May 25, 1998 |
Historians have suggested that schoolteacher Anna Leonowens exaggerated the importance of her role to the king of Siam in her books, which became a novel and then became the musical "The King and I." No matter. The woman who emerges as Anna in the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is the embodiment of tact, worldliness and compassion, a woman who knew when to fight and when to hold her tongue and be gracious.
January 8, 2001 |
Friday is "tape night" for dozens of situation comedies around the Los Angeles area. The sights on this particular sound stage are no different, except that it is on the West Side of Chicago--not the Westside of Los Angeles. And that's just where the star of "The Joan Cusack Show" wants it to be, even if it does make a little history in the process as the first network television sitcom to be taped entirely in Chicago.
August 30, 1999 |
Rand Ravich's "The Astronaut's Wife" is a moderately diverting thriller that builds suspense and entertains effectively--but don't ask any more of this sleek, costly production, whose strongest selling point is Charlize Theron. Since her debut in "2 Days in the Valley" she's appeared in a string of major features, but it's surprising that so early on in her career she's able to carry so big a picture with ease and finesse.
November 5, 2000 |
Showtime's political thriller, "The Last Debate," sets up a terrific "what if" premise: Journalists serving on a presidential debate panel throw out the rules to favor the candidate they feel should be elected. Then what happens? In the mystery that airs Sunday--two days before the presidential election-- four journalists from print, radio and television try to change the course of American history by influencing the presidential elections.
March 30, 1997 |
American Movie Classics' "Remember WENN" might best be described as the little series that could. Everything about the show defies current television conventions. It's a half-hour comedy on a channel that otherwise shows old movies. It's a period piece, set in the 1940s. Its ensemble cast doesn't feature any stars. It goes for whimsical humor rather than for guffaws. It doesn't have a laugh track or a cynical bone in its body.
April 12, 1998 |
"The Day Lincoln Was Shot" / 5, 7 and 9 p.m. TNT The most interesting aspect of this sluggish cable drama is the crack casting of gaunt, gravel-voiced Lance Henriksen as the nation's 16th president. With dark whiskers and stovepipe hat, the "Millennium" star is a dead-ringer--no pun intended--for the chief executive shot by actor John Wilkes Booth (Rob Morrow) at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865.
September 15, 1996 |
PBS programming has a decidedly historical cast this fall, from a Ken Burns-style look at the settling of the American West to an eight-part documentary on the effects of World War I on the global psyche, plus biographies on such notable 20th century figures as Albert Einstein and Theodore Roosevelt.
June 10, 2011 |
Maybe this year will surprise us, but if they're taking bets in Vegas on the Tonys, let's throw our 401(k)s down and retire early to Montecito. "The Book of Mormon," nominated for 14 awards, is going to need a U-Haul. "War Horse," the odds-on favorite in the drama category, has lost some steam coming down the stretch, so the final moments of Sunday's telecast shouldn't be completely devoid of suspense. I'm most curious about the best lead actor in a play race. Any chance of a five-way tie?
December 1, 1997 |
The actor playing Anna in "The King and I" need not be a singer. Consider Gertrude Lawrence, who originated the role in 1951 on Broadway. She was not much of a singer. Nor was Deborah Kerr, whose songs in the 1956 film version of the Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein musical were dubbed by Marni Nixon. In fact, the show is famous for making a star out of that least of singers, Yul Brynner, who not only originated the role of the King of Siam but seemed to make it his life's work.