Booze News: TV Schedule June 2008

>> Saturday, May 31, 2008


Mark your calendars and set your TiVos! Below is a schedule of alky-related films scheduled on Turner Classic Movies, AMC, and Fox Movie Channel for the month of June. Of course, there are bound to be numerous soused cinema screenings on other networks. Feel free to post alerts for other "Booze Movie" broadcasts in the comments below.

Cheers,
garv

All Times Eastern


1 Sunday

8:15 AM El Dorado (1967) AMC

Semi-remake of Rio Bravo, with Mitchum as a drunken sheriff. Cast: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan. Dir: Howard Hawks. C-126 mins

10:30 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

3 Tuesday

2:00 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

4 Wednesday

10:00 AM In a Lonely Place (1950) TCM

Bogie drinks hard, smokes hard, and is accused of murderer. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy. Dir: Nicholas Ray. BW-93 mins

6 Friday

8:45 AM Small Town Girl (1936) TCM

Taylor and Gaynor get married while pie-eyed. Will it last? Cast: Janet Gaynor, Robert Taylor, James Stewart. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-106 mins

7 Saturday

10:00 AM Sons of the Desert (1933) TCM

The boys lie to their wives to drink and party at their lodge convention. Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase. Dir: William A. Seiter. BW-65 mins

11:15 AM Our Relations (1936) TCM

The boys encounter a number of mix-ups with a drunk (Arthur Houseman) and their twin brothers. Cast: Laurel & Hardy, Alan Hale, Sidney Toler. Dir: Harry Lachman. BW-73 mins

10:30 PM 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

8 Sunday

6:00 AM Stagecoach (1939) TCM

An outlaw, a drunken doctor, and barroom floozy, and others travel through Indian country in this Western classic. Cast: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, George Bancroft. Dir: John Ford. BW-96 mins

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

10 Tuesday

3:15 AM The Hustler (1961) AMC

Pool hustler Fast Eddie makes bad decisions as his wife drinks. Cast: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie. Dir: Robert Rossen. BW-134 mins

11 Wednesday

4:45 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-124 mins

12 Thursday

6:00 AM Tales of Manhattan (1942)FMC

(Repeat. See 6/8.)

6:45 AM Thin Man, The (1934) TCM

Nick and Nora drink and solve a mystery. Cast: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O'Sullivan. Dir: W.S. Van Dyke II. BW-91 mins

8:30 AM Another Thin Man (1939) TCM

Nick and Nora drink again. Cast: William Powell, Myrna Loy, C. Aubrey Smith. Dir: W. S. Van Dyke II. BW-103 mins

14 Saturday

10:00 AM Thunder and Lightning (1977) FMC

(Repeat. See 6/3.)

5:15 PM El Dorado (1967) AMC

(Repeat. See 6/1.)

16 Monday

2:30 PM Thin Man Goes Home, The (1945) TCM

Nick and Nora once again encounter bodies and booze. Cast: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Lucile Watson. Dir: Richard Thorpe. BW-101 mins

17 Tuesday

8:00 PM National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) AMC

Toga! Toga! Toga! Cast: John Belushi, Tim Matheson, John Vernon. Dir: John Landis. C-109 mins

2:15 PM Kissin' Cousins (1964) TCM

Elvis, moonshine, and twin Elvis. Cast: Elvis Presley, Arthur O'Connell, Yvonne Craig. Dir: Gene Nelson. C-96 mins

18 Wednesday

6:00 PM After The Thin Man (1936) TCM

(Repeat. See 6/12.)

19 Thursday

7:45 AM Quiet Man, The (1952) TCM

An Irish ex-boxer retires to Ireland, spends time in the pub, and searches for the proper wife. Cast: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald. Dir: John Ford. C-129 mins

22 Sunday

12:00 PM Irma La Douce (1963) TCM

A bar is center stage for the story of a Parisian 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

27 Friday

4:15 PM Public Enemy, The (1931) TCM

An Irish-American street punk tries to make it big in the world of bootleg booze and organized crime. Cast: James Cagney, Edward Woods, Jean Harlow. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-84 mins

6:00 PM Roaring Twenties, The (1939) TCM

Cagney makes his fortune through bootlegging after returning from WWI. Cast: James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart. Dir: Raoul Walsh. BW-107 mins

11:45 PM McLintock! (1963) TCM

The Duke gets drunk and tries to reconcile with his estranged wife. Cast: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Stefanie Powers. Dir: Andrew V. McLaglen. C-127 mins

28 Saturday

8:00 PM M*A*S*H (1970) AMC

Hawkeye and Trapper John drink and joke to deal with the horror of war. Cast: Elliott Gould, Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt. Dir: Robert Altman. C-116 mins

10:30 PM M*A*S*H (1970) AMC

(Repeat. See 8PM)

29 Sunday

8:00 PM Harvey (1950) TCM

Jimmy Stewart drinks and sees a six-foot rabbit. Cast: James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Cecil Kellaway. Dir: Henry Koster. BW-104 mins

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Booze News: AFI's 10 Top 10

>> Sunday, May 25, 2008

Film fanatics, mark your calendars! The American Film Institute’s annual “100 Years...” special will air Tuesday, June 17th from 8-11 PM ET on CBS.

After the Academy Awards, the AFI’s special is the television event I most look forward to each year. This time around, the producers have changed up the show a bit. Instead of 100 films related to a single genre, they will feature the AFI's 10 TOP 10 – the top ten films in ten different genres: animation, fantasy, science fiction, gangster, western, sports, romantic comedy, courtroom drama, mystery, and epic films. Each of the 10 film genres will feature a different host, and the films in each list will be selected by over 1500 leaders in the film community.

What? No “soused cinema” top ten?!! Well, at least alcohol spills over onto all of the above genres.

If you register at the AFI’s website, you can check out all of the past AFI lists and download the ballot for this year’s show: http://connect.afi.com/site/PageServer?pagename=100YearsList

If I was voting within the top ten categories, the following would be my #1 picks. What are your choices?

Animation -- Pinocchio (1940)

Fantasy -- Babe (1995)

Science Fiction -- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Gangster -- Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Western -- The Wild Bunch (1969)

Sports -- Horse Feathers (1932)

Romantic Comedy -- The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944; Not only the funniest romantic comedy--My personal favorite film!)

Courtroom Drama -- Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Mystery -- Chinatown (1974)

Epic -- Lawrence of Arabia (1962; Not really an American film, but the AFI includes it on their ballot; so I’ll include it as well. Besides, it’s about the only epic that isn’t yawn-inducing.)

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (DVD)

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Review: Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963)

>> Wednesday, May 21, 2008

USA/C-98m./Dir: George Marshall/Wr: Jack Rose/Cast: Jackie Gleason (Jack Griffith), Glynis Johns (Ambolyn Griffith), Linda Bruhl (Corrie Griffith), Charles Ruggles (Anthony Ghio), Laurel Goodwin (Augusta Griffith)

In the history of television, Jackie Gleason was one of the all-time biggest stars (in terms of both popularity and tonnage). Unfortunately, he never achieved the same level of success on the big screen. In movies, Gleason faired best in supporting roles, such as his dramatic turns in The Hustler (1961) and Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) or his scene-stealing mugging in Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Overall, Gleason’s leading roles were few and ill-fitting; but he found a superb showcase for his talents as the soused center of Papa’s Delicate Condition.

This charming family film, based on the childhood remembrances of silent film actress Corrine Griffith, stars Gleason as Jack Griffith, a fun-loving railroad supervisor and family man. Jack’s “delicate condition” referred to in the title is the state of intoxication; and when the old boy is in his cups, he concocts outrageous ideas, including buying a drug store in order to obtain a key to the liquor cabinet. Jack’s love of the bottle is only rivaled by his devotion to his youngest daughter, Corrie (Linda Bruhl), who shares his strong will and love of Dixieland jazz. Unfortunately, Jack and Corrie’s shenanigans often run counter to the wishes of Jack’s socially-conscious wife (Glynis Johns).

Gleason is the whole show in Papa’s Delicate Condition, but his outsized personality carries the film effortlessly. Of course the role was no great stretch. Gleason was well-known as a free-spending, jazz-loving drunk in real life. The part also contained an added comfort level in that it included aspects of two of the Great One’s most popular TV characters--the grandiose scheming and marital strife of Ralph Kramden combined with the boozing and bombast of Reginald Van Gleason III. Surprisingly, although the role appeared to be tailor made for the Great One, Gleason only procured the part when Fred Astaire became unavailable.

As for the merits of the movie, it is a pleasant enough, nostalgic, family comedy--somewhat similar to the type of Disney films that Hayley Mills starred in during the Sixties. It also has the feel of a musical with very little music (Gleason does get to belt “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey” and drunkenly slur the Oscar-winning song “Call Me Irresponsible”). However mild the script, Jackie Gleason’s charismatic performance elevates this flick to a soused cinema “must see.”

Drinks Consumed--Whiskey and beer

Intoxicating Effects--Sneaking sips, harmonizing, slurred speech, and staggering

Potent Quotables--AMBOLYN: When your father’s had too much to drink…
CORRIE: Medicine.
AMBOLYN: Well, uh, we’ll call it that for the time being. When he has too much medicine, he does foolish things; and that keeps us apart.

Video Availability--Legend Films in conjunction with Paramount has released Papa's Delicate Condition on DVD with an excellent print, in its original widescreen ratio.

Similarly Sauced Cinema--Like Jack Griffith, Harold Diddlebock (Harold Lloyd) gets drunk and buys a circus in The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947).

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Review: The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933)

>> Sunday, May 11, 2008


USA/B&W-21m./Dir: Clyde Bruckman/Wr: W.C. Fields/Cast: W.C. Fields (Mr. Snavely), Rosemary Theby (Mrs. Snavely), George Chandler (Chester Snavely), Richard Cramer (Officer Posthlewhistle)

A Note: The Fatal Glass of Beer is an extremely funny short subject. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend watching and savoring the film before reading my synopsis below. Analysis tends to kill comedy, and my description is no exception.

Relegated to secondary roles at Paramount Pictures, W.C. Fields made a deal with comedy kingpin Mack Sennett to create and star in a series of shorts based on his popular stage sketches. The Sennett films gave the Great Man an opportunity to showcase his considerable comic skills and to present his humor in pure, undiluted form. After producing The Dentist, a risqué (yet alcohol-free) comedy classic that sent censors into apoplectic spasms, Fields chose to base his second short on “The Stolen Bonds,” a sketch that skewered stilted stage melodramas. In adapting the sketch for the screen, W.C. stretched the satire even further. The Fatal Glass of Beer not only lampooned the leaden dialogue and wooden acting of histrionic theater; it made fun of the filmmaking process that went into producing the short itself.

The film is set in the frozen north of the Yukon territories, where a prospector, Mr. Snavely (Fields), prepares to return home. Before Snavely is able to depart, he receives a visit from an officer of the Mounties (Richard Cramer), who requests that the prospector sing him a morally instructional song that Snavely has written about his son Chester (George Chandler). Mr. Snavely obliges the officer with a temperance ballad detailing how drinking a single glass of beer led to Chester’s downfall and eventual imprisonment. The prospector then bids his friend adieu and heads “over the rim” to his cabin home and the arms of his wife (Rosemary Theby). It isn’t long after the couple have been reunited that they receive a surprise in the form of their son Chester. The prodigal has returned to the nest.

The plot of The Fatal Glass of Beer (what little there is of one) hardly matters, because all of the humor lies on the surface. Field’s artificial, mannered line readings and off-key warbling of the temperance song are hilarious. Even funnier are the many jabs the film takes at studio moviemaking, including Field’s attempts to interact with bad back-projection, cheap props, and the obviously artificial snow that is thrown in his puss each time he declares, “It ain’t a fit night out for man nor beast.” Ironically, although The Fatal Glass of Beer poked fun at temperance sermonizing and wooden theater of past decades, the short turned out to be ahead of its time. The audiences and critics of the day complained about the poor production values of the short, not understanding the self-referential humor.

Luckily, the film has survived for new audiences to appreciate, and many today (this critic included) consider it the funniest short subject ever made. Although only a single mug of beer is consumed in the film, it receives “Booze Movies” highest recommendation.

Drinks Consumed--Beer

Intoxicating Effects--Staggering, delirium tremens, and destruction of property

Potent Quotables--MR. SNAVELY (singing): They tempted him to drink, and they said he was a coward, ‘til at last he took the fatal glass of beer. When he found what he’d done, he dashed the glass upon the floor; and he staggered through the door with delirium tremens.

Video Availability--Fields shorts are in the public domain and have been released by multiple companies. The best presentation can be found on the Criterion Collection DVD, W.C. Fields: 6 Short Films.

Similarly Sauced Cinema--Fields ridiculed temperance dramas once again in The Old Fashioned Way (1934), in which he plays the head of a theatrical company putting on a production of The Drunkard.

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Booze News: Hammered Heroes

>> Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"Give me a scotch. I'm starving." -- Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man (2008)

It appears that the summer of the hammered hero is upon us. First, with The Forbidden Kingdom Jackie Chan played a variation on the type of drunken master that trained him back in the days of, well, Drunken Master.

Now, Robert Downey Jr. stars as the scotch-lovin' millionaire playboy Tony Stark in the incredibly entertaining Iron Man.

Then later this month, everyone's favorite hard-drinking heroine, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), returns in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Of course, we'll have to wait until July for what looks to be the most supremely soused superhero, Hancock (Will Smith flying unsteadily through the air with a bottle of whiskey in hand).

Ron Perlman has even stated that Hellboy hits the bottle in the upcoming sequel.

Below is a list of release dates for summer flicks that may be of interest for lovers of booze movies.

Currently in theaters: The Forbidden Kingdom, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Iron Man

May 22: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

July 2: Hancock

July 4: Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

July 11: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

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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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