"Now Listen to Me..."
This month's column is apologetically late due to my extensive travelling.
Just some thoughts on current happenings:
There are 10 recommended films to watch on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this month:
Anatomy of a Murder is one of the most authentic and enthralling courtroom dramas of all time. Previously reviewed here, the trial will begin Monday, July 16 at 7:15pm PST.
Steve McQueen is TCM's honouree this month and there's perhaps no better way to celebrate the actor's most iconic characterisations than his titular Bullitt, reviewed here. Bullitt will speed its way onto TCM Thursday, July 19 at 5pm PST.
Dark Passage is a wildly engrossing yarn that combines the best of romance with the best of noir in the best location for both: San Francisco. Previously endorsed as a Blu-Ray release here, Bogart will make his dark passage through Eddie Muller's Noir Alley on TCM Saturday, July 21 at 9:30pm PST and again on Sunday, July 22 at 7am PST.
1972's The Getaway, is not nearly as meaningful or resonant as some of Sam Peckinpah's earlier films; still, as a genre piece, it punches solidly above its pay grade. The Getaway recommended here, will ensue Thursday, July 26 at 7pm PST.
Next on my list of films to watch is King Kong (1933), who's scheduled to make his grand entrance on Saturday, July 28 at 9am PST. I have reviewed this film with a focus on its musical score here.
Rarely does an atmosphere of such overpowering dread subsume a cinematic story so completely as it does 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 Monday, July 30 at 4:30am PST.
This will be a really bad day for anyone who encounters Them! (the giant mutant ants that is). The motion picture, however, is an exhilarating creature feature, previously reviewed here. Them! will march on TCM Monday, July 30 at 5pm PST.
The unmissable Busby Berkeley extravaganza Footlight Parade is also a previous TCM recommendation here. Let the show begin Tuesday, July 31 at 1:30pm PST.
Following Footlight Parade is another starring vehicle for James Cagney and Joan Blondell, a pre-code charmer sure to delight fans: Blonde Crazy. This recommendation was previously made here. The fun will begin Tuesday, July 31 at 3:30pm 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.
This month's Happy Birthday shout-out goes to the talented director/actor/writer Peter Bogdanovich, who turns 79 on July 30th.
As a film director and writer, he's given us one certifiable masterpiece The Last Picture Show (1971), as well as directing other notable motion pictures including Targets (1968, his debut feature), What's Up, Doc? (1972), Paper Moon (1973), Saint Jack (1979) and Mask (1985). He's also provided some solid performances in front of the camera, most recognisably as Dr. Elliot Kupferberg in the hit TV series The Sopranos (2000-2007). Before becoming a director, he wrote articles for Esquire Magazine and is the celebrated author of such illuminating books on cinema as "This is Orson Welles" and "Who the Devil Made It: Conversations with Legendary Film Directors."
The Soundtrack recommendation this month is Elmer Bernstein's melodic and memorable score to The Gypsy Moths.
Bernstein thematically captures the film's rural Americana setting, the deep emotional undercurrents emanating from three barnstorming skydivers and those whose lives they intersect, not to mention all the excitement of the arial stunt work on display. The film's subtext of melancholia is explored as our trio's death-defying acts in the air progressively define their lives on the ground, testing the characters' emotional dependencies as each struggles with disappointment, fear and loneliness. Bernstein's greatest gift to The Gypsy Moths is his customarily high-level of sincerity, adding awareness to the feelings expressed. John Frankenheimer has directed one of his more subtle and effective films, ably assisted by Elmer Bernstein's passionate score. Issued on the Film Score Monthly label, this limited edition soundtrack (only 3000 produced) is currently available from Screen Archives Entertainment. More information and international ordering can be obtained by clicking on the accompanying image.
July's Blu-ray selection is the prior TCM recommendation Anatomy of a Murder. Issued on the Criterion label (North America Region A), it is currently available at Barnes & Noble stores for a substantial 50% off, a sale that is bound to end very soon. Alternatively, one can order this title from the distributor by clicking on the accompanying image.