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TCM Schedule for Saturday, November 28, 2015 -- The Essentials - Directed by Robert Mulligan

Tonight's Essentials are films directed by Robert Mulligan. I love how TCM teaches me about the lesser known but important and talented folk of Hollywood. I thought that I had never heard of Mulligan, until I realized that he directed To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Inside Daisy Clover (1965), Up the Down Staircase (1967), and Same Time, Next Year (1978). Enjoy and learn!

6:00 AM -- One Million Years B.C. (1966)
A rebellious caveman leaves his tribe in search of a better life.
Dir: Don Chaffey
Cast: Raquel Welch, John Richardson, Percy Herbert
C-100 mins, CC,

As the Shell People are attacked by a giant turtle, the women call it "Achelon" which is the real scientific name for the animal.

7:45 AM -- Monkey Business (1931)
Four stowaways get mixed up with gangsters while running riot on an ocean liner.
Dir: Norman McLeod
Cast: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
BW-78 mins, CC,

In the movie, Groucho Marx tells Thelma Todd, "You're a woman who's been getting nothing but dirty breaks. Well, we can clean and tighten your brakes, but you'll have to stay in the garage all night." Four years after making this movie, Thelma Todd died under mysterious circumstances. She was found dead in her car inside her backyard garage with the engine running. It is not known if her death from carbon monoxide poisoning was accidental, a murder, or suicide.

9:15 AM -- Dick Tracy (1945)
Dick is faced with a series of murders in which the victims all come from different social and economic backgrounds.
Dir: William Berke
Cast: Morgan Conway, Anne Jeffreys, Mike Mazurki
BW-61 mins, CC,

The first of four classic Dick Tracy movies -- the first two starring Morgan Conway as Tracy and the last two starring Ralph Byrd.

10:30 AM -- Spook Busters (1946)
When they set themselves up as ghost hunters Bowery Boys tangle with a mad scientist.
Dir: William Beaudine
Cast: Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Douglass Dumbrille
BW-68 mins, CC,

The fourth of 48 Bowery Boys movies.

12:00 PM -- The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
Passengers and crew struggle to escape an ocean liner turned upside down.
Dir: Ronald Neame
Cast: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons
C-117 mins, CC,

Won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song -- Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn for the song "The Morning After"

Won an Oscar Special Achievement Award for L.B. Abbott and A.D. Flowers for visual effects

Nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Supporting Role -- Shelley Winters, Best Cinematography -- Harold E. Stine, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration -- William J. Creber and Raphael Bretton, Best Costume Design -- Paul Zastupnevich, Best Sound -- Theodore Soderberg and Herman Lewis, Best Film Editing -- Harold F. Kress, and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score -- John Williams

Paul Gallico was inspired to write his novel by a voyage he made on the Queen Mary. When he was having breakfast in the dining room, the liner was hit by a large wave, sending people and furniture crashing to the other side of the vessel. He was further inspired by a true incident which occurred aboard the Queen Mary during World War II. Packed with American troops bound for Europe, the ship was struck by a gargantuan freak wave in the North Atlantic. It was calculated that if the ship had rolled another five inches, she would have capsized like the Poseidon.

2:15 PM -- Badlands (1973)
A young tough guy and his teen-aged girlfriend take off on a killing spree.
Dir: Terrence Malick
Cast: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates
C-94 mins, CC,

The Badlands plot and lead characters of Kit (Martin Sheen) and Holly (Sissy Spacek) are based on Charles Starkweatherand Caril Fugate respectively, who in 1958 embarked on a murder spree that horrified the country. Although Charles Starkweather had been executed when the movie came up for production, Caril Fugate was still alive and facing parole, prompting the film-makers to change the names of the principal characters to avoid a lawsuit. Fugate was finally paroled in 1976.

4:15 PM -- The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Card sharps try to deal with personal problems during a big game in New Orleans.
Dir: Norman Jewison
Cast: Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson, Ann-Margret
C-103 mins, CC,

Director Sam Peckinpah insisted on changing an early expository scene in which a girl in her underwear is massaged with a vibrator. He removed the vibrator from the scene altogether and had the girl lie naked but completely covered with a fur coat. Producer Martin Ransohoff was unhappy with the shift in tone and fired Peckinpah.

6:15 PM -- The Thing From Another World (1951)
The crew of a remote Arctic base fights off a murderous monster from outer space.
Dir: Christian Nyby
Cast: Margaret Sheridan, Kenneth Tobey, Robert Cornthwaite
BW-87 mins, CC,

When Scotty mentions having attended the 1928 execution of Ruth Snyder and Judd Grey, another character asks him if he was able to get a picture of it. Scotty answers, "No, they didn't allow cameras, but one guy - " He is interrupted by the Thing's approach before he can finish the sentence. Scotty is referring to Chicago Tribune photographer Tom Howard, who smuggled a miniature camera into the execution chamber strapped to his ankle and was able to take a famous photograph of Snyder's final moments in the electric chair.


8:00 PM -- To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
A young girl grows up fast when her lawyer father defends a black man accused of raping a white woman.
Dir: Robert Mulligan
Cast: Gregory Peck, Frank Overton, John Megna
BW-129 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Won Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role -- Gregory Peck, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium -- Horton Foote (Horton Foote was not present at the awards ceremony. Alan J. Pakula, the film's producer, accepted the award on his behalf.), and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White -- Alexander Golitzen, Henry Bumstead and Oliver Emert

Nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Supporting Role -- Mary Badham, Best Director -- Robert Mulligan, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White -- Russell Harlan, Best Music, Score - Substantially Original -- Elmer Bernstein, and Best Picture

Although Gregory Peck's inspirational performance as Atticus Finch turned out to be a perfect highlight to his long career, Rock Hudson, Universal's number one star at the time, lobbied for the role, and was considered by producer Alan J. Pakula and director Robert Mulligan. Spencer Tracy was the first choice of producer Pakula and director Mulligan, but it conflicted with Tracy's existing film schedule. James Stewart was also offered the part, reportedly second, but told the producers he believed the script was "too liberal", and feared the film would be controversial.

10:30 PM -- The Stalking Moon (1968)
A retired Army scout protects a woman from her son's vicious Native father.
Dir: Robert Mulligan
Cast: Gregory Peck, Eva Marie Saint, Robert Forster
C-109 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

After Patricia Neal had recovered from her stroke, she had a choice of either "The Stalking Moon" or "The Subject Was Roses" as her comeback vehicle. Although she opted for "Roses," she would have liked to have done "The Stalking Moon" also.

12:30 AM -- Summer Of '42 (1971)
A high school student falls in love, for the first time, with a World War II bride.
Dir: Robert Mulligan
Cast: Jennifer O'Neill, Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser
C-104 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score -- Michel Legrand

Nominated for Oscars for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced -- Herman Raucher, Best Cinematography -- Robert Surtees, and Best Film Editing -- Folmar Blangsted

During an interview on The Mike Douglas Show (1961), Herman Raucher said that after the novel and movie were released, several women wrote letters to him claiming to be Dorothy. One of the letters was indeed from the real Dorothy, who wanted to know if she had psychologically damaged Raucher, and also informed him that had been happily remarried and was now a grandmother. It was the last time that Raucher, by that time married with children, heard from Dorothy.

2:30 AM -- Polyester (1981)
An oppressed housewife struggles to get her life back on track.
Dir: John Waters
Cast: Divine, Tab Hunter, Edith Massey
C-86 mins, CC,

The smells on the Odorama Card were as follows: 1. A rose flower. 2. Flatulence. 3. Model Airplane Glue. 4. Pizza. 5. Gasoline in a can. 6. Skunk. 7. Natural Gas from an oven. 8. A new car smell of leather upholstery. 9. Dirty shoes. 10. Air Freshener from an aerosol can.

4:00 AM -- ...All The Marbles (1981)
A two-bit promoter tries to take a women's wrestling team to the top.
Dir: Robert Aldrich
Cast: Peter Falk, Vicki Frederick, Burt Young
C-113 mins, CC,

Final film of director Robert Aldrich. After this picture wrapped, Aldrich had surgery which ended in fatal kidney failure. Aldrich had been planning a sequel.

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