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Tue May 21, 2019, 08:41 PM

TCM Schedule for Saturday, May 25, 2019 -- The Essentials: Directed by Satyajit Ray

In the daylight hours, TCM has the usual Saturday matinee lineup of films and shorts. And just before primetime, the best ever version of Alexandre Dumas' tale of derring do is scheduled - The Three Musketeers (1973), with Michael York, Richard Chamberlain, Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Charlton Heston, and Fay Dunaway. Let's hope that the sequel The Four Musketeers (1974) will be shown soon! In primetime, The Essentials is back! (or should that be The Essentials are back?) Take it away, Roger!


TCM is thrilled to welcome back The Essentials to our lineup, in which a TCM host sits with special guests who have chosen films to be added to our list of "must-sees" for movie lovers. Each Saturday in primetime, this weekly showcase will once again highlight some of the finest movies ever made.

This year's special host for "The Essentials" is the trailblazing producer, director and screenwriter Ava DuVernay, who will join primetime host Ben Mankiewicz to discuss the films she has chosen. DuVernay, who is based in Los Angeles, is a winner of Emmy, BAFTA and Peabody awards.


Pather Panchali (1955) is an Indian Bengali-language film that marked the debut of writer-director Satyajit Ray. It is the opening film in the "Apu trilogy" and depicts the early life of the central character Apu (Subir Banerjee), his older sister Durga (Uma Dasgupta) and the hardships their family endures in the village where they live. The film took almost three years to make and is considered a turning point in Indian cinema, becoming one of the first from its country to attract major international attention. It is the winner of numerous national and international awards.


by Roger Fristoe


American pilots stranded in Germany during World War II fight their way to freedom.
Dir: Raoul Walsh
Cast: Errol Flynn, Ronald Reagan, Nancy Coleman
BW-108 mins, CC,

Nominee for an Oscar for Best Effects, Special Effects -- Byron Haskin (photographic) and Nathan Levinson (sound)

Ronald Reagan's last film before he joined the military; where, by day he worked on training films in Culver City, California and by night, he didn't have to live on a military base, but, rather go back to the home he owned in Beverly Hills with his then wife Jane Wyman.

A hunting dog befriends a rabbit.
Dir: Rudolph Ising
C-8 mins, CC,

8:10 AM -- HEADPIN HINTS (1955)
In this short film, professional bowlers Lee Jouglard and Sylvia Wene give some tips and show off their skill.
Dir: William Deeke
Cast: Fred Wolf, Sylvia Wene, Lee Jouglard
BW-8 mins,

Episode #5 from the 1955-1956 season of Sportscopes.

8:20 AM -- WHITE PERIL (1956)
This short film shows members of a "snow patrol" at work in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state.
Dir: Don Horter
Cast: Peter Roberts, Dan Anderson, Earl Johnson
BW-8 mins,

A cowboy pretends to be a vigilante.
Dir: Howard Bretherton
Cast: Tim Holt, Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards, Nell O'Day
BW-58 mins, CC,

This is a remake of George O'Brien's 1940 western Legion of the Lawless, released just two years earlier. Many of the scenes and much of the dialog are taken directly from the previous film's script. Several of Tim Holt's westerns are remakes of previous features starring George O'Brien, such as O'Brien's 1938 The Renegade Ranger, which was remade in 1942 as Tim Holt's Come on Danger. Tim Holt actually co-starred with George O'Brien in the 1938 film.

Episode two of thirteen.
Dir: Lewis D. Collins, Ray Taylor
Cast: Russell Hayden, Jane Adams, Lionel Atwill
BW-20 mins, CC,

Swee-Pea is reluctant to eat his spinach, so Popeye tells him about a football game when he was young.
Dir: Dave Fleischer, Seymour Kneitel (uncredited)
Cast: Jack Mercer, Mae Questel, Gus Wickie
BW-6 mins, CC,

Mae Questel, the voice of Olive Oyl, also voices Swee-Pea.

10:08 AM -- THE FALCON AND THE CO-EDS (1944)
A society sleuth investigates murder at a girls' school.
Dir: William Clemens
Cast: Tom Conway, Jean Brooks, Rita Corday
BW-68 mins, CC,

In the previous Falcon film, released only months earlier, both Jean Brooks and Amelita Ward played different romantic interests for Tom Conway. RKO must have believed filmgoers had a short memory.

11:30 AM -- THE ROUNDER (1930)
In this comedic short, a drunkard climbs a ladder into the wrong house and gets romantically involved with the woman who lives there.
Dir: J. C. Nugent
Cast: Jack Benny, Polly Moran, Dorothy Sebastian
C-20 mins,

12:00 PM -- BLACK FURY (1935)
A coal worker gets mixed up in the mob's efforts to infiltrate his union.
Dir: Michael Curtiz
Cast: Paul Muni, Karen Morley, William Gargan
BW-94 mins, CC,

Nominee for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role -- Paul Muni (This was a write-in candidate, who came in second on the final ballots. It was not an official nomination.)

Mike's murder was based on an actual strike case in which a miner was killed by three company policemen.

1:45 PM -- KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1950)
A spirited widow hires a daredevil jungle scout to find a lost treasure in diamonds.
Dir: Compton Bennett
Cast: Deborah Kerr, Stewart Granger, Richard Carlson
C-103 mins, CC,

Winner of Oscars for Best Cinematography, Color -- Robert Surtees, and Best Film Editing -- Ralph E. Winters and Conrad A. Nervig

Nominee for an Oscar for Best Picture

The scene in which Deborah Kerr cuts her own hair and then cuts to her sunning with a perfectly coiffed hairstyle got such a big laugh at the initial screenings of the film that producers debated removing the scene. However, they couldn't figure out another way to explain Kerr's change of hairstyle, so they kept the improbable scenes intact.

3:45 PM -- INHERIT THE WIND (1960)
In the twenties, a schoolteacher creates a national furor when he breaks the law against teaching evolution.
Dir: Stanley Kramer
Cast: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly
BW-128 mins, CC,

Nominee for Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role -- Spencer Tracy, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium -- Nedrick Young and Harold Jacob Smith, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White -- Ernest Laszlo, and Best Film Editing -- Frederic Knudtson

When Stanley Kramer offered the role of E.K. Hornbeck to Gene Kelly, Kelly initially turned it down. Kramer told him that his co-stars would be Fredric March and Spencer Tracy, and Kelly changed his mind. This was a risky move on Kramer's part, as he had not yet asked March or Tracy to participate.

A country boy joins the famed musketeers and fights to protect the queen's name.
Dir: Richard Lester
Cast: Richard Chamberlain, Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch
C-107 mins, CC,

The stunt people were terrified of Oliver Reed, due to his sheer ferocity when it came to fight scenes. He would often leap in without rehearsing. It got to the point where they would draw lots to see who would face him. Sir Christopher Lee recalled, "I remember during a fight scene he came at me with both hands on the sword, like an axe, and I parried it and stopped totally. I said, 'I think we'd better get the routine right.' Then I said to Oliver, 'Do you remember who taught you how to use a sword?' He said, 'You did.' And I said, 'Don't you forget it.' You see, I made The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964) with him for Hammer and he was a bit of a menace in that, quite frankly. People leapt out of the way when he had a fight, because he went at it absolutely flat out."


8:00 PM -- PATHER PANCHALI (1958)
A mother struggles to raise her family in an impoverished village in India.
Dir: Satyajit Ray
Cast: Kanu Banerji, Karuna Banerji, Chunibala Devi
BW-126 mins,

Halfway through filming, Ray ran out of funds. The Government of West Bengal loaned him the rest, allowing him to complete the film. This loan is listed in public records at the time as "roads improvement", a nod to the film's translated title, "song of the little road".

10:15 PM -- DEVI (1960)
A young woman is deemed a goddess when her father-in-law, a rich feudal landlord, envisions her as the Goddess Kali.
Dir: Satyajit Ray
Cast: Chhabi Biswas, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sharmila Tagore
BW-93 mins,

Released in the U.S. as The Goddess.

12:00 AM -- DEAD RECKONING (1947)
A tough veteran sets out to solve his war buddy's murder.
Dir: John Cromwell
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Lizabeth Scott, Morris Carnovsky
BW-100 mins, CC,

In the train scene, after they discover that Drake is to receive the Medal of Honor, Murdock quips that maybe the president will let Drake "sit on top of his piano". This is a reference to a then-scandalous photo of Harry Truman playing piano with a leggy blonde on top that was taken at the National Press Club in 1945. The blonde was Lauren Bacall.

2:00 AM -- THE GREAT WHITE HOPE (1970)
A black boxer and his white mistress face racial prejudice when he wins the championship.
Dir: Martin Ritt
Cast: James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander, Lou Gilbert
C-103 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Nominee for Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role -- James Earl Jones, and Best Actress in a Leading Role -- Jane Alexander

In addition to Jack Jefferson being based on Jack Johnson, several other characters are based on real life individuals. Frank Brady is a stand-in for Jim Jeffries, the former heavyweight champion who came out of retirement to try to end Johnson's title reign, Cap'n Dan is based on "Gentleman" Jim Corbett, the racist former champion refused to fight black men as champion, and the Kid is a stand-in for Jess Willard, the fighter who eventually beat Johnson for the title in Havana in 1915. Eleanor is a composite of two white women Johnson married, Etta Duryea, and Lucille Cameron, who he fled the country with after being convicted.

The famous Native American athlete fights prejudice in his pursuit of sports stardom.
Dir: Michael Curtiz
Cast: Burt Lancaster, Charles Bickford, Steve Cochran
BW-105 mins, CC,

The film depicts Jim Thorpe as being married once, and having had one child who died young. In fact, he was married a total of three times and had seven other surviving children.

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