Love old or unusual movies but never know when they're on? Here are several I recommend:
Born To Dance (1936): If anyone was born to dance, it was Eleanor Powell, and she proves it with a vengeance in this breezy 1936 Cole Porter musical. This is one of those wonderfully silly, sailors-mix-it-up-with-showgirls pictures that anticipated such '40s classics as Anchors Aweigh and On the Town. The girls include Powell, Virginia Bruce and the hilarious Una Merkel, and the sailors include Buddy Ebsen and James Stewart. Yes, you heard correctly, this is a Jimmy Stewart musical! This was two years before he hit it big in You Can't Take It With You, and the studio still wasn't sure what kind of movie star he was going to be. If Jimmy's not exactly Born to Sing, you might be surprised what a respectable job he does crooning Porter's You'd Be So Easy to Love.
Turner Classic Movies, 3:45 p.m. Monday
Patterns (1956): This innocuously titled, overlooked gem is actually a searing drama of the ruthlessness of the business world. The brilliant script is by Rod Serling, and it stars the wonderful Van Heflin as a young executive who's being brought in by the big boss (Everett Sloan) to replace his own old friend (Ed Begley Sr.). What follows is an intense morality play, as Heflin has to walk the tricky narrow line between corporate survival and betrayal. The movie also features a wonderful performance by Broadway actress Elizabeth Wilson as a career secretary who's also tortured by conflicting loyalties. This is a movie you've probably never heard of -- but if you watch it I think you'll be glad you did.
Turner Classic Movies, 5:30 p.m. Thursday
Amour (2012): Two towering performances from legendary French performers anchor this achingly beautiful meditation on love and death. Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva star as a long-married couple in their 80s. When she has a stroke, he begins caring for her in their Paris apartment. But it turns out that's not really what she wants. How far does love go? How much can you ask of the people who love you? Nominated for five Oscars, the movie won for Best Foreign Language Film.
Streaming on Sundance Now.
Ordinary People (1980): Thirty-seven years ago Robert Redford decided to adapt Judith Guest's novel about the destructive force of repressed grief and anger on a wealthy suburban Chicago family, and the results are pure cinema gold. Alvin Sargent's intelligent screenplay and Redford's incisive direction paint a chillingly convincing family portrait. Timothy Hutton stars as a young man unable to deal with the loss of his revered older brother. Donald Sutherland is magnificent as the father, and Judd Hirsch is funny and touching as Hutton's psychiatrist. But the true discovery of this movie is Mary Tyler Moore. Only three years after playing the plucky, sunny Mary Richards, Moore fearlessly creates a devastating portrait of a parent whose own inability to cope has put her entire family at risk. If you've never seen this movie, her towering performance will be a revelation. Winner of four Oscars -- Picture, Screenplay, Supporting Actor (Hutton), and, for his directorial debut, Robert Redford for Best Director -- this fine film deserves a repeated viewing.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Trivia Question #769: Which recent Netflix limited series features Ordinary People star Timothy Hutton and former child star Henry Thomas (of E.T.) playing two versions of the same character?
Answer to Trivia Question #767: Paddington Bear got his name from the London train station where he was found.