Julie Christie, easily one of the most compelling performers of the last half-century and an ardent political activist for liberal causes, has her day on Monday, Aug. 2, as part of Turner Classic Movies’ “Summer Under the Stars” series.
Along with better-known Christie vehicles such as Doctor Zhivago (1965), Darling (1965, right), and Shampoo (1975), TCM will be showing lesser-known, little-seen fare such as Ken Annakin’s 1963 comedy The Fast Lady, Christie’s second feature-film appearance, and Peter Wood’s psychological drama In Search of Gregory (1969).
Not all of the movies are good and Christie, no matter how great an actress, wasn’t always wisely cast. In both Doctor Zhivago and Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), for instance, she feels much too modern in period clothes.
Curiously, she’s flawless in Joseph Losey’s masterful period drama The Go-Between (1971), one of the seminal releases of the ’70s. In the film, Oscar-nominated Margaret Leighton delivers one of the greatest performances ever as the epitome of bourgeois puritanism and hypocrisy.
Christie nearly steals the show in John Schlesinger’s Billy Liar (1963), which stars Tom Courtenay as one of the British cinema’s angry young rebels (one with a lot of imagination), while she is the show in Schlesinger’s Darling (1965), which catapulted Christie to major stardom and earned her a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar.
Christie’s ambitious Swinging London denizen, in fact, is quite possibly the iconic performance of the ’60s. Do not miss Darling.
Julie Christie films: TCM schedule
Schedule (Pacific Time) and synopses from the TCM website:
3:00am The Fast Lady (1962)
A civil servant hopes a car will impress the heiress he hopes to romance.
Cast: James Robertson-Justice, Stanley Baxter, Leslie Phillips, Kathleen Harrison Dir: Ken Annakin C-95 min.
4:45am Young Cassidy (1965)
True story of playwright Sean O’Casey’s involvement with the Irish rebellion of 1910.
Cast:Rod Taylor, Flora Robson, Jack MacGowran, Sian Phillips Dir: Jack Cardiff C-110 min.
6:45am In Search of Gregory (1970)
An heiress becomes obsessed with a mystery man she meets at her father’s wedding.
Cast: Julie Christie, Michael Sarrazin, John Hurt, Paola Pitagora Dir: Peter Wood C-96 min.
8:30am The Go-Between (1971)
A young man carries letters between an aristocratic young woman and the groundskeeper he idolizes.
Cast: Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Dominic Guard, Margaret Leighton Dir: Joseph Losey C-115 min.
10:30am Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Illicit lovers fight to stay together during the turbulent years of the Russian Revolution.
Cast: Geraldine Chaplin, Julie Christie, Tom Courtenay, Alec Guinness Dir: David Lean C-200 min.
2:00pm Far From The Madding Crowd (1967)
A romantic English lass can’t choose among three very different suitors.
Cast: Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch, Alan Bates Dir: John Schlesinger C-171 min.
5:00pm Billy Liar (1963)
An emotionally stunted clerk retreats into his fantasies.
Cast: Tom Courtenay, Julie Christie, Wilfred Pickles, Mona Washbourne Dir: John Schlesinger BW-99 min.
6:45pm Darling (1965)
A young beauty sacrifices love and happiness to become an international celebrity.
Cast: Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey, Roland Curram Dir: John Schlesinger BW-126 min.
9:00pm Petulia (1968)
A married doctor falls for the young wife of an abusive rich man.
Cast: Julie Christie, George C. Scott, Richard Chamberlain, Arthur Hill Dir: Richard Lester C-105 min.
1:00am Demon Seed (1977)
A sophisticated computer falls in love with its creator’s wife and terrorizes her.
Cast: Julie Christie, Fritz Weaver, Gerritt Graham, Berry Kroeger Dir: Donald Cammell C-95 min.