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TGF Classic Movie Watchlist (November 24 - December 4, 2017)


The Guys from {FILM} is a discussion on movies and films from all eras and genres

TGF Classic Movie Watchlist (November 24 - December 4, 2017)

Shaun Cordingley

I (Shaun) have mentioned a few times on The Guys From Podcast that I always go through Turner Classic Movies and set my PVR to record some for myself, and then I send my "what to watch list" to Dave so that way he has a few (or in some cases, a lot) of movies to record and then check out....usually to then be able to answer other questions that we get asked on the Podcast (ask us a question here !) ....though it perhaps has more to do with the fact that Dave, along with most of y'all, do not have the same exposure & experience with classic films that I do. 

I have, as of writing this, seen and rated 3400 movies (or completed television the interest of being honest), and I have a great deal of appreciation for films from all eras. One of the very first reasons I wanted to start, and one of the reasons I had worked at both, and was because I wanted to spread awareness of some classic films that perhaps modern audiences have not seen, or maybe have not even heard of. Now, with the Daily Song Drop, and the Podcast (and my day job), I have gotten away from talking about films a little bit, so I thought I would extend the same courtesy Dave gets to you: 

The TGF Movie Watchlist will show up (as much as I am able to) every couple of weeks and I will be giving you a rotating (and sometimes repeating) list of classic films that I have seen, and I think you should see. They will be arranged according to their appearance on Turner Classic Movies, meaning I will give you the dates and times (in Mountain Standard Time...where....when I am) in which the films are airing on said channel, so if you have it, you're in luck, and it's just a quick matter of setting your PVR, or grabbing popcorn.
If you do not have TCM (or it's one of those rare occurrences when my Canadian channel differs from the American), then at the very least, you will have a watchlist to pursue on another service (and I may even put a link in if there's an easy way to watch it). 

Enough preamble? 
Good...because there's a real pile this time
Let's talk movies: 

November 24, 2017

5:30 - Sullivan's Travels (1941) 

Sullivan's Travels is a film that graces both my, and Dave's Top 10 Films of the 1940's list, and it is all sorts of wonderful. It's a romantic comedy, but at the same time, it is also a film which rolls up its' sleeves a bit and takes a look at the grittier side of Depression-Era America. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) is a famous movie director who makes escapist comedies, but has a desire to make a film of "consequence", that really matters and reflects society at large, so he (somehow) convinces the studio to let him moonlight as a hobo to see what life is really like. 

You're not going to expect everything that happens in this film (a rarity for the 1940s), and Veronica Lake (as The Girl. Literally what she's credited as) and McCrea are absolutely excellent in this Preston Sturges film. 

Here's a strange, but apt enough trailer: 

18:00 - The Dirty Dozen (1967)

This 2 1/2 hour World War 2 film is a bit strange, as the pacing is a bit wonky from time to time (something I find with pretty much all of the director, Robert Aldrich's films), but the story of a rebellious Army Major (Lee Marvin at his Lee Marvin best) being tasked to take 12 criminals behind enemy lines on a suicide mission is not only engaging, but the mission itself is an excellent watch, and (like the best War films) you are left guessing as to who is going to make it out of the mission alive, and earn their freedom. 

It's also a really great cast (though...let's be fair....might be a touch old for the Army...), and if anyone is looking for deep characters...well then you don't know 60s war movies: this is about enjoying them working together, especially in "war games"...or that ending...

20:45 - Cool Hand Luke (1967)

I know you have probably heard of Cool Hand probably even already know some of the scenes (if you have not seen it), and some of the lines that have infiltrated pop culture...but in case you have not seen it, you really should. Paul Newman plays a laid-back (perhaps, as it is made in the 1960s, free-spirited would be a good term as well) Southern man who is sentenced to prison for two years (for decapitating parking meters....right?), yet refuses to conform to the system and bow to authority, earning him the respect of his fellow inmates, but setting him at odds with the prison system...which works at trying to break him.

Is it Paul Newman's best role? Maybe. Is it his best movie? That's a personal taste as far as I'm concerned, but it is one that everyone should at least try and see once (and not just his trailer): 

23:15 - Network (1976)  

Network is an excellent film from the 1970's directed by Sidney Lumet about the nature of television news, and how it (and the America of the 1970s) has changed dramatically....and how the network ends up using an unstable former anchor for ratings, but also how it begins to reflect the crumbling of the America of it's golden age. 

It's scary (not like horror scary, more like, "the media is scary" scary), it's intense, it's brilliantly acted, and it just so happens to still be completely relevant's just sadly the Howard Beale's of today are usually an extreme-fringe nightmare. 

November 25, 2017

22:15 - The Best Man (1964)

The Best Man is a film that reflects a fascinating part of what used to be American politics, and is the (Gore Vidal written) story of two men (Henry Fonda & Cliff Robertson) vying for the nomination to be the candidate for President of the United States. This is an interesting look into the convention process, and backroom politics, filled with a few twists and turns to keep you wondering who is, indeed going to get the nomination. 

Honestly, if you aren't into politics, this isn't for you, but I do think that it is well-worth the time. 

Oh, and apologies for the weird trailer, it's the best one I could find:

November 26, 2017

8:00 - Strangers on a Train (1951)

Strangers on a Train is probably one of the better known, but weirdly lesser seen Alfred Hitchcock movies. The story of a socialite (who's a tad crazy) presents a Tennis-pro whom he met on the train with his plan for the perfect murder, and then sets out to implement his plan. If you have not seen Strangers before, I won't give anything else away, but you are going to recognize a chunk of things from the film from other pop culture things (especially if you are a fan of The Simpsons). 


15:30 - An American in Paris (1951)

Winner of 6 Oscars, An American in Paris is widely regarded as one of Gene Kelly's masterpieces. DIrected by Vincente Minnelli, the film is a romantic musical which largely revolves around struggling painter Jerry Mulligan (Kelly), his friends, and his true love, complete with a whole pile of love triangle-style complications. 

The film is gorgeous, however I will caution you that it is, indeed, a 1950s Gene Kelly Musical, which means that you need to enjoy musicals AND be prepared for an extended, gorgeously shot, silent (save for music) dance number. 

Also be prepared for the fact that this trailer is almost 4 minutes if you are already sold, maybe...don't watch it (but just in case:) 

November 29, 2017

12:45 - How the West was Won (1962)

Brace yourself for this one: it is an almost 3 hour long western that covers several decades of a family's history...basically most of the nineteenth century, which means through the Gold Rush, The Civil War, and the rise of the Raildoads.
The cast is insane (including Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Debbie Reynolds, Karl Malden, and Many MANY more), it has 12,000 plus extras used, and was shot in Cinerama...which....if you want scale? They give you was literally 3 synchronized 35mm projectors cast against one giant screen...

All the scale you can bloody handle. 

15:45 -The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Another John Ford/John Wayne/Jimmy Stewart western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a very late black & white film which ends up being more of a study of an era than an action-packed western (though don't worry, there is plenty of action), that really highlights the price/state of progress as the west became "civilized". The story revolves around a Senator (Stewart) returning back to his hometown to attend the funeral of a friend, and recounting the tale of his killing a notorious outlaw (that which made him famous) to the local newspaper. 

Frankly, I'm not the biggest Western fan, but this is one that I do enjoy a fair amount, which is why it gets added to the watchlist, even though I don't think I have seen this is well over a decade...

18:00 - Winchester '73 (1950)

Winchester '73 makes it three westerns in a row here (don't get used to that), and this one is my favourite of the three: the film follows the rifle (the Winchester 1873) from one owner to another, and that story parallels a Cowboy (played by Jimmy Stewart) searching for a murderer. This was director Anthony Mann's first western, and it's fantastic. 

I don't want to give you too much more than that, because frankly, I probably enjoyed it more knowing as little as that going in (and just being there for the ride), but if you're not convinced: 

December 1, 2017

8:15 - Gunga Din (1939)

Gunga Din is a Cary Grant/Douglas Fairbanks Jr./Joan Fontaine film which revolves around three British soldiers in 19th Century India, and an Indian waterbearer who have to stop a revival of a murderous Thuggee cult (a name you may recognize from Indiana Jones).  

If you are able to get past the 1930s awkward racism ('s there), and accept the film for being of it's time, you are going to be treated to a rollicking, pulp-y yarn that heavily influenced the work of George Lucas (I'm not kidding, Gunga Din will make you see Star Wars in a different way). 

14:00 - Suspicion (1941) 

One of Dave's favourite films of the 1940's, Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion is one of the most twisty, and engaging suspense films of the era, and is a must watch for any fans of the genre (or Hitch). The film, not to give much away, is about a shy, young heiress (Joan Fontaine) who marries a charming-as-hell gentleman (Cary Grant), but then begins to suspect that he is attempting to murder her. 

I will not say anything else, other than it is Hitch making a fantastic film, with excellent (period) performances (including an Oscar for Fontaine)

December 2, 2017

4:00 - A Night at the Opera (1935)

I know everyone knows of the Marx brothers, but I am also aware that most people have not actually seen anything by them. Well, A Night at the Opera is one of their best. It is a screwball musical comedy filled with visual and verbal gags galore, as the Marx Brothers take on the stuffiness of 1930s high society through the Opera. 

This is one of the few cases where I think watching the trailer is a must if you have not seen any Marx Brothers, or other wacky 1930s comedies because it will give you a sense of what they are like, and if they'll be your jam: 

A Night at the Opera is largely just silly fun, but I think sometimes we all need a bit of that (and if you are someone who wants to write, or write about comedy, you need to know the foundations, and the Marx Bros. are one of them). 

18:00 - Bride of Frankenstein (1935) 

Horror fans have hopefully already seen Bride of Frankenstein, but this is a classic horror film that I think really deserves to be more widely, because's a better made film than the original Frankenstein
Not taking anything away from the original, of course, but top to bottom, Bride is a more visually and technically interesting film, it is much more fun (there's some 1930s camp to be had here for sure), and surprisingly, giving The Monster a voice worked out really well. 

Oh, and if you have not seen Frankenstein, wait to watch Bride (it is a very linear continuation of the story). 

December 4, 2017

6:15 - I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932) 

This is an excellent, early social drama from Warner Bros. starring Paul Muni as a man who returns from WWI and strikes out to seek his fortune. Unfortunately he is dragged into a crime (that he basically does not commit) and is stuck in a Southern USA Chain Gang. You basically experience the horror of that system at the time, but you also get a fairly fascinating examination of the theory of second chances...and perhaps even make you sit and think a bit about how life can turn (and the people who turn with it). 

Well, that is all of them. 

Of course the dayI decide to try this, it ends up being a massive block on TCM (I swear there are so many ~two week periods where it's just 4-6 films), but here we are.

Let me know if this is a feature you enjoy, either in the comments here (like no one ever does) or via Twitter etc...I'll stick with it for a while, of course, but if I don't hear from anyone, or it does not really do all that well, I'll kick my time into something else film related it's entirely up to y'all. 

Regardless, go watch some movies. 

-S (@Shauncord