Classics on cable in run-up to Oscars

Film

March 02, 2001|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN FILM CRITIC

You won't catch any of the current nominees, but dozens of past Academy Award winners will be spotlighted on TCM this month, as the cable channel stages its annual celebration of all things Oscar.

The festival, called "31 Days of Oscar," runs the entire month, filling TCM's schedule with Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated movies. And while it includes all the big winners - "Gone With the Wind," "Casablanca" and "Ben-Hur" - the real fun comes from ferreting out lesser-known gems, films that rarely turn up on must-see lists and aren't shown nearly as frequently as the big guns.

Some suggestions for discerning viewers: "They Were Expendable" (1945), director John Ford's tribute to the PT boats that helped win the war in the Pacific (3 p.m. Sunday); Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," topical for obvious reasons (8 p.m. Sunday); and Mary Pickford's only Oscar-winning performance in 1929's "Coquette," (4:30 a.m. March 10), which nonetheless is pretty awful.

Other films worth seeking out, if only for curiosity's sake, include Joan Crawford and Bette Davis hamming it up in 1962's "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" (10:30 p.m. March 12); a young Marilyn Monroe's brief appearance in 1950's "The Asphalt Jungle" (3:30 p.m. March 15); Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine in William Wyler's 1962 film, "The Children's Hour," (4 p.m. March 27), one of the first serious film treatments of lesbians ; and Jean Renoir's tragically beautiful 1937 anti-war masterpiece, "Grand Illusion" (2:30 p.m., March 28).

Women's history in film

"Harlan County, U.S.A.," Barbara Kopple's Oscar-winning 1976 documentary about striking coal miners and their wives in Harlan County, Ky., kicks off this month's celebration of Women's History Month at the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Gayle Economos, president of Women In Film and Video of Maryland, will serve as host for the free screening, scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday in Pratt's Wheeler Auditorium, 400 Cathedral St. For information, call 410-396-5495.

Women In Film and Video has scheduled an open membership meeting for Thursday, March 8, at the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts, 194 Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park. A 6 p.m. social hour precedes the meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free to WIFV members, $10 to the general public. For information, call 410-685-FILM.

`Pollock' at Cinema Sundays

"Pollock," Ed Harris' film biography of the seminal American abstract painter Jackson Pollock, is this weekend's Cinema Sundays offering. The film, which Harris not only stars in but also directed and produced, tracks the career of the troubled painter, who in later years seemed overwhelmed by his earlier successes. Both Harris and Marcia Gay Harden have earned Oscar nominations for their work.

The film unspools at the Charles at 10:30 a.m. Sunday; the doors open at 9:45 a.m. Free coffee and bagels are available. Tickets cost $15 and can be bought at the door. Call 410-727-3464.

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