Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
The Egg and I (1947): OK, there’s just not that much I need to tell you about this movie beyond the fact that Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert play newlyweds who, for movie reasons, decide to ditch life in the big city and become chicken farmers. If this sounds like the basis of the television series Green Acres, well, it is. Also, it’s the first time we see the characters of Ma and Pa Kettle (played unforgettably by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride), who proved so popular they got their own spinoff series of films. This movie is pure, corny, old-fashioned pleasure. Which I think we could all use right now.
Turner Classic Movies, Thursday at 10 p.m.
The Hindenburg (1975): The great Robert Wise directed this gripping, special effects-laden all-star drama chronicling (and somewhat fictionalizing) the doomed zeppelin’s transatlantic flight. With WWII looming on the horizon, the ship’s crew and passengers — played by George C. Scott, Anne Bancroft, William Atherton, Gig Young, Charles Durning and many more — find individual ways to deal with the rising Nazi influence in Europe. The final disaster in New Jersey is well-shot, with much interspersed actual historical footage of the real event. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable movie that sort of got thrown away with the barrage of “disaster” films of the mid-1970s.
Now streaming on HBO MAX.
Fantasia 2000 (1999): Disney’s Fantasia project was always supposed to be an ongoing series. But the first film was such a flop in 1940 that it took nearly 60 years for the second film to appear. Like its fabled predecessor, Fantasia 2000 is a series of animated sequences set to famous pieces of music. On hand this time around are Pines of Rome, The Carnival of the Animals, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto
No. 2, Pomp and Circumstance and even Rhapsody in Blue. Not to mention a reprise of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from the 1940 original. An entertaining variety of animation styles are used, and the celebrity introductions are fun as well. It’s hard to go wrong with this welcome return to the Fantasia format.
Now streaming on Disney+.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019): Trust me, I am not the target audience for a Dora the Explorer movie. I’ve never partaken of any Dora media before seeing this movie. At all. However, I found this movie irresistible. It’s bouncy, funny and wickedly smart. It’s got adorable fourth wall-breaks here and there. It’s got a game cast, led by Isabela Merced (and Madelyn Miranda) as Dora. The supporting cast is delightful, and the locations (filmed in Australia) are jazzy and fun. All in all, a terrific bit of summer escape.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Trivia Question 858: Which of Fantasia 2000’s musical selections were once the title of a Nicolas Cage film?
Answer to Trivia Question 856: Ben Foster appeared in a film called 11:14 (2003).