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Charlie Baker

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  1. A very creepy bad guy, for sure. The actor, someone I wasn't familiar with, evidently specialized in the type. John Davis Chandler
  2. SUTS=Summer under the Stars. The stuff I saw from the day devoted to Heflin really impressed me.
  3. Back to recent TCM fare: guest programmer Dana Delany and Eddie Muller made a good pair for Saturday night's selections. The first two films I hadn't seen. Once a Thief is a mid-60s type noir, gritty and stylish. Couldn't decide if Alain Delon and Ann-Margret (Whew, what eyefuls!) were really good or really overwrought. Jack Palance and Van Heflin (Whose SUTS day gave me an even deeper appreciation for him) were rock solid. A strong, tough watch. Man on a TIghtrope is based on the factual story of a circus escaping Communist oppression with an outstanding Fredric March and Dana Delany's f
  4. Not to get too Theater Talk-y here, but I would have liked to have seen Bounce, to see Ms. Powell and other cast members who were preserved on the cast recording, and to see what the show was before it played New York as Road Show with changes made. I did see Road Show. To get it a little more on topic, Wilson Mizner of the brothers/subjects of the musical was, among other things, a screenwriter from silents to pre-Code, with credits including the much-loved-here One Way Passage.
  5. Jane Powell has said she didn't quit movies, they quit her, and she was certainly talented enough to have had a longer film career than she did. I know some find story elements of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers problematic in this day and age. But the script and score are tightly crafted, the Michael Kidd choreography and the men who dance it are great. And Ms. Powell was the movie's secret weapon. She made a completely convincing, strong, practical heroine who was more than a match for her husband and brothers-in-law.
  6. OK, well, About Face is the silliest thing I've seen in some time, and silliness can be a good thing now and then. It's not as overtly campy or inept as something like The Cool Ones, which we talked about a while back. I don't know Brother Rat, or how much About Face changes the plot, but I guess someone on IMDB accurately likened it to a 1950s cleaned-up version of Police Academy set in a military school. And with song and dance. Joel Grey, barely out of his teens (if he was, actually, when this was shot), shall we say, pulls out every last stop. I think this is one I have to be in th
  7. OK, @GussieK -- you have me intrigued with About Face. And it kicks off a Gordon MacRae daytime lineup. Handsome man with beautiful voice, and not a bad actor. They do not have his best known films, Oklahoma and Carousel, but they do have his obscure, dramatic change of pace Backfire and a couple nostalgia fest musicals with Doris Day.
  8. The timing for this seems a bit late, since we're on the verge of a new podcast season for The Plot Thickens, about Lucille Ball. But this linked piece is about Julie Salamon and her approach in converting her book The Devil's Candy into the podcast. Rekindling Bonfire
  9. The stage musical of Annie was not done justice by that movie; with that cast, the movie should have been better. (The 1999 Disney TV show is better.) And I'm hardly a pushover for a show with kids and a dog. But the book of the stage musical is funny and well-crafted, the new songs in the movie do not equal the stage score, and the songs the movie dropped add to the show. I understand that maybe two generations grew up with the movie as their concept of the show, and I suppose I should resign myself to the possibility that the upcoming live TV edition will incorporate stuff from the film
  10. Now that I've seen the new intros--I miss Ben's previous, "The movies are in my blood" Now Playing open, and the new Noir Alley open is quite lame.
  11. I love that one! The exasperated Papa to his son: "You jazz singer! You crooner! You falsetto!" The closest to a contemporary equivalent to the outdated Jolson style that slayed 'em in its day I could think of would be some of Mandy Patinkin's recordings in the late 80s/early 90s. Not all that contemporary, right? But Patinkin offered up that unabashed, "guts on the floor" (h/t @Rinaldo) style, even covering some songs Jolson popularized. His performing persona is easier to take than Jolson, though I know some don't care for it. Sometimes I don't. And I hasten to add I've admired Pat
  12. A New York Times piece on a short-lived collaboration. Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler
  13. Ben interviews Marlee Matlin: Ben on CBS Sunday Morning
  14. I'm intrigued by Cutter's Way, and will try to catch it on Watch TCM. I'll put in a word for Night Moves, which definitely belongs in this neo-noir group. It's got something of a classic noir premise, with a PI on an assignment that reveals criminal activity, and a 70s looseness and ambiguity about it. And playing said detective, whose life is pretty much a mess, of course, is Gene Hackman at the top of his game. With an excellent supporting cast, featuring some actors who deserved more recognition over their careers than they got, female lead Jennifer Warren, a somewhat laid-back femme fa
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