Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve 2014/5 programming notes

TCM already had a TCM Remembers piece for Luise Rainer up, in the slot between the last afternoon movie and the prime time lineup. News outlets all have obituaries for all sorts of famous people ready to go if those people should die suddenly, and when youv'e got a woman nearing 105, it shouldn't be a surprise when she finally does die. That, and with almost all of Rainer's Hollywood career having been at MGM, it would probably have been easier for TCM to get the rights to show those clips. All you have to do is get somebody to stick the year of death on at the end of the piece.

The short that followed the TCM Remembers piece was the unexpected Season in Tyrol. Every time I've seen that on the TCM schedule, I've assumed it was a "making of" featurette for Where Eagles Dare, which came out around the same time and was filmed in part in Austria, but I was wrong. First, I didn't notice that Where Eagles Dare came out a few months earlier, and was not made at the same studio. Season in Tyrol is actual a two-reeler that looks like the old Traveltalks shorts, except that it was made at Warner Bros. many years after James Fitzpatrick retired. There was a lot of nice scenery of the four seasons (which really does mean winter, spring, summer, and fall, and not some figurative seasons), although it helps that Tyrol is easy to make look good. There was also some vintage winter sports, although not as vintage as in many even older movies.

Tonight's prime time line-up is rock and roll musicians, giving us an Elvis concert movie, another showing of A Hard Day's Night, the documentary Gimme Shelter about the Rolling Stones' disastrous free concert at Altamont CA, and a few more. I don't know if I'd call Aki Kaurismäki's Total Balalaika Show (tomorrow morning at 5:00 AM, or overnight tonight depending on your point of view) rock and roll, but there you are.

Somebody who programs TCM has a vicious sense of humor. The Thursday morning and afternoon lineup pits Joan Crawford against Bette Davis. The two famously hated working together on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, so much so that Davis went to substantial lengths to get Crawford off the set of Hush, Hush... Sweet Charlotte. Tomorrow's lineup alternates later period Crawford and Davis. The day starts off at 6:00 AM with Crawford in Torch Song, followed at 7:30 AM by Davis in Storm Center, both of which I've recommended for being hilarious in their misfiring. So you can probably guess where the rest of the day is going.

Happy New Year!

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