TiVoPlex for Tuesday through Monday
By John Seal
April 30, 2012
From the obscure to the obscurest to the merely overlooked or underappreciated; they all have a home in the TiVoPlex! All times Pacific.
4:00 AM Starz in Black
Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story (2007 USA): Originally aired on PBS as part of the network’s Great Performances series, Respect Yourself is as good as music documentaries get, especially for admirers of the Memphis Sound (and if you’re not an admirer, what the heck is wrong with you?). Stax Records, of course, was the home of such legends of soul as Otis Redding, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Booker T. and the MGs, and many, many others, and the film tells the label’s entire story from humble start to tragic finish. There’s tons of great archival footage (including a superb take on You Don’t Miss Your Water by William Bell and Rufus T.’s astonishing Schlitz commercial) and lots of interviews. If you’re a fan of sixties soul, Respect Yourself is essential viewing.
1:00 AM Fox Movie Channel
The Sicilian (1987 USA): Based on a Mario Puzo novel, this Michael Cimino joint is a sequel in all but name to The Godfather, but forgoes all reference to the Corleone family. Set in the days following World War II, the film tells the extremely convoluted tale of Salvatore Guiliano, a fighter against Mafia corruption and for Sicilian independence. The fact that the film is overburdened by plotting might be overlooked if the acting were better, but sadly, Giuliano is portrayed by Christopher Lambert, so you know that thin straw of redemption is not available for grasping. Like most Cimino films, a sense of humor is entirely lacking, and Steve Shagan’s screenplay is predictably portentous. So why am I mentioning it in this week’s TiVoPlex? Well, I think this marks the film’s widescreen television debut, and Terence Stamp is excellent as baddy Prince Borsa. Proceed, however, with appropriate caution.
1:00 AM The Movie Channel
Allan Quatermain & the Temple of Skulls (2008 USA): A personal note to discriminating filmgoers from director Mark Atkins and the good folks at Asylum Home Entertainment: please do not be confused by our feature length adventure, Allan Quatermain & the Temple of Skulls. Despite our promotional artwork depicting a whip-cracking hero in a cowboy hat, this unique and original feature (based on H. Rider Haggard’s beloved classic novel King Solomon’s Mines) should not be confused with films with titles such as Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skill. Those films pale in comparison to ours, which stars Sean Cameron Michael as Allan Quatermain! Yowza! Bite me, Harrison Ford! Also airs at 4:00 AM.
10:45 AM Turner Classic Movies
The Vintage (1957 USA): Are there any good movies about vintners? I’m not talking about wine enthusiasts—Sideways is excellent—but people on the production side of the coin. Off hand, I can’t think of any classics, but The Vintage isn’t bad. Shot in the south of France, the film stars Mel Ferrer and John Kerr as Giancarlo and Ernesto, two Italian migrant workers picking grapes near Marseilles. On the run from the law for a murder Ernesto committed, they hope to keep a low profile amongst the vineyards—but the hot-blooded Ernesto gets up close and personal with the boss’s wife (Michele Morgan), which is about the worst possible way to keep a low profile. Directed by Mr. Eva Marie Saint, Jeffrey Hayden, and shot in Cinemascope, The Vintage also features Pier Angeli, Theodore Bikel, and Leif Erickson.