Spike Lee’s TCM Guest Programmer Picks Rule
This is maybe the greatest block of film picks I’ve seen in the few years I’ve been an avid TCM watcher (well, I haven’t had a television in over a year, but I still follow the happenings on TCM). I cannot recommend each and every one of these films enough.
Lee will be the guest programmer with Robert Osborne on July 5th. Check after the cut for his flawless picks.
8 p.m. (ET) – Ace in the Hole (1951) – Kirk Douglas gives an intense performance as a ruthless reporter who stumbles upon the story of a lifetime – a man trapped in a deserted mine. In hopes of returning to his big-city newspaper job, he sets out to milk the story for all it’s worth. Director Billy Wilder co-wrote the bracingly cynical screenplay, which is packed with memorable lines like, “I’ve met a lot of hard-boiled eggs, but you, you’re 20 minutes,” and “I don’t go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons.” A critical and financial failure when it was release, Ace in the Hole was unsuccessfully re-released under the title The Big Carnival. Today, the film is considered one of Wilder’s best.
10 p.m. (ET) – The Night of the Hunter (1955) –This expressionistic allegorical thriller follows two homeless children as they try to escape the clutches of a Bible-quoting serial killer determined to get his hands on loot their father stashed after a robbery. Robert Mitchum is unforgettable playing one of cinema’s most menacing characters. Lillian Gish co-stars as the woman who takes the children under her wing. Shelley Winters, Peter Graves, Billy Chapin and Sally Jane Bruce co-star. Charles Laughton’s only film as a director, The Night of the Hunter was adapted by Laughton and James Agee from Davis Grubb’s novel.
11:45 p.m. (ET) – On the Waterfront (1954) – Elia Kazan directed Best Picture Oscar® winner about a dock worker and a priest determined to fight union corruption in New York City’s harbor. Marlon Brando earned the Academy Award® for Best Actor for his gripping lead performance. He’s backed by memorable performances from Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb and Supporting Actress Oscar® winner Eva Marie Saint. Kazan’s direction, Budd Schulberg’s screenplay, Boris Kaufman’s stark black-and-white photography, Gene Milford’s crisp editing and Richard Day’s gritty art direction also earned statuettes.
1:45 a.m. (ET) – A Face in the Crowd (1957) – Andy Griffith’s first film casts him as a drifter who becomes a media sensation with his homespun wisdom. But fame has an unfortunate effect on him and those for whom he once cared. Directed by Elia Kazan and written by his On the Waterfront scribe, Budd Schulberg, this prescient look at celebrity and the price of fame turned Griffith into a major star. The extraordinary cast also includes Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau and, in their film debuts, Anthony Franciosa and Lee Remick.