SECRET HEART (1946) This dark-edged drama details the complex web of emotions surrounding a widowed step-mother (Claudette Colbert) and her grieving teenage step-daughter (June Allyson). Lee (Colbert) weds an alcoholic widower musician father-of-two Larry Adams over her aunt’s objections and her own feelings for Larry’s pal, Chris (Walter Pidgeon). After two years of attempting to bury his artistic ambitions and addictions for banking and responsibility, Larry is found dead, an apparent suicide. Lee shields his daughter Penny (Allyson) from the truth, but a decade later her father obsession steers her toward psychosis despite the best efforts of Dr. Rossiger (Lionel Barrymore). Returning to the scene of the original tragedy, Lee’s relationship with Chris re-ignites, only now Penny seems intent on him for himself. Directed by Robert Z. Leonard.
HIGH BARBAREE (1947) Forced to ditch his plane in the Pacific, World War II Naval airman Alec Brooke (Van Johnson) struggles to keep his fellow crewman Joe Moore (Cameron Mitchell) alive and both their spirits up. While thirst and desperation threaten to take over, Alec tells Joe about the childhood sweetheart (June Allyson) he lost, the woman of means he shouldn’t have wooed (Marilyn Maxwell) and his seafaring uncle’s (Thomas Mitchell) tales of a fabled island named High Barbaree. But it’s a fable that best become fact if the two men are going to survive. With Audrey Totter as the voice of Tokyo Rose. Directed by Jack Conway.
TOO YOUNG TO KISS (1951) Talented young pianist Cynthia Potter (June Allyson) is desperate for a big break – the kind of break impresario Eric Wainwright (Van Johnson) can deliver but Wainwright is currently only looking for child prodigies. So, what’s a girl to do but impersonate a child and get the kind of tutelage only Van Johnson can deliver? What could possibly go awry? Also stars Gig Young and Hans Conreid. Directed by Robert Z. Leonard.
THE GIRL IN WHITE (1952) June Allyson plays Emily Dunning Barringer in this gripping biopic about the life of New York’s first hospital intern. At a time when the glass ceiling was thick, barred, and visibly accepted by women, Emily pounded her way through, thanks to her talent, the court of public opinion, and her service as the first female ambulance doctor to ride the rescue. With Arthur Kennedy and Gary Merrill, and directed by John Sturges.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE TV
CHILDRENS HOSPITAL: SEASON FIVE (2013) Blake Downs dead? Childrens Hospital shut down?? Staff displaced to Japan??? It’s all true as the funniest, most medically inaccurate medical show of all time returns for its fantastic fifth season riding astride two earth shattering Emmy awards (Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Program, 2012 & 2013) like the power-crazed, psychotic comedy behemoth it’s become. This season, thanks to a termite infestation, the staff get shipped to an army medical base in Osaka, Japan. Taking all chances and leaving no prisoners, Children Hospital continues to be profound, profane, insightful and silly while having one of the funniest ensembles ever assembled for filmed entertainment. And THAT is no hyperbole. From Rob Corddry (“Hot Tub Time Machine”), David Wain (“Wet Hot American Summer”), and Jonathan Stern with Lake Bell, Zandy Hartig, Erinn Hayes, Ron Huebel, Brian Huskey, Ken Marino and Henry Winkler.
M.O.W.S THAT MAKE YOU GO WOW
MARRIAGE IS ALIVE AND WELL (1980) “Broadway” Joe Namath travels from the grid-iron to the cathode ray tube for this dramedic look at the state of American matrimony at the end of the disco era. Namath’s wedding photographer takes a look at a trio of his subject’s secrets to a successful marriage while his own marriage threatens to fall apart. Judd Hirsch and Melinda Dillon play a pair of rapturous, fractious Bohemians who remarry as often as they divorce, Deborah Baltzell plays an ex-live-in lover who finds the legal life constricting and Jack Albertson plays an elderly comic dead set on marrying a much younger bride over the objections of his son (Nicholas Pryor). Susan Sullivan also stars as the photog’s estranged spouse. Pilot for a proposed anthology series.
DON’T LOOK BACK: THE STORY OF LEROY “SATCHELL” PAIGE (1981) Louis Gossett, Jr. hits it out of the park in this TV biopic that belongs in the TV hall-of-fame as one of the greatest – and most important – American athletes of the 20th Century. Jackie Robinson may have broken the color line, but it was Leroy “Satchell” Paige’s lifelong battle that weakened its foundations to the point that it could be crossed. Paige’s journey to becoming the oldest rookie in Major League Baseball is a tale for the ages, told exceeding well in this TV film. Based on Paige’s autobiography, with Beverly Todd, Cleavon Little and Jim Davis.
THE LONG SUMMER OF GEORGE ADAMS (1982) The humanist antidote to Tennessee Williams’ stark piece of Southern Gothic, This Property is Condemned, covers similar territory, but to quite different effect. What’s the difference? This James Garner picture carries within it much of his signature pieces – an engaging anti-hero with foibles and failings, a world run by authorities whose judgements are questionable at best, and a deep sympathy for those on all sides of a conflict. George Adams (Garner) is a railroad man looking at the end of the line as diesel comes to replace steam, but whose main concern at present is how to schedule some canoodling time with his loving but distant wife (Joan Hackett). But life is not going to slow down for George and he’s going to need to make some changes, either by his own choosing or by the fates. Frequent cohort Stuart Margolin directs for Garner’s Cherokee Productions.
OUR FAMILY HONOR (1985) Eli Wallach stars in this cops and mobsters family saga which set up a subsequent TV series. Patrick McKay (Kenneth McMillan) and Victor Danzig (Wallach) grew up together on the city streets, but those streets led them to two very different places. McKay became the patriarch of a police clan, Victor the capo of a criminal concern. After one of McKay’s sons is killed in the line of duty the two families are on a deadly collision course with one major complication – Victor’s son (Michael Woods) is involved with McKay’s recent academy grad granddaughter (Daphne Ashbrook). Also stars Michael Madsen and Ray Liotta.
WHERE ARE MY CHILDREN (1994) Marg Helgenberger stars in the TV movie based on the true story of a mother’s decades long quest to find her children, stolen from her by a corrupt system. Single mother Vanessa Myer moves to a Navy town in Georgia where she works two jobs to support her three children, while braving the gossip that comes with being a woman of experience. Thrown in jail on a technicality, she gets out to discover her children are gone – snatched up by a corrupt family judge and a criminal adoption agency. Also stars Chris Noth and Corbin Bernsen.
THE EDUCATION OF MOHAMMAD HUSSEIN (2013) There is an entire generation of American Muslim children who do not know a world before September 11, 2001. These children have never experienced a country which is largely unaware of, or neutral about, Islam. Instead, their faith is scrutinized and patriotism questioned, even before they can grasp these very adult concepts. The Education of Mohammad Hussein, directed by Academy Award® nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp), takes the viewer inside a tightly knit Muslim community in the economically depressed Detroit-Hamtramck neighborhood, focusing on the children who attend a traditional Islamic school, Al-Ikhlas. The film captures a year where the kids and their neighborhood have an unwelcome visitor, notorious Koran-burning Florida preacher Terry Jones, who arrives to provoke them with hateful rhetoric and anti-Muslim demonstrations. The community¹s reaction to this challenge lies at the heart of the film, which gives a quietly searing view of a post-9/11 America that is struggling to live up to its promise of tolerance and civil justice for all.
NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection, WB Shop.com, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.