Classic films on TV
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
Thu 12 at 3:30am, TCM
Dir. Roy Rowland. 1953. 89mins. Hans Conreid, Tommy Rettig.
Dr. Seuss wrote this live-action feature, and here, as in his books, he captures childlike logic with uncanny precision. His access to the adult mind's mustiest corners makes even the most responsible of us revert to foot-stomping temper tantrums. Watching the piano-teaching dictator Dr. T. lose authority allows us to exact revenge vicariously on whichever maniacal authority figure from childhood still gets our goat.
The Blue Angel
Fri 13 at 1am, TCM
Dir. Joseph von Sternberg. 1930. 107mins. Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich.
The secret of Ricky Gervais's The Office was making the audience witness his character's gut-wrenching demise. A similar level of humiliation befalls poor Emmanuel Rath (Jannings) after love causes him to throw caution and dignity to the wind. The film was conceived as a vehicle for Jannings at the height of his popularity, but the unknown sexpot opposite him (Dietrich) blew him out of the water. She became an overnight sensation and went on to collaborate with von Sternberg on seven more films.
Sat 14 at 5am, Fox Movie Channel
Dir. Nunnally Johnson. 1954. 95mins. Gene Tierney, Ginger Rogers.
The somewhat misleading title refers to an ambitious, ruthless woman, but that description's applicable to a number of these wily gals—one of whom winds up dead. Each potential black widow is tied to a successful Broadway producer, who's been framed for the murder. Watch as he tries to figure out who's framing him and why the real killer dunnit.
Sorry, Wrong Number
Sat 14 at 5:30pm, TCM
Dir. Anatole Litvak. 1948. 89mins. Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Wendell Corey.
Stanwyck plays the a scaredy-cat pushed within inches of heart failure by some bizarre phone calls. She overhears a conversation about a murder to be committed at 11:15, becomes convinced from another conversation that her husband wants her dead and works herself into a frenzy as the telltale hour approaches. The buildup to murder time is as frightening for us, so prepare to squirm until literally the last second.
Tue 17 at 9pm, TCM
Dir. David Lean. 1945. 86mins. Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard.
Timing is everything. When a chance encounter ignites a spark between two previously committed folks (Howard and Johnson), decorum forces them to resist their desires. Told in flashback like a confession, the story shows the immense sadness at falling in love when a relationship cannot survive. While vastly different eras and circumstances separate it from Brokeback Mountain, the palpable heartbreak is just as devastating.—Shayna Connelly