Saturday, March 13, 2010

TCM in heat!

TCM's Essential movie for tonight is one of the last great gangster movies, 1949's White Heat, airing at 8:00 PM ET. I mentioned it briefly quite some time back, and pointed out James Cagney's famous quote at the end, "Made it Ma! Top of the world!" when he's cornered at a gas refinery. The picture of Cagney's Cody Jarrett, silhouetted against the rising flames, is one that's made it to the Internet in a bunch of places. One other famous scene, which you've probably seen if you've seen George C. Scott's piece on Cagney that airs whenever TCM wants to promote an upcoming Cagney film, is the scene in which Cody Jarrett, in prison, learns that his beloved mother has died. The piece is available at the TCM Media Room. I couldn't find the George C. Scott piece at the TCM Media Room, but unsurprisingly, it's made its way to Youtube.

Anyhow, TCM's airing of White Heat serves as an excuse for them to show a bunch of movies with the word "Heat" in the title. That includes The Big Heat, at midnight. Glenn Ford is the star, although the movie is a lot more fun to watch for Lee Marvin, at his psychotic best, throwing a pot of hot coffee in poor Gloria Grahame's face.

In between the two is something a little more recent, Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, at 10:00 PM. It's one of those silly 1960s caper movies, with the plot here involving James Coburn and his merry band of gangsters (including Aldo Ray) trying to rob the bank at Los Angeles International Airport while security is involved with the arrival of the Soviet Premier. It's typical for the genre, in that it's reasonably competently made, entertaining enough, but nothing particularly great or memorable.

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