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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:58 PM

TCM Schedule for Friday, December 21 -- What's on Tonight: TCM Spotlight: Ernst Lubitsch

The folks at TCM have the most interesting ideas for their daily themes. Today, they seem to trying a bit of counter-programming, going for the totally unexpected by scheduling a day full of films about nuclear (or biological) armageddon. In prime time, things are a bit more ordinary, with a trio of films directed by the extraordinary Ernst Lubitsch. Enjoy!

6:30 AM -- MGM Parade Show #15 (1955)
George Murphy hosts a special Christmas show featuring Judy Garland performing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in a clip from "Meet Me in St. Louis."
BW-26 mins, TV-G,

7:00 AM -- The Lost Missile (1958)
Scientists try to stop a mysterious missile from destroying the Earth.
Dir: William Berke
Cast: Robert Loggia, Ellen Parker, Philip Pine
BW-71 mins, TV-PG,

The original director dropped dead on the first day of filming, and his son took over.

8:30 AM -- The Satan Bug (1965)
A mad millionaire bribes a scientist to steal a deadly virus.
Dir: John Sturges
Cast: George Maharis, Richard Basehart, Anne Francis
C-115 mins, TV-PG, Letterbox Format

Though it follows the general plot rather closely, there are a number of differences between this adaptation and the original novel by Alistair MacLean. Notably among them, in the novel the action is set in the UK, Sation Three is called the Mordon Microbiological Research Establishment, George Maharis' character is called Pierre Cavell and Anne Francis' character is called Mary and is actually married to George Maharis' character.

10:30 AM -- The Last Man On Earth (1964)
A deadly virus turns most of the world's population into blood-drinking ghouls.
Dir: Sidney Salkow
Cast: Vincent Price, Franca Bettoja, Emma Danieli
BW-87 mins, TV-PG, Letterbox Format

Although this is much more faithful to the book than The Omega Man (1971) and I Am Legend (2007) which are based on the same novel, it changes the main character's name from Robert Neville to Robert Morgan, while the other two leave it unchanged.

12:00 PM -- The Bed Sitting Room (1969)
A pregnant woman searches for love amidst the ruins of nuclear war.
Dir: Richard Lester
Cast: Rita Tushingham, Ralph Richardson, Peter Cook
C-91 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

The words "bomb" and "war" are very rarely said in the dialogue. Instead, with quintessentially English euphemism, the terms "misunderstanding", "unfortunate incident" etc are used.

2:00 PM -- Five (1951)
The five survivors of a nuclear war struggle to build new lives.
Dir: Arch Oboler
Cast: William Phipps, Susan Douglas, James Anderson
BW-91 mins, TV-PG, CC,

The character of Eric, the bigoted quasi-Nazi, was a good warm-up for actor James Anderson, who would take on his most famous movie role, the monstrous Robert E. Lee Ewell, so memorably in "To Kill a Mockingbird" a decade later.

4:00 PM -- Panic in Year Zero (1962)
A vacationing family tries to survive the aftermath of nuclear war.
Dir: Ray Milland
Cast: Ray Milland, Jean Hagen, Frankie Avalon
BW-92 mins, TV-14, Letterbox Format

Milland's car in this movie is a 1962 Mercury Monterey.

6:00 PM -- The World, The Flesh, And The Devil (1959)
One woman and two men are the only people left alive after a nuclear disaster.
Dir: Ranald MacDougall
Cast: Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, Mel Ferrer
BW-95 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

To film the striking images of a deserted New York City, the cast and crew had to start filming at dawn in order to capture the city before the early morning rush. This gave them no more than an hour or two per day in which to film the sequence.


8:00 PM -- The Love Parade (1929)
A count finds his marriage to a queen less than satisfying.
Dir: Ernst Lubitsch
Cast: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Lupino Lane
BW-109 mins, TV-G, CC,

Nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role -- Maurice Chevalier, Best Art Direction -- Hans Dreier, Best Cinematography -- Victor Milner, Best Director -- Ernst Lubitsch, Best Sound, Recording -- Franklin Hansen (sound director), and Best Picture

Film debut of Jeanette MacDonald.

10:00 PM -- Monte Carlo (1930)
A wealthy count poses as a hairdresser to romance a financially strapped countess.
Dir: Ernst Lubitsch
Cast: Jack Buchanan, Jeanette MacDonald, ZaSu Pitts
BW-90 mins, TV-G, CC,

The song "Beyond the Blue Horizon," introduced here, became Jeanette MacDonald's theme song for the rest of her life. During World War II she changed the line, "Beyond the blue horizon lies the rising sun" to " ... lies the shining sun" because the Rising Sun was the symbol of America's enemy, Japan.

12:00 AM -- The Merry Widow (1934)
A prince from a small kingdom courts a wealthy widow to keep her money in the country.
Dir: Ernst Lubitsch
Cast: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Edward Everett Horton
BW-99 mins, TV-PG, CC,

Won an Oscar for Best Art Direction -- Cedric Gibbons and Fredric Hope

A French-language version was filmed simultaneously, with Chevalier and MacDonald in the starring roles. (As a trained opera singer, MacDonald spoke and sang excellent French.) However, the rest of the cast was replaced with French-speaking actors. Marcel Vallée played the Ambassador (who is played by Edward Everett Horton in the English version).

2:00 AM -- Crumb (1995)
Artwork and interviews trace the career of the pioneering underground comics creator.
Dir: Terry Zwigoff
Cast: Robert Crumb, Alice Kominsky Crumb, Charles Crumb
C-120 mins,

All the artwork by Charles Crumb seen in this movie was thrown away by his mother, Beatrice Crumb, after his death. She didn't think anybody would be interested in it.

4:15 AM -- Antonio Gaudi (1986)
The camera explores the buildings of Spanish architect and sculptor Antonio Gaudi.
Dir: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Cast: Antonio Gaudi, Isidro Puig Boada,
C-72 mins, TV-G,

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Reply TCM Schedule for Friday, December 21 -- What's on Tonight: TCM Spotlight: Ernst Lubitsch (Original post)
Staph Dec 2012 OP
valerief Dec 2012 #1

Response to Staph (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:00 PM

1. Ha! Love the Friday night Doomsday lineup! nt

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