Join ichannel every weekend for thought-provoking classic and contemporary feature films starring some of Hollywood’s biggest names, from the Golden Age to the present day.
AN UNREASONABLE MAN
Sunday May 19
The son of working-class Lebanese immigrants who settled in small-town Connecticut, Ralph Nader is among the most influential American figures of the last 50 years. As a consumer advocate in the 1960s and 1970s, he took auto manufacturers to task for building unsafe vehicles, campaigned against nuclear power and crusaded for the environment. He helped to bring the Environmental Protection Agency and the Freedom of Information Act into existence, and convinced hundreds of other young activists – “Nader’s Raiders,” as they came to be called – to join his fight for the public interest. To many progressives, however, his most lasting legacy is rather less inspiring. As a third-party presidential candidate in 2000, he stands accused of splitting the liberal vote, costing Al Gore the election, and paving the way for the lamentable presidency of George W. Bush. This exhaustive, feature-length documentary by Henriette Mantel and Steve Skrovan examines Nader’s extraordinary career on the public stage, granting equal time to supporters and critics alike, and painting an indelible portrait of an idealistic, stubborn and combative man whose determination to change the world for the better may be his best – and worst – quality.
THE FRONT PAGE
Sunday May 26
The Odd Couple stars Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are reunited in legendary director Billy Wilder‘s 1974 adaptation of the much-loved Broadway comedy by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. When ace newshound Hildy Johnson (Lemmon) decides to leave the Chicago Examiner to marry Peggy Grant (Susan Sarandon), the tabloid’s ruthless editor Walter Burns (Matthau) connives to keep him on the job, embroiling Hildy in the sensational story of convicted revolutionary Earl Williams (Austin Pendleton), who has escaped death row and taken sanctuary with self-described “two-dollar whore” Mollie Malloy (an over-the-top Carol Burnett). A roll-top desk figures prominently. Though The Front Page had been adapted for the screen twice before — notably by Howard Hawks, as His Girl Friday in 1940 — Wilder’s was the first version to retain the original play’s pungent profanities. With its cynical take on the daily newspaper business, and on Chicago’s grand tradition of political corruption, this madcap farce has a surprisingly acerbic edge; New York Times critic Vincent Canby praised its “giddy bitterness.” Wilder assembled an impressive roster of veterans to fill out his supporting cast, among them Vincent Gardenia, David Wayne, Allen Garfield, Charles Durning, Harold Gould and — in a hilarious turn as a batty Viennese psychiatrist — Martin Gabel. This was the third of eight films that Lemmon and Matthau would make together. Wilder co-wrote the screenplay with longtime collaborator I.A.L. Diamond.