"Now Listen to Me..."
Just some thoughts on current happenings:
Classic film screenings from around the world this month include:
In San Francisco, California The San Francisco Symphony will present Close Encounters of the Third Kind with live musical accompaniment featuring John Williams’ exhilarating score on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2. Click on the above image for more information.
In Sydney, Australia Film Concerts Live! along with The Sydney Symphony Orchestra will present Casino Royale with live musical accompaniment featuring David Arnold’s thrilling score on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2. Click on the above image for more information.
In Toronto, Ontario, Canada Ontario Place and Cinesphere will present The Good, the Bad & the Ugly March 1 - March 3. Click on the above image for more information.
In London, United Kingdom The Prince Charles Cinema (in addition to other theatres throughout the U.K. in March - check local listings) will present the 40th Anniversary Newly Restored Theatrical Version of Alien Friday, March 1 - Sunday, March 10. Click on the above image for more information.
In Oxford, U.K. The Ultimate Picture Palace will present Young Mr. Lincoln Sunday, March 3 and Monday, March 4. Click on the above image for more information.
Throughout various locations in Australia, Event Cinemas will host Hollywood Classics On the Big Screen. This month's showings will include Calamity Jane on Monday, March 4 and Dirty Harry on Monday, March 18.
For a list of the theatres hosting these films, and their complete schedule throughout the first half of the year, click on the banner image above.
In addition, throughout various locations in Australia, Event Cinemas will present Heat (1995) on Monday, March 25 . For a theatre nearest to your preferred location, click on the poster image.
In Bordeaux, France l'Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine (ONBA) will present Vertigo with live musical accompaniment featuring Bernard Herrmann’s rapturous score on Thursday, March 14 and Friday, March 15. Click on the above image for more information.
In Letchworth, United Kingdom The Broadway Cinema Letchworth will present Le Doulos (The Finger Man) on Sunday, March 17. Click on the above image for more information.
In Los Angeles, California The Beverly Cinema will present a double bill of 2 exceptional neo-noirs Point Blank (1967) and The Outfit (1973). Both films will be shown Wednesday, March 27 and Thursday, March 28. For more information, including the entire month of March’s exciting programme, click on the above image.
In N.Y., N.Y. The Dr. Saul and Dorothy Kit Film Noir Festival will return with Into the Night: Cornell Woolrich and Film Noir at Columbia University's Lenfest Center for the Arts on March 27 – 31. The festival will present eleven noirs based on the works of pulp fiction writer Woolrich, a Columbia alumni. The screenings will be accompanied by a series of talks by Woolrich experts and film historians. Speakers will include Ann Douglas (Columbia University), Frank Krutnik (University of Sussex), James Naremore (Indiana University), M. Francis Nevins (Saint Louis University) and Pamela Robertson Wojcik (University of Notre Dame). Click on the above image for more information.
Noir City will take place in Los Angeles, CA. from March 29 - April 7. The schedule has not yet been announced. Click on the above image for more information and further updates. #Edit (as of March 6, 2019): The Noir City schedule has been posted and can be seen by clicking on the image above.
There are 21 recommended films to watch on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this month.
First up is a film noir bonafide classic The Narrow Margin, a previous TCM recommendation here. This little firecracker is set to explode Friday, March 1 at 11am PST.
There's no better way to celebrate actor Steve McQueen’s most iconic characterisations than by witnessing his titular Bullitt, reviewed here. Bullitt will speed its way onto TCM Friday, March 1 at 3pm 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 Saturday, March 2 at 11am PST.
In 1971, a newly released film's 1951 setting was so evocative, viewers could have easily related to the evanescing time period as their own. At least that’s what happened to me at The Last Picture Show’s premiere during the first held Los Angeles International Film Exposition, aka Filmex.
The Last Picture Show portrays ways of living that are so realistically preoccupied with their small Texas town, when the film ended and the actors’ names appeared over images of their characters, I could hardly believe these people whose beings I felt so much a part of, were actually portrayed by others. In keeping with the incredible ensemble of ultra sincere performances were four Academy Award nomination recipients (Jeff Bridges and Ellen Burstyn among them) two of whom won: Cloris Leachman for Best Supporting Actress and Ben Johnson for Best Supporting Actor. Other actors could have (and Timothy Bottoms should have) been nominated as well.
Also rightfully Oscar nominated was the film itself, Robert Surtees’ reminiscent black and white cinematography, Peter Bogdanovich and Larry McMurtry for adapting the latter’s semi-autobiographical novel and Bogdanovich for best director who, with this landmark achievement, made further evident that film essayists/critics can and do make accomplished films.
In a small community as desolate and lifeless as the one portrayed here, the mostly banal activities that revolve around its inhabitants’ lives could have made for a soap operatic encounter of the dullest kind. What we have instead are a story’s people, no matter how distinctive, young or old, rich or poor, whose inner emptiness might as well be the DNA to their home town’s stifling atmosphere of decline and melancholy. Feeble attempts at enriching their circumstances, whether it be by leaving the overly familiar locality, commitment to another or fulfilling some concept, seem as futile as young Billy’s endless sweeping of the town’s main road full of dirt that the wind instantly replaces. The “last picture show” represents a vanishing existence and the promise of transition that in essence never comes. This is a film as confident, perceptive and revealing as any of the humanities finest offerings, not to mention a timeless testimonial to the transcendental power of cinema. The Last Picture Show will begin Saturday, March 2 at 11:45pm PST.
The Last Picture Show is also March’s Blu-ray pick of the month. See the last entry in this column for more details.
There have been quite a few movies centred around boxing over the years from 1937’s Kid Galahad to 2018’s Creed II with plenty of standouts in-between such as 1956’s Somebody Up There Likes Me, 1962’s Requiem for a Heavyweight, 1972’s Fat City and 1980’s Raging Bull. None of these however get as straight to the punchline as 1949’s knockout noir The Set-Up, previously reviewed here and happening again on TCM Monday, March 4 at 10:30am PST.
A sterling example of how to present complex and enthralling characters all of whom develop naturally while still holding our intense fascination is Citizen Kane, a previous TCM recommendation here. This American film masterpiece, the only U.S. film represented on our Top Ten: World Cinema Treasures, will begin Thursday, March 7 at 7:30pm PST.
In honour of Cyd Charisse's birthday (March 8, 1922), TCM is showing one of film noir's most satisfying sensations, Tension, a prior TCM recommendation here and can be felt Friday, March 8 at 7:15am PST.
My next TCM recommendation is 1955's modern-day take on the American Western, Bad Day at Black Rock, previously reviewed here. This exceptional suspense-thriller's day will begin Saturday, March 9 (early morning) at 3am PST.
Despite its ridiculously hard to follow plot, this film's wildly entertaining detective yarn is worth getting up for. Previously reviewed here, The Big Sleep will awaken Tuesday, March 12 at 3pm PST.
Ace in the Hole is Billy Wilder's scathing examination of American opportunism and moral depravity via cocky newspaper reporter Chuck Tatum, played with unrelenting cynical ferociousness by Kirk Douglas, a film previously reviewed here. Both director and actor will play their hand Thursday, March 14 at 5pm PST.
Then we really hit the pavement in 1952's Scandal Sheet.
Hidden Gem #65 contains all the explosive ingredients of a dozen sticks of dynamite due to its special combination of film noir firepower: director Phil Karlson, novelist Sam Fuller, star Broderick Crawford and cinematographer Burnett Guffey. The TNT will go off on TCM Thursday, March 14 at 9pm PST.
For an uproarious and thoroughly engaging movie-watching experience, it's hard to beat Bringing Up Baby previously recommended here. The antics will begin on TCM Friday, March 15 at 9:45am PST.
In the U.K. town of Midwich, strange children with mysterious origins are behaving badly. Find out just how bad when the chilling Village of the Damned, previously reviewed here, airs Saturday, March 16 at 10:45am PST.
MGM's 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain was not adapted from a stage 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 Monday, March 18 at 6pm PST.
In case any viewers missed last month’s showing of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (reviewed here), they’ll have another chance to see this outrageously enjoyable musical on Monday, March 18 at 10pm PST.
After World War II, many returning servicemen were disillusioned to find jobs were scarce and their wives’ (or girlfriends’) faithfulness even scarcer. The Best Years of Our Lives addresses this reality head on when the Dana Andrews character finds it impossible to please either his previous employer or trophy wife upon his return to civilian life. Perhaps for this narrative distinction, authors Borde and Chaumeton in the filmography of their highly respected book Panorama of American Film Noir 1941 - 1953, and the first to be published on the subject, included The Best Years of Our Lives as film noir.
The film portrays no crime, the focus is not on Andrews’ experiences alone, and he comes out better off at the end without his superficial but admittedly gorgeous wife, which for myself, collectively place this film well outside of noir’s dark and gloomy world of illegal activity. Previously, I highly praised The Best Years of Our Lives for its exceptional musical score composed by Hugo Friedhofer in the first part of a series entitled Top Ten: Motion Picture Music Treasures. This emotionally powerful tour de force will commence on TCM Tuesday, March 19 at 5pm PST.
Another film well worth seeing which aired last month is Network (1976), previously reviewed here. This “mad as hell” exposé of just how far some TV executives will go to exploit for profit, amongst other things, a former news anchor’s severe “on the air” mental breakdown, will itself air on TCM Thursday, March 21 at 7:15pm PST.
A true romance film and of the highest artistic calibre has been reviewed in Opening Up a Treasure: Brief Encounter. Director David Lean's emotionally stirring "encounter" will begin on Monday, March 25 at 9am PST.
Immediately following Brief Encounter, TCM will present another David Lean directed film, only this romantic encounter is not so “brief” and occurs in a far more expansive setting. Doctor Zhivago is the latest in a series of Top Ten Fool's Gold: The Overrated and will be shown Monday, March 25 at 10:30am PST.
If a rambling narrative, coupled with an irreverent attitude is not your thing, you’ll probably want to skip my last TCM recommendation this month, Robert Altman’s California Split, previously reviewed here. The “plot” if one can call it that, concerns a couple of freewheeling gamblers played by Elliott Gould and George Segal who some may find, as I do, charismatic enough to make their camaraderie highly infectious and escapades entirely engaging. The split will happen on TCM Wednesday, March 27 at 7:30pm 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 Greek born composer Vangelis who turns 76 on March 29th.
He composes almost exclusively with electronic instruments creating gorgeous aural tapestries and is self-taught. His best known scores are for the films Chariots of Fire (1981) and Blade Runner (1982). Vangelis’ musical artistry also enhanced the films Missing (1982), The Bounty (1984), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) and Alexander (2004) amongst others.
In keeping with the composer’s birthday, this month’s Soundtrack recommendation is Vangelis’ Academy Award winning score to the 1981 film Chariots of Fire.
This is a film that owes its artistic success in large part to the composer’s momentous score. One cannot imagine anything but Vangelis’ hauntingly beautiful music accompanying the visuals as he conveys all of the inspiration, hopes and achievement inherent in this athletic drama. The score was remastered on the Polydor/Universal label in 2006 to celebrate the film’s 25th Anniversary and is currently available on CD from Amazon.com by clicking on the image.
March’s recommended Blu-ray is to the above reviewed The Last Picture Show (North America Region A locked) presently available in the U.S. only as part of this extraordinary set of films from Criterion, which can be ordered from Amazon.com
For more information on all of the films issued in this box set, click on the accompanying image.