"Now Listen to Me..."
Just some thoughts on current happenings:
There are 10 recommended films to watch on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this month:
The first is not only a must-see classic, it is a must-see numerous times American film classic, because of the impossibility of taking in all of its vast number of dazzling storytelling riches in a single viewing. One of the Top Ten: World Cinema Treasures, Citizen Kane is a previous TCM recommendation here and will present himself Monday, September 5 at 8:30pm PST.
Later that same evening is another outstanding contribution to the American cinema, John Ford's The Searchers, reviewed at length here and will commence Monday, September 5 at 12:30am PST.
*Note: For those U.S. residents and visitors in the Chicago area, The Searchers will be shown at the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge at 2:00 and 7:00pm on Thursday, September 15. Lana Wood will be a special guest at the evening showing. Film historian and classic film programmer Matthew C. Hoffman will host. More information about this Season 4 opening night screening can be obtained by clicking on the accompanying image. (Special thanks to the CC's Facebook Chat Room member Geri Murray for bringing this to our attention).
In case anyone who missed last month's screening of Casablanca would like to have another shot at seeing this revered classic in September, your prayer has been answered. Previously reviewed as one of the Top Ten Fool's Gold (not referring to those who love the film but the mineral pyrite), this blend of romance, patriotism, and political intrigue admittedly has a polish unmatchable by most Hollywood fare. 1944's Academy Award Best Picture Winner will air Sunday, September 11 at 5pm PST.
TCM may rarely show non-English language films but when they do, expect to see the creme de la creme of artistic expression. This is especially true for Sunday night’s screening of Harakiri, the latest film to be reviewed in the Opening Up a Treasure series. Harakiri is a truly remarkable achievement, particularly in the way the filmmakers brilliantly present and develop their “story within a story” to provide viewers with a supremely immersive intellectual and emotionally visceral involvement quite unlike any other in the history of motion pictures. The ‘ritual’ will begin on TCM Sunday, September 11 at 11pm PST.
Immediately following Harakiri, TCM will present another Masaki Kobayashi/Shinobu Hashimoto collaborative samurai epic of enormous stature and emotional wealth, Hidden Gem #62 Samurai Rebellion at 1:15am (technically Monday morning) PST.
The 1975 summer blockbuster Jaws is a film I’m kind of in the middle about.
Somewhat like the famous director's first commercially viable feature-length picture, Duel, it's an accomplished and engaging piece of action-suspense storytelling. A key difference, however, is that unlike Duel’s vehicular object of menace, Jaws’ monster of the deep is far less enigmatic. The talented showman Steven Spielberg cleverly manipulates the premise into one of an overly-simplified demonised creature vs. heroic do-gooders, the latter who must, therefore, "save the day" by destroying the former (predatory beast). This premise, on reflection, is facile, naive and lacks the personal backstory, depth and complexity of say, another tale of seafaring obsession, Moby Dick. I still think one would have to work pretty hard not to succumb to the story's adventurous, medieval-like quest and affable characters to find it un-enthralling. Assists from Verna Fields’ editing and John Williams’ music prove to be of immense support. Plus there's a truly terrifying scene, perhaps the film's most effective, where practically no action takes place, a crew member's personal recounting of his fateful service onboard the U.S.S. Indianapolis. Readers can read more about, and watch this amazing scene here. To be taken in by the film's other thrills and chills, be onboard TCM (updated) Monday, February 13 at 7:15pm PST. TCM's current monthly schedule can be confirmed, and its time zone adjusted in the upper right-hand corner, by clicking on the above image.
Stanley Kubrick took the entire film community, along with noir fans, by (a perfect) storm with his innovative 1956 take on the caper genre, The Killing previously recommended here. "The best-laid plans..." will be presented on TCM Friday, September 16 at 12:45am (late evening) PST.
Unlike the above film, this next one offers a completely different kind of atmosphere: Peter Sellers presides over Blake Edwards' The Party, which like The Killing was another suggested Blu-ray purchase here. The fun starts Wednesday, September 21 at 1am (late evening) PST.
TCM has scheduled another rather obscure film well worth seeing. This time, 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 Rod (The Twilight Zone) Serling created dynamic parts. The dramatic fireworks are set to go off Saturday, September 24 at 7:15pm PST.
My final TCM recommendation has been previously reviewed here and is the story of Bonnie and Clyde only re-imagined as the mythical romantic exploits of an impossibly gorgeous, but infamous couple in crime. The Barrow Gang will strike on TCM Thursday, September 29 at 1:30am (late evening) 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.
A Happy Birthday shout-out to the brilliant cinematographer Raoul Coutard, one of the unsung heroes of the French New Wave, who turns 92 September 16th.
Best known for his outstanding work on Breathless, A Woman Is a Woman, Le Petit Soldat, Contempt, Band of Outsiders, Alphaville, Pierrot le Fou, and Weekend (all for director Jean-Luc Godard), Shoot the Piano Player, Jules and Jim, (both for Francois Truffaut), in addition to Z, and The Confession (for Costa-Gavras), he also won the best cinematography César Award for Hidden Gem #41: Le Crabe Tambour.
This month's Soundtrack recommendation is Craig Safan's vibrant score to the sci-fi adventure film The Last Starfighter that effectively combines romantic fantasy with thematic heroism.
Courtesy of both Warner Bros. and Universal, the entire score is presented by Intrada Records in sequential order with the composer conducting. More information, including international ordering from the manufacturer, is available by clicking on the image.
The Blu-ray recommendation for the month is one of TCM's encouraged watchings and is reviewed (linked) above, Harakiri. There are 2 fine transfers to choose from. That choice will probably depend on where one resides.
The first is from Criterion (for North America) and is region A locked. This transfer is visually detailed and vivid with strong black levels but is missing important information on the sides.
The second is a region B (locked) Blu-Ray, compatible for the U.K., Europe, and Australia. It has become available from Masters of Cinema. The picture here is a bit lighter but retains more highly important information on the sides of the frame.
More information including ordering from Amazon U.S. (top) and Amazon U.K. (bottom) can be obtained by clicking on either of the above respective images.