With all the levels of flashbacks within flashbacks in director John Brahm’s underrated Noir masterpiece The Locket (1946) on TCM 10/13/16, you will not require a 3D TV to marvel at the four time dimensions of Laraine Day’s serial Femme Fatal and her 3 levels of male victims played and read in true Noir voice over style by Brian Aherne, Gene Raymond, and the great Robert Mitchum.
On her birthday today 9/30- I must remember the juicy rendezvous aggressive Deborah Kerr as the Captain’s wife dared to have with Burt Lancaster as Sgt. Warden in From Here to Eternity (1953) and contrast it- in much amazement- with her role as the shy timid Sibyl in Separate Tables (1958) and her repressed relationship with the shocking (at least to Sibyl’s mother played to perfection by Gladys Cooper) Oscar winning here David Niven as Major Pollock. I do not think we are going to see a beach rendezvous here between Kerr and Niven in director Delbert Mann’s much underrated movie!
On TCM 10/8/16- Paths of Glory (1957) – With masterful camera work and scriptwriting Stanley Kubrick delivers a powerful anti-war message with great performances by Kirk Douglas as honorable military lawyer, Adolphe Menjou as the indifferent political general, and Timothy Carey as the poor scapegoat private. Kubrick was the master director who always had his camera in the optimal position to give his message the most impact. Catch the extreme close up of Carey being sentenced to death within a large palace courtroom and that long tracking shot of Kirk walking in disgust through a network of trenches packed with fearful troops.
In Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944) strong subplot: The personal relationship between insurance fraud honcho Keyes brilliantly played by Edward G. Robinson and ambitious salesman Fred MacMurray (Neff)- We are waiting for the moment when Keyes finds out the truth about his favorite salesman!
On TCM 10/2/16- Leave Her to Heaven (1946) -Don’t let the bright technicolor or Gene Tierney’s external beauty mislead you-this movie is very dark NOIR and Gene’s character of Ellen is internally very ugly. A great supporting cast with Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price, and Darryl Hickman all getting caught in Ellen’s evil web.
After directing such tragic masterpieces as Bicycle Thieves (1948), Umberto D. (1952), and Two Woman (1960), the great Vittorio De Sica lightened up his canvas with the Oscar winning comic Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (1963) composed of three tales each with screen greats Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni (today 9/28 would have been his birthday) playing quite different couples in different Italian locales (Naples, Milan, and Rome) directed in three unique styles. Talk about artistic diversity
On TCM today 10/22/16-I love the scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959) where Cary Grant with his usual humor and charm makes a brilliant escape via the local police from the dangerous James Mason and Martin Landau with Eva Marie Saint at a Chicago auction house by making illogical bids on art objects and yelling out “It looks like a fake.” One of the other bidders looks at Cary: “Well one thing we know. You’re no fake. You are a genuine idiot.”
On TCM 10/12/16-My favorite Paul Newman flick The Young Philadelphians (1959) directed by Vincent Sherman—As an aspiring society attorney Judson Lawrence Paul gives rich Billie Burke (Glinda in The Wizard of Oz) smart tax advice while petting her lap dog, defends much underrated actor Robert Vaughn (in a striking Oscar nominated performance here) of a murder charge with sting like cunning, wows beauties Barbara Rush and Alexis Smith with his Paul Newman blue eyes and proves to be a great son to his audience only knowing father, Brain Keith. Watch the Paul Newman eyes explode with even greater intensity when he learns the revealing fact (known to us in the audience) that his father is really regular guy Mike Flanagan (Brian Keith) and not the high society William Lawrence II (Adam West).
A perennial on TCM – Great director Nicholas Ray’s masterpiece Rebel Without a Cause (1955) is a favorite of mine. Love the performances by James Dean, Oscar nominated here Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo. I cannot forget:
- The strong performances by Jim Backus and Ann Doran as Dean’s 50’s suburban parents.
- The introduction of Nick Adams and Dennis Hooper as young punks.
- Later TV series stars William Hopper (to be Paul Drake on Perry Mason) as Natalie’s dad and Edward Platt (to be Chief of Control on Get Smart! as an understanding cop.
- The scenes filmed at the LA Griffith Observatory—Love that touching Sal Mineo line as Plato— “What does he know about man alone?”