By John Seal
February 11, 2013
From the obscure to the obscurest to the merely overlooked or underappreciated; they all have a home in the TiVoPlex! All times Pacific.
9:15 AM Turner Classic Movies
The Fallen Sparrow (1943 USA): John Garfield stars in this excellent suspense flick, which (this being 31 Days of Oscar) earned an Academy Award nomination – in this case, for C. Bakaleinikoff and Roy Webb’s score. To be honest, I have absolutely no memory of the music in this film, but its certainly worth a look for other reasons - number one, of course, being the presence of Garfield. He plays John McKittrick, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War who finds himself investigating a mysterious New York death. To complicate matters, John is in turn being pursued by Nazi agents, who want a valuable item that’s been in his possession since the conclusion of the war in Spain. Co-starring Maureen O’Hara, Patricia Morison, John "Sergeant Schultz" Banner, John Miljan, and Hugh Beaumont, The Fallen Sparrow is exciting (if occasionally confusing) fun.
2:05 AM Action Max
3:34 Earthquake in Chile (2011 CHI): Everyone enjoys the vicarious thrill of a good disaster movie – at least until they experience a major disaster themselves. Then a comedy looks pretty good. As for 3:34 Earthquake in Chile, it’s at the top of the heap of the shake and jiggle genre, noteworthy not only for its vivid onscreen recreation of the Great Quake of 2010 but also for the producers’ offscreen decision to donate all proceeds to rebuilding efforts.
5:00 AM Turner Classic Movies
The Americanization of Emily (1964 USA): Here’s a film I avoided for decades because of two simple words, best spoken in a high, flutey Peter Cook voice: "Julie Andrews!" Such is my antipathy for The Sound of Music that I’ve never really been able to enjoy anything else Ms. Andrews has appeared in over her by now very long career. Then I noticed another name associated with this picture: Paddy Chayevsky. My worries somewhat assuaged, I took the plunge a few years back and don’t regret it - this is one of the best and most subversive Hollywood comedy-dramas ever made, with co-star James Garner essaying the role of a naval officer tasked with the repulsive assignment of finding a dead hero for the military’s propaganda machine. So, yes – thematically, The Americanization of Emily is about a million miles from Climb Ev’ry Mountain. Philip Lathrop’s superb widescreen black and white cinematography earned the film an Oscar nom, and the film benefits from a fine supporting cast, including James Coburn, Keenan Wynn, Joyce Grenfell, and Melvyn Douglas. Look closely, and you might also espy Sharon Tate and Memphis mafioso Red West!
1:35 PM Cinemax
Child’s Play (1988 USA): I know I’ve recommended most of the other Chuckie films over the years, but I don’t think I’ve previously acknowledged the great grandaddy of Charles Lee Ray slasher flicks. The original Child’s Play, of course, is much less jokey than its many sequels, with screenwriter Don Mancini doing his best to keep a straight face whilst relating the misadventures of the possessed and foul-mouthed Good Guy doll (Brad Dourif) who likes nothing more than to kill. As for the human characters, both Andy (Alex Vincent) and his mom (Cathleen Hicks) are so annoying you’ll be praying for Chucky to do them in before the second reel is over. And what’s this I see at IMDb? A new Child’s Play flick is in development, with Dourif’s name attached to it? Can’t wait! Also airs at 4:35 PM.