Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
Antonia’s Line (1995): I’m so pleased that TCM acquired this lovely film, which won the Academy Award for best foreign language film. It stars the radiant Willeke van Ammelrooy in the title role. The film tells the panoramic story of Antonia, who returns to her small Dutch town after WWII and lives a simple yet tumultuous life surrounded by a rogue’s gallery of colorful characters. The movie has a definite feminist slant and is populated by decidedly independent female characters. I highly recommend it.
Turner Classic Movies, Wednesday, 9 a.m.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999): Writer-director Anthony Minghella followed his enormous (and undeserved) success with The English Patient with this compelling story of a sort of parasitic sociopath. Ripley (Matt Damon) is a duplicitous young loser who cons his way into a cushy errand: Go to Italy to fetch the son (Jude Law) of a rich New Yorker. When he fails at this task, his more evil tendencies begin to surface. Also featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman. This is a much more interesting movie than The English Patient.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Dolores Claiborne (1995): Here’s what I kept thinking as I watched this movie: “Dang, but Kathy Bates connects beautifully with Stephen King characters.” Turns out Misery was no fluke. As the suffering and ultimately vengeful title character, Bates is absolutely riveting. With able support from Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judy Parfitt and David Strathairn, underrated director Taylor Hackford keeps the psychological tension tight. This movie is worth discovering if you missed it when it first came out.
Now streaming on HBO MAX.
The Walking Hills (1949): I’m loving the Criterion Channel’s “Western Noir” series. This contemporary Western tells the compact story of a disparate group of on-the-lam losers chasing after an old tale of lost gold in the desert. The title refers to a region of dunes where shifting positions disorient those unfortunates who wander through them. Randolph Scott heads a cast that includes Edgar Buchanan, Arthur Kennedy, John Ireland, Jerome Courtland and, in a charismatic turn, Ella Raines as a woman who should know better than to continue caring for her loser ex. Enjoy your dusty ride through The Walking Hills.
Now streaming on The Criterion Channel.
Trivia Question 863: Which of this week’s films was based on a novel that was originally made into a film in 1960?
Answer to Trivia Question 861: Director Jeff Nichols made Loving (2016) about the landmark Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case.