110 posts categorized "Classic movies"

27 July 2015

You can hear them now; just ask

Movies290Do you have trouble hearing your favorite movie stars when you're watching them on the big screen in a theater?

Did you know that most movie house chains now offer listening devices to solve that problem for you and make your movie outing a pleasure again?

Some people who have no hearing loss will likely say something like, "Hey, they already blast the sound in movie houses, what could possibly be the problem?"

To that, you (and I) might reply, "What?"

Of course for many of us, including some who haven't quite admitted it or even faced it yet, hearing loss can take the fun out of going to the movies.

Well, it's time to let the good times roll again.

According to an article posted on the ideasconsultinginc.com website titled "Now Hear This," the solution could be as simple as asking for an assisted listening device at the box office window.

Click here to read the article.

20 July 2015

Raging bull and 'Raging Bull'

RagingBull275
(Courtesy: United Artists)

Thirty-five years ago this month I got paid to review a movie for the first time.

Reluctantly leaving behind semi-stunned family and friends, I ventured south from the relative comfort and financial security of an enjoyable dead-end job in Dallas to pursue a dream to forge a career as a professional film critic.

Looking back, I'm grateful I landed at the Valley Morning Star, a small daily newspaper in sleepy (at the time) Harlingen, located in far South Texas.  The locals and "winter Texans" call it The Valley.

The Valley is not quite Mexico, which my dad used to call Old Mexico, but it's close.  Let's put it this way.  You don't have to stop at a Texas Border Patrol checkpoint going south on Highway. 281, but you do when you're headed north.

I had what they now call a hidden agenda when I took the lowest-rung job (compiling the scoreboard page) in the sports department at the Valley Morning Star.  The world was just waiting for my knowledgeable, witty comments in the world of film criticism.  It was just that no one but me realized it at the time, which was 1980.  April 1, 1980, in fact. 

Yes, I launched the career that has taken me around the U.S. numerous times, to foreign countries including France, Great Britain and Scotland, to the Academy Awards, to a position as film critic for the NBC News Channel and to the Cannes Film Festival (among others) on, uh, April Fools' Day.

Looking back, that explains so much.  But to stay focused here, 1980 was a very good year for quality, memorable movies. The Elephant Man opened that year, and so did The Blues Brothers, Ordinary People and The Shining; you know, the one where a crazed writer played by Jack Nicholson crashes the bathroom door to get to his terrified wife while yelling, "H-E-E-E-E-R-S JOHNNY!"

Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro in a brilliant performance as raging  boxer-with-issues JaKe LaMotta, opened in December that year.  In my humble opinion, Raging Bull exploded on the screen as the finest film of the decade.

My first review, however, was none of those.

It took me about three months to convince the extremely understanding folks at the Valley Morning Star that what their already fine newspaper needed was a film critic.  So on the morning of July 2, I -- with notepad and Mild Duds in hand -- took a seat in a Harlingen movie house to review Airplane!

Airplane290
(Courtesy: Paramount Pictures)

For those who may not be familiar with the wildly comic spoof of every airplane disaster movie (but especially Zero Hour) that had come before, co-writers and co-directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker pulled out all the stops from wordplay jokes ("Surely you can't be serious."  "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.") to physical humor like a line of passengers (including a nun with a mean right slap) taking turns to "convince" a hysterical female passenger to get a grip.

I had no idea what the filmmakers and hilarious co-stars Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty and Peter Graves were doing, except that it appeared everyone was channeling the Marx Bros. and somehow justifying mayhem and silliness for a new era.

I managed to hold on to my notepad, which examined later was a jumbled mess of wildly drawn lines and OMG! before OMG was cool (if it really is or ever was).  It may also be the only time in 35 years of reviewing movies that I ever dropped a Milk Dud.

I realized before the lights even came up that I had a decision to make.  Airplane! was clearly either a revolutionary new high in lowbrow comedy, or the dumbest movie I had ever seen.

Luckily, I went with both gut feelings.  Airplane! landed a spot in cinematic history as just that, a cutting-edge dose of lunacy that has inspired scores of imitators.

Recollection of experiences like that and other stops along the path of an entertainment journalist specializing in cinema forged what has become Movie Memories, the public speaking chapter of a life often best lived in the dark.

Mild Duds, anyone?

           

17 July 2015

Thanks for the Movie Memories

Madison350Thanks to all the fine folks over at Madison Estates in San Antonio for the warm, enthusiastic reception to my Movie Memories presentation "Movies Set in the Lone Star State" Thursday evening.

I was overwhelmed by the great turnout as we began and ended our cinematic journey with Alamo movies; John Wayne's classic of 1960 and the more recent 2004 version, directed by Texan John Lee Hancock and featuring Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett.

In between, we discussed almost a dozen more movies set in Texas.  One of the ladies in the audience had just two words to say about the trailer of Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 black-and-white gem The Last Picture Show, shot in Archer City and based on Larry McMurtry's novel.

All she had to say was, "Ben Johnson," out of respect for the great character actor and his stunning performance as Sam the Lion.

 

Thanks again, all the folks at Madison Estates.  It was a great night of Movie Memories.  See you all in August for one of my favorite presentations, "The Best Movies You've Never Heard Of."

Want to catch some classic films on TV?

Thinking about taking a trip soon?

Strangers290
(Courtesy: Warner Bros.)

You might think twice about getting too chatty with the stranger who sits down next to you, especially if you follow my advice and check out Alfred Hitchcock's superb 1951 crime-thriller Strangers on a Train, which airs Friday at 3:45 p.m. on TCM.

That's the first suggestion in this week's Movie Memories guide to classic films on TV.  Remember, all times listed here are Central Daylight Time.  (Check your local listings.)

It all seems innocent enough at first in Strangers on a Train.  After chitchatting for a while, two train passengers (Farley Granger and Robert Walker) eventually get around to coming up with a surefire double murder plot.  Bruno (Walker) has someone he'd like to see gone, and, as it turns out, so does Guy (Granger).

Idle talk, on what seems like it at first, leads to intrigue, some of the finest black and white cinematography you'll see (Oscar nominated, in fact) and a signature cameo by director Alfred Hitchcock himself.  Look for Hitchcock as the portly fellow boarding the train with a double bass.

 

Lolita265
(Courtesy: MGM)

Speaking of relationships that are and appear to be flirting with danger, James Mason portrays a college professor infatuated by a 14-year-old girl in Stanley Kubrick's taboo-flaunting romantic-drama Lolita.  Based on Vladimir Nabokov's novel, Lolita heats up TV screens Saturday at 4:15 p.m. on TCM.

Guys and Dolls, the musical-comedy starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra, airs at 12:15 p.m. Sunday on TCM.

Brando admitted in interviews after the film came out that it took quite a bit of editing to get his singing on Luck Be a Lady anywhere near presentable.

One of the great silent classics, Metropolis of 1926, takes over TCM Sunday at 7 p.m.  Fritz Lang's silent sci-fi drama about a futuristic city in turmoil is a must-see, especially for those who have never seen it.

Also:  Errol Flynn swashes and buckles for the first time on screen in the pirate adventure Captain Blood (1935), airing at 5 a.m. Saturday on TCM; and you'll get another powerful dose of film noir in the 1957 drama Sweet Smell of Success, which showcases Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis and lights up MGM HD Saturday at 5 p.m.

If I had to pick just one to enjoy this week, however, I think I'd tune to TCM at 7 p.m. Saturday and catch Robert Redford in the title role as The Candidate (1972).

Peter Boyle and Melvyn Douglas are among the co-stars in the tale of an attorney (Redford) running for the U.S. Senate.  He's a do-gooder, so the question is whether or not he can maintain his integrity over the long haul.

It is, after all, the political season once again.  Or haven't you noticed?

14 July 2015

Classic films to catch on TV this week

Strangers290
(Courtesy: Warner Bros.)

Going on a trip soon?

You might think twice about getting too chatty with the stranger who sits down next to you, especially if you follow my advice and check out Alfred Hitchcock's superb 1951 crime-thriller Strangers on a Train, which airs Friday at 3:45 p.m. on TCM.

That's the first suggestion in this week's Movie Memories guide to classic films on TV.  Remember, all times listed here are Central Daylight Time.  (Check your local listings.)

It all seems innocent enough at first in Strangers on a Train.  After chitchatting for a while, two train passengers (Farley Granger and Robert Walker) eventually get around to coming up with a surefire double murder plot.  Bruno (Walker) has someone he'd like to see gone, and, as it turns out, so does Guy (Granger).

Idle talk, on what seems like it at first, leads to intrigue, some of the finest black and white cinematography you'll see (Oscar nominated, in fact) and a signature cameo by director Alfred Hitchcock himself.  Look for Hitchcock as the portly fellow boarding the train with a double bass.

If you're in the mood for something diametrically opposite of Hitchcock's subtle film noir, you might want to get down to business with Dennis Quaid as he gets under the rock 'n roll skin of Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls of Fire!

Quaid, like his cinematic inspiration in real life, would very much like to shake your nerves and rattle your brain in the 1989 biopic of highly controversial rocker Lewis directed by Jim McBride and co-starring Winona Ryder as Lewis' young object of affection.

Goodness gracious, Great Balls of Fire! airs at 6:55 p.m. Wednesday on MGM HD.

  

Lolita265
(Courtesy: MGM)

Speaking of relationships that are and appear to be flirting with danger, James Mason portrays a college professor infatuated by a 14-year-old girl in Stanley Kubrick's taboo-flaunting romantic-drama Lolita.  Based on Vladimir Nabokov's novel, Lolita heats up TV screens Saturday at 4:15 p.m. on TCM.

Guys and Dolls, the musical-comedy starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra, airs at 12:15 p.m. Sunday on TCM.

Brando admitted in interviews after the film came out that it took quite a bit of editing to get his singing on Luck Be a Lady anywhere near presentable.

One of the great silent classics, Metropolis of 1926, takes over TCM Sunday at 7 p.m.  Fritz Lang's silent sci-fi drama about a futuristic city in turmoil is a must-see, especially for those who have never seen it.

Also:  John Wayne's on the trail of a Civil War traitor in Howard Hawks' classic Western Rio Lobo (1970) at 1 a.m. Friday on TCM; Errol Flynn swashes and buckles for the first time on screen in the pirate adventure Captain Blood (1935), airing at 5 a.m. Saturday on TCM; and you'll get another powerful dose of film noir in the 1957 drama Sweet Smell of Success, which showcases Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis and lights up MGM HD Saturday at 5 p.m.

If I had to pick just one to enjoy this week, however, I think I'd tune to TCM at 7 p.m. Saturday and catch Robert Redford in the title role as The Candidate (1972).

Peter Boyle and Melvyn Douglas are among the co-stars in the tale of an attorney (Redford) running for the U.S. Senate.  He's a do-gooder, so the question is whether or not he can maintain his integrity over the long haul.

It is, after all, the political season once again.  Or haven't you noticed?

        

10 July 2015

R.I.P.: Omar Sharif

OmarFunnyGirl275
Omar Sharif and Barbra Streisand in "Funny Girl." (Columbia Pictures)

In the outstanding Broadway musical-turned movie Funny Girl (1968), vaudeville star Fanny Brice (Barbra Streisand) calls good-looking gambler, future husband Nick Arnstein (Omar Sharif) "My first ruffled shirt."

I have no idea why that line has stuck with me for 47 years.  But it has.

And now, the news this morning that Sharif, the Franco-Arabic actor most will remember from David Lean's sweeping epic Lawrence of Arabia (1962), has died of a reported heart attack at 83.

BBC News is reporting that Sharif passed away in a Cairo hotel room.

"Egypt-born Sharif won two Golden Globe awards and an Oscar nomination for his role as Sherif Ali in David Lean's 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia.

He won a further Golden Globe three years later for Doctor Zhivago.

Earlier this year, his agent confirmed he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

His agent Steve Kenis said: 'He suffered a heart attack this afternoon in a hospital in Cairo,'" the BBC post reported.

07 July 2015

All we have to fear is ... Look out!

MaskMan265
(Courtesy: halloween-masks.com)
Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

That sounds good, but the only president to be elected to the White House four times never saw my older brother slip on his old-man mask, or false face, as my grandmother used to call them, and terrorize your humble scribe.
 
We run into fear quite often while we're safely sequestered (relatively speaking) in darkened movie theaters.  Usually, of course, the square-jawed heroes of the big screen do a pretty decent job of dispatching the evil forces before the end credits.
 
As I mention in the latest edition of my Getting Reel column in The Senior Voice newspaper, though, when you're a kid and your older brother likes to taunt you with an old-man false face, fear can send chills up your spine in the sanctity of your own bedroom.
 
The article begins with a simple question:  What scares you?
 
Click here to read my Getting Reel column about what makes us shiver with fright in the dark.

The classic movie what to watch watch

DayEarth275
Gort, the enforcer robot, left, and Klaatu (Michael Rennie) in "The Day the Earth Stood Still." (20th Century Fox)
As usual, I've checked out the various classic movie channels to guide you through some highlights of what you might want to watch this week when it comes to classic films on TV.
 
There's no lack of delightful and/or dramatic and/or even sci-fi classics from which to choose.  I'm most excited about the eerie 1951 gem The Day the Earth Stood Still, airing Thursday at midnight (all times Central Daylight) on TCM.
 
Michael Rennie is out front as the alien Klaatu, who lands on Earth packing a stern warning and a heavy-metal enforcer robot named Gort.
 
Hitting the screen on the heels of World War II, The Day the Earth Stood Still, directed by Robert Wise (The Sound of Music, West Side Story), gets a little preachy about how Earthlings need to just get along or else, and it's a deadly OR ELSE.
 
Patricia Neal, who would win her only Academy Award a decade later trying to fight off Paul Newman's romantic advances in Hud (1963), is very good here as a World War II widow trying to raise a son and falling for an extremely mysterious stranger.
 
This is also the week that cinematic classics take us to heaven and Hades.  In the dramatic comic-fantasy Heaven Can Wait, circa 1943 and directed by Ernst Lubitsch, a playboy played by Don Ameche arrives at the gates of hell and may or may not be up to hell's standards, or should we say down to hell's standards?
 
To find out, tune to TCM Wednesday at 9:45 a.m.
 
But wait, as they say on those nauseating TV commercials, there's more.  In Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), Sunday at 11 a.m. on TCM, a boxer played by Robert Montgomery is sent to heaven 50 years early by mistake and must return to Earth as a millionaire playboy.
 
Just don't confuse Here Comes Mr. Jordan or its 1978 remake Heaven Can Wait (starring Warren Beatty) with the the Heaven Can Wait of 1943.  They are as different as, well, heaven and that other place.  You know, down there.
 
For me, another must-see this week is The Shop Around the Corner, the quirky romantic-comedy pairing Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.  Also directed by Ernst Lubitsch (Heaven Can Wait, 1943), The Shop Around the Corner (Saturday at 7 p.m. on TCM) weaves a tangled tale of pen-pal romance involving co-workers who are quite sure they can't stand each other. 
 
Alfred Hitchcock fans might want to check out Cary Grant in North By Northwest Wednesday at 9 p.m. on TCM, while fans of Westerns have a couple to choose from this week.
 
John Ford's How the West Was Won, starring Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Gregory Peck, hits the small screen on TCM at 11 a.m. Saturday, and Wayne hits the trail in a monumental cattle drive in Howard Hawks' Red River (1948), also starring Montgomery Clift and Joanne Dru, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on MGM HD.
 
If I had to pick just one, though, I'd be watching for an alien spacecraft hovering above Washington, D.C. in The Day the Earth Stood Still at midnight Thursday on TCM.
 
 

29 June 2015

Classic films on TV: Watch this!

Yankee260
(Courtesy: Warner Bros.)

I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy,

A Yankee Doodle, do or die;

A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam,

Born on the Fourth of July.

If those song lyrics sound familiar, you may be ready for this weekend's Fourth of July celebration in your area and my choice for one of the key classic movies to take in this week in the comfort of your own home.

Airing, appropriately enough, at 7 p.m. Saturday (the Fourth of July) on TCM, Yankee Doodle Dandy isn't just a great cinematic interpretation of song and dance man, playwright and actor George M. Cohan, performed brilliantly by James Cagney, it also stands as the movie that earned Cagney his only Academy Award.  (Note:  All times listed are Central Daylight Time.)

It may not deal with all the highs and lows of Cohan's amazing life and career, but it captures the diehard spirit of a patriot who could rally the troops (both military and civilian) and who, as evidenced by Cagney's performance, could dance up the walls during the song The Yankee Doodle Boy, which I thought, until a year or two ago, was titled Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Perhaps you're looking for something a little edgier to celebrate your Independence Day weekend?

Got you covered:  Over on AMC, Jaws will be terrorizing the cinematic beach Friday with a trio of flicks, beginning with the original Jaws (1975), Steven Spielberg's masterpiece-with-bite, at 11 a.m.

The blood in the water continues at 2 with Jaws 2 (1978) and wraps up at 4:30 with Jaws 3-D (1983).  Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water, AMC rinses and repeats Jaws 1 and 2 beginning at 6:45.

Once we get past the Independence Day theme, there are some really terrific classic movies airing this week.  One of my favorites is Little Big Man, Arthur Penn's sweeping comic-historical-drama starring Dustin Hoffman as Jack Crabb, a 121-year-old man looking back over his long life and incredible history, including becoming a scout for Gen. George Armstrong Custer.

Little Big Man lights up your TV screens at 9 p.m. Wednesday on TCM

And getting back to James Cagney for a second, the perfect cinematic tough guy turns up the White Heat (1949) at 5 p.m. Friday on TCM.  If you've never seen the "Make it Ma, top of the world" finale to White Heat, this becomes a must-see.

If something a little tamer sounds better, you can catch Lucille Ball as quick-witted eccentric Mame Dennis in the classic musical Mame (1974) at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on TCM.

And now for a couple personal favorites:  I've already set our DVR to record at 2 p.m. Sunday on TCM.  That's when Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift team up for the dramatic romantic-modern Western The Misfits, directed by John Huston from Arthur Miller's screenplay.

If I was only going to see once classic movie this week, however, it would have to be Charlie Chaplin's historic classic edgy comedy The Great Dictator (1940), which airs Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on TCM.

Chaplin's first full talkie is written and directed by the man himself.  He also heads a cast that includes Paulette Goddard and Jack Oakie.  Chaplin plays Dictator Adenoid Hynkel, who's a dead ringer for a humble Jewish barber (also Chaplin).

The Great Dictator was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture, best actor (Chaplin) and best writing, original screenplay for Chaplin.

     

22 June 2015

Classic flicks on TV this week

Graduate280
(Courtesy: Embassy Pictures)

"Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me.  Aren't you?"

Don't worry Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman), you weren't misreading those signs.  Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson is definitely trying to seduce you in, The Graduate, Mike Nichols' 1967 gem of a comic-drama-romance.

And she'll do it again Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (Central) on the Sundance TV classic movie cable channel.

The Graduate, which earned Nichols a best director Oscar and drew nominations for best picture, actor (Hoffman), actress (Bancroft) and supporting actress (Katharine Ross), just to name a few. is just one of several films I'm highlighting this week in my pleasant journey through the classic movie TV channels to make your weekly hunt for the best of the best quick, easy and enjoyable.

Before we get too far into this week's search, though, let me remind you that the times listed here are all Central Daylight Time.  Please check your local listings carefully.

Early risers and/or those handy with their TV recording device will also want to catch Dodsworth Sunday at 5 a.m. on TCM.  Directed by William Wyler, Dodsworth co-stars Walter Huston (John Huston's father and Anjelica Huston's grandfather) and Ruth Chatterton as a couple going through a mid-to-late-marriage crisis.

Would you like to see Tom Cruise in what I consider the fading superstar's finest acting performance?  That's easy.  Just be sure to catch Cruise taking on the persona of paralyzed Vietnam War vet Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. on the Sundance TV channel.  If you miss it Tuesday, no worries, it repeats Wednesday at 11:30 p.m., also on Sundance TV.

Directed by Oliver Stone, this gritty coming home war-drama of 1989 really gives Cruise a chance to stretch as an actor.  In fact, Cruise earned his first Oscar nomination for this gritty performance as Kovic, who became an anti-war activist.

 

If you haven't seen the offbeat, grisly drama Sling Blade (1996) written by, directed by and starring Billy Bob Thornton as, shall we say, unstable simple man Karl Childers, do not miss it Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. on Sundance TV.

Let's just say that once you see Thornton as the formerly institutionalized "gentle man" who loves "French fried taters," you are not likely to soon forget him.

Cinematic baseballs fans have a chance at a pretty impressive tripleheader this week.   Dennis Quaid gets under the skin of "old guy" Major League Baseball rookie Jimmy Morris in The Rookie (2002) on AMC Tuesday at 10 p.m.

But that's just the warm-up.   Kevin Costner is outstanding in his corn fields and hears voices that encourage him to build a baseball diamond in Field of Dreams (1989) Thursday at 7 p.m. on AMC.  Also, Robert Redford plays the title character in Barry Levinson's 1984 classic The Natural Sunday at noon on Sundance TV. 

I also like Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan in the fantasy prison-drama The Green Mile (1999) airing at noon Wednesday on AMC and Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous starring Billy Crudup and Kate Hudson (2000) Saturday at 11:45 a.m. on Sundance TV.

And what a pleasant surprise it was to discover that one of my favorite ensemble romantic comic-dramas of all time, Love Actually, lights up the small screen Friday at noon on Sundance TV.

Don't let the Christmas theme discourage you.  In fact, go with it.  This is an enchanting, edgy tale of eight couples dealing with the entanglements of romance in very loosely related tales.  And what a cast.  Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley and the great Bill Nighy are just the tip of the iceberg.

In fact, if I had to pick just one classic film to revisit this week, it would actually be Love Actually.

 

19 June 2015

Tropical Depression Bill blues buster

Got the Tropical Depression Bill blues?

Yeah, me too.  How about some entertaining classic movies to watch until the storm (emotional and real) subsides?

Here are some updated suggestions from the somewhat new Movie Memories with Larry Ratliff feature titled Classic Movies on TV This Week.

DorianGray280
(Courtesy: MGM)

Who needs Botox when we've got movies like The Picture of Dorian Gray?  George Sanders, Donna Reed and Angela Lansbury are on screen in this eerie mix of drama, fantasy and horror.

It is Hurd Hatfield who plays the tormented, but never-aging womanizer in director Albert Lewin's 1945 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's wild novel.

Mr. Gray, you see, never ages, but the portrait of him locked away in a special room does.  It turns into quite a grotesque demon, in fact. 

Well, you just have to see for yourself how it all works out.  The Picture of Dorian Gray airs at 7 p.m. Saturday on TCM.  (Please check local listings to confirm the time.)

I also like Get Shorty (1995), which is set for 5 p.m. Friday on MGM HD.  It's great to see John Travolta and Gene Hackman chewing the scenery in this comic crime-thriller also featuring Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, Dennis Farina and James Gandolfini based on Elmore Leonard's novel.

Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, Wild Wild West), one of Hollywood's most underrated directors, calls the shots.

Also, today (Friday) is a big day for Bill Murray fans.  AMC has loaded its schedule with a triple load of Bill; Murray, not the tropical depression.  Mr. Murray defends our country, sort of, in Stripes at 1:30 p.m., attacks a pesky rodent on the golf course in Caddyshack (a personal favorite) at 7 and sees apparitions of dead folks in the first Ghostbusters at 9.

 

If I were just going to see one this week, though, I guess I'd still have to dust off The Picture of Dorian Gray (Saturday night at 7 on TCM).

 

15 June 2015

Special invite/Classic films this week

EO464

Before we get to this week's guide to classic movies on television, I would like to personally invite you to a very special event in San Antonio Thursday evening at 6:30.

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Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy in "Father of the Bride." (MGM)

Help us celebrate the grand opening of the brand-spanking new Emerald Oaks Retirement Resort, the state-of-the-art 55-and-over retirement community at 20302 Bulverde Rd. north of Loop 1604 on the Alamo City's North Side.  I'll be onstage to inaugurate the spectacular theater that seats 150 in plush, stadium seating coolness.

My topic is my Movie Memories presentation titled "Father Knows Best, Or Does He?" and you can expect film clips from classic films such as Father of the Bride and To Kill a Mockingbird.  But that's just the beginning.

There will be movies that I hope will surprise and delight you as we search for the most fantastic fathers -- and perhaps an offbeat guy or two -- in movie history.  I can promise a fun-filled evening full of clips and quips that's a perfect tuneup for Father's Day.

Admission is free, but seating is limited and RSVP is required.  Please call 210-740-8105 today to reserve your seats.  Tell them Larry sent you.

I look forward to seeing you Thursday at Emerald Oaks!

Classic movies on TV this week

Looking for some good classic movies to watch this week at home?  Well, I've got some suggestions in the latest weekly feature from Movie Memories with Larry Ratliff.

DorianGray280
(Courtesy: MGM)

First up:  A question.  Who needs Botox when we've got movies like The Picture of Dorian Gray?  George Sanders, Donna Reed and Angela Lansbury are on screen in this eerie mix of drama, fantasy and horror.

It is Hurd Hatfield who plays the tormented, but never-aging womanizer in director Albert Lewin's 1945 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's wild novel.

Mr. Gray, you see, never ages, but the portrait of him locked away in a special room does.  It turns into quite a grotesque demon, in fact. 

Well, you just have to see for yourself how it all works out.  The Picture of Dorian Gray airs at 7 p.m. Saturday on TCM.  (Please check local listings to confirm the time.)

I also like Get Shorty (1995), which is set for 5 p.m. Friday on MGM HD.  It's great to see John Travolta and Gene Hackman chewing the scenery in this comic crime-thriller also featuring Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, Dennis Farina and James Gandolfini based on Elmore Leonard's novel.

Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, Wild Wild West), one of Hollywood's most underrated directors, calls the shots.

Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier take center stage in Stanley Kramer's comic-drama classic Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? (1967) at 7 p.m. Thursday on TCM.  Tracy huffs and puffs a lot, at least at first, when daughter Joey (Katharine Houghton) brings home an unexpected fiance.

Murder, deceit and romance are the name of the game in the original 1946 version of The Postman Always Rings Twice set for 5 a.m. (Yes, a.m.) Friday on TCM.  John Garfield plays the handsome stranger who drifts into town and woos a married woman portrayed by sultry Lana Turner in this one.

And if you enjoy a good submarine action war drama, you could do a lot worse than Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), pairing Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster.  This is my choice this week for night owls and insomniacs.  Run Silent, Run Deep ships out at 1 a.m. Wednesday on MGM HD.

If I were just going to see one this week, I guess I'd have to dust off The Picture of Dorian Gray (Saturday night at 7 on TCM).