The Cinema Cafe

Serving Cinema's Tastiest Treasures

"Now Listen to Me..."

Just some thoughts on current happenings:

Classic film screenings from around the world this month include:

In theatres across the U.S., TCM and Fathom Events are presenting White Christmas on December 9 and 12. Click on the above image for more information.

In theatres across the U.S., Flashback Cinema is presenting Miracle on 34th Street on December 2 and 5, Elf December 9 and 12, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation December 16 and 19, It’s a Wonderful Life December 23 and 24, and Die Hard December 30 and January 2. Click on the respective image for more information.

In Lucerne, Switzerland The City Light Symphony Orchestra will present The Age of Innocence with live musical accompaniment featuring Elmer Bernstein’s sublime score on December 8. Click on the image for more information.

In Melbourne, Australia The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will present Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with live musical accompaniment featuring John Williams’ thrilling score on December 14, 15 and 16. Click on the image for more information.

In Madrid, Spain The Orquestra Simfònica Camera Musicae will present Vertigo with live musical accompaniment featuring Bernard Herrmann’s exceptional score on December 14, 15 and 16. Click on the image for more information.

In Walnut Creek, California The Diablo Symphony Orchestra will present The Snowman with live musical accompaniment featuring Howard Blake’s memorable score on December 15 and 16. Click on the image for more information.

Noir City Xmas will take place in San Francisco, California on December 19. This year’s feature will be The Night of the Hunter. For more information including ticket ordering, click on the above image.

There are 26 recommended films to watch on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this month: 

Director John (The Magnificent Seven) Sturges helmed a few nifty entries in the film noir genre, including 1950's Mystery Street previously reviewed here. This CSI noir with a Hitchcockian twist can be checked out Wednesday, December 5 at 7:15am PST.

 (Crossing the street) Marshall Thompson, Jan Sterling

(Crossing the street) Marshall Thompson, Jan Sterling

Contributing to the torrential force of film noir is Crime Wave previously reviewed here. This is one wave you'll want to catch Wednesday, December 5 at 9am PST.

 Charles Buchinsky (a.k.a. Charles Bronson)

Charles Buchinsky (a.k.a. Charles Bronson)

TCM is presenting two of Busby Berkeley's most lavish musicals this month. First is Footlight Parade a previous TCM recommendation here. The show will go on Thursday, December 6 at 8:15pm PST.

Following Footlight Parade is Gold Diggers of 1933, a brilliant extravaganza of romance, comedy, catchy tunes and outrageous pre-code show numbers especially 'Pettin' in the Park' with its saucy sexual undertones that even Freud would have struggled to explain. This is another previous recommendation here. The fun will begin Thursday, December 6 at 10:15pm PST.

 Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler

Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler

My next recommended film on TCM is jam-packed with noir goodness, Too Late for Tears, previously reviewed here. It's never too late to indulge in actress Lizabeth Scott's classic femme fatale portrayal appearing in Eddie Muller’s Noir Alley Saturday, December 8 at 9pm PST and again on Sunday, December 9 at 7am PST. 

Following Too Late for Tears is Out of the Past, one of film noir's finest and most highly recommended here. She will arrive Sunday, December 9 at 9am PST. 

Although my next selection was released in 1934, every single one of its scenes is hilarious and relatable to today’s domestic life. W.C. Fields’ most perfect comedy, It’s a Gift, previously reviewed here, will arrive Monday, December 10 at 9pm PST.


MGM's 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain was not adapted from a theatrical production, though the film was later turned into one, being first presented on stage in 1983. Its abundant creativity, innovation and driving energy place this film at the top of all cinematic musicals ever produced. Singin' in the Rain has been reviewed as a past Blu-ray selection here and will joyously dance its way onto TCM (updated) Tuesday, December 11 at 3pm PST.

 (From left) Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly

(From left) Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly

TCM has scheduled a rather obscure film well worth seeing. It's Hidden Gem #54 Patterns with dynamite performances from an exceptional cast, especially the three male leads: Van Heflin, Ed Begley and Everett Sloane, who all exhibit voracious appetites for their dynamic Rod (The Twilight Zone) Serling created parts. The dramatic fireworks are set to go off Thursday, December 13 (early morning) at 3:30am PST.

 Ed Begley (Far left), Everett Sloane (Centre), Van Heflin (Centre on the right)

Ed Begley (Far left), Everett Sloane (Centre), Van Heflin (Centre on the right)

Immediately following Patterns, is another emotionally expressive film starring Van Heflin, The Prowler, previously reviewed here. Be on TCM’s watch Thursday, December 13 at 5am PST.

 Evelyn Keyes, Van Heflin

Evelyn Keyes, Van Heflin

Next is Strange Cargo which I previously listed as one of my TOP TEN Guilty Treasures. "Strange" is the word for this uneasy but fascinating blend of religious parable, hardened convicts, a test of survival, and wisecracking romance. Strange Cargo will dock at TCM Friday, December 14 at 8am PST. 

 (From left) Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Peter Lorre

(From left) Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Peter Lorre

If TCM subscribers are looking for a light-hearted and charming Christmas holiday treat, they’ll certainly find one in Ernst Lubitsch's The Shop Around the Corner.

 James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan

James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan

Beneath an inventive situation comedy veneer, however, there is a serious underlying message concerning relationships and how concepts often get in the way of a more fulfilling union based on care and concern for one another. The Shop Around the Corner, previously praised here, will open Sunday, December 16 (early morning) at 3am PST and again on Monday, December 24 at 9:30am PST.

TCM's current monthly schedule can be confirmed by clicking on any of the above images. For those who live in parts of the U.S. other than the western region, the time zone can be adjusted in the upper right-hand corner of TCM's programme.

(To Be Continued… ) A.G.

Treasure Trivia: Quiz #8

Treasure Trivia:

The Cinema Cafe has a chat room on Facebook that readers are welcome to join here. On Mondays, we have a movie trivia game called "Match-up Mondays" where the object is to name the common denominator between all of the films pictured and correctly identify them. 


Like Quiz #7, each film has a memorable scene taking place at a similar site, only this time, instead of a pawnshop, it is a place (in one form or another) where most of us have likely frequented. Can you name the films shown and the locale each of their scenes has in common? Feel free to use all available resources. The first person to correctly identify all of the films and the common denominator here will receive a Region 4 (Australia) DVD (legitimately licensed from Universal) of The Great Gatsby (1949)

Here are the 6 films (Good luck!):













"Now Listen to Me..."

Just some thoughts on current happenings:

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"Now Listen to Me..."

Just some thoughts on current happenings:

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"Now Listen to Me..."

Just some thoughts on current happenings:

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"Now Listen to Me..."

Just some thoughts on current happenings:

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Hidden Gems #8



Hidden Gem #80: Rogue Cop (1954, U.S.A.)

Director: Roy Rowland


From the same writers who brought us 1953's The Big Heat (Sidney Boehm adapting William P. McGivern's source material) comes this far lesser known but just as potent film noir that replaces Glenn Ford's vengeful but clean cop Dave Bannion with Robert Taylor's conflicted but dirty cop Christopher Kelvaney.   






Hidden Gem #79: Hunger a.k.a. Sult (1966, Denmark/Norway/Sweden)

Director: Henning Carlsen

hunger 3.jpg

The director, highly impressed with Nobel Prize winner Knut Hamsun's novel 'Sult', has provided this penetrating and emotionally consuming adaptation that delivers an equally unwavering performance from lead actor Per Oscarsson.







Hidden Gem #78: Between Time and Timbuktu (1972, U.S.A.)

Director: Fred Barzyk


This TV movie is a wildly creative sampling of writer Kurt Vonnegut's various literary works and deserves far more exposer and recognition than it has so far received.








Hidden Gem #77: Série noire (1979, France)

Director: Alain Corneau


An eccentric door-to-door salesman (a stunning performance from Patrick Dewaere) becomes progressively unhinged after encountering a teenager turned prostitute (pimped out by her money grubbing aunt) in Georges Perec and Alain Corneau’s bizarre but energised adaptation of noir writer Jim Thompson's novel.






Hidden Gem #76: He Was Her Man (1934, U.S.A.)

Director: Lloyd Bacon

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 12.27.38 pm.png

A little gem that once again pairs stars James Cagney and Joan Blondell, may have less of the snappy banter between them we've come to expect, but their romantic feelings for one another run deeper, and really hit home after witnessing the shocking finale, a conclusion only made possible during the film's pre-code time period. 






Hidden Gem #75: Adam at Six A.M. (1970, U.S.A.)

Director: Robert Scheerer


Adam at Six A.M. is a finely etched and subtle "coming of age" film with Michael Douglas in the starring role that was overshadowed by the same year's similarly themed and more dramatic Five Easy Pieces; still, this hidden gem deserves more attention especially for the remarkable character portrayal provided by Joe Don Baker.






Hidden Gem #74: If I Had a Million (1932, U.S.A.)

Directors: James Cruze ("Death Cell")
                 H. Bruce Humberstone ("The Forger")
                 Ernst Lubitsch ("The Clerk")
                 Norman Z. McLeod ("China Shop", "Road Hogs")
                 Lothar Mendes (unknown contribution)
                 Stephen Roberts ("Violet", "Grandma")
                 William A. Seiter ("The Three Marines")
                 Norman Taurog ("Prologue", "Epilogue") 


Eight different episodes concerning the surprised recipients of one million dollars comprise this delightful and enchanting pre-code gem with a stellar cast of rising stars.








Hidden Gem #73: Apartment Zero (1988, U.K.)

Director: Martin Donovan


This unique and compelling relationship/mystery-thriller has the admirable distinction of investing, rather than ignoring as many similarly themed films do, a well substantiated emotional centre in its main characters which not only heightens our engagement when the conflicts get out of hand, but provides impetus for pondering the events long after they occur.    





Hidden Gem #72: The Lost One a.k.a. Der Verlorene (1951, Germany)

Director: Peter Lorre


The celebrated actor returned to his native Germany to make his one directorial effort: a shockingly bold, deeply analytical and expressionistic character study about a research scientist living under the Nazi regime compelled to commit murder and its devastating aftereffects on his tortured soul.  





Hidden Gem #71: The Sea a.k.a. Il Mare (1963, Italy)

Director: Giuseppe Patroni Griffi


The director here, better known for his work in opera, emulates Antonioni in the way he captures, develops and exposes the nature of his three principal subjects' emotional dependencies in this little known Italian masterwork. 





Hidden Gems # 1 - 8 begin here.

Capturing a Golden Moment #21: The Swimmer


The Swimmer (1968)


Director: Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack (uncredited)


Scene: "Empty Pool"


I've chosen the following scene for several reasons. This film, although a cult favourite, still remains unknown to many and celebrates its 50 year theatrical release anniversary this month. The central character effectively communicates a sincere paternal concern for the young boy whose pool he wishes to swim on his journey home. These moments also perfectly summarise how Ned Merrill, played with deep conviction by Burt Lancaster, typically deals with adverse situations by reimagining them differently. I've recently written about The Swimmer here.   




The Swimmer is available on Blu-ray and DVD here:

The Swimmer (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Starring Burt Lancaster, Janet Landgard, Janice Rule, Joan Rivers

Time Out

 George Bruns (1914 - 1983)

George Bruns (1914 - 1983)

Not having given much attention to early Disney songs, suddenly changed when I heard TV's American Idol contestant Catie Turner sing with heartfelt conviction and impeccable precision a song adapted from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty ballet by George Bruns and used in the 1959 animated film by the same name (his first of many for Walt Disney Studios) entitled "Once Upon a Dream." Bruns' score for this film received an Academy Award nomination. Turner brings out all of this song's emotional sincerity in a most impassioned and personal fashion: one of the most stunning vocal performances I've heard by anyone... ever.  

21st Century Treasure Quest #18

Our contributor Renard N. Bansale has completed 10 more contemporary film reviews for your consideration. The rating system he'll use is devised primarily to give those who are trying to decide which films to see, a fun and easy way of (hopefully) choosing a more pleasurable movie-going experience. For a further introduction to this series please see 21st Century Treasure Quest #1. (A.G.)

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