Tonight 8/18/16 on TCM – The Howard Hawks entertaining Rio Bravo (1959) about a group of underdog Westerners led by Sheriff John Wayne who team up to stand up again the local bad guys-Exceptional performances here by the great Ward Bond as Wayne’s friend; Dean Martin as Dude, the talented deputy recovering from alcoholism; Ricky Nelson as Colorado, the smart kid; Screen great Walter Brennan as the grumpy old man Stumpy, and Angie Dickerson as Feathers, the new to the town beautiful young widow. Great artistry in filmmaking by Hawks to blend these diverse characters into a group that has a special comradery and even treat us to a laugh or a song along the way!
A TCM perennial – Impressive casting in W. Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge (1946) with screen greats Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, Oscar winning here Anne Baxter, Clifton Webb, John Payne, and Herbert Marshall in an interesting novel to movie adaptation literally giving the on-screen author’s point of view as Maugham himself.
On TCM 8/17/16 -The much underrated actor and honored today in the Summer Under The Stars series James Edwards is very effective in scenes with screen great Robert Ryan in both Robert Wise’s The Set-Up (1949) as fellow boxer Luther Hawkins awaiting a match and in Anthony Mann’s Men in War (1958) as Sgt. Killian reporting to Ryan as Lt. Benson. It is screen magic to watch Edwards and Ryan at work!
On TCM 8/17/16 -The much underrated actor and honored today in the Summer Under The Stars series James Edwards in The Caine Mutiny (1954) subtlety excels as Whittaker (Lt. Cmdr. Queeg’s aide) by adding military restraint to his ridiculous task enhanced the impact of Humphrey Bogart’s famous mad quest to prove with “geometric” logic that someone took an extra portion of frozen strawberries. Similarly in Patton (1970) as Sergeant William George Meeks, the general’s valet, Edwards has a very strong scene where he is very understanding of Patton’s (played by Oscar winner here George C. Scott) dilemma of losing his command over a “measly slap.”
During the party celebrating Christmas (and the recent successful JFK airport theft) in Scorsese’s brilliant Goodfellars (1990) -Johnny Roastbeef arrives with his wife in a new, hot pink “gorgeous” Cadillac convertible. Since all the Wiseguys have been warned against unapproved flashy post robbery spending by mastermind James Conway (Robert De Niro), instead of purchasing a family auto, the Roastbeefs selected a very lavish coffin.
On TCM 8/17/16-Great director Robert Wise creates a NOIR world in The Set-Up (1949) where Robert Ryan, the extraordinary actor of many diverse faces, plays an over-the-hill boxer who refuses to quit despite the pleading of his wife played brilliantly by Audrey Totter and stands up to gangsters who want him to take a dive. -We cheer for Ryan here and yet we hate him as mean bigots in both The Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) and Crossfire (1947).
On TCM 8/17/16-In the Stanley Kramer produced and Carl Forman written Home of The Brave (1949)-I cannot stop watching on the newly released Blu-ray especially the touching scene between the much underrated actor James Edwards (Pvt. Peter Moss) and Lloyd Bridges (His childhood buddy Finch) on dangerous WWII sentry duty as they dream about opening a 50/50 owned “type of place a guy could bring his wife” after the war where Moss does the cooking and Finch serves the drinks-and to enhance the powerful performances here is the soundtrack from the great Dimitri Tiomkin which features a choral rendition of Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.
On TCM 8/15/16 -In John Ford’s brilliant How Green Was My Valley (1941) — after a fair schoolyard boxing match with another kid, Roddy McDowall is unjustly whipped by a snobby teacher. In one of my all-time favorite movie moments—Rhys Williams in a very compelling performance as retired boxer Dai Bando comes to the school scoring a knockout of the teacher- -open school week John Ford style.
Birthday today of great character actor Edmund Gwenn who usually plays a kindly British gentleman having connections to benevolent divine forces—his roles include the nice old man who is a small scale counterfeiter in Mister 880 (1950) and of course the Oscar winning Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street (1947) to young Natalie Wood. But leave it up to Alfred Hitchcock to cast Edmund in a dark way as the hit man in (on TCM 10/6/16) Foreign Correspondent (1940) who tries to throw Joel McCrea off Westminster Cathedral Tower.
On TCM Sunday 8/16/16 – Oscar winning here Writer Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve (1950) takes us on a bumpy ride where the great Bette Davis plays Margo Channing- the famous accomplished actress on the top with Anne Baxter as Eve Harrington-a most promising award winning new comer still cunningly climbing to the top…The great 6 times Oscar nominated supporting actress Thelma Ritter as Margo’s maid Birdie was wise to Eve early: “What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin’ at her rear end.” And the all-knowing narrator Oscar winning here George Sanders as theatre critic Addison DeWitt is well aware of the Margo/Eve conflict: “Too bad, we’re gonna miss the third act. They’re gonna play it offstage.”