Booze News: TV Schedule September 2008

>> Sunday, August 31, 2008

Here's your Booze Movies schedule for September. Happy Labor Day!

All Times Eastern

1 Monday

8:00 AM The Bowery (1933) FMC

Rival saloon owners (Beery and Raft) tangle in turn of the century New York. Wallace Berry, George Raft, Jackie Cooper. Dir: Raoul Walsh. BW-92 mins

9:00 AM The Hustler (1961) AMC

A pool hustler and his alky girlfriend try to overcome their problems. Cast: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie. Dir: Robert Rossen. BW-134 mins

2 Tuesday

4:00 PM Touch Of Evil (1958) TCM

Welles is an overweight, crooked cop with a drinking problem; and Heston is a Mexican. Cast: Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh. Dir: Orson Welles. BW-111 mins

5:30 PM Roadhouse (1989) AMC

Patrick Swayze does some barroom bouncin' at the Double Duce. Cast: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott. Dir: Rowdy Herrington. C-114 mins

10:00 PM The Rose (1979) FMC

Bette Midler takes the sex, drugs (and booze), and rock n’ roll route. Cast: Bette Midler, Alan Bates. Dir: Mark Rydell. C-125 mins

10:15 PM Irma La Douce (1963) TCM

A Parisian bar is center stage for the story of a policeman who gives up everything for the love of a free-living prostitute. Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Jack Lemmon, Lou Jacobi. Dir: Billy Wilder. BW-143 mins

3 Wednesday

12:45 AM The Apartment (1960) TCM

An aspiring executive boozes and grows a spine when he falls for his boss’ mistress. Cast: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray. Dir: Billy Wilder. BW-125 mins

2:15 PM We Went To College (1936) TCM

Three middle-aged men try to recapture the joys of their college days, including the booze. Cast: Charles Butterworth, WalterAbel, Hugh Herbert. Dir: Joseph Santley. BW-68 mins

4 Thursday

10:00 AM Father Goose (1964) TCM

A Scotch-loving drifter finds himself protecting schoolgirls and their teacher during WWII. Cast: Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, Trevor Howard. Dir: Ralph Nelson. C-116 mins

4:00 PM Harvey (1950) TCM

A tippler prefers the company of an invisible six-foot rabbit to his family. Cast: James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Cecil Kellaway. Dir: Henry Koster. BW-104 mins

5 Friday

4:00 PM Party, The (1968) TCM

An Indian actor turns a swank Hollywood cocktail party into a disaster. Cast: Peter Sellers, Claudine Longet, Marge Champion. Dir: Blake Edwards. C-99 mins

6 Saturday

5:00 PM Best Years Of Our Lives, The (1946) TCM

Three returning servicemen fight to adjust to life after World War II and hang out in Butch’s bar. Cast: Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy. Dir: William Wyler. BW-170 mins

7 Sunday

3:00 AM Thunder Road (1958) TCM

A fast-driving moonshiner locks horns with a gangster and the feds. Cast: Robert Mitchum, Gene Barry, Keely Smith. Dir: Arthur Ripley. BW-93 mins

8 Monday

5:45 PM Kiss Me, Stupid (1965) TCM

Dean Martin plays a popular singer named “Dino.” Not exactly a stretch. Cast: Dean Martin, Kim Novak, Ray Walston. Dir: Billy Wilder. BW-125 mins

9 Tuesday

4:00 AM Party, The (1968) TCM

Repeat (See 9/5)

4:45 AM My Darling Clementine (1946) AMC

Victor Mature tries his hand at the oft-portrayed alky cynic, Doc Holiday. Cast: Henry Fonda, Victor Mature, Linda Darnell. Dir: John Ford. BW-97 mins

12:15 PM Bells Are Ringing (1960) TCM

An answering service operator gets mixed up in her clients' lives, including a whiskey-swigging Dino. Cast: Judy Holliday, Dean Martin, Jean Stapleton. Dir: Vincente Minnelli. C-126 mins

11 Thursday

1:00 PM Small Town Girl (1936) TCM

After marrying a drunken playboy, a young girl tries to capture his heart while he's sober. Cast: Janet Gaynor, Robert Taylor, James Stewart. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-106 mins

5:00 PM Gigi (1958) TCM

Sing along to “The Night They Invented Champagne.” Cast: Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan. Dir: Vincente Minnelli. C-116 mins

13 Saturday

4:00 AM Country Girl, The (1954) TCM

While Der Bingle drinks, his wife, Grace Kelly, eyes another man. Cast: Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, William Holden. Dir: George Seaton. BW-104 mins

8:15 AM Blue Gardenia, The (1953) TCM

Drinking leads to memory loss, which isn’t good when murder is involved. Cast: Anne Baxter, Raymond Burr, Richard Conte. Dir: Fritz Lang. BW-88 mins

8:00 PM Tom Jones (1963) TCM

It wouldn’t be a ribald classic without booze. Cast: Albert Finney, Susannah York, Hugh Griffith. Dir: Tony Richardson. C-122 mins

15 Monday

4:00 PM Thunder and Lightning (1977) FMC

A Florida moonshiner challenges the father of his girlfriend to a frantic racing contest. Cast: David Carradine, Roger C. Carmel, Kate Jackson. Dir: Corey Allen. C-95 mins

17 Wednesday

11:00 PM The Rose (1979) FMC

Repeat (See 9/2)

19 Friday

10:00 PM Moulin Rouge (1952) TCM

Absinthe anyone? French painter Toulouse-Lautrec fights to find love despite his physical limitations. Cast: Jose Ferrer, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Colette Marchand. Dir: John Huston. C-119 mins, TV-PG, CC

20 Saturday

8:00 AM Topper (1937) TCM

Tippler Topper sees ghosts. Cast: Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Roland Young. Dir: Norman Z. McLeod. BW-97 mins

21 Sunday

2:00 PM How To Murder Your Wife (1965) After marrying while drunk, a cartoonist puts his murderous fantasies into his work. Cast: Jack Lemmon, Virna Lisi, Terry-Thomas. Dir: Richard Quine. C-118 mins

22 Monday

8:00 AM Tales of Manhattan (1942) FMC

An all-star cast appears in a series of vignettes woven together to tell the story of a formal tailcoat that is passed to a collection of owners. Includes excised W.C. Fields segment. Dir: Julien Duvivier. BW-127 mins

23 Tuesday

10:30 AM Forbidden Planet (1956) TCM

A helpful robot replicates bourbon. Cast: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen. Dir: Fred M. Wilcox. C-99 mins

24 Wednesday

1:00 AM Some Like It Hot (1959) TCM

Marilyn wonders, “Where’s that bourbon?!” Maybe she should find a helpful robot. Cast: Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis. Dir: Billy Wilder. BW-121 mins

26 Friday

12:00 PM Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1961) TCM

A factory worker drinks on the weekends. Cast: Albert Finney, Shirley Anne Field, Rachel Roberts. Dir: Karel Reisz. BW-89 mins

28 Sunday

4:00 PM African Queen, The (1951) TCM

Kate throws out Bogie’s gin. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley. Dir: John Huston. C-105 mins

29 Monday

6:00 PM Jeanne Eagels (1957) TCM

The famed actress fights addiction to drugs and booze to build a career and find love. Cast: Kim Novak, Jeff Chandler, Agnes Moorehead. Dir: George Sidney. BW-109 mins

30 Tuesday

8:00 PM Roadhouse (1989) AMC


Review: Thunder Road (1958)

>> Sunday, August 24, 2008

USA/B&W-92m./Dir: Arthur Ripley/Wr: James Atlee Phillips & Walter Wise/Cast: Robert Mitchum (Lucas Doolin), Gene Barrey (Troy Barrett), James Mitchum (Robin Doolin), Jacques Aubuchon (Carl Kogan), Keeley Smith (Francie Wymore), Sandra Knight (Roxanna Ledbetter)

No white lightning is actually consumed in the most famous of all the moonshine pictures, Thunder Road. In fact, very little imbibing of any kind can be witnessed in this cult drive-in sensation. It’s more a movie about the illegal transport of liquor than a story about drinking it. And, in fact, the bootleg business is merely a backdrop for the real concerns of the flick--fast cars and existential angst.

Robert Mitchum stars as Lucas Doolin, a disillusioned Korean War vet who has returned to his pre-war profession of transporting illegal corn whiskey for his pa. The family business is under attack both by the feds, headed by Alcohol and Tobacco tax agent Troy Barrett (Gene Barry), and by a gang leader, Carl Kogan (Jacques Aubuchon), who wants to take over all the moonshine traffic in the Appalachians. Adding to Luke’s troubles are two ladies (Keeley Smith and Sandra Knight) that are vying for the affections of the emotionally dead veteran and a younger brother (James Mitchum) that Luke desperately wants to keep out of the moonshine trade.

Thunder Road was a vanity project for Mitchum. He produced the film, wrote the original story on which the screenplay was based, cast his son in the role of his brother (a part originally intended for Elvis Presley), and even co-wrote the film’s two original songs. Financially, the film was a great success. Next to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Thunder Road has probably had more theatrical screenings than any other motion picture; and it was a staple of drive-ins from its original release through the 1980’s. However, Thunder Road isn’t quite as successful when assessed on the merits of its narrative and production values.

In no way is Thunder Road a bad film. In fact, compared to other vanity projects--Hudson Hawk (1991), Battlefield Earth (2000), Glitter (2001), etc.--it’s a masterpiece. However, the film does suffer from some mediocre acting (with the exception of the always reliable Mitchum), hokey dialogue, continuity errors, and lackluster direction. The story is also a bit schizophrenic. With touches of film noir, hillbilly corn, hot rod chase, gangland drama, love triangle, and police procedural, the picture never truly settles on what it wants to be. Still, Thunder Road is never boring, and its individual parts are worth the ride.

Drinks Consumed--Beer, whiskey, and unnamed liquor

Intoxicating Effects--None to speak of

Potent Quotables--THEME SONG CHORUS: Thunder, Thunder, over Thunder Road. Thunder was his engine, and white lightning was his load. Moonshine, moonshine, to quench the devil’s thirst. The law they never got him, ‘cause the devil got him first.

Video Availability--Thunder Road DVD (MGM)

Similarly Sauced Cinema--Mitchum hit the bottle in Howard Hawks’ El Dorado (1966).


Review: Moonshine (2000)

>> Saturday, August 16, 2008

USA/C-22m./Dir: Kelly L. Riley/Cast: Jim Tom Hendrick (Himself), Pat Williams (Herself), Gilford Williams (Himself)

The subjects of documentaries often prove that real people are more fascinating than any characters that can be fashioned out of the imagination. Jim Tom Hendrick, the focus of Kelly L. Riley’s documentary short Moonshine, is just one of those subjects. An aging denizen of the hills of North Carolina, Jim Tom spends his days focused on the semi-conflicting interests of the Bible and the production of corn liquor. With Jim Tom as our tour guide, the film leads us through the process of distilling moonshine whiskey; but the short also takes the time to stray from the bootlegger’s hidden mountain still to give us a view of Jim Tom’s community and way of life.

Despite his secretive pursuits, Jim Tom proves himself to be a completely open and unguarded subject for a documentary filmmaker. The moonshiner is unembarrassed to let Mr. Riley follow him around, as he digs through garbage bins, displays the scars from his multiple car accidents, and blows into a breathalyzer in order to start his car. Jim Tom is obviously content with his simple way life. As his sister states, “He says as long as he has a loaf of bread, and a pound of bologna, and a pound of cheese, he fine.” However, I imagine Jim Tom would add a jug of white lightning to that list.

Although the short was shot on a shoestring, Kelly L. Riley managed to squeeze the maximum results from his low budget. The film was well shot--Riley has a cinematographer’s eye--and well edited; and the movie documents the world of Jim Tom in a straightforward manner that is neither judgmental nor condescending. It’s easy to see why this short collected awards on the festival circuit.

If I had to offer any criticism of the film, I would suggest that at 22 minutes, Moonshine is too short. Just as we begin to get to know Jim Tom and his community, the movie is over. Riley’s subjects are just as interesting as the characters covered in Chris Smith’s American Movie (1999) and Errol Morris’ Vernon, Florida (1982); and they could have easily carried a feature-length film. On the other hand, since Moonshine was a student film, funded in part by a grant from Entertainment Weekly, it may be that what we see of Moonshine is all that resources would allow. Whether the film is small due to budget restraints or by design, Moonshine is a tasty aperitif that leaves the viewer wanting more.

Drinks Consumed--Moonshine (corn whiskey)

Intoxicating Effects--Sneaking sips and harmonizing

Potent Quotables--JIM TOM: I got to wait until this warms up. That’s my alcohol breathalyzer. People that’s drunk moonshine in their life has to blow on these things.

Video Availability--Moonshine DVD (CreateSpace). A small taste is below.

Similarly Sauced Cinema--Based on this clip on YouTube, it appears that Kelly Riley may currently be at work on a feature-length documentary on Jim Tom, Still Making Moonshine. Let’s hope that is indeed the case.

Still Making Moonshine (DVD)


The Soused Cinema Library: Hollywood's Hellfire Club

>> Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hollywood's Hellfire Club: The Misadventures of John Barrymore, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn and the Bundy Drive Boys
by Gregory William Mank with Charles Heard & Bill Nelson
©2007 Feral House
384 pages

Most booze movie aficionados are familiar with "The Algonquin Roundtable" and "The Rat Pack" -- two informal social clubs of famous inebriates. However, between those two groups, there was a forgotten gang of celebrity souses -- The Bundy Drive Boys. Boasting a roster of Herculean hooch-hounds including actors John Barrymore, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn, John Carradine, and Anthony Quinn; writers Gene Fowler and Ben Hecht; painter/art forger John Decker; and bohemian pants-wetter Sadakichi Hartmann; this boozy bunch was easily the most alcoholic and scandalous assemblage in Hollywood history.

Although the escapades of the Bundy Drive Boys had previously been documented by member Gene Fowler in his 1954 book Minutes of the Last Meeting, Fowler had felt obligated to overlook the more sordid stories of the group out of loyalty to his friends and their families. Gregory William Mank and his collaborators were not restricted as Fowler had been. Consequently, Hollywood's Hellfire Club is an uncensored, pull-no-punches account of the alcoholism, sexual scandals, depression, financial woes, and madness within the group. At the same time, this well-illustrated page-turner paints an affectionate portrait of each of these great men; and the authors focus as much on the talent, wit, and accomplishments of the Bundy Drive Boys as on their difficulties and immoral behavior.

Hollywood's Hellfire Club is well-researched and does an excellent job at separating fact from legend, which is no easy task when your subjects include celebrated liars such as Fields, Barrymore, and Flynn. Certainly some of the stories contained between the covers have been exaggerated in re-tellings over the years, but that just adds to the fun. I think you'll find that reading this book is as entertaining as hanging out in a bar listening to a bunch of old-timers swap stories about Hollywood's golden days. In short, it's highly recommended.

Hollywood's Hellfire Club: The Misadventures of John Barrymore, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn and the Bundy Drive Boys (Paperback)


The Soused Cinema Library -- An Explanation

I'm beginning a new feature today at Booze Movies. The Soused Cinema Library will consist of capsule book reviews of recommended reads on the subjects of alcohol-related film and the great personalities who bent the elbow onscreen and off. I may even feature a novel occasionally, as long as it has ties to the world of soused cinema.

Think of "The Soused Cinema Library" as your hundred-proof alternative to "Oprah's Book Club." The first review will be up shortly.


W C Fields (Paperback)
The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin'
The Real Nick and Nora: Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, Writers of Stage and Screen Classics

468X60 RENTAL - James Stewart Animated Gif (44kb)

About Me

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I like to drink. I like to watch movies. I like to watch movies about drinking. I like to write about the movies I’ve watched, but only if I’ve had a drink first.

All text including the title "Booze Movies: The 100 Proof Film Guide" Copyright William T. Garver

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