By John Seal

September 3, 2012

Not only will we beat you to a pulp, we'll make you feel really dumb at the same time!

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From the obscure to the obscurest to the merely overlooked or underappreciated; they all have a home in the TiVoPlex! All times Pacific.

Tuesday 9/4/12

11:45 PM (Monday 9/3) Turner Classic Movies
My Name Is Ivan (1962 USSR): Okay, so sue me! Yes, I’m cheating here, and should have included this film in last week’s column. However, its late-in-the-day start time on the program grid threw me for a loop – and it’s such a fine film it really does deserve your attention. Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris, Andrei Rublev), My Name is Ivan charts the adventures of a 12-year-old boy (Kolya Burlyayev) who undertakes dangerous spying missions on behalf of Mother Russia during the darkest days of World War II. Though thoroughly patriotic, the film was banned in the Soviet Union for its suggestion that the country might have needed (and used) children to defend itself. A fascinating blend of gritty realism and fantasy that established the artistic template Tarkovsky would return to in his later, even dreamier, work, My Name Is Ivan features a cameo appearance by future director Andrey Konchalovsky as a (fully grown) Russian soldier. It’s followed at 1:30 AM by Orlando (1992 GB), Sally Potter’s strangely similar yet utterly different (and quite unique) Virginia Woolf time travel mini-epic.


5:00 AM Fox Movie Channel
The Other (1972 USA): This film has aired many, many times on both Fox and TCM since the TiVoPlex opened its doors ten years ago this week. However, The Other only recently began screening in its original aspect ratio and is worth another look if you’ve previously only scoped it in pan and scan. Directed by Robert Mulligan, the film tells the eerie tale of twins Niles and Holland Perry (real life twins Chris and Martin Udvarnoky) who play a special "game" taught to them by their grandmother (Uta Hagen). In the Other, it truly is fun and games until someone gets hurt, and once that happens the twins heretofore extremely close relationship begins to fray in disturbing and dangerous ways. The film is a little too low-key for my liking, but an opportunity to see Robert Surtees’ cinematography in widescreen makes this a tempting option.

2:30 PM Turner Classic Movies
Anzio (1968 ITA-USA): This movie used to play all the time on local television back in the early ‘70s. I guess Peter Falk was pretty popular back then, what with Colombo and all, but boy...Anzio was on a lot, and this war movie mad adolescent watched it as many times as he could. Directed by Edward Dmytryk with a helping hand from Duilio Coletti, the film stars Falk as a GI slogging his way across Anzio Beach in Italy circa 1944, but he’s not alone: the film also has other American heavyweights, including Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Arthur Franz, Arthur Kennedy, and Mark Damon, as well as a host of European thespians such as Anthony Steel, Patrick Magee, Wolfgang Preiss, and Giancarlo Giannini. I remember this film never quite living up to my expectations, but with a widescreen airing in the cards, it’s definitely time to give it another look.

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