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TV film fare -- week of Oct. 20, 2019


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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are capsule reviews of theatrical movies on network and cable television the week of Oct. 20. Please note that televised versions may or may not be edited for language, nudity, violence and sexual situations.

Sunday, Oct. 20, 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. EDT (TCM) "My Man Godfrey" (1936). Classic screwball comedy in which an empty-headed socialite (Carole Lombard) wins a posh scavenger hunt with the help of a jobless, homeless "forgotten man" (William Powell) who's then hired as butler for her wacky rich family and in the process transforms them and himself. Director Gregory La Cava has a lot of fun with a top cast, but the Depression-era story is treated with social conscience as well as comic wit in its portrayal of a person's worth as more than wealth or position. Some romantic situations. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 6:45-9 p.m. EDT (Showtime) "A League of Their Own" (1992). In a spirited, often amusing drama about the formation of a women's professional baseball league during World War II, the narrative follows the course of a season with a team whose odd assortment of players includes sibling rivals (Geena Davis and Lori Petty), a backwoods slugger (Megan Cavanagh), streetwise fielders (Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell) and a washed-up rummy as manager (Tom Hanks). Directed by Penny Marshall, the story uses the baseball diamond as an arena of team solidarity and personal self-discovery rather than as an ideological soapbox, though its feminist perspective is abundantly evident. A few mild sexual references, some vulgar language and occasional tasteless humor, including a toilet joke. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

Saturday, Oct. 26, 8-9:45 p.m. EDT (HBO) "Greta" (2019). A naive waitress (Chloe Grace Moretz), still mourning the recent death of her mother, finds a lost handbag on a New York City subway train and, on returning it, discovers that its owner is a lonely French-accented widow (Isabelle Huppert). The two quickly bond, but all is not, of course, what it seems in director and co-writer Neil Jordan's psychological thriller, which also features Maika Monroe as the server's savvier roommate. Moretz and Huppert create sufficient dynamism to elevate the implausible proceedings into a guilty pleasure, and Jordan holds back any bloodletting until a single sequence that's all the more shocking for the restraint that has preceded it. Gothic fun for grown-ups. Momentary but intense gory violence, a few gruesome images, references to a lesbian relationship, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, several crude and crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Saturday, Oct. 26, 8-10 p.m. EDT (TCM) "Cabin in the Sky" (1943). Director Vincente Minnelli's now-classic adaptation of Vernon Duke's Broadway hit about Little Joe (Eddie "Rochester" Anderson), an inveterate gambler, torn between the emissaries of God and the devil, while good wife Petunia (Ethel Waters) tries to keep him from the snares of bad girl Georgia Brown (Lena Horne). Despite some period stereotyping, the musical is an incomparable compendium of the top black talent of the period (including Louis Armstrong, Rex Ingram, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, the Hall Johnson Choir), great songs ("Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe," "Taking a Chance on Love"), with a solid, if simplistic, moral underpinning and redemptive ending. Some suggestive elements, gambling, adultery and murder. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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