Posted by Greg Ferrara on September 25, 2016
Last night, Patterns played on TCM, the 1956 drama adapted from the television presentation of a year earlier. Both were written by Rod Serling and both are very good but the point is, television has been producing ideas for the movies and the movies for television as long as the two have been around together. As I noted the other day, the air of resentment the movies had over television in the fifties may have actually come from some of that success. After all, everyone knew that the winner of Best Picture for 1955, Marty, had been adapted from a television presentation the previous year. And television had provided a platform for entertainers the movies deemed second tier, like Lucille Ball, to show off their talents in a way the movies never could. So the give and take had been there from the beginning. But in the spirit of expanding the idea of the two mediums working together, I’d like to now explore which stories might now work best on television and, if the times had been different, what might have changed in the past.
Posted by Greg Ferrara on September 23, 2016
What happens when art is created in anger? What if there’s a sense of resentment hanging over it? Maybe it has a feeling of retribution that darkens the whole enterprise. After the Beatles broke up, John Lennon wrote and recorded “How do You Sleep” on his Imagine album, a song whose target was, quite obviously, Paul McCartney. Later, Lennon regretted it saying it had more to do with his own resentment towards Paul than anything else. Sometimes, you gotta vent. Still, musically, it’s a pretty good song so something good came from the whole thing. What if instead of one songwriter to another, it’s one medium to another? The movies relationship with television often feels like one of resentment, and yet it has created some damn good cinema, as well as some that’s not so good. Sometimes, within the same movie.
Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on September 22, 2016
One of my favorite Otto Preminger films has finally found its way onto DVD and Blu-ray thanks to Olive Films. Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970) was never released on home video so this marks the first time Preminger’s offbeat comedy-drama has been made easily accessible outside of airing on television where it was often edited or given the pan and scan treatment. Hopefully the Olive Films release will help the film find a new audience that appreciates its thought-provoking premise and quirky charm.
Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon was originally based on a 1968 novel by Marjorie Kellogg, who also wrote the film’s screenplay. It tells the story of three misfits who form a makeshift family after leaving the hospital where they had been convalescing. Liza Minelli plays Junie Moon, a quirky and resourceful young woman disfigured in a vicious attack by a psychopath she once dated. Her compatriots include Robert Moore as Warren; a wheelchair bound gay man crippled in a shooting incident and Ken Howard as the childlike Arthur. Arthur is suffering from an undiagnosed form of epilepsy or neurological disorder as well as mental trauma after being involuntarily institutionalized when he was a child. We get to know these three unlikely companions as they move into a dilapidated old house owned by a flamboyant landlady (Kay Thompson), find work with a local fishmonger (James Coco), adopt a neighborhood owl and stray dog and frolic at a seaside resort with an affable beach boy (Fred Williamson). Things don’t end well for the troubled trio but they make the most of their short time together.
Posted by Nathaniel Thompson on September 21, 2016
I have a real soft spot for that strange period after the ‘70s when all the British filmmaking enfants terribles tried to wedge their styles into a movie landscape that had radically changed in front of them. Ken Russell tore into the American cinematic arena with Altered States (1980) and Crimes of Passion (1984); Lindsay Anderson veered from satirical outrage with Britannia Hospital (1982) to genteel drama with The Whales of August (1987); John Boorman went phantasmagorical with Excalibur (1981) and primitive with The Emerald Forest (1985); Derek Jarman dispensed with narrative entirely for The Angelic Conversation (1985) and The Last of England (1988). Then there’s the strange case of Nicolas Roeg, who was riding high after the triple punch of Walkabout (1970), Don’t Look Now (1973), and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). Needless to say, the early ‘80s took him in some very surprising directions, first with the very ill-received Bad Timing (1980), which is now regarded as a transgressive classic, and what remains one of his most neglected and misunderstood films, Eureka (1983), airing on TCM in the appropriately wee hours of Friday. [...MORE]
Posted by R. Emmet Sweeney on September 20, 2016
In the first scene of Girl Missing (1933), Guy Kibbee tries to seduce Mary Brian with the line: “I don’t feel fatherly, I feel…hotcha!” And so begins this randy, money-grubbing, mystery-solving pre-code starring Brian and motormouth Glenda Farrell. They are two out-of-work chorus girls indulging in some gold-digging to leach cash from old lechers. But in the wildly convoluted plot that races through 68 minutes, they get roped into the murder of a mafia bookie and the disappearance of a society dame (or so she seems). It’s a trial run for Farrell’s tamer post-code Torchy Blane (nine films between 1937 – 1939) movies, in which she played a sassy investigative newsgal sans sexual innuendo. In Girl Missing Farrell machine-guns her dialogue to mow down con-men, con-women, and anyone else who has the misfortune to walk past her in the frame. It airs tomorrow on TCM at 6:15AM, and is also available on DVD from the Warner Archive.
Posted by Susan Doll on September 19, 2016
“The patterns of which this piece speaks are behavior patterns of little human beings in a big world—lost in it, intimidated by it, and whose biggest job is to survive in it.” So said Rod Serling about his 1955 tele-drama Patterns, which was adapted into a feature film the following year. The quote by Serling is from the Bantam paperback version of the narrative, which was published in 1957. The story was produced in three separate mediums—television, film, and written fiction (left)—suggesting that it hit a nerve with audiences during the 1950s.
The film version, which airs on TCM this Saturday, September 24, at 10:15pm EST, differs from the tele-drama primarily in the casting of movie star Van Heflin as protagonist Fred Staples. Industrial engineer Staples and his wife, Nancy, played by Beatrice Straight, relocate from friendly Mansfield, Ohio, to cold-hearted Manhattan after Fred takes a job with Ramsey & Co. He and veteran vice-president Bill Briggs, played by Ed Begley, hit it off until Fred learns from company president Walter Ramsey that he was hired to replace the older man. Everett Sloane costars as Ramsey, who brow-beats Briggs in meeting after meeting, hoping to force the older executive to resign or retire. Caught in the middle, Staples struggles with his conscience. Though he protests the unfairness of Ramsey’s tactics, he stops short of making any real sacrifice on his friend’s behalf.
Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on September 18, 2016
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Stanley Kramer, 1963) screens this Wednesday on TCM. The madcap road-race featuring a who’s-who of comedy racing across state lines to dig up stolen cash is a marvel of story-line simplicity and fun. I wish I could have seen at the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2013 where it was screened on 70mm with five stars in attendance: Barrie Chase, Marvin Kaplan, Mickey Rooney, and Karen Sharpe Kramer. Jonathan Winters, who was supposed to attend, passed away two weeks before that screening. This “comedy to end all comedies” provided him his film debut – it was a role he almost turned down had his wife not changed his mind. It wasn’t the first time his wife could be thanked for a career choice. He had only been married a few months when he lost his wristwatch and his wife read about a talent contest offering up a wristwatch as first prize. They were strapped for cash, she knew he could win, urged him to participate, and a comic was born. What other tidbits might be said of the sprawling cast of Kramer’s slapstick road-trip? [...MORE]
Posted by Greg Ferrara on September 16, 2016
Years ago, Arthur Schlesinger was asked by David Wallechinsky to list his favorite political movies for Wallechinsky’s 1977 edition of The Book of Lists. Schlesinger had some interesting titles on his list, including Robert Altman’s Nashville, but the one at the top was Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. It had only been thirteen years since its release at that point but the movie was already regarded as one of the greatest comedy satires ever made. It certainly deserves its placement in the pantheon of great political comedies and there’s little more I could say about it that hasn’t already been said (in fact, the best article I have ever read on the movie and its source material is here – it’s a fantastic piece) so in this space I’d like to focus on one thing only: the acting and how damned blasted wonderful it is from every single participant.
Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on September 15, 2016
Everyone loves a good Hollywood tragedy. The violent murders of Sharon Tate and Sal Mineo generate more press and web articles than the body of work they left behind while the estates of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean continue to benefit from our endless fascination with early death by misadventure. For better or worse, we obsess over stories of fallen stars who died while they were still young and beautiful as well as those who died violently or wasted away in obscurity. Stories about celebrities who endure great personal and professional hardship but manage to survive and thrive into comfortable old age tend to sell fewer magazines. Tab Hunter’s story is a survivor’s story. It’s uplifting, empowering and intriguingly retold in Tab Hunter Confidential (2015), a new documentary directed by Jeffrey Schwarz that was recently released on DVD and Blu-ray. It is also currently streaming on Amazon and Netflix.
Posted by Nathaniel Thompson on September 14, 2016
Do you love dogs? Of course you do, and so do most moviegoers if Hollywood history is any indication. However, if you had to name the biggest decade for man’s best friend, which one would it be? The heyday of Rin-Tin-Tin in the ‘20s? The arrival of Lassie in 1943 or her TV reign in the ‘50s? Maybe, but for my money the winner hands down has to be the 1970s – and there’s one breed that personified the Me Decade more than any other. Just as the United States was plunging into the chaos of Watergate, the whole country seemed to go canine crazy in 1972 when the most famous comic strip pooch got a theatrical vehicle with Snoopy Come Home and the Newberry-winning novel Sounder became a multiple Oscar-nominated prestige release. [...MORE]
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D Academy Awards Action Films Actors Actors' Endorsements Actresses animal stars Animation Anime Anthology Films Art Direction Art in Movies Asians in Hollywood Australian CInema Autobiography Avant-Garde Aviation Awards B-movies Beer in Film Behind the Scenes Best of the Year lists Biography Biopics Black Film Blu-Ray Books on Film Boxing films British Cinema Canadian Cinema Character Actors Chicago Film History Children Cinematography Classic Films College Life on Film Comedy Comic Book Movies Crime Czech Film Dance on Film Digital Cinema Directors Disaster Films Documentary Drama DVD Early Talkies Editing Educational Films European Influence on American Cinema Experimental Exploitation Fairy Tales on Film Faith or Christian-based Films Family Films Fantasy Movies Film Composers Film Criticism Film Festival 2015 film festivals Film History in Florida Film Noir Film Scholars Film titles Filmmaking Techniques Films About Gambling Films of the 1930s Films of the 1960s Films of the 1970s Films of the 1980s Food in Film Foreign Film French Film Gangster films Genre Genre spoofs HD & Blu-Ray Holiday Movies Hollywood history Hollywood lifestyles Horror Horror Film Hosts Horror Movies Icons independent film Italian Film Japanese Film Korean Film Literary Adaptations Martial Arts Melodramas Memorabilia Method Acting Mexican Cinema Moguls Monster Movies Movie Books Movie Costumes movie flops Movie locations Movie lovers Movie Magazines Movie Posters Movie Reviewers Movie settings Movie Stars Movie titles Movies about movies Music in Film Musicals New Releases Outdoor Cinema Paranoid Thrillers Parenting on film Pirate movies Polish film industry political thrillers Politics in Film Pornography Pre-Code Producers Race in American Film Remakes Revenge Road Movies Romance Romantic Comedies Russian Film Industry Satire Scandals Science Fiction Screenwriters Semi-documentaries Sequels Serials Set design/production design Short Films Silent Film silent films Social Problem Film Spaghetti Westerns Sports Sports on Film Stereotypes Steven Spielberg Straight-to-DVD Studio Politics Stunts and stuntmen Suspense thriller Swashbucklers TCM Classic Film Festival TCM Programming TCM Underground Telephones Television The British in Hollywood The Germans in Hollywood The Hungarians in Hollywood The Irish in Hollywood Theaters Thriller Trains in movies U.S.S. Indianapolis Underground Cinema VOD War film Westerns Women in the Film Industry Women's Weepies