TCM Genre movies schedule...

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Klaus, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Did One Million Years B.C. use the same caveman language as When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth? They both seemed to make heavy use of the word "akita," and I think it was used in similar ways.

    While the remake benefits from Raquel Welch and Ray Harryhausen, and lacks the rather cumbersome present-day introduction of the original, I wouldn't say it's a materially better movie. The story's about the same, with just as many arbitrary acts of nature interrupting to resolve things in lieu of actual plot points, and the effects just seem to be what I'd expect from the era, while the original's (while less sophisticated in the absolute) were fairly impressive for their era. Even though the effects are mostly stop-motion, another thing the movie shares with When Dinosaurs Ruled... is the incongruous inclusion of an iguana "dinosaur" in a couple of sequences. There's even a random giant tarantula at one point, like it accidentally wandered in from the set of a Jack Arnold film.

    But the Harryhausen sequences are pretty good. I daresay the fight between Tumak and the smallish theropod and the fight between the triceratops and the larger theropod count among Harryhausen's more iconic set pieces. Certainly the latter didn't have the outcome I would've expected.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Just watched Douglas Trumbull's Brainstorm -- a movie I saw a number of times back in the '80s, but haven't revisited in a long time. It helped that I just finished reading Return to Tomorrow, the in-depth oral history about the making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was the film Trumbull and his team worked on just before making Brainstorm. So that gave me some context about the visual effects. Although it's much lighter on VFX than TMP (which I also rewatched earlier today). Also surprisingly light on music; aside from a bit of source music in one scene, there's no scoring at all for nearly 35 minutes after the main titles.

    Anyway, I miss the days when I actually appreciated hearing a James Horner score and recognizing that it had some similarities to another James Horner score -- before I got tired of that repetition. Still, while this score has some bits that are very reminiscent of his Trek scores, there's a lot else in it that's quite distinct and shows Horner's range, and I can almost remember how much I used to like this score.

    The film itself is more of a mixed bag. The first act maybe overdoes the showing off of the virtual-reality sequences, and the third act kind of loses focus. I've always figured that the way the story sort of fizzles out at the end had something to do with Natalie Wood dying near the end of production, but reports are ambiguous -- some say parts of the film had to be rewritten after Wood's death, but others say she'd completed nearly all her scenes and they just needed to double her in a few shots. Anyway, what the lead ultimately manages to achieve is kind of abstract, and it's the sort of ending where, if you think about it, you realize that the bad guys are ultimately still the winners, because the actions taken against them would only set them back temporarily, and would only compound the long-term consequences for the heroes. And I've never been crazy about the fantasy element of the McGuffin, the whole near-death-experience angle.

    You know... I remember how futuristic the brain-recording tapes looked back in the '80s -- this shiny, laser-encoded recording medium, like the then brand-new technology of compact discs. But looking back today... come on, they're reel-to-reel tapes. And they're, like, three or four times as thick as regular reel-to-reel recording tape. So they're a pretty outdated version of "futuristic."
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sorry for the multiple posting, but here's the July schedule:

    WED 7/1
    1:15 PM: The Canterville Ghost ('44): WWII update of Oscar Wilde story.

    THU 7/2
    8:00 AM: The Wizard of Oz ('25): One of the several silent-film versions.
    9:15 AM: The Adventures of Prince Achmed ('27): Really neat shadow-puppet animated silent film.
    1:45 PM: The Seventh Victim ('43): Val Lewton Satanism thriller.
    3:00 PM: Bell, Book and Candle ('58): Witchcraft comedy, the second 1958 team-up of James Stewart and Kim Novak (the first being Vertigo).
    4:45 PM: The Devil's Own ('66): AKA The Witches. TCM shows this all the time.
    6:30 PM: The Terror ('63): Roger Corman ghost story with Karloff, Jack Nicholson, and Dick Miller.

    TUE 7/7
    8:30 AM: Doctor X ('32): Michael Curtiz chiller with Fay Wray.
    10:00 AM: The Mystery of the Wax Museum ('33): Ditto.
    9:30 PM: The Thief of Bagdad ('40)

    WED 7/8
    10:45 AM: Heaven Can Wait ('43): Ernst Lubitsch afterlife comedy. No relation to the '78 film of the name.

    THU 7/9
    11:30 AM: Dead of Night ('45): Horror anthology.

    THU 7/9-FRI 7/10: Alien invastion marathon.
    8:00 PM: Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers ('56): Harryhausen!
    9:30 PM: It Came From Outer Space ('53): Bradbury!
    11:00 PM: The Day the Earth Stood Still ('51)
    1:00 AM: The Man from Planet X ('51): I'm not familiar with this one, but William Schallert is in it.
    2:30 AM: Invisible Invaders ('59): Obscure movie about aliens possessing corpses (didn't Ed Wood already try that?). Has Johns Agar and Carradine.
    3:45 AM: They Came from Beyond Space ('67): Cheap British film from the producers of the Doctor Who Dalek movies, and reusing sets and props from the second one.

    SAT 7/11
    10:00 AM: Batman and Robin ('49): Ch. 2 of the serial (after taking the holiday weekend off)
    10:30 AM: The Golden Idol ('54): And they're still doing Bomba the Jungle Boy, the tenth installment this time.

    SUN 7/12
    Noon: Here Comes Mr. Jordan ('41): Reincarnation comedy. This is the one that was remade in '78 as Heaven Can Wait.
    2:00 PM: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir ('47)

    TUE 7/14: A loose ape theme today.
    6:15 AM: Tarzan the Ape Man ('32)
    8:00 AM: Tarzan's New York Adventure ('42)
    9:15 AM: Planet of the Apes ('68)
    11:15 AM: Beneath the Planet of the Apes ('70)
    1:00 PM: King Kong ('33)
    3:00 PM: Son of Kong ('33)
    4:15 PM: Mighty Joe Young ('49)
    And, believe it or not...
    6:00 PM: Every Which Way but Loose ('78), about Clint Eastwood and his pet orangutan. Huh?

    WED 7/15
    9:45 PM: Turnabout ('40): Body-switch comedy which unforrtunately inspired Star Trek's "Turnabout Intruder."

    THU 7/16
    3:30 PM: The Return of Doctor X ('39): Humphrey Bogart horror film, promoted as -- but not actually -- a sequel to Doctor X (above).

    SAT 7/18
    10:00 AM: Batman and Robin Ch. 3
    10:30 AM: Killer Leopard ('54): Penultimate Bomba film.

    SUN 7/19
    2:00 AM: It Lives Again ('78): Horror sequel to It's Alive.
    3:45 AM: Bloody Birthday ('80): I think TCM has shown this slasher film before.
    8:00 PM: Metropolis ('26)

    MON 7/20
    6:00 PM: Brainstorm ('83) gets a reprise.

    SAT 7/25
    10:00 AM: Batman and Robin Ch. 4
    10:30 AM: Lord of the Jungle ('55): Final Bomba film, though it swipes the subtitle of the 11th Tarzan novel (later used for the '70s Filmation Tarzan cartoon).
    Noon: Planet of the Apes again.
    2:00 PM: The Fly ('58)

    SUN 7/26
    8:00 PM: The Thief of Bagdad again.

    MON 7/27
    12:15 AM: The Phantom Carriage ('22): Silent Swedish film about Death's chariot.

    THU 7/30
    3:45 AM: The Mouse That Roared ('59): The Peter Sellers comedy again.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Thanks for posting, Christopher.

    A note on The Terror: This is the movie that was famously shot in just a few days because The Raven wrapped ahead of schedule. As the story goes, Corman decided to use the extra time to shoot a whole new movie using some of the cast and sets leftover from The Raven.

    According to Karloff, they were literally tearing down the sets on the last day of filming, with the production rushing to stay one step ahead of the work crew deconstructing the sets!
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
  5. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I enjoyed a lot of the Saturday themed stuff but the problem is when you get something you don't care for you're stuck for a while. I enjoyed the Carry On films but they only showed a handful and I have no interest in Bomba. I like the serials but I wish they weren't doing another series of Batmans.

    And how sad is it that I'm looking forward to watching Every Which Way But Loose lol! I haven't seen it in decades and I'm curious how it plays now in 2015.
     
  6. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Oh, good lord. Every Which Way But Loose is not exactly one of my favorite 70s memories. :rommie:

    I just hope the next Batman serial is better than the first.

    I've got most of these movies on DVD, but the alien invasion marathon looks good. I'm not sure if I've ever seen They Came from Beyond Space. The Phantom Carriage also sounds interesting.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's a lot less racist, at least. But from what I recall, and from reviews I've read, it doesn't have a lot else going for it. (Here are ScreenCrush's reviews of Batman and Batman and Robin, part of an interesting chronological runthrough of comic-book movies starting with the earliest serials.)
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not SF/fantasy, but TCM recently showed the blaxploitation films Cleopatra Jones and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold in late night. I've never really followed the blaxploitation genre, but I remember Tamara Dobson from Jason of Star Command in the '70s, so I was curious about these films. Cleopatra Jones is a supercapable, globetrotting US government agent specifically fighting against the drug trade, and it's interesting the way the first movie treats her as if she were already a well-established character whose reputation is unquestionable. The first film is set in LA, though, and brings her home when a neighborhood rehab center run by her love interest (Bernie Casey) is targeted by corrupt, racist cops in the employ of the drug kingpin Mommy (Shelley Winters), a villainess so broad and cartoony that she literally has a bust of Hitler in her office. I'm not sure how typical it is of the blaxploitation genre, but a lot of it is cartoony to the point of self-parody. Although it's depressing to see how little race relations with the police have improved since the '70s. If anything, they're even worse now than they were portrayed in the movie -- or maybe it's just that the police are more heavily armed now.

    The sequel is played more straight, but it's a hybrid blaxploitation/martial arts film set in Hong Kong and co-produced by legendary Hong Kong filmmaker Run Run Shaw. It pairs Cleo with a female Chinese martial-artist sidekick (who's really lovely) against Stella Stevens as the drug kingpin "Dragon Lady."

    Both films are rather homophobic, portraying their villainesses as lesbians, in a somewhat grotesque way in the former case. Other than that, though, they're remarkably feminist for the '70s, treating it as a given -- not even worthy of comment -- that their female leads and antagonists are physical and intellectual equals or superiors to any man. And the 6'2" Dobson cuts a very impressive figure in her ever-changing high-fashion outfits; she's an imposing physical presence and has a great smile and a lot of charm, though I think her acting is better in the sequel. (And she didn't do nude scenes, which I gather was unusual for the blaxploitation genre.) These are pretty pioneering films in the portrayal of female action heroes.

    Oh, and I love how quintessentially '70s the music is in the first film. The car-chase music is practically the platonic ideal of '70s car-chase scoring, with lots of funky sax and trumpets. Unfortunately, the car-chase music in the sequel sounds more like something out of a hoedown.
     
  9. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    The sequel also aired last weekend, wrapping up around 6:30, maybe 7 AM Sunday (or maybe it was the previous weekend?). Anyway, what little I caught of the climatic fight reminded me of "Kill Bill" (what did I do to deserve her ire?) with Uma Thurman fending off entire hords of Yakuza. Has Tarantino ever stated he was inspired by the Cleo Jones sequel? It's rather uncanny how they closely they resemble each other. Oh, just to clarify; "Cleo' Jones..." did not have a swordfight in a snow capped garden.

    BTW, Norman Fell, probably better known to TV viewers as Mr. Roper, plays Jones' boss, at least in the sequel.

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think Stanley was more her local liaison than her boss. I got the impression from the first film that she answered directly to the President.
     
  11. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks for clarifying. It was just interesting to see Fell in a film like that when I so thoroughly associate him with a facile TV sit-com.

    BTW, Yeah, I remember Dobson for "Jason of Star Command". I had no idea she was the famous (infamous?) Cleopatra Jones. I was too young to see them, but I remember TV ads for "Cleo Jones" and other blacksploitation films of the early 70s. Well, it can be debated that Roger Moore's debut as James Bond 'Live and Let Die" was influenced by that genre. And my dad took me to see that film, hoping to "wean" me from Disney family fare. Oy, was that ever an eye-opener for a 10 year old, seeing those Maurice Binder opening credits, a naked lady sprawled across a flaming skull!

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    His other film credits include Ocean's 11 (the Rat Pack version), The Graduate, Bullitt, Catch-22, Airport 1975, etc. He was a fixture in TV and movies long before Three's Company.
     
  13. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    I saw the Cleopatra Jones movies ages ago. I miss the days of Women's Lib. It was a very positive and progressive time.

    I just saw him a couple of weeks ago (with a funky mustache) in an old crime show from the early 60s with William Shatner. I can't think of the name now and a quick search at IMDB doesn't ring any bells.

    Live And Let Die was the first Bond movie I ever saw in a theater. I was in 7th grade. I was dying to see it, but my Mother would only let me go if my Grandmother went with me. As soon as the credits came on, she started mumbling about how this might not be something I should be seeing. "Sshh, Nana! I'm busy!" :rommie:
     
  14. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Found it! It was an episode of The Fugitive called "Stranger In The Mirror." He must have filmed it right around the same time he was cast as Kirk.
     
  15. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Been a while since I've seen 'em, I mostly remember Cleo's Corvette Stingray with the huge tires.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But what's interesting is that these don't feel like "Women's Lib" films. That would imply something where women's capability and equality are being self-consciously asserted and proven in opposition to male chauvinist antagonists -- much like the way race relations were portrayed in the first film. Instead, it was just taken for granted that Cleo (along with Mi Lin and Dragon Lady in the sequel) was ultracapable and worthy of unquestioned respect and acceptance. That sort of matter-of-fact gender parity is the sort of thing you'd expect to see today rather than in the early '70s.

    Although there was still a fair amount of male gaze, scenes of characters admiring Cleo's physique or the police captain calling her beautiful. But at the time, that would've been seen as polite flattery rather than condescension or harassment.


    And a motorized roof that lifts when she opens the door -- probably a must for a driver of her height. Oh, and a gun rack hidden in the door panel. I laughed out loud at that. I'm surprised it didn't have an oil-slick button and an ejector seat.

    But as I was watching the car chase in the first movie, the thought that occurred to me was how much the cars looked like the Matchbox cars I played with as a kid. I still have a few stashed away, and I think one of them is a Corvette.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I had to spend a lot of time away from the computer today, since I decided it was way overdue for a virus scan, and then it did a deeper scan when I rebooted, and that took a few hours (and turned up enough Trojans to populate a scene in The Iliad). So I watched all three of the alien-invasion movies that aired early this morning, none of which I'd seen before.

    The Man from Planet X was interesting. It had a really cheap alien costume and was apparently shot in 6 days on recycled sets from a Joan of Arc movie, but I kind of liked the story. It was sort of like It Came from Outer Space in that it featured a somewhat benevolent alien victimized by a human villain, although it then brought in a more conventional invasion angle and largely ignored the ambiguities except to pay lip service to them in the final scene. Still, it was a nice touch that the alien didn't speak English and the characters had to struggle to figure out how to communicate with it. That was a nice, unusual touch.

    Invisible Invaders was the weakest of the three, a really cheap movie about a catastrophic alien invasion carried out mostly through stock disaster footage and narration. The invisible aliens from the Moon had an incredibly inefficient approach to things; they gave the lead scientist character a chance to warn the authorities to surrender, but didn't give him any evidence that the threat was real so that he'd be believed. Really, not a lot of characters in the film (and there are only about eight of them in all) act very intelligently. I also don't care for the way the lead scientist's principled anti-nuclear stance at the beginning gives way to a "Yes, we must fight for freedom" attitude when the invasion happens, even though the invasion is said to bring humanity together afterward. Hey -- it just occurred to me that, conceptually, this is sort of the middle ground between Plan 9 from Outer Space and Independence Day. Also Doctor Who's "Death in Heaven," since it has the same premise of alien invaders possessing the dead -- although it totally fails to recognize what "Death in Heaven" did about the enormous numerical advantage that would give the invaders, since every fallen defender would become an enemy. (I guess that's probably a widespread zombie-movie trope too, and it is seen in one instance here, but the implicit larger pattern is never mentioned.)

    They Came from Beyond Space is similar to The Man from Planet X and It Came from Outer Space in that it involves aliens with a morally ambiguous agenda mind-controlling locals, but on a larger scale in this case, and a lot more British (though with an American lead, probably to make it easier to sell over here). It's not a bad conspiracy-thriller type of story, certainly with a bigger budget than the other two, and it comes to an unexpectedly Star Trek-ish resolution. Notable for an appearance by Michael Gough as the leader of the invaders.
     
  18. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    No, it was a sign of the times and, obviously, the point of Women's Lib (which was really just the contemporaneous term for Feminism, without the 21st-century baggage). The Avengers, Honey West, Mission: Impossible, Get Christie Love, Charlie's Angels, The Bionic Woman, and so on, all took for granted that women and men are equal.

    It was also the time of the Sexual Revolution; the idea that sexuality is sexist was strictly the province of fundies and twitchy extremists.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm a bit late with August, sorry. Looks like the Saturday morning Batman serial chapters have been discontinued.

    SAT 8/1
    8:00 PM: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir ('47)
    10:00 PM: Heaven Can Wait ('43)

    SUN 8/2
    8:00 PM: The Adventures of Robin Hood ('38)

    MON 8/3
    2:45 PM: Turnabout ('40)

    THU 8/6
    9:45 AM: Billion Dollar Brain ('67): Ken Russell-directed spy thriller involving a supercomputer, so it's borderline genre. With Michael Caine, Karl Malden, and Ed Begley (Sr.).

    FRI 8/7
    4:00 AM: The Swarm ('78): More Michael Caine, in a killer-bee horror flick from Irwin Allen.

    SAT 8/8
    6:00 AM: Things to Come ('36): H.G. Wells movie.

    TUE 8/11
    4:15 AM: Trog ('70): Revived-caveman movie with Joan Crawford and Michael Gough.
    6:00 AM: Tarzan's Hidden Jungle ('55): Debut of Gordon Scott in the role, with his future wife Vera Miles (though not as Jane).
    7:15 AM: Watusi ('59): Loose sequel to the 1950 King Solomon's Mines.
    2:15 PM: A Thousand and One Nights ('45): Technicolor version of the Aladdin story (which wasn't actually in the Thousand and One Nights, having been tacked onto it in the English translation).
    4:00 PM: The Thief of Bagdad ('40): TCM can't get enough of this one, it seems.

    SAT 8/15
    4:00 AM: The Story of Mankind ('57): The clumsy Irwin Allen epic with Vincent Price as Satan. Actually the tail end of an all-day Marx Brothers marathon on Friday, because the main three brothers appear separately in different segments of the film.
    1:45 PM: Sinbad the Sailor ('47)

    SUN 8/16
    8:00 PM: The Day the Earth Stood Still ('51)

    THU 8/20
    9:30 PM: Frankenstein ('31)

    FRI 8/21
    6:00 AM: Full Moon High ('81): Horror comedy with a similar premise to Teen Wolf, with Adam and Alan Arkin, Ed McMahon, Kenneth Mars, and various sitcom actors.

    SAT 8/22
    6:00 AM: Around the World in 80 Days ('56)

    TUE 8/25
    9:30 PM: The Invisible Woman ('40): Universal's comedy followup to the previous two Invisible Man films, with John Barrymore.

    FRI 8/28
    6:00 AM: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ('41): Yes, it's the lame Spencer Tracy version again.
     
  20. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks for posting the list, Christopher.

    I'm glad you mentioned that Watusi is a loose sequel to King Soloman's Mines; otherwise I would've just assumed it was a movie about superheroic dance choreography and passed over it. Now I'll have to set my DVR for it.