March 2 2010 through March 8 2010
By John Seal
March 1, 2010
10:15 PM Turner Classic Movies
Crash Landing (1958 USA): A day of airline disaster flicks concludes on TCM with this very rare feature from director Fred F. Sears, previously seen navigating the friendly skies with 1956's Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. Crash Landing stars Mr. Bette Davis, Gary Merrill, as Steve Williams, a pilot on a routine commercial flight from Lisbon to New York. Did I say routine? Only for the first half of the flight, as Steve's plane develops serious engine trouble over the Atlantic, and he has to prepare his passengers and crew for a, well, crash landing in the middle of the ocean. Meanwhile, wife Helen (Mrs. Ronald Reagan, Nancy Davis) paces worriedly at home, whilst son Barrie (Kim Charney) learns a valuable lesson in bike-riding. Trust me, it'll all make sense when you watch the film.
11:30 PM Turner Classic Movies
Big Bad Mama (1973 USA): This film's sequel, the cleverly titled Big Bad Mama II, has had frequent cable and satellite airings over the years, but this is the first time I can recall its progenitor appearing commercial-free. Angie Dickinson plays Wilma, a tough as nails broad who assumes command of the family bootlegging business when common-law hubby Barney (Noble Willingham) bites the dust. Ably assisted by daughters Polly (Robbie Lee) and Billie Jean (Susan Sennett), Wilma takes to the business like a duck to water—and decides to supplement her income with a little bank robbery and kidnapping on the side. Dickinson disrobes with reckless abandon in this Great Depression-set exploitation classic, which also features William Shatner, Dick Miller, Tom Skerritt, Royal Dano, and Paul Bartel. With a cast like that, this has to be TiVoPlex Movie of the Week!
7:30 AM Turner Classic Movies
Live Wires (1946 USA): Many years ago, TCM used to regularly air Bowery Boys movies...or was it AMC? Whichever it was, these one-time small screen staples haven't had much exposure of late, but that seems about to change: the Boys are scheduled to appear on TCM each Saturday morning this month and perhaps beyond, which is great news for those of us who grew up watching the adventures of Slip, Satch, and the gang. The series is inaugurated this morning with Live Wires, the first and probably best of the almost fifty Bowery Boys flicks that rolled off the Monogram/Allied Artists assembly line. In addition to the usual gang of idiots (Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, Billy Benedict, et al), Live Wires also features Mike Mazurki and Pamela Blake, and was directed by hard-boiled specialist Phil Karlson. In other words, it's a real movie that actually tries to tell a story instead of simply recording an hour's worth of random Bowery Boys foolishness.
7:30 PM IFC
Love and a .45 (1991 USA): IFC has been showing a lot of these late ‘80s/early ‘90s neo-noirs of late, and though this isn't a particularly good one, it does feature a young Renee Zellweger in her first major role. She plays Starlene, fiancée and moll of small time hood Wattie (Gil Bellows), who robs convenience stores for a living whilst running with confirmed psycho Billie Mack (Rory Cochrane). If you've seen Carl Franklin's superior One False Move, you'll know what to expect, but Love and a .45 has the added attraction of Jeffrey Combs, here playing hit-man Dinosaur Bob.
5:15 PM IFC
Anamorph (2007 USA): I've never seen this film, and I don't know what it's about, but c'mon...it's called Anamorph. Surely it involves life forms that can transform into super-beings, or something, right? Also airs at 11:45 PM.
9:10 PM Encore Westerns
More Dead than Alive (1969 USA): Fans of Vincent Price will want to check out this rather unusual western. Price plays Dan Ruffalo, a carny who hires serial killer Cain (Cheyenne's Clint Walker) to work in his sideshow as a sharp-shooter. Unfortunately, Cain has just been released from prison after serving an 18-year stretch and hasn't picked up a gun in decades...and to make matters worse, some of his old enemies are still gunning for him. It's definitely a bit different than your standard oater, and Price is excellent in one of his few late career non-horror roles.
7:00 AM Fox Movie Channel
The Street with No Name (1948 USA): This terrific police procedural stars Mark Stevens as Gene Cordell, an undercover G-man working to infiltrate and bring to justice a gang of bank robbers who murdered a security guard during one of their jobs. Easier said than done, of course—especially when the gang is owned and operated by Stiles, a psychopath played with gleeful relish by Richard Widmark. Whilst not quite on a par with Kiss of Death's Tommy Udo, Stiles is not a man you want to cross. Also on hand: Lloyd Nolan as Cordell's boss and Ed Begley as, naturally, a heavy.
6:00 PM Playboy
Mondo Topless (1966 USA): It's not often that The Playboy Channel earns a mention in the TiVoPlex, but the channel is offering its discriminating audience (and you) a selection of Russ Meyer films this month. First up is Mondo Topless, Meyer's contribution to the documentary genre and his follow up to the classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! It's basically 60 minutes of large breasts attached to women with delightful names such as Abundavita, Babette Bardot, and Yvette Le Grand. No Candy Samples, though.