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May TV Films With A Rand Connection

During May, cable and satellite television networks once again offer a host of films in some way connected to Ayn Rand. So it's time once again to pull out your calendars and jot down the upcoming cinematic gems.

Heading the list is The Fountainhead, the 1949 film version of Rand's great novel based on the theme of psychological independence. Gary Cooper plays Roark, Patricia Neal is Dominique, and Raymond Massey portrays Wynand in Rand's fast-paced screen adaptation of her own story. It airs on the Turner Classic Movie (TCM) network on May 11. For more information about this film, check out the analysis by Stephen Cox elsewhere on this Web site. And remember that you can purchase the video of this classic online from The Objectivism Store.

Three years later, in 1952, Cooper (one of Rand's favorite male stars) won an Oscar portraying another man of unyielding integrity standing against the mob: Sheriff Will Kane in High Noon. On TCM April 7th you can see what is perhaps the most inspiring Western ever made.

Terence Rattigan was one of the rare modern playwrights whom Ayn Rand truly respected. Several fine films based on his best work will appear on cable this month. TCM broadcasts his delightful ensemble comedy, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, on May 4. It's a series of three charming vignettes about the quirky people who owned an elegant automobile over the years. Rattigan used a somewhat similar device in Separate Tables, airing on TCM May 16. A brilliant cast, headed by David Niven and Burt Lancaster, portray guests drawn together in a hotel dining room, but whose private lives intersect suddenly and explosively. Also showing this month are two more excellent movies based on Rattigan plays, reviewed here previously: The Browning Version (May 14 on the Women's Entertainment, or WE network), and The Winslow Boy (on the Bravo Channel May 25). If you want to marvel at the work of a master dramatist, you won't go wrong with any of these excellent offerings.

Speaking of fine dramatists, Oscar Wilde was another whom Rand enjoyed. Michael Redgrave stars in the film adaptation of Wilde's hilarious comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest, which the Showtime Too Channel will broadcast on May 2, 6, 15, 24, and 28.

I began last month to list films showcasing the astonishing talents of Fred Astaire, whom Rand (and everyone else!) regarded as one of the greatest dancers ever. TCM will run some of his most famous musical comedies this month. Catch Top Hat on the 8th, and on the same day, The Gay Divorcee (which airs again on the 26th). On the 9th Fred and frequent partner Ginger Rogers dance up a storm in The Barkleys of Broadway. On the 10th, sit back and enjoy a day-long Fred feast, with Silk Stockings, Finian's Rainbow, and That's Entertainment!— a wonderful documentary tribute to the MGM musicals, featuring Astaire and a host of other talents, and which he co-hosted with fellow hoofer Gene Kelley. If you still haven't had your fill of Fred, click over to the Fox Movie Channel (FMC) on May 1, 8, 9, 23, and 24 to see him romance and dance Leslie Caron in Daddy Long Legs.

For a complete change of pace, switch to the OXGN Network for a month-long sampling of director Alfred Hitchcock's suspense mysteries. Hitch was one of Rand's favorite directors, and I've surveyed a number of his films here in recent months. OXGN airs Family Plot on the 3rd and 4th; Rear Window on the 10th and 11th; The Birds on the 17th and 18th; Rope on the 24th and 25th; and Vertigo on the 31st. Want more? The Black Starz (BSTARZ) channel will float Lifeboat on the 24th and 28th. Still more? Go to the Mystery (MYST) channel on May 7, 11, 20, 26, or 31 for Notorious, or check into the TCM station on May 4 and board a private car with some deadly Strangers on a Train.

On my monthly menu of TV fare are the great films of Katherine Hepburn, whom Rand said would have made a great Dagny Taggart. See if you agree after you sample these Kate classics on the ever-reliable TCM: Little Women (on the 5th); Holiday (the 10th); Adam's Rib (14th); Sylvia Scarlett (17th); Stage Door (19th); The Philadelphia Story (20th); Undercurrent (24th); A Sea of Grass (30th); and Without Love (30th). Meanwhile the American Movie Classics (AMC) network will run On Golden Pond on May 2, 3, 12, 13, 21, and 22, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner on May 22 and 23. You also can see Kate in The Rainmaker on the FLIX channel the 3rd, 13th, 19th, and 23rd, and on the LOVE channel the 21st and 27th.

Last month a descendant of Charles Lindbergh duplicated his heroic solo flight across the Atlantic—albeit in a sophisticated modern plane with all the high-tech trimmings. Rand regarded the young aviator as a great American hero, and actor James Stewart brought his amazing story to life in The Spirit of St. Louis, airing on TCM on May 26th.

For all these films, check your local listings for the exact broadcast times in your area.

--Robert Bidinotto

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