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FLICK PICKS: Ray Bradbury meets Lon Chaney on TCM
November 19, 2008  | By Diane Werts
 

Two of our faves come together Thursday night like peanut butter and jelly. If peanut butter influenced jelly, that is.

phantom opera chaney.jpgIt's Lon Chaney via Ray Bradbury on Turner Classic Movies' monthly guest programmer night, where the Fahrenheit 451 author picks flicks and discusses with host Robert Osborne what they mean to him. Bradbury's first two selections: Chaney's classics The Phantom of the Opera (Thursday at 8 p.m. ET) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame(9:45 p.m. ET).


Bradbury has effused at length in various documentaries about his childhood passion for the elder Chaney -- the silent screen's versatile "man of a thousand faces" -- and here the 88-year-old sci-fi legend chooses two of Chaney's best-known titles, from his mid-1920s stint at the Universal studio. Each involves a ton of the makeup mastery for which Chaney remains renowned -- experts still can't figure how he accomplished some of it -- helping the actor evoke the pathos of outcast hunchback chaney.jpgcharacters in tender performances. Immerse yourself in Chaney's work the way the young Bradbury and his contemporary audience did -- paying rapt attention to the screen, without the distractions of chatting and popcorn-eating that overtook the art once sound blared its way into movie theaters.

After this visually absorbing double feature come two equally imposing triumphs from Bradbury's early adulthood. Alfred Hitchcock made his Hollywood debut, after his distinguished British career, with 1940's stark romance suspenser Rebecca (Thursday at 11:45 p.m. ET), starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Then it's another directing giant -- Orson Welles [photo below], in his 1941 film debut, the always fascinating Citizen Kane (2 a.m. ET). That one I've probably seen 60 times, and it always seems to be a fresh discovery. Amazing.

Like Chaney.

citizen kane.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
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