Wednesday, October 21, 2015

TCM Guest Programmer October 2015: Nathan Lane

Hard to believe it's been three weeks already, but we're up to another Guest Programmer on TCM. This time, it's Nathan Lane, the Broadway and sometimes movie star Nathan Lane. Lik most Guest Programmers, he's selected four movies, and sat down with Robert Osborne to discuss those selections, which are airing tonight on TCM.

First up, at 8:00 PM, is The Producers, the 1967 version with Zero Mostel as the Broadway producer who gets the brilliant idea to bilk people by oversubscribing a surefire flop, only for that flop, Springtime for Hitler to become a runaway hit. Gene Wilder stars as Mostel's assistant. Considering that this was turned into a Broadway musical with Lane in the cast, you can see why he'd select something like this.
Second, at 9:45 PM, is All the President's Men, which stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Carl Woodward and Bob Bernstein, the two Washington Post reporters who uncovered what was going on during the Watergate scandal.
Then comes Being There at 12:15 AM. In this one, Peter Sellers plays a mentally-challenged man who has spent his whole life as gardener to a wealthy man who has just died, forcing Sellers to leave the only home he's ever known. Sellers learned everything he knows by watching TV, and the platitudes he spews are considered profound by the Beltway Class.
Finally, Lane has selected City Lights at 2:30 AM. Charlie Chaplin plays a man who falls in love with a blind girl selling flowers, and decides that he's going to do whatever it takes to raise th emoney to get her the operation that could restore her eyesight.

I have to admit that I'm not terribly excited about Lane's choices, although that's largely personal opinion. The Producers is mostly good, but as with most of the movies Mel Brooks made, there are times when it crosses over into irritating zaniness. But it's nowhere near as irritating as Being There. I suppose it's a sign of how good a job Peter Sellers did with his character, but I find his utterances dumb, with the movie being so tediously slow.

One final note: after Lane's selections, TCM will be showing the 1979 French film La Cage Aux Folles. This was the basis for the later Broadway musical, and later remade as the English-language movie The Birdcage, also starring Nathan Lane.


crystalkalyana said...

Hi Ted,

I can't seem to find a better way to contact you other than through your blog. I'm a classic film blogger and quite often hold blogathons. I'm hosting another one next year and would like to invite you to participate. The link is below with more details

Ted S. (Just a Cineast) said...

My profile does have an email link. Is that not working? :-)