Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
Dead Ringer (1964): I love this gritty little late-noir penny dreadful. Bette Davis plays twin sisters (I know, I had you at hello, right?). One’s rich, the other a disappointed, lonely soul. Merriment ensues when one twin murders the other and attempts to assume the life of the dead one. I wonder if she’ll get away with it? On hand to thwart her attempts to do just that are Karl Malden and Peter Lawford. Interestingly, this movie was directed by Paul Henried, who was so memorable as Victor Laszlo in Casablanca.
Turner Classic Movies, Tuesday, 11:15 a.m.
The Edge (1997): On paper, this sounds like a pretty pedestrian setup for a movie: Rich older guy is lost in the woods with a younger man who is probably his wife’s lover, and both must help each other to survive. Yawn, right? Except that the two men are played by Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, and the movie was written by David Mamet. It’s sharp, scary and beautifully shot. It also has one other spectacular asset: A great performance by my favorite animal actor of all time, Bart the Bear. (You may remember him from the movies The Bear and Legends of the Fall.) As you watch this movie, you might wonder how you would do in this situation.
Now streaming on Hulu.
Late Night (2019): It’s always a treat to see Emma Thompson in a new movie. And while it’s not great, Late Night, written by and starring Mindy Kaling, is pretty darned good. Thompson plays the host of an long-running talk show, and Kaling is a new hire on her writing staff. The two clash immediately, but Kaling’s plucky fish-out-of-water is determined to help Thompson freshen up her aging (and failing) show. It’s really fun watching these two strong women feel each other out and gradually figure out how they can help each other. It’s a treat.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Mary Queen Of Scots (2018): This classy production features two of our best actress in the oft-told tale of the struggle between the two most fascinating women of the 16th century. Saoirse Ronan plays Mary of Scotland, and Margot Robbie brings it as Elizabeth I of England. The super supporting cast includes David Tennant, Ian Hart, Simon Russell Beale, Adrian Lester and Joe Alwyn. The movie doesn’t do anything better than what has come before, but it’s still sturdy and gorgeous to watch. Nominated for two Oscars: makeup/hair and costume. But if you can figure out what’s going on with the sheets during the scene the two women meet, please explain it to me.
Now streaming on HBO GO / HBO NOW.
Trivia Question #808: In what movie does Mary Queen of Scots star Margot Robbie explain sub-prime loans while lounging in a bubble bath?
Answer to Trivia Question #806: Squeaky-clean Disney star Dean Jones briefly starred in the racy Broadway musical Company.