Saturday, July 19, 2008

“H-A-double R-I…G-A-N spells Harrigan…”

One movie. Of all the movies I had taped from Fox Movie Channel this past month on sister Kat’s DirecTV DVR, one movie is the total fruit of my labors.

You can just imagine my disillusionment.

I don’t remember exactly which movies I had planned to tape, but I know two of the titles—A Hatful of Rain (1957) and The Driver (1978)—I’ve already seen before. The only one that I’m really bummed about missing is The Power and the Glory, the 1933 Preston Sturges-scripted classic that many have observed foreshadows Citizen Kane (1941); I’ve been trying to catch this one for quite a while now.

I had also planned to watch all these movies this morning/afternoon, and then erase them from Kat’s system, freeing up the vital space she needs for important items like the latest installment of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List and something called Mysteries of the Freemasons. Right now, I’ve got The Desperate Hours (1955) on in the background—not particularly one of my favorite Bogart movies (Bogie comes off like a cranky old fart yelling at kids to get out of his yard than an escaped convict) but it’s a pleasant enough method of killing a couple of hours…desperate though they may be.

The only movie to survive the DVR purge was Hold That Co-Ed (1938), an easy-to-take Fox musical romp starring George Murphy as a former football all-star who takes over as football coach at State University, a rundown state-supported institution that gets a much-needed infusion of cash when an opportunistic governor (John Barrymore, who’s the whole show) exploits the school in order to win a Senate race. The musical numbers in this one are instantly forgettable (except for Harrigan, a tune written by George M. Cohan several years before this film was conceived) but it contains some sprightly performances from some veteran farceurs, including Joan Davis (whose song-and-dance number with Murphy is fun to watch), Jack Haley, Donald Meek, Johnny Downs, Guinn “Big Boy” Williams, Billy Benedict and Frank Sully. The only debits to Co-Ed are that Murphy’s love interest, Marjorie Weaver, is pretty bland and the climax—playing a championship football game during what appears to be a cyclone—doesn’t mesh with the rest of the proceedings. But as mentioned, Barrymore is sensational (and pretty wasted) and I’ll watch anything Joanie’s in—both actors appeared on The Rudy Vallee Sealtest Show in the 1940s and in fact, Davis took over the program when Rudy went into the Coast Guard; it became The Sealtest Village Store…and Jack Haley was her co-star!


Sam said...

I got rid of Fox Movie Channel because the movies are usually like the bargin bin at Wal-Mart, just hit and miss, with "miss" being the common denominator. I couldn't justify the reason for having it on the Dish bill month to month and reason for it even being there is so Murdock having more money in his vault to swim around naked in.

Ewwwww, that was a nasty thought.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

This is the first time I've learned you had a Dish. No wonder you never ranted about Bombast in the same manner as I.

Sam said...

I got Dish when I moved to my own place in 2006 after having roommates for years. If you can afford it on your own, you still don't need Comlast (spelled right) unless you want the high speed internet. Other than that, I only pay eighty dollars a month for 200 channels, including seven HBO's and nine Starz plus Encore. You can call me cheap all you want, but Jack would be proud of me.