The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)-William Wyler directing Dana Andrews

In the William Wyler directed The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)-One of my all-time favorite sequences in the history of cinema is when screen great Dana Andrews as down and out war hero/soda jerk veteran Fred Derry takes a walk in a junkyard populated with retired WW 2 aircraft and is lucky to be in the right place at the right time landing a good job where he learns how to recycle the junked war planes into prefabricated homes.

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Fat City (1972)-Directed by John Huston with Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrrell

On TCM 10/3/16- Another masterpiece directed by John Huston – Fat City (1972) screenplay by Leonard Garner based on his novel, music by Kris Kristofferson, Cinematography by 3 time Oscar winner Conrad Hall with touching performances by Stacy Keach as aging boxer Billy Tully, Jeff Bridges as Eddie Munger, the 18-year-old hopeful boxer, and Oscar nominated here Susan Tyrrell as Oma, the hard drinking barfly—a cast and crew which transforms the actual Stockton, CA locations into a dismal place rivaling a city painted by artist Edward Hooper. I was lucky enough to screen Fat City introduced by Stacy Keach at the 2016 TCMFF (photo below) and it is very engrossing on the large screen of the TCL Chinese Theatre.

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Bringing Up Baby (1938)- Cary Grant , Katherine Hepburn, Asta

There is nothing like the pleasure of viewing master director Howard Hawk’s Bringing Up Baby (1938) on TCM 10/9/16 and admire the fast talking of “Screwball Comedy” super stars Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn as they deal with a pet baby leopard “Baby” in Connecticut and a terrier George (played by Asta -a prolific scene stealer if you ask Nick and Nora Charles) who refuses to reveal where he buried the priceless intercostal clavicle bone. Catch the moment when Baby and George become friends!

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The Racket (1951)-Robert Mitchum as Police Captain Thomas McQuigg

On TCM 9/30/16- The Racket (1951)-Set in a NOIR city… Presented by Howard Hughes and directed by John Cromwell (helped by Nicholas Ray and Tay Garnett) with screen great Robert Mitchum cast as Police Captain Thomas McQuigg a public servant of high integrity surrounded by internal corruption and standing up to local crime boss Nick Scanlon played to his meanest by Robert Ryan. Catch the performances of Ray Collins and William Conrad as crooked public servants and on the honest side William Talman as Officer Bob Johnson and Lizabeth Scott as nightclub singer Irene Hayes threatened by the crime bosses.  

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Shane (1953) -Alan Ladd & Van Heflin directed by George Stevens

On TCM Sat  9/24/16 – Shane (1953) – Without much dialogue genius director George Stevens using a little movie technique magic catches the developing loving deep friendship between the homesteaders (The Starretts played by greats Van Heflin, Jean Arthur, and as their son in an Oscar nominated role Brandon De Wilde) with the trying to settle down gunfighter brilliantly played by Alan Ladd…Catch the precise use of the post-production process of a “dissolve” which is a gradual transition from a fade-out of one image to a fade-in of a new image employed to show when the Starretts realize that Shane is a sincere hardworking friend—just the continuous beautiful music of Victor Young on the soundtrack and the sound of the chopping axes along with this expressive dissolve tell us of the bond with Shane.

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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)- John Garfield and Lana Turner

On TCM Sat 9/24- An Adaption of the James Cain novel The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) directed by Tay Garnett with screen greats John Garfield and Lana Turner as murder co-conspirators getting support from great character actors Cecil Kellaway as the victim, Hume Cronyn as the clever defense lawyer, and Leon Ames as the local prosecutor. Love how the prison bar shadows on the wall in some scenes bring out the Noir entrapment of Garfield and Turner. A very ironic movie well casted and directed.

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The Furuya Sisters and Rudolf Golez- A 2015 Musical Event Fondly Remembered

At The Furuya Sisters Season Opening Concert Series Fall 2015- it was wonderful to hear the beautiful music played world class musicians who are also very kind gracious people!

There was a very informative pre-concert talk led by Harumi Furuya and Rudolf Golez that clearly set the stage for the great artistry to follow.

Mimi Furuya opened the evening with a J. S. Bach Suite for Solo Cello that sang with the rich tunes of 6 baroque dances of varying moods.. Sakiko played a beautiful Chopin piano piece and then Harumi showed us what lovely tones she could get out of her solo violin playing a J. S Bach Allemanda-and before the evening was over our ears would be treated to a trio for piano, violin and cello by Tchaikovsky. A very well planned concert!

And as a bonus we heard an brilliant interpretation of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor by guest Rudolf Golez that was a very artistic rending of the composer’s mood changes.

I cannot wait for the next Furuya Sisters concert.

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Ben-Hur (1959)-Charton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith

On TCM today Christmas 2016-Friendship (as highlighted by a brilliant theme from the Rozsa soundtrack) in William Wyler’s  Ben-Hur (1959)- Childhood pal Messala played to perfection by Stephen Boyd certainly turned out to be a false friend to Oscar winner here Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur. But I would love to have a friend like Charlton Heston had here rooting him on – Horse loving Sheik (Hugh Griffith in an Oscar winning role). Although the Sheik was from a different religious background (“One God OK..But One Wife?”), he befriended and supported Heston in defeating his now arch enemy Stephen Boyd in the chariot race.

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The Big Country (1958) – The Jerome Moross Soundtrack is magic!

The phenomenal Jerome Moross original soundtrack on vinyl of The Big Country (1958) directed by the great William Wyler brings memories via my restored Technics turntable of wide open western vistas to my living room and the father son act by Oscar winning here Burl Ives and “Rifleman” Chuck Connors in quite a different part as Burl’s misguided son Buck.

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