Monday, March 21, 2011
As most of my regular readers know, I enjoy movies- both new and old- and think that I can trot out a colorful anecdote or entertaining opinion about a particular film with the best of them. To tell the truth, though, I know about 25% of what my friend Ray Smith knows about movies, and always enjoy what he has to say on the subject.
What follows is a heads up from Ray, laced with the usual fascinating background information for which he is famous among his friends, about a movie he says we shouldn't miss. I received the following via an e-mail blast from Ray; he periodically sends these blasts around to his friends when something good is coming on television that he feels we shouldn't miss. I thought I'd share this particular note, received earlier today, with Kindle Taproom readers. I don't think he'd mind. You have the floor, Mr. Smith...
This is a flat out, indisputable statement: For anyone who truly loves movies, 1942's Kings Row is required viewing.
I know this is the last minute, but yes, at 8:00 p.m. eastern tonight (Monday, March 21), Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will be offering a prime-time showing of the great Sam Wood-directed, Warner Brothers melodrama which gave our late President Ronald Reagan perhaps his greatest role (though, of course, it's not a crowded field).
King's Row, based on the infamous, "racy" best seller by Henry Bellamann about the hidden lives of people in a small town, had to be severely censored for the screen at the time, yet still runs 127 minutes. It is an example of studio-system movie making at the height of its powers. It features a cast you could not assemble today (and not just because they are all dead): Robert Cummings (about his best role, too), Ann Sheridan, Ronald Reagan (this is the film with his famous "where's the rest of me?" scene), Claude Raines, Charles Coburn, Betty Field, Judith Anderson, Harry Davenport, and the legendary Maria Ouspenskaya (who alone makes any movie worth seeing).
And wrapping everything in aural splendor is one of Eric Wolfgang Korngold's most magnificient scores. This is the score the equally legendary Bernard Hermann once confessed he wished he had written.
Oh, yes... because of the censorship, see if you can figure out what is really going on with several of the characters' back stories. It's a fun parlor game, the word parlor still being in use in the 1940's.
Thanks, Ray. I appreciated your tip today, and hope my readers did, too. I plan to pour a nice glass of Chardonnay tonight and check out "King's Row", which I'm embarrassed to say I've never seen before, at least not from beginning to end. And, dear readers, if you're seeing this post after the TCM showing, never fear: just rent the film from Netflix.