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HITS & MISSES: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow on TCM


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3 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

Monday, August 17

Maureen O’Hara

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6 a.m.  Jamaica Inn (1939).  Not the greatest Hitchcock film.  With Charles Laughton.

JAMAICA INN, while not up there with the best of Hitchcock, still carries a certain amount of charm to it thanks to Laughton and Maureen O'Hara.

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1 hour ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

JAMAICA INN, while not up there with the best of Hitchcock, still carries a certain amount of charm to it thanks to Laughton and Maureen O'Hara.

One of the hammiest performances Laughton ever gave. And to think, this was done the same year that he would later give his great performance as Quasimodo. O'Hara, though, is quite good in the Hitchcock film.

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For Beatty day the film I'd check out is Lilith, mostly for Jean Seberg but also for the young Beatty and some of the other actors. Flawed but interesting. Mickey One has great noir cinematography by Ghislain Cloquet; the story, not so much.

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On 8/19/2020 at 6:07 AM, Bogie56 said:

Thursday, August 20

William Powell

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8 p.m.  The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947).   Now we’re talking.  For years only a very bad copy has been floating around.  

I've been looking forward to this one but now my Canadian supplier says they are showing The Heavenly Body instead.

DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!

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46 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

:D  I can't imagine Brent being a CHICK MAGNET, let alone Man Bait!  ;)   

Sepiatone

I've seen Main Bait.  Title is more enticing than the movie.

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15 hours ago, TomJH said:

I've been looking forward to this one but now my Canadian supplier says they are showing The Heavenly Body instead.

DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!

It must have been a last minute change in our schedule too.  My recorder was going and dang it!

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Saturday, August 22

John Wayne day has been scratched!  Too controversial at the moment?  Now it is Natalie Wood day.  So, if you still would like a bit of Wayne there is ,,,

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8 p.m.  The Searchers (1956).

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17 minutes ago, lavenderblue19 said:

Not shown too often but will be on TCM Sat at 10pm, Love With The Proper Stranger - Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen

I love this movie. It's such a great film and a different type of role for both Wood and McQueen.

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Sunday, August 23

Bette Davis is bumped for a Olivia De Havilland Memorial Tribute.  I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.

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midnight.  The Heiress (1949).  One of my favourite De Havilland performances along with The Snake Pit from a year earlier.

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On 8/21/2020 at 12:06 PM, speedracer5 said:

I love this movie. It's such a great film and a different type of role for both Wood and McQueen.

I missed "Love With a Proper Stranger" but I did watch "Inside Daisy Clover" and "This Property is Condemned" today.   Reportedly, Natalie agreed to make those lesser-known serious edgy films in an effort to buck the studio's attempts to forever limit/typecast her in "teen angst" roles and expand her repertoire.     Although some of those scripts weren't the best, her dramatic range/depth was stunning, as also displayed  in better-known films like "Rebel Without A Cause" and "Splendor in the Grass". 

She was obviously a very gifted actress who could apparently easily play anything, from dramas (the ones cited above) to light comedies ("Sex and the Single Girl" and "The Great Race") to musicals ("Gypsy" and "West Side Story"). 

To this day, I still think it's an outrageous travesty that she did not win an Oscar during her tragically short lifetime.  Her emotional breakdown scenes in Daisy Clover and Splendor are utterly chilling and the equal of any performance of other Oscar-winners before and since her time.  It would  really be classy for the Academy to invite her daughters, Natasha and Courtney, to come to the stage to receive a special posthumous "Lifetime Achievement" Oscar to [FINALLY] honor her career, films, and acknowledge the fact that she literally spent most of her life working in the film industry, entertaining her fans and the world (beginning at with a bit part in a film at age 4).  Robert Redford (her good friend and costar in Daisy and Property) could present it to them.    

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3 minutes ago, kate333 said:

I missed "Love With a Proper Stranger" but I did watch "Inside Daisy Clover" and "This Property is Condemned" today.   Reportedly, Natalie agreed to make those lesser-known serious edgy films in an effort to buck the studio's attempts to forever limit/typecast her in "teen angst" roles and expand her repertoire.     Although some of those scripts weren't the best, her dramatic range/depth was stunning, as also displayed  in better-known films like "Rebel Without A Cause" and "Splendor in the Grass". 

She was obviously a very gifted actress who could apparently easily play anything, from dramas (the ones cited above) to light comedies ("Sex and the Single Girl" and "The Great Race") to musicals ("Gypsy" and "West Side Story"). 

To this day, I still think it's an outrageous travesty that she did not win an Oscar during her tragically short lifetime.  Her emotional breakdown scenes in Daisy Clover and Splendor are utterly chilling and the equal of any performance of other Oscar-winners before and since her time.  It would  really be classy for the Academy to invite her daughters Robert Redford to come to the stage to receive a special posthumous "Lifetime Achievement" Oscar to [FINALLY] honor the body of her work/achievements and the fact that she literally gave most of her life to the industry (starting from age 4) and entertaining the world. 

Inside Daisy Clover is an odd film, but I like it.  I love Hollywood stories and I thought it was a good story.  This Property is Condemned is really good too.  I wish Natalie and Robert had made another film together.  She does pop up in a cameo in his 1972 film The Candidate, which I just watched the other day.  I love Rebel Without a Cause and she did such a great job in her role.  Splendor in the Grass is excellent and I thought she and Warren Beatty were excellent together.  I also loved Barbara Loden as Beatty's sister.

I am not a big fan of The Great Race.  I've tried watching it multiple times and I just don't get it.  It's not funny, Jack Lemmon's character is particularly annoying. I do enjoy Gypsy even though Rosalind Russell can be a bit much at times, but I thought that Natalie did a great job. I like West Side Story okay, but I wish that Natalie hadn't affected a Puerto Rican accent and I also wish that she had been allowed to sing with her own voice.  Marni Nixon's voice, while good, just does not fit in that film.  It's so jarring compared to Natalie's speaking voice.

I wish that they'd included Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice in her tribute.  This is such a great movie and an interesting movie made during the Sexual Revolution of the 60s.  One thing I love about Natalie is that her roles and film persona seemed to evolve with the times.  She didn't allow herself to become type cast as the angsty teen, or the wacky young woman, or anything. 

While she's fine in her child roles, I like her so much more as an adult.  If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend watching her daughter Natasha's documentary on her mother, Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind.  It was such a great documentary, but also very sad.  There is still so much pain in that family, but it was a fantastic tribute to a great woman.  It is an HBO documentary and last I saw it was available on HBO Max.

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1 hour ago, speedracer5 said:

Inside Daisy Clover is an odd film, but I like it.  I love Hollywood stories and I thought it was a good story.  This Property is Condemned is really good too.  I wish Natalie and Robert had made another film together.  She does pop up in a cameo in his 1972 film The Candidate, which I just watched the other day.  I love Rebel Without a Cause and she did such a great job in her role.  Splendor in the Grass is excellent and I thought she and Warren Beatty were excellent together.  I also loved Barbara Loden as Beatty's sister.

I am not a big fan of The Great Race.  I've tried watching it multiple times and I just don't get it.  It's not funny, Jack Lemmon's character is particularly annoying. I do enjoy Gypsy even though Rosalind Russell can be a bit much at times, but I thought that Natalie did a great job. I like West Side Story okay, but I wish that Natalie hadn't affected a Puerto Rican accent and I also wish that she had been allowed to sing with her own voice.  Marni Nixon's voice, while good, just does not fit in that film.  It's so jarring compared to Natalie's speaking voice.

I wish that they'd included Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice in her tribute.  This is such a great movie and an interesting movie made during the Sexual Revolution of the 60s.  One thing I love about Natalie is that her roles and film persona seemed to evolve with the times.  She didn't allow herself to become type cast as the angsty teen, or the wacky young woman, or anything. 

While she's fine in her child roles, I like her so much more as an adult.  If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend watching her daughter Natasha's documentary on her mother, Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind.  It was such a great documentary, but also very sad.  There is still so much pain in that family, but it was a fantastic tribute to a great woman.  It is an HBO documentary and last I saw it was available on HBO Max.

Interesting comments!  My take:

The Great Race:  was a satire, a PARODY of, and tribute to, the lighthearted, zany, slapstick silent movie physical comedies ("Perils of Pauline"....Chaplin...Buster Keaton films) that director Blake Edwards grew up watching and loving as a kid.  Perhaps by today's cynical, "edgy" comedy standards, it seems "corny" or outdated to some but I loved it because it reminds me of being a lighthearted, innocent kid who could enjoy simple "entertainment" without a political/social sermon/message.  A rarity these days.  (That film is a bit too long though.)  

Gypsy:  I think RR is PERFECT as mama Rose.   She was supposed to be extreme and overbearing and did a great job showing both cruelty (pressuring her child into becoming a stripper to satisfy her vicarious obsession with validation through her daughters' stardom) and pity (finally acknowledging her bitter jealousy of her daughter, lifelong fear of abandonment, and pain of her own mother's loss during the last scene and her last song).  You have be a very gifted actress to play ALL those emotions in ONE scene as RR was in so many roles.       Reportedly, Natalie was undergoing intense psychoanalysis when she made this film.  I thought how brave (cathartic?) of her to take on this role as it seems to eerily mirror Natalie's own disrupted childhood and lifelong domination by, struggle to break free from, an overbearing, emotionally needy stage mother.   

West Side Story:  Her PR accent doesn't really bother me.   I mean she WAS playing a Puerto Rican girl and she did at least try.  I didn't expect her play that role with a Valley Girl accent...:).   I agree with you about MN's dubbed singing sounds "unnatural".  Reportedly, the studio did that without even telling Natalie--even after making her work for MONTHS with a singing coach then hiring MN later.  So mean, but that was typical of studios back then.    And aside:  The studio did the SAME thing to Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady".  Told her AFTER the film was completed that MN would do all the singing.  Another interesting movie trivia story:  in a post-production meeting  for "Breakfast at Tiffany's," after the first cut of the film was viewed and lights turned on, one of the studio suits stood up and sniffed, "THAT SONG has GOT to GO!!" (the now iconic scene with Audrey on her fire escape, strumming a guitar and singing 'Moon River' in her own voice)  The room full of suits all stared silently at the floor for a moment.  Then Audrey smiled sweetly and quietly but firmly replied:  "Over my dead body!"   [BTW, check out "Dutch Girl"...a very interesting read on Audrey's childhood in occupied Holland during WW2.  There was so much more depth to her than we all remember from the glamorous movie star image.  And MN also wrote a good autobiography...but I don't recall the title.]  But I digress....

Natalie's kiddie films:  "Miracle on 34th Street" favorite.  Also loved her in "Ghost and Mrs. Muir".   She really worked with so many big "stars" of the day when she was a young kid:  Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Maureen O'Hara, James Stewart, Fred MacMurray, Jane Wyman, Margaret Sullavan, Anne Baxter, Irene Dunne, Rock Hudson, Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe.  

Thanks for the HBO documentary recommendation.  I haven't yet watched/read any of the many "tell all" books or docs/videos about Natalie.  I did hear that her daughter's doc.  was timed with the release of her ex-husband's book and perfume online sales efforts and following auction of her personal effects.   To be honest, that really turned me off,  struck me as self-serving and exploitive.    I really don't want to read/hear anymore about her tragic death or endless denials/accusations by people exploiting that tragedy to make money. 

Instead, I prefer to just remember and celebrate Natalie's life and enjoy her films.  But I'll admit, as time passes, I can't help but feel the same wistful way about her as I do when I think about Marilyn or see her films:  grateful for the gifts of their artistry but sad for the tragedies of their short lives.    

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1 hour ago, kate333 said:

Thanks for the HBO documentary recommendation.  I haven't yet watched/read any of the many "tell all" books or docs/videos about Natalie.  I did hear that her daughter's doc.  was timed with the release of her ex-husband's book and perfume online sales efforts and following auction of her personal effects.   To be honest, that really turned me off,  struck me as self-serving and exploitive.    I really don't want to read/hear anymore about her tragic death or endless denials/accusations by people exploiting that tragedy to make money. 

Instead, I prefer to just remember and celebrate Natalie's life and enjoy her films.  But I'll admit, as time passes, I can't help but feel the same wistful way about her as I do when I think about Marilyn or see her films:  grateful for the gifts of their artistry but sad for the tragedies of their short lives.    

Re: the HBO documentary.  I wasn't sure if you were referring to Natalie's ex-husband's book or her daughter Natasha's ex-husband's book... Natasha released a book with the same title that coincided with the release of the documentary.  I haven't read the book yet, but I assumed that the documentary served as a companion piece to the book.  The book and the documentary came out on the same day.   While Natalie's death is covered in the documentary (I mean how could it not, it is unfortunately a part of her story), it is purely told from Robert Wagner and Natasha's perspective.  All the conspiracy theories, whackadoo Lana Wood theories, etc. are not covered.  If you bear any ill will toward Wagner, it might not be pleasant viewing; but I found it very tragic to see how much pain Wagner and the surviving family members are still in, almost 40 years later. About 2/3 of the documentary is about Natalie's life when she was alive and it really gives you a good sense of who she was as a person.  Her Hollywood career is discussed of course, but much of it focuses on her life outside of film.   

Re: thinking about the stars when they're alive, especially those whose mysterious deaths have almost surpassed the contributions made while they were alive.  I agree with you.  I like to think of Marilyn when she was young, vivacious and making a lot of great films.  I don't need to dwell on how she died and hear every conspiracy theory under the sun.  None of that will change the fact that she's gone.  I have a Marilyn documentary that came with a box set that I haven't watched.  I also have an Errol Flynn documentary that came with a box set of his films as well.  I love Errol Flynn and I cannot bear to watch a documentary that will tell me that he died at the end.  Of course, logically, I know he died, but I prefer to think of him as young and full of life.  I also love Lucille Ball and have seen a couple documentaries about her (including an excellent American Masters episode) and when the documentary reaches the end and informs the audience of her passing in 1989, I am still sad each and every time.

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17 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Re: the HBO documentary.  I wasn't sure if you were referring to Natalie's ex-husband's book or her daughter Natasha's ex-husband's book... Natasha released a book with the same title that coincided with the release of the documentary.  I haven't read the book yet, but I assumed that the documentary served as a companion piece to the book.  The book and the documentary came out on the same day.   While Natalie's death is covered in the documentary (I mean how could it not, it is unfortunately a part of her story), it is purely told from Robert Wagner and Natasha's perspective.  All the conspiracy theories, whackadoo Lana Wood theories, etc. are not covered.  If you bear any ill will toward Wagner, it might not be pleasant viewing; but I found it very tragic to see how much pain Wagner and the surviving family members are still in, almost 40 years later. About 2/3 of the documentary is about Natalie's life when she was alive and it really gives you a good sense of who she was as a person.  Her Hollywood career is discussed of course, but much of it focuses on her life outside of film.   

Re: thinking about the stars when they're alive, especially those whose mysterious deaths have almost surpassed the contributions made while they were alive.  I agree with you.  I like to think of Marilyn when she was young, vivacious and making a lot of great films.  I don't need to dwell on how she died and hear every conspiracy theory under the sun.  None of that will change the fact that she's gone.  I have a Marilyn documentary that came with a box set that I haven't watched.  I also have an Errol Flynn documentary that came with a box set of his films as well.  I love Errol Flynn and I cannot bear to watch a documentary that will tell me that he died at the end.  Of course, logically, I know he died, but I prefer to think of him as young and full of life.  I also love Lucille Ball and have seen a couple documentaries about her (including an excellent American Masters episode) and when the documentary reaches the end and informs the audience of her passing in 1989, I am still sad each and every time.

I don't bear any "ill-will" toward anyone.  Nor have I prejudged anyone guilty or reached any conclusions re: the circumstances of Natalie's death.  Wagner may be innocent or guilty as sin.  We will never know because this investigation was IMO superficial and prematurely ended.  To their credit, police did reopen it a few years ago but, again, no further follow-up (announcement of indictment or dismissal/reclosing of the case) which is unusual.   

Simple logic shatters the credibility of the story/defense that "She must have gotten up and alone ventured outside to try to tie a raft banging against the ship, then fell over" or "She wanted to leave the yacht and fell while untying the raft or trying to climb in."  

FACTS:  

1.  She had a well-known lifelong terror of water and could not even swim.  (There is an old video clip of her appearance on a talk show discussing it at length. )   2.  Autopsy report notes multiple bruises on her body (and also notes OTC seasickness meds in her system, meds that cause drowsiness).  3.  NW was a very small, thin person.    None of these facts fit the profile or character of someone confident or physically strong enough or who would try to venture out in the middle of the night, alone, to either tie up a heavy raft or untie it, get in without assistance, and row it to shore in a dark ocean.  However, it does match the profile of a woman who would ask either her husband or the ship captain for assistance with these tasks to ensure her safety--IF she trusted them.   4.  Apparently, an angry argument preceded her disappearance.   Independent witnesses on a yacht nearby verified that, said they heard people shouting in anger, glass shattering, and a woman screaming for help.  5.   Authorities weren't called to help search until hours later, at daylight, well after Wagner claims he first knew she was "missing". 6.  A police homicide detective says Wagner refused to speak with investigators. 

I'm not saying there is any clear proof to date that Wagner (or others aboard) is guilty of intentional homicide or even manslaughter.  However, he doesn't come off as looking very good or responsible that night.   IMO a loving, concerned husband would have acted very differently to protect his wife and ensure she didn't endanger herself.  He would have either gone out on deck and tied the raft himself or accompanied her to shore instead of leaving her to navigate the dark ocean alone.   He also began publicly and officially dating Jill St. John a mere 2 months after Natalie died.  Hmmm.  That doesn't sound like typical bereaved husband behavior.

I don't know what happened, and I keep an open mind.  But I do know there were enough red flags (noted above) to give the police pause,  to lead them to at least detain all parties at the police station for a thorough grilling and then compare their stories.  Instead, he was handled with kid gloves, IMO solely because he was a rich celebrity with powerful industry connections, probably powerful and influential enough to ensure the case was quickly closed and he got "special treatment" because of his status.   

In the real world, he would have been taken to the police station for a formal statement under oath, a lie detector test, a blood sample for alcohol/drugs, and fingernail/hair samples to compare with those on the body and to see if her DNA was on him because he pulled her hair, scratched her in a violent fight.  If any or all that evidence came back positive, he would probably have been charged in her death on the spot.   All I know is that any "average Joe" (non-celebrity with low or average income) who argued with his wife (who couldn't swim and was terrified of water) the night before her body washes up on shore the very next morning, covered in bruises, who failed to immediately notify authorities that she was missing and refuses to talk to investigators would probably have been arrested and charged in her death.  

I do agree that Lana is a kind of a crackpot.  IMO she is just another publicity-seeker feeding off her sister's fame, exploiting her tragic early death to make $$$  by constantly peddling  stories to the tabloids, publishers, sleazy TV "entertainment" shows on the anniversary of her death.   That said, if my family member had died under suspicious circumstances and the cops treated a logical possible suspect  and others at the scene with kid gloves, I would be pretty angry, too (case in point, Nicole Simpson's family).  Also, none of Lana's actions mitigates or dismisses legitimate questions about the investigation or Wagner's continued refusal to even talk to investigators.   I don't know why Lana and her family didn't just hire a lawyer decades ago to haul Wagner into civil court to force him to testify under oath (like Nicole Simpson's family did; that jury OJ Simpson liable for Nicole's death).  She was probably afraid she might lose and be sued for slander.  But at least Wagner could not have so easily ducked questions/accountability; he would have been forced to answer questions about his actions/inactions under oath.   And I doubt a jury would have bought those dinghy story/defenses.   

Honestly, I doubt he intentionally set out to kill Natalie (with malice aforethought or premeditation).  But he does seem like a troubled, insecure man with a lengthy history of alcohol abuse, infidelity, and a lifelong jealousy over her huge fame, career, and multiple Oscar nominations as his movie career never really panned out (which was reportedly a big factor in her decision to divorce him after the first marriage).   Typical "A Star is Born" syndrome.  LOL  Her death was probably a tragic accident that happened during a drunken, ugly verbal and physical fight.  He may have hit her so hard during a fight that he knocked her overboard or she may have slipped, stumbled in the struggle to fight him off and fell overboard.  He may have been so drunk that he passed out and/or didn't bother to attempt an immediate rescue or call authorities.  The captain and/and Walken may have also been too drunk and/or involved in an assault against her and knocked her overboard as she tried to fight them off.  Who knows?   In any event, Natalie and her family deserved a REAL, serious investigation, not a hasty whitewash, which it appears to have been.  But, as the saying goes, "Justice for the rich and famous is very different than justice for you/I".....:).        

Speaking of your note about Errol Flynn, 2 flicks of his are on TCM today:  Captain Blood and Robin Hood (with another of my favorites, the great Olivia De Havilland).  

THANKS TCM for these great film tributes to Natalie and Olivia this weekend!  Much needed break from the usual pandemic/political news!!

 

 

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Tuesday, August 25

Anne Shirley

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2:15 p.m.  Mother Carey’s Chickens (1938).  Quite the cast.  Anne Shirley, Fay Bainter, Ruby Keeler, Walter Brennan, Virginia Weidler and Margaret Hamilton.

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11 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

Tuesday, August 25

Anne Shirley

MV5BY2U4N2VmZjAtN2JkNi00MmQxLWEyMWItNmQ2

2:15 p.m.  Mother Carey’s Chickens (1938).  Quite the cast.  Anne Shirley, Fay Bainter, Ruby Keeler, Walter Brennan, Virginia Weidler and Margaret Hamilton.

I think this is the movie that Katharine Hepburn was offered, she refused, and quit RKO over  it.

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Tomorrow on Anne Shirley day, one of my favorite noir, Murder My Sweet is airing.

Murder My Sweet is a great film and is Dick Powell's first foray into a non-musical role.  I thought he was great as Phillip Marlowe and I also liked seeing Mike Mazurki in a larger role than  just someone's goon.  I thought Claire Trevor was amazing and I really liked Anne Shirley as well.  I wish she had made more films.  This film is also interesting for the really trippy nightmare sequence that Dick Powell's character experiences.

I am recording Chatterbox (1936).  This film features Lucille Ball in a small part and I've never seen it! 

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Wednesday, August 26

Laurence Olivier.  Just too bad it does not include my favourite Best Actor performance of all time - Olivier in Richard III (1955).

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10:30 a.m.  That Hamilton Woman (1941).  With Vivien Leigh.

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