Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bogie Oogie Oogie

In one half-hour from now, Turner Classic Movies will conclude its Star of the Month tribute to the gentleman who—if the votes were properly tallied and the machines weren’t manufactured by Diebold—is probably my favorite silver screen actor of all time. I’ve only missed recording two of the Bogart films shown this month: the previously mentioned Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) and Conflict (1945)—and Conflict was my own foul-up…I was taking a shower and oblivious to the fact that it started at 1:00pm (this little snafu occurred last Wednesday).

So here’s today’s schedule (with the missing dusty TDOY archive titles in green)—all times EST:

December 30 – Wednesday

6:00 AM Tokyo Joe (1949)

An American in post-war Japan gets caught up in the black market. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Sessue Hayakawa, Alexander Knox. Dir: Stuart Heisler. BW-89 mins, TV-PG, CC

7:30 AM Chain Lightning (1950)

A reckless jet pilot goes to work for a demanding aviation tycoon. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Eleanor Parker, Raymond Massey. Dir: Stuart Heisler. BW-95 mins, TV-PG, CC

9:15 AM In a Lonely Place (1950)

An aspiring actress begins to suspect that her temperamental boyfriend is a murderer. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy. Dir: Nicholas Ray. BW-93 mins, TV-PG, CC

11:00 AM Sirocco (1951)

A mysterious American gets mixed up with gunrunners in Syria. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Marta Toren, Lee J. Cobb. Dir: Curtis Bernhardt. BW-98 mins, TV-PG, CC

12:45 PM Battle Circus (1953)

A doctor fights for his life during the Korean War. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, June Allyson, Keenan Wynn. Dir: Richard Brooks. BW-90 mins, TV-PG, CC

2:15 PM Barefoot Contessa, The (1954)

A Spanish dancer becomes an international star but still longs to get her feet in the dirt. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien. Dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. C-130 mins, TV-G, CC

4:30 PM Harder They Fall, The (1956)

A cynical press agent exposes inhuman conditions in the boxing game. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling. Dir: Mark Robson. BW-109 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

6:30 PM Bacall on Bogart (1988)

Lauren Bacall hosts this extraordinary documentary on her life on- and off-screen with her late husband, Humphrey Bogart. Cast: HOST: Lauren Bacall. Dir: David Heeley. C-84 mins, TV-G, CC

8:00 PM Deadline U.S.A. (1952)

With three days before his paper folds, a crusading editor tries to expose a vicious gangster. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore, Kim Hunter. Dir: Richard Brooks. BW-87 mins, CC

9:45 PM Left Hand of God, The (1955)

The new priest at a Chinese mission takes an unorthodox approach to spreading God's word. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Gene Tierney, Lee J. Cobb. Dir: Edward Dmytryk. C-87 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

11:30 PM Beat The Devil (1954)

A group of con artists stake their claim on a bogus uranium mine. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Gina Lollobrigida, Jennifer Jones. Dir: John Huston. BW-90 mins, TV-PG, CC

1:30 AM Caine Mutiny, The (1954)

Naval officers begin to suspect their captain of insanity. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson. Dir: Edward Dmytryk. C-125 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

4:00 AM Two Guys From Milwaukee (1946)

A runaway prince in disguise takes up with a taxi driver. Cast: Dennis Morgan, Jack Carson, Joan Leslie. Dir: David Butler. BW-90 mins, TV-G, CC

I’m particularly pumped to see Deadline - U.S.A. (1952) and The Left Hand of God (1955) in the lineup; they’re not strangers to the classic movie cable channels but since both of them are 20th Century-Fox releases they’re confined mainly to showings on the Fox Movie Channel (so I’m sure Bobby Osbo will no doubt call these two vehicles “premieres”). Deadline’s the better of the two, a solid newspaper drama with Bogie as the editor of a crusading rag about to be closed by its owners. Left isn’t the best Bogart film (but bad Bogie is better than most); he’s a “priest” who assists several Chinese villages in holding off the civil war and revolution surrounding them circa 1947.

Overall, I’ve been very happy with the offerings showcased in the Bogie festival, though there were a few glaring emissions: though most of Bogart’s early films are either unavailable or inaccessible I don’t see why TCM couldn’t have borrowed FMC’s print of Up the River (1930) along with Deadline and Left. Other noteworthy Bogies absent from the salute include Stand-In (1937; I knew I was going to regret selling my unwrapped copy on eBay), Action in the North Atlantic (1943), The Enforcer (1951), Sabrina (1954), We're No Angels (1955; that one’s for Doc Quatermass) and The Desperate Hours (1955). (With the exceptions of Stand-In and Angels, I have the other ones on disc. I wish Enforcer wouldn’t keep falling in between the cracks; it’s a really snappy little noir.) And since TCM included several films with Bogart cameos—Lucky Stars, Road to Bali (1952) and tonight’s Two Guys from Milwaukee (1946)—they could have sneaked in Always Together (1947) and The Love Lottery (1954), too.

But enough of my incessant nit-picking. It’s time to enjoy the show!

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