Some notes about what’s showing this week on Turner Classic Movies. No fancy commentary this week, just pointers to some good films you should check out.
Woman of the Year (Saturday, 2/16, Noon ET, 1942) and Pat and Mike (Saturday, 2/16, 2:00 PM ET, 1952) — Two of the best Hepburn/Tracy romantic comedies, although they’re not my favorites of the films they did together. One of my favorites is Adam’s Rib, where they’re lawyers handling the case of a woman who shot at her straying husband. I like the subtext of gender equality in that one, plus the supporting cast is so impressive: Judy Holliday, Jean Hagen (better known for playing Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain), Tom Ewell (The Seven Year Itch), and David Wayne (as the non-masculine best friend).
Anyway, Woman of the Year won Best Screenplay for its story of two journalists with nothing in common but their feelings for each other. Hepburn and Tracy’s first movie together, by the way. Pat and Mike is more interesting, just because Hepburn plays a sports prodigy who loses the ability to win whenever her controlling boyfriend is around.
Steel Magnolias (Saturday, 2/16, 10:00 PM ET, 1989) — The 80s ended with this all-star-cast melodrama that’s a pretty good Southern-styled weepy.
My Favorite Year (Sunday, 2/17, 4:15 AM ET, 1982) — My favorite movie, due to its themes of nostalgia and escapism through entertainment. Plus, Peter O’Toole being charming and zany and drunk and touching.
LA Confidential (Monday, 2/18, 1:00 AM ET, 1997) — It’s glossy retro-noir, starring two Australians, exploring the dark side of California glamor.
Since You Went Away (Wednesday, 2/20, 2:15 AM ET, 1944) — Excellent portrayal of life on the home front during WWII.
Ninotchka (Wednesday, 2/20, 4:00 PM ET, 1939) — Ok, so I have more than one favorite this week. This cross-border romance between a decadent Parisian (Melvyn Douglas) and a Soviet ambassador (Greta Garbo) was the basis for the musical Silk Stockings, but I like it better without the songs. An Ernst Lubitsch film, so it sparkles with love and maturity.
Manhattan (Friday, 2/22, 11:45 PM ET, 1979) — As opposed to this paean to the older man/younger woman fetish. Woody Allen dates Mariel Hemingway, playing a high school girl, and then falls in love with his best friend’s mistress. Did Allen ever make a movie that wasn’t all about him? And why did people think he was so clever and insightful for so long? Are there that many viewers out there who identify with a neurotic New Yorker with a thing for women who can’t challenge him? (Or just enough movie critics?)
I should probably stick with talking about the movies I like.