"Now Listen to Me..."
Just some thoughts on current happenings:
There are two recommended films to watch on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this month.
The first is a Christmas Holiday favourite, Ernst Lubitsch's 1940 delight The Shop Around the Corner.
This little romantic contrivance, based on the play "Parfumerie" by Miklos Laszlo, later inspired 1949's musical In the Good Old Summertime with Judy Garland and Van Johnson and perhaps its most famous incarnation, 1998's hit film You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In this earlier superior version, we have James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan as gift shop employees who can barely tolerate one another. Each of their idolized perfect mates is an anonymous pen-pal they correspond with until they realise they are in fact writing to each other. It's amazing how engaging such a simple premise can be, but the inspired situations, characters, and performances, masterfully guided by Lubitsch's magical "touch", make the results pure enchantment. This unforgettable little charmer is scheduled to air on TCM (updated) Thursday, December 15 at 5pm PST and again Saturday, December 24 at 1:15pm PST (West Coast). (TCM's current schedule can be confirmed by clicking on the above image. The time zone can be adjusted in the upper right-hand corner of the programme.)
My second recommendation is Dark Hazard.
It's Hidden Gem #52. Released in 1934, this rarely shown pre-code film was recently made available on video for the first time after all these years and like the film above, is a pure delight, not just for those little moments of seeing a single bed in the bedroom or a more honest depiction of affection between our leading characters, but for the consistently unexpected direction its narrative takes. One can clearly see how the Production Code made so many cinematic stories predictable after coming into effect when comparing them to films like this which continuously defy our preconceptions with their characters' surprising behaviour and unorthodox story resolutions. This includes Dark Hazard's rather sudden but perfectly realised finale. Oh, and before one thinks this is a hardened crime drama of Edward G. Robinson's, the title actually refers to a most loveable dog. Dark Hazard, a must-see gem of a film, is scheduled to air on TCM Friday, December 12 at 10:30am PST.
TCM's current schedule can be confirmed by clicking on either of the above images.
I would like to put the spotlight on 2 recently released books for those interested in the subjects covered. They have both received excellent notices and come highly recommended by others in the know. They are:
Informative write ups on each of these enticing books along with ordering forms from their respective dealers can be viewed by clicking on the corresponding image.
The Soundtrack recommendation for this month is the definitive version of Elmer Bernstein's vigorous and majestically thematic score to the John Wayne western True Grit.
It is a limited edition from La La Land Records and can currently be ordered from Screen Archives Entertainment by clicking on the image.
The DVD recommendation for December is a set containing two Hidden Gems, the previously mentioned Dark Hazard and another recently listed Hidden Gem #63: Blonde Crazy. With the welcome announcement of Forbidden Hollywood Volume 8, these are 2 more titles that can come off the Cinema Cafe's Most Wanted Pinterest Board here. The other vastly enjoyable pre-code films in this set are Hi, Nellie and Strangers May Kiss. The post of this amazing set of films can be seen with many other recent DVD and Blu-ray releases on this board. It can be ordered from Amazon U.S. by clicking on the image.