"Now Listen to Me..."
Just some thoughts on current happenings:
There are 5 recommended films to watch on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this month:
Blake Edwards' whimsical, charming and finally endearing little comedy was previously recommended as a video release here. The Party starts on TCM Thursday, April 7 at 7:15pm PST.
Next up is a film noir that even today doesn't get much notice probably because its star, Brian Donlevy, is typically just shy of top billing even in these types of relatively low budget crime features. For film noir lovers, however, pictures like this one rarely come as authentic and insightful in regards to examining the tenacious motives behind their characters' distinctive and pronounced thoughts, desires and actions. This, its meticulous attention to detail, and incisive emotional honesty amidst a bold corkscrew plot of cold-blooded murder, make the aptly named Impact (1949) well worth viewing and if seen already, relishing again.
Nothing here feels telegraphed or manipulated for the viewer's easy gratification and yet surprises abound, not only in how the murder plays out but in its devastating psychological aftereffects and subsequent investigation, the latter of which is doggedly pursued by the great character actor Charles Coburn. Noir fans will get a kick out of the wickedly gorgeous Helen Walker's duplicitous femme-fatale whose planned desire to see her husband deader than a lug wrench knows no bounds. There's also plenty of on location photography to soak in, mostly in and around San Francisco including the recognisable Brocklebank apartments where another murderously intentioned Gavin Elster would fictitiously take up residence in Hitchcock's Vertigo almost a decade later.
The startlingly original and emotionally potent screenplay was a collaborative effort between Dorothy Davenport (writing under Dorothy Reid) and Jay Dratler, adapted from the latter's story. It was produced by Harry and Leo (D.O.A.) Popkin and consummately directed by Arthur Lubin who would go on to collaborate with Reid again on the intriguing thriller Footsteps in the Fog (1955). Impact is well deserving of higher reappraisal especially considering the current resurgence of interest in films noir, the best of which, like this little torpedo, deliver more than their title's promise in refreshingly unique and unexpected ways. Its "impact" can be felt on TCM Friday, April 8 at 12pm PST.
Rarely does an atmosphere of such overpowering dread subsume a cinematic story so completely as it does in 1943's The Seventh Victim. A young woman (portrayed as a fetching innocent by Kim Hunter) goes searching for her missing sister (enigmatically played by Jean Brooks) in New York City's Greenwich Village and stumbles upon a satanic cult of devil worshipers putting both of their lives at risk. Mark Robson, who directed a number of these Val Lewton produced gems is himself at the peak of his considerable creative powers. This devilishly striking combination of horror and film noir was a previous TCM recommendation and reviewed here. The fate of both sisters will be determined (updated) Saturday, October 22 at 6:15am PST.
If you've never seen the immensely enjoyable Blonde Crazy, you'll find it impossible to tell who's conning who until after each one of its many clever sting operations are played out.
Hidden Gem #63 also has an equally smart and sassy relationship between its central charismatic characters played by James Cagney and Joan Blondell that's additionally full of surprises. This pre-code delight's craziness will ensue on (updated) Thursday, November 17 at 6:45pm PST.
(TCM's current schedule can be confirmed by clicking on the film's image. 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).
Finally, there's John Ford's masterpiece The Searchers previously reviewed here. It is Top Ten Western #2 and is as likely as any film to provide one with a truly unforgettable, rich and rewarding movie watching experience. It will commence Monday, April 25 at 10am PST.
TCM's current 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.
A Happy Birthday shout-out to the immensely talented actress Cloris Leachman who turns 90 on April 30th.
Some of her more notable film roles include her strong debut appearance in the hard-boiled noir Kiss Me Deadly, a best supporting actress Academy Award winning performance in The Last Picture Show and a hilarious turn in Mel Brooks' comedy classic Young Frankenstein.
The Soundtrack recommendation this month is James Newton Howard's majestically sweeping score to Wyatt Earp.
This limited but definitive 3 CD release from La La Land Records adds an integral element of nobility to the film's subject and is equally captivating and emotionally stirring on its own. It is currently available from Screen Archives Entertainment who provide international shipping. More information including ordering is available by clicking on the image.
Hidden Gem #24 Try and Get Me! a.k.a. The Sound of Fury is April's Blu-ray recommendation. Restored in 2012 by the Film Noir Foundation, it has recently been released by Olive Films and reviewed here. Additionally, more information concerning this landmark release (including ordering from Amazon.com) can be obtained by clicking on the "review" link.
Lastly TCM is having its annual Classic Film Festival April 28 - May 1, 2016 in Los Angeles. All of the exciting events are now listed including information on attending by clicking on the image.