Friday, February 09, 2007

A Fine Weekend For Movies on TV


Three good movies on TV this weekend! I normally don't just point out when a good movie in on, but these three films will be getting some special treatment while they are aired this weekend. Turner Classic Movies is currently hosting their annual '31 Days of Oscar' event, where they show nothing but films that were either nominated for or won an Academy Award. At 8:00pm each night this weekend, there's going to be some films that may be of interest to some WWoB readers as each film will be presented unedited, free from commercial interruption, and letterboxed...the way the filmmakers intended their films to be seen!

Tonight is THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN from 1984. It was nominated for best score (the background music.) Now this film has been on TV dozens of times but without commercials and letterboxed, it's hard to resist! This was the Muppets third feature film and the last one made before the passing of Jim Henson. Frank Oz, the performer behind Miss Piggy, Fozzie and Animal was sitting in the directors chair by himself for the first time. He later went on to direct such classics as DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, WHAT ABOUT BOB?, and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. For those of you that get your Muppet movies mixed up, this is the one where Kermit and his buddies all go their separate ways after college and then join back up when Kermit sells their college musical review to Broadway...and there's a wedding at the end!

Saturday night TCM airs 1954's 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, Walt Disney's adaptation of the classic Jules Verne novel. The film took home the Oscars for Best Special Effects and Best Art Decoration/Set Decoration. This was Disney's first live action movie produced in the U.S. and he got big name stars like Kirk Douglas, James Mason, and Peter Lorre. The action centerpiece of the film is a battle between Douglas' character and a giant squid. A brand new soundstage and a special tank had to be built at the Disney Studios to accommodate the needs of the scene. All in all, it took a crew of over 100 workers to pull off operating the giant squid as well as the intense rain, winds, ocean and lightning that the scene called for. This was also Disney's first foray into Cinema-Scope, providing a picture much wider than what is typically used today. The letterboxed screening should look beautiful!

Rounding out the weekend is the special effects heavy comedy THE ABSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR which first came to movie screens in 1961. Another Disney classic, this was one of their most successful films - it spawned a sequel SON OF FLUBBER and many years later a handful of Wonderful World of Disney episodes. It was also remade in the 90's as the horrible FLUBBER with Robin Williams. Sunday night's screening is the original black and white movie with Fred McMurray as the bumbling professor who invents a bouncy, pouncy substance known as Flubber. Even though color was a mainstay of films by 1961, Walt Disney decided the special effects would work better in black and white, leaving it along with SON OF FLUBBER and THE SHAGGY DOG as the only black and white feature films Walt Disney ever produced. It was also nominated for a Special Effects Oscar.

So, find out what channel Turner Classic Movies is on your cable or satellite, pop some pop-corn and settle in for a weekend at the movies: WWoB Approved!

1 comment:

Amy said...

Thank you. I will now have "A Whale of a Tale" in my head for the next six weeks.

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