Saturday, June 22, 2024

And yet it's airing on a Saturday

I mentioned yesterday that I've got another pair of movies showing up on TCM on the same day that are on my DVR and I haven't reviewed yet. The second of those movies is Sunday Bloody Sunday, which comes on tonight at 10:00 PM.

Peter Finch plays Daniel Hirsh, a Jewish doctor in what looks like one of the nicer parts of London. He sees a female patient who is in an unhappy marriage, and the incongruity of a man giving a wife marriage advice is evident. It becomes even more evident when the patient reminds the good doctor that he is in fact single.

Meanwhile, in another fashionable part of London, we meet Alex Greville (Glenda Jackson). She works at an executive employment agency, and is in some ways as lonely as Daniel, despite the fact that she's in a relationship with young artist Bob Elkin (Murray Head). The relationship starts in Alex's apartment, before the two decamp to look after the Hodsons, children of one of Alex's friends.

By this point, you wonder how the two main figures are connected? Dr. Hirsh looks out his window as a sculpture in his back garden, an intriguing sculpture of glass tubes filled with water in various colors that light up and bubble when the electric is turned on. The sculpture was conceived by... Bob, and Daniel calls him up for some maintence on the sculpture. He contacts Bob while Bob is with Alex, which only bothers her more for the fact that she'll be alone for a while, not because Daniel knows about the relationship.

Indeed, after working on the sculpture, Bob goes up to the second floor of Daniel's house and... sleeps with Daniel! Yeah, Daniel is gay and Bob is bi, sleeping with both Alex and Daniel. And as it later transpires, all three parties know about both relationships, and all three seem to be able to deal with it about as well as could be expected. We also discover that Daniels is friends with the Hodsons too and that they're fully aware of the relationships, being broadminded bohemians. (So broadminded, in fact, that two of the kids smoke a joint despite their very young age.)

Of course, the relationships are not going to be smooth sailing by a long shot. Daniel heads out one evening and is accosted by a former lover who is a heroin addict. And when Daniel doesn't want to deal with this guy, he responds by banging on the window of Daniel's car, a sort of blackmail that still existed despite the laws being changed after Dirk Bogarde's Victim. Daniel's and Alex's respective families also both question them about their personal lives, not so much because they know about the threesome, but because they see people not in a permanent relationship who in their view should be. And of course in Daniel's case, this being the early 1970s the presumption is that none of Daniel's family know he's gay.

The bigger snag comes when Bob has an opportunity to go over to the United States and install some of his sculptures for paying customers in America. It's a great opportunity, and as much as he says he'd only be away for a little while, the much more likely outcome is that it would mean the end of his relationships with both Daniel and Alex, even if on amicable terms.

Sunday Bloody Sunday is a well-made movie, with very good performances by both Finch and Jackson. For me, however, the movie had a problem with the script. The characters all left me cold, and at times it felt like the script was hard to follow. It took me a while to get what everybody's relationship with the Hodsons was, and some of the subplots didn't quite make sense to me either.

Sunday Bloody Sunday picked up several Oscar nominations, and watching it it's not hard to see why. But at the same time I can see why other stuff won. Sunday Bloody Sunday feels like a bit of a slog to watch at times, largely because of the emotional distance of the characters.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Out of Africa

Once again, TCM has a pair of movies coming up on the same day tomorrow (June 22), although this time the second one comes on late in the evening so putting up a post early in the morning should give everyone enough time to see the post before the movie. Anyhow, the first of the two is Oscar's Best Picture for 1985, Out of Africa, which TCM is showing at 5:00 PM on June 22.

Out of Africa was a big enough movie that most people probably know the basic bits of the story. Isak Dinesen was the pen name of the Danish writer Karen Blixen, who published a book in the mid-1930s about her experiences in Africa called Out of Africa (no wonder the movie has such an original title). As the movie opens, Blixen (Meryl Streep) is back in her native Denmark, giving narration that is also the opening of the book. Flash back a little over two decades....

Young Karen is a young woman with a reasonable amount of money to her name who is in want of a husband, because being a spinster in the early 1910s just wasn't the thing. She's been connected to a Swedish baron, but when that falls through his younger brother Bror Blixen (Klaus Maria Brandauer) decides to ask for her hand in marriage. The only thing is, he's about to set off for Africa. But the two decide to get married. Karen is going to follow Bror to Africa after he gets set up, and with her money start a dairy farm since land in British East Africa circa 1913 is inexpensive.

Karen gets to Africa, and since the farm isn't near the coast, she has to take the train from Mombasa to Nairobi, where she'll meet up with Bror and then go on to the farm together after getting married. The train makes a whistle stop along the way, where a British big-game hunter, Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford), deposits some ivory although he does not board the train. Denys knows about the way of life in Africa, and it's clear that Karen doesn't.

Eventually she reaches Nairobi and finds Bror. The two get married, only for him to reveal that he's decided they should grow coffee instead of dairy cattle. This even though it's questionable whether coffee will grow well in their part of Kenya -- it grows well in other parts, so why not here? This is only the first of several conflicts between Karen and Bror. Karen also has more concern for the local Kikuyu people than most Europeans do. Worst is that Bror must be sleeping with other women, because Karen is diagnosed with syphilis.

In the meantime, Karen likes to oversee all the land she owns and the nearby country. This leads her to another meeting with Denys when a lion approaches as Karen is standing under a tree. Now, if Karen just stands there, she should be OK, but she's scared and wants to run, and wants Denys to shoot the lion. But after the meeting, you know the two are going to fall in love, even though they'll never be able to have a real relationship. World War I and a bunch of other things intervene and, as we know, Karen eventually returns to Denmark since the movie opens with the much older Karen in Denmark.

I mentioned at the beginning that Out of Africa won Best Picture at the Oscars. I have to think it's because 1985 was a fairly weak year for films. Heck, Witness got a Best Picture nomination. I happen to like Witness, but it's most definitely not Best Picture material. Out of Africa is, of course, the sort of epic (161 minute) movie that Oscar loves, and the technical aspects of it are certainly quite worthy of all those nominations.

Streep and Brandauer also both give good performances, and were nominated. Robert Redford, on the other hand, sticks out like a sore thumb. Director Sydney Pollack wanted him on the grounds that there weren't any British actors with suitable charm and young enough to take on the role. (I don't think Hugh Grant or Colin Firth were well enough known yet.) In any case, Redford is all wrong for the part. There are also issues with the script, which moves at an absolutely glacial pace, accounting for that 161-minute running time. But the location cinematography is beautiful.

All in all, Out of Africa is a bit of a mixed bag, but one that ultimately has more pluses than minuses.

Donald Sutherland, 1935-2024


Mary Tyler Moore, Timothy Hutton, and Donald Sutherland in Ordinary People (1980)

Donald Sutherland, who appeared in a host of excellent movies frim the 1960s onward yet somehow never picked up an Oscar nomination, died yesterday, a month before what would have been his 89th birthday.

There are too many good performances to list them all; one of my favorites is as the father in the Best Picture Oscar-winner from 1980, Ordinary People. Co-stars Timothy Hutton and Judd Hirsch both bot nominated in the Supporting category, with Hutton winning; Mary Tyler Moore was nominated for Best Actress. But for Sutherland, sadly nothing even though I think he has a more difficult role than either of the other two men.


Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda in Klute (1971)

Sutherland also plays the title role in Klute, as the detective who leaves small-town Pennsylvania for New York to investigate the disappearance of one of the locals, only to find prostitute Jane Fonda and some very dark secrets. Once again, Fonda picked up her first Oscar, while Sutherland got nothing.

I think a lot of more casual movie fans will probably remember things like Kelly's Heroes, M*A*S*H, or especially the 1970s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. When it comes to more "entertainment" movies than "serious" movies, I think I'd recommend Sutherland opposite Sean Connery in The Great Train Robbery.

Sutherland continued to act on both the big and small screens until very late in life, finally getting an honorary Oscar in 2017, and is of course the father of well-known actor Kiefer Sutherland.

I haven't heard anything about a TCM salute to Sutherland; there are certainly enough movies to do a full-day salute although I don't know how many TCM can easily get the rights to. When to schedule it is another issue as well. There's a lot going on in July, and then August is the annual Summer Under the Stars. But when the salute comes up I'll be doing a full post on it.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Not mine to give, or Our Father's House

Another of those movies that I recorded because the synopsis sounded interesting, even though I had never heard of the movie before I saw it on the TCM schedule, was Where the Lilies Bloom.

The story is narrated by Mary Call Luther (Julie Gholson, who didn't have a movie career other than this as far as I know), the second daughter of Roy Luther (Rance Howard, father of Ron). Roy is a widower living with his four children in the hardscrabble mountains of western North Carolina. They eke out a meager living as subsistence farmers -- well, not even that any more since Roy couldn't afford the taxes on the land and his rival Kiser Pease (Harry Dean Stanton, along with Howard one of the few "names" in the cast) bought the land, making the Luthers effectively sharecroppers and making a little extra money by scrounging for herbs and roots.

Mary Call is the narrator despite being the second child, largely because she's got a good head on her shoulders, as opposed to eldest daughter Devola (Jan Smithers, the one other "name" in the cast, who would go on to WKRP in Cincinnati) who is more of a dreamer. So it's Mary Call that Dad confides in and who is sort of the woman of the house with Mom dead, this despite the fact that she's only middle school aged. Dad tells her that he's getting sicker and doesn't expect to live that much longer and that she's going to have to keep the family together after he dies. The Luther's don't seem to have much in the way of relatives, and Dad doesn't want the kids split up and put into various foster homes, although you have to wonder what's going to happen to a family like this once the kids all grow up.

Anyhow, Dad has one other wish for Mary Call, which is that she keep Devola from marrying Kiser, since Dad sees Kiser as his enemy for having taken the land out from under him. Kiser kinda sorta has his eye on Devola in spite of the age difference, although I get the impression that in Appalachia generations ago (the movie seems contemporary to at least 1969, when the book on which it is based was published), such an age difference wasn't quite as big a deal. Mary Coll agrees, and starts getting ready for when Dad finally dies.

That happens maybe a third of the way into the movie, and much of the rest of the movie deals with Mary Coll trying to keep the outside world from finding out that Dad died, which seems like it would be a pretty hard ruse to keep up, especially by the 1960s. Despite having both Kiser and some other busybodies visit, everybody acts like they don't realize that Roy Luther is actually dead. But you can guess where the movie is going to go.

Where the Lilies Bloom isn't a bad movie, helped by production having been done on location, that being the Wataugh County, NC, where Appalachian State University is located, in the era before it changed the demographics of the region. The production also hired a bunch of locals as extras, which also adds a lot of local flavor.

However, the story does strain credulity, since I find it hard to believe nobody could figure out how Dad had died. It's the same issue Our Mother's House does, although that's mostly a pretty darn good movie. All Mine to Give at least figured out that everybody was going to know the kids were now orphans. Where the Lilies Bloom isn't quite as good as the other two, although the location shooting makes the story worth watching.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Success at Any Price

TCM had a night of Colleen Moore movies some time back. She was a star of the silent era who lasted several years into talkies before retiring and becoming even wealthier through smart investments. One of her final movies was Success at Any Price. Since it sounded interesting, I recorded it and recently got around to watching it.

The movie starts off in late 1927, a half dozen years or so before the picture was released. A headline in a newspaper refers to a gangster named Martin killed in a gangland shooting. He was fabulously wealthy, but had a kid brother Joe (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) who wasn't so wealthy. Joe has a girlfriend Sarah (that's Colleen Moore) who works as a secretary at an advertising agency and is doing reasonably well for on of those working girls who is presumably going to quit the workforce when she gets married and starts a family. Joe wants to get the money, and vows to do whatever it takes, at least legally, to get it.

Sarah's job is working for Merritt (Frank Morgan before he moved to MGM). Merritt takes an interest in Sarah, but it seems more because he's interested in all of the secretaries. Sarah isn't interested in the advances, but is able to get Joe a job with the agency. Joe, meanwhile, grates at what seems to him like the evils of networking: all those men who went to college and were in fraternites are able to use those connections to get ahead in the business world while people like him languish because the college boys look down on them.

Eventually, Joe has a blow-up with Merritt, but Sarah is able to get Joe a second chance. That chance involves coming up with copy not for Wham, but for a cold cream used by the upper classes. ("If you ain't eatin' cold cream" is not exactly winning ad copy.) While Joe is in the office trying to come up with the copy that would save his job, in walks Agnes (Genevieve Tobin), who is Merritt's current mistress. Joe is immediately taken with Agnes, largely because she's the sort of upper-class woman who uses the cold cream Joe is trying to advertise. He gets the job back, and starts to become more successful. Successful enough, in fact, that he can start calling on Agnes, which is a problem when Merritt walks in on him.

And then an establishing shot shows a calendar for 1930. Everybody watching the movie when it was first released would have recognized that this means the stock market crash of 1929 has occurred, and with that, a lot of people are in financial trouble. Among those in trouble are the company, as well as Merritt personally. Joe sees this as a chance to move up in the company, eventually driving Merritt out and even getting Merritt's old girlfriend Agnes. But will he be happy with the newfound success?

Success at Any Price is the sort of movie that was common during the Depression, looking at the business world while also portraying the rich as not necessarily being well off. Some of it is skewering the rich, while sometimes I wonder whether movies like this were trying to send the message to the working classes that they should be happy with what they have because the rich aren't happy either.

Douglas Fairbanks does well, as does Moore, but I can't help but think that this sort of material would have worked better had it been made at Warner Bros., which had the reputation for making social issues movies. Not that Success at Any Price is bad; it's just that it doesn't really rise above the standard for the genre. It's definitely worth one watch, however.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Christmas in the summer

When TCM had their annual Christmas marathon last year, they included a bunch of movis that were only tangentially Christmas movies because there were one or more scenes set at Christmas time. I recorded several of them, and now that I'm up to those movies on my DVR, I'm blogging about them even though it's the height of summer. One of those movies was The Man I Love.

After the opening credits, the camera pans in on The 39 Club, in New York City. It's closed for the evening, but a bunch of the musicians are still in the club, including singer Petey Brown (Ida Lupino). After she sings an old Gershwin standard, the musicians talk about the past, bringing up a pianist named San Thomas, wondering what happened to him.

Meanwhile, Petey has a sister living on the other coast, in Long Beach CA. Petey is tired of the New York life, so she decides she's going to travel out to Los Angeles and spend some time with her sister Sally (Andrea King), especially since Christmas is coming up. Sally works as a waitress, not in a cocktail bar, but in a restaurant run by Nicky Toresca (Robert Alda) as a front. He's also interested in Sally romantically, even though the feeling is not mutual. But he's got a lot of pull, even having gotten her brother Joe a job in one of his places. Sally has another sister besides Petey, as well as a son and a husband who served in World War II but wound up in an Army mental hospital with PTSD or somesuch. So when Petey shows up, she has no idea what she's about to get into.

With that in mind, Petey decides that she's going to stay a while to try to help her kid siblings out. Meanwhile, Joe bring Sally a dress for Christmas. Except that it's actually a gift from Toresca, and Sally clearly doesn't want. Petey's already heard Sally's tale of woe about Toresca, so she decides she's going to figure out what's going on by wearing Sally's dress to Toresca's place, since that will clearly get his attention. She even gets a job at Toresca's place as a nightclub singer.

And then the plot really starts getting melodramatically out of control. Joe gets arrested for fighting, and when Petey goes to bail him out, it turns out that he's been fighting with... San Thomas (Bruce Bennett). And if that's not enough, there's a whole lot more going on, including lots of affairs and one of the characters getting killed.

The Man I Love was based on a novel, and I get the impression that the studio folks who read the novel thought that it would make good material for a movie. But something went wrong, I'd guess with the script, in that there's just way too much here, and the script just keeps piling more and more melodrama on. It's way too much for a 90-minute movie. I suppose I should add here, however, that the movie was originally 96 minutes. Supposedly, the Warner Archive has restored it and made the 96-minute movie available as of this year, but the print TCM showed last Christmas was the 90-minute version.

Ida Lupino tries her best, and is generally good with this sort of material. But even Lupino can't really save The Man I Love.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Nights of Cabiria, the musical

The second movie that TCM is showing on June 18 that I happen to have on my DVR but hadn't yet blogged about is the musical Sweet Charity. It comes on at 5:30 PM on June 18, so now is the time to do the post on it.

Shirley MacLaine stars as Charity Hope Valentine, and as the movie opens we see her singing and dancing her way across Manhattan, briefly pausing to look at wedding rings, and then ending up at one of the bridges in Central Park to meet her boyfriend and soon-to-be fiancé Charlie. Except that the meeting doesn't go as well as planned. Charity may think she loves Charlie, but the feeling isn't quite mutual. Charity has taken all of her money out of her savings account, and Charlie steals her purse, pushing her into the pond below. Naturally, everybody there thinks she's attempted suicide.

Now, Charity ought to be able to give the cops Charlie's name, and one would think she knows where he lives, so the police could pick him up. But Charity seems to want to forget the whole thing, this being simply the latest in a series of bad-luck relationships with men. Charity works as a taxi dancer in an era that I didn't realize still had taxi dancers in places like midtown Manhattan. Her best friends at the dance hall, Nickie (Chita Rivera) and Helene (Paula Kelly), try to give her good advice, but Charity doesn't seem able to take the advice.

Luck may be about to hit her, however. One rainy evening as she's walking in Manhattan, she comes across movie star Vittorio (Ricardo Montalbán) as he's breaking up with his girlfriend Ursula. He offers to take Charity in his limousine back to his place, which is a swanky house in Manhattan that looks like it's would be worth seven figures even back in 1969 when the movie was released. This gives Charity to perform one of the two standards from the musical, "If They Could See Me Now". (How much of a standard it is is that I first learned of the song from Kathie Lee Gifford singing it in commercials for Carnival Cruises.) But Vittorio has a reconciliation with his old girlfriend that spoils everything for Charity.

She decides to leave dancing and get a real job, except that she has no skills whatsoever. As she's leaving the employment agency, she gets trapped in an elevator with Oscar (John McMartin), an actuary. The two fall in love, and the relationship blossoms to the point where they plan to get married, with another big production number at the old dance hall where Charity worked. And they lived happily ever after... or did they?

Sweet Charity was based on a Broadway musical, which in turn was based on the late-1950s Italian movie Nights of Cabiria. Bob Fosse directed and did the choreography for the stage musical, and Universal brought him out to Hollywood to direct the movie. This was Fosse's first foray into film directing, and one thing that he shows here is that he was an oustanding choreographer, as all of the dance numbers are intricate and very well handled.

The bad news, however, is that the rest of the movie is an absolute mess. (To be fair however, I had a lot of difficulty getting through Nights of Cabiria.) There's very little story here, and all of the song and dance numbers stop the movie dead in its tracks, making it feel bloated is it runs to 149 minutes. (TCM's showing tomorrow is from 5:30 to 8:00, so assuming it starts right on time they should be able to fit it in that slot. The recording I have is from Dave Karger's Saturday musical matinee slot, so with his intro and outro it pushed things out to about 152 minutes into the recording and was given a 2:45 slot.) Fosse's direction is not up to the level of his choreography, as he badly misuses the camera for dissolves, already evident in the opening musical number, and scenes where the camera holds on still images for no discernable reason.

It's easy to see why critics panned Sweet Charity, and why it was a box office flop back in 1969. Some people, however, will still be able to find Fosse's choreography and Shirley MacLaine's exuberance enough to make the movie worth their while.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Four Daughters good, seven daughters better?

I've got a bunch of movies on my DVR that I haven't blogged about before but that are coming up soon on TCM. One of them is Raintree County, but that's currently on the schedule for July so I've decided I'm going to blog about it then. But there are two on June 18, which is why the first of them is getting a post already on June 16. That one is Seven Sweethearts, which comes on TCM at 11:30 AM on June 18.

A brief opening includes some doggerel about the Dutch contribution to America, reminding us of the town of Holland, MI, which was founded by Dutch immigrants although as I understand it the demographics have changed significantly since this movie was released in 1942. Then, driving into New Delft, which I guess is supposed to be the stand-in for Holland, is New York photojournalist Henry Taggart (Van Heflin, who had just become a star thanks to his performance in Johnny Eager, although this movie was released before he won the Oscar). He's got an assignment to do a piece on the town's tulip festival, and he's looking for a place to stay.

Unfortunately for him, he winds up talking to somebody who it seems would rather give him the runaround, that being Van Maaster (S.Z. Sakall). Henry first meets Van Maaster sitting in the town square playing his oboe, while other guys in the buildings around the square play the other parts of the piece. It just so happens that Van Maaster owns the local hotel, although he really only advertises it to the people he wants to have stay in the hotel, which seems like a good way to go bankrupt quickly. Fortunately for Henry, Mr. Van Maaster is willing to have him as a guest.

Henry gets shown to his room by one of Van Maaster's daughters, who just happens to have a boy's name, because Dad, wanting a boy, preemptively gave all his kids boys' names before they were born, only for his wife to push out one daughter after another, seven in all. Henry also discovers that this is a rather odd hotel, in that there are guests who haven't paid their bills in months, and all the guests seem as happy as they would be if they were Stepford Guests.

The daughters are all unmarried, because of a family tradition. Even though five of them have boyfriends who anywhere else would be a fiancé already, in the Van Maaster family, the daughters always have to marry in age order. And the oldest daughter, Regina (Marsha Hunt), instead of wanting to get married, wants to go off to New York and become an actress. So she's thrilled that Henry is here, because perhaps he can get her out of town.

It's youngest daughter Billie (Kathryn Grayson), however, who winds up weaving the web around Henry as this magical town grows on him. He and Billie fall in love, although there's a problem in that she doesn't really want to upset the family tradition and get married first. (I also couldn't quite tell how much of an age difference there was between the seven daughters.)

As I watched Seven Sweethearts, I couldn't help but think of the Four Daughters series that Warner Bros. had recently completed. That series worked in part because it was made before World War II came to America, during that latter stages of the Depression when that sort of small-town charm still worked. But also, Four Daughters had a hard edge of drama in no small part thanks to the presence of John Garfield and being done at Warner Bros.

MGM, on the other hand, put Van Heflin into Seven Sweethearts, and seemed to be of the belief that the thing to do with this material was to pour as much of the sentimental gloop as the studio could into the material. Another review I read used the word "cloying", and oh my is Seven Sweethearts nonstop cloy. You wonder why Henry didn't throttle everyone in town on his first day in New Delft.

But then, to make things worse, since they were grooming Kathryn Grayson for stardom, they had to give her a bunch of songs to sing. Her voice doesn't really work for me, and I've always considered her an acquired taste. But her vocal stylings work even less for this sort of movie.

There are going to be people who like Seven Sweethearts. But I'm not one of those people.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Disintegrated Convict

Another of my recent Blu-ray purchases was a 3-disc box set of Vitagraph Comedies, featuring a bunch of one-reelers from the early days of the studio (I think the earliest is from 1907) through to the late days of the studio after World War I. I recently put Disc 1 into the player, and watched both a brief intro about the films and the set, as well as the first of the shorts, The Disintegrated Convict.

The 2024 intro, produced by Kino Classics, includes a couple of the archivists at the Library of Congress who were responsible for cataloguing, restoring, and selecting the shorts seen in this collection, along with some brief comments about things that surprised them, such as they thought some of the shorts labeled as comedies weren't funny at all, and it wasn't just because the material was dated. This intro runs about 13 minutes and while it doesn't provide a whole lot of information, it's certainly a good-enough general introduction.

As for the short I watched, The Disintegrated Convict, since it's only six minutes and change there's not much plot here. A man gets put into a prison cell, where the cops who brought him in hang him by his wrists so that he can't escape, except that they're stupid enough to leave the door to the cell unlocked so that even if he could somehow get down, he could just walk right out. The man does get down, but in a unique way: he "disintegrates" and rematerializes, which is of course handled with crude special effects; unsurprisingly mention is made in the commentaries of Georges Meliès.

After the prisoner escapes, the police chase him Keystone Kops style, except that this is several years before the Keystone series. Each time, the convict "escapes" by morphing into something different, which is a setup for the various effects and sight gags. This being 1907, there's no real resolution since there's not exactly much plot.

There's a new piano score, as well as a second track with commentary from a British film historian, who intelligently pointed out the first thing I noticed, which is that the prison wall had an extremely noticeable Vitagraph logo on it; this was obviously done to try to deter making bootleg copies since film copyright was handled differently in those days. As I understand it, individual images could be copyrighted and deposited with the Library of Congress.

The packaging for this set is similar to that of the Miklos Jancso collection I mentioned recently, in that each disc gets its own spindle, with two of the discs back-to-back on a hinge that turns like a page; the third disk is on the inside of the back, much like a traditional standalone DVD or Blu-ray. No particular rating of the short; it's interesting enough and I assume the shorts here will be of variable quality with different viewers finding some better/funnier than others.

Father's Day is tomorrow

Tomorrow is the third Sunday in June, which here in the US means Father's Day. Just as TCM celebrates Mother's Day with a lineup of movies looking at mothers, so do they celebrate Father's Day -- and you can probably predict some of the movies that show up.

First, however, we should mention the overnight lineup, since it starts with Noir Alley which gets a repeat during the daytime lineup. This one isn't really a fatherhood-related movie, but James Stewart in the pretty darn good Northside 777 at midnight. I'm trying to think of a good fatherhood-themed noir, but nothing quickly is coming to mind. The rest of the night is a sort of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", as the following movie is another James Stewart film, Vertigo at 2:15 AM. That, in turn, is followed by another Alfred Hitchcock movie, I Confess at 4:30 AM, which I suppose is a different sort of father.

As for the actual Father's Day lineup, it's surprisingly filled with dark movies, more so than the TCM's traditional Mother's Day lineup which doesn't seem to get much darker than Mildred Pierce. The first half of the day is not so bright:
Laurence Olivier having more or less failed as a father in The Entertainer, at 6:15 AM;
Spencer Tracy as another failed father in Edward, My Son, at 8:00 AM, which has the surprising conceit of not actually seeing the son;
The repeat of Call Northside 777 at 10:00 AM; and
James Dean trying to please his father Raymond Massey in East of Eden at 12:15 PM.

The afternoon and even get lighter, with some of the more predictable selections, although the first doesn't show up quite so much:
Daughters Courageous at 2:30 PM, which you could be forgiven for thinking is part of the Warner Bros. series that started with Four Daughters;
A Family Affair, the first of the Andy Hardy movies, at 4:30 PM;
The Courtship of Eddie's Father at 5:45 PM;
Life With Father, the movie we know you were all waiting for on Father's Day, at 8:00 PM; and
Father of the Bride (the 1950 version) at 10:15 PM.

FXM doesn't seem to be doing anything for Father's Day, and mildly humorously has the fun anthology film We're Not Married! at 11:30 AM.