Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
Return To Peyton Place (1961): A wildly underrated sequel, Return to Peyton Place is an extremely entertaining and satisfying melodrama from 1961. Carol Lynley plays Allison MacKenzie, who’s just shocked the lovely town of Peyton Place by writing a book about its deep, dark secrets. Director Jose Ferrer gets the most out his talented cast, including Eleanor Parker as Allison’s beautiful but haunted mother, Jeff Chandler as sexy Lewis Jackman, and Tuesday Weld as Selena Cross, the girl from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks. But the best reason to sit through this steamy romp is an outstanding performance by screen legend Mary Astor as the evil town matron who wants poor Allison’s dirty book banned from the library! In one of her last film roles, Astor creates one of my all-time favorite movie villains.
Turner Classic Movies, 2 a.m. Tuesday
The Favourite (2018): This insane movie knocked my socks off last year. Featuring a trio of powerhouse performances by Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Olivia Coleman, it tells the sort-of historical tale of the rivalry of two cousins for the affections for the dotty Queen Anne of England in the early 1700s. Director Yorgos Lanthimos is working from a dazzling screenplay by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, with giddy cinematography by Robbie Ryan. Nominated for 10 Academy awards, it snagged the Best Actress trophy for Coleman (in a very strong field).
Now streaming on HBO GO/HBO NOW.
Documentary double feature
Period. End Of Sentence (2018): Last year’s Oscar winner for Best Documentary short subject tackles a tricky subject: menstruation. Specifically, how the onset of the period frequently leads to the end of any education for young women in rural India. This terrific, 26-minute movie shows how, with a clever invention and some industrious work by a group of energetic and determined women, this situation can be turned around in a hurry. It’s a classically inspiring story. Take my word for it and check out Period. End Of Sentence.
Now streaming on Netflix.
Cold Case Hammarskjöld (2019): Dag Hammarskjöld, the second General Secretary of the United Nations, died in a plane crash in Africa in 1961. There have always been suspicions that the crash was no accident. This scary documentary explores the main theory of who might have been behind the conspiracy to assassinate the secretary. What’s amazing is that the investigators manage to dig up new sources for an old theory, giving it new relevance. Even scarier, the sleuths uncover evidence of what may have been an even more monstrous crime. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but you need to watch this doc.
Now available on Amazon Video.
Trivia Question #806: What famous playwright did Mary Astor infamously have an affair with?
Answer to Trivia Question #804: This film Arctic has more credited producers than actors.