On July 4, enjoy a patriotic movie marathon on this cable channel (2024)

Jim BeckermanNorthJersey.com

Fireworks in the sky! Hot dogs on the grill!

There's nothing like July 4 to get you outside on a beautiful summer day.

Too bad you'll miss it all. Because the July 4 movie lineup on Turner Classic Movies is so irresistible, you'll be glued to your couch all through Independence Day.

'It's classic Americana, a great way to celebrate the holiday," said TCM programmer Stephanie Thames, who made the selections. Many of the films, she said "either feature scenes set on July 4thor historical depictions of the holiday."

It's not as easy to make a patriotic movie as you think.

So many turn into stiff historical pageants, or school assembly exercises. To be lively, dramatic, exciting, suspenseful, fun, not over-reverent while still conveying a genuine love of country — that's a tall order. The seven movies scheduled on TCM between 8 a.m. and midnight, July 4, in their very different ways, nail it.

Each of them has a reason — perhaps not the most obvious one — to be on the bill.

Take "On the Waterfront" (8 p.m.) and "North by Northwest" (11:15 p.m.) Both these films, in their own way, celebrate America. "On the Waterfront," with a story about democracy triumphing over gangsterism. "North by Northwest," with a suspenseful, tongue-in-cheek travelogue across the U.S. that ends up on Mount Rushmore itself.

But both films also happen to star Eva Marie Saint, who was born on July 4. (In between, they'll be showing a documentary about her).

"July 4th marks her 100thbirthday, and we rolled out some of her most iconic films," Thames said. "Including her Academy Award winning role for Best Supporting Actress in 'On the Waterfront' and her classic pairing with Cary Grant in 'North by Northwest.'"

8 a.m. "The Scarlet Coat" (1955)

One of the hoary clichés of historical drama is the martyr who goes willingly to the gallows: "Tis a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done." Exhibit A is this handsomely-mounted, and surprisingly even-handed, retelling of Benedict Arnold's (Cornel Wilde) betrayal, and the subsequent execution of his British contact, Major John André (Michael Wilding) — who goes to his death like the proverbial gentleman, don't you know. "I am afraid, Peter, this necktie is going to be much too tight." Tea, anybody?

10 a.m. "The Devil's Disciple" (1959)

Clichés exist to be mocked — and there was no better mocker than George Bernard Shaw, whose 1897 play turned the conventions of heroism on their head. In his witty revolutionary war burlesque, scamp Dick Dudgeon (Kirk Douglas) goes to the gallows in place of the Rev. Anderson (Burt Lancaster), but the British General Burgoyne (Laurence Olivier) is not impressed. "Martyrdom,sir, is what these people like," he says. "It istheonly way in which a man can become famous without ability.”

11:45 a.m. "1776" (1972)

"I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a congress." So grouses John Adams (William Daniels), in this musical about the quarrels leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin (Howard da Silva), Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard) and the other framers are equally de-glamorized in this portrait of the founding fathers, warts and all. Ironically, this film about the birth of American freedom was censored by by an American president: Nixon was so offended by a song tweaking conservatives ("Cool, Considerate Men") that he persuaded producer Jack Warner to cut it. Only recently has it resurfaced.

2:45 p.m. "The Music Man" (1962)

What's more American than a con man? These days, they even get elected. But 1962 was a more innocent time. In Meredith Willson's classic musical, flim-flamming salesman Harold Hill (Robert Preston), who persuades the rubes of River City Iowa, circa 1912, to buy a boatload of band instruments, is a loveable rogue who makes River City a better place, and lovelorn Marian the Librarian (Shirley Jones) a happier woman. The great songs ("Trouble," "76 Trombones," "Till There was You") put it across.

5:30 p.m. "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942)

Rah rah, sis-boom-bah. No movie says "Fourth of July" like this beloved musical biography of early 1900s songwriter George M. Cohan (James Cagney), bursting with patriotic sentiment, and brimming with tunes like "You're a Grand Old Flag," "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Over There" and "Give My Regards to Broadway." It's over the top, but irresistible: Cagney delivers it all with a wink. Plus, his dancing has to be seen to be believed.

8 p.m. "On the Waterfront" (1954)

Here's American history of a darker sort: racketeering on the Hoboken waterfront, with palooka Marlon Brando finally standing up to crime boss Lee J. Cobb, and spilling the beans to a government commission. And there's American history behind the scenes, too: director Elia Kazan, who "named names" before the House Un-American Activities Committee, is said to have made the film to justify ratting on his colleagues. Whatever the backstory, the frontstory is pretty unforgettable, with Brando's love scenes with Eva Marie Saint, and his anguished "I coulda been a contender!" ranking as some of the screen's greatest moments.

10 p.m. Eva Marie Saint: Live From the TCM Classic film Festival

The late Robert Osborne interviews the star, who was born on July 4, 1924.

11:15 p.m. "North by Northwest" (1959)

Perhaps you've taken a cross-country trip. But not with Alfred Hitchco*ck at the wheel. This tongue-in-cheek thriller — possibly Hitchco*ck's best — takes Cary Grant from the bustle of Manhattan to an Indiana cornfield where death waits in the wings, and finally to Mount Rushmore, where he hangs out, so to speak, with Eva Marie Saint. Being Cary Grant, his suit remains immaculately pressed, whatever the crisis.

On July 4, enjoy a patriotic movie marathon on this cable channel (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated:

Views: 6061

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.