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The Overplayed and the Underplayed

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Couldn't agree with you more about his choice of movies, especially Meet John Doe, which is just about the only unwatchable Barbara Stanwyck film I can think of. 

 

Thanks for the solidarity...a bespectacled Edward Arnold is your avatar, no? But I am guessing that photo is not of Arnold as his DB Norton character in Meet John Doe, (who, by the way, I heartily root for throughout  the film, if only because he seems to be the only other person as sick of the schmaltzy crap and homespun platitudes and nonstop speehifyin' as I am.)

 

DB NORTON FOR PRESIDENT!

 

PS- I do think Stanwyck is great in MJD , she ties with maybe Patricia Neal in The Fountainhead for the title of "Most Valiant Effort by an Actress to Elevate a Clearly Sinking Movie"

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Your condescension is amusing ("Once again" - indeed!), but I think your arguments have reached a level of desperation. If only I understood the voting process (why do you assume I don't?) THEN I would appreciate how knowledgeable and better qualified Academy voters are to judge acting performances than nonindustry types. First of all, past the initial nomination process wherein the voters select within their own category, everyone votes for the winners within every field. So therefore, cinematographers, costumers, lighting technicians, special effects specialists, actors, et al ALL vote for the eventual winners. I guess they've all been "trained" along with the actors to evaluate performances. (as Hibi notes - trained by whom?), so the eventual winners are clearly always the most deserving. Please.

 

Once again, (he says wearily) acting appreciation and evaluation is subjective and as the various views on the board indicate are as widely varied as can be. I respect the various opinions of many on the board (even yours occasionally!) for their careful and well articulated posts as much as I might those of

any Oscar winning actress, who may have won because she's well liked on the set, has been in the game for many years, or may even have given a great performance that year. You also seem to give added value to the opinions of those who actually won Oscars as opposed to those who were merely nominated, but frankly I'd listen to opinions given by a Peter O'Toole or a Cary Grant sooner than an Ernest Borgnine or a Cuba Gooding, Jr. any day (although I've certainly enjoyed performances by all of them).

 

OK, TB - This bantering is getting tedious - obviously we are far from any agreement on much of anything. You've called me an obnoxious, uninformed person who only wants to waste time arguing. Whatever. I've found you a pedantic, condescending blowhard who is instantly combative if one does not bow to your holier than thou points of view. You pushed my buttons and clearly I pushed a few of yours. Having said that, maybe it's time we both moved on, agree to disagree and attempt more civility in the future on other topics where we might actually find some agreement. I think I'm done with this one.

Once again unto the breach, Vertigo, LOL

 

You seem to be clinging to the idea that fans' opinions are worth as much as academy members when we know that the only thing fans influence is box office, not award selections. To suggest otherwise denotes ignorance or else naivete. You are jumping to once again the wrong conclusions, suggesting I am saying that non-industry types do not understand what makes a good performance or a bad performance. What I am really saying, which you fail to grasp, is that there is often much more rigor and study of technique done by an industry person evaluating a performance. 

 

When you are losing an argument, you slam me, you slam Jennifer Jones and you slam Loretta Young. 

 

You then bring in other people like cinematographers, lighting technicians, etc. It seems to me you're trying to pull in other inconsequential evidence to make it sound like you know what you are talking about. Of course, I did not mention cinematographers (you did).. But if we do run with that, we could surely say that even cinematographers and lighting personnel probably know more about how actors work than the average movie viewer. But our original discussion was whether Loretta Young or Jennifer Jones would be qualified to judge Ingrid as the best actress of their generation. Many might support that notion. I am sorry if you hate Young and Jones, and if you feel Ingrid is not as good as Bette-- those are your hang-ups ultimately.

 

I am going to skip the part where you talk about actors being well-liked on set. You have no empirical evidence to support that on-set popularity leads to Oscar victories. It is on par with your argument that actors win sympathy awards for near-death experiences. That is hard to prove. There are probably just as many sick or deceased performers whose work gets overlooked each year.

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Tonight is a guest programmer night. Some guy named Jeff Garlin(?) Not a clue who he is, but he picked three of the most tired titles a GP can pick. The Third Man, which has to be the most GP requested title, Meet John Doe- which is an awful movie- and Dodsworth. (Maybe they talked him into substituting Bullitt for Duck Soup. )

 

Yawn.

 

Couldn't agree with you more about his choice of movies, especially Meet John Doe, which is just about the only unwatchable Barbara Stanwyck film I can think of.  Too bad Garlin couldn't have been allowed to substitute about 8 half hour episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he plays Larry David's friend and agent.

 

 

You can't control who pops in!

 

He began his career by winning a John Goodman same-shaped-head contest.

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While a couple of other posters on this thread have slammed Capra's Meet John Doe, I think it is a quite terrific film, with one of the great ensemble casts of its time. I also think that that the overall success of the film depends far more upon the casting of Gary Cooper (who delivers a beautifully nuanced performance) than it does anyone else in the film.

 

Stanwyck, who is constantly worshipped by some on this message board, is good as the reporter. However, her role could have been played by a few other actresses (Jean Arthur coming to mind) with the film probably being just as effective. I can't envision any other actor at the time replacing Cooper and the film not being hurt to some degree by it.

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While a couple of other posters on this thread have slammed Capra's Meet John Doe, I think it is a quite terrific film, with one of the great ensemble casts of its time. I also think that that the overall success of the film depends far more upon the casting of Gary Cooper (who delivers a beautifully nuanced performance) than it does anyone else in the film.

 

Stanwyck, who is constantly worshipped by some on this message board, is good as the reporter. However, her role could have been played by a few other actresses (Jean Arthur coming to mind) with the film probably being just as effective. I can't envision any other actor at the time replacing Cooper and the film not being hurt to some degree by it.

I think it is a good, but not terrific film. Not as good as Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, YCTIWY, IHON, LFAD, or MSGTW

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Tonight is a guest programmer night. Some guy named Jeff Garlin(?) Not a clue who he is, but he picked three of the most tired titles a GP can pick. The Third Man, which has to be the most GP requested title, Meet John Doe- which is an awful movie- and Dodsworth. (Maybe they talked him into substituting Bullitt for Duck Soup. )

 

Yawn.

 

TCM, look, believe it or not, I love you, and I care about you, but when it comes to these monthly guest programmers: just stop. Save your money and just stop. Stop. Stop. None of us care about either seeing these D-Listers or hearing what they have to say and they all pick the same damn movies time after time after time after time.

 

ps- yes I know there is the occasional Bill Paxton, but it's just not enough to make up for all the other duds.

 

 

 

I agree. I cant remember the last time I've watched a programmer night. The picks almost always are the same films TCM shows constantly in rotation. Why tune in? I realize they are limited in their picks as to what TCM can show, but their choices bring nothing to the table for me. If TCM wants to cut costs, this would be a good area as far as I'm concerned. I wouldnt miss it........

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I think it is a good, but not terrific film. Not as good as Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, YCTIWY, IHON, LFAD, or MSGTW

 

LFAD?

 

I personally like AAOL more than any other Capra film by a solid mile, and I think he filmed it around the same time as John Dope; (It wasn't released until 1944 because the stage play was such an ongoing hit.) It is also the only time I can think of where I like Raymond Massey in anything. It's also a nice dose of salt to the blizzard of Nutrasweet that is JD, and is helped by the fact that Capra did not write the script.

 

I will watch AAOL any day of the week.

 

ps- the John Dope thing was either a typo or something Freudian. I'm leaving it.

 

pss- John Doe has a promising and sharp first hour, then it goes entirely off the rails.

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I agree. I cant remember the last time I've watched a programmer night. The picks almost always are the same films TCM shows constantly in rotation. Why tune in? I realize they are limited in their picks as to what TCM can show, but their choices bring nothing to the table for me. If TCM wants to cut costs, this would be a good area as far as I'm concerned. I wouldnt miss it........

 

 

I forgot!

I did really like Mother Delores Hart (and her picks.)

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I can't entirely agree with Lorna.  MEET JOHN DOE, while not really one of my favorite films, isn't really all that bad.  I've only seen it on TV, the cost of which covers every and anything ELSE I watch on it, so it's not like I plunked down hard earned mony to sit with a bucket of overpriced popcorn and see all that schmaltz.  And there's nothing wrong with schmaltz. 

sometimes it's a pleasant way to pass the time.  And since TCM is already included in my cable package, and I don't have to pay extra for it, it's just a mild annoyance that the channel shows "Doe" as often as it does. 

 

And, just the other night, I surfed into the last 45 minutes or so of "North By Northwest", which draws as many complaints as the frequency in which it's shown.  Of course, it was at the point in the movie where Cary Grant, about ten minutes from when I "surfed" in, utters one of my favorite lines in the movie, and in any movie in general. ("The three of you together.  Now, THERE'S a picture only CHARLES ADDAMS could draw!")

 

I don't know why guest programmers choose th films they do.  I used to think THEY were the ones who made those decisions.  I've heard( or read) that TCM hands them a LIST to choose from, and they just pick what they like out of all that.  I really don't know...

 

Sepiatone

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See, I would've loved to've seen Meet John Doe done as a brutal, cynical, biting Billy Wilder noir.

 

Keep Stanwyck, put in maybe William Holden in the Cooper role and make him an eensie bit less Christ-like, kill Walter Brennan with the DT's early on, put in EG Robinson as the news editor, lose the whole second half, score by Franz Waxman, no harmonicas and can we find a role for Akim Tamiroff somewhere in it?

 

Oh, and he takes the leap at the end.

 

(Mama don't do schamltz.)

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I forgot!

I did really like Mother Delores Hart (and her picks.)

 

 

Yeah, she was a rare exception..........

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I can't entirely agree with Lorna.  MEET JOHN DOE, while not really one of my favorite films, isn't really all that bad.  I've only seen it on TV, the cost of which covers every and anything ELSE I watch on it, so it's not like I plunked down hard earned mony to sit with a bucket of overpriced popcorn and see all that schmaltz.  And there's nothing wrong with schmaltz. 

sometimes it's a pleasant way to pass the time.  And since TCM is already included in my cable package, and I don't have to pay extra for it, it's just a mild annoyance that the channel shows "Doe" as often as it does. 

 

And, just the other night, I surfed into the last 45 minutes or so of "North By Northwest", which draws as many complaints as the frequency in which it's shown.  Of course, it was at the point in the movie where Cary Grant, about ten minutes from when I "surfed" in, utters one of my favorite lines in the movie, and in any movie in general. ("The three of you together.  Now, THERE'S a picture only CHARLES ADDAMS could draw!")

 

I don't know why guest programmers choose th films they do.  I used to think THEY were the ones who made those decisions.  I've heard( or read) that TCM hands them a LIST to choose from, and they just pick what they like out of all that.  I really don't know...

 

Sepiatone

 

 

I admit I tuned in to NBNW last week too! LOL. Even though I've complained about it in the past. I was in the mood and there was nothing else on I was interested in. I'm unsure if TCM gives them a list, but I dont think TCM would approve a choice that is too costly to rent. Sometimes rare films are shown. Mother Dolores',  Lisa, for example, which was a Fox film...............

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pss- John Doe has a promising and sharp first hour, then it goes entirely off the rails.

 

One more thoroughly annoying if minor aspect of Meet Gary Cooper is the recurrent strain of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" that never goes away all the way right up to the end of the movie.  This perfectly fine anthem was put to appropriate extracurricular use exactly twice, once in A Night at the Opera, and then 23 years later in Sid Caesar's and Nanette Fabray's Gallipacci.

 

(Pause for illustration, at the 10:16 point of the video:)

 

 

In between, it was used approximately 197 times by hack Hollywood screenwriters, along with "The Star-Spangled Banner", "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean", "La Marseillaise", and "The Volga Boat Song", in order to drum up the most cliched sentiments of its era.  Sort of like the Simon & Garfunkel schlock in The Graduate and the violin choruses in those ESPN two minute videos about Derek Jeter.  I'm a firm believer in gun control, but if I weren't, whenever I'm in the unfortunate company of any of those productions I'd take a tip from Herr Goering and reach for my revolver, and damn the rise in my insurance premiums. :)

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pss- John Doe has a promising and sharp first hour, then it goes entirely off the rails.

 

One more thoroughly annoying if minor aspect of Meet Gary Cooper is the recurrent strain of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" that never goes away all the way right up to the end of the movie.  This perfectly fine anthem was put to appropriate extracurricular use exactly twice, once in A Night at the Opera, and then 23 years later in Sid Caesar's and Nanette Fabray's Gallipacci.

 

 

For obvious reasons, I couldn't agree more with you here, Andy...especially about the Marx Bro flick of course. ;)

 

Btw, in that Sid Caesar clip...that wouldn't have happened to have been the golden tones of Don Pardo opening up the proceedings there, would it?

 

 

In between, it was used approximately 197 times by hack Hollywood screenwriters, along with "The Star-Spangled Banner", "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean", "La Marseillaise", and "The Volga Boat Song", in order to drum up the most cliched sentiments of its era.  Sort of like the Simon & Garfunkel schlock in The Graduate and the violin choruses in those ESPN two minute videos about Derek Jeter.  I'm a firm believer in gun control, but if I weren't, whenever I'm in the unfortunate company of any of those productions I'd take a tip from Herr Goering and reach for my revolver, and damn the rise in my insurance premiums.  :) 

 

Yes, but shirley, err surely you didn't mean to include the playing of the French nation anthem within a particular movie about the goings-on in a certain North African town circa 1940, now did you?!

 

(...oh, and btw...while I COULD be mistaken here, I do believe that that ol' fat a$$ Herr Goering's personal choice of sidearm might have been a Luger P08 "Parabellum" semi-automatic pistol, and NOT a revolver) ;)

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In between, it was used approximately 197 times by hack Hollywood screenwriters, along with "The Star-Spangled Banner", "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean", "La Marseillaise", and "The Volga Boat Song", in order to drum up the most cliched sentiments of its era.  Sort of like the Simon & Garfunkel schlock in The Graduate and the violin choruses in those ESPN two minute videos about Derek Jeter.  I'm a firm believer in gun control, but if I weren't, whenever I'm in the unfortunate company of any of those productions I'd take a tip from Herr Goering and reach for my revolver, and damn the rise in my insurance premiums :) 

 

Yes, but shirley, err surely you didn't mean to include the playing of the French nation anthem within a particular movie about the goings-on in a certain North African town circa 1940, now did you?!

 

Of course not.  But then Meet John Dope was to Casablanca what fireflies are to fires.

 

 

Allons enfants de la patrie!

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Ooooooooooh, Lady for a day. Okay. I get it.

I was going to list all the titles, but then I realized that Capra had very long titles, and I was too lazy.

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LFAD?

 

I personally like AAOL more than any other Capra film by a solid mile, and I think he filmed it around the same time as John Dope; (It wasn't released until 1944 because the stage play was such an ongoing hit.) It is also the only time I can think of where I like Raymond Massey in anything. It's also a nice dose of salt to the blizzard of Nutrasweet that is JD, and is helped by the fact that Capra did not write the script.

 

I will watch AAOL any day of the week.

 

ps- the John Dope thing was either a typo or something Freudian. I'm leaving it.

 

pss- John Doe has a promising and sharp first hour, then it goes entirely off the rails.

You obviously don't like Capra. AAOL is one of the few Capra films that can not be classified as "Capra Corn".

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You obviously don't like Capra. AAOL is one of the few Capra films that can not be classified as "Capra Corn".

 

You are correct, sir. Although I respect and understand the tremendous significance of It's a Wonderful Life and It Happened One Night and Mr. Smith, they are not my cup of tea. Oddly enough, The Bitter Tea of General Yen is my cup of tea, I like it- but it's a weirdassed movie.

 

However, there is no denying Capra was a technically gifted director- the way the camera moves in Arsenic, the blocking of the actors, the composition of the shots- he's good when it's just purely his directing.

 

But it's when he's directing his own scripts that things start to get all didactic and treacly, and then someone breaks out a harmonica and I just want to kick them in the teeth.

 

ps- I also like State of the Union.

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Once again unto the breach, Vertigo, LOL

 

You seem to be clinging to the idea that fans' opinions are worth as much as academy members when we know that the only thing fans influence is box office, not award selections. To suggest otherwise denotes ignorance or else naivete. You are jumping to once again the wrong conclusions, suggesting I am saying that non-industry types do not understand what makes a good performance or a bad performance. What I am really saying, which you fail to grasp, is that there is often much more rigor and study of technique done by an industry person evaluating a performance. 

 

When you are losing an argument, you slam me, you slam Jennifer Jones and you slam Loretta Young. 

 

You then bring in other people like cinematographers, lighting technicians, etc. It seems to me you're trying to pull in other inconsequential evidence to make it sound like you know what you are talking about. Of course, I did not mention cinematographers (you did).. But if we do run with that, we could surely say that even cinematographers and lighting personnel probably know more about how actors work than the average movie viewer. But our original discussion was whether Loretta Young or Jennifer Jones would be qualified to judge Ingrid as the best actress of their generation. Many might support that notion. I am sorry if you hate Young and Jones, and if you feel Ingrid is not as good as Bette-- those are your hang-ups ultimately.

 

I am going to skip the part where you talk about actors being well-liked on set. You have no empirical evidence to support that on-set popularity leads to Oscar victories. It is on par with your argument that actors win sympathy awards for near-death experiences. That is hard to prove. There are probably just as many sick or deceased performers whose work gets overlooked each year.

O.K. Top B  – I guess both of us enjoy a spirited debate too much to let it go. Sorry to others here on the board who are probably sick of both of us at this point. Lol

You resort to several sly debating tricks here to win your argument. This includes if A is true, then B is also true.

When I am losing an argument (I was? That’s your view) I slam Loretta Young and Jennifer Jones (Really?).

 

You then go on to state things I not only did not say, but I never even implied (another debate maneuver). If you’re going to refute my ideas, at least have the courtesy to be accurate about them. Among the false accusations:

 

1.       I never said fans influence Oscar award selections. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?

 

2.       I hate Jennifer Jones and Loretta Young. (****?!) I never came close to saying that. I think both are charming, appealing       actresses. I simply questioned whether their opinions on “who is the greatest actress of their generation?” were authoritative.

 

3.       I feel Ingrid is not as good as Bette. “That’s your hang up.” Utter nonsense. I clearly stated in a previous post that I admired both (a statement you conveniently ignored) and that this “greatest actress of their generation contest” is silly as it is obviously purely subjective. Clearly you feel Ingrid is superior to Bette.  I never brought Davis up in the first place, you did. That’s YOUR hang up.

 

Later you state, “You bring in other people like cinematographers, etc. it seems you’re trying to pull in other inconsequential evidence to make it sound as if you know what you are talking about.” I’m reacting to your statement, that if only I understood the voting process.... Well, I do. Actors determine the nominees for the acting category, and then all six thousand plus members of the Academy vote on the actual winners. I think YOU’RE naïve if you think all these non-actors do much considering “the rigors and techniques” of any performances, let alone the voting actors themselves.

 

In the original discussion you appeal to authority (another debating maneuver) to prove a point. In your case since Young and Jones said it, it is true. You chose to use this as an excuse to slam Davis (A non-sequitur leap). You ventured (since Young and Jones  preferred Bergman)  “This leads one to ask, ‘Bette Davis – who dat?’” So who is doing the slamming of an acclaimed actress here? Your contention then was that these two Oscar winners (meaningless qualifications) know more than non-actors because actors are trained to study other performances. You say many may support the notion that Young and Jones are qualified to judge who is the greatest. Well, many may not.

 

I would guess that Academy voters make their decisions for a whole myriad of reasons that none of us can prove (no empirical evidence). These may include: Liking the individual personally, sentiment for a long career, sympathy for an actor’s personal struggles, and even feeling this was the best performance of the year. With this many actors and non-actors voting there is no reason to think and naïve to do so, that most are basing their decisions on the “rigors and techniques” of the performances.

 

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but don’t distort mine. 

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A brief glance at today's schedule and I see several overplayed titles:

 

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (not very overplayed but still somewhat overplayed)

THE DIRTY DOZEN (same comment above applies here)

POLTERGEIST (definitely overplayed-- on TCM about five times a year; it's their go-to 80s horror film)

 

The evening's theme is Robert Aldrich. Classic underplayed titles they might have selected instead:

 

THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE

EMPEROR OF THE NORTH

THE GRISSOM GANG

THE CHOIRBOYS

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A brief glance at today's schedule and I see several overplayed titles:

 

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (not very overplayed but still somewhat overplayed)

THE DIRTY DOZEN (same comment above applies here)

POLTERGEIST (definitely overplayed-- on TCM about five times a year; it's their go-to 80s horror film)

 

The evening's theme is Robert Aldrich. Classic underplayed titles they might have selected instead:

 

THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE

EMPEROR OF THE NORTH

THE GRISSOM GANG

THE CHOIRBOYS

 

Arsenic is sorta kinda technically overplayed, but seriously, it has to be the most watchable film ever made. Every time it's on, it rooks me in. It's one that gets a pass from me any time it plays, but especially on an autumn morning such as today. It's just one of those movies I always watch some time a little before or after Halloween.

 

But...

 

Total solidarity with you on The Dirty Dozen and most especially Poltergiest- to which I also add The Making of Poltergeist featurette that shows up more often than needed*.

 

(*Really, I should say "all the time" because even airing The Making of Poltergeist once a year is more often than needed in my book.)

 

ps- Aldrich did a film called The Choirboys?!?! My mind is going places it shouldn't.

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ps- Aldrich did a film called The Choirboys?!?! My mind is going places it shouldn't.

For awhile, THE CHOIRBOYS was available at Netflix streaming (not sure if it still is)-- it's a cult classic, about cops involved in various after-hours activities-- it sort of paved the way for Hill Street Blues and Charles Haid is in the cast of both.

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Arsenic is sorta kinda technically overplayed, but seriously, it has to be the most watchable film ever made. Every time it's on, it rooks me in. It's one that gets a pass from me any time it plays, but especially on an autumn morning such as today. It's just one of those movies I always watch some time a little before or after Halloween.

 

But...

 

Total solidarity with you on The Dirty Dozen and most especially Poltergiest- to which I also add The Making of Poltergeist featurette that shows up more often than needed*.

 

Some of today's schedule seems like leftovers from October. It makes me think that they pushed some of these films from the Turner Library into November because they probably had acquired a few last-minute films from outside their library that they wanted to show before Halloween. 

 

Am I right about this, or am I write about this? :)

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For awhile, THE CHOIRBOYS was available at Netflix streaming (not sure if it still is)-- it's a cult classic, about cops involved in various after-hours activities-- it sort of paved the way for Hill Street Blues and Charles Haid is in the cast of both.

Amazing that most of the "Hill Street Blues" cast was never heard from again after the show ended.

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