Saturday, January 29, 2011

This week on... TCM (January 30 - February 5)

TCM's 31 Days Of Oscar series begins on Tuesday, February 1, and it wraps up on Thursday, March 3. TCM has posted their movie schedule as a handy PDF (warning: clicking that link will launch a PDF).

Sunday, January 30, 2011
With Six You Get Eggroll (1968) 8:00 PM - Movie contains Doris Day and Brian Keith but no MSG.
Pandora's Box (1929) 12:00 AM

Monday, January 31, 2011 (theme: Jean Simmons)
So Long At The Fair (1950) 12:00 PM - 'A woman searches for her missing brother in Paris despite the fact that nobody believes he exists.' That's like the movie Le Moustache wherein a moustachioed gent is told that he has never existed after he cleans off his upper lip.
Footsteps In The Fog (1955) 4:30 PM
Breathless (1960) 8:00 PM - Godard's classic with Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo
The Tramp And The Dictator (2002 documentary comparing the 'parallel lives of Charlie Chaplin and Adolph Hitler') 2:00 AM - Narrated by Kenneth Branagh
The Great Dictator (1940) 3:00 AM

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Manhattan Melodrama (1934) 9:30 AM - Myrna Loy chooses between the love of righteous William Powell and rebellious Clark Gable in this noir about a lifelong friendship whose limits are tested in the face of personal principles.
The Thin Man (1934) 11:15 AM
The Great Dictator (1940) 3:00 PM

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Five Easy Pieces (1970) 8:00 PM

Thursday, February 3, 2011
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) 5:30 PM
All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) 10:00 PM

Friday, February 4, 2011
The Heiress (1949) 8:00 PM

Saturday, February 5, 2011
The Awful Truth (1937) 4:30 PM - Super recommended!

Mark your calendars: TCM's Moguls And Movie Stars seven-part documentary series will be released on DVD on April 26, 2011.

Amy Sedaris: Our Googly Eyed Guru

Comedienne Amy Sedaris may be best known for her warped, after school special-inspired series, Strangers With Candy; her off-the-wall David Letterman appearances; and her scene stealing cameos in many popular tv shows and movies. She has also trademarked her special brand of deranged home arts and crafts tutorials in her two best-sellers, I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence (Grand Central Publishing, 2006) and its 2010 follow-up, Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People (Grand Central Publishing). I've long admired her unapologetic wackiness and have continued to champion her first book, I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence. As a close friend and confidante, I encouraged her to write another book, and I think I can single-handedly take credit for the fact that she took me up on that challenge (incidentally, looking back on the letter I wrote her, my ideas included an etiquette book and a style/beauty guide, both of which I am hoping to see as future publications).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

This week on... TCM (January 23 - 28)

Can't believe the first month of 2011 is almost over! It's slim pickins this week on TCM (not to be confused with Slim Pickens).

Sunday, January 23, 2011
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954) 4:30 PM - Bless yore beautiful hide, this is one good musical, especially when you feel like a lonely polecat! Just think about this while you're watching: little Russ Tamblyn is almost 80 years old!
The Palm Beach Story (1942) 6:15 PM

Monday, January 24, 2011
Reflections In A Golden Eye (1967) 2:00 AM - I've watched clips of this Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando film on YouTube, and it looks kind of unpleasant. But it does have Marlon Brando, so I'm obligated to watch whether I like it or not.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Topper (1937) 10:30 PM - With Cary Grant
There Goes My Heart (1938) 12:15 AM

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Topper Returns (1941) 2:45 PM - Without Cary Grant
Taxi, Mister (1943) 7:00 PM
Phantom Lady (1944) 11:30 PM

Thursday, January 27, 2011
Mystery Street (1950) 3:00 PM
Mrs. O'Malley And Mr. Malone (1950) 4:45 PM
Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964) 12:00 AM - Actually, I guess it is Slim Pickens this week, too!

Friday, January 28, 2011
The Odessa File (1974) 10:00 PM - 'A journalist discovers a strange link between his family and a cabal of fugitive Nazis.' Incidentally, so have I! This one stars the Midnight Cowboy and the excellent actor, Maximilian Schell.
Night Of The Lepus (1972) 3:45 AM - Janet Leigh never wins. Here she encounters a bunch of killer rabbits.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

This week on... TCM (January 16-22)

Sunday, January 16, 2011
I'm No Angel (1933) 10:30 AM - with Mae West and Cary Grant
It Should Happen To You (1954) 12:00 PM - A cute romantic comedy with Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon
South Pacific (1958) 1:30 PM
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) 4:15 PM
To Sir, With Love (1967) 6:00 PM
King Of Hearts (Le roi de coeur) (1966) 2:00 AM
How I Won The War (1967) 4:00 AM - Why is this on so late? This is the Richard Lester WWII comedy with John Lennon. I've always wanted to see this, but who starts to watch a movie at 4:00 AM?!

Monday, January 17, 2011
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967) 3:00 PM
Glory (1989) 5:00 PM

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 (theme: Cary Grant! and a night of Screen Directors Playhouse)
Sylvia Scarlett (1935) 6:30 AM - Another bad time! This is the fourth Katharine Hepburn / Cary Grant movie (another George Cukor). First I miss Holiday, and now I'll miss this!
The Toast Of New York (1937) 8:15 AM - with Cary Grant and Frances Farmer
Bringing Up Baby (1938) 10:15 AM
Gunga Din (1939) 12:00 PM
Only Angels Have Wings (1939) 2:00 PM
Night And Day (1946) 4:15 PM - Biography of Cole Porter
Cary Grant: A Class Apart (2004 documentary) 6:30 PM - He sure was! Narrated by Helen Mirren
Screen Directors Playhouse: No. 5 Checked Out (1956) 10:00 PM - In this comedy directed by Ida Lupino, 'a young deaf woman confronts desperate crooks who are using one of her remote resort cabins for a hideout.' With Peter Lorre and Teresa Wright. It sounds similar in premise to Wait Until Dark... or Home Alone, I guess.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 (theme: 24 hours of Charley Chase)
Duck Soup (1933) 12:30 AM

Thursday, January 20, 2011 (theme: Patricia Neal and Peter Sellers)
Psyche 59 (1964) 1:45 PM
The Pink Panther (1964) 8:00 PM
A Shot In The Dark (1964) 10:00 PM
Murder By Death (1976) 12:00 AM - Don't tell me this is no good because I have real high hopes for this one! A criminal madman (Truman Capote) invites the world's greatest detectives for a night of dinner and murder. It stars Peter Falk (as 'Sam Diamond'), Alec Guinness ('Bensonmum'), Elsa Lanchester ('Jessica Marbles'), David Niven and Maggie Smith ('Dick and Dora Charleston'), and Peter Sellers ('Sidney Wang').
The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) 4:00 AM

Friday, January 21, 2011
Black Hand (1950) 4:15 PM - A noir starring Gene Kelly?! 'In turn-of-the-century New York, an Italian seeks vengeance on the mobsters who killed his father.'

Saturday, January 22, 2011
The Uninvited (1944) 10:15 PM - Great supernatural thriller/romance starring Ray Milland

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

America, Be Scented!

First they moved (1895)! - Then they Talked (1927)! - Now they smell!

ran the promos for Scent Of Mystery, a film created to introduce a scentless world to a senseless innovation called Smell-O-Vision championed by producer Mike Todd, Jr. (son of Mike Todd, one of the greatest loves of Elizabeth Taylor's life). Smell-O-Vision was meant to work as a sort of olfactory PA system. Implementation of this marvelous invention required movie theaters to be outfitted with contraptions that were supposed to dispense and disperse smells to coincide with certain scenes of a film. Scents were then piped through these appliances out to the auditorium. Intended smells were either meant to have a character association, as one character was accompanied by the stench of tobacco, and others were meant to complement the action on the screen, as with the gust of 'grape' coinciding with smashing casks of wine. However, it was a half-baked gimmick (much like those of William Castle) beset with technical snafus. First, there was no practical way to control wafting aromas and, often, smells would be stronger in one part of the theater and not reach the other half of the audience on cue. And that was only the tip of the nose! Comedian Henny Youngman joked, "I didn't understand the picture. I had a cold."

Scent Of Mystery was the only film made in Smell-O-Vision, but, unfortunately, this thriller starring Denholm Elliot and Peter Lorre, was a real stinker, and, soon after its release, Smell-O-Vision wafted away to become little more than a cinematic footnote. Today happens to be the fifty-first anniversary of its debut (January 12, 1960). Here are three clips from the movie for Peter Lorre fans: 'I Volunteer', 'Such A Waste', and 'Taxi?'

The marriage of story and scent had a resurgence in the 1980s with John Waters' Odorama, and Scent Of Mystery was later aired utilizing a more portable creation: the scratch and sniff card. Personally, I think Smell-O-Vision is due for a comeback. If home audiences are now falling for the (still schlocky) 3-D craze, then there's surely room for Smell-O-Vision in our home theater systems!

Links of interest:
Lots more (including info about Old Whiff, the cartoon short that accompanied the movie) at
A brief history of Smell-O-Vision at Wired.
Smell-O-Vision vs. Aromarama.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This week on... TCM (January 10 - 15)

Monday, January 10, 2011 (theme: Sal Mineo's birthday -- pictured above in a still from Mission:Impossible)
Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) 2:15 PM
Crime In The Streets (1956) 4:15 PM

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 (theme: 24 hours of Laurel and Hardy -- until 8:00 PM Wednesday)
A Girl, A Guy, And A Gob (1941) 7:45 AM - Come on!
Topper Returns - (1941) 11:00 AM

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 (theme: Laurel and Hardy and Luise Rainer)
Luise Rainer - Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2010) 8 PM (reshown at 11:00 PM) - a live interview with Robert Osborne and the 101 year-old actress

Thursday, January 13, 2011
It's A Date (1940) - 4:45 PM - with Deanna Durbin

Friday, January 14, 2011 (theme: William Bendix... but NO Blue Dahlia!!)
99 River Street (1953) 8:00 PM

Saturday, January 15, 2011
12 Angry Men (1957) 6:00 PM

Movies In Review 2010

2010 was a record-breaking year for movie watching. I saw 219 different film titles in 2010 (not counting multiple viewings), most of them on Turner Classic Movies, the greatest channel that has ever existed. I don't think I've ever watched so many movies in one year ever! None of the movies I watched were actually released in 2010 (the most recent title was Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009), which I watched three times over two days -- once with my Mother who, surprisingly, loved it). I keep a movie log (and a book log, but that's a whole other post) to keep track of all my new discoveries, and I thought I would do a quick run-down of some of the year's highlights. I hope to cover some of these movies soon in my lagging, poorly-named Fluorescerama series where I post pictures and inadequate commentary about movies I've enjoyed. I expect to pick up the slack there eventually so that I can move on to the great films I'll stumble upon in the new year.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

This was the week that almost wasn't... on TCM

This week snuck up on me and nearly passed me by, and I was too disorganized to post a schedule earlier! Luckily, I don't think there was too much to report. The one thing I missed that sounded intriguing was a 1937 short called 'The Romance Of Digestion.' Now I see that it's Robert Benchley, and I should have known. Unlike the reviewer in the above link, I've loved the Robert Benchley shorts. Definitely a precursor to the British series Look Around You.

Friday, January 7, 2011
State Fair (1945) 10:00 PM - This musical stars Blue Boy and takes place in Iowa-y, not Cal-iforn-I-A. Not even O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A (Oklahoma.... YOW!).
Wonderful World Of Tupperware (1959 short) 5:30 AM

Saturday, January 8, 2011
The Glass Key (1942) 8:30 AM - Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd star in another (adaptation of a) Dashiell Hammett story. And, yes, William Bendix is in this one, too! Interestingly, Hugh Beaumont is not in this movie, but Alan Ladd plays a character called Ed Beaumont (also played by George Raft in the 1935 version of The Glass Key).
Another Thin Man (1939) 12:00 PM - This is the one where Nick and Nora have little Nickie who ruins their lives by making Nick drink milk once instead of a martini. Kids!
Tell-Tale Heart (1941 short film) 3:36 PM - This short film directed by Jules Dassin appears as an extra in the Complete Thin Man Collection boxset.
Road To Morocco (1942) 8:00 PM