Monday, December 31, 2012

Tonight's Movie: Airport '77 (1977)

Our family's New Year's Eve traditions the last few years generally involve Honeybaked ham and a disaster movie, followed by toasting with Martinelli's at midnight.

Over the last several years we've spent New Year's Eve watching EARTHQUAKE (1974), CRACK IN THE WORLD (1965), THE CROWDED SKY (1960), ZERO HOUR! (1957), SKYJACKED (1972), and TWISTER (1996).

Late tonight was spent watching AIRPORT '77, which we found to be a lot of fun, if slightly overlong at 114 minutes. They just had to draw out the suspense with one more "gotcha" near the end!

Jack Lemmon stars as Captain Don Gallagher, piloting a private luxury jet owned by corporate tycoon Philip Stevens (James Stewart). The plane is carrying a load of VIPs and some priceless artwork to Stevens' new museum. (I found a post listing the addresses of various locations from the film, including the museum.) Among those on board are Stevens' daughter Lisa (Pamela Bellwood, later of DYNASTY) and her little boy Benjy (Anthony Battaglia).

Also on board are art critic Emily Livingston (Olivia de Havilland), who is reunited with a flame from decades earlier, Nicholas St. Downs III (Joseph Cotten); the alcoholic wife (Lee Grant) of an executive (Christopher Lee); and Stan Buchek (Darren McGavin), who knows all about the plane and becomes the pilot's righthand man when the going gets tough.

There are a bunch of art thieves on board, including the copilot (Robert Foxworth of FALCON CREST), and they knock out the rest of the crew and temporarily gas the passengers into unconsciousness. While flying at low altitude in order to escape radar detection, the wing clips an oil rig and next thing you know, the plane, still intact, is sitting on the floor of shallow ocean waters -- and for good measure, they're in the Bermuda Triangle!

Fans of AIRPORT films won't be surprised that this is a case for Joe Patroni (George Kennedy)! Although as it turns out, he really doesn't play a significant role and has little more than a cameo. The rescue is led from inside by the captain, who manages to get off the plane with a raft with a beeping radio, then leads U.S. Navy dive teams in raising the plane to the surface. Captain Dan can do it all, by golly!

Lemmon is excellent in the lead role, totally committed to the part and selling a somewhat unbelievable story (but when it comes to AIRPORT films, aren't they all?!). I thought he did a terrific job.  And he looks so very '70s in his mustache!

Other than Lemmon, the greatest pleasure for me was watching Stewart, de Havilland, and Cotten, who have a reasonable amount of screen time; de Havilland, in particular, gets a chance to shine as a ladylike woman who also plays a mean game of poker. I also particularly enjoyed McGavin. Lee Grant, with apologies to the lady, is boring in what should be a flashy role as the unhappy wife.

This film follows in the tradition of having a musician on board, and instead of Helen Reddy as a singing nun (AIRPORT 1975), we have the blind singer-pianist Tom Sullivan, who briefly finds love with young Kathleen Quinlan.

Brenda Vaccaro plays Lemmon's live-in love whom he'd like to marry, prompting a family discussion that back in the '70s, living together sans marriage was shocking enough to make this movie seem "edgy" in its day; now, of course, it's completely commonplace so the movie loses a tiny bit in the translation without that context.

The other cast members include Maidie Norman, Gil Gerard, Elizabeth Cheshire, Monica Lewis, Arlene Golonka, and Monte Markham. Longtime Western stuntman Chuck Hayward is one of the passengers.

It's all a bit hokey and improbable, yet, as is the case with so many films of this genre, it's also quite entertaining. Even the sillier aspects help make it fun to watch, and it's also enjoyable recognizing the various faces from movies and TV. I commented to a family member that I wonder what it says about me that I enjoyed this film so much more than the "classic" STALAG 17 (1953), watched earlier in the day.  But there you have it!

We rented AIRPORT '77 for streaming from Amazon Instant Video via our Roku. It was a beautiful widescreen print, and we were very happy with the experience.

It's been released on DVD in various versions, including a four-film "Airport Terminal Pack," but be on the alert that my favorite AIRPORT film, AIRPORT 1975 (1974), is the wrong screen ratio in this set. (And they misspell Concorde on the box!) AIRPORT '77 has also had a release on VHS.

Recommended as a fun time for those who enjoy the AIRPORT movies.

Tonight's Movie: Les Miserables (2012)

This New Year's Eve I went to see LES MISERABLES with great anticipation, and I found it a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience. It was a great pleasure spending this afternoon once again immersed in the moving story and beautiful music of this special musical.

I came to the film having seen the musical on stage twice; the first time was at the now-gone Shubert Theatre in Century City, circa 1988-89, and the second time was a production at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood in 1991. That particular version, which starred country singer Gary Morris as Valjean, ranks among the top three stage productions I've ever seen of any show; it was a transcendent experience of such beauty that I cried pretty much from start to finish. (The L.A. Times, in its rave review, noted Morris's "towering presence.") The memory of that experience is such that to date I've been unwilling to see the show on stage again, as nothing could match it, but recently I've started to feel the yen to see LES MIS once more, so the movie came along at just the right time.

The film version was completely absorbing, strongly holding my attention for all of its 157 minutes. I liked the film very much, though I didn't find it a complete success; for sections of the film I felt more as though I were an interested observer than totally emotionally committed. That said, when the movie was good, it was very, very good, and there were moments, particularly Valjean's death scene, when it reached the heights.

I'll tackle my issues with this version before moving on to what I liked. First, as others have noted, director Tom Hooper is too much in love with closeups. One of my daughters commented that it was as though he was afraid to lose capturing the performances and the much-ballyhooed live singing by pulling back the camera.

There was an overabundance of shots of tear-stained faces, and while there were moments when that style of filming was beautifully appropriate -- particularly that final scene between Valjean, Cosette, and Marius -- there were times I would have really appreciated a wider shot and more visual context. For instance, "A Heart Full of Love" would have been very satisfying if the three actors were seen in a wider master shot some of the time, instead of cutting back and forth among closeups. After all, LES MISERABLES has had no trouble being exceptionally moving on the stage, when many in the audience are at a great distance from the actors.

The lack of distance was interesting in another way, in that things such as Fantine's travails and the Thenardiers' grossness are treated in a more "impressionistic" way on stage. It was more difficult to watch these moments treated more realistically on screen -- all the more so as the viewer's face is up so close to the sausage-making, literally and figuratively. The less seen on screen of Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as the cartoonish Thenardiers, the better.

Finally, when the camera does pull back, the film's look was such that I was too aware that I was watching a "CGI" world. I couldn't help speculating in some scenes, such as Javert overlooking the city, as to how much was real and how much was green screened. I suppose that was the only way to simultaneously film outdoors and go back in time to such an extent, but I found it a distraction.

Really, though, these are fairly minor quibbles in a brave, bold filming of a classic musical, in an era when screen musicals are all too rare.

Although I thought that the live singing was more of a marketing angle than anything else -- does anyone really care that Julie Andrews couldn't sing "The hills are alive" live because the helicopter would have drowned her out?! -- this technique did have its impressive aspects. Anne Hathaway's rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream," shot in a continuous long take, is a remarkable achievement for an actress not known as a singer, and I will be quite surprised if it doesn't net her an Oscar.

While I had an issue with so many closeups, in "I Dreamed a Dream" the close angle was very appropriate, and the flip side of the closeups is that I admire director Hooper's willingness to stay with the actors for extended periods and not use overediting as a crutch. A decade ago CHICAGO (2002) was interesting but arrived on screen as more of an extremely long music video than a true musical, with the dizzying hyperediting preventing the viewer from truly enjoying and/or assessing things such as Catherine Zeta-Jones' dancing ability. Hooper allows the viewer to stay with the actors and really "see" their performances and singing, and for this he should be commended.

Hugh Jackman was a perfect Jean Valjean, excellent in terms of both performance and singing. As a side note, the brief song added, with Valjean musing on the wonder of having suddenly become a parent, worked well. The casting of Colm Wilkinson, the original Valjean of both the West End and Broadway stage productions, in the small but key role as the bishop added an extra layer of emotion to the scene spurring Valjean's transformation.

I was deeply impressed by Eddie Redmayne (MY WEEK WITH MARILYN) as Marius; he was a fine singer and completely believable, a really outstanding performance in every way. Samantha Barks, as Eponine, appeared very much at home on screen, despite this being her first film role, and I liked that she sang Eponine's songs with some restraint, as they are often simply belted out. Isabelle Allen made an excellent young Cosette.

I also very much liked Amanda Seyfried, who was visually perfect as the older Cosette; I felt as though a couple sections of her songs needed to have the range lowered, but overall I was pleased with the casting.

The biggest surprise for me was Russell Crowe as Javert. There had been whispers in social media that he might not be up to par as a singer, especially given that early trailers didn't include his singing, and at least one reviewer mused as to whether Crowe's "rock star baritone" was right for the part. Crowe's singing was just fine and in fact his rendition of "Stars" was one of the highlights of the film for me, movingly performed both vocally and emotionally. Other actors might be more polished singers, but this is simply one version, one interpretation among many Javerts over the years, and I completely bought in to Crowe in the role.

My favorite scenes included the confrontation between Valjean and Javert at Fantine's deathbed, which was excellent even though the staging necessitated that the song be somewhat cut off, and Valjean's death scene, as Cosette learns the full truth from Marius. I initially was trying to hold back the tears there, then thought "Oh, just go with it!" and let the tears flow. Between LES MIS and DARK VICTORY (1939) there were quite a few tears shed watching movies over the last couple days!

As an aside, I watched the trailers several times apiece in recent months and noticed that some bits in the trailers weren't in the final film version, including a scene where Marius asks Eponine about Cosette when he first sees her. I was also curious about the absence of some lyrics, particularly Valjean's deathbed scene, where the words "It's the story of those who always loved you, your mother gave her life for you..." are missing.

Parental advisory: This film is rated PG-13 for suggestive sexual material, mostly relating to Fantine, who turns to prostitution to obtain money to save her daughter Cosette. Beyond that, it's a classic story and musical with beautiful themes about mercy, forgiveness, and redemption which are of value for all viewers.

It would be very interesting if -- just as there have been many stage productions around the world -- one day another cast and crew tackles this musical to see what other ideas might work in bringing it to the screen. In the meantime, this version of LES MISERABLES is an excellent movie in fairly lean times for quality films, and an even more rare modern movie musical, and I have no hesitation in strongly recommending it.

Tonight's Movie: Stalag 17 (1953)

This New Year's Eve I enjoyed a rare triple bill, two films at home and one in a theater.

First up for review is the very last film from my list of 10 Classics for 2012! I successfully accomplished my goal of seeing 10 specific classics for the first time this year, and while I didn't enjoy all the films on the list, I'm glad I saw and became familiar with them firsthand.

STALAG 17 falls in the "didn't enjoy" half of the list. While I liked certain aspects of it, the tedious dumbbell humor just about ruined it for me; I might as well have been watching HOGAN'S HEROES at times -- which is not a compliment, in my view. And, frankly, I didn't find the concentration camp setting easy to watch either.

The movie concerns a group of Americans held in a German prisoner of war camp during WWII. Somehow the Germans always seem to know what is going on in the men's bunkhouse, and after a failed escape attempt by two of the men, suspicion turns to Sgt. J.J. Sefton (William Holden). Sefton wheels and deals for small creature comforts, and the men suspect he may be selling out to the Germans in order to obtain his little luxuries.

The true culprit is eventually revealed as the POWs plot to rescue an officer (Don Taylor) who blew up an enemy army depot and is about to be "disappeared" by the Germans.

Holden, the winner of a Best Actor Oscar, is excellent as the wheeler-dealer who keeps mostly to himself, other than his friendship with his righthand man, "Cookie" (Gil Stratton). The more intelligent sections of the movie, in which Holden's character plays detective, were really interesting; the moment where Sefton watches the light bulb swinging, as a light bulb figuratively turns on in his head, is classic. I also really liked Richard Erdman as the sergeant in command of the group.

Unfortunately, the movie is dominated by Harvey Lembeck and Robert Strauss as two goofball sergeants, and I do not "get" their type of humor at all. Their "comic" scenes went on so long that at times I hit the fast forward button just to get back to William Holden. Strauss was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and I just can't see it. Humor is a fairly individual thing and according to some film references, these actors are hilarious, so others may well find them enjoyable! Honestly, they bored me silly.

Second-billed Don Taylor arrives well into the film and only has a handful of scenes; I assume he was cast as he could successfully convey the authority and confidence of an officer from a wealthy background, but since I like him it was a bit of a disappointment that his role was so small in proportion to his billing.

The cast includes director Otto Preminger as the camp commandant, Sig Ruman as Sergeant Schulz (who I assume inspired the Sergeant Schulz of HOGAN'S HEROES), plus Peter Graves, Neville Brand, Michael Moore, and Peter Baldwin (GENERAL HOSPITAL). Robert Mitchum's brother John is one of the many POWs.

STALAG 17 was cowritten and directed by Billy Wilder, based on a play -- which, incidentally, was directed by Jose Ferrer. The film runs 120 minutes.

I watched STALAG 17 on a Collector's Edition DVD. Extras include a commentary track with Richard Erdman, Gil Stratton, and one of the original playwrights. The DVD can be rented from Netflix.

STALAG 17 has been shown on TCM in the Essentials series. A re-issue trailer can be seen here.

Happy New Year!

Here's beautiful Joan Leslie, celebrating New Year's Eve in style:

Best wishes to all for a very happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tonight's Movie: Dark Victory (1939)

The year has nearly drawn to a close, and with tonight's viewing of DARK VICTORY, I've also nearly come to the end of my list of 10 Classics for 2012.

DARK VICTORY is polished classic-era filmmaking at its best, certainly one of the films on the above-mentioned list which I have enjoyed the most, despite the fact that it's a weeper guaranteed to turn on the waterworks.

Bette Davis has a tour de force role as Judith Traherne, a flighty socialite suffering from headaches and blurred vision. Her lifelong doctor (Henry Travers) and best friend-secretary Ann (Geraldine Fitzgerald) drag the reluctant patient to a specialist, Dr. Frederick Steele (George Brent), who soon confirms that Judith needs brain surgery.

The surgery is a short-term success, but when the pathology reports come back, indicating that Judith will suffer a recurrence in a few months and die, the doctor and Ann decide not to tell Judith, as they want her last months to be happy ones...especially as the doctor has developed deep feelings for Judith. But all does not go quite as Ann and the doctor have planned...

Although this was my first time to see the movie, I've seen quite a bit of the final scenes in documentaries and clip shows over the years, and I steeled myself against tears, telling myself not to let my emotions be manipulated. I admit I failed on that score, but I didn't really care, watching Judith's farewells to Ann, her husband, and her dogs (sob!) with a large lump in my throat. It was beautifully done, with superb acting by all three actors, and the tears were fully earned.

I think my only quibble with DARK VICTORY -- well, other than Humphrey Bogart attempting an Irish brogue in his role as Judith's horse trainer -- is that it takes quite a while to see Judith's lovable side. Surely, we understand later on in the film that she has been transformed both by love and by staring death in the face, but early in the story it's hard to see why she inspires such loyalty in Ann or the doctor.

Davis aptly conveys her character's more frivolous side, veering from high spirits to panic, and her transformation to a more mature woman in love is deeply touching. I was particularly moved by Geraldine Fitzgerald, who tugs at the heartstrings as she tries to hold close her friend, who is slipping away. And this film completely cemented my love for the underappreciated George Brent, who couldn't have been more perfect. I love a quote by Bette Davis on the TCM website: "Of the men I didn't marry, the dearest was George Brent."

DARK VICTORY was directed by Edmund Goulding, who also directed THE RAZOR'S EDGE (1946), seen a few days ago, and other excellent films such as THE CONSTANT NYMPH (1943) and NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947). It's been a pleasure becoming better acquainted with his work over the last couple of years.

DARK VICTORY was filmed in glorious black and white by Ernie Haller, with a score by Max Steiner. Casey Robinson's screenplay was based on a play. The supporting cast includes Ronald Reagan, underutilized as Judith's drinking companion; and if you don't blink, John Ridgely plays a man decked by the good doctor late in the film. The movie runs 104 minutes.

DARK VICTORY is available on DVD as part of the five-film Bette Davis Collection or alternatively in the four-film TCM Greatest Classic Legends - Bette Davis Collection.

It's also available as a single-title DVD release and has had multiple releases on VHS.

The DVD can be rented from Netflix. DARK VICTORY can also be rented for streaming from Amazon Instant Video. Update: DARK VICTORY is also now available on Blu-ray.

The trailer can be seen at the TCM website.

Recommended as a wonderful exemplar of Golden Era moviemaking in top form. Yes, you'll cry, but you'll also be glad to have experienced DARK VICTORY.

Around the Blogosphere This Week... taking this weekend off due to the busy holiday season. It will return next week!

In the meantime, please visit last weekend's roundup if you missed it in the hectic run-up to Christmas, and be sure to stayed tuned! I have several posts planned for the next few days, including the annual Tonight's Movie: The Year in Review which will be posted on New Year's Day.

Happy New Year!

A Beautiful Day in California

We spent the day visiting family in the Santa Barbara's a photo I snapped nearing sunset in Malibu.

There was periodic rain around Southern California today but somehow we managed to drive around it!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

TCM in January: Highlights

Happy New Year, and Very Best Wishes for 2013!

As we turn the corner into the new year, it's time to look at the wonderful schedule Turner Classic Movies has lined up for January. My DVR will be humming this month!

TCM celebrates the January 6th centennial of the birth of Loretta Young by featuring her as the Star of the Month starting on Tuesday, January 2nd. I'll have much more information on that aspect of the schedule in the coming days.

Here are just a few of the interesting titles airing on TCM in January:

...Tuesdays in January the theme will be "Great Capers." My oldest daughter recommended I try RIFIFI (1955), directed by Jules Dassin, which airs on New Year's Day.

...A day of fantasy films on January 2nd includes one of Robert Montgomery's best performances, in HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (1941). Montgomery is pictured above with costars Edward Everette Horton and Claude Rains. I strongly encourage anyone who hasn't seen this wonderful film to check it out.

...There's more Montgomery on January 3rd, costarring with Marion Davies in EVER SINCE EVE (1937). It's part of a day of Davies films which also includes PAGE MISS GLORY (1935) costarring Dick Powell and POLLY OF THE CIRCUS (1932) with Clark Gable.

...I was puzzled by a recent article in which Robert Osborne said I'LL BE SEEING YOU (1944) would air on TCM this Christmas season. It didn't quite make the Christmas schedule, but it's on January 3rd, and the early January timing is wonderful, as the film is set around Christmas and New Year's. This is a film which mixes tough subject matter with warm performances by a top-notch cast: Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, Spring Byington, Tom Tully, and Shirley Temple. This is one to make it a point to see.

...Jane Wyman's January 5th birth date will be celebrated one day early, on January 4th. The lineup includes HONEYMOON FOR THREE (1941), a comedy with George Brent and Ann Sheridan which I really enjoyed. Brent and Sheridan were a real-life married couple for just a year, from 1942-43, and it just so happens their anniversary date, like Wyman's birthday, was January 5th.

...The night of January 4th is a mini festival of '50s sci-fi directed by Jack Arnold, including CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954), IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953), and THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957) which has been highly recommended to me.

...With the recent passing of the great Harry Carey, Jr., I particularly want to recommend one of my all-time favorite Westerns, John Ford's SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949), airing January 6th. The Ford Stock Company is out in full force; besides Carey, the film stars John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson, Mildred Natwick, Victor McLaglen, George O'Brien, and Arthur Shields.

...January 9th is the birthday of lovely Anita Louise. TCM is celebrating by showing half a dozen films starring the actress, including a fun-looking programmer, PERSONAL MAID'S SECRET (1935), and the comedy CALL IT A DAY (1937) with Olivia de Havilland and Ian Hunter.

...A day of George Raft films on January 11th includes BACKGROUND TO DANGER (1943) with Brenda Marshall and NOCTURNE (1946) with Lynn Bari. I really enjoy these ladies and look forward to checking these films out in the future.

...TWO IN THE DARK (1936), starring Walter Abel and Margot Grahame, is the original version of Anthony Mann's TWO O'CLOCK COURAGE (1945), which starred Tom Conway and Ann Rutherford. TWO IN THE DARK is on January 12th.

...ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM (1946) makes its TCM debut on January 13th. This original non-musical version of THE KING AND I (1956) stars Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison. It's a bit ironic that Dunne, a musical star, was in the non-musical version of the story, while the Rodgers and Hammerstein version starred an actress, Deborah Kerr, who needed to be dubbed.

...Last fall TCM had a wonderful day of "B" movies directed by Lew Landers, and there's another great day of Landers films ahead on January 14th. TCM will show 10 Landers films that day. Some of the titles that interest me most are DOUBLE DANGER (1938) with Preston Foster and Whitney Bourne, TWELVE CROWDED HOURS (1939) with Richard Dix, Lucille Ball, and Allan "Rocky" Lane, and STAND BY ALL NETWORKS (1942) with Florence Rice and John Beal.

...How can a "B" movie fan not love the title GIRLS ON PROBATION (1938)? It stars Ronald Reagan and Jane Bryan (seen at right) with Susan Hayward in a small role. It's part of a day of Hayward films on January 15th.

...A morning of Diana Wynard films on January 16th includes the original version of GASLIGHT (1940), released four years before the better-known Ingrid Bergman version.

...FORCE OF ARMS (1951), starring William Holden, Nancy Olson, and Frank Lovejoy, was recently recommended to me. Love the cast! It airs early on January 17th.

...I'm very excited about Film Noir Foundation President Eddie Muller cohosting a night of Noir City on January 17th. The first title on the slate of five films is my favorite: CRY DANGER (1951), starring Dick Powell. This terrific film, with a great cast, witty script, and excellent L.A. location shooting, needs to come out on DVD. It's followed by John Payne in 99 RIVER STREET (1953), Steve Cochran and Ruth Roman in another favorite, TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY (1951), John Garfield in THE BREAKING POINT (1950), and Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes in THE PROWLER (1951). It's going to be a great night!

...NOTORIOUS (1946) ranks in my Top 5 favorite Hitchcock films. This Cary Grant-Ingrid Bergman romantic thriller will air on Grant's birthday, January 18th, along with several other Grant titles.

...Anita Louise returns in THE PHANTOM OF CRESTWOOD (1932) on January 19th, costarring Ricardo Cortez and Karen Morley.

...The centennial of Danny Kaye's birth is on January 18th, and TCM will mark the occasion with a 24-hour Kaye Festival starting early on January 20th and running into the next morning. Titles include a trio of my childhood favorites, UP IN ARMS (1944) with Dinah Shore, and THE KID FROM BROOKLYN (1946) and WONDER MAN (1945), both costarring Virginia Mayo and Vera-Ellen. (Southern Californians of a certain age may remember the films used to run often on KTLA Ch. 5.) There are many more Kaye films on tap that day!

...My younger daughter is a big fan of William Wyler's HOW TO STEAL A MILLION (1966), starring Peter O'Toole and Audrey Hepburn, airing as part of "Great Capers" on January 22nd. It's a TCM premiere.

...The evenings of January 24th and 25th celebrate the January 26th centennial of the birth of composer Jimmy Van Heusen. I recently reviewed a longtime favorite, THE TENDER TRAP (1955), which airs on the 25th. It stars Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, Celeste Holm, and David Wayne.

...There's a great lineup of George Brent films on January 25th, including SILVER QUEEN (1942), one of the last two films I need for my Priscilla Lane collection. I'm also especially interested in YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FOREVER (1942) costarring Brenda Marshall.

...PRINCESS O'ROURKE (1943) is a charmer starring Olivia de Havilland; it was also a significant film in the career of Jane Wyman, as her performance led to her being cast in THE LOST WEEKEND (1945). It's on January 27th.

...There are several short films on January 28th which will be fun to try, including HAT, COAT, AND GLOVE (1934) with Ricardo Cortez and LET'S TRY AGAIN (1934) with Diana Wynard.

...I absolutely loved ARMORED CAR ROBBERY (1950) in November. It's on January 29th as part of the "Great Capers" series.

...I'm looking forward to Chester Morris and Virginia Grey in THUNDER AFLOAT (1939) on January 30th...I just wish it didn't star Wallace Beery, for whom I have a low tolerance level.

...I'm curious about OVER THE MOON (1939), which stars Merle Oberon and Rex Harrison. It's on January 30th.

I've barely scratched the surface of all the treasures airing on TCM in January. Please visit the online schedule for the complete list of all the movies playing on TCM this month.

For more recommendations please also visit Thrilling Days of Yesteryear and The Hollywood Revue.

Again, Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

In Memoriam

Harry Carey, Jr.

One of the last great movie cowboys has passed on at the age of 91.

I expect to have more thoughts to share on the passing of this wonderful man in the days to come.

Christmastime Fun: Huntington Harbour Cruise

We had a very nice evening last night thanks to friends who invited us out on their boat for a cruise to view the Christmas Lights in Huntington Harbour.

Our kids each enjoyed having a turn piloting the boat while we took in the beautiful lights. My cell phone photos don't do the beautifully decorated homes justice, but here's a brief peek:

We docked at Sunset Beach and enjoyed dinner at Woody's Diner on Pacific Coast Highway, which had good burgers and onion rings, as well as exceptionally friendly service.

Eating there was like stepping back into the '50s! Recommended as a fun stop if you're in the area.

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