Conan O'Brien to Guest Host TCM
Every month TCM (Turner Classic Movies) invites a special guest to come in for an evening and schedule a few of their favorite films to share with the viewing audience, and this time its none other than Coco himself, Conan O’Brien.
The celebrated late-night comedian and current host of TBS’s CONAN will join TCM’s own venerable host, Robert Osborne to present four great movies. The night starts off with the holiday appropriate musical biography “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. If you already know this film then you’re already giddy with anticipation to hear what Conan has to say about it. And if you don’t, then you’re in for a real treat, because this is James Cagney like you’ve never seen him before dancing and singing his way through the life of George M. Cohan. There’s plenty of flag waving in this film, but with Cagney as Cohan it’s a pleasure to watch such unabashed patriotism.
Next up is another Cagney great, the Prohibition-era drama “The Roaring Twenties” (see my review). This time you’ll see Cagney the way you expect to, as a street-wise tough guy running a boot legging operation with fellow gagster Humphrey Bogart. The story here is more complex and intriguing than most gangster films, with Cagney providing a compelling performance as a gangster with not only a heart, but a soul. His ultimate sacrifice is one filled with love and pain, witnessed by another who suffers as much as he does. There is is a great final line here, delivered by one of the most under-appreciated character actresses of all time.
The night gets a little more introspective with “Network”. One of the greatest satires of all time, the film focuses on the vulgarities of television news and its ever increasing desire to entertain. Peter Finch gave an Oscar winning performance in his last role as an on-air host who loses it and begins speaking to viewers like some sort of cultural prophet. I suspect some obvious reasons as to why Conan likes this particular film, and I look forward to seeing if I’m right. I’m also betting on an impersonation or two. “Mad as hell” anyone?
The Marx Brothers comedy “Duck Soup” finishes Conan’s time at the programming wheel. Of course there had to be a Marx Brothers film in the line up. If there weren’t I think I’d be terribly disappointed. After all, Conan is the closest thing to the Marx Brothers we have in modern culture. It would be a shame if he didn’t pay them their due here. But whatever he has to say you know it’s going to be pretty colorful and entertaining. One doesn’t become Coco without learning how to play to the camera.