Sam Spade: You know, that’s good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we’d never get anywhere.
The Maltese Falcon, Warner Brothers, 1941
Six more weeks of winter.
Welcome to a belated installment of Classic Movie Junkie. Why the late-day posting? It’s been a busy week but mostly because I was out and about from morning till night on Saturday, which is the day I usually do my movie schedule browsing.
The cold snap around here let up for a bit last week, which meant I could go out with no scraping of the windshield, shoveling my way clear, or just plain freezing my bejabbers off. In fact, as I was driving home yesterday, I noticed the country road was wet from the melting snow and I could smell the mud from the empty fields. It smelled like… dare I say it? Spring? Or, at least, a cruel teaser of it because, as of today, Punxsutawney Phil has spoken. It’s six more weeks of classic movie-watching winter for us northeastern U.S. folks. 🙂
Here’s this week’s watch list.
Thursday, February 6
1:30 am Notorious (1946) Spy Thriller/Romance. TCM. An American spymaster convinces the daughter of a convicted German spy to do whatever it takes to infiltrate a murderous nest of post-war Nazis in Brazil. Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Why? This Hitchcock-directed thriller is one of his finest. The chemistry between Grant and Bergman simmers even as the suspense builds. Check out the steamy 2-1/2 minute kiss that craftily found its way around the production code’s three-second rule.
6:00 pm Wait Until Dark (1967 ) Suspense/Thriller. TCM. An innocent blind woman is terrorized by criminals who believe a cache of heroin is hidden in her apartment. Audrey Hepburn, Richard Crenna, Alan Arkin.
Why? Some aspects of this 60s nail-biter are contrived, but Audrey Hepburn’s Oscar-nominated performance still stands up beautifully. Alan Arkin’s does as well. He’s just plain skin-crawling as the deadly Mr. Roat. In 2004, the Bravo cable channel ranked Wait Until Dark’s hair-raising climactic scene number 10 among its 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
Saturday, February 8
10:30 am The Maltese Falcon (1941) Hard-boiled Detective/Noir/Mystery. TCM. A cynical P.I. is drawn into a tangled murder case that involves suspicious cops, squabbling criminals, a lying femme fatale and a priceless 16th century statuette. Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet.
Why? Before there was Philip Marlowe, there was Sam Spade. This is one of the best ever of the film noir genre. Bogart set the standard for all hard-boiled detectives to follow in his performance as Hammett’s P.I. Sam Spade. He’s supported nicely by Mary Astor as unrepentant fibber Brigid O’Shaughnessy, Peter Lorre as sneaky bad guy Joel Cairo, and Sydney Greenstreet as the amiable but villainous “fat man.”
Bogart sealed his film noir persona for all time when he later portrayed another iconic hard-boiled P.I. drawn from the pen of a master of pulp detective fiction. Who was the P.I.?
Have a great week!
Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.
Bogart – By trailer screenshot (Invisible Stripes trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Notorious – By RKO Radio Pictures (corporate author) (Chicago-Sun Times) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Hepburn – By Audrey1.com (http://media.audrey1.org/photos/8/2107.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons