Monday, Aug. 11, highlights on Turner Classic Movies:
Of the Richard Widmark vehicles that I’ve seen, the best one by far is Samuel Fuller’s crime drama Pickup on South Street, a Cold War tale in which a handful of social outcasts end up saving the day. Widmark is fine as a pickpocket being pursued by Communist spies, but the film’s two best performances are those of Jean Peters – probably the best thing she’s ever done; too bad she married Howard Hughes and cut her career short – and Academy Award-nominee Thelma Ritter as a bag lady.
And Coma is a silly but moderately entertaining thriller about the highly profitable organ-selling business. Tom Selleck is one of those who – quite literally – go under the knife.
Not recommended: Take the High Ground, which makes stuff like An Officer and a Gentleman and assorted John Wayne military flicks look intelligent and multi-layered.
Schedule (Pacific Time) and synopses from the TCM website:
3:00 AM The Long Ships (1964)
Viking seamen battle a Moorish prince for possession of a golden bell. Cast: Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, Russ Tamblyn. Director: Jack Cardiff. Color. 126 mins. Letterbox Format
5:30 AM The Law and Jake Wade (1958)
An outlaw forces his reformed buddy to lead him to buried loot. Cast: Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens. Director: John Sturges. Color. 87 mins. Letterbox Format
7:00 AM The Cobweb (1955)
Inmates and staff at a posh asylum clash over love and lunacy. Cast: Richard Widmark, Lauren Bacall, Gloria Grahame. Director: Vincente Minnelli. Color. 124 mins. Letterbox Format
9:30 AM A Prize of Gold (1955)
A U.S. officer in postwar Berlin turns to crime to help a beautiful refugee. Cast: Richard Widmark, Mai Zetterling, Nigel Patrick. Director: Mark Robson. Color. 98 min.
11:30 AM Time Limit (1957)
An officer is court-martialed under suspicion of collaborating with the North Koreans. Cast: Richard Widmark, Richard Basehart, June Lockhart. Director: Karl Malden. Black and white. 97 min.
1:30 PM Run for the Sun (1956)
A British traitor hunts humans in the jungles of Mexico. Cast: Richard Widmark, Jane Greer, Trevor Howard. Director: Roy Boulting. Black and white. 99 mins. Letterbox Format
3:15 PM Flight from Ashiya (1964)
A rescue service goes after a sinking cargo ship off the Japanese coast. Cast: Yul Brynner, Richard Widmark, George Chakiris. Director: Michael Anderson. Color. 102 mins. Letterbox Format
5:00 PM Pickup on South Street (1953)
A petty thief accidentally steals a communist spy’s purse. Cast: Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter. Director: Samuel Fuller. Black and white. 80 min.
6:30 PM Take The High Ground! (1953)
A tough drill sergeant prepares green recruits for service in the Korean War. Cast: Richard Widmark, Karl Malden, Russ Tamblyn. Director: Richard Brooks. Color. 101 mins. Letterbox Format
8:30 PM Alvarez Kelly (1966)
A suave Mexican cattleman inadvertantly gets involved in the Civil War. Cast: William Holden, Richard Widmark, Janice Rule. Director: Edward Dmytryk. Color. 110 mins. Letterbox Format
10:30 PM The Way West (1967)
A senator hires a veteran scout to accompany a wagon train from Missouri to Oregon. Cast: Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark. Director: Andrew V. McLaglen. Color. 122 mins. Letterbox Format
1:00 AM Coma (1978)
A lady doctor investigates a series of strange deaths and disappearing bodies at her hospital. Cast: Geneviève Bujold, Michael Douglas, Elizabeth Ashley. Director: Michael Crichton. Color. 113 mins. Letterbox Format