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I'll Take 'Trivia, TV and TV Trivia' For A Thousand, Please, Alex by Lisa Ciurro
Kiddie Matinee Memories – Part 1 by ED Tucker
DVD Grindhouse: The Vampire's Coffin (1958) by Andy Lalino
Mr. Bungle: California by Bobby Tyler & Jake Tipton
From Green & Gold To Green & White .... Nfl: No Fun League .... King James To Europe? .... Madden 09 Releases .... Favre Sets Another Record Without Playing .... Rays On Fire .... Fox 13 .... r by Chris Munger
Really, This Song Sucks! .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... Viva Las Vegas! .... Welcome Aboard .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1980 Should Have Gone To... e by Mike Smith
|Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review|
I'll Take 'Trivia, TV and TV Trivia' For A Thousand, Please, Alex I don’t like the month of August very much. It’s too hot, there aren’t any holidays, and almost everyone is either gearing up for going back to school or helping their children get ready for school. A lot of companies, like the one I where I work, end their fiscal years in August, which means a mad scramble – and long hours – to finish all the projects and assignments that are due on September 1. (That’s why this column is so late this week.)
Thank goodness for Turner Classic Movies. August is Summer Under the Stars over at TCM, with each day of the month dedicated to a different actor. I always record more movies than I could ever hope to watch, but I enjoy searching the TCM schedule to see what actors are profiled and which films are screened.
Here are some of the items on the August TCM schedule that caught my eye, along with some useless trivia and comments thrown in for good measure:
[Apologies to fans of Michael Caine (8/1), Charlie Chaplin (8/2), Gregory Peck (8/3), Marie Dressler (8/4), Claude Rains (8/5), Anne Bancroft (8/6), and Greta Garbo (8/7).]
Friday, August 8 – James Garner
No, he’s not Jennifer Garner’s father. Yes, he’s done more than The Rockford Files. Or Maverick. Or those Polaroid commercials with Mariette Hartley.
9:45 p.m. Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971) A con artist poses as a notorious hired gun. Cast: James Garner, Suzanne Pleshette, Jack Elam. Dir: Burt Kennedy. (92 min)
Suzanne Pleshette! I’m sold.
5 a.m. Private Screenings:James Garner (2001) James Garner appears with Robert Osborne to discuss his extensive film career. (54 min)
FANGRRL like documentaries.
Saturday, August 9 – Fred MacMurray
Rumored to be the visual inspiration for the original illustrations of Captain Marvel.
7:15 a.m. The Shaggy Dog (1959) An ancient spell turns a teenager into a large sheep dog. Cast: Fred MacMurray, Jean Hagen, Tommy Kirk. Dir: Charles Barton. (102 min)
Will I enjoy this as much as I did in the mid-70s? I doubt it, but you’ll never know unless you try.
9 a.m. The Absent Minded Professor (1961) A college professor fights off corrupt businessmen to market his new anti-gravity invention. Cast: Fred MacMurray, Nancy Olson, Keenan Wynn. Dir: Robert Stevenson. (96 min)
Same question as above.
8 p.m. The Apartment (1960) An aspiring executive lets his bosses use his apartment for assignations, only to fall for the big chief's mistress. Cast: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray. Dir: Billy Wilder. (125 min)
I forgot that MacMurray was even in this movie!
Sunday, August 10 – Doris Day
Good actress, great singer. Not so good with picking husbands. (Married four times; first one committed suicide, third one almost bankrupted her.)
8 p.m. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) International spies kidnap a doctor's son when he stumbles on their assassination plot. Cast: James Stewart, Doris Day. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. (120 min)
One of Hitchcock’s underrated films that deserves more attention.
4:15 a.m. Julie (1956) A stewardess is stalked by her psychotic estranged husband. Cast: Doris Day, Louis Jourdan, Barry Sullivan. Dir: Andrew L. Stone. (98 min)
I saw this several years ago, but can’t remember much about it now. Hmm. Too bad TCM’s not showing the thriller Midnight Lace with Doris Day and Ray Milland. Oh well…it’s nice to see Day in a non-singing, non-cheerful role.
Monday, August 11 – Richard Widmark
One of the many talented actors who died in 2008. Widmark’s daughter was married to baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax in the 70s.
10 a.m. The Cobweb (1955) Inmates and staff at a posh asylum clash over love and lunacy. Cast: Richard Widmark, Lauren Bacall, Gloria Grahame. Dir: Vincente Minnelli. (124 min)
You had me at “posh asylum.”
2:30 p.m. Time Limit (1957) An officer is court-martialed under suspicion of collaborating with the North Koreans. Cast: Richard Widmark, Richard Basehart, June Lockhart. Dir: Karl Malden. (97 min)
Directed by Karl Malden? The actor? I didn’t know he was a director too. Am I the only one who doesn’t know that?
4 a.m. Coma (1978) A lady doctor investigates a series of strange deaths and disappearing bodies at her hospital. Cast: Genevieve Bujold, Michael Douglas, Elizabeth Ashley, Richard Widmark. Dir: Michael Crichton. (113 min)
Apparently this description was written in 1978 too. A “lady doctor”? Really??
Tuesday, August 12 – Kim Novak
Gorgeous, of course, but can she act? I don’t know. I’ve never been a big Novak fan and haven’t watched enough of her movies to know. I’ve read that she turned down the Holly Golightly role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
11:15 p.m. Vertigo (1958) A detective falls for the mysterious woman he's been hired to tail. Cast: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. (130 min)
I don’t understand the appeal of this film. It’s one of my least favorite Hitchcock films. Still, though, it’s Hitchcock, so it goes on the list.
1:30 a.m. The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968) An obsessed movie director grooms an unknown to play his deceased movie-star wife. Cast: Kim Novak, Peter Finch, Ernest Borgnine. Dir: Robert Aldrich. (130 min)
Kinda sounds like Novak’s role in Vertigo, doesn’t it?
Wednesday, August 13 – Peter Lorre
Creepy only on screen. Off screen he helped several Jewish friends escape from Europe in the 30s-40s.
8 p.m. Mad Love (1935) A mad doctor grafts the hands of a murderer on to a concert pianist's wrists. Cast: Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive. Dir: Karl Freund. (68 min)
Lorre’s first American film. Not to mention there’s rogue hand grafting by a mad doctor.
12:15 a.m. The Mask of Dimitrios (1944) A meek novelist investigates the mysterious death of a notorious scoundrel. Cast: Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Zachary Scott. Dir: Jean Negulesco. (96 min)
Mysterious death. Say no more.
2 a.m. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) A renegade sea captain uses a pioneering submarine to force peace on the world. Cast: Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas. Dir: Richard Fleischer. (127 min)
No explanation necessary.
Thursday, August 14 – Greer Garson
She gave the College of Santa Fe several million dollars to build a theater, but only if they agreed to certain conditions, one of which was to build large ladies’ rooms. I knew there was a reason I liked her.
2 p.m. The Miniver Story (1950) A brave family comes together in the face of post-war problems. Cast: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Cathy O'Donnell. Dir: H.C. Potter. (104 min)
Apparently there’s a sequel to Mrs. Miniver, the movie for which Garson won an Oscar. Who knew?
10 p.m. Random Harvest (1942) A woman's happiness is threatened when she discovers her husband has been suffering from amnesia. Cast: Greer Garson, Ronald Colman, Susan Peters. Dir: Mervyn LeRoy. (127 min)
A spouse with amnesia would be a bad thing why exactly?
Friday, August 15 – Rita Hayworth
Glorious, gorgeous Gilda. Portrayed by Lynda Carter in a biopic in the 80s. (Wow.)
1:30 p.m. The Money Trap (1966) A cop with financial problems turns crooked. Cast: Glenn Ford, Rita Hayworth, Elke Sommer. Dir: Burt Kennedy. (92 min)
Not The Money Pit. Totally different movie.
9:45 p.m. Gilda (1946) A gambler discovers an old flame in South America, but she's married to his new boss. Cast: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready. Dir: Charles Vidor. (110 min)
Does the plot of this movie make sense to anyone? I’m putting the blame on Mame.
2 a.m. Rita (2003) A documentary on the life story and experiences of Rita Hayworth told through film clips and stills, archival footage, dramatic re-enactments and interviews.
FANGRRL still like documentaries.
Saturday, August 16 – Fred Astaire
Born in Nebraska. How’s that for trivia?
9:15 a.m. The Fred Astaire Songbook (1991) A loving tribute to Astaire the singer. Dir: Carol Burnett, David Heeley. (64 min)
FANGRRL like tributes too.
12:30 p.m. Silk Stockings (1957) A straitlaced Soviet agent is seduced by Paris and a high-stepping film producer. Cast: Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Janis Paige. Dir: Rouben Mamoulian. (118 min)
I’m watching this just to see Cyd Charisse, who passed away only a few months ago.
Sunday, August 17 – Gene Kelly
Leslie Caron wouldn’t have a career without Kelly, who discovered her and gave her a role in his movie An American in Paris.
8:30 a.m. Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer (2002) Documentary with clips and commentary from fellow actors on the life and career of Gene Kelly. Interviews with Cyd Charisse, Leslie Caron and Betty Garrett. Dir: Robert Trachtenberg. (85 min)
Monday, August 18 – Jack Palance
He could do one-handed push-ups…oh wait, everybody knows about that.
6 a.m. Man in the Attic (1953) A landlady suspects her mysterious new tenant is Jack the Ripper. Cast: Jack Palance, Constance Smith, Frances Bavier. Dir: Hugo Fregonese. (82 min)
Jack Palance the Ripper? Sounds promising.
8 p.m. The Big Knife (1955) An unscrupulous movie producer blackmails an unhappy star into signing a new contract. Cast: Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Rod Steiger. Dir: Robert Aldrich. (114 min)
Isn’t the phrase “unscrupulous movie producer” redundant?
Tuesday, August 19 – Barbara Stanwyck
Often overlooked, but thankfully TCM devotes a day to her films every (or almost) August. One of my favorite actresses. I can’t believe TCM isn’t showing Sorry, Wrong Number!
6 a.m. Barbara Stanwyck:Fire and Desire (1991) Barbara Stanwyck's multi-faceted career reveals uncanny reflections of her off-screen life. Cast: Sally Field, Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper. Dir: Richard Schickel. (46 min)
I’m all for documentaries, but is 46 minutes long enough?
9:30 p.m. The File on Thelma Jordon (1950) A woman seduces a district attorney and pulls him into a web of theft and murder. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, Paul Kelly. Dir: Robert Siodmak. (100 min)
Ya gotta watch out for those women, I tell ya, ‘cause they’re always up to something.
12:45 a.m. Crime of Passion (1957) An executive's wife barters sex for her husband's business success. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden, Raymond Burr. Dir: Gerd Oswald. (86 min)
I’m glad my husband doesn’t work forthat company.
Wednesday, August 20 – Edward G. Robinson
An avid art collector. Go figure.
8 p.m. Little Caesar (1930) A small-time hood shoots his way to the top, but how long can he stay there? Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Glenda Farrell. Dir: Mervyn LeRoy. (79 min)
Would it be wrong to watch this while eating pizza?
2:45 a.m. Nightmare (1956) After being hypnotized into committing murder, a young musician has to reconstruct his actions to clear his name. Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Kevin McCarthy, Virginia Christine. Dir: Maxwell Shane. (89 min)
Yet another reason to never volunteer when the magician says he needs someone from the audience.
Thursday, August 21 – Ava Gardner
A good ole Southern gal from North Carolina. MGM spent a small fortune on vocal coaches to help her lose her accent.
10:45 a.m. East Side, West Side (1949) A chic New York couple is torn apart by a seductive model. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason, Ava Gardner. Dir: Mervyn LeRoy. (108 min)
Those damn models can be so unprofessional sometimes.
10 p.m. On the Beach (1959) After a nuclear war, U.S. sailors stationed in Australia deal with the end of civilization. Cast: Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire. Dir: Stanley Kramer. (134 min)
TCM categorizes this as a horror film. I’ve never heard of it, but I’m gonna check it out.
Friday, August 22 – Trevor Howard
Veddy, veddy British character actor. Bonus points if you didn’t immediately say “who?” when you read his name.
6:15 p.m. Green For Danger (1946) A police inspector investigates an operating room death that may be murder. Cast: Sally Gray, Trevor Howard, Alastair Sim. Dir: Sidney Gilliat. (91 min)
“Operating room death” sounds pretty scary to me.
10 p.m. The Third Man (1949) A man's investigation of a friend's death uncovers corruption in post-World War II Vienna. Cast: Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Alida Valli. Dir: Carol Reed. (104 min)
Everyone should see this movie at least once. Or ten times.
Saturday, August 23 – Laurel & Hardy
Ugh. I’m not much of a Laurel & Hardy fan and won’t be recording TCM that day. No offense to any L&H fans out there.
August 24 – Henry Fonda
In 1999, AFI named Fonda the Greatest Male Star of All Time. He was born in Nebraska, like Fred Astaire, and was a Christian Scientist (for a while), like Doris Day.
6:15 p.m. 12 Angry Men (1957) A jury holdout tries to convince his colleagues to vote not guilty. Cast: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall. Dir: Sidney Lumet. (96 min)
Incredibly riveting film that I never get tired of watching.
12 a.m. The Best Man (1964) Two presidential hopefuls get caught up in the dirty side of politics. Cast: Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Lee Tracy. Dir: Franklin J. Schaffner. 102 min)
Great pick for an election year.
Monday, August 25 – Ingrid Bergman
A successful actress who kept her own name and didn’t cap her teeth or change her eyebrows or hairline when the studio exec told her to? Very unusual. Then there was that whole pregnancy-out-of-wedlock scandal with Roberto Rossellini in the 50s...
2 p.m. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) A scientist's investigations into the nature of good and evil turn him into a murderous monster. Cast: Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner. Dir: Victor Fleming. (113min)
Yeah, I know, watching Tracy change from Jeckyll to Hyde looks a little silly by today’s standards, but it’s still a classic.
8 p.m. Notorious (1946) A U.S. agent recruits a German expatriate to infiltrate a Nazi spy ring in Brazil. Cast: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. (101 min)
Best use of red herrings in a Hitchcock film ever.
10 p.m. Spellbound (1945) A psychiatrist tries to help the man she loves solve a murder buried in his subconscious. Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. (118 min)
Another of my least-fave Hitchcock films; but again – it’s a freakin’ Hitchcock film.
Tuesday, August 26 – Janet Leigh
Mother of scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis and the reason that clear shower curtains were invented.
8 p.m. Touch of Evil (1958) A narcotics agent risks his wife's life to investigate a crooked cop. Cast: Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh. Dir: Orson Welles. (111 min)
How have I not seen this movie yet? Oh well. That will soon be remedied.
10 p.m. Psycho (1960) A woman on the run gets mixed up with a repressed young man and his violent mother. Cast: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. (109 min)
See what happens when you steal money, lie to your boss and sleep with John Gavin?
Wednesday, August 27 – Tony Curtis
Finally, thank goodness, TCM has come to its senses and devoted an August day to Tony Curtis. I’ve heard all the arguments against Curtis and I can’t be swayed. I’m a fan. When I had the incredible thrill of meeting him in person a few years ago, he introduced himself by saying “Hi, I’m Tony.” Then he kissed my hand and I almost fainted.
6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Private Screenings:Tony Curtis (1999) TCM host Robert Osborne interviews Tony Curtis on his life and career. Curtis appears in interviews and film clips.
Me like interviews. Me love Tony Curtis interviews.
10:15 p.m. Sweet Smell of Success (1957) A crooked press agent stoops to new depths to help an egotistical columnist break up his sister's romance. Cast: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Martin Milner. Dir: Alexander Mackendrick. (96 min)
And this was before press agents had the internet. Yowsa.
Thursday, August 28 – Charlton Heston
All the top Heston movie lists posted on this site a few months ago are proof that he will be missed. Set your TiVo or VCR to record the entire day. (Ben-Hur is on at 4 p.m. and Soylent Green is at 1:30 a.m.
Friday, August 29 – Marlon Brando
Also born in Nebraska, like Fred Astaire and Henry Fonda on this list. Is there something in the water in Nebraska?
5 p.m. Brandon (2007) The two-part original documentary on the larger-than-life actor's life on-screen and off. Features interviews with Robert Duvall, James Caan, Jane Fonda, Al Pacino and Martin Scorsese. (162 min)
Saturday, August 30 – Katharine Hepburn
A TCM mainstay. Not born in Nebraska.
11:15 a.m. The Dick Cavett Show:Katharine Hepburn (One) (1973)
Katharine Hepburn appears on The Dick Cavett Show in an interview that originally aired September 14, 1973. (68 min)
Hepburn speaks! To the media, that is, for the first interview since … 1940 or so.
10 p.m. The African Queen (1951) A grizzled skipper and a spirited missionary take on the Germans in Africa during World War I. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley. Dir: John Huston. (105 min)
It doesn’t seem like it would work, but it does.
Sunday, August 31 – Spencer Tracy
Oscar trivia buffs know this one: Tracy is one of the very few actors to win Academy Awards two years in a row (for Captains Courageous in 1937 and Boys Town in 1938).
12:45 a.m. Fury (1936) An innocent man escapes a lynch mob then returns for revenge. Cast: Spencer Tracy, Sylvia Sidney, Walter Brennan. Dir: Fritz Lang. (93 min)
I caught this disturbing little film on TCM a few years ago and am looking forward to seeing it again.
p.s. Let me know what happens at the Olympics, will ya? I'll be watching movies for a good long while.
"FANGRRL" is ©2008 by Lisa Ciurro. All graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.
I don’t like the month of August very much. It’s too hot, there aren’t any holidays, and almost everyone is either gearing up for going back to school or helping their children get ready for school. A lot of companies, like the one I where I work, end their fiscal years in August, which means a mad scramble – and long hours – to finish all the projects and assignments that are due on September 1. (That’s why this column is so late this week.)