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Monday 9:30PM - Geronimo: An American Legend

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So for some reason the audio/video weren't syncing up.  I'm going to investigate it more and we're going to try again for tomorrow at 2:30PM.  Sorry for this!

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This is back on for 2:15PM!! I got everything fixed. 

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JUNE SCHEDULE

 

June is many things: Pride Month, my birthday, the official start of summer.  Thus, as @Plain Old Tele put it: "We're going up to CAMP."

 

JUNE 2

SUMMER STOCK

 

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The song goes: "It's party and I'm cry show Gene and Judy if I want to".  Singin' In the Rain, Wizard of Oz, A Star Is Born, always gets tossed around as the greats, but for my money, Summer Stuck is criminally underrated.  It started off as a Mickey & Judy reunion; a Barn Yard Musical where an acting trope invades a farm to put on a show.  Only Rooney dropped, and Gene Kelly -- out of personal obligation he felt to Garland -- stepped in.

 

This was the last musical Judy did for MGM, and she was sick most of the time.  Kelly covered for her with the cast by hosting basketball games and working on his solo routines -- Dig for Your Dinner and and Newspaper Routine -- which are flawless, duh.  When she does show up, she's perfect as always: feisty, funny, fantastic.

 

So, Get Happy boys, cause the best on-screen duo (I SAID WHAT I SAID, FRED AND GINGER) of Classic Hollywood's gonna Barn Dance it doooown.

 

 

JUNE 5

TOO WONG FOO, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING! JULIE NEWMAR

 

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This won the Telegram Poll against Priscilla.  A Pure 90's Romp, go on a road trip from hell with Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo as three drag queens driving cross country for a pageant; along the way they get stuck in a Backwards Hick Town, and everyone has to learn to love and acceptance each other and oneself.  For 2021 it might comes off too hokey for Gen Z, but make no mistake, every frame in this movie is ICONIC.  And the cameos!

 

 

JUNE 9

DEATH BECOMES HER

 

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Is this the campest movie to ever win an Oscar?  Directed by Robert Zemeckis before he lost his marbles, Death Becomes Her stars Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, and Bruce Willis in some of their best performances.  A ridiculous premise about achieving eternal Youth (as long as you can keep you body in shape), it's really just a platform for Meryl and Goldie chew scenery as self-indulgent narcissists.  Or is it a cutting comedy on women's body image in society?  Watch and seeeee.

 

 

JUNE 12

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?

 

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We first watched Bette Davis in Dark Victory and All About Eve.  We saw Joan Crawford's tour-de-force in Mildred Pierce.  Now watch two aging TITANS invite hagploitation films in this classic mixture grotesque hilarity and sad pity.  Bonus: It also launched The Feud that resulted one of the shadiest Oscars in history.
 

 

JUNE 16

MOMMY DEAREST

 

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What better way to follow up Joan Crawford's legend that to completely destroy it (and Faye Dunaway's career in the process)?  Yes, the INFAMOUS Mommy Dearest.  Joan Crawford was a terrible mother.  Her daughter Christina wrote a book about it. That got optioned into a movie.  The goal was to create a serious drama that addresses the serious issues of Childhood Abuse and Trauma.  This is not that movie.

 

 

JUNE 19

JOHN WATERS' HAIRSPRAY

 

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No trip to Camp is complete without kissing the ring of the Queen himself, The Sultan of Sleaze, the Baron of Bad Taste, The Duke of Dirt, The Ayatollah of Assholes, The Prince of Puke, Mr. John Waters, the Pope of Trash.  Hairspray's one of his more easier accessible movies, and only one Rated G.  (I didn't know if you were all ready for dog poop, and I'm not showing Johnny Depp films, so here we are).  It stars the one and only Divine, along with Ricki Lake, Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, and Seinfeld's Dad.

 

 

JUNE 23

BARBARELLA

 

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Back before Jane Fonda was an eclectic old woman who likes getting arrested protesting climate change, or a serious Academy Award winning actress, or political pariah during the Vietnam War, she was hot.  So hot.  Like, god damn.  See her in the title that made her a sex symbol.

 

 

JUNE 26

FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!

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To complete our underground camp trifecta, it's Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!  Watch three go-go dancers go on a murder spree in the California desert.  Is this soft-core porn or a feminist masterpiece?  (Maybe it's both.)

 

 

JUNE 30

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS

 

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Who's ready for some caftan realness?  Watch LA chew up and spit out Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke, Sharon Tate, and Susan Hayward in this kitsch classic.

 

 

Scheduling Note:

 

Onward to July: Please note that July 3 is 4th of July Weekend for those in the US.  We're going to pencil in a showing, but we might scratch it depending on the weather and who's around.  I always bang out the trio of Yankee Doodle Dandy, 1776, and The Music Man on the 4th, so it'll be from one of those three.  

 

To counter balance June's programming, @Fancyarcher @Plain Old Tele and @Jake Gittes and I have decided to do "Crime Movies Cap Hasn't Seen".  Spoiler Alert: Heat will on the List.

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Hey Everyone!

 

Quick update.  My crazy electric car saga did a 180 today; and long story short, I gotta go drive to get my baby tomorrow.  We're moving Too Wong Foo to Sunday at 2PM!

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Apologies. My week has been completely screwed up. I’m moving tonight to tomorrow at 9:30.

 

We also can do whatever happened to baby Jane on either Saturday or Sunday, depending on what’s best for the group, because I am no longer going to see in the Heights this weekend :(

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Of course the basic plot idea of Forbidden Planet is lifted straight from Shakespeare's "The Tempest".

It's a milestone Sci Fi film because it was one of the first that actually tried to be a serious drama and not just a action film.

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Hey! We’re going to try and do this at 2 PM today. We were not able to do it yesterday because I had an issue

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Change of plans. We postponed it because it’s Father’s Day. So go spend time with your dad

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Quick update! Because this weekend is the Fourth of July, we are going to do the movies on Monday night and Wednesday night this week. We have canceled Valley of the dolls, and we are going to show westerns for the rest The month To sync up with @The Panda’s top 50 western list. I’ll get the full schedule out this evening, but this week we’re gonna start with John Wayne and John Ford’s STAGECOACH on Monday, and John Huston’s THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE on Wednesday!!

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JULY SCHEDULE: WESTERNS

 

So this is totally bonkers, but... We've been doing this for a year. I want to thank everyone that's been apart of it!  I never imagined we'd still be doing this a year later!  Even as theaters open back up, and life "gets back to normal", I hope we can continue for another 100 movies!

 

  It was a year last month that @The Panda published the bi-annual BOT Top 100 List, and the rest is kind of history.  It feels fitting that we come full circle with Panda's new list: BOT's Top 50 Westerns of All Time (Or Cowboy Films/Westerner At Heart Must See)  The deadline is the end of July.  Please submit your list!

 

We're joining the Western wagon train with July's schedule.  We've decided to put the schedule together in chronological order, based off of @Jake Gittes's suggestion, so we can see how the genre has evolved and changed over the decades. 

 

PROGRAMMER'S PERFACE:

 

I also want to put up a warning, particularly since most of these films come from the 20th Century, that the myth of the Old West and The Cowboy is pure fiction that originated from adventure novels written in the turn of the 20th Century, and from Buffalo Bill’s Cowboy Rodeo.  There are very few women in these movies, who are not either wives or Salon Girls.  The cowboys were not all white men like John Wayne; in fact, about 30% of them were Mexicans and Blacks/Ex-Slaves. Most of the classic Westerns of the genre completely omit that Chinese immigrants built the Union Pacific Railroad.  The genre's attitude as a whole to the Native American genocide is abhorrent.  There were very few Native American "raids" or "attacks".  The Searchers is based on a fictional account of the real 1836 kidnapping of Cynthia Ann Parker.  Alan Le May, the author of the book the movie is based on, said he found only sixty-four real life cases of this happening in the ENITRE 19th Century.  You were more likely to die of starvation or hypothermia (or dysentery!).  And there were even less gunfights at dawn.  (Fun fact, the Shoot Out At the OK Corral only lasted about a minute!)

 

The Old West a romanticized, white washed myth of Manifest Dynasty.

 

So why watch them? Because like all old movies, we can learn.  We can see how our past society wrestled with its own past, and what themes and morals they respected above all.  In John Wayne’s 1972 New York Times Obit, then President Carter called him: "a symbol of many of the most basic qualities that made America great.  In the age of few heroes, he was the genuine article. Mr. Wayne's ruggedness, tough independence, sense of personal conviction and courage -- on and off the screen -- reflected the best of our national character.”

 

We can see how we have grown -- and haven't grown -- from our sins. The myth of the American West, and that cowboy spirit, still has control over public subconscious, even in the 21st Century.  So I hope you can enjoy them for the complicated films that they are, even if Hoo Boy, it's about to get problematic up in here.

 

So, without further ado, first up we have:

 

STAGECOACH (1939)

 

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"My name is John Ford, and I make Westerns" is how the man himself introduced at DGA meeting in 1950.  That's one way to put it.  Another is:  

 

John Ford is the most influential American filmmaker of time. 

 

He started his career in 1914, when he followed his older brother Francis from Portland, Maine, to Los Angeles, California.  He worked old jobs on sets, and even as an actor and stuntman, before he directed his first film Straight Shooting in 1917 starring Harey Carey.  He would go on to direct a total of 147 projects -- that includes 118 features, 14 shorts, 10 documentaries, and 5 TV episodes -- over fifty-nine years. His work would earn him 4 Academy Awards for Best Director (still a record).  He outlasted all of his peers and the Studio System that he helped establish.  One could say the Golden Age of Hollywood started and ended with him.


Eastwood called him the "Grand Daddy of all directors."  Spielberg once claimed to watch a John Ford movie before he started filming on every one of his pictures.

 

Orson Welles watched Stagecoach forty times before filming Citizen Kane; when asked by Peter Bogdanovich who his favorite American directors were, Welles replied: “I like the old masters, by which I mean John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford.  With Ford at his best, you get a sense of what the earth is made of -- even if the script is by Mother Machree." 

 

Thankfully Stagecoach is not Mother Machree.  The film follows nine strangers on a Stagecoach as they have to pass through -- to quote the script -- "Apache Country".  What unfolds is a mortality tale about classism, sexuality, greed (and terrible depictions of Native Americans!).  It also features a stunt action sequence which will look really familiar if you're a Spielberg or Donner fan.

 

We're starting with Stagecoach, because before it, the Western genre had almost run its course.  It was considered low-bow entertainment and passe.  Think of this as the Iron Man of the Western genre.  It launched the genre into a new stratosphere and launched its star, John Wayne, into infamy.

 

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THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948)

 

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We move from one titan of Hollywood to another with our next feature: John Huston's The Treasure of Sierra Madre.  This is our third Huston's film -- as we did The Man Who Would Be King and Beat The Devil, which also starred Bogie.  Huston won an Oscar for writing and directing the picture.  He also directed his father, Walter Huston, in his Academy Award winning Supporting Role as Howard.

 

(Fun, fact, John Huston would direct his daughter, Angelica, in Prizzi's Honor.  She would ALSO win an Academy Award for that, and thus, the Hustons are the first and only family with three generations of Oscar winners.)

 

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is considered one of the finest Western/Adventure stories to come out of Classic Hollywood. The story follows Two Americans (Bogie and Holt) searching for work in Mexico convince an old prospector (Walter Huston) to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

 

Badges.  We don't need no stinkin' badges.

 

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Also, note: This film is on HBO MAX with subscription.

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COMING UP THIS WEEK:

 

MONDAY, JULY 5

SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949)

 

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We return back to John Ford (something we'll do often this month; sorry, not sorry, @Plain Old Tele) for one of his quintessential "Cavalry Trilogy" he and John Wayne did with RKO.  The other two films, Fort Apache (1948) and Rio Grande (1950).  Fort Apache is one the first Hollywood films to at least attempt to paint the Native Americans in a positive light, and features a dangerous performance by Fonda as the classist and bigoted Colonel Owen Thursday. Absolutely worth tracking down.

 

Ben Mankiewicz of TCM once noted that "typical Ford Westerns have common characteristics: a close knit ensemble cast, straight forward stories, and striking locations."  We find that all in this film, which stars John Wayne as Captain Brittles.  Set after Custer's defeat at The Battle of Little Big Horn, Brittles must balance dealing with Native American relations and delivering his commanding officers family to the stage station with his impending retirement.

 

“I always had an eye for composition,” Ford said: “That’s all I did have.  As a kid, I thought I was going to be an artist.  I used to sketch and paint a great deal.  I never thought about it in terms of art, or this is world-shaking.”  Maybe that’s why he was so damn good at it.  There’s no frou-frou to his work.  And I say that as someone who loves frou frou.  It’s always so precious, and clean, and exacting.

 

Shot in beautiful Technicolor by Winton C. Hoch, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon won an Oscar for Best Cinematography - Color in 1950.  Hoch actually worked as a lab technician for Technicolor and helped develop and perfect the process.  

 

Fun Story:

 

One of the most iconic scenes from the film was created during a dispute. As a line of cavalry rode through the desert, a real thunderstorm grew on the horizon. Hoch began to pack up the cameras as the weather worsened only for John Ford to order him to keep shooting. Hoch argued that there was not enough natural light for the scene and, more importantly, the cameras could become potential lightning rods if the storm swept over them. Ford ignored cinematographer Winton Hoch's complaints; completing the scene as the thunderstorm rolled in, soaking the cast and crew. Hoch later had filed a letter of complaint against Ford with the American Society of Cinematographers over the filming of this scene.

 

The story of Hoch's refusal to shoot in this thunderstorm has often been repeated, but actor Harry Carey, Jr., who was on the set, contests it. He says Ford had finished shooting for the day, but when the picturesque storm brewed he asked Hoch if they could shoot in the declining light. Hoch answered, "It's awfully dark, Jack. I'll shoot it. I just can't promise anything." Ford then instructed, "Winnie, open her up [the camera lens] and let's go for it. If it doesn't turn out, I'll take the rap." Winnie complied, saying, "Fair enough, Jack."

 

 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 7

HIGH NOON (1952)

 

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Clocking in at only 84 minutes, High Noon unfolds in "real time" as Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is about to retire off with his new wife Amy (Grace Kelly).  Only Frank Miller, an outlaw that Kane sent to prison, has just been released; and he and his posse are arriving in town on the noon train.  What follows is a tense mortality play and a can't must allegory for McCarthyism.  It is the last work of Carl Foreman before he was Blacklisted and moved to England.  Fred Zinnemann, the director, said the film was "not a Western, as far as I'm concerned; it just happens to be set in the Old West." 

 

Gary Cooper won an Oscar for his role.

 

John Wayne called this film "the most unAmerican thing I've seen in my whole life."  So if that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is.  He hated the film so much that he and Howard Hawks released 1959's Rio Bravo as a response.  Another excellent film worth tracking down.

 

 

SATURDAY, JULY 10

JOHNNY GUITAR (1954)

 

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We're going to take a break from the toxic masculinity for a hot second visit the saloon of Vienna, in Johnny Guitar.  The film stars Joan Crawford, known screen legend and killer of Faye Dunaway's career, as a no-nonsense and spirited saloonkeeper that tangles with the local cattle ranchers.  With the help of a mysterious stranger named Johny Guitar, she attempts to ward them off as they try to force her out town.

 

The film was a flop upon its release, but since has gained a cult following for its theatrics and feminist slant.  

 

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THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE

 

THE SEARCHERS

MONDAY JULY 12, 2021

 

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For my final paper for my final college course I wrote about 3-5k of words on this film.  So I will restrain myself and just say this:

 

This is it.  This is The One.

 

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SERGEANT RUTLEDGE

WEDNESDAY JULY 14, 2021

 

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1st Sgt Braxton Rutledge, a respected member of the Black cavalry united called the "Buffalo Soldiers", stands court-martial for raping and killing a white woman and murdering her father, his commanding officer.  Woody Strode plays Rutledge with a commanding presence.  He was the first Black actor to have the lead in any Hollywood Western to date.  

 

Just as with The Searchers, John Ford starts to take a harder look at the American West and American ideals in Sergeant Rutledge.  While it's not a perfect film, it is an important bridge between the "Classic" Western propaganda of the Old West and the "Revisionist" Westerns of the late 20th and 21st Century.  

 

ONE-EYED JACKS

SATURDAY JULY 17,  2021

 

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Marlon Brando's first and only directing gig is in the Western One-Eyed Jacks.  Made famous, of course, because it's the inspiration for the bar in Twin Peaks.  Here Brando plays Rio, a banker robber that was double crossed by this partner Dad Longworth.  He seeks his revenge from tracking him from Mexico to California.

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ETA:

 

Okay due to scheduling conflicts, we are moving The Searchers to either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on what the Telegram group says.  If you have any thoughts @Fancyarcher @lorddemaxus drop a line.  Should make the call early tomorrow morning or late tonight.

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6 hours ago, Cap said:

ETA:

 

Okay due to scheduling conflicts, we are moving The Searchers to either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on what the Telegram group says.  If you have any thoughts @Fancyarcher @lorddemaxus drop a line.  Should make the call early tomorrow morning or late tonight.

I personally won't be able to make this one anyways (pretty early in the morning for me).

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We're having some technical difficulties for the evening.  We're going to push this back to the weekend and do one film on Saturday and one film on Sunday.

 

 

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THIS WEEK:

 

MONDAY

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WEDNESDAY 9:30PM

 

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Our finale John Ford picture of the month is The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  James Stewart -- who'd never been in a Ford picture before -- leads an ensemble of the Ford Stock Company including John Wayne (She Wore A Yellow Ribbon), Vera Miles (The Searchers), Andy Devine (Stagecoach), John Carradine (The Grapes of Wrath), and Woody Strode (Sergeant Rutledge). This is one of Ford's last Westerns (his official is Cheyenne Autumn) and poignantly deals with changing societal values, The Death of the Old West, and Facts verse Legends.  Bonus: features a crazy performance by Lee Marvin.

 

SATURDAY 2:30PM

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As we transition from Traditional Westerns, we meet our new Hero: The Man With No Name.  Fistful of Dollars is Clint Eastwood's first starring role and collaboration with Sergio Leone.  The Spaghetti Western is an unauthorized remake of Kurosawa's Yojimbo and the first of his "Dollars Trilogy".

 

SUNDAY 2:30PM

 

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William Holden leads a cast of aging gunslingers looking for one final score in The Wild Bunch.  It was considered rather controversial for its time due to its depictions of violence.  

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