Well Shelfers, it’s that time again- time when we do our thang. The weekly roundup of everything that is worthy of your attention. Brother, can you spare a dime? Got any more? You’ll need ‘em.
Top Shelf Pick of the Week
American Masters (PBS)
John Ford/John Wayne: Filmmaker and Legend. This is a wonderful documentary of the parallel lives and careers of these two old friends. Sydney Pollack narrates this look at two true American artists and the tumultuous friendship and their ups and downs and their career. In the end these two drove each other up and beyond what they are capable of individually, but they fed off of the things they brought to the table to find success on their own: especially Wayne. Politics seemed to put them at odds, and Ford always derided Wayne for not having served in the War, but they respected each other. At the same time this doc shows how the image, mythology, and legends of America and American history seemed to become embodied and amplified in their work. This is not to be missed. Hopefully if you purchase the upcoming John Wayne/John Ford boxset, it will be included as an extra. It’s worth the price of it’s own disc. And guess what? The kind folks at PBS will let you buy one from them! How nice!
UPDATE! 5-11-06. I just wanted to confirm that this documentary will be an extra on the 2-disc Stagecoach special edition DVD that will be part of the John Wayne-John Ford Film Collection. Save your hard earned cash for the Box set... and enjoy the many extras which you can read about here.
The Amazing Race: This is it: the next to last episode- where the rubber meets the road. Will it be the Hippies, MoJo, Frat Boys, or er- Ray and Yolanda? After having been saved by two non-elimination rounds, will the Hippies, BJ and Tyler, be able to make a comeback? What are you asking me for- tune in and find out.
Top Shelf Picks for TCM:
May 10th: Of Human Bondage (1934) Leslie Howard and Bette Davis as a medical student and waitress falling prey to desire. Also, Jezebel (1938)
May 11th: It's Love I'm After (1937) A squabbling stage couple gets mixed up with an amorous fan and her jealous suitor...and later, Satan Met A Lady (1936) In the second screen version of The Maltese Falcon, a detective is caught between a lying seductress and a lady jewel thief.
May 12: Knute Rockne, All American (1940) Biography of the famed Notre Dame coach and his fight to "win one for the Gipper." My Neighbor Totoro (1993) Wonderful animated film about two girls with a sick mother who find escape with the spirits of the forest.
May 13: Cartoon Alley Ah, yes- this is a wonderful series that just keeps getting better and better, This episode features three Barney Bear cartoons: The Bear That Couldn't Sleep (1939), The Fishing Bear (1940) and Heir Bear (1953). Don’t miss The Princess And The Pirate (1944) Cowardly knight, Bob Hope rescues a disguised princess from pirates.
May 14: Ride The High Country (1962) Two aging gunslingers, Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, sign on to transport gold from a remote mining town. The last film for both actors. Also, The Wagons Roll At Night (1941) Circus manager Humphrey Bogart turns a young farm boy into a star lion tamer.
May 15: It’s a day of classic films from Orson Welles: Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), and Touch Of Evil (1958)
May 16:Two great westerns starring Henry Fonda in two different styles and two different co-stars, John Wayne and Terence Hill. Fort Apache (1948) and My Name Is Nobody (1974)
Harry On Broadway Act 1
This is a two disc set of Harry’s original Broadway musical Thou Shalt Not and the original cast (of which he was a member) recording of the Broadway revival of The Pajama Game. I’ve always liked Harry’s music and singing - so this is a no-brainer.
Sgt. Bilko - 50th Anniversary Edition (The Phil Silvers Show)
Sure, kids today saw the crappy remake with Steve Martin- but thats no reason they shouldn’t get to know the real deal. Phil Silvers as Sgt. Bilko is the ultimate con man running the motor pool at a small US Army Camp. He and his crew spend their time bilking (Bilk=Bilko, get it?) every rube recruit out of his extra dough, and coming up with money making schemes that would put Ralph and Norton to shame. The Colonel kind of knows what’s going on, but Bilko somehow manages to stay just a step ahead. This DVD is packed with extras, including a lost audition show, guest appearances of the cast on talk shows, and an audio of a Friars stag roast for Humphrey Bogart. Why is Bogie on this? Who cares! It’s Bogart- besides, my guess is that Phil Silvers was a guest. Worth the ducats I say.
Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Sixth Season
I know we haven’t recommend to many modern shows on The Shelf- but this was one of my favorites. I also know that many people derided this show - but I think the writing and the acting was great. The characters of Ray’s dad and mom Frank and Marie, and Ray’s brother, Robert are some of the funniest characters to grace the small screen. I mean, how can you not love Peter Boyle? Holy Crap. Season six was a great season for Peter Boyle's character, Frank. We got a lot of funny bits. Check it out.
Northern Exposure: The Complete First and Second Seasons (1990)
These have already been out on DVD, but this is a second opportunity to grab them if you haven’t got them. I loved this quirky, funny show when it was on TV and have found that most of the episodes have continued to hold up. It plays on the same take that Andy Griffith did in Mayberry. Have a seemingly normal guy hold a position of importance in a town full of eccentric characters. And Cicely, AK has a bunch of 'em.
That’s it for now Shelfers. Stay tuned for more Shelf material in progress.
Some day, this country's gonna be a fine, good place to be. Maybe it needs our bones in the ground before that time can come.