Posts Tagged ‘Nicholas Ray’

Tremendous news

December 16, 2009

Not sure if you’ve heard yet—I’ll assume you haven’t—but the Criterion Collection announced its planned releases for March 2010 (so far away, I know). They are as follows: Nicholas Ray’s “Bigger Than Life” on March 23 (great news), Marco Ferreri’s “Dillinger Is Dead” on March 16 (greater news) and “Letter from Fontainhas: Three Films By Pedro Costa”—a four-disc set that will include “Ossos,” “In Vanda’s Room” and “Colossal Youth”—on March 30 (greatest news). The Costa films and “Dillinger Is Dead” are currently unavailable on DVD in the U.S. of A.

Well good. Now you all know what to get me for a graduation gift.

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Heads-up re: TCM, 11/23

November 23, 2009

At 4:45PM this afternoon TCM will show Nicholas Ray’s A Woman’s Secret (1949), a film I’ve never seen and won’t be able to catch due to a couple of prior obligations; however, if you find yourself near a TV with cable, you could definitely do worse than to check this one out. According to imdb, A Woman’s Secret was the production during which Ray met the actress who’d become his second wife, Gloria Grahame (who happens to be, as my devoted reader[s] ought to know by now, a CineMadison favorite). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: TCM’s presentation of these second-tier Rays is invaluable. After all, the great thing about Ray’s oeuvre is that the second-tier’s a lot like the first: ruddy, combustible, disheveled, volatile, etc.

Heads-up re: TCM, 11/10

November 10, 2009

Admit it: you prefer when I give you exceptionally short notice about movies worth catching on TCM. Unfortunately, both you and I are much too late to dive into Nicholas Ray’s Born to Be Bad (1950), starring Joan Fontaine and Robert Ryan, which began at the break o’ dawn; to make up for this, you may want to consider watching Ray’s On Dangerous Ground (1952), with Ida Lupino, Ward Bond and more Robert Ryan. On Dangerous Ground begins at 2:00PM. TCM deserves serious props for rolling out so many second-tier Rays recently.

Heads-up re: TCM, 11/2

November 2, 2009

A real doozy of a night: Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) at 8:00PM, followed by North by Northwest (1959) at 10:15PM, then there’s Otto Preminger’s ridiculously awesome Anatomy of a Murder (1959) at 12:45AM, and then—because I’m so sure that you’ll still be awake by this point—Preminger’s Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) at 3:30AM. Of these four films Anatomy of a Murder is the only one that I’d gladly blow off jury duty or a funeral to see, but I’m hardly willing to underestimate my readership’s collective insomnia. From where I’m sitting it seems as though you really can’t go wrong with TCM tonight, that is, if you’re still shelling out the greenbacks for cable (which some of us can’t believe we’re still doing).

Also, a preemptive “Heads-up re: TCM” for tomorrow morning: Nicholas Ray’s The Lusty Men (1952) is playing at 11:00AM. Yeah, a bit of mid-day Ray (complemented by a morning cocktail or four) will have you swaggering down State St., eyepatch-clad, carefree, full of romantic impulses and hair-trigger temperament. Why bother going to lecture when you can throw yourself a free master-class in the strange, often excruciating art of being human? Professor Ray will show you how.

Double Heads-up re: TCM, 8/12 and 8/13

August 12, 2009

Since I’ll be taking an up-north trip later today and won’t be back in Madison until tomorrow afternoon, today’s Heads-up will have to be a double; and what a double it is.

Today’s “Summer Under the Stars” marathon features an actor who’s no less iconic than yesterday’s subject, Audrey Hepburn: I’m referring, of course, to Clark Gable. I doubt I was alone in having woken up too late this morning to catch Manhattan Melodrama at 7:00AM, so that’s something of a bummer. A pair of W.S. Van Dyke romance films, both teaming Gable with Ms. Johnny Guitar herself, Joan Crawford, will bat clean-up this afternoon: Forsaking All Others (1934; 83 minutes), which also features performances by Rosalind Russell (His Girl Friday) and Robert Montgomery, begins at 4:00PM; and Love on the Run (1936; 80 minutes) gets started immediately after at 5:30PM. Today’s main event may very well be the John Ford-directed safari adventure Mogambo (1953; 116 minutes), which pairs Gable with Grace Kelly (jeez, what a guy), and that starts at 8:30PM.

Tomorrow will be one of the most stacked “Summer Under the Stars” programs yet as it’s devoted to the former Mrs. Nicholas Ray, Gloria Grahame. Grahame gets all mixed up with Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell in the Josef von Sternberg-directed (most of it, at least) Macao (1952; 81 minutes), which gets going at 12:30PM; it’s a basically dopey but solidly fun little film. The first of two Nicholas Ray films playing tomorrow begins at 3:30 with A Woman’s Secret (1949; 83 minutes), which I personally haven’t seen and am actually quite bummed about not being able to see, so go ahead and watch it for me. Vincente Minelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful (1952; 118 minutes) is well worth a look at 5:00PM, nevermind the ferociously unsubtle acting that pervades it. It’s tough to imagine a double feature stronger than the combination of Ray’s In a Lonely Place (1950; 93 minutes) at 7:00PM and Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat (1953; 89 minutes) at 9:30PM; both films are cadillacs of the gritty-and-moody-but-not-quite-noir pseudo-genre, and they’re both mandatory viewing.

Today’s schedule is here and tomorrow’s is here.

Heads-up re: TCM 8/2

August 2, 2009

Not sure whether y’all have noticed by now but so far this summer Turner Classic Movies has been an absolute revelation. July was “Spotlight on Directors” month, with each day being devoted to 1 or 2 directors; these daily marathons enabled me to see tons of films by the likes of Howard Hawks, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Otto Preminger, Jules Dassin, and countless others, many of which I’m not likely to be able to see again anytime soon. Of course, my parents’ DVR was a crucial help; without it, how else could I possibly have caught a 2:00AM showing of The Lady From Shanghai (one of my favorite films), followed by a 4:00AM showing of the ever-elusive The Magnificent Ambersons? Tragically, I don’t have the luxury of a DVR at my apartment here in Madison, so if I’m going to stay on top of TCM, some serious schedule-scouting will be necessary. What better place to report on films which may be worth seeing than here? Can’t think of one.

Since July was the month of the director on TCM, it follows that August is the month of the star (mere character-actors are apparently undeserving of 24 hours of tributary programming). TCM’s “Summer Under the Stars” kicked off yesterday with a day’s worth of Henry Fonda films (including The Wrong Man, which, I’m happy to report, was great). Today is James Mason day, and their selections are pretty interesting. Thankfully we’ll be spared from again having the opportunity to see Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (which has been on TCM many times in the past couple months), but the omission of Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life is kind of unfortunate. Bigger Than Life opened the Cinematheque’s summer schedule this year, though I was unable to attend the screening, being halfway across the country and all (insult was added to injury by the fact that Bigger Than Life was also part of iconic NY theater Film Forum’s currently-in-progress and staggeringly comprehensive Ray retrospective, the entirety of which I was unable to attend, again being halfway the country away and all); anyway, it’s a doozy of a performance by Mason, who at times seems to will the rest of the cast into psychic territory they would otherwise only flirt with (obviously it doesn’t hurt that a director like Ray was calling the shots).

Anyway, regarding the films which are actually going to be shown today, Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest (1959) is on at 9:00PM. Personally I find the film to be Hitchcock at his most aggravating, implausible, and overlong; that said, many Hitchcock enthusiasts seem to swear by it. I’ll admit that the exchanges between Cary Grant and Mason are sticky stuff, and, on the whole, the film is sort of fun, particularly before it descends into the James Bond-esque fantasy of its drawn-out second half. But if you typically find Grant irresistible and Mason snicker-provoking, I guess you could do worse than to check North By Northwest out.