (Newell) outside her residence on a moonlit night. Although there are many witnesses to the shooting, she claims self defense. But her attorney (Stephenson) discovers the existence of a letter that puts an entirely different spin on the case.

 

This was a remake of the 1929 drama that starred Jeanne Eagels (1890-1929), the celebrated American stage and screen actress who died at the age of 39. After her death, it is believed that Eagels received strong consideration for the 1928-1929 Best Actress Oscar, although there were no official nominations for the awards ceremony. Marshall co-starred in the original film as Hammond opposite Eagels as Crosbie.

 

Both versions were derived from the 1927 stage play by W. Somerset Maugham. This movie's screenplay was written by Howard E. Koch, who -- with brothers Julius and Philip Epstein -- won the 1943 Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for "Casablanca."

 
 Expires May 6, 2014.

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