Classic Movies · Television

Movies and stuff I’ve stared at recently during my convalescence #2


The folks from UPS delivered my recent purchases from the Warner Archive Monday (after an unsuccessful first attempt on the previous Friday) and I watched a pair of them yesterday with mi Madre because she grew weary of USA’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit marathon. Mom thought Split Second (1953) was dopey but fun…but I was surprised when she declared her disappointment with The Tall Target (1951)—she explained that she didn’t care for it because it was a period piece and that there were “too many people falling off trains.” (I, on the other hand, couldn’t help but think that Target would make a swell double bill with The Narrow Margin [1952].)

Joan Blondell and Edward G. Robinson in Bullets or Ballots (1936)

We did, however, find time to watch an old Eddie G/Bogie flick, Bullets or Ballots (1936) that she thoroughly enjoyed—Robinson’s a “disgraced” cop who starts working for gangsters Bogart and Barton MacLane even though you know pretty much from the get-go that it’s all a transparent ruse to bring the bad guys to justice. I liked Bullets because I enjoyed seeing both Joan Blondell and Louise Beavers in offbeat roles as two women in charge of a numbers racket (Beavers’ character was loosely based on the real-life numbers “queen” of Harlem, Stephanie S. Clair). Since Warner Bros. 1930s social dramas seem to have a special attraction for Mom, I’m kicking around the idea of running a double feature of ‘G’ Men  (1935) and Each Dawn I Die (1939) later on this afternoon.

The cast of Hot in Cleveland

I was watching TVLand’s 8th Annual Gratuitous Backpatting Awards Show Sunday night (what can I say?—I get a morbid fascination of catching up with former television stars now approaching decrepitude) and was curious as to whether anybody else has seen the newest Hallmark commercial that shows a mother rifling through Mothers’ Day cards from the past from her daughter, who’s now married and has a child of her own. It’s real-tug-at-the-heartstrings stuff…but also completely bogus, because real mothers never save any of that stuff if they have the option of tossing it…at least mine never did. TVLand was also touting heavily their newest programming travesty—a series entitled Hot in Cleveland, which will star sitcom icons Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, and Betty White as the lovable old curmudgeonly senior citizen. (Am I the only one who’d prefer to see Bertinelli and White in One Day at a Time and Mary Tyler Moore Show reruns, respectively?)

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