A rare treat on TCM tonight (1/19): PLAY DIRTY (1968)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Peter M Fitzgerald, Jan 19, 2002.

  1. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    A pretty amazing, neglected WWII film, directed by the great Andre De Toth (HOUSE OF WAX, CRIME WAVE, RAMROD, DAY OF THE OUTLAW, behind-the-scenes work on THUNDERBALL and SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE, etc), starring Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport on a mission against the Germans in North Africa. Somewhat along the lines of the previous year's THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967), but not just a cheap rip-off of that big hit. The film was shot in Panavision, so hopefully TCM (Turner Classic Movies) will give us a nice 2.35:1 widescreen print. As far as I know, PLAY DIRTY has never been legitimately available on any home video format in North America, so those interested are advised to catch this rare showing.

    It airs tonight (Saturday, January 19th) at midnight (Eastern Standard Time), as part of a four-film salute to Michael Caine, following THE IPCRESS FILE and THE WILBY CONSPIRACY (and concluding with THE WRONG BOX). I've seen PLAY DIRTY before (a rare showing years ago on TNT, although in pan & scan), and highly recommend it. Hopefully MGM Home Entertainment will release this United Artists film on DVD sometime in the near future.
     
  2. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Damn
    I wish I checked this board yesterday. [​IMG]
    Peter,
    I have to hand it to you for recommending some fine unknown gems. You've never steered me wrong.
    Keep up the good work.
    [​IMG]
    Jim
     
  3. Evan Case

    Evan Case Screenwriter

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    And don't forget that Trouble in Paradise (one of Sight & Sound's "Greatest Films") is on TCM Monday night at 10.
    I've been wanting to see this classic comedy for years but, as far as I know, it has never been released to a home format.
    Don't miss it.
    Evan
     
  4. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    Turner Classic Movies is bar none the best channel available.
    Tonight at Midnight they will be airing the restored version of GREED
     
  5. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    Evan, thanks for bringing to notice Trouble in Paradise. I looked through the TV guide earlier today to see what S&S movies were on this week and missed that.

    ~T
     
  6. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Brian, I agree. So far, TCM hasn't succumbed to the horrible advertising and permanent logo bugs that AMC recently (and Disney less recently) did. I love TCM. Their devotion to original aspect ratios, and R. Osborne's intelligent introductions make this the finest movie channel on cable, period. If this channel ever decides to go with commercial breaks and 24-7 bugs, I will be heartbroken.
     
  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    TCM is the only channel that shows silent cinema regulary.
    AMC on the other hand...shows movies like Predator and Desparately Seeking Susan. [​IMG] Edited, non-OAR, and even interrupted!
    As I stated before, TCM went through the trouble to track down a print of Around the World in Eighty Days, transfered it in digital video, and aired it in prime time in OAR. They even stated that they won't use the analog P&S transfer anymore.
    It's a shame that TCM has to be the only channel giving films the treatment they deserve.
     
  8. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Jim K,
    Thanks much for the thumbs-up. Sorry I didn't post this thread earlier. Here are a couple more lesser-known films playing soon on TCM that you might want to check out in the next few days:
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    Saturday (1/26), 08:30 AM (Eastern): CAPTAIN SINDBAD (1963, color/85 mins)
    Admittedly a pretty hokey movie aimed at the kiddie matinee crowd, but it's fairly colorful fun, with interesting (if not always completely successful) special effects work, and some neat sets. The film has a rather unique look, as it was an english-language production (from the King Bros., who gave us GORGO ('61) a couple of years before), but shot at a German film studio with a largely German crew and circus performers. If its monsters (giant birds, an invisible "arena beast", giant crocs, a multi-headed dragon, a giant living glove) were stop-motion animated, this would probably be a better-known film.
    A rare foray into fantasy for frequent sci-fi director (and former special effects man) Byron Haskin (WAR OF THE WORLDS ('53), THE CONQUEST OF SPACE ('55), ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS ('64), THE POWER ('68), etc.). It has an interesting cast, too, including Guy Williams (Disney's ZORRO, LOST IN SPACE) as Sindbad, Pedro Amendariz (Bond's Turkish friend "Karim Bey" in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE ('63), also co-star in John Ford's THREE GODFATHERS ('48), etc.) as the gleefully vile villain, character actor Abraham Sofaer (the heavenly judge in Powell & Pressberger's STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN ('46, aka A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH), Charlton Heston's "Number 1 man" in Byron Haskin's killer ant film THE NAKED JUNGLE ('54), etc.) as a benign wizard, and the rather hot Heidi Bruhl (not to mention the leotard-clad "spider lady"). No masterpiece, but worth a look for fans of vintage fantasy/adventure stuff like Harryhausen's Sinbad movies, JASON & THE ARGONAUTS ('63), THE THREE WORLDS OF GULLIVER ('60), JACK THE GIANT KILLER ('62), THE MAGIC SWORD ('61), JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH ('59), THE LOST CONTINENT ('68), HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD ('61), AT THE EARTH'S CORE ('76), ATLANTIS THE LOST CONTINENT ('61), etc.
    This is an MGM film (the DVD rights belong to Warner), so don't expect to see this forgotten flick on DVD any time soon. It has been available on prerecord VHS in the past. TCM usually plays it about once a year.
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    Tuesday (1/29), 12:00 AM (Eastern): RUN FOR THE SUN (1956, color/99 mins.)
    The third "official" filming of the famous short story, "The Most Dangerous Game", following the classic 1932 version, and Robert Wise's low-budget 1945 remake, GAME OF DEATH (which re-used some of the footage from the 1932 film). This version has the same basic premise, but the hunters are Nazis hiding in the Mexican jungle after WWII, our hero & heroine (film noir royalty Richard Widmark & Jane Greer) arrive by plane rather than shipwreck, and the details during the hunt are different. This was also the first version of the tale shot in color.
    Rounding out the strong cast are Trevor Howard and Peter Van Eyck. Good, suspenseful direction by Roy Boulting, greatly assisted by top cinematographer Joseph La Shelle (LAURA ('44), MARTY ('55), THE APARTMENT ('60), etc.). For some reason, very rarely shown these days on TV (though once available on prerecord VHS). This is a United Artists film, so another potential candidate for DVD from MGM Home Entertainment. The 1932 original is still the best of the bunch, but this 1956 loose adaption is very much worth your time.
     

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