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TCM On Demand (Comcast)


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TCM On Demand for December 15, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. Great Expectations (1946) -- Sir John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Anthony Wager, Jean Simmons, Sir Alec Guinness, Francis L. Sullivan, Bernard Miles, Martita Hunt, Finlay Currie, Ivor Barnard, Freda Jackson, Torin Thatcher, Eileen Erskine, George Hayes, Hay Petrie, John Forrest. Sir David Lean's adaptation of the 19th-century Charles Dickens novel is about a young boy's rise to prominence, thanks to a mysterious benefactor. The film received two 1947 Academy Awards: Best Black-and-White Art Direction-Set Decoration (John Bryan, Wilfred Shingleton) and Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Guy Green, who went on to direct the 1960s dramas "The Mark" and "A Patch of Blue"). It also was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay (Lean, Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan).
Wager plays the protagonist, Philip "Pip" Pirrip, as a youth; Mills takes over as the adult version. Simmons, who was in her late teens when the movie was filmed, appears as the younger Estella. Two years later, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Sir Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet" and embarked on a noteworthy career in Hollywood. She later played Estella's vengeful foster mother, Miss Havisham, in a 1989 miniseries version of "Great Expectations" for British television.
Mills would go on to win the 1970 Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as a mute village idiot in "Ryan's Daughter," Lean's drama about political and romantic turmoil in early 20th-century Ireland.
Guinness, who plays Pip's friend Herbert Pocket, was a frequent Lean collaborator, and won his only competitive Academy Award -- a Best Actor Oscar -- for his performance in the director's 1957 drama "The Bridge on the River Kwai." He also starred as Fagin in Lean's 1949 version of another Dickens story, "Oliver Twist."
The story of Pip has been filmed many times for the screen and television. In 1998, director Alfonso Cuaron, a two-time 2013 Oscar winner for "Gravity," remade it with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow in a modern-day setting. Director Mike Newell ("Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire") filmed a 2012 screen version with Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes. Expires December 21, 2014.
2. In the Good Old Summertime (1949) -- Judy Garland, Van Johnson, S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall, Spring Byington, Clinton Sundberg, Buster Keaton, Marcia Van Dyke, Lillian Bronson. Uncredited: Joi Lansing, Liza Minnelli. Technicolor musical in which Garland and Johnson play music store co-workers who don't get along. Neither realizes that the other is a much-appreciated and desired pen pal. The film is a remake of Ernst Lubitsch's 1940 romantic comedy "The Shop Around the Corner," which starred Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart. The late Nora Ephron used the same source material to film her 1998 hit "You've Got Mail," which was the third film to pair Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
Directed by Robert Z. Leonard ("The Great Ziegfeld," "The Divorcee"), the Garland-Johnson version takes place in Chicago around the turn of the century. At the end of the movie, look for Garland's 3-year-old daughter Liza Minnelli in her first screen appearance.
The movie isn't only about summertime. Garland introduced the song "Merry Christmas" by Fred Spielman (music) and Janice Torre (lyrics).
Expires December 21, 2014.


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TCM On Demand for December 16, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:


1. Kiss Them for Me (1957) -- Cary Grant, Jayne Mansfield, Leif Erickson, Suzy Parker, Ray Walston, Larry Blyden, Nathaniel Frey, Werner Klemperer, Jack Mullaney. Uncredited actors: Richard Deacon, Harry Carey, Jr., John Doucette, Kathleen Freeman, Nancy Kulp, Peter Leeds, Ray Montgomery, Frank Nelson, Maudie Prickett. This was the first of four collaborations between Grant, Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month for December 2014, and director Stanley Donen. They also worked together on "Indiscreet" (1958), "The Grass Is Greener" (1960) and "Charade" (1963).


The military comedy was based on the 1945 Broadway hit by Luther Davis, derived from the 1944 novel "Shore Leave" by Frederic Wakeman Sr. The play's original cast included several future film stars -- Richard Widmark, Judy Holliday and Paul Ford -- as well as Daniel Petrie, an actor who would become an Emmy Award-winning director ("Eleanor and Franklin," "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years").


The film stars Grant, Walston and Blyden as Navy war heroes who are sent to San Francisco for a well-deserved four-day leave. They hatch a plan to host a wild party at their ritzy hotel, and try their best to ditch the Navy P.R. officer (Klemperer) assigned to them. Suzy Parker, who -- along with her sister Dorian Leigh -- was an early supermodel, made her film debut as the socialite who charms Grant's character. Parker's lines were dubbed by Deborah Kerr, Grant's co-star in another 1957 film, "An Affair to Remember" 


Mansfield's presence in the film inspired the British band Siouxsie and the Banshees to release the 1991 song titled "Kiss Them for Me." The song makes references to the sex symbol, who was killed in a June 1967 auto accident on her way to New Orleans from Biloxi, Mississippi. Mansfield's driver and her agent/boyfriend also were killed in the crash. Three of her children survived, including a 3 1/2-year-old Mariska Hargitay, now the Emmy Award-winning star of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit."




Expires December 22, 2014.


2. Love Affair (1939) --Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Maria Ouspenskaya, Lee Bowman, Astrid Allwyn, Maurice Moscovitch. Uncredited actors: Joan Leslie, Gerald Mohr, Scotty Beckett, The Robert Mitchell Boy Choir. Leo McCarey's story about the jinxed romance between a French artist (Boyer) and an American woman (Dunne) received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Dunne) and Best Supporting Actress (Ouspenskaya). The production also received nominations for Best Writing, Original Story (McCarey and Mildred Cram), Best Art Direction (Van Nest Polglase, Alfred Herman) and Best Original Song ("Wishing" by Buddy G. DeSylva).

McCarey remade the film almost 20 years later as "An Affair to Remember" (1957), with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in the lead roles (Nora Ephron would borrow elements of this version for her 1993 Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan hit "Sleepless in Seattle"). And, returning to the title "Love Affair," Warren Beatty and Annette Bening co-starred in a 1994 version opposite Katharine Hepburn in her final film role. Expires December 22, 2014.



3. Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) -- Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Fay Bainter, Barbara Read, Elizabeth Risdon, Ralph Remley, Minna Gombell, Porter Hall, Ray Meyer, Maurice Moscovitch, Louise Beavers, Louis Jean Heydt, Dell Henderson, Louise Seidel, Paul Stanton, Gene Morgan. Director Leo McCarey's bleak portrait of Barkley and Lucy Cooper (Moore, Bondi), an elderly couple whose 50-year bond is threatened when they lose their home during the Depression. Although they have reared five children to adulthood, the prospects are dim that they will be able to stay together. McCarey, whose credits included "Going My Way" (1944) and "An Affair to Remember" (1957), won the 1937 Academy Award for Best Director, but it was for the Irene Dunne-Cary Grant comedy "The Awful Truth." McCarey always believed that he should have won the Oscar for this film. 


Expires December 22, 2014.


4. Noël Coward's 'Brief Encounter' (1945) -- Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway, Joyce Carey, Cyril Raymond, Everley Gregg, Marjorie Mars, Margaret Barton. Uncredited: Alfie Bass. Directed by Sir David Lean before his epic films period, this British romantic drama was adapted for the screen by Coward from his 1936 play "Still Life." Johnson and Howard play two people -- married to others -- who become involved after they meet by chance at a railway station.



After the film was released in the United States in 1946, Lean received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, while Johnson earned a Best Actress nod. It also received a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination (Lean, Anthony Havelock-Allan and Ronald Neame).



Expires December 22, 2014.



5. Only Angels Have Wings (1939) -- Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Richard Barthelmess, Rita Hayworth, Thomas Mitchell, Allyn Joslyn, Sig Ruman, Victor Kilian, John Carroll, Don "Red" Barry, Noah Beery, Jr., Manuel Álvarez Maciste, Milisa Sierra, Lucio Villegas, Pat Flaherty, Pedro Regas, Pat West. Uncredited: Robert Sterling, Sammee Tong. Howard Hawks' drama about the courageous pilots of a South American air service earned Academy Award nominations for Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Joseph Walker) and Best Special Effects (Roy Davidson, photographic; Edwin C. Hahn, sound).



Hayworth, Grant and Arthur


Mitchell had a banner year with roles in this film, "Gone with the Wind," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and the Charles Laughton version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." But the movie for which he received the 1939 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor was "Stagecoach." 


Hayworth, who would become a great star in musicals during the 1940s, made her first big splash in a small dramatic role as Judy MacPherson. 

Expires December 22, 2014.

6. Penny Serenade (1941) -- Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Beulah Bondi, Edgar Buchanan, Ann Doran, Eva Lee Kuney, Leonard Willey, Wallis Clark, Walter Soderling, Jane Biffle. Grant never won a competitive Academy Award during his long career, but this was one of the two films for which he received Best Actor nominations (the other was 1944's "None But the Lonely Heart"). He and Dunne play a married couple who struggle to provide the best of care for their adopted child.

Grant and Dunne
The movie was directed by George Stevens, who would go on to win Best Director Oscars for "A Place in the Sun" (1951) and "Giant" (1956). 
This was the last of three pictures in which Grant and Dunne were co-stars. They previously appeared together in the comedies "The Awful Truth" (1937) and "My Favorite Wife" (1940).

Expires December 22, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for December 17, 2014


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


The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1957) -- Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston, Sir Michael Redgrave, Emlyn Williams, Cecil Parker, Alexander Knox, Virginia McKenna, Richard Harris, Ben Wright, Peter Illing, Terence de Marney, Ashley Cowan, Charles Davis. Uncredited: John Le Mesurier. Cooper and Heston teamed up for the first and only time in this drama based on the 1956 novel by British author Hammond Innes. Directed by Michael Anderson, Sr. ("Around the World in 80 Days," "Operation Crossbow"), the film revolves around a board of inquiry probe into the mysterious sinking of a merchant marine vessel.


Sir Alfred Hitchcock had planned to direct the project with Cooper attached to it, but the filmmaker backed off and wound up doing "North By Northwest" with Cary Grant instead.


This was the penultimate film in Cooper's long career. He died of cancer on May 13, 1961 at the age of 60.


Expires December 23, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for December 18, 2014


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


1. City Lights (1931) -- Sir Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers, Al Ernest Garcia, Hank Mann. Uncredited actors include: Eddie Baker, Henry Bergman, Albert Austin. Chaplin headlined, wrote, produced, directed, edited and composed the musical score for this poignant tale about his Tramp character's unyielding affection for a blind flower girl (Cherrill). The mostly silent film is now considered one of the screen's stellar achievements. In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked the comedy No. 76 on its list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. When AFI updated the list in 2007, the film soared all the way up to No. 11. Cherrill, who had a short-lived career as an actress, was the first of Cary Grant's five wives. She and the actor were married in 1934 and divorced a year later. An unknown Jean Harlow was an extra in the restaurant scene, but her appearances were cut from the final version.


Memorable scene: This film has many great moments to consider -- from the opening sequence at a statue unveiling to the unforgettable finale. But here's a vote for the meticulously choreographed boxing match, in which the Tramp tries to earn enough money to pay for a sight-restoring operation for his beloved flower girl. It was one of the highlights of the film clips package aired moments before Chaplin accepted an honorary Academy Award on April 10, 1972.




This was one of three films selected by actor Jason Lee (of TV's "My Name Is Earl"), Turner Classic Movie's special guest programmer for December 2014.


Expires December 24, 2014.


2. Paris, Texas (1984) -- Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell, Aurore Clément, Hunter Carson, Bernhard Wicki, Sam Berry, Claresie Mobley, Viva, Socorro Valdez, Edward Fayton, Justin Hogg, Tom Farrell, John Lurie, Jeni Vici, Sally Norvell, Sharon Menzel, The Mydolls. This drama by German director Wim Wenders ("Wings of Desire," "The Buena Vista Social Club") won the Palme d'Or (or Golden Palm), the most prestigious honor at the Cannes Film Festival. The tale of family reunion and redemption was based on the play by actor-playwright Sam Shepard, who is credited with writing the movie's screenplay. L.M. "Kit" Carson, who died October 20, 2014 at the age of 73, received an adaptation credit.

The film stars Stanton -- a great character actor in a rare leading role -- as Travis Henderson, who emerges from the Texas desert after years of wandering. He hooks up with his brother Walt (Stockwell) and they head for Los Angeles to search for the young son (Hunter Carson) he hasn't seen in years. Travis also tries to track down his ex-wife Jane (played by the exquisite German-born Kinski), who hasn't seen their son a while although she has continued to support him financially. The bittersweet reunion of the exes is a highlight of the film.



The late film critic Roger Ebert included the drama in his "Great Movies" list. He wrote: "The movie lacks any of the gimmicks used to pump up emotion and add story interest, because it doesn't need them: It is fascinated by the sadness of its own truth. The screenplay was written by Sam Shepard, that playwright of alienation and rage, and it reflects themes that repeat all through Wenders' career. He is attracted to the road movie, to American myth, to those who stand outside and witness suffering. Travis in 'Paris, Texas' is like Damiel, the guardian angel in 'Wings of Desire.' He loves and cares, he empathizes, but he cannot touch. He does not have that gift."


Hunter Carson was the son of "Kit" Carson and actress Karen Black, who died on August 8, 2013 at the age of 74. She and her son co-starred in a 1986 remake of the classic 1953 sci-fi film "Invaders from Mars."


The film's music score was composed by the multi-Grammy Award-winning musician Ry Cooder. In 2003, he was ranked eighth in a Rolling Stone survey of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."


Expires December 24, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for December 19, 2014


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


1. A Carol for Another Christmas (1964) -- Sterling Hayden, Eva Marie Saint, Ben Gazzara, Steve Lawrence, Percy Rodrigues, Pat Hingle, James Shigeta, Robert Shaw, Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland, Barbara Ann Teer. This made-for-television movie, which put a 1960s Cold War spin on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," was written by Rod Serling ("The Twilight Zone") and produced and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Ben's great uncle). As part of a recurring ABC series designed to promote the United Nations, the 90-minute program aired on network television only once -- on December 28, 1964. Thanks to the Xerox Corporation, which underwrote the overall U.N. project for $4 million, the telecast was without commercial interruption. Turner Classic Movies resurrected the program in December 2012 and has re-aired it every holiday season since.


Hayden stars as Daniel Grudge, a wealthy industrialist whose son Marley (Peter Fonda, mostly cut from the finished product) was killed on Christmas Eve 1944. As a result of his loss, Grudge's heart has hardened, turning him into an isolationist with no social conscience. On Christmas Eve, he is visited by three spirits (Lawrence, Hingle and Shaw) who show him the importance of international understanding and cooperation.



Sellers as The Imperial Me


Sellers, who co-starred with Hayden in Stanley Kubrick's 1964 black comedy "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," appears as The Imperial Me, an eccentric, isolationist leader of the post-apocalyptic future. Ekland, Sellers' wife at the time, appears in the segment with him. She can be seen knitting in the back of a meeting room.


Despite his deleted scenes, you can still get glimpses of Fonda as a ghostly image, seated at a dining room table and on a wall portrait.


The production's music was composed by Henry Mancini. 


The Hawaiian-born Shigeta, who appears as a doctor, died July 28, 2014 at the age of 85.


Expires December 25, 2014.



2.  A Christmas Carol (1938) -- Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Terry Kilburn, Barry MacKay, Lynne Carver, Leo G. Carroll, Lionel Braham, Ann Rutherford, D'Arcy Corrigan, Ronald Sinclair. Uncredited: June Lockhart, Halliwell Hobbes, I. Stanford Jolley. Directed by Edwin L. Marin ("Maisie," "Miss Annie Rooney"), this version of Charles Dickens' classic holiday tale was intended as a vehicle for Oscar-winner Lionel Barrymore, who frequently played Ebenezer Scrooge in radio productions. But Owen stepped in after Barrymore sustained a hip injury. Barrymore would go on to play the Scrooge-like Mr. Potter in Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946).



Director Marin had previously worked with Owen in a 1933 film version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Study in Scarlet," in which the actor played Sherlock Holmes. June Lockhart, who as an adult starred in the television series "Lassie," "Lost in Space" and "Petticoat Junction," appears with her real-life parents. Gene and Kathleen Lockhart co-star in the production as Mr. and Mrs. Bob Cratchit, respectively. 


Expires December 25, 2014.



3. Scrooge (1970) -- Albert Finney, Sir Alec Guinness, Dame Edith Evans, Kenneth More, Laurence Naismith, Michael Medwin, David Collings, Anton Rodgers, Suzanne Neve, Frances Cuka, Derek Francis, Gordon Jackson, Roy Kinnear, Mary Peach, Paddy Stone, Kay Walsh. This musical version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was spearheaded by Academy Award-winning songwriter Leslie Bricusse ("Talk to the Animals"), who adapted the screenplay and provided compositions for the music score. Directed by Ronald Neame ("The Poseidon Adventure"), the production received four Oscar nominations: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Terence Marsh, Robert Cartwright and Pamela Cornell), Best Costume Design (Margaret Furse), Best Original Song ("Thank You Very Much" by Bricusse) and Best Music, Original Song Score (Bricusse, Ian Fraser and Herbert W. Spencer).



The film's cinematography was by Oswald Morris, who died March 17, 2014 at the age of 98. He won a 1971 Academy Award for his work in "Fiddler on the Roof" and earned nominations for "Oliver!" (1968) and "The Wiz" (1978).


Expires December 25, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for December 20, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. The Apartment (1960) -- Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, David Lewis, Hope Holiday, Joan Shawlee, Naomi Stevens, Johnny Seven, Joyce Jameson, Willard Waterman, David White, Edie Adams. Billy Wilder's cautionary tale about the workplace won five Academy Awards, including three for the filmmaker himself -- Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (shared with longtime writing partner I.A.L. Diamond). The film also won Oscars for Best Black-and-White Art Direction-Set Decoration (Alexandre Trauner, Edward G. Boyle) and Best Film Editing (Daniel Mandell).
Also nominated were Lemmon (Best Actor), MacLaine (Best Actress), Kruschen (Best Supporting Actor), Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Joseph LaShelle) and Best Sound (Gordon Sawyer).
In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked the film No. 93 on its list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. When the AFI updated the list in 2007, the film rose 13 spots to No. 80.
This was the last black-and-white film to win the Best Picture Oscar until Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" (1993), which features minimal color segments. 
The comedy/drama stars Lemmon as C.C. Baxter, whose rapid rise at a New York insurance company is tied to how often he's allowed members of the office hierarchy to use the key to his apartment for extramarital romantic trysts. MacLaine co-stars as Miss Kubelik, the elevator operator who wins Baxter's heart, although she is secretly involved with the company's powerful personnel director, Mr. Sheldrake (MacMurray).
Jameson -- cast as a sexy blonde -- does a dead-on impersonation of Marilyn Monroe, whose erratic behavior exasperated Wilder during the making of his previous film, "Some Like It Hot" (1959).
Wilder, Lemmon and MacLaine reunited three years later for the film comedy "Irma la Douce," which earned MacLaine another Best Actress nomination.
The film's storyline was translated to Broadway in 1968 as the musical "Promises, Promises," which ran for 1,281 performances and won Tony Awards for Jerry Orbach (as Baxter) and Marian Mercer (as Margie MacDougall, played in the film by Holiday). The book was by Neil Simon and the music and lyrics were from the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The choreographer was Michael Bennett, who would go on to work wonders with "A Chorus Line," the 1975 musical sensation that won nine Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


Expires December 26, 2014.
2. The Glass Slipper (1955) -- Leslie Caron, Michael Wilding, Keenan Wynn, Estelle Winwood, Elsa Lanchester, Barry Jones, Amanda Blake, Lisa Daniels, Lurene Tuttle, Liliane Montevecchi. Uncredited: Walter Pidgeon (narrator), Bobby Diamond. Caron followed her 1953 Academy Award-nominated performance in "Lili" with this musical version of the tale of Cinderella. The picture was directed by Charles Walters, whose career as a filmmaker and choreographer has been saluted by Turner Classic Movies in its December 2014 editions of Friday Night Spotlight.
The movie's screenplay was written by Helen Deutsch, who previously adapted "Lily" from a short story by Paul Gallico. She also wrote this film's libretto.The production numbers were created by Roland Petit, France's leading post-World War II choreographer. Petit, who was married to ballerina Zizi Jeanmaire ("Hans Christian Andersen"), was instrumental in Caron's development as a dancer during her teenage years.
Caron plays Ella, a fanciful young girl living in a European principality. She is much maligned and mistreated by her stepmother (Lanchester) and stepsisters (Blake, Daniels) who force her to do their dirty work. As a result, Ella also is reviled by the townspeople because of her soiled appearance from working around cinders. But the young girl is a dreamer and believes a prophecy that she will live in a palace one day. 
In the following clip, Ella fantasizes about working on a special kitchen project with Prince Charles (Wilding), the principality's well-educated and much-admired heir:
A few months after this film's release, Blake began appearing as Miss Kitty in the CBS Western series "Gunsmoke." She was a regular on the program until she decided to leave before the 1974-75 season, its final year on the air.
Narrator Pidgeon later starred as the King (opposite Ginger Rogers as the Queen) in a 1965 CBS television production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella." The musical special, which featured an 18-year-old Lesley Ann Warren as Cinderella, also starred Stuart Damon (Dr. Alan Quartermaine of "General Hospital") as the Prince, Celeste Holm as the Fairy Godmother, and Jo Van Fleet, Pat Carroll and Barbara Ruick as Cinderella's family members. 
In the 2014 screen version of Stephen Sondheim's storybook musical "Into the Woods," Cinderella is played by Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine is her prince. Christine Baranski, Diane Lockhart in TV's "The Good Wife," co-stars as Cinderella's stepmother. Tammy Blanchard and Lucy Punch play stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda, respectively. Baranski recently made headlines when she compared Cinderella's family in the movie musical to the Kardashians.
"They have a lot of money, the taste is over-the-top and they're ambitious and clawing and would have their own reality show if they could," Baranski said. "You'll feel who these people are in terms of contemporary culture. It was great fun to do."
Disney's 2015 live-action "Cinderella," directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh ("Thor"), stars Lily James of TV's "Downton Abbey" as the title character. Richard Madden, who played Robb Stark on "Game of Thrones, co-stars as Prince Charming. 


Expires December 26, 2014.




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Sorry to interject onto your "blog"....but I have a question for you....


I chose MY FAIR LADY on demand with Time Warner Cable last week and it was unwatchable! Blurry, completely pixelated. I know TCM has just recently gone HD but are the "On Demand" movies still lower resolution?


The TV I was watching is a 60" monster and MFL looked like a video tape.

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No problem. I just don't know what to tell you. It could be anything from poor quality copies to transmission difficulties somewhere down the line. 

I haven't always been pleased with some of the fare on TCM On Demand. The last time "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" was available, it looked bland and almost colorless. And this was a film that won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography of 1969! Then again, some other films -- like "Gone With the Wind" -- look just like new. 

My pet peeve is when the closed captioning is fragmented or unintelligible. I had that problem with the local PBS stations for years, but things have improved recently. I wish I could say the same about the captions for FOX shows that are on demand.


My advice would be to just hang in there a while longer. You have to believe things will get better.


P.S. As far as I know, the TCM On Demand movies are not available in HD yet.

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TCM On Demand for December 21, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. Santa Claus (1959) -- José Elías Moreno, Pulgarcito (Cesáreo Quezadas), José Luis Aguirre, Armando Arriola, Lupita Quezadas, Antonio Díaz Conde hijo, Ángel Di Stefani, Ken Smith (narrator). In this Mexican holiday tale, Santa Claus (Moreno), who lives in a sky palace above the North Pole, must find a way to foil the Devil's diabolical plot to ruin Christmas. He turns for help to the wizard Merlin (Arriola), who provides some magical devices. The film was directed by René Cardona; Smith is credited as the director of the English version.
Expires December 27, 2014.
2. The Thin Man (1934) -- William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O'Sullivan, Nat Pendleton, Minna Gombell, Porter Hall, Henry Wadsworth, William Henry, Harold Huber, Cesar Romero, Natalie Moorhead, Edward Brophy, Edward Ellis, Cyril Thornton. Having previously played the New York-based sleuth Philo Vance four times on film, Powell took on the role of Dashiell Hammett's master detective Nick Charles and gained great popularity. He co-starred with Loy (as Nora Charles) in this comedy-mystery-drama based on Hammett's 1934 novel and earned his first of three Academy Award nominations for Best Actor.
The film also received Oscar nominatons for Best Picture, Best Director (W.S. Van Dyke II) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett).
Although the title refers to a missing man -- inventor Clyde Wynant (played by Ellis) -- it eventually became associated with Nick Charles in the public mind. The success of this series led to five sequels -- "After the Thin Man" (1936), "Another Thin Man" (1939), "Shadow of the Thin Man" (1941), "The Thin Man Goes Home" (1945) and "Song of the Thin Man" (1947). The first four films in the series were directed by Van Dyke, who tragically died by suicide on February 5, 1943.
The movie's scene stealer is Skippy, the wire fox terrier that appears as the Charles' dog Asta. The canine also appeared in "After the Thin Man" and other films, including two starring Cary Grant -- "The Awful Truth" (1937) and "Bringing Up Baby" (1938).

A television version of the movie series starred Peter Lawford as Nick and Phyllis Kirk as Nora, and aired on NBC from 1957 to 1959. In "Murder By Death," Neil Simon's 1976 spoof of murder mysteries, David Niven and Dame Maggie Smith played the married couple Dick and Dora Charleston.


Memorable dialogue: 


Detective Guild (played by Pendleton): You got a pistol permit?


Nick: No.


Detective Guild: Ever heard of the Sullivan Act?


Nora (apparently confusing the Sullivan Act with the Mann Act): Oh, that's all right. We're married.


Memorable quote: "The murderer is right in this room, sitting at this table. You may serve the fish." -- Nick, presiding over a dinner party in which he has gathered all major suspects in a murder.

Expires December 27, 2014.



3. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) -- Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett, Barton MacLane, Alfonso Bedoya, Arturo Soto Rangel, Manuel Dondé, José Torvay,  

Margarito Luna. Uncredited: Robert Blake, Ann Sheridan, Jay Silverheels. John Huston won two Academy Awards (Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay) for this tale of greed based on B. Traven's 1927 novel. He also directed his father, Walter, to a Best Supporting Actor win. The film, which was only John Huston's third complete screen effort after "The Maltese Falcon" and "In This Our Life," also received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. It lost to Sir Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet."


Bogart stars as Fred C. Dobbs, an American looking for work in Mexico. He and an equally desperate compatriot named Curtin (Holt) join forces with an old prospector (Walter Huston) to search for gold in the Sierra Madre mountains. Although they hit the jackpot, the Americans wind up with more problems than they expected, including bandits and poisonous bouts of discord and paranoia. 


In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked the film No. 30 on its list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. When the AFI updated the list in 2007, the film dropped to No. 38.


An oft-quoted line -- delivered by Mexican actor Bedoya -- was ranked No. 36 in the AFI's 2005 list of the 100 greatest movie quotes of all time.



Like grandfather, like granddaughter: John Huston not only directed his father to an Academy Award, but he also did the same favor for his daughter Anjelica almost 40 years later. She received the 1985 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "Prizzi's Honor," which was directed by her father. Only the Coppola family -- musician Carmine and directors Francis Ford and Sofia -- duplicated the feat of Oscar wins by three generations.


Memorable quote No. 1: "Say, mister. Will you stake a fellow American to a meal?" -- Dobbs, down on his luck at the beginning of the movie, addressing a well-dressed gent from the U.S. (played by John Huston). 


Memorable quote No. 2: "I'll tell you what. I'll make you a little bet. Three times 35 is, uh, 105. I'll bet you $105,000 you go to sleep before I do." -- Dobbs, who fears Curtin will try to harm him and steal his gold, declares his intention to stay awake all night.


A beautiful friendship: This was one of six screen collaborations between director Huston and Bogart that included "The Maltese Falcon" (1941), "Key Largo" (1948), "The African Queen" (1951, featuring Bogart's Oscar-winning performance) and "Beat the Devil" (1953).


The sincerest form of flattery: A key scene involving a telltale brand on a burro is virtually identical to a pivotal moment in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969). Meanwhile, the Mexican actor Torvay played bandits in both movies.


Expires December 27, 2014.



4. A Visit to Santa (1963) -- Film short by producer Clem Williams that tells the story of two youngsters, Dick and Ann, who receive a special surprise from the North Pole. After Ann writes a letter to Santa Claus requesting a pre-Christmas visit, Ol' Saint Nick himself sends an elf to escort them to his northern castle by a magic helicopter. Expires December 27, 2014.


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TCM On Demand for December 22, 2014


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


1. Christmas in Connecticut (1945) -- Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, Reginald Gardiner, S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall, Robert Shayne, Una O'Connor, Frank Jenks, Joyce Compton, Dick Elliott. Uncredited: John Dehner, Jody Gilbert, Kurt Kreuger. Directed by Peter Godfrey ("The Two Mrs. Carrolls," "The Woman in White"), this holiday classic stars Stanwyck as a magazine food writer whom the world believes is living on an idyllic Connecticut farm with her husband and infant son. Actually, she is unmarried and resides in New York -- and she cannot cook. Her double life is jeopardized when her publisher (Greenstreet) demands that she prepare a holiday meal for a war hero (Morgan) at her farm. And the publisher, who doesn't know about her ruse, announces that he plans to spend Christmas at the farm, too.



The film was remade for television in 1992 with Dyan Cannon, Kris Kristofferson and Tony Curtis (it was directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger). Actress Jennifer Garner reportedly tried to update the story in a 21st century film version.


Expires December 28, 2014.



2. Holiday Affair (1949) -- Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh, Wendell Corey, Gordon Gebert, Harry Morgan, Griff Barnett, Esther Dale, Henry O'Neill, Larry J. Blake, Helen Brown. Uncredited: Jack Kelly, Chick Chandler, Jimmy Hawkins, James Griffith. Romantic comedy that has become a Christmas season perennial on television, thanks to its frequent airings on Turner Classic Movies. Directed by Don Hartman ("Every Girl Should Be Married"), the film stars Leigh as a widowed New York mother who must choose between her current beau, an attorney played by Corey, and the headstrong war veteran (Mitchum) who lost his department store job because of her.



Gebert, who did not have a long career as a child actor, is a delight as Leigh's wide-eyed young son.


The movie's screenplay was adapted by Isobel Lennart (1915-1971) who wrote the book for the 1964 musical "Funny Girl" and the screenplay for the 1968 movie version -- both of which starred Barbra Streisand.


A 1996 television version of this romantic triangle tale starred Cynthia Gibb of TV's "Fame" and David James Elliott, who was in the long-running military drama "JAG" on NBC and CBS.


Expires December 28, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for December 23, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:


1. Bringing Up Baby (1938) -- Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett, Barry Fitzgerald, May Robson, Fritz Feld, Leona Roberts, George Irving, Tala Birell, Virginia Walker, John Kelly. Uncredited actors: Ward Bond, Jack Carson, Billy Bevan, D'Arcy Corrigan, Frances Gifford, Paul Guilfoyle. This screwball comedy was directed by Howard Hawks ("His Girl Friday," "Monkey Business"). The movie follows the unlikely relationship between Dr. David Huxley (Grant), a funds-seeking paleontologist, and ditzy heiress Susan Vance (Hepburn). The "Baby" of the title turns out to be a pet leopard that sometimes can be soothed by hearing the song "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby." This was the second of four films that Grant and Hepburn did together between 1935 and 1940. The others: "Sylvia Scarlett" (1935), "Holiday" (1938) and "The Philadelphia Story" (1940). 

In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked the film No. 97 on its list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. When the AFI updated the list in 2007, the film rose to No. 88.


Meeting cute: David first encounters Susan when she inadvertently picks up his golf ball while he is playing with another group on a golf course. She begins using it herself, despite David's protestations. She then gets into his car erroneously and begins smashing it.


Memorable quote: "It isn't that I don't like you, Susan, because after all, in moments of quiet, I'm strangely drawn toward you; but, well, there haven't been any quiet moments!" -- Dr. Huxley.


About cats: A trained leopard named Nissa had the dual roles of the docile Baby and the surly cat that escaped from a circus. Hepburn got along with Nissa, despite one close call. But Grant wasn't comfortable around the feline, and a double was used for his scenes with it. Clever editing and special effects also helped restore Grant's peace of mind. "Cary had always refused to work with the leopard. Didn't care for it at all," Hepburn recalled in "Me: Stories of My Life," her 1991 autobiography. "Once, to torture him, we dropped a stuffed leopard through the vent at the top of his dressing room. Wow! He was out of there like lightning."


About dogs: George, the wire fox terrier in the film, was the same dog that appeared as Asta in the first two "Thin Man" movies. The dog's real name was Skippy, and it also appeared with Grant in "The Awful Truth" (1937). Lookalike terriers were used for the four other "Thin Man" movies and the 1950s television series that starred Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk.




Expires December 29, 2014.

2. Holiday (1938) -- Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Nolan, Lew Ayres, Edward Everett Horton, Henry Kolker, Binnie Barnes, Jean Dixon, Henry Daniell. Uncredited: Ann Doran. George Cukor's romantic comedy was a remake of a 1930 film that starred Ann Harding, Mary Astor, Robert Ames, William Holden and Horton, who played Nick Potter in both versions. The source material for both films was a 1928 play by Philip Barry, who later wrote "The Philadelphia Story," a stage production that became a 1940 Oscar-winning film starring Hepburn, Grant and James Stewart. Hepburn stars as a wealthy family's black-sheep daughter who falls for a Wall Street financier (Grant) engaged to her sister (Nolan).
The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction (Stephen Goosson and Lionel Banks). 
Expires December 29, 2014.
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TCM On Demand for December 24, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:


1. Ben-Hur (1959) -- Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith, Martha Scott, Cathy O'Donnell, Sam Jaffe, Finlay Currie, Frank Thring, Terence Longdon, George Relph, André Morell. Uncredited actors: Robert Brown, John Le Mesurier. William Wyler's Biblical epic --a remake of a 1925 silent film -- won an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards in 12 nominations, including Best Picture. The record number of wins has since been tied by Best Picture winners "Titanic" (1997) and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003).




The Oscar wins were as follows:
  • Best Picture (producer Sam Zimbalist, posthumously).
  • Best Director (Wyler).
  • Best Actor (Heston).
  • Best Supporting Actor (Griffith).
  • Best Color Costume Design (Elizabeth Haffenden).
  • Best Color Cinematography (Robert Surtees). 
  • Best Color Art Direction-Set Decoration (William A. Horning, posthumously, and Edward C. Carfagno and Hugh Hunt).
  • Best Film Editing (Ralph E. Winters, John D. Dunning).
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (Miklós Rózsa).
  • Best Sound (Franklin Milton, MGM Studio Sound Department).
  • Best Effects, Special Effects (A. Arnold Gillespie and Robert MacDonald, visual; Milo B. Lory, audible).

Karl Tunberg's screenplay, adapted from the 1880 novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" by General Lew Wallace, was the only nomination the picture failed to win. The Oscar went to Neil Paterson for "Room at the Top."


In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked the film No. 72 on its list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. When the AFI updated the list in 2007, the film dropped to No. 100.

In 2005, Rózsa's score placed 21st on the AFI's ranking of the top 25 film scores of all time.


Memorable scene: No surprise here. It's the chariot race, in which Judah Ben-Hur (Heston) -- pulled by a team of four white Arabian steeds -- battles his former friend Messala (Boyd) for fame and fortune. The sequence was shot by second-unit contributors Andrew Marton (who co-directed the 1950 version of "King Solomon's Mines") and pioneer stunt man Yakima Canutt. On April 10, 1967, Canutt was presented an honorary Academy Award "for achievements as a stunt man and for developing safety devices to protect stunt men everywhere."


In George Lucas' "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" (1999), the Podrace -- won by young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) -- was inspired by the chariot race.

By the way, Ben-Hur's magnificent horses were named for four of the brightest stars in the nighttime sky -- Antares, Aldebaran, Altair and Rigel.


Mamma Mia!: Scott, who played Heston's mother in the film, was only 11 years older than the actor. She also appeared as his mother in another Biblical epic of the 1950s: Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" (1956). 


Expires December 30, 2014.


2. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) -- Robert Morse, Michele Lee, Rudy Vallée, Anthony "Scooter" Teague, Maureen Arthur, John Myhers, Carol Worthington, Kay Reynolds, Ruth Kobart, Sammy Smith, Jeff DeBenning, Janice Carroll, Robert Q. Lewis, Paul Hartman, Dan Tobin, Murray Matheson, George Fenneman. Uncredited actors: Tucker Smith, Joey Faye, Erin O'Brien-Moore, Anne Seymour. Years before Morse navigated office politics as ad agency partner Bert Cooper in TV's "Mad Men," he won a 1962 Tony Award for the stage version of this musical comedy. For the movie, he re-created his role as the ambitious window washer J. Pierrepont Finch, who relies on an instruction guide, charm, guile, moxie and a little bit of luck to become an important executive overnight at a big advertising firm. Rooting for Finch all the way is secretary Rosemary Pilkington (Lee, in her screen debut), who takes an immediate liking to him.  


Some of the characters have names that Charles Dickens might admire. Vallée is company president J.B. Biggley. Teague plays his obnoxious nephew Bud Frump. Smith has a dual role as mailroom supervisor Mr. Twimble and Chairman of the Board Wally Womper.


The film version was directed, produced and written by David Swift ("Pollyanna," the 1961 version of "The Parent Trap"), who adapted the Frank Loesser musical with its book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert. The original source material for the stage version was the 1952 book by Shepherd Mead.

The songs by Loesser ("Guys and Dolls") include "I Believe in You," "A Secretary Is Not a Toy," "Grand Old Ivy," and a rousing rendition of "Brotherhood of Man." 



There have been two Broadway revivals of the musical -- in 1995 (starring Matthew Broderick) and 2011 (headlined by Daniel Radcliffe). As Finch, Broderick won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. The latest revival earned John Larroquette -- who played Biggley -- a Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical.

Expires December 30, 2014.
3. King of Kings (1961) -- Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhán McKenna, Robert Ryan, Ron Randell, Hurd Hatfield, Viveca Lindfors, Rita Gam, Frank Thring, Royal Dano, Rip Torn, Harry Guardino, Carmen Sevilla, Brigid Bazlen, Guy Rolfe, Grégoire Aslan, George Coulouris, Edric Connor, Maurice Marsac, Conrado San Martín. Uncredited: John Kerr. Nicholas Ray's reverential account of the life and times of Jesus Christ is narrated by Orson Welles. Hunter, best known at the time for his roles in three John Ford films -- "The Searchers" (1956), "The Last Hurrah" (1958) and "Sergeant Rutledge" (1960) -- stars as a blue-eyed Christ. He was so good-looking as the Messiah, wags referred to him as "Jesus of Malibu" and the movie as "I Was a Teenage Jesus." Actually Hunter was 33, which is believed to be Christ's age during His final year on Earth.
Hunter as The Christ
In addition to its Biblical aspects, the film focuses on the political situation at the time, beginning with the conquest of Jerusalem by the Roman consul Pompey (San Martín) in 63 B.C. Guardino's version of Barabbas is a leader of the Jewish insurrection against the Roman invaders.


Memorable scene: It's difficult to choose only one in an epic film like this, but Ryan's final moments as John the Baptist are poignant.


Bazlen, who would play a treacherous siren the next year in "How the West Was Won," appears as teen temptress Salome and performs a seductive dance before King Herod Antipas (Thring). The film's majestic music score was composed by the Hungarian-born Miklós Rózsa, who won a 1959 Academy Award for his contributions to another Biblical-era epic -- "Ben-Hur."


Expires December 30, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for December 25, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:


1. A Night at the Movies: George Lucas & the World of Fantasy Cinema (2014) -- Written, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker and author Laurent Bouzereau, this one-hour special is the latest installment in a Turner Classic Movies series about different movie genres. Other installments have focused on thrillers, epic pictures, political films, Christmas movies and tales about crime and crimefighters.
This edition focuses on the creative filmmaker Lucas, whose screen projects include the "Star Wars" series and the Indiana Jones franchise. 
The French-born Bouzereau was the man responsible for the 2013 TCM documentary "Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking: The Story of Richard D. Zanuck." Expires December 31, 2014.
2. Scrooge (1935) -- Sir Seymour Hicks, Donald Calthrop, Robert Cochran, Mary Glynne, Garry Marsh, Oscar Asche, Marie Ney, C.V. France, Athene Seyler, Maurice Evans, Mary Lawson, Barbara Everest, Eve Gray, Morris Harvey, Philip Frost, D.J. Williams, Margaret Yarde, Hugh E. Wright, Charles Carson, Hubert Harben. Uncredited: Robert Morley. This early British sound version of Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol" stars Hicks, who played Ebenezer Scrooge in a 1913 silent film and on many other occasions on the stage.
Hicks as Ebenezer Scrooge
Directed by Henry Edwards, a veteran filmmaker and actor, the film is unique because all of the ghosts are unseen with the exception of the Ghost of Christmas Present (Ashe). 
Expires December 31, 2014.
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TCM On Demand for December 26, 2014
The following feature is now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:

3 Godfathers (1948) -- John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz, Harry Carey, Jr., Ward Bond, Mae Marsh, Mildred Natwick, Jane Darwell, Guy Kibbee, Dorothy Ford, Ben Johnson, Charles Halton, Hank Worden, Jack Pennick, Fred Libby, Michael Dugan, Don Summers. Uncredited: Francis Ford.

Director John Ford's remake of the oft-filmed Western tale about three bank robbers who wind up caring for a newborn while they are on the lam. Ford did a 1919 silent film version titled "Marked Men," which starred Harry Carey, Sr., who died in 1947. Ford dedicated this version to the actor and cast the junior Carey, who died on December 27, 2012 at the age of 91, as one of the three leads.




"Three Godfathers," a 1936 version of the story produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, starred Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, Walter Brennan, Irene Hervey and Sidney Toler. The 2003 Japanese anime film "Tokyo Godfathers" also was influenced by Ford's remake.


Wayne and Armendáriz later co-starred in "The Conqueror," the infamous 1956 film about Genghis Khan that was filmed on location in Utah, not far from a onetime nuclear testing site in Nevada. Both actors developed cancer -- Wayne died of it in 1979, while Armendáriz took his life in 1963 because of it. Although there has been no proof that nuclear fallout caused cancer, many other crew members later died of the disease, including director Dick Powell and co-stars Susan Hayward and Agnes Moorehead.


Expires January 1, 2015.
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TCM On Demand for January 1, 2015


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


1. A Hard Day's Night (1964) -- John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Brambell, Norman Rossington, John Junkin, Victor Spinetti, Anna Quayle, Deryck Guyler, Richard Vernon, Eddie Malin, Robin Ray, Lionel Blair, Alison Seebohm, David Jaxon. Uncredited: Susan Hampshire, Kenneth Haigh, David Langton, Jeremy Lloyd, Edina Ronay. This black-and-white fictional version of a couple of days in the lives of the Beatles received an Academy Award nomination for Alun Owen's original screenplay. It also was nominated for Best Adaptation Score (by Sir George Martin, the Beatles' record producer). Directed by Richard Lester, who also collaborated with the Beatles for their 1965 Technicolor followup "Help!," the stylish film became very influential for years to come.  

The somewhat casual storyline revolves around the group's upcoming live performance on a British television variety show. Making things difficult is Beatle Paul's devilish grandfather John McCartney (played by Brambell, star of the British TV series "Steptoe and Son"), who travels around with the band. Rossington plays Norm, a stricter version of the Beatles' real-life manager at the time, Brian Epstein. Junkin plays Shake, the full-time road manager who happens to be Norm's full-time whipping_boy.

Spinetti, who plays the harried director of the variety show, co-starred with the Beatles in two other musical productions -- "Help!" (1965) and the made-for-television film "Magical Mystery Tour (1967)."

Among the songs performed in the movie are the title song, "I Should Have Known Better," "If I Fell," "Can't Buy Me Love," "I'd Be Happy Just to Dance with You," "And I Love Her," "Tell Me Why" and "She Loves You."


In 2011, Time magazine listed its top 25 movie soundtracks of all time. This movie's compilation of songs came in at No. 3, although the magazine noted that the Beatles' 1964 work was also a studio album: "By then, American teenagers had already succumbed to the mop-topped allure of John, Paul, George and Ringo. But 'A Hard Day’s Night' helped turn the group into more than just a passing fad. The album’s 13 songs were all written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Listen to it today -- especially the tracks 'If I Fell,' 'Can’t Buy Me Love' and 'I Should Have Known Better' -- and it’s pretty clear that these lads from Liverpool were going to go far."


Memorable scene No. 1: The movie begins with the famous opening chord of the title song as three members of the Fab Four are chased by real fans through a train station. Be sure to notice that when Beatle George trips, Beatle Ringo goes down, too!



Memorable scene No. 2: Beatle Paul's wily old grandfather (Brambell) gets into the act during the Fabs' performance of "She Loves You" on live television.



Memorable dialogue:


John: Hey, pardon me for asking, but who's that little old man?

Paul: Uh, what little old man?

John: That little old man.

Paul: Oh, that one! That's my grandfather.

George: Your grandfather?

Paul: Yeah.

George: That's not your grandfather.

Paul: It is, you know.

George: But I've seen your grandfather. He lives in your house.

Paul: Oh, that's my other grandfather, but he's my grandfather as well.

John: How do you reckon that one out?

Paul: Well, everyone's entitled to two, aren't they? And this is my other one.



John: He's a nice old man, isn't he?

Paul: He's very clean.


Hall of Fame comments: Starr was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in April 2015, making him the last member of the Beatles to be selected as a solo act. Ringo had a notorious way with words, and the title of this movie came from a throwaway comment he once made. His best line in "A Hard Day's Night" occurs in the first seven-and-a-half minutes. There's a scene in which the Beatles are traveling by train, and a pompous commuter (played by Richard Vernon) arrives in their compartment. He offends the Fabs by closing a window they wanted open and turning off Ringo's radio. 


When Beatle John sasses the commuter, the older man sniffs, "And don't take that tone with me, young man. I fought the war for your sort." 


Retorts Ringo: "I bet you're sorry you won!" 


Later in the movie, an interviewer asks Ringo if he's a mod or a rocker. "Uh, no, I'm a mocker," he replies.


Memorable quote: "Sorry we hurt your field, Mister." -- Beatle George, after a man admonishes the band members for romping around on private property.


Be sure to notice: When Beatle John is in the train compartment with his mates early on in the movie, he pretends to snort a Pepsi-Cola bottle -- a subtle drug reference.


Musical muse: One of the schoolgirls on the train is played by Pattie Boyd, who later became Mrs. George Harrison and eventually Mrs. Eric Clapton. She inspired the Beatles song "Something" (written and performed by Harrison) and the hits "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight" (written and performed by Clapton).


From the Beatles to Bond: The gorgeous blonde who hovers near Beatle Paul's grandfather at the Le Cercle gambling club is actress Margaret Nolan. She later appeared as Dink, James Bond's Miami Beach masseuse at the beginning of "Goldfinger."  Nolan also was the model painted gold in the opening credits of the 1964 film about 007.

The gambling club in the Beatles movie was also used for the famous first appearance of Sir Sean Connery as Bond in "Dr No" (1962).


Expires January 7, 2015.



2. Jimi Hendrix (1973) -- Gary Weis, who produced short films for "Saturday Night Live" in the 1970s, co-directed (with Joe Boyd and John Head) this documentary about the life and times of the legendary rock guitarist (1942-1970). The film features some of Hendrix's live performances as well as comments by Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, Little Richard and Hendrix's father Al. There also is footage of Hendrix's appearance on the September 9, 1969 episode of "The Dick Cavett Show." Among the songs performed by Hendrix: "Purple Haze," "Wild Thing," "Like A Rolling Stone," "Hey Joe," "Johnny B. Goode" and the controversial rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."


André Benjamin, better known as André 3000 of the hip-hop duo Outkast, starred as Hendrix in the 2013 biopic "Jimi: All Is By My Side."


Expires January 7, 2015.

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TCM On Demand for January 2, 2015
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:


1. Berserk! (1967) -- Joan Crawford, Ty Hardin, Diana Dors, Michael Gough, Judy Geeson, Robert Hardy, Geoffrey Keen, Sydney Tafler, George Claydon, Philip Madoc, Ambrosine Phillpotts, Thomas Cimarro, Peter Burton, Golda Casimir, Ted Lune, Milton Reid, Marianne Stone, Miki Iveria, Howard Goorney, Reginald Marsh, Bryan Pringle. Crawford's penultimate feature-film appearance was in this British suspense thriller about the co-owner and emcee of a traveling circus beset by mysterious tragedies. Hardin co-stars as the handsome high-wire acrobat who becomes her lover. Dors emerges as a rival for his affections. Geeson, who co-starred with Sidney Poitier that year in "To Sir, With Love," has the role of Crawford's obstinate daughter. The film was directed by Jim O'Connolly ("The Valley of Gwangi").           
Expires January 8, 2015.
2. Horse Feathers (1932) -- Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx, Thelma Todd, David Landau. Uncredited: Nat Pendleton. Collegiate-themed comedy starring the Marx Brothers and directed by Norman Z. McLeod ("Monkey Business," "Road to Rio"). The laughfest stars Groucho as Professor Wagstaff, the new president of Huxley College who tries to upgrade the talent level of the school's football team.
Among the movie's wacky scenes is "The Password is Swordfish":
And then there's the famous canoe scene in which Todd's femme fatale tries to elicit crucial information from Wagstaff about Huxley's football program:
Expires January 8, 2015.

3. Strait-Jacket (1964) -- Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson, Howard St. John, John Anthony Hayes, Rochelle Hudson, George Kennedy, Edith Atwater, Mitchell Cox. Uncredited: Lee Majors. The famed horror filmmaker William Castle ("The Tingler," "House on Haunted Hill") produced and directed this thriller starring Crawford as Lucy Harbin, an axe murderer released from a psychiatric hospital after 20 years. As a result, she goes home to her daughter Carol (played by Baker), who was a 3-year-old child when the tragedy occurred. Before long, a new series of axe murders begins. Could Lucy be suffering a relapse?

The movie's screenplay was written by Robert Bloch, who adapted his 1959 novel "Psycho" for Sir Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 hit screen version.
Expires January 8, 2015.


4. TCM Presents Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence -- Bill Murray (2008) -- The former New York Times film critic sits down with Murray, the former "Saturday Night Live" star-turned-Oscar nominee ("Lost in Translation," "Ghostbusters"), to discuss how classic film and filmmakers influenced him. Expires January 8, 2015.

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TCM On Demand for January 3, 2015


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


3. The Odd Couple (1968) -- Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Fiedler, Herbert Edelman, David Sheiner, Larry Haines, Monica Evans, Carole Shelley, Iris Adrian. Uncredited: Heywood Hale Broun, Billie Bird, Angelique Pettyjohn. Matthau reprised his role of Oscar Madison in the original Broadway production of Neil Simon's comedy about mismatched roommates. Lemmon stepped into the role of Felix Ungar, who was played by Art Carney on stage. This was the second of 10 films that Lemmon and Matthau appeared in together. Their first teaming was in Billy Wilder's "The Fortune Cookie," for which Matthau won the 1966 Best Supporting Actor Oscar. They also starred in "Odd Couple II," a 1998 updating of the original film.


This film received Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay (Simon) and Best Film Editing (Frank Bracht). 



Through the years, there have been many other renderings of this tale, including the 1970s ABC sitcom that starred Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. There was a 1982-1983 all-black television version ("The New Odd Couple" with Ron Glass and Demond Wilson) and a 1985 female Broadway edition (starring Sally Struthers as Florence Ungar and Rita Moreno as Olive Madison). There was even a 1975 Saturday morning animated homage called "The Oddball Couple," featuring a cat named Spiffy and a dog named Fleabag. In February 2015, CBS revived the premise with a half-hour sitcom starring Matthew Perry as Oscar and Thomas Lennon as Felix. 


The film's director, Gene Saks ("Barefoot in the Park"), died on March 28, 2015 at the age of 93.


Memorable quote: "I can't take it anymore, Felix. I'm cracking up. Everything you do irritates me. And when you're not here, the things I know you're gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. Told you 158 times I cannot stand little notes on my pillow. 'We're all out of cornflakes. F.U.' Took me three hours to figure out that F.U. was Felix Ungar!" -- Oscar, hashing out some differences with Felix.


He wasn't called "The Great One" for nothing: There's a scene in which sportswriter Oscar misses a rare baseball triple play while covering a Pittsburgh Pirates-New York Mets game at Shea Stadium. The reason: He gets an untimely phone call in the press box from Felix about dinner plans. The film's producers had arranged for the great Pittsburgh outfielder Roberto Clemente to hit the ball that starts the game-ending triple killing. But Clemente balked because his pride wouldn't allow him to look bad, even for a movie. So the staged ninth-inning play is only seen from a distance, and the stadium's public address announcer introduces the batter as Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski.



Expires January 9, 2015.

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TCM On Demand for January 4, 2015


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


1. Bus Stop (1956) -- Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray, Arthur O'Connell, Betty Field, Eileen Heckart, Robert Bray, Hope Lange, Hans Conried, Max Showalter. Uncredited: Del Moore, Edward G. Robinson, Jr. Monroe had one of her best roles as an Arizona café singer named Chérie who draws the attention of a marriage-mind Montana cowboy (Murray, in his screen debut).



Murray and Monroe 


Based on two plays by William Inge, the romantic tale was directed by Joshua Logan ("Picnic," "Sayonara"). Murray earned an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his performance. He also married co-star Lange on April 14, 1956, four months before the movie's release.





Expires January 10, 2015.



2. Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) -- Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney, Julie Harris, Stanley Adams, Madame Spivy, Val Avery, Herbie Faye, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Jack Dempsey, Barney Ross, Rory Calhoun, Gus Lesnevich, Willie Pep. Directed by Ralph Nelson ("Lilies of the Field," "Duel at Diablo'), this is a film version of Rod Serling's 1956 teleplay about the final days in the career of "Mountain" Rivera (Quinn), a battered boxer who is beginning to show signs of irreversible physical damage. Gleason plays his cynical manager, who has begun to bet against his own fighter, while Rooney is Rivera's trainer. Harris co-stars as the social worker who tries to persuade Rivera to seek another line of work.



Quinn and Harris


The original television version aired on CBS' "Playhouse 90" series with Jack Palance in the role of Rivera and the father-and-son duo of Ed Wynn and Keenan Wynn as his trainer and manager, respectively. The TV version won a Peabody Award for excellence and several Emmys, including Best Single Program of the Year and honors for Palance, Serling and director Nelson.



The winner of the movie's first bout


Muhammad goes to the "Mountain": The film begins with Rivera taking a beating from Clay, the real-life boxer who would win the heavyweight title in 1964 and change his name to Muhammad Ali. 


Expires January 10, 2015.



3. A River Runs Through It (1992) -- Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Lloyd, Edie McClurg, Stephen Shellen, Vann Gravage, Nicole Burdette, Susan Traylor, Michael Cudlitz, Rob Cox, Buck Simmonds, Fred Oakland, David Creamer, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Robert Redford's third film as a director was based on a 1976 semi-autobiographical story by author Norman Maclean (1902-90). Skerritt, who made his film debut with Redford in the 1962 movie "War Hunt," stars as the Reverend Maclean, a Presbyterian minister with two sons in early 20th-century Montana. The younger Macleans -- the serious Norman (Sheffer) and the rambunctious Paul (Pitt) -- are opposites. But what the family has in common is the sport of fly-fishing, a metaphor for life. Blethyn, the British actress who received Oscar nominations for her performances in "Secrets & Lies" (1996) and "Little Voice" (1998), co-stars as Mrs. Maclean. This was one of the early screen appearances in the career of Gordon-Levitt, who plays the young Norman.


Redford, the narrator of the film, later returned to Montana as a movie setting for his 1998 drama "The Horse Whisperer," in which he starred as well as directed.


Memorable quote: "In Montana, there are three things we're never late for: church, work and fishing" -- Paul Maclean.


Memorable scene: Paul becomes involved in a battle of wills with a particularly feisty fish:



Pitt, a golden boy who at times eerily resembles the younger Redford, co-starred with the actor-director in the 2001 espionage thriller "Spy Game."



Expires January 10, 2015.

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TCM On Demand for January 5, 2015


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


1. Arabesque (1966) -- Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren, Alan Badel, Kieron Moore, Carl Duering, John Merivale, Duncan Lamont, George Coulouris, Ernest Clark, Harold Kasket. Three years after he teamed with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in the Hitchcockian mystery "Charade," director Stanley Donen worked with Peck and Loren in this complicated political thriller set in London. The film was based on the 1961 novel "The Cypher" by Gordon Cotler. 


Peck stars as a visiting American college professor at Oxford University who inadvertently becomes involved in Middle Eastern intrigue. Before long, he finds himself forced to flee from would-be assailants with a European beauty (Loren) he barely knows.



The musical score was composed by Henry Mancini, who previously provided the music for "Charade."


Cast trivia: It was Loren who presented Peck with his only Academy Award for Best Actor on April 8, 1963. Peck won for his performance as the gentlemanly 1930s Alabama attorney in the film version of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird." Loren had received the Best Actress Oscar the year before for the World War II drama "Two Women."


On March 25, 1991, Peck returned the favor by presenting Loren with an honorary Oscar as "one of the genuine treasures of world cinema who, in a career rich with memorable performances, has added permanent luster to our art form."


Expires January 11, 2015.


2. Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) -- Burt Lancaster, Karl Malden, Thelma Ritter, Neville Brand, Betty Field, Telly Savalas, Edmond O'Brien, Hugh Marlowe, Whit Bissell, Crahan Denton, James Westerfield. Uncredited: Leo Penn, Chris Robinson. John Frankenheimer's biopic about prison lifer-turned-ornithologist Robert Stroud (1890-1963) earned Oscar nominations for Lancaster (Best Actor, as Stroud), Savalas (Best Supporting Actor), Ritter (Best Supporting Actress) and Best Cinematography (Burnett Guffey). Ritter's nomination was her sixth and last. She is tied with Glenn Close and Deborah Kerr for the most Oscar nods by a female without ever winning.


The somewhat fictionalized tale follows Stroud's transformation from hardened criminal -- he was convicted of two murders -- to brilliant and accomplished bird expert. Malden co-stars Harvey Shoemaker, the hard-nosed warden of Leavenworth who clashes with Stroud on more than one occasion. Ritter plays the controlling mother who dislikes the woman (Field) Stroud marries in prison. Brand appears as the prison guard who becomes as trusting of the inmate as anyone could. Savalas is a fellow Leavenworth inmate who learns to like birds. O'Brien plays the writer who takes an interest in Stoud's case.


The movie's title is a bit of a misnomer because Stroud was no longer allowed to have pets by the time he was transferred to the prison island of Alcatraz in the 1950s.


Expires January 11, 2015.



3. The Miracle Worker (1962) -- Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke, Victor Jory, Inga Swenson, Andrew Prine, Kathleen Comegys. Uncredited: Beah Richards, Michele Farr, Dale Ellen Bethea, Michael Darden, Alan Howard. Poignant drama based on the early years of the inspirational author and lecturer Helen Keller (1880-1968). For their performances, Bancroft won the Academy Award for Best Actress and Duke received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the age of 16. The biopic also produced a Best Director nomination for Arthur Penn, who went on to film such memorable projects as "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), "Alice's Restaurant" (1969), "Little Big Man" (1970), "Night Moves" (1975) and "The Missouri Breaks" (1976).



Bancroft re-created her Tony Award-winning role as Annie Sullivan, the instructor who attempts to communicate with young Helen (Duke) -- the blind, deaf and nonspeaking daughter of a prosperous Alabama family. Duke, who became the youngest person to win a competitive Oscar (the record is now held by Tatum O'Neal, who was 10), later portrayed Sullivan opposite Melissa Gilbert's Helen in a 1979 TV version of this story.


Duke died on March 29, 2016 at the age of 69. She succumbed to sepsis as the result of a ruptured intestine.




Expires January 11, 2015.

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TCM On Demand for January 7, 2015
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. The Devil to Pay! (1930) -- Ronald Colman, Frederick Kerr, Loretta Young, David Torrence, Florence Britton, Myrna Loy, Paul Cavanagh, Crawford Kent. Directed by George Fitzmaurice ("Raffles," "Arsène Lupin Returns"), this drama stars Colman as a prodigal son who returns to the family mansion in London. Despite his controversial reappearance, he soon begins making time with an heiress (Young) who insists that he stop seeing his old girlfriend (Loy). 
After many years of starring in silent movies, this was one of Colman's earliest sound pictures. It was released during the same period in which he received 1929-1930 Academy Award nominations for his performances in "Bulldog Drummond" and "Condemned."
Young, who was born on January 6, 1913, was still in her teens when she made this movie. Turner Classic Movies observed the 102nd anniversary of her birth by showing 10 of her films on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.  
Expires January 13, 2015.
2. Jeremiah Johnson (1972) -- Robert Redford, Will Geer, Delle Bolton, Josh Albee, Joaquín Martínez, Allyn Ann McLerie, Stefan Gierasch, Richard Angarola, Paul Benedict, Charles Tyner, Jack Colvin, Matt Clark. Uncredited: Tanya Tucker. Sydney Pollack directed Redford in Western tale of a U.S. Army veteran who becomes a legendary mountain man in the Rocky Mountains during the mid-19th century. 
This was one of many film collaborations between Pollack and Redford, who met as young actors during the filming of "War Hunt," a 1962 drama about the Korean conflict. After Pollack turned to directing in the mid-1960s, he and Redford teamed up for other projects, including "The Way We Were" (1973), "Three Days of the Condor" (1975), "The Electric Horseman" (1979), "Out of Africa" (1985) and "Havana" (1990).
In the following clip, Johnson fends off attacks by Crow warriors who make life difficult for him throughout the movie:
Memorable quote: "These here is God's finest sculpturing. And there ain't no laws for the brave ones! And there ain't no asylums for the crazy ones! And there ain't no churches except for this right here! And there ain't no priests excepting the birds! By God, I are a mountain man, and I'll live until an arrow or a bullet finds me!" -- Del Gue, the colorful trapper played by Gierasch, talking about life in the mountains. The veteran character actor died September 6, 2014 of complications from a stroke.
Expires January 13, 2015.
3. The Sting (1973) -- Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan, Harold Gould, John Heffernan, Dana Elcar, Jack Kehoe, Dimitra Arliss, Robertearl Jones, James Sloyan, Charles Dierkop, Lee Paul, Sally Kirkland, Avon Long, Arch Johnson, Ed Bakey, Brad Sullivan, John Quade, Larry D. Mann, Leonard Barr, Paulene Myers, Ta-Tanisha, Joe Tornatore, Jack Collins, Tom Spratley, Kenneth O'Brien, Ken Sansom, William "Billy" Benedict. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" stars Newman and Redford reunited with director George Roy Hill for this 1930s caper film that won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. 
Redford stars as Johnny Hooker, a young Joliet, Illinois grifter who wants vengeance for the murder of his mentor and partner, Luther Coleman (played by Jones, the father of actor James Earl Jones). The killing was conducted by henchmen for crime kingpin Doyle Lonnigan (Shaw), so Hooker goes to Chicago to seek the help of Luther's old associate, Henry Gondorff (Newman). Although he hasn't pulled a "big con" in years, Gondorff manages to put together an experienced team of confidence men capable of gaining a measure of revenge for Luther's death.
The film's other Oscars were for Best Director (Hill), Best Original Screenplay (David S. Ward), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Henry Bumstead and James W. Payne), Best Costume Design (Edith Head, her eighth and final Oscar), Best Film Editing (William H. Reynolds) and Best Adaptation Score (Marvin Hamlisch for his incorporation of Scott Joplin rags).
Hamlisch also won two other Academy Awards for another 1973 Redford movie, "The Way We Were." He picked up Oscars for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song (for the title tune, shared with lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman). Hamlisch's version of Joplin's "The Entertainer" -- used as the theme song for this movie -- became a No. 3 Billboard hit in 1974.
Redford received his only Academy Award nomination as Best Actor for his performance in this film. He later won a Best Director award for "Ordinary People," his first project behind the camera. He also was nominated for his direction of the 1994 drama "Quiz Show." On March 24, 2002, Redford was presented an honorary Oscar, not only for his significance as an actor, director and producer, but also as the "creator of Sundance, inspiration to independent and innovative filmmakers everywhere."
In the following clip, Gondorff manages to outcheat a cheater in a big poker game:
A "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" reference: One of the taglines for this movie was "This time, they might just get away with it."
Memorable quote: "Luther said I could learn something from you. I already know how to drink." -- Hooker, after sobering up a drunken Gondorff during their first meeting.
Expires January 13, 2015.
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TCM On Demand for January 8, 2015
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! (1933) --Al Jolson, Madge Evans, Frank Morgan, Harry Langdon, Chester Conklin, Tyler Brooke, Tammany Young, Bert Roach, Edgar Connor, Dorothea Wolbert, Louise Carver. Uncredited: Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart. Directed by Lewis Milestone ("All Quiet on the Western Front"), this musical comedy was based on a story by Ben Hecht and a screenplay by S.N. Behrman. The great Jolson stars as a tramp named Bumper who finds ways to survive in New York City during the Great Depression. After he rescues a suicidal woman (Evans) suffering from amnesia, she falls in love with him. When she regains her memory, it turns out she is linked to the mayor of New York (Morgan).
The movie's songs were written by Rodgers and Hart, who make cameo appearances in the picture.
Expires January 14, 2015.

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 30-year-old 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 January 14, 2015.
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TCM On Demand for January 9, 2015


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


Too Late Blues (1961) -- Bobby Darin, Stella Stevens, Everett Chambers, Nick Dennis, Vincent Edwards, Val Avery, Marilyn Clark, James Joyce, Rupert Crosse, Mario Gallo, J. Alan Hopkins, Cliff Carnell, Richard O. Chambers, Seymour Cassel, Dan Stafford. Uncredited: Ivan Dixon, Allyson Ames, June Wilkinson. Produced, directed and co-written by John Cassavetes, this black-and-white drama stars Darin as a principled jazz musician who falls in love with a beautiful singer (Stevens). Complications ensue when their relationship affects the members of his band. This film was one of many collaborations between Cassavetes and Cassel, who will turn 80 on January 22, 2015. The actor also appeared in Cassavetes' independent films "Shadows" (1959), "Faces" (1968, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor), "Minnie and Moskowitz" (1971) and "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" (1976).


This was one of three selections by Turner Classic Movies' special celebrity Guest Programmer Michael Feinstein. It aired in prime time on Thursday, January 8, 2015.


Expires January 15, 2015.

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TCM On Demand for January 10, 2015
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. 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 Simon comedy in which she plays an Oscar nominee who doesn't win. Her first Academy Award 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 January 16, 2015.
2. Neil Simon's 'Murder By Death' (1976) -- Peter Falk, Peter Sellers, David Niven, Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Alec Guinness, Elsa Lanchester, James Coco, Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, Nancy Walker, Estelle Winwood, James Cromwell, Richard Narita. Directed by Robert Moore ("The Cheap Detective," "Chapter Two"), Simon's spoof of detective mysteries assembled an all-star cast to send-up some of the greatest fictional sleuths. They are:
  • Sam Diamond (Falk), based on Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade.
  • Sidney_Wang (Sellers), modeled after Earl Derr Biggers' Charlie Chan.
  • Dick and Dora Charleston (Niven, Smith), based on Hammett's married couple Nick and Nora Charles from "The Thin Man" series.
  • Jessica Marbles (Lanchester), derived from Miss Marple, Dame Agatha Christie's British senior-citizen investigator. 
  • Milo Perrier (Coco), a version of Christie's Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot.

The investigators (and various assistants) are invited to the mansion of the mysterious millionaire Lionel Twain (author/celebrity Capote in a rare film role). Even more curious than the invitations are Twain's staff, which includes a blind butler (Guinness) and a deaf, nonspeaking housekeeper (Walker).


Memorable quote: "You've all been so clever for so long, you've forgotten to be humble. You tricked and fooled your readers for years. You've tortured us all with surprise endings that make no sense. You've introduced characters in the last five pages who were never in the book before! You withheld clues and information that made it impossible for us to guess who did it! But now, the tables are turned. Millions of angry mystery readers are now getting their revenge." -- Twain, while explaining his reasons for inviting the detectives to his mansion.


Expires January 16, 2015.
3. Synanon (1965) -- Edmond O'Brien, Chuck Connors, Stella Stevens, Alex Cord, Richard Conte, Eartha Kitt, Barbara Luna, Alejandro Rey, Richard Evans, Gregory Morton, Chanin Hale, Casey Townsend, Larry Kert, Bernie Hamilton, Mark Sturges, Lawrence Montaigne, Patricia Houston. Uncredited: Jay Sebring. Produced and directed by Richard Quine, this drama chronicles the growing bond between two people (Cord, Stevens) admitted for substace abuse to a rehab center called Synanon House. O'Brien plays the recovering alcoholic who runs the center. 
The movie was filmed at an actual rehabilitation facility in Santa Monica, California.
Sebring, who appears as Jay the barber, was a real-life celebrity hairstylist and onetime boyfriend of actress Sharon Tate. On August 9, 1969, he and Tate and two others were murdered at a Los Angeles residence by members of the Charles Manson Family 
Expires January 16, 2015.
4. The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (1968) -- Elke Sommer, Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer, Joey Forman, John Banner, Leon Askin, Maureen Arthur, Robert Carricart, Theo Marcuse, Larry D. Mann, John Myhers, Chanin Hale, Barbara Morrison, Benny Baker, Fritz Feld. Directed by George Marshall ("Destry Rides Again," "The Ghost Breakers"), this Cold War-era comedy stars Sommer as the title character, a world-class East German athlete who causes a stir when she pole vaults to freedom in West Germany. The film features four actors from CBS sitcom "Hogans Heroes" (1965-71) -- Crane, Klemperer, Banner and Askin.
Expires January 16, 2015.
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TCM On Demand for January 11, 2015
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:


 1. 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." 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 January 17, 2015.
2. Miami Connection (1987) -- Y.K. Kim,  Vincent Hirsch, Joseph Diamond, Maurice Smith, Angelo Janotti, Kathy Collier, William Ergle, Siyung Jo, Richard Park, William P. Young, Joy Sharpe, John Leeson, William Hollingsed. This independent martial arts film was produced, co-written and co-directed by Kim, the movie's lead actor. He stars as the leader of a rock band called Dragon Sound, whose members are skilled in Taekwondo. They soon find themselves matched against a group of sinister, motorcycle-riding ninjas involved in the Miami narcotics trade. Kim co-authored and co-directed the film with Park, who appears as Uncle Song.
Expires January 17, 2015.
3. Thunder Road (1958) -- Robert Mitchum, Gene Barry, Jacques Aubuchon, Keely Smith, Trevor Bardette, Sandra Knight, James Mitchum. Uncredited actors: Peter Breck, Jerry Hardin, Mitchell Ryan. Star Robert Mitchum created the story and co-produced this tale of Lucas Doolin, a Southern bootlegger who eludes law enforcement authorities thanks to his impressive driving skills. 
Randy Sparks performs the movie's theme song "The Ballad of Thunder Road." Mitchum recorded a version of the song, which he co-wrote with Don Raye. The song charted on Billboard's Hot 100 twice -- in 1958 and 1962. Here is Mitchum's version with footage from the movie:





Cast notes: Five months after this movie was released, Barry, who co-starred as federal agent Troy Barrett, began headlining the NBC Western drama "Bat Masterson"...Mitchum's eldest son James plays Doolin's younger brother and mechanic, Robin. The role originally was intended for Elvis Presley, who priced himself out of the movie...This film marked the screen debut of Smith, who was renowned as a jazz singer and longtime partner (and wife) of musician Louis Prima...Knight, who appears as Roxanna Ledbetter, was married to Jack Nicholson from 1962 to 1968. Their daughter Jennifer Nicholson appeared in a few movies, but has excelled as a fashion designer and the owner of a Venice, California boutique called Pearl Drop. 


Expires January 17, 2015.

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TCM On Demand for January 12, 2015
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:


1. Annie Hall (1977) -- Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Shelley Duvall, Janet Margolin, Colleen Dewhurst, Christopher Walken, Donald Symington, Helen Ludlam, Mordecai Lawner, Joan Newman, Jonathan Munk, Ruth Volner, Martin Rosenblatt, Hy Ansel, Russell Horton, Marshall McLuhan, Dick Cavett, Truman Capote, Mark Lenard, John Dennis Johnson, Tracey Walter. Former standup comic Allen co-authored and directed this film that achieved a rare feat for a comedy: It won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Nominated for Best Actor, he received Oscars for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (shared with Marshall Brickman), while Keaton earned the Best Actress award for playing the title character. 

The intelligent comedy, which set the tone for Allen's subsequent quality movies, is about the failed relationship of standup comic Alvy Singer (Allen) and Annie (Keaton's real name is Diane Hall. She used her mother's maiden name professionally).


With Alvy serving as an occasional narrator, the film features a mixture of fast-paced witticisms, sight gags and fantasy moments. One of the best examples of the latter is when Alvy tires of listening to a long-winded, self-described media expert (Horton) while standing in a movie line:



In another scene, Annie's brother Duane (played by Walken, who won a 1978 Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "The Deer Hunter" two years after Allen's movie was released) reveals a dark secret to Alvy:



In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked the picture No. 31 on its list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. When the AFI updated the list in 2007, the film dropped to No. 35.


The movie's cinematographer was the great Gordon Willis, who died of cancer on May 18, 2014, 10 days shy of his 84th birthday. Willis, who never won a competitive Academy Award, received an honorary Oscar in 2009 "for unsurpassed mastery of light, shadow, color and motion."


If you look carefully, you'll see early screen appearances by Sigourney Weaver, John Glover, Beverly D'Angelo, Jeff Goldblum and Shelley Hack. 


Memorable quote No. 1: "You keep bringing it up, but I don't want to live in a city where the only cultural advantage is that you can make a right turn on a red light" -- Alvy to his friend Rob (Roberts), who suggests a move to Los Angeles. In real life, Allen has an aversion to the West Coast and prefers New York City. In fact, the only time that he showed up at an Academy Awards ceremony was on March 24, 2002, when he introduced Nora Ephron's post-9/11 short film featuring New York scenes in movies.

Memorable quote No. 2: "A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know, it has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we've got on our hands is a dead shark" -- Alvy, agreeing with Annie that their relationship is over. 


Expires January 18, 2015.



2. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) -- Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke, Jack Weston, Yaphet Kotto. Director Norman Jewison's splashy, '60s-style cat-and-mouse game inspired a 1999 remake starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary and Dunaway. McQueen stars as the title character, a polished thief who becomes involved with Vicki Anderson (Dunaway), the skilled insurance investigator who becomes suspicious of him.


The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Song -- "The Windmills of Your Mind" by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Noel Harrison, who performed the song in the movie, died October 19, 2013 at the age of 79. Noel's father, Sir Rex Harrison, performed "Talk to the Animals" in the 1967 musical "Doctor Dolittle." It also won the Oscar for Best Original Song, giving the Harrison family an unprecedented, back-to-back achievement.


Expires January 18, 2015.

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