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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

What's on your Black and White TV ?!

I'm really getting addicted to TCM (Turner Classic Movies). It's usually the first channel I check out to see what's on. All movies, no commercials - great stuff. I have always had a love of old films. I watched them from an early age as I have been a night owl for as long as I can remember. Back in the 13 channel universe if you liked staying up after 11 pm you were pretty much watching old films.

TCM recently had a 15th anniversary contest where viewers could enter to be a guest programmer for a day. It got me thinking about what I would choose.

In the past 24 hours I've been really lucky with a couple of my faves hitting the air.

Late last night I caught In The Heat of The Night (1967) with Sidney Poitier & Rod Steiger (Norman Jewison directing for a bit of CanCon !) . I've always loved that film. From the great murder plot to Poitier's performance, (Gillespie: “What they call a coloured officer up there in the North?” Tibbs: “They call me MISTER TIBBS !”). The directing is great as well. You can feel the heat and humidity ooze from the screen.
Tonight it was The Big Clock, another one of my favourites, with Charles Laughton. A great drama !

Other old favourites that I would line up:

Twelve Angry Men (1957) The whole movie is set in one small, hot room as twelve jurors try to deliberate on the life and death of the accused.

Mutiny on the Bounty - I've seen all three: Laughton / Gable (1935); Howard / Brando (1962); Hopkins / Gibson (1984). I'd have to watch them all again in close succession to pick a favourite. The most chilling, I think, was 1984. It's interesting to see Mr. Christian (where my nic comes from !) evolve. A calm, thought out Clark Gable to a broody, darker Marlon Brando to a troubled, insecure Mel Gibson.

I'm a huge Errol Flynn fan so I would have to toss in ... Captain Blood (1935). The Sea Hawk was good but Blood had that great duel scene with Basil Rathbone and, of course, his main leading lady Olivia De Havilland. I'd also line up a great war film he did a few years later with Ronald Reagan and Vincent Massey (more CanCon !) Desperate Journey (1942).

Casablanca (1942) simply has to be there. Remembered mostly as a romance it also had its dark side: corruption, death, black humour and great nuances tucked away that you forget about until you watch it again. Warner Brothers was at the peak of it's game when it made this film and it showed.

I'd have to toss a Paul Newman film in there - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or Somebody up there Likes Me (1956) or better yet HUD. Yes, HUD it is.

I'm not really a musical kind of guy but will give a nod to the great Gene Kelly - likely An American in Paris (1951). What a strong, versatile performer.


Jack Lemmon. I love watching him so much. Something about his demeanour that I could just sit and watch him endlessly. Whether he was doing comedy or drama he was just being Jack Lemmon. I'd probably give the nod to The Apartment (1960) with Shirley MacLaine.

I better put a comedy in there ! My favourite comedy duo: Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Their Road to movies were fantastic - a series of 7 light-plotted detective / adventure films starting with Road to Singapore (1940) and ending with Hong Kong (1962). I used to see them on TV all the time but not so much anymore. If I had to choose one it would be Road to Morocco (1942).

There are others, of course ranging from Rocky to Bridge On the River Kwai and I have this thing for 70's disaster movies (Airport, Airport 77, Airport 79, Towering Inferno, Poisedon Adventure) but I will stick with what I have.

Now what to do with my list ? Shaw just bought CKX in Brandon. Maybe I can rent the station for a day (how much can that be if the whole station sold for $1 ?!) .

Perhaps I'll rent the Ellice Theatre for a day and have a private showing ! They used to show old films for free a couple of years back. Best memory: watching Singin' In the Rain. A number of seniors (perhaps from Lion's Manor ?) came to see it and were swooning and giggling like schoolgirls all the way through it ! Maybe I will invite them along !!

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