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TCM Guest Programmer: Richard Linklater

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Austin-based filmmaker Richard Linklater is this week's Guest Programmer on Turner Classic Movies, as the director of "Slacker," "Dazed and Confused," and "Boyhood" joins host Robert Osborne for four films over nine and a half hours on Thursday September 4th, beginning at 7 p.m. Central Time. DVR alert in full effect.

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As befitting the eclectic filmmaker that he is, Linklater's choices for the evening's entertainment are a diverse lot, but with some unifying themes at work. Rick leads off at 7 (all times Central) with Vincente Minelli's 1958 adaptation of the highly problematic James Jones novel "Some Came Running," with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin doing some of the best acting of their careers (it was Dean's first "serious" role) as the doomed (in the novel, anyway) protagonist Dave Hirsh and his laconic gambling buddy 'Bama. Shirley MacLaine, who Linklater directed in 2011's "Bernie," humanizes the role of Ginny, the "pig," a highly unsympathetic character in the book, here a lovable dumb-bell/martyr. Martha Hyer, as the frigid Gwen French, and Arthur Kennedy as Dave's "respectable" brother Frank (yes, it gets a little confusing when you've got a character named Frank in the same picture as Frank Sinatra) lend capable support.

At 9:30, it's John Huston's 1950 film nor crime classic "The Asphalt Jungle," with Sterling Hayden as the flawed protagonist, and a colorful cast of character actors including Sam Jaffe, Louis Calhern, James Whitmore, not to mention a young doll named Marilyn Monroe, in her first featured role. Linklater is obviously no stranger to heist movies, with 1998's "The Newton Boys" among his credits.

The second half of the Linklater-curated quadruple bill are two very different films that both have to do with childhood, or in this case "Boyhood," as in the writer-director's critically acclaimed 2014 film of the same name. At 11:45 p.m., it's the TCM premiere of Ingmar Bergman's 1982 masterpiece "Fanny and Alexander," which Linklater featured earlier this year in his "Jewels in the Wasteland" series for the Austin Film Society. The epic extended family drama is followed at 3 a.m. by Rene Clement's "Jeux interdits" a/k/a "Forbidden Games" (1952), perhaps the most inspired choice of the night, a stark, beautiful, and heartbreaking tale of an orphaned girl and a peasant boy faced with the horrors of war.

TCM Guest Programmer: Richard Linklater airs Thursday September 4th from 7 p.m. through 4:35 a.m. Friday September 5th on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Check your local cable listings for times and channels.

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