Sunday, September 21, 2014
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TCM dedicates day (and night) to James Garner

All day and all night Monday, July 28, Turner Classic Movies programs some of the actor's most noteworthy films, including 'The Americanization of Emily,' and 'Victor/Victoria.'

TCM dedicates day (and night) to James Garner

James Garner. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
James Garner. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Although James Garner, who died Saturday, age 86, is probably best remembered for his TV work -- for his sly, signature roles as a cowboy cardsharp in the late '50s western, Maverick, and as Jim Rockford, the gun-shy private eye in the 1970s series The Rockford Files – the actor’s film output was nothing to take lightly. (Although Garner’s screen persona was all about taking things lightly – in the most beguiling of ways.)

On Monday, July 28, Turner Classic Movies will shove aside its regular schedule to make way for a dozen of the lantern-jawed, Oklahoma charmer’s movies. (Garner was born James Scott Bumgarner, by the way.)  Missing from TCM’s lineup are the Roald Dahl  brain-twister, 36 Hours (1965), the jaunty POW thriller The Great Escape (1963), with Steve McQueen,  Clint Eastwood’s  aging astronauts drama Space Cowboys (2000) , and Murphy’s Romance (1985), the Martin Ritt-directed, Sally Field-costarring rom-com which won Garner his one and only Oscar nomination.

But there are a few essential ones here, foremost being The Americanization of Emily (1964), a sharp World War II anti-war piece from writer Paddy Chayefsky and director Arthur Hiller, with Julie Andrews as a proper Brit who is both turned off and turned on by Garner’s cynical Navy Reserve officer, scamming his way around London in the weeks leading up to D-Day. And Andrews and Garner reteamed in 1982’s gender-crossing comedy musical Victor/Victoria, from director Blake Edwards. In Mister Buddwing (1964), adapted from an Evan Hunter novel and directed with jazzy cool (in black-and-white) by the great Delbert Mann, Garner plays an amnesiac wandering around New York, wondering who he is – a forerunner to Harrison Ford’s Regarding Henry.

Here’s the complete "TCM Remembers James Garner" lineup:

6 a.m. – Toward the Unknown (1956) – with William Holden, Lloyd Nolan and  Virginia Leith 

8 a.m. – Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (1957) – with Randolph Scott, James Craig and  Angie Dickinson

9:30 a.m. – Grand Prix (1966) – With Eva Marie Saint, Brian Bedford and Yves Montand

12:30 p.m. – Cash McCall (1960) – With Natalie Wood, Nina Foch and Dean Jagger

2:15 p.m. – The Wheeler Dealers (1963) – With Lee Remick, Phil Harris and Chill Wills

4 p.m. – Darby's Rangers (1958) – With Etchika Choureau and Jack Warden

6:15 p.m. – Mister Buddwing (1966) – With Jean Simmons, Angela Lansbury and Suzanne Pleshette

8 p.m. – The Thrill of It All (1963) – With Doris Day and Arlene Francis

10 p.m. – The Americanization of Emily (1964) – With Julie Andrews, Melvyn Douglas and James Coburn

12 a.m. – The Children's Hour (1961) – With Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine and Miriam Hopkins

2 a.m. – Victor/Victoria (1982) – With Julie Andrews,  Robert Preston and Lesley-Ann Warren

4:30 a.m. – Marlowe (1969) – With  Rita Moreno, Sharon Farrell and Bruce Lee

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays, and his blog, On Movies Online, can be found here. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Steven Rea's previous blog posts can be found here. Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at srea@phillynews.com.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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