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This Week on TCM
August 11, 2007

Some notes about what’s showing this upcoming week on Turner Classic Movies:

More Summer Under the Stars with people I’m not sure qualify, or at least those I’m not interested in watching for a day. In order, starting today: Doris Day, Alan Ladd, June Allyson, Ernest Borgnine, Joan Bennett, Elvis Presley, and Maureen O’Hara.

At least there’s a chance to see one of the greatest movies of all time:

Citizen Kane cover
Citizen Kane
Buy this DVD

Citizen Kane (Sunday, 8/12, 6:00 AM ET) — I’d heard about this for years before I saw it, and I thought nothing could live up to its praise, but this does. The first time I saw it was on a dinky 13″ black-and-white portable TV, and it was still engrossing. It truly is one of the top five films ever made. If you’ve never seen it, you should.

Shane (Sunday, 8/12, 8:00 PM ET) — I’m wondering if I should try this, because it seems (along with High Noon) to be the iconic Western. Shame I don’t care that much for that genre. And thinking about it makes the Batman parody get stuck in my head.

Good News (Monday, 8/13, 8:30 AM ET) — If you’ve ever wondered just how overblown and top-heavy and leaden movie musicals can be, check this out. The 30-year-old June Allyson and the 24-year-old Peter Lawford (but he always looked at least 35) play college kids who fall in love when she (library aide) tutors him (star quarterback and campus stud with British accent) in French. It’s so aggressively white bread it drips mayonnaise.

Good News cover
Good News
Buy this DVD

BUT it is still worth watching just to see Joan McCracken‘s number “Pass That Peace Pipe” (yes, very inappropriate). She was Bob Fosse’s second wife (you can see echoes or influences on his style), and she sadly died relatively young (in her 40s). This is her only movie role, and she’s incredible, athletic and graceful and vibrant and powerful.

The Opposite Sex (Tuesday, 8/14, 2:00 AM ET) — Also on Allyson’s day comes this “what were they THINKING?!?” stinker (so bad it’s not even on DVD). It’s a musical remake of The Women, the all-female classic, only they let guys in (Leslie Nielsen, of all people, plays the straying husband). Allyson is the put-upon good wife, and Joan Collins is the incitement to wander. Should be fun to watch Agnes Moorehead as the much-married countess, although last time I tried, I couldn’t even make it a half-hour.

Eleven Men and a Girl (Wednesday, 8/15, 6:00 AM ET, aka Maybe It’s Love) — I am mentioning this only because of its description. “The daughter of a college president uses her charms to attract All-American football heroes to her father’s campus.” So it’s about daddy pimping his daughter to win at sports?

Sorry I’m talking more about bad movies than good, but I can only work with what I’m given! There are also two versions of Little Women on this week, if you’d rather. Next week starts with Spencer Tracy, so at least that’s looking up.

9 Responses  
ADD writes:  

As a huge Welles fan, I certainly agree about Kane. Just wondering if you’ve ever seen Mr. Arkadin? I have a feeling you would like it. Criterion has an amazing set out with three different versions of it, each of which has something unique to make it worth viewing to get a sense of Welles’s intentions. I’d strongly recommend it to you, if you haven’t seen it.

 
Johanna writes:  

No, I haven’t. Judging from the imdb comments, it sounds like I might find it confusing without seeing the Criterion version. Do you think that’s accurate?

 
ADD writes:  

The Criterion release has three versions, and explains pretty well what the differences are. If I were to recommend one of those, I would say watch the third one, which was compiled (I believe) by Criterion based as closely as possible on what it’s believed Welles wanted the movie to be.

Any other version, I can’t say, because I haven’t seen them. But if you can rent or borrow the Criterion edition, I don’t think you’d be confused. I hope that helps. :-)

 
Johanna writes:  

Well, the question (which I asked badly) was more “if I stumble across it on cable, can I just watch that, instead of having to find the DVD?” I wish I knew people local to borrow classic DVDs from; they all buy action movies instead. :)

 
ADD writes:  

In that case, I would definitely give it a go if it pops up. I would have to think in this day and age most good movie channels would try to present one of the better versions. If it helps the odds any, all three of the ones on the Criterion edition make sense, and the first two are previously-available versions (albeit restored), so I think you should be OK.

 
Dave writes:  

Johanna, I highly recommend you give SHANE a try. I’m not a particular fan of the genre, either (I want to be, if that makes any sense– it just never seems to take.), but I would place this in my all-time Top 10. That’s partly because it’s one of my Dad’s favorite movies and I have nostalgic feelings for it, evoking as it does Sunday afternoons, long before I’d ever heard of cable TV, watching it on the local UHF station. But it’s also a nearly perfect “stranger comes to town…” story, but with a lot more layers and complexity than you’d expect. I just re-read a great essay by Roger Ebert on this film at

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20000903/REVIEWS08/9030301/1023

and while it’s only fair to warn you that it contains spoilers, the story is somewhat predictable anyway- there have been hundreds of superhero stories over the years that offered up riffs on this archetype. Ebert does a good job of breaking down the different emotional and psychological layers that make this such a great film far better than I can. Give it a shot- I’ll look forward to reading your reaction.

 
Johanna writes:  

Dave, thanks very much for that. I added it to the Tivo list after a friend saw the blog and called me up to say that I needed to see it. How can I turn down such passionate recommendations as his and yours?

 
Val writes:  

Gads, until reading these updates I forgot what an obsessive TCM fan I used to be. When the obsession was really bad, I’d check the schedules for “Fox Movie Channel” as well.

 
Sarah writes:  

Johanna, I think you may find certain aspect of SHANE rather dated, but I think Dave’s point of view is essentially sound. It’s very close to pure archetype.

 
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