Back to film school this weekend on Turner Classic Movies. There are quite a few treats, some rare, some not-so-rare, but all worth catching and all much more fun than last-minute Christmas shopping (all times listed are Pacific Standard Time):
Friday, Dec. 17
Bringing Up Baby (1938) Go "all gay" with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and a leopard named Baby in Howard Hawks' manic (and romantic) comedy of sexual sublimation. Not the first screwball comedy made during Hollywood's heyday, but perhaps the juiciest and most revelatory. (6:00pm)
Saturday, Dec. 18
Ice Station Zebra (1968) Positioned right alongside TCM's Scorsese documentary and the documentary Howard Hughes: His Women and His Movies, though admittedly as a sidebar oddity, this popular Cold War submarine thriller from director John Sturges is part of the channel's prep work for Scorsese's upcoming Hughes biopic The Aviator-- it was purportedly Hughes' favorite movie, one he saw perhaps hundreds of times. (Letterboxed; 12:45 am)
The Big Country (1958) Feuding families vie for water rights in the old West in William Wyler's panoramic Western epic. Never one to hold a critical candle to the likes of The Searchers or Rio Bravo, this is a grand entertainment nonetheless. (Letterboxed; 7:00am)
Monkey Business (1952) More Cary Grant screwball antics courtesy of director Howard Hawks. Here, Grant and wife Ginger Rogers regress to childhood as the result of a botched search for the fountain of youth. Marilyn Monroe has a supporting role. (7:15pm)
Clash by Night (1952) An embittered woman seeks escape in marriage, only to fall for her husband's best friend (happened to my wife just last weekend-- kidding!) in Fritz Lang's delirious drama. Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan and, again, Marilyn Monroe. (9:00pm)
(TCM also screens Some Like It Hot, preceding Monkey Business, at 5:00pm, and ends their mini-Monroe fest with her last film, The Misfits, following Clash by Night at 11:00pm.)
Sunday, Dec 19
A terrific Buster Keaton triple feature headlines TCM's Sunday Night Silent Movie program, beginning with The Cameraman (1928) at 9:00pm, followed by a short documentary Buster Keaton: So Funny It Hurt! at 10:15pm, then College (1927) at 11:00pm and ending with the brilliant Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928) at 12:15am. These all recently appeared in a Buster Keaton DVD set, but this is a good opportunity to catch them without laying down the $70 it costs to put them on your shelf.
This has been a very hectic and harried week for me-- very typical pre-Christmas stuff in many ways, but also full of new and constant challenges that pop up in my path on a seemingly hour-by-hour basis. I am preparing some new writing, but with things the way they have been it may be Saturday before any of it actually appears on the blog. I have not given up-- this thing is barely three weeks old, for Hecuba's sake-- and I'm enjoying the challenges and rewards writing in this new format. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by to visit and to read. I hope you will also get used to dropping a line or two in the comments section for the articles, should you be moved to do so.
Whoops-- something else just came across the board: Adrian Beltre just signed with the Seattle Mariners. Looks like I'll have to keep writing about the Dodgers after all, Jennifer (and take off that Padres gear when you log on here, sister...)
More to come!