Saturday, December 1, 2012

If It's December, It Must Mean Turner Movie Classics

Saturday December 1, 2:52 p.m.

Yup, the Xmas season is once again upon us. The weather is cold outside but very little snow....just some white embedded in the sidewalk cracks, and that'll be disappearing by tomorrow due to a jump in the temperatures. (Up to 11 C?! Good Grief!) However, just about every shopping mall has got its Santa taking care of terrified moppets, and the annual Christmas Market has started up again down at The Distillery.

It also means for me that urge to watch the old black-and-white films on TCM; it's kinda like the urge for adult salmon to swim upstream again to breed. Whenever the Yuletide is nigh, I gotta watch Bogie, Bette and Cary again. Not sure what it is...perhaps it's that psychic connection amongst old movies, Xmas and jazz that gets me.

I got started a day ahead of schedule with a 1949 flick that wasn't quite a Film Noir....more of a Film Grise. Titled "Red Light", it starred George Raft and Virginia Mayo. However, I was quite surprised to also see a young weasley Colonel Sherman Potter and burly psychopathic Perry Mason up to no good. Yup, Harry Morgan and Raymond Burr had supporting roles in villainous roles before they became good guys on television. As I said, it wasn't quite the Film Noir that it had hoped to be. For one thing, not all of the roles were irredeemable, and there was a definite good end. Not a particularly great film, but it does its part on a cloudy day.

Then, this morning I caught "The Judge Steps Out" with Canadian actor Alexander Knox as a burnt-out Boston judge who just ups and leaves his high-class family and finds bliss as a short-order cook in desert California. I had thought it would be another one of those romantic comedies with the improbably happy ending, but it actually did so on a very bittersweet note....stress on the bitter. As one commenter put it, it was ahead of its time.

And I caught another one in the RKO movie series of "The Saint" by Leslie Charteris. Decades before Roger Moore ever put on the halo, George Sanders played the suave antihero. I never caught his Oscar-winning performance in "All About Eve"; I remember him from his guest roles on TV playing Mister Freeze on "Batman" and another nemesis for Jim Phelps to put down in "Mission: Impossible".

Give it another few days. I'll probably be catching "Holiday Inn" and "Miracle on 34th Street" in no time. Ah, there are also the various episodes of Xmas for "SCTV".