December 21, 2004

Two Movie Masterpieces

Two of my all-time favorite movies are on TV in the next 24 hours.

Turner Movie Classics is featuring an eight-movie tribute to George Stevens, who directed his share of classics (Gunga Din, Woman of the Year), but his greatest movie, Swing Time. isn't exactly a directorial tour de force. Credit Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, a wonderful book, the usual cast of wonderful character actors, and some of the best dancing in the history of cinema. It's on TCM at 5:30 a.m. (thank goodness for VCRs and DVRs).

If you haven't seen Love and Death on Long Island, take my word for it and watch this sly, heartbreaking comedy from 1997. John Hurt stars as an effete English novelist who stumbles, unknowingly, into a wretched American teen movie starring Jason Priestly. Hurt becomes obsessed with Priestly, which leads to Hurt's searching for the teen idol in real life. Although the story is loosely based on Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, echoes of Lolita resonate, too. It's on HBO Wednesday at 2:30 P.M..