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TCM On Demand (Comcast)


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TCM On Demand for May 2, 2014


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


1. Bachelor Mother (1939) -- Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn, Frank Albertson, E.E. Clive, Ernest Truex. After her screen partnership with Fred Astaire waned in the late 1930s, Rogers began headlining movies that didn't depend on her dancing and singing talents. One such film, the 1941 drama "Kitty Foyle," won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. This comedy of errors, directed by Garson Kanin ("My Favorite Wife"), features Rogers as a department store clerk who by chance inherits an infant child during the holiday season. It's a case of mistaken identity, but her situation catches the eye of the department store owner's heir (Niven), who becomes a big help to the new "mother." The film was remade in 1956 as "Bundle of Joy," which starred "America's Sweethearts" at the time -- Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Rogers and Coburn would later co-star with Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe in Howard Hawks' 1952 screwball comedy "Monkey Business." Expires May 7, 2014.


2. Dear Heart (1964) -- Glenn Ford, Geraldine Page, Dame Angela Lansbury, Michael Anderson Jr., Barbara Nichols, Patricia Barry, Charles Drake, Richard Deacon, Neva Patterson, Ken Lynch, Ruth McDevitt, Alice Pearce, Mary Wickes, Sandra Gould. Delbert Mann, an Oscar winner for "Marty," directed this romantic comedy based on a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tad Mosel ("All the Way Home"). Page plays a lonely woman who finds love while attending a postmasters convention in New York City. But there's a hitch: Her love interest (Ford) is already engaged to another woman. 



Fans of TV's "Bewitched" should note that veteran actresses Pearce (Miss Moore) and Gould (Mrs. Sloan) are in the same movie. They both played Gladys Kravitz, the nosy next-door neighbor of Samantha and Darrin Stephens on the long-running comedy series of the 1960s and 1970s.


The movie's title song won an Academy Award nomination for Henry Mancini (music) and Jay Livingston and Ray Evans (lyrics). It became a 1964 hit for Andy Williams and one of the many songs identified with him. Expires May 7, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 3, 2014


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


1. Gallipoli (1981) -- Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Bill Hunter, Robert Grubb, Bill Kerr, John Morris, Harold Hopkins, Tim McKenzie, David Argue, Bill Hunter, Diane Chamberlain. Directed by Australia's Peter Weir ("Picnic at Hanging Rock," "The Truman Show," "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"), this historical drama boosted the American-born, but Australian-bred Gibson to international stardom. Set in 1915 during World War I, the film tells the story of one of the major disasters of the conflict for the Allies. Gibson and Lee play Australian sprinters who square off in a race -- and wind up joining the war effort as members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). They and their comrades are put to the test during the Gallipoli campaign, an Allied attempt to take Constantinople, the strategic key to the Ottoman Empire. The effort failed at a great cost -- more than 100,000 men on both sides were killed, including an estimated 8,709 Australians and 2,721 New Zealanders. The disaster had repercussions for the career of the man who proposed the offensive -- Winston Spencer Churchill, Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty. He resigned his post, but he would be heard from again in the political world. The movie's screenplay was written by Australian playwright David Williamson, who later collaborated with Weir on "The Year of Living Dangerously (1982), which starred Gibson and Sigourney Weaver. Kerr, who co-starred as Uncle Jack, died on August 28, 2014 at the age of 92. This was one of 20 films from the Australian New Wave era of the 1970s and 1980s that Turner Classic Movies will air on Friday Night Spotlight during May 2014. The films are introduced each week by Australian actress Jacki Weaver, a two-time Academy Award nominee for her supporting performances in "Animal Kingdom" (2010) and "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012). Expires May 9, 2014.


2. Mad Max (1979) -- Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Roger Ward, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Lisa Aldenhoven. Co-written and directed by Australia's George Miller ("Babe," "Happy Feet"), this post-apocalyptic drama was the first installment of a series of films about Max Rockatansky (Gibson), a former policeman turned futuristic savior, and his battles with vicious bikers and gangs. In the United States, "Mad Max 2" was released in 1982 under the title "The Road Warrior," and its success solidified the actor's status as a major star. The third film, "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" (1985), teamed Gibson with Grammy Award-winning singer Tina Turner, who played Aunty Entity, ruler of a village known as Bartertown. A fourth installment, titled "Mad Max: Fury Road," opened on May 15, 2015 with Tom Hardy (Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises") playing the title character. Expires May 9, 2014.

3. Tim (1979) -- Piper Laurie, Mel Gibson, Alwyn Kurts, Pat Evison, Deborah Kennedy. This romantic drama by Australian actor-director Michael Pate was based on a 1974 novel by Colleen McCullough, author of "The Thorn Birds." For this early film role in his career, Gibson received an Australian Film Institute award for Best Actor. He stars as the title character, Tim Melville, a developmentally challenged gardener who becomes involved with the American woman (Laurie) who employs him. Pate -- who appeared in more than 50 motion pictures in America, including "Julius Caesar" (1953), "McLintock!" (1963) and "Major Dundee" (1965) -- died in 2008 at the age of 88. Expires May 9, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 4, 2014


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


1. The Pink Panther (1963) -- David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner, Capucine, Claudia Cardinale, Brenda de Banzie, Fran Jeffries. Sellers made the first of his five screen appearances as bumbling French police inspector Jacques Clouseau in this comedy by Blake Edwards. A sixth film -- "Trail of the Pink Panther" (1982) -- was a retrospective of previous scenes released two years after Sellers' death by a heart attack on July 24, 1980. Top billing for the first film went to Niven, who plays Sir Charles Lytton, the smooth jewel thief known as "The Phantom." The movie begins with one of filmdom's most famous opening credits sequences, which introduced the animated Pink Panther character created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and featured Henry Mancini's popular theme song. Mancini received an Academy Award nomination for the film's score, which was ranked No. 20 on the American Film Institute's 2005 list of the Top 25 movie scores of all time. The animated Panther character would later headline several film shorts, including "The Pink Phink," which won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The character then went on to a long-running Saturday morning cartoon show that began in 1969. In the film, the title refers to "the most fabulous diamond in all of the world," which is in the possession of Princess Dahla of Lugash (Cardinale). Of course, Lytton is interested in the jewel. And so is his nephew George (Wagner), who appears to be following in the footsteps of "The Phantom."


Memorable scene: Singer Jeffries performs "Meglio Stasera" ("It Had Better Be Tonight") during a ski resort scene. Notice how well Sellers moves on the dance floor. 


Jeffries died on December 15, 2016 at the age of 79.


By the way, Clouseau and his wife Simone (Capucine) refer to each other as "my darling" so many times, viewers could start participatory drinking games. In case you were wondering, the four other Sellers-as-Clouseau films were "A Shot in the Dark" (1964), "The Return of the Pink Panther" (1975), "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (1976) and "Revenge of the Pink Panther" (1978). Actor Alan Arkin starred as the sleuth in "Inspector Clouseau," a 1968 version that did not involve Edwards. Subsequent "Pink Panther" films have starred Ted Wass, Roberto Benigni and Steve Martin. Niven's final screen appearances were in "Trail of the Pink Panther" and "Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)." But his voice was weakened because of an illness, and so his lines were dubbed by impressionist Rich Little. Expires May 10, 2014.


2. The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966) -- Alan Arkin, Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Brian Keith, Jonathan Winters, Paul Ford, Theodore Bikel, Tessie O'Shea, John Phillip Law, Ben Blue, Don Keefer, Andrea Dromm, Sheldon Collins, Guy Raymond, Cliff Norton, Michael J. Pollard, Richard Schaal, Milos Milos, Cindy Putnam. Norman Jewison's Cold War-era comedy received four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Arkin, who was nominated for Best Actor in his first appearance in a feature film, plays an English-speaking crewman aboard a Soviet submarine that runs aground on an island on the New England coast. Once the news reaches the townspeople of the island, panic -- as well as hilarity -- ensues.





The film also received Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay (William Rose) and Best Film Editing (Hal Ashby and J. Terry Williams). Interestingly, Rose would win a Best Original Screenplay Oscar the next year for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," while Ashby would pick up the Film Editing award for "In the Heat of the Night." But Arkin would not get an Oscar until 40 years later, when he received the 2006 Best Supporting Actor award for his performance in "Little Miss Sunshine." Jewison never won a competitive Oscar, although a film he directed, "In the Heat of the Night," won the 1967 Best Picture award. On March 21, 1999, however, he was presented the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which goes to filmmakers "whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production." Bikel, who plays the captain of the grounded submarine, died on July 20, 2015 at the age of 91. Expires May 10, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 5, 2014

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

1. Ball of Fire (1941) -- Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka, Henry Travers, S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall, Tully Marshall, Leonid Kinskey, Richard Haydn, Aubrey Mather, Dana Andrews, Dan Duryea, Kathleen Howard, Mary Field, Elisha Cook, Jr. Directed by Howard Hawks ("Bringing Up Baby," "His Girl Friday") and based on a story by Billy Wilder, this screwball comedy is a 1940s version of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Stanwyck received her second of four Best Actress Oscar nominations for her performance as Katherine "Sugarpuss" O'Shea, a streetwise nightclub performer forced to flee from police because of a mob connection. She seeks refuge with an acquaintance -- Professor Potts (Cooper), an erudite man working on a big encyclopedia project with seven colleagues.

Wilder, who would later direct Stanwyck in "Double Indemnity," co-wrote the screenplay with Charles Brackett and Thomas Monroe. Wilder and Monroe received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Original Story. The film also received nominations for Alfred Newman's score and Best Sound, Recording (Thomas T. Moulton). 

Memorable quote: "I love him because he's the kind of guy who gets drunk on a glass of buttermilk, and I

love the way he blushes right up over his ears. I love him because he doesn't know how to kiss, the jerk!" -- "Sugarpuss" O'Shea.

Expires May 11, 2014.


2. A Kiss Before Dying (1956) -- Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Virginia Leith, Joanne Woodward, Mary Astor, George Macready, Robert Quarry, Howard Petrie, Bill Walker, Molly McCart, Marlene Felton. Directed by Gerd Oswald, who filmed the unforgettable paratrooper scenes in "The Longest Day," this drama is based on the first novel by Ira Levin, who later wrote "Rosemary's Baby," "The Stepford Wives" and "The Boys from Brazil." The film stars Wagner as Bud Corliss, a college student who decides to take drastic measures when his well-to-do girlfriend Dorie Kingship (played by Woodward, in only her second screen role), becomes pregnant. The film was remade in 1991 with a cast that included Matt Dillon, Sean Young, Max von Sydow and Diane Ladd. Woodward would win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her next film release, "The Three Faces of Eve" (1957). She and Wagner would reunite in the 1969 auto-racing drama "Winning," headlined by her husband Paul Newman.


Expires May 11, 2014.


3. Sparrows (1926) -- Mary Pickford, Roy Stewart, Mary Louise Miller, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Charlotte Mineau, Spec O'Donnell, Lloyd Whitlock, Monty O'Grady. Directed by William Beaudine (with uncredited help from Tom McNamara), this silent film stars Pickford, celebrated as "America's Sweetheart," although she actually was from Canada. She also was about 35 years old when she produced and starred in the production. She plays a young girl named Molly, who plans to escape with a group of children from a "baby farm." To make good on the scheme, they will need to navigate a treacherous swamp containing alligators. They also must stay ahead of Mr. Grimes (Von Seyffertitz), the hard-nosed operator of the farm. This was one of Pickford's last silent film roles. With the arrival of sound, she began appearing in several talkies, including "Coquette" (1929), for which she won an early Academy Award for Best Actress. She retired from acting in the early 1930s, but continued to produce films for United Artists, the company she began in 1919 with her husband Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Charles Chaplin and director D.W. Griffith. On March 29, 1976, three years before her death at the age of 87, she was presented an honorary Academy Award "in recognition of her unique contributions to the film industry and the development of film as an artistic medium." In the history of the Oscars, she and Sophia Loren are the only actresses to receive competitive and honorary statuettes.


Expires May 11, 2014.


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TCM On Demand for May 6, 2014


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

1. D.O.A. (1950) -- Edmond O'Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler, Beverly Garland, Neville Brand, Lynn Baggett, William Ching, Henry Hart, Laurette Luez. Directed by Rudolph Maté ("When Worlds Collide," "The 300 Spartans"), this is a film noir drama with a twist. O'Brien stars as murder victim Frank Bigelow who isn't dead yet. But the accountant visiting San Francisco is doomed because he has been poisoned -- and he is determined to finger the killer before he dies. The movie's creative screenplay was written by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene, who later shared the 1959 Original Screenplay Oscar for "Pillow Talk" with Maurice Richlin and Stanley Shapiro. The film marked the screen debut of Garland, who was listed in the credits as Beverly Campbell. Britton, who plays Bigelow's loyal secretary Paula, played the famous comic strip character in the "Blondie" TV series of the 1950s. She later was a regular as landlady Lorelei Brown on TV's "My Favorite Martian" from 1963-1966. The film was remade in 1988 with a cast headlined by Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan and Charlotte Rampling. Expires May 12, 2014.


2. Elmer Gantry (1960) -- Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy, Dean Jagger, Shirley Jones, Patti Page, Edward Andrews, John McIntire, Hugh Marlowe, Joe Maross, Dayton Lummis, Harry Antrim, Jean Willes, Barbara Luna (uncredited). Lancaster won the Academy Award for Best Actor as the title character, a slick traveling salesman who becomes an even slicker evangelist in the 1920s. Jones, known until this project for her girl-next-door image in movie musicals, received the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as a loose woman named Lulu Bains. Nominated for Best Picture, the film -- based on the 1927 novel by Sinclair Lewis -- was adapted and directed by Richard Brooks ("The Blackboard Jungle," "The Professionals"). His screenplay received an Oscar nomination, as did André Previn's original score. Simmons, Brooks' wife at the time, co-stars as Sister Sharon Falconer, a charismatic revivalist who enchants Gantry. Jones became the first of two actresses named after honorary Oscar recipient Shirley Temple to win Oscars themselves. The other was Shirley MacLaine, who received the 1983 Best Actress award for "Terms of Endearment." Expires May 12, 2014.


3. Unidentifed Flying Objects (1956) -- This quasi-documentary about UFOs was co-produced by screenwriters Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene, whose credits included "D.O.A." (1950), "The Well" (1951) and "Pillow Talk," for which they shared the 1959 Academy Award for Original Screenplay with Maurice Richlin and Stanley Shapiro. Directed by Winston Jones, the film presents photographic evidence and eyewitness accounts of strange phenomena in the skies. Expires May 12, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 7, 2014

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

1. The Age of Innocence (1993) -- Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, Alexis Smith, Geraldine Chaplin, Mary Beth Hurt, Alec McCowen, Richard E. Grant, Miriam Margolyes, Robert Sean Leonard, Siân Phillips, Carolyn Farina, June Squibb, Jonathan Pryce, Michael Gough, Norman Lloyd. Martin Scorsese's version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Edith Wharton is about propriety in New York's upper-class structure of the late 19th century. Joanne Woodward serves as the film's narrator. The production won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, which went to Italy's Gabriella Pescucci. It also was nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Ryder), Best Adapted Screenplay (Scorsese and Jay_Cocks), Best Original Score (Elmer Bernstein) and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (Dante Ferretti, Robert J. Franco). 
Wharton's novel had been filmed several times before, most notably in 1934 with Irene Dunne and John Boles starring in the roles played by Pfeiffer and Day-Lewis, respectively.  Day-Lewis received his second of five overall Best Actor nominations, but it was for his work in the 1993 drama "In the Name of the Father." Squibb, who plays Margolyes' maid, has become an "overnight" sensation at the age of 84. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress of 2013 for her performance opposite Bruce Dern and Will Forte in "Nebraska." This was the final screen appearance of the veteran actress Smith, who died about four months before the movie was released on October 1, 1993. She was 72. Expires May 13, 2014.
2. Charlie Chan in The Scarlet Clue (1945) -- Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Ben Carter, Benson Fong, Virginia Brissac, Robert Homans, Jack Norton, Janet Shaw, Helen Deverell, Victoria Faust, I. Stanford Jolley (uncredited), Leonard Mudie (uncredited). Directed by Phil Rosen ("Little Men"), this mystery/drama stars Toler, who portrayed Charlie Chan in more films than any other actor. This time, the usually Honolulu-based detective is in New York, accompanied by his chauffeur Birmingham Brown (Moreland) and No. 3 son Tommy (Fong). The title refers to a bloody shoeprint that leads the sleuth to a broadcasting company and the cast of a popular radio show. Moreland and Carter were onetime vaudeville partners -- and it shows. Turner Classic Movies presented this movie on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 6th, when the daytime schedule was devoted to films featuring the word "scarlet in their titles. Expires May 13, 2014.
3. The Children's Hour (1961) -- Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, Miriam Hopkins, Fay Bainter, Karen Balkin, Veronica Cartwright, Mimi Gibson, William Mims, Sally Brophy, Hope Summers. This drama, based on the play by Lillian Hellman, was directed by William Wyler, who filmed an earlier version titled "These Three" 25 years before. The 1936 film, which veered from Hellman's focus on a lesbian relationship because of the Hays Code, starred Hopkins and Merle Oberon as boarding school instructors who become the victims of a vicious rumor spread by a student (Bonita Granville). Joel McCrea co-starred as Oberon's love interest. The 13-year-old Granville received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.
Wyler's second effort, adapted from Hellman's play by John Michael Hayes ("Rear Window," "To Catch a Thief"), is still a milder version of the stage production. But it does address the subject of lesbianism. It stars Hepburn and MacLaine as teachers at a private school for girls, and Garner plays Hepburn's fiancé. This time, Hopkins plays MacLaine's aunt, who also teaches at the school.
Balkin co-stars as the malicious brat who spreads false rumors about the teachers. The 12-year-old actress from Houston had a brief film career, and appeared in only one other movie. In contrast, Cartwright, who also was 12 when this movie was released, is still acting at the age of 67.
This was the final screen appearance of Bainter, who retired. She received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her work in this film as Balkin's grandmother. Other nominations for the film were: Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Franz Planer); Best Black-and-White Costume Design (Dorothy Jeakins); Best Black-and-White Art Direction (Fernando Carrere and Edward G. Boyle); and Best Sound (Gordon E. Sawyer). Expires May 13, 2014.
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TCM On Demand for May 8, 2014

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. A Farewell to Arms (1932) -- Helen Hayes, Gary Cooper, Adolphe Menjou, Mary Philips, Jack La Rue, Blanche Friderici, Mary Forbes, Gilbert Emery. Directed by Frank Borzage ("Seventh Heaven"), this film version of Ernest Hemingway's 1929 novel about a doomed World War I romance in Italy was nominated for Best Picture. It won Oscars for Best Cinematography (Charles Lang) and Best Sound (Franklin Hansen), and earned a nomination for Best Art Direction (Hans Dreier and Roland Anderson). 
The drama stars Cooper as Lt. Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver who falls in love with British nurse Catherine Barkley (Hayes). Menjou co-stars as Henry's friend Rinaldi, another of the actor's charming but duplicitous characters.
This movie was released one month after Hayes received the 1931-1932 Academy Award as Best Actress for her performance in "The Sin of Madelon Claudet." She would win a second Oscar 39 years after that ceremony for her supporting role as an elderly stowaway in "Airport" (1970). Known as "The First Lady of the American Theater," Hayes (1900–1993) became the second person (after composer Richard Rodgers) and first woman to achieve EGOT status -- winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. 
Hemingway's novel was remade for the screen in 1957 with Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones in the lead roles. Turner Classic Movies aired the original film version on Wednesday, May 7th, which was the anniversary of Cooper's birth in 1901. Expires May 14, 2014.
2. Meet John Doe (1941) -- Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan, Spring Byington, James Gleason, Gene Lockhart. Director Frank Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin, 1934 Oscar winners for "It Happened One Night," teamed up again for this memorable comedy/drama. A newspaper columnist (Stanwyck) tries to save her job when her publication begins to downsize. She creates a fictional letter writer named John Doe who expresses compassion for the common people and threatens to jump to his death from the City Hall building on Christmas Eve. What results is a sensational public reponse, which becomes more sensational when the paper is forced to hire an ex-baseball player (Cooper) to pose as John Doe.
Seven months after the film was released, Cooper and Stanwyck were reunited in the screwball comedy "Ball of Fire." Riskin's screenplay was adapted from "The Life and Death of John Doe", a film treatment by Richard Connell and Robert Presnell, who were Oscar-nominated for Best Original Story. Cooper and Brennan appeared in five other films together: "The Cowboy and the Lady" (1938), "The Westerner" (1940), "Sergeant York" (1941), "The Pride of the Yankees" (1942) and "Task Force" (1949). Capra's film was one of the influences for Joel and Ethan Coen's 1994 screwball comedy "The Hudsucker Proxy," which starred Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Paul Newman. 
This was one of seven Cooper films aired by Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, May 7th, the anniversary of his birth in 1901. 
Expires May 14, 2014.
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TCM On Demand for May 9, 2014

The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) -- Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton, Michael Crawford, Jack Gilford, Annette Andre, Sir Michael Hordern, Leon Greene, Roy Kinnear, Alfie Bass, Jon Pertwee, John Bluthal, Pamela Brown, Patricia Jessel, Helen Funai. Uncredited: Ingrid Pitt (uncredited). Directed by Richard Lester ("A Hard Day's Night," "Help!"), this is a film version of the 1962 Tony Award-winning musical farce featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. The theater version, directed by George Abbott and produced by Harold Prince, won six Tonys, including Best Musical, Best Author and Best Actor (Mostel). The film marked the final screen appearance of Keaton, who plays  Erronious. The cinema great, whose career in movies began in 1917, died on February 1, 1966 -- eight months before the release of the film. He was 70 years old. 
Set in ancient Rome, the movie stars Mostel -- reprising his stage role -- as the slave named Pseudolus who longs for freedom. Gilford, who received a Tony nomination as Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as Hysterium, also repeats his stage role in the movie version. Silvers co-stars as Marcus Lycus, whose business involves beautiful courtesans. Crawford, who went on to Tony Award-winning success in 1988 as the star of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical "The Phantom of the Opera," co-stars as young Hero, whose family owns Pseudolus. 
Among the familiar Sondheim show tunes performed in the film are "Comedy Tonight," which opens the movie, and "Lovely." The musical was adapted for the screen by Melvin Frank and Michael Pertwee, whose younger brother Jon Pertwee plays Crassus. From 1970 to 1974, Jon was the third of 12 actors to play Doctor Who on British television.
Kinnear, who plays the instructor of gladiators, was a Lester favorite who co-starred in "Help!" and the "Three Musketeers" series filmed by the director. Kinnear died on September 20, 1988, the day after a horse-riding accident during the filming of "The Return of the Musketeers." He was 54. 
Interestingly, Silvers turned down the role of Pseudolus for the original stage production because he had difficulty seeing without his glasses. He later played the scheming slave -- with glasses -- in a 1972 Broadway revival of the play. He won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance.
Expires May 15, 2014.
2. Gore Vidal's 'The Best Man' (1964) -- Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Lee Tracy, Edie Adams, Margaret Leighton, Shelley Berman, Ann Sothern, Gene Raymond, Kevin McCarthy, John Henry Faulk, Richard Arlen, Penny Singleton, George Kirgo, George Furth, William R. Eberson, Howard K. Smith, Mahalia Jackson. One of three great 1960s Washington D.C.-based dramas starring Fonda. The others: "Advise and Consent" (1962) and "Fail Safe" (1964). This time, he stars as presidential candidate William Russell, a former State Department head who is now a strong contender for his party's nomination. His major opponent is Joe Cantwell (Robertson), a venal and unscrupulous U.S. senator willing to resort to mudslinging to secure the nomination for himself. Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner ("Patton," "Papillon"), the movie's screenplay was written by Vidal, based on his 1960 Tony-nominated stage play. Tracy, in his final screen appearance, received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as former U.S. President Art Hockstader. It would be another 48 years before an actor won an Oscar for playing a real or fictional president. Daniel Day-Lewis receved the 2012 Best Actor award for his portrayal of the 16th American president in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln."  ABC news anchor Smith and gospel singer Jackson appear as themselves. The opening credits feature portraits, caricatures or photographs of the 35 men who had served as America's Chief Executive when the film was released. Expires May 15, 2014.
3. Thousand Clowns (1965) -- Jason Robards, Barbara Harris, Martin Balsam, Gene Saks, William Daniels, Philip Bruns, John McMartin, Barry Gordon. Balsam won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in this film version of Herb Gardner's 1962 Broadway play. Directed by Fred Coe ("Me, Natalie"), the film also was nominated for Best Picture. In addition, the comedy/drama also received Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay (Gardner) and Best Music Score, Adaptation or Treatment (Don Walker).
Robards, Saks, Daniels and Gordon were members of the play's original cast and reprised their roles for the motion picture version. Robards stars as Murray Burns, a nonconformist, out-of-work television writer residing in New York City with his young nephew Nick (Gordon). Because of his lifestyle, he risks losing custody of the boy when Department of Child Welfare representatives (Harris, Daniels) begin asking questions.
Balsam's Oscar win was for his role as Arnold Burns, Murray's disapproving brother and agent. Balsam's daughter Talia co-starred as Mona Sterling on the AMC television drama series "Mad Men." Until September 2014, she was the only woman who had married actor George Clooney (from 1989 to 1993). Since 1998, she has been wed to "Mad Men" co-star John Slattery, who plays her husband Roger Sterling. Expires May 15, 2014.            
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TCM On Demand for May 10, 2014

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


1. The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) -- John Meillon, Terry Camilleri, Kevin Miles, Rick Scully, Max Gillies, Danny Adcock, Bruce Spence, Kevin Golsby, Chris Haywood, Peter Armstrong, Joe Burrow. First, this black comedy by Peter Weir doesn't take place in Paris, France, but in the rural community of Paris, Australia. Second, there is no Paris, Australia. Also titled "The Cars That Eat People," this was Weir's first full-length feature film and the beginning of a long and distinguished career as a director. The dirty little secret of the people of Paris is that they deliberately cause automobile accidents and profit from anything salvageable from the crashes. Meillon, who played the father who goes berserk in Nicolas Roeg's "Walkabout" (1971), is The Mayor, who takes in "accident" victim Arthur Waldo (Camilleri) after his brother George (Scully) is killed in a Parisian crash. The gangly actor Spence, who plays Charlie, later co-starred with Mel Gibson in two of the "Mad Max" films -- "The Road Warrior" (1982) and "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" (1985). This is one of 20 films from the Australian New Wave era of the 1970s and 1980s that Turner Classic Movies is showing on Friday Night Spotlight in May 2014. Expires May 16, 2014.


2. The Last Wave (1977) -- Richard Chamberlain, Olivia Hamnett, David Gulpilil, Frederick Parslow, Vivean Gray, Nandjiwarra Amagula. This mystical drama by Australia's Peter Weir stars Chamberlain as David Burton, a corporate tax attorney who defends five Aboriginals charged with a mysterious murder. The controversial case coincides with bizarre weather phenomena throughout Australia -- we're talking lots of water here, including rain that produces oil and frogs -- and troubling dreams for Burton. A key to both occurrences could be provided by Chris Lee (Gulpilil), one of the suspects scheduled to go on trial. But he -- like the four other defendants -- isn't saying much.
Chamberlain would play another Australian resident -- Father Ralph de Bricassart -- in the 1983 ABC miniseries version of Colleen McCullough's best-selling novel "The Thorn Birds," which actually was filmed in the United States. He also appeared in the 1996 sequel "The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years." Gulpilil, who made his film debut at 15 opposite Jenny Agutter in Nicolas Roeg's "Walkabout" (1971), has been involved -- off and on -- in the Australian film industry ever since. His credits also include "The Right Stuff" (1983), "Crocodile Dundee" (1986), "Rabbit-Proof Fence" (2002), "The Proposition" (2005) and "Australia" (2008). Cinematographer Russell Boyd, who won a 2003 Academy Award for his work on Weir's seafaring drama "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," has collaborated on numerous other films with the director. Among them: "Picnic on Hanging Rock" (1975), "Gallipoli" (1981), "The Year of Living Dangerously" (1982) and "The Way Back" (2010). Expires May 16, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 11, 2014

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


1. Anne of Green Gables (1934) -- Anne Shirley, Tom Brown, Helen Westley, O.P. Heggie, June Preston, Sara Haden, Charley Grapewin, Bonita Granville, Ben Hall, Murray Kinnell, Gertrude Messinger, Hilda Vaughn. Based on the first of a series of novels by Lucy Maud Montgomery, this film -- directed by George Nichols, Jr. ("Finishing School") -- tells the story of Anne Shirley, an orphan girl who goes to live on a farm run by elderly siblings (Westley and Heggie) in Canada's Prince Edward Island. The actress who plays Anne was born Dawn Evelyeen Paris and had been using the name Dawn O'Day since she was a child actress in the 1920s. After starring in this film, she decided to take the name of the lead character as her stage name. The actors known as Gig Young and L.Q. Jones also adopted the names of characters they played in films. 
The story was remade as a 1985 Canadian made-for-television movie that spawned sequels. The films, which have appeared many times on public television in the United States, starred actress Megan Follows, who now portrays 16th century French queen Catherine de' Medici on the television series "Reign," which airs on The CW network.

Shirley retired from acting at the age of 26. She was married to actor John Payne, and their daughter Julie Payne became an actress with several film and television credits from 1959 to 1967. Julie was married to Academy Award-winning screenwriter Robert Towne ("Chinatown") for several years. Their daughter Katharine Towne, who strongly resembles her maternal grandmother, is an actress whose film credits include "What Lies Beneath" (2000), "Mulholland Drive" (2001) and "Blades of Glory" (2007). 
Turner Classic Movies presented three of Shirley's movies on Saturday, May 10th, including "Stella Dallas" (1937), for which the actress was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting performance opposite Barbara Stanwyck. Expires May 17, 2014.


2. House (1977) -- Kimiko Ikegami (Gorgeous), Miki Jinbo (Kung Fu), Kumiko Oba (Fantasy), Ai Matubara (Prof), Mieko Sato (Mac), Eriko Tanaka (Melody), Masayo Miyako (Sweet), Yōko Minamida (Auntie), Kiyohiko Ozaki (Keisuke Tôgô), Saho Sasazawa (Father), Ryoko Ema (Haruko Wanibuchi). Titled "Hausu" in Japanese, this offbeat horror film was directed by filmmaker Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, who earned a well-deserved reputation for experimenting with trick photography and other techniques.



The movie tries some new spins on a staple of the horror genre -- the haunted house. Ikegami stars as a schoolgirl named Gorgeous -- don't laugh, she has a friend named Fantasy -- who decides against a summer vacation with her widowed father (Sasazawa), a film composer who announces plans to remarry. The disappointed Gorgeous then invites six of her classmates to travel with her to the country home of her late mother's sister (Minamida). One by one, the girls begin to fall prey to supernatural elements within the house. 


Turner Classic Movies aired the film as part of its TCM Underground series in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 11th.


Memorable dialogue:


Gorgeous: "How was the movie job in Italy?"


Gorgeous' father: "Leone said my music was better than Morricone's."


Expires May 17, 2014.



3. Le Mans (1971) -- Steve McQueen, Siegfried Rauch, Elga Andersen, Ronald Leigh-Hunt, Fred Haltiner, Luc Merenda, Christopher Waite, Louise Edlind. McQueen established his reputation as a movie icon with the motorcycle escape scenes from "The Great Escape" (1963) and the riveting, Oscar-winning car chase through the streets of San Francisco in "Bullitt" (1968). In this documentary-style production about the annual 24-hour endurance race in France, he stars as Michael Delaney, an American driver trying to shake off the psychological demons caused by a fatal wreck the year before. But the business at hand is to outperform German rival Erich Stahler (Rauch), who drives a Ferrari matched against Delaney's Porsche. Filmed on location during the 1970 Le Mans competition, the movie was directed by Lee H. Katzin ("The Salzburg Connection"). The film's music score was provided by three-time Oscar winner Michel Legrand. Anderson, who plays the widowed Lisa Belgetti, previously was known for her singing contributions to the 1961 World War II action drama "The Guns of Navarone."  Expires May 17, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 12, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. Marty (1955) -- Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Joe Mantell, Esther Minciotti, Augusta Ciolli, Karen Steele, Jerry Paris, Frank Sutton (uncredited). Paddy Chayefsky's surprising teleplay-turned-motion picture won four Academy Awards -- Best Picture, Best Director (Delbert Mann), Best Actor (Borgnine) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Chayefsky). The film also received nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Mantell, who plays Marty's best friend Angie), Best Supporting Actress (Blair), Best Black-and-White Art Direction-Set Decoration (Ted Haworth, Robert Priestley and Walter M. Simonds) and Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Joseph LaShelle). 
Borgnine stars as a lovable but lonely butcher living in the Bronx with his mother (Minciotti) and his aunt (Ciolli). The story revolves around his courtship of an equally lonely high school chemistry teacher (Blair, who was married to actor-dancer-choreographer Gene Kelly in real life).
Chayefsky (1923-1981), one of the cinema's most celebrated writers, originally wrote this tale for television. It aired on NBC's "The Philco Television Playhouse" in 1953 with Rod Steiger in the title role and actress Nancy Marchand -- later Tony Soprano's mother -- as the shy schoolteacher. Mantell, Minciotti and Ciolli also appeared in the production and reprised their roles for the movie. Chayefsky went on to win Best Original Screenplay Oscars for "The Hospital" (1971) and "Network" (1976).
Paris, who appears in the film as Marty's cousin Tommy, became a prolific television director for such series as "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Happy Days." He also played Rob and Laura Petrie's next-door neighbor Jerry Helper on Van Dyke's 1960s Emmy Award-winning sitcom. Sutton, who plays Marty's friend Ralph, became well-known as U.S. Marine Sgt. Vince Carter in the 1960s CBS comedy series "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." 
Memorable dialogue:
Angie: What do you feel like doing tonight?
Marty: I don't know, Ange. What do you feel like doing?
Angie: We ought to do something. It's Saturday night.
Memorable quote: "Ma, what do you want from me? What do you want from me? I'm miserable enough as it is. All right, so I'll go to the Stardust Ballroom. I'll put on a blue suit, and I'll go. And you know what I'm gonna get for my trouble? Heartache -- a big night of heartache." -- Marty, giving in to his mother's suggestion that he go dancing and meet a nice girl.
Memorable scene: After walking his new love interest, Clara, to her house, Marty heads for a bus stop and gets so excited he punches a sign and hurries off to take a taxicab home.
Expires May 18, 2014.
2. The Mating Season (1951) -- Gene Tierney, John Lund, Miriam Hopkins, Thelma Ritter, Jan Sterling, Larry Keating, James Lorimer, Gladys Hurlbut, Cora Witherspoon, Malcolm Keen, Ellen Corby, Billie Bird, Mary Young. Ritter (1902-1969) earned the second of six Best Supporting Actress nominations she would receive for her work in films between 1950 and 1962. Known for playing dutiful mothers and wisecracking secondary characters, she never won an Oscar. She is tied with Deborah Kerr and Glenn Close for the most nominations by an actress without a win.
In this offbeat comedy, directed by Mitchell Leisen ("Death Takes a Holiday," "Midnight"), Ritter stars as Ellen McNulty, who operates a troubled hamburger stand in New Jersey. When she discovers that her son Val (Lund) is marrying Ohio socialite Maggie Carleton (Tierney), she hitchhikes her way to the wedding ceremony. Somehow, she is mistaken for a cook requested from an agency by her new daughter-in-law, but she goes along with the flow and becomes an unintentional member of the household. Only her son knows her true identity, which causes complications down the road. Adding to the fun is the arrival of Maggie's snobbish mother (Hopkins), who doesn't care much for her new son-in-law or the cook in residence. 
The movie's screenplay, based on a play by Caesar Dunn, was co-written by producer Charles Brackett -- a frequent Billy Wilder collaborator -- Richard Breen and Walter Reisch. 
By the way, Ritter's five other Academy Award nominations were for her performances in the movies "All About Eve" (1950), "With a Song in My Heart" (1952), "Pickup on South Street" (1953), "Pillow Talk" (1959) and "The Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962).
Memorable quote: "I've stepped on better things than him." -- Ellen, dissing George Kalinger, Jr. (Lorimer),  the obnoxious son of Val's boss and a onetime rival for Maggie's affections.
Meeting cute: Val makes Maggie's acquaintance when he rescues her from an automobile that is teetering on the edge of a cliff. 

Expires May 18, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 13, 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 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 1941. The others: "Sylvia Scarlett" (1935), "Holiday" (1938) and "The Philadelphia Story" (1940). 


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 May 19, 2014.


2. Cole Porter's 'Les Girls' (1957) -- Gene Kelly, Mitzi Gaynor, Kay Kendall, Taina Elg, Jacques Bergerac, Leslie Phillips, Henry Daniell, Patrick Macnee, Stephen Vercoe, Philip Tonge, Barrie Chase. Directed by George Cukor ("My Fair Lady"), this movie musical features songs by the legendary Porter, including the title tune, "Ladies in Waiting" and "Ça c'est l'amour." It revolves around a onetime touring show group -- Barry Nichols and Les Girls -- that becomes the subject of a sensational tell-all book by one of its former members.



Elg, Kendall, Kelly and Gaynor


This was one of the final screen appearances by Kendall, who died of leukemia on September 6, 1959 at the age of 32. The film won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design (Orry-Kelly). It received two other nominations: Best Art Direction (William A. Horning, Gene Allen, Edwin B. Willis and Richard Pefferle) and Best Sound (Wesley C. Miller). This was one of four films -- and a 1974 television special -- that Turner Classic Movies presented to highlight the career of Gaynor, beginning in prime time on Monday, May 12th. The actress, dancer and singer, born Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber, will turn 84 years old on September 4, 2015. Expires May 19, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 14, 2014


The name Anna Sten probably doesn't ring any bells with even the most ardent fans of classic movies. But the Ukrainian-born actress (1908-1993), once was poised to become the next Greta Garbo -- although she never became more than a footnote in film history.

Sten, who was discovered by the great Russian theater director Konstantin Stanislavski, appeared in several films in her homeland in the 1920s and 1930s. She was brought to Hollywood with great fanfare by producer Samuel Goldwyn, who put her in films alongside Gary Cooper and Fredric March. But she never caught on with the American public, and Goldwyn eventually dropped her. After that, Sten continued to make movies in England, and eventually resumed making films in the United States, including independent projects produced by her second husband, Eugene Frenke. 


Beginning in prime time on Tuesday May 13th, 2014, Turner Classic Movies presented four of Sten's American films. Three of them are now available on TCM On Demand through May 20th. In chronological order, they are:


1. Nana (1934) -- Directed by Dorothy Arzner ("Dance, Girl, Dance"), who replaced George Fitzmaurice, the film stars Sten as the title character in a project based on a 19th century novel by Émile Zola. She plays a Parisian courtesan pursued by several men, including Colonel André Muffat (Lionel Atwill) and his brother Lieutenant George Muffat (Phillips Holmes). The drama also stars Richard Bennett, Mae Clarke, Muriel Kirkland, Reginald Owen, Helen Freeman, Lawrence Grant, Jessie Ralph and Ferdinand Gottschalk. The song "That's Love," performed by Sten, was written for the film by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.


2. We Live Again (1934) -- Based on a novel by Leo Tolstoy, this drama was directed by Rouben Mamoulian, who worked with Garbo the year before in the classic film biography "Queen Christina." Sten stars as Katusha Maslova, a hard-luck Russian woman whose life becomes complicated by her affair with a prince (played by March). The film also stars Jane Baxter, C. Aubrey Smith, Sam Jaffe, Ethel Griffies, Gwendolyn Logan, Jessie Ralph and Leonid Kinskey.


3. The Nun and the Sergeant (1962) -- Sten's final film, set during the Korean conflict of the early 1950s, features her as an injured nun in charge of a group of Korean schoolgirls. Their presence could jeopardize an important mission by a squad of American soldiers dropped behind enemy lines. Robert Webber co-stars as the U.S. Army sergeant heading the motley group of military men, including characters played by Leo Gordon, Hari Rhodes, Robert Easton and Dale Ishimoto.




In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Maysles brothers -- Albert (1926-2015) and David (1932-1987) -- established reputations for themselves as top-notch documentarians. Their 1968 film "Salesman" followed four Bible peddlers as they went door to door in different parts of the country. "Gimme Shelter" (1970) was a chilling account of the Rolling Stones' December 1969 concert fiasco at Altamont, California, where a spectator at the free event was stabbed to death by a member of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club.

The Maysles made waves again with their 1975 documentary "Grey Gardens," which updated the lives of the Beales, two former socialites related to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The mother, 82-year-old Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale ("Big Edie"), and her 56-year-old daughter, Edith Bouvier Beale ("Little Edie"), lived together in a rundown, 28-room house in East Hampton, New York. Their squalid living conditions also included numerous cats as well as occasional raccoons and opossums. "Grey Gardens," which the late film critic Roger Ebert called in 1976 "one of the most haunting documentaries in a long time," also is available on TCM On Demand through May 20th.

The documentary inspired a 2006 Broadway musical that won three Tony Awards, including Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Christine Ebersol) and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Mary Louise Wilson). Ebersol appeared as both the young "Big Edie" and the "Little Edie" of 1975. Wilson portrayed the older "Big Edie."

A 2009 HBO production, starring Jessica Lange as "Big Edie" and Drew Barrymore as "Little Edie," received 17 Primetime Emmy nominations. It won six awards, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (Lange) and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie (Ken Howard). It also won Golden Globe Awards for Best Made for Television Movie and Best Actress in a Made for Television Movie (Barrymore). At the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Barrymore picked up the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie. The Maysles were portrayed by Arye Gross (as Albert) and Justin Louis (David).

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TCM On Demand for May 15, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. Impact (1949) -- Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Charles Coburn, Helen Walker, Anna May Wong, Robert Warwick, Art Baker, Clarence Kolb, William Wright, Tony Barrett, Mae Marsh. Directed by Arthur Lubin ("South Sea Woman," "The Incredible Mr. Limpet"), the film stars Donlevy as Walter Williams, a high-powered auto executive from the San Francisco Bay Area. When a murder attempt against him fails, he nurses an injury and winds up keeping a low profile in an Idaho town. The hit against Williams was planned by his unfaithful wife Irene (Walker) and her lover (Barrett), who was killed during the attempt to bump off the industrialist. Williams takes a job as a gas station mechanic and becomes involved with the owner of the business (Raines). But sticky developments in the Bay Area may force him to return home and reveal that he is alive. Coburn co-stars as a police detective who tries to unravel the mystery surrounding Williams' "death." The judge in the court case is played by Jason Robards, Sr., father of the two-time Academy Award winning actor. Expires May 21, 2014. 



2. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) -- Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas, Dame Judith Anderson, Roman Bohnen, Darryl Hickman, Janis Wilson, Ann Doran, Frank Orth, James Flavin, Mickey Kuhn, Charles D. Brown, Blake Edwards (uncredited). Directed by Lewis Milestone ("All Quiet on the Western Front"), this film noir probably is best known today as the screen debut of Douglas -- who went on to have one of the greatest of film careers. He appears as Walter O'Neil, a Pennsylvania district attorney married to the title character (Stanwyck), who inherited an industrial empire. For years, they have been harboring an important secret, which may come to light because of the return of Sam Masterson (Heflin), an old flame of Martha's.




Now 99, Douglas is the oldest-living person on the American Film Institute's 1999 list of the top 50 greatest screen legends of all time. He was ranked No. 17 in the category of Top 25 Male Legends. The other living members on the list are Sidney Poiter (the No. 22 male) and Sophia Loren (the No. 21 female).

Douglas earned Best Actor nominations for "Champion" (1949), "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952) and "Lust for Life" (1956). He also produced -- as well as headlined -- the acclaimed Stanley Kubrick films "Paths of Glory" (1957) and "Spartacus" (1960). Douglas never won a competitive Oscar, but on March 25, 1996, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented him with a special statuette for "50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community." 


Look for Edwards, who became the prolific director of "The Pink Panther" series, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Victor/Victoria," as a sailor who catches a ride with Masterson. Expires May 21, 2014.

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

1. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) -- Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Sir Michael Caine, Dianne Wiest, Barbara Hershey, Maureen O'Sullivan, Max von Sydow, Lloyd Nolan, Carrie Fisher, Sam Waterston, Daniel Stern, Julie Kavner, Tony Roberts, Joanna Gleason, Lewis Black, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Turturro, Bobby Short (as himself). Allen's family-oriented comedy -- the story of three New York siblings (played by Farrow, Wiest and Hershey) and their friends, lovers and relatives -- earned seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won for Allen's original screenplay and the supporting performances by Caine and Wiest. It also earned nominations for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Stuart Wurtzel, Carol Joffe) and Best Film Editing (Susan E. Morse).


Since the late 1970s, Allen's films have produced an impressive 18 Oscar nominations for acting and seven wins (award winners are in bold):

  • Allen himself (Best Actor 1977, "Annie Hall").
  • Diane Keaton (Best Actress 1977, "Annie Hall").
  • Geraldine Page (Best Actress 1978, "Interiors").
  • Maureen Stapleton (Best Supporting Actress 1978, "Interiors").
  • Mariel Hemingway (Best Supporting Actress 1979, "Manhattan").
  • Caine (Best Supporting Actor 1986, "Hannah and Her Sisters").
  • Wiest (Best Supporting Actress 1986, "Hannah and Her Sisters").
  • Martin Landau (Best Supporting Actor 1989, "Crimes and Misdemeanors").
  • Judy Davis (Best Supporting Actress 1992, "Husbands and Wives").
  • Chazz Palminteri (Best Supporting Actor 1994, "Bullets Over Broadway").
  • Wiest (Best Supporting Actress 1994, "Bullets Over Broadway").
  • Jennifer Tilly (Best Supporting Actress 1994, "Bullets Over Broadway").
  • Mira Sorvino (Best Supporting Actress 1995, "Mighty Aphrodite").
  • Sean Penn (Best Actor 1999, "Sweet and Lowdown").
  • Samantha Morton (Best Supporting Actress 1999, "Sweet and Lowdown").
  • Penélope Cruz (Best Supporting Actress 2008, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona").
  • Cate Blanchett (Best Actress 2013, "Blue Jasmine").
  • Sally Hawkins (Best Supporting Actress 2013, "Blue Jasmine").

Allen still has a way to go before he catches the great William Wyler, who directed 14 Oscar winners in 36 nominations. But it's an impressive track record for the prolific filmmaker who also has won three Original Screenplay Oscars in a record 16 nominations.

Caine, who is tied with Jack Nicholson for receiving Academy Award nominations in the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s and the 2000s, was not available to pick up his Oscar at the 59th annual ceremony on March 30, 1987. He was shooting "Jaws: The Revenge" in the Bahamas at the time. Thirteen years later, he was in attendance when he won a second Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "The Cider House Rules" (1999).

This was the final screen appearance by Nolan, who died of lung cancer on September 27, 1985, five months before the film was released. It also was one of the last movie roles for O'Sullivan (1911-1998), Farrow's real-life mother and the actress best known for her performances between 1932 and 1942 as Jane in the "Tarzan" movie series.

Several of Farrow's biological and adopted children appear in the holiday scenes in the movie. But not her son Ronan Farrow, who frequently appears on msnbc. He wasn't born until 1987. Gleason is the daughter of game show host and producer Monty Hall of TV's original "Let's Make a Deal" series. Expires May 22, 2014.


2. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) -- Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles, Dick Miller, Jack Nicholson, Myrtle Vail, Karyn Kupcinet, Toby Michaels, Leola Wendorff, Lynn Storey, Wally Campo, Jack Warford, Meri Welles, John Shaner, Dodie Drake, Charles B. Griffith (voice of Audrey Jr.). Directed by independent filmmaker Roger Corman and written by Charles B. Griffith, this horror comedy is the story of a flower store employee named Seymour (Haze) who becomes the guardian of Audrey Jr., a carnivorous plant that eats humans. The film provided an early role for Nicholson, who appears briefly as a masochistic undertaker named Wilbur Force. Kupcinet (credited as Tammy Windsor), who co-stars as Shirley, was the daughter of famed Chicago newspaper columnist and TV personality Irv Kupcinet. On November 28, 1963, she apparently was strangled to death at her West Hollywood home. She was 22. No one has ever been charged with her slaying.  In the 1980s, the team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (Oscar winners for their songs in Disney's "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast"), created a musical based on Corman's movie. It later reached Broadway and inspired a 1986 film that starred Rick Moranis (as Seymour), Ellen Greene, Steve Martin and Vincent Gardenia. Levi Stubbs, the longtime lead singer of Motown's The Four Tops, provided the voice of the killer plant, this time called Audrey II. Expires May 22, 2014.


3. The Night of the Hunter (1955) -- Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason, Evelyn Varden, Peter Graves, Don Beddoe, Billy Chapin, Sally Jane Bruce, Gloria Castillo. Directed by actor Charles Laughton -- the only behind-the-camera effort of his long and distinguished screen career -- this stylish drama stars Mitchum as Harry Powell, a shady minister obsessed with money. When he is released from prison on an auto theft charge, he marries the widow (Winters) of his ex-cellmate (Graves), who was excuted for murders he committed during a bank robbery. Ten thousand dollars taken from the bank have never been found, and Powell believes his new stepchildren (Chapin and Bruce) may provide the key to locating it. Gish, one of the great stars of the silent era, has a noteworthy supporting role as an elderly woman who tries to protect the children. The film's score was composed by Walter Schumann, probably best known as the creator of the "Dragnet" theme. Chapin, who previously starred in the 1953 baseball movie "The Kid from Left Field," was the brother of actress Lauren Chapin -- Kathy "Kitten" Anderson on TV's "Father Knows Best" from 1954 to 1960.


Memorable scene: The minister explains why the knuckle areas on his left hand are tattooed with the letters H-A-T-E and the ones on the right with L-O-V-E:

"Ah, little lad, you're staring at my fingers. Would you like me to tell you the little story of Right Hand, Left Hand? The story of Good and Evil? H-A-T-E. It was with this left hand that old Brother Cain struck the blow that laid his brother low. L-O-V-E. You see these fingers, dear hearts? These fingers has veins that run straight to the soul of man. The right hand, friends, the hand of Love. Now watch, and I'll show you the story of life. These fingers, dear hearts, is always a-warring and a-tugging, one agin the other. Now watch 'em! Old Brother Left Hand. Left Hand hates a-fighting, and it looks like Love's a goner. But wait a minute! Wait a minute! Hot dog! Love's a-winning! Yessiree! It's Love that's won, and old Left-Hand Hate is down for the count!"


Movie crossover reference: In Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" (1989), the ill-fated Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood character Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) delivers a variation of the sinister preacher's exposition. Instead of tattoos, Raheem, who is fond of blaring the Public Enemy song "Fight the Power" on his boom box, wears a four-fingered ring with "Hate" on the left hand and one with "Love" on his right hand. When Lee served as a Turner Classic Movies guest programmer in July 2012, "The Night of the Hunter" was one of his four choices.





Expires May 22, 2014.


4. Up in Arms (1944) -- Danny Kaye, Dinah Shore, Dana Andrews, Constance Dowling, Louis Calhern, George Mathews, Benny Baker, Elisha Cook, Jr., Lyle Talbot, Walter Catlett, George Meeker, Tom Keene, Margaret Dumont, The Goldwyn Girls. Produced by Samuel Goldwyn and directed by Elliott Nugent ("My Favorite Brunette," "Mr. Belvedere Goes to College"), this Technicolor musical comedy stars Kaye as Danny Weems, described as "a confirmed hypochondriac" and "a man with no muscles." Somehow, his draft board classifies him 1-A instead of 4-F, and he is forced to join the U.S. Army. He then is shipped off to the Pacific Theater of World War II, where he becomes an unlikely hero on a Japanese-held island. Shore, who later became one of television's greatest prime-time personalities, co-stars as Virginia Merrill, who becomes an Army nurse. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song ("Now I Know" by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler) and Best Scoring of a Musical Picture (Louis Forbes and Ray Heindorf). Look for Virginia Mayo as one of the Goldwyn Girls. She would become a frequent Kaye co-star in such movies as "Wonder Man" (1945), "The Kid from Brooklyn" (1946), "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (1947) and "A Song Is Born" (1948). Expires May 22, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 17, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. My Brilliant Career (1979) -- Judy Davis, Sam Neill, Wendy Hughes, Robert Grubb, Max Cullen, Aileen Britton, Peter Whitford, Patricia Kennedy, Alan Hopgood, Julia Blake, David Franklin, Marion Shad, Aaron Wood, Sue Davies, Gordon Piper, Simone Buchanan. Australian director Gillian Armstrong made an international splash with this film, which was only her second feature. Based on a 1901 novel by Australian writer Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin (1879–1954), the drama stars Davis as Sybylla Melvyn, a fiercely independent and headstrong young woman determined to become a writer. When she seethes at having to live on her struggling family's farm in the Outback, a decision is made to send her to live with her well-to-do grandmother (Britton) and her mother's sister (Hughes). She blossoms in her new environment and eventually falls for wealthy young neighbor Harry Beecham (Neill), which puts her in the position of having to choose between her dream or her dreamboat.
The film made Davis a major star. She went on to receive Academy Award nominations for her performances in Sir David Lean's "A Passage to India" (Best Actress, 1984) and Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives" (Best Supporting Actress, 1992). She also has won three Emmy Awards, including one for her stunning performance in the 2001 CBS production "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," in which she portrayed the talented but troubled entertainer as an adult. Neill, who grew up in New Zealand, also went on to play many key roles in such films as "Omen III: The Final Conflict" (1981), "The Piano" (1992), "The Horse Whisperer" (1998) and two installments of the "Jurassic Park" series (the 1993 original and the second sequel in 2001).
Hughes, a veteran Australian actress whose credits also included "Newsfront" (1978) and "Paradise Road" (1997), died of cancer on March 8, 2014. She was 61.
This is one of 20 films from the Australian New Wave era of the 1970s and 1980s that Turner Classic Movies is showing on Friday Night Spotlight in May 2014.
Meeting cute: When Beecham first sees Sybylla, she is up a tree. He assumes she is a servant girl and helps her down, which she does not appreciate. Sybylla pretends to be the kitchen help at her grandmother's residence and adopts an Irish brogue. She eventually runs away, and doesn't see Beecham again until he attends a dinner party at her grandmother's. When Beecham realizes her true identity, he becomes embarrassed. Expires May 23, 2014.

2. Starstruck (1982) -- Jo Kennedy, Ross O'Donovan, Margo Lee, Max Cullen, Pat Evison, John O'May, Dennis Miller, Norm Erskine, Melissa Jaffer, Ned Lander, Mark Little, The Swingers. Gillian Armstrong's first feature after her success with "My Brilliant Career" was this change-of-pace musical comedy, based on an original screenplay by Stephen MacLean. The film's headliner is the the engaging actress-singer Kennedy as teenager Jackie Mullens, who wants to be a star. With her savvy 14-year-old cousin Angus (O'Donovan) acting as her manager, publicist and strategist, she just might make it after all. First, they pull off an attention-gathering stunt, and then they try to make sure that Jackie competes in a televised New Year's Eve talent contest for a $25,000 first prize. That should be enough to achieve stardom -- and for rescuing the family pub from dire financial straits. Keep in mind that this movie was released one year after MTV changed the face of television, and when music videos were all the rage. The film has catchy songs, noteworthy cinematography by Russell Boyd and an energetic performance by Anderson. She was doing Lady Gaga-like performance art four years before Gaga was born.




Australian actor Geoffrey Rush, who went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in "Shine" (1996), makes one of his earliest screen appearances as the floor manager of a club. Expires May 23, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 18, 2014
The following features are now available on TCM On Demand for a limited time:
1. Burn, Witch, Burn (1962) -- Janet Blair, Peter Wyngarde, Margaret Johnston, Anthony Nicholls, Colin Gordon, Kathleen Byron, Reginald Beckwith, Jessica Dunning, Norman Bird, Judith Stott, Bill Mitchell, Paul Frees (opening narration, uncredited). Directed by Sidney Hayers ("The Southern Star"), this British horror tale, originally released as "Night of the Eagle," was based on Fritz Leiber's 1953 novel "Conjure Wife." It was adapted for the screen by Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont and George Baxt (uncredited in the U.S. version of the film). Matheson and Beaumont were frequent contributors to "The Twilight Zone," Rod Serling's classic television anthology series of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Wyngarde stars as Norman Taylor, a psychology professor at a British college who believes strictly in science when it comes to human events. He eventually discovers that his wife Tansy (Blair) has been a practititoner of black magic for years, which may explain why he has led such a charmed life. When he forces her to burn all of her magic materials, he lives to regret it. Expires May 24, 2014.


2. The Haunting (1963) -- Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Fay Compton, Rosalie Crutchley, Lois Maxwell, Valentine Dyall, Diane Clare. In 2009, Martin Scorsese wrote an online piece for The Daily Beast about the 11 scariest horror films. This black-and-white British thriller, directed by Robert Wise ("West Side Story," The Sound of Music") and based on Shirley Jackson's novel "The Haunting of Hill House," was No. 1 on his list. It is the story of a group -- led by Dr. John Markway (Johnson) -- that investigates strange occurrences in an old New England mansion. Harris, who died August 24, 2013 at the age of 87, had a difficult time making this movie. She nonetheless produced a standout performance as the troubled Eleanor "Nell" Lance. Bloom also shines as Theo, a woman who's a bit enigmatic herself. Wise and Tamblyn were reunited after having worked together on "West Side Story," the 1961 Oscar winner for Best Picture. This horror film was remade in 1999 with a cast that included Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson and Lili Taylor. Expires May 24, 2014.
3. Poltergeist (1982) -- Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, Heather O'Rourke, Zelda Rubenstein, Beatrice Straight, Martin Casella, Richard Lawson, James Karen. Steven Spielberg was the executive producer and co-writer of this summer hit, which was released on June 4, 1982 -- one week before his "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" emerged as the year's surefire No. 1 blockbuster. The director of record for the horror film was Tobe Hooper, who had an independent hit with the 1974 horror classic "The Texas Chainsaw Murder." But Spielberg was an active presence on the set, which led to speculation that he actually directed the movie. Spielberg eventually issued an open letter to Hooper through the Hollywood Reporter, in which he acknowledged: "Regrettably, some of the press has misunderstood the rather unique, creative relationship which you and I shared throughout the making of 'Poltergeist.' I enjoyed your openness in allowing me a wide berth for creative involvement, just as I know you were happy with the freedom you had to direct it so wonderfully."
The film spawned two sequels about the Freeling family and its experiences with supernatural forces -- "Poltergeist II: The Other Side" (1986) and "Poltergeist III" (1988). But the movie franchise earned something of a jinxed reputation due to the deaths of cast members Dunne and O'Rourke. Dunne, who played elder daughter Dana Freeling, died a little more than four months after the first film's release. She was strangled by a former boyfriend outside her West Hollywood home on October 30, 1982, and died several days later after falling into a coma. She was 22. O'Rourke, who played youngest daughter Carol Anne Freeling in all three movies, died on February 1, 1988, four months before the release of "Poltergeist III." She succumbed to septic shock and cardiac arrest on the operating table of a San Diego hospital. She was 12 years old.
Memorable scene: The middle Freeling childRobbie (played by Robins), becomes freaked out by the spooky new family residence, and is particularly unnerved by the toy clown that suddenly looks sinister in his darkened bedroom. All of a sudden, he notices the toy has disappeared from its original position on a chair, and so he decides to look under both sides of his bed...
Memorable quote: Little Carol Anne delivers the movie's most famous line, which the American Film Institute ranked at No. 69 on its 2005 list of the top 100 film quotes of all time.
The film received three Academy Award nominations: Best Original Score (Jerry Goldsmith), Best Sound Effects Editing (Stephen Hunter Flick and Richard L. Anderson) and Best Visual Effects (Richard Edlund, Michael Wood and Bruce Nicholson). All three Oscars were won by Spielberg's "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." 
A remake of this thriller -- starring Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris, Jane Adams and Saxon Sharbino -- opened on May 22, 2015.
Expires May 24, 2014


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TCM On Demand for May 19, 2014

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


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

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


Expires May 25, 2014.

2. Of Mice and Men (1939) -- Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney, Jr., Betty Field, Charles Bickford, Noah Beery, Jr., Roman Bohnen, Bob Steele, Leigh Whipper. Directed by Lewis Milestone ("All Quiet on the Western Front"), this tragic drama -- based on the 1937 novella by John Steinbeck -- was one of 10 films nominated for the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture (the winner that year was "Gone with the Wind"). Meredith is George and Chaney plays Lennie, two friends searching for steady work during the Depression era. George acts as a protector for the slow-witted Lennie, a gentle giant who dreams of owning a rabbit farm with his friend. But as the Robert Burns poem that inspired the title says, "The best laid schemes 'o mice an' men / Gang aft agley (often go wrong)." The film received three other Oscar nominations: one for Best Sound Recording (Elmer A. Raguse) and two for Aaron Copland's music score. A Broadway revival of the stage play based on Steinbeck's novel opened in April 2014 on Broadway. It stars James Franco as George, Chris O'Dowd as Lennie and former "Gossip Girl" star Leighton Meester as Curley's wife. O'Dowd received a 2014 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play. Expires May 25, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 20, 2014

Last year, the American Film Institute presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to funnyman Mel Brooks, whose comedy films such as "The Producers" (1968), "Blazing Saddles" (1974) and "Young Frankenstein" (1975) have become classics. But the comedy genius also dabbled in highbrow films through his production company, Brooksfilms Limited -- sometimes without using his name in the credits. One of the company's biggest dramatic successes was "The Elephant Man" (1980), directed by David Lynch, who later attained notoriety for the offbeat early 1990s television series "Twin Peaks."

"The Elephant Man," based on the true experiences of a deformed but brilliant 19th-century Londoner, received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (John Hurt).

Another big hit from Brooksfilms was "Frances," the 1982 screen biography of ill-fated actress Frances Farmer (1913-1970), whose career was upended by her battle with mental problems -- and institutions. The drama earned Oscar nominations for Jessica Lange and Kim Stanley, who portrayed Farmer and her mother, respectively. Neither won, but Lange's indelible performance likely helped her win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year for her work in the Dustin Hoffman comedy "Tootsie."

In 1987, Brooksfilms provided a noteworthy vehicle for Brooks' accomplished, Academy Award-winning wife Anne Bancroft, to whom he was married from 1964 until her death from cancer at the age of 73 on June 6, 2005. She starred in "84 Charing Cross Road," a remarkable story based on the real-life correspondence between American writer Helene Hanff (1916-1997) and London book dealer Frank Doel (1908-1968). The film was presented by Turner Classic Movies on Monday, May 19th, the first of two nights devoted to Brooksfilms productions. It is now available on TCM On Demand through May 26th.

Bancroft portrays Hanff, a New Yorker with a passion for classic literature, particularly out-of-print works by British writers. When local booksellers are unable to satisfy her needs, she begins her correspondence with Doel (Sir Anthony Hopkins) at his bookstore, Marks & Co. Incredibly, she becomes attached to the Londoners who become her new sources for books, although she never meets them. In turn, she endears herself to them by making arrangements to have thoughtful packages -- sometimes containing hard-to-find foodstuffs in post-World War II Britain -- sent to them via Denmark. Directed by David Jones ("Betrayal") from a screenplay by Hugh Whitemore, the film covers two decades.

Appearing in the movie as Doel's wife Nora is Dame Judi Dench, who has received an impressive seven Academy Award nominations -- and one Oscar -- since 1998. Be sure to look for Mercedes Ruehl as Hanff's Manhattan friend, Kay. A year after this film was released, the New York-born actress achieved recognition for her performance as an underworld kingpin's wife in Jonathan Demme's 1988 comedy "Married to the Mob." She went on to receive the 1991 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work opposite Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges in Terry Gilliam's "The Fisher King."

By the way, the woman from Delaware who visits the London bookstore is played by Connie Booth, the former wife of Monty Python's John Cleese and his co-star in the classic 1970s British television series "Fawlty Towers." She also played the witch in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975).

Brooks and Bancroft's son Max, now 41, has become something of a creative force himself. He is a former "Saturday Night Live" writer-turned-best selling author about zombies. His 2006 book "World War Z: An_Oral History of the Zombie War" was adapted as a 2013 blockbuster horror film starring Brad Pitt. Max Brooks' brand-new publication is "The Harlem Hellfighters," a graphic novel based on the exploits of a historical Army unit of African-American soldiers during World War I. It, too, has been optioned as a future motion picture.


Two other features are now available on TCM on Demand through May 26, 2014:


1. The Haunted Palace (1963) -- Vincent Price, Debra Paget, Lon Chaney, Jr., Frank Maxwell, Leo Gordon, Elisha Cook, Jr., John Dierkes, Milton Parsons, Cathie Merchant, Guy Wilkerson, I. Stanford Jolley, Harry Ellerbe, Barboura Morris, Darlene Lucht, Bruno VeSota. Produced and directed by Roger Corman, this was one of several projects the independent filmmaker did in the late 1950s and early 1960s based on Edgar Allan Poe titles. This one also was based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, who borrowed it from a Poe work.

Price stars as the direct descendant of a notorious man (also played by Price) burned to death in the 18th century for supposedly dabbling in black magic in a New England town. A century later, the alleged warlock's great grandson takes possession of his ancestor's spooky old mansion.

This film marked the final screen appearance for Paget, whose eventful movie career began in earnest with the 1948 drama "Cry in the City." She was barely out of high school at the time. She left acting to marry a millionaire oil executive in Houston.


2. A Kiss for Corliss (1949) -- Shirley Temple, David Niven, Tom Tully, Virginia Welles, Darryl Hickman, Gloria Holden, Robert Ellis, Kathryn Card, Richard Gaines, Roy Roberts. This was the final film in the legendary career of Temple, who died February 10th at the age of 85. She retired at the age of 22 to marry second husband Charles Black on her road to becoming an active force in Republican politics and U.S. diplomacy. As Shirley Temple Black in 1967, she ran for a vacant seat in the U.S. Congress and lost. But she went on to serve as President Nixon's ambassador to Ghana and later President Bush 41's ambassador to what is now the Czech Republic. She also was a Nixon delegate to the United Nations General Assembly and President Ford's chief of protocol for two years.

 In this independent-made comedy directed by Richard Wallace ("The Little Minister," "Tycoon"), the former child star is title character Corliss Archer, the impetuous teen daughter of a town's prominent defense attorney (Tully). Temple previously had played Corliss in the 1945 comedy "Kiss and Tell," which also was directed by Wallace. In the sequel, Corliss becomes a media sensation when she inadvertently becomes linked to one of her father's clients -- Kenneth Marquis (Niven), a notorious playboy involved in a high-profile divorce case. The movie also was released under the title "Almost a Bride." Turner Classic Movies aired the film during its Monday, May 19th daytime salute to Niven's career.

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TCM On Demand for May 21, 2014

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


1. The Barefoot Contessa (1954) -- Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien, Marius Goring, Valentina Cortese, Rossano Brazzi, Elizabeth Sellars, Warren Stevens, Franco Interlenghi, Mari Aldon, Bessie Love, Diana Decker, Bill Fraser, Alberto Rabagliati, Enzo Staiola. O'Brien won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in this film as movie publicist Oscar Muldoon. Written, produced and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz ("All About Eve," "Cleopatra"), the films stars Bogart as a veteran filmmaker who discovers and makes a movie star of Maria Vargas (Gardner), an enchanting dancer from Spain. Despite her success in films, she seems destined never to enjoy true happiness. This is one of many Gardner movies either filmed in Spain or featuring scenes set in the Iberian country she loved. Mankiewicz received an Oscar nomination for the film's original screenplay. The Food Network series -- hosted since 2002 by Emmy Award-winning American chef Ina Garten -- derived its name from this movie. Expires May 27, 2014.


2. The Shanghai Gesture (1941) -- Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, Victor Mature, Ona Munson, Phyllis Brooks, Albert Bassermann, Maria Ouspenskaya, Eric Blore, Ivan Lebedeff, Mike Mazurki, Clyde Fillmore, Grayce Hampton, Rex Evans, Mikhail Rasumny, Michael Dalmatoff, Marcel Dalio, Leyland Hodgson. This drama, based on a 1925 play by John Colton, was directed by Josef von Sternberg, the Austrian-born filmmaker known for his many collaborations with Marlene Dietrich ("The Blue Angel," "Shanghai Express," "Blonde Venus"). It stars Munson, who played Belle Watling in "Gone With the Wind," as Mother Gin Sling, the mysterious owner of a bustling casino in Shanghai. She finds that her thriving business faces a threat posed by the arrival of a European figure from her past (Huston) and his beautiful daughter (Tierney). The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Black-and-White Art Direction-Interior Decoration (Boris Leven) and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (Richard Hageman). Expires May 27, 2014.



3. The Toast of New York (1937) -- Edward Arnold, Cary Grant, Frances Farmer, Jack Oakie, Donald Meek. Thelma Leeds, Clarence Kolb, Billy Gilbert, Russell Hicks, Lionel Belmore, Dewey Robinson, Dudley Clements, George Irving, Robert McClung, Robert Dudley, Stanley Fields . Directed by Rowland V. Lee (the 1934 version of "The Count of Monte Cristo") and an uncredited Alexander Hall ("Here Comes Mr. Jordan"), this is a fictionalized biography of controversial 19th-century Wall Street financier James Fisk. It follows his rags-to-riches career and leads up to his tragic death in 1872 at the age of 36. Grant co-stars as Fisk's longtime partner, Nicholas Boyd. Farmer, whose own tragic life would be explored in the 1982 drama "Frances," plays the woman who draws the attention of both Fisk and Boyd. Expires May 27, 2014.


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TCM On Demand for May 22, 2014

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


1. Best Foot Forward (1943) -- Lucille Ball, William Gaxton, June Allyson, Gloria DeHaven, Tommy Dix, Virginia Weidler, Nancy Walker, Chill Wills, Henry O'Neill, Sara Haden, Donald MacBride, Darwood "Waldo" Kaye, Morris Ankrum, Kenny Bowers, Bob Stebbins, Jack Jordan, Beverly Tyler, Nana Bryant, Harry James and His Music Makers. Ball plays something of a fictional version of herself in this musical comedy based on the 1941 Broadway hit. This marked the major screen debut of Allyson, Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month for May 2014. Directed by Edward Buzzell ("Neptune's Daughter"), the film revolves around Lucy's acceptance of a military institute cadet's invitation to be his prom date. Her P.R. agent (Gaxton) sees this as an excellent opportunity to garner publicity for her lagging career. But the cadet, Bud Hooper (played by Dix), wants a low-key dream date with the actress because he is afraid his teen girlfriend (Weidler) will find out about it. Among the songs by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane ("Meet Me in St. Louis") are "Buckle Down, Winsocki" and "Wish I May, Wish I Might." Allyson and DeHaven co-starred the following year opposite Van Johnson in "Two Girls and a Sailor," which made Allyson a star. James performs Rimsky-Korsakov's classic Flight of the Bumblebee" on the trumpet, which was duplicated 23 years later by Al Hirt, who did it as the theme song for ABC's TV series version of "The Green Hornet." Expires May 28, 2014.


2. The Heat's On (1943) -- Mae West, Victor Moore, William Gaxton, Lester Allen, Alan Dinehart, Mary Roche, Lloyd Bridges, Almira Sessions, Jack Owens, Hazel Scott, Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra. This musical comedy was directed by Gregory Ratoff ("When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"), who sometimes doubled as an actor in such films as "I'm No Angel" and "All About Eve." It stars a svelter than usual West as Broadway headliner Fay Lawrence, who becomes disenchanted with her current show -- and unscrupulous producer Tony Ferris (Gaxton). She makes plans to star in another production, but Ferris does everything he can to continue his professional relationship with her. A key figure is hapless Hubert Bainbridge (Moore), whose sister Hannah (Sessions) runs a watchdog foundation designed to maintain decency on the stage. When she travels out West for a convention, Hubert winds up using the foundation's money to bankroll Ferris' latest scheme.


Memorable quote: "Why this is terrible. Why, if he'd been with Washington, he'd have double-crossed the Delaware." -- West's Lawrence, upon learning that she may have to put up with Ferris for her new Broadway show.


Scott, a versatile pianist and performer, later became the first African-American woman to star in a television variety show, which ran on the DuMont network in the summer of 1950. It was canceled after she was blacklisted for supposed Communist sympathies. From 1945 to 1960, Scott was married to the flamboyant and controversial congressman from Harlem, the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Their son Adam Clayton Powell III became a respected journalist and producer.

This was West's last motion picture appearance until she returned as a septuagenarian in 1970 for the film version of Gore Vidal's controversial 1968 novel "Myra Breckinridge."

Turner Classic Movies aired this film on Wednesday, May 21st as part of its daytime tribute to Moore. Expires May 28, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 23, 2014

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


1. History Is Made at Night (1937) -- Charles Boyer, Jean Arthur, Colin Clive, Leo Carrillo. Filmmaker Frank Borzage, an early Oscar winner for "7th Heaven" (1927), directed this comedy/drama about a love triangle involving a wealthy shipowner (Clive), his exasperated wife (Arthur) and a charming French headwaiter (Boyer). Complications ensue when the husband does all he can to prevent his wife from leaving him. Carrillo, who plays Boyer's friend Cesare, enjoyed success during the 1950s as Duncan Renaldo's sidekick Pancho on TV's "The Cisco Kid." Expires May 29, 2014.


2. Hobson's Choice (1954) -- Charles Laughton, Sir John Mills, Brenda de Banzie, Daphne Anderson, Prunella Scales, Joseph Tomelty, Richard Wattis, Derek Blomfield, Helen Haye, Jack Howarth, Julien Mitchell, Gibb McLaughlin, Philip Stainton, John Laurie, Dorothy Gordon. Set in 19th-century London, this comedy was produced, directed and co-written by Sir David Lean, based on the play by Harold Brighouse. Laughton stars as Henry Hobson, a store owner specializing in the boot trade. He is a widower with three eligible daughters -- Maggie (De Banzie), whom he calls "a proper old maid if ever there was one"; Alice (Anderson), who is seeing solicitor Albert Prosser (Wattis); and Vicky (Scales), the youngest. Hobson hopes to marry them all off, although he believes Maggie is too old at age 30. But Maggie takes matters into her own hands and pursues Will Mossop (Mills), the store's gifted but uneducated bootmaker.

Lean and Mills collaborated on several other films through the years, including "In Which We Serve" (1942), "Great Expectations" (1946) and "Ryan's Daughter," the 1970 drama for which Mills won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Expires May 29, 2014.


3. The Talk of the Town (1942) -- Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Ronald Colman, Edgar Buchanan, Glenda Farrell, Charles Dingle, Emma Dunn, Rex Ingram, Leonid Kinskey, Tom Tyler, Don Beddoe. Directed by George Stevens, this comedy/drama stars Grant as a political activist who becomes a fugitive from justice as well as one-third of a romantic triangle involving a schoolteacher (Arthur) and a law professor (Colman). The film was nominated for seven 1942 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Writing, Original Story (Sidney Harmon) and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Sidney Buchman, Irwin Shaw). Grant and Stevens had previously worked together for the movies "Gunga Din" and "Penny Serenade." A year later, Stevens directed Arthur to her only Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in "The More the Merrier." Expires May 29, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 24, 2014

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


1. The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972) -- Barry Crocker, Barry Humphries, Paul Bertram, Dennis Price, Avice Landon, Peter Cook, Mary Anne Severne, Dick Bentley, Spike Milligan, Jonathan Hardy, Julie Covington, Jenny Tomasin, Christopher Malcolm, Maria O'Brien, John Joyce, Margo Lloyd, Joan Bakewell. This racy Australian comedy was co-written by fledgling filmmaker Bruce Beresford (who later directed "Breaker Morant," "Tender Mercies" and "Driving Miss Daisy") and comedian Humphries, better known for his alter ego, Dame Edna Everage. The film was based on "The Wonderful World of Barry McKenzie," a 1960s comic strip that ran in "Private Eye," a satirical British magazine. The strip was written by Humphries and illustrated by Nicholas Garland. 
Crocker stars as the title character, an unsophisticated Aussie who is directed by his late father's will to travel to England. Aunt Edna Everage (played by Humphries, who also appears as a hippie musician named Hoot and a psychiatrist named Dr. Delamphre) -- decides to go with him. He somehow becomes something of a sensation in the United Kingdom. The sequences in the U.K. feature appearances by some of the greats of British comedy, including Cook, Milligan and Price.
Although this film made more money after its release than any previous Australian production, it was savaged by critics and disliked by distributors. Beresford later called the low-budget, lowbrow comedy "a colossal mistake" because he believed it hindered his career progress. Still, he directed a 1974 sequel titled "Barry McKenzie Holds His Own." The scores for both movies was composed by Peter Best -- who was not the original drummer of the Beatles. This is one of 20 films from the Australian New Wave era of the 1970s and 1980s that Turner Classic Movies is showing on Friday Night Spotlight in May 2014. Expires May 30, 2014.

2. Muriel's Wedding (1994) -- Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Bill Hunter, Sophie Lee, Jeanie Drynan, Gennie Nevinson, Daniel Lapaine, Matt Day, Roz Hammond, Belinda Jarret, Pippa Grandison. If you've never realized that Collette and Griffiths are Australian actresses -- their American accents have always been uncanny -- then this film may be a revelation for you. Directed by P.J. Hogan ("My Best Friend's Wedding"), the comedy stars Collette as the overweight Muriel Heslop, a diehard ABBA fan who longs for a dream wedding that will lead to her departure from her drab hometown of Porpoise Spit, Australia. Collette went on to receive a 1999 Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance as Haley Joel Osment's mother in "The Sixth Sense." She also won a Primetime Emmy Award for her starring role in "United States of Tara," which aired on Showtime from 2009 to 2011. Her film credits also include "About a Boy" (2002) and "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006), and she recently headlined the 2013-2014 CBS drama series "Hostages."  Griffiths, who plays Muriel's best friend Rhonda, received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in the 1998 British film biography of the musical Du Pré sisters (she played Hilary to Emily Watson's Jackie). The actress probably is best remembered for her years on the acclaimed television series "Six Feet Under" (2001-2005) and "Brothers and Sisters" (2006-2011). The use of ABBA music created by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson may have inspired the late 1990s stage musical "Mamma Mia!" which became a 2008 film starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård and Amanda Seyfriend. During its run, the film version of "Mamma Mia!" became the highest grossing musical of all-time in terms of worldwide gross. Expires May 30, 2014.

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TCM On Demand for May 25, 2014

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

1. Kelly's Heroes (1970) -- Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O'Connor, Donald Sutherland, Gavin MacLeod, Shepherd Sanders, Stuart Margolin, Jeff Morris, Hal Buckley, Dick Balduzzi, Richard Davalos, Gene Collins, Perry Lopez, Tom Troupe, Harry Dean Stanton, Len Lesser, David Hurst, George Savalas, Karl-Otto Alberty, Ross Elliott. Filmed in the former country of Yugoslavia, this World War II caper film was directed by Brian G. Hutton, who previously worked with Eastwood on the 1969 WW2 thriller "Where Eagles Dare." The filmmaker died August 19, 2014 at the age of 79.



Eastwood and Savalas


Eastwood stars as Kelly, who just before the liberation of a French town by American forces, leads a bold -- and totally unauthorized -- operation to confiscate Nazi gold bullion stored in a bank. Sutherland shines as "Oddball," the scruffy, hippie-like American tank commander who is never at a loss for words. Almost seven months after this film's release, O'Connor began starring as Archie Bunker in the landmark CBS television series "All in the Family," which made its debut on January 12, 1971. Morris, who appears as Private "Cowboy," later became known for his role as the owner of Bob's Country Bunker in John Landis' 1980 classic comedy "The Blues Brothers." Landis was a production assistant for Hutton's film.
Memorable quote: "Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?" -- Sutherland's "Oddball," as he tries to calm down the excitable tank mechanic Moriarty (MacLeod).
Memorable scene: In an homage to the spaghetti westerns that Eastwood filmed with Italian director Sergio Leone in the mid-1960s, Kelly, Oddball and M/Sgt. "Big Joe" (Telly Savalas) prepare for a showdown with a German tank and its commander (Alberty).


Expires May 31, 2014.
 2. The Steel Helmet (1951) -- Gene Evans, Robert Hutton, Steve Brodie, James Edwards, Richard Loo, Sid Melton, Richard Monahan, William Chun, Harold Fong, Neyle Morrow, Lynn Stalmaster. Directed by Samuel Fuller ("The Big Red One"), this tale about the Korean conflict revolves around a motley group of American survivors who band together at a strategic Buddhist temple. Sergeant Zack (Evans) is accompanied by a plucky South Korean orphan (played by Chun) whom he calls "Short Round" -- also the nickname of Indiana Jones' kid sidekick (played by Ke Huy Quan) in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984).
Edwards co-stars as Corporal Thompson, an African-American medic. The pioneer black actor (1918-1970) excelled in playing nonstereotyped characters. One of his first films was "Home of the Brave," a 1949 drama -- co-produced by Stanley Kramer -- about an American black soldier beset by prejudice during the Pacific Theater of World War II. His final film was "Patton," in which he portrayed the high-profile American general's trusted orderly, Sergeant William George Meeks. Loo (1903-1983), a Chinese-American actor usually cast in World War II films as villainous Japanese military types, plays Sgt. Tanaka, an heroic Japanese-American soldier in this film. This was the first of several pictures in which Fuller and Evans collaborated. Among the others: "Fixed Bayonets!" (1951), "Park Row" (1952), "Hell and High Water" (1954) and "Shock Corridor" (1963). Stalmaster, who plays a second lieutenant, stopped acting in the 1950s to become one of the foremost casting directors in the business. Expires May 31, 2014.
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TCM On Demand for May 26, 2014

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

Onionhead (1958) -- Andy Griffith, Felicia Farr, Walter Matthau, Erin O'Brien, Joe Mantell, James Gregory, Joey Bishop, Roscoe Karns, Claude Akins, Ray Danton, Peter Brown. A little more than four months after the Air Force comedy "No Time for Sergeants" helped make him a screen star, Griffith headlined this more dramatic fare about the U.S. Coast Guard that takes place during the early days of World War II. He plays Alvin 'Al' Woods, an Oklahoma college student who enlists in the Coast Guard when his campus sweetheart (O'Brien, not to be confused with the character actress Erin O'Brien-Moore) declines to commit to him. He soon becomes a cook attached the U.S.S. Periwinkle, a vessel that isn't likely to see much dangerous action during the war. 


Farr, Griffith and O'Brien


Directed by Norman Taurog ("Skippy"), the film was co-written by Nelson Gidding and Weldon Hill from the 1957 novel by Hill (a pseudonym for Coast Guard veteran William R. Scott).


Two years after this movie, Griffith made the transition to television and starred in "The Andy Griffith Show," which was a Top-10 CBS sitcom during its entire run from 1960 to 1968.


Farr, who co-stars as Stella Papparonis, gradually wound down her acting career during her marriage to Jack Lemmon from 1962 until his death in 2001. She worked again with Matthau in the 1971 movie "Kotch" (directed by Lemmon) and in the 1973 drama "Charley Varrick."


Expires June 1, 2014.

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