Monday, July 25, 2011

Life This Week: July 25, 1938 and August Movie Recommendations

Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr in Algiers
The Movie of the Week (article contains spoilers) is Algiers, starring Charles Boyer, Hedy Lamarr and Sigrid Gurie.  It's a remake of Pépé le Moko, released in France in 1937 and starring French icon Jean Gabin.  According to IMDB, Walter Wanger, the producer of Algiers, tried to destroy all copies of Pépé le Moko.  We can thank the cinema gods he didn't succeed.  While definitely not a bad movie, Algiers pales in comparison to Pépé le Moko (available from the Criterion Collection in its original cut).  Pépé le Moko, not subjected to Hays Office prudery, is the more mature film and Jean Gabin works such layers and depths into his portrayal of the passionate, desperate gangster-in-hiding.   However, if, like most Americans in 1938, I hadn't seen Pépé le Moko, Algiers would have been an entertaining way to spend 96 minutes.  Plus, Hedy Lamarr is used to her best advantage as Gaby and Sigrid Gurie, as Pépé's girlfriend Inès, gets much better material to work with than in her previous film.

Jean Gabin and Mireille Balin in Pépé le Moko
Photo from Movie Diva

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August 2011 Movie Suggestions

All times are CST, all movies are on TCM.

Monday, August 1, 2011
  • A Street Car Named Desire (8:30 p.m.) there are few films more deeply tragic than this one, but it's amazing
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
  • Now, Voyager (8:00 a.m.) ugly duckling Bette Davis gets a makeover and falls in love with yummy Paul Henreid 
  • The Letter (3:30 p.m.) unfaithful wife Bette Davis beats a murder rap but can't escape the victim's vengeful wife; Herbert Marshall plays Davis's loyal husband
  • Jezebel (9:00 p.m.) Bette Davis plays an unconventional Southern belle who goes after the affections of Henry Fonda
Thursday, August 4, 2011
  • A Tale of Two Cities (7:00 p.m.) Ronald Colman is wonderful as Sydney Carton; bring a hankie
Friday, August 5, 2011
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (7:00 p.m.) Fairly faithful adaptation of novel; Lana Turner smolders
Poster from Wikipedia

Sunday, August 7, 2011
  • Lured (12:30 a.m.) Lucille Ball (showing her versatility as an actress) has to find her best friend's killer, even if it means exploring London's seedy underbelly; Douglas Sirk really knew how to use George Sanders in film; this is a good one
  • The Private Life of Henry VIII (6:30 a.m.) Charles Laughton plays the titular role to the hilt
  • The Canterville Ghost (11:15 p.m.) Charles Laughton is a ghost who can only enter heaven when one of his relatives performs a brave deed; unfortunately, they've all been cowards; will Robert Young be any different?
Monday, August 8, 2011
  • The Third Man (7:00 p.m.) one of the best thrillers: Joseph Cotten has to discover what really happened to his friend, Orson Welles; also stars Trevor Howard
  • Touch of Evil (11:15 p.m.) Director's cut of Orson Welles's noir masterpiece
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
  • Around the World in 80 Days (3:30 p.m.) David Niven heads the cast in this fun family film
Thursday, August 11, 2011
  • Ocean's Eleven (12:00 a.m.) the Rat Pack movie--dated, misogynist, stylish and fun all at the same time
Friday, August 12, 2011
  • It Happened One Night (10:30 p.m.) One of my favorite films--sparks fly when reporter Clark Gable meets runaway heiress Claudette Colbert
Saturday, August 13, 2011
  • Wife vs. Secretary (10:15 a.m.) Myrna Loy is the wife, Jean Harlow is the secretary, Clark Gable is the man caught in the middle; worth watching just for the cast!
  • The Shop Around the Corner (1:30 p.m.) this sweet romantic comedy tells the story of coworkers who can't stand each other in person, but are falling in love as pen pals
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (7:00 p.m.) James Stewart rides his fame as "the man who shot Liberty Valance" all the way to the Senate, but who really killed the notorious outlaw?
Sunday, August 14, 2011
  • Carefree (5:00 a.m.) psychiatrist Fred Astaire treats Ginger Rogers through hypnosis (and dancing); also the Movie of the Week for August 22nd!
  • His Girl Friday  (7:00 p.m.) Cary Grant, Rosiland Russell, rapid-fire banter; highly-rated comedy, not my particular favorite, but it is amusing
  • The Awful Truth (8:45 p.m.) Cary Grant and Irene Dunne divorce but can't stay away from each other

TCM salutes Jean Gabin starting on August 18th; I'll be recording several films I haven't seen yet.
Portrait from Doctor Macro.

Thursday, August 18, 2011
  • Pépé le Moko (7:00 p.m.) Jean Gabin is Pepe le Moko; this is what gangster films should be like; however, I would check out the Criterion Collection DVD, which has the full 94-minute film; I believe the TCM version may be the edited American release
Friday, August 19, 2011
  • Touchez pas au grisbi (1:00 a.m.) Highly entertaining film with Jean Gabin as an aging mobster who plans to retire after one more job; this is a movie both Paul and I really like 
Saturday, August 20, 2011
  • Singin' in the Rain (1:15 a.m.) Does it need an introduction?  It's one of the best movie musicals ever made.
  • From Here to Eternity  (2:30 p.m.) You know you need to watch it for the Burt Lancaster/ Deborah Kerr beach make-out scene
Sunday, August 21, 2011
  • This is the Night (5:00 a.m.)
  • I'm No Angel (6:30 a.m.) I adore Mae West, who plays a circus performer in this pre-code gem; also stars Cary Grant
  • My Favorite Wife (8:00 a.m.) Cary Grant has missing-at-sea wife Irene Dunne declared legally dead so he can remarry; only problem is that she's still alive
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (9:30 a.m.) cute romantic comedy with Myrna Loy, Cary Grant, Shirley Temple and Rudy Vallee
  • The Philadelphia Story (2:30 p.m.) one of my most favorite films: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart and one of the best child actors ever, Virginia Weidler
  • North by Northwest (4:30 p.m.) classic Hitchcock mistaken-identity thriller starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason; famous for train, crop duster and Mount Rushmore sequences; very stylish
  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (11:30 p.m.) In this charming film, Cary Grant and Myrna Loy discover that building a house isn't as easy as they think
Monday, August 22, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
  • Above Suspicion (5:00 a.m.) this is a surprising gem of a movie; married couple Joan Crawford and Fred MacMurray fight Nazis on their honeymoon
  • The Thief of Bagdad (8:45 p.m.) great technicolor adventure, definitely an inspiration for Aladdin
  • Casablanca (10:45 p.m.) Play it, Sam!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
  • Dark Journey (3:30 a.m.) Conrad Veidt and Vivien Leigh fall in love during World War I; only problem is that they're spies
  • Gold Diggers of 1933 (1:45 p.m.)
  • Dames (8:15 p.m.) Busby Berkley musical; Joan Blondell and ZaSu Pitts are great fun
Thursday, August 25, 2011
  • The Killers (10:30 p.m.) an insurance investigator tries to piece together the puzzling murder of a former boxer
Lobby Card from Doctor Macro

Saturday, August 27, 2011
  • A Letter to Three Wives (7:00 p.m.) the town slut has run off with the husband of one of the three wives in the title, but which one?
  • Hangover Square (10:30 p.m.) Laird Cregar is a talented composer who has psychotic episodes, Linda Darnell treats him cruelly and George Sanders treats him (medically)
Sunday, August 28, 2011
  • Twentieth Century (3:30 p.m.) producer John Barrymore spends a train trip trying to convince actress Carole Lombard to return to the stage
  • To Be or Not to Be (5:15 p.m.) Jack Benny and Carole Lombard star in this Ernst Lubitsch comedy about Polish actors who get caught up in the resistance movement during the German invasion
  • My Man Godfrey (7:00 p.m.) After discovering William Powell while searching for a bum on a scavenger hunt, Carole Lombard hires him as her butler
  • Nothing Sacred (10:30 p.m.) reporter Fredric March makes "dying" Carole Lombard famous
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
  • Kiss Me Kate (10:30 p.m.) Sue me, but I love this ridiculous technicolor musical
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
  • Shanghai Express (5:30 p.m.) Marlene Dietrich is terribly well-dressed in this pre-code train film set in the midst of the civil war in China
Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express from Doctor Macro

In other news, Tivo and I parted ways yesterday.  We were going to have to exchange our Tivo box for one that actually works and the replacement was $50 more than just buying a new box, but we couldn't buy a new box because then we'd have to pay service for both boxes, even though the other one doesn't work.  On top of that, they said that they couldn't offer us a warranty on the replacement box.  It's a good thing Paul was talking to the customer service representative.  I was livid.  They have had the worst customer service of anyone throughout this whole process (our insurance and our cable provider have been wonderful in comparison).  We decided to pay off the rest of our contract (which is crap, but it was a contract) rather than have to buy a new box and continue to deal with Tivo.  Paul's now researching capture cards.  I'll let you know how that goes.  I'm back to recording via VCR for now.


  1. I love "A Streetcar Named Desire,' tour de force acting by Marlon Brando. I also like "The Third Man."

    All the best on the search for a capture card.

  2. Ahhh Hedy Lammar. So beautiful! I didn't know Mildred Pierce was a film, is that the same as the series Ms Winslet has just starred in?

  3. These old movie stills are pretty magnificent!

    I can't get over how perfect Hedy Lamarr looks, I wanna dress and look just like her! :)

    The Cat Hag

  4. Lovely! I love vintage movies!

  5. I love looking through these old Life magazines! Did you happen to see the gal on page 55? She's all decked out in sporting equipment and looking fabulous! haha

    Your movie recommendations are so helpful, I'll have to get the dvr set for many of these! So sorry to hear about your continuing TiVo woes, good luck with the capture card!

  6. Pépé le Moko sounds like a must-see!

    I loved the Marie Antoinette premiere photos. Particularly the one with the snarky caption: "John Barrymore and Elaine Barrie, in their second year as man and wife, regard premiere with profound boredom." !!!

  7. Love your comments/descriptions! I'm printing the list so I can see some of these films. Lucille Ball is marvelous and I hadn't heard of the one here. Thank you!

  8. Lady Cherry- both are based on the James M. Cain novel of the same name. I haven't seen the Kate Winslet version yet, because we don't have HBO. I'll just have to wait for the DVD!

  9. Sorry to hear about your Tivo woes. I just recently got cable tv (I know, I was living in the stone age) and I am having a hard time getting my recordings on my cable box onto a dvd or a computer. I am so bummed, because I have been missing out on recording some really great stuff off TCM that isn't on DVD. I am hoping I can get it fixed before the summer under the stars.... so excited to be able to watch it!!!

  10. Oh, Kiss Me Kate is one of my favorite musicals! I adore Cole Porter's music.


  11. Oh, the trials of TIVO! Yes, probably a good thing Paul was dealing with customer service - as I have set such a shining example for you to follow (I'm thinking AM EXP)! Your daddy says they are still using that recording for training purposes!

  12. I always love your movie recommendations! I need to add Algiers to my netflix queue, for some reason I always passed it by before...
    And yay for The Shop Around the Corner on the 13th!!

  13. I've NEVER seen From Here to Eternity! Setting the the monthly recommendations :)

  14. I am so excited -- I have never seen Singing in the Rain, and it is playing for $5 outside in the Idaho Botanical Gardens next month! Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much :) you are a movie whiz!

  15. Lauren ... Not sure if this is the best way to reach you but mai I thank you for your comment on and for joining the small but growing list of followers. The sport of disrupting live performances was the Victorian equivalent, perhaps, of those who call out during movies. It was a regular problem. I enjoyed your blog also and the layout and old posters is excellent. Tom Hughes

  16. I have never seen Algiers, but found your cpmmenta on it intetesting. Apparently Casablanca was named after the city because of the success of Algiers with its place name title. Love all these old movie references!

  17. No reason to leave the house. Just stay home want watch al these fabulous flicks. Just love the pix.

  18. As always, your movie list has absolute favorites of mine plus movies I never heard of before. Lucille Ball in a drama? I didn't know about this movie.

    My sympathies about Tivo. Grrr, so aggravating to deal with customer service. I also have to have my husband deal with customer service sometimes because I'm afraid I will lose it. He can stay calm . . . .

  19. Some companies are under the impression that customers are at their service. Your experience with Tivo seems completely unacceptable.


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