Today would be a good day to stay home and just watch Turner Classic Movies all day and all night. (Honestly, I get that feeling a lot looking over the station’s schedule.) The afternoon brings a string of classic musicals, including Kiss Me Kate, Silk Stockings, and Les Girls. The evening brings a tribute to Alan Arkin. This includes the new special Alan Arkin: Live From The TCM Classic Film Festival, which airs twice, and the well-liked Arkin films The In-Laws, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, and Wait Until Dark. But those who want a little-seen gem should plan to stay up late or, more realistically, set their DVRs, for a 4:15 a.m. Eastern airing of the 1975 film Hearts Of The West, a charming comedy set in Hollywood’s Golden Age. Arkin has a supporting role here, behind Jeff Bridges, as an aspiring writer of Westerns who ends up in the movies; Andy Griffith, as a veteran extra; and Blythe Danner, as a script girl who’s charmed by Bridges’ bumpkinish ways. It’s a leisurely, agreeable film directed by Howard Zieff (Private Benjamin) and written by Rob Thompson. Sometimes it’s too leisurely, but its charms help put it over. Thompson would later go on to have a hand in shows like Monk, Northern Exposure, and Ed—in addition to writing Ratboy—and his gift for creating winningly eccentric characters is already in evidence here, all brought to life well by a terrific cast, and given poignant undertones by frequent reminders that Hollywood is a place where dreams come true—except for the dreams that whither and die.
March 24, 2015 Cable Pick Of The Day