Turner Classic Movies, in prime time on Thursday, will have the one-two punch of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "1776" — both fun movies for the Fourth of July. But I want to call your attention to a movie they'll be showing at 3:30 p.m. It's worth DVRing if you plan to be outdoors enjoying the holiday.
"The Devil's Disciple" (1959) stars Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Laurence Olivier and Janette Scott, and I look forward to TCM running it every July 4th. It's based on a play by George Bernard Shaw, set during the American Revolution.
The Rev. Anthony Anderson (Lancaster) is a stoic clergyman with a dutiful wife (Scott). Richard Dudgeon (Douglas) is the title character, a hell-raiser who loves causing problems and having a good time. But the Revolution, in the form of a Royal army occupying their town, causes their paths to cross in ways that will change both men — and create an interesting romantic triangle.
Anderson and Dudgeon are both fictional characters, although Anderson was partly inspired by a real-life clergyman with a different name. Olivier, however, plays Gen. John Burgoyne, who was a real-life British officer. In this story, however, he mainly exists as a mouthpiece for George Bernard Shaw, making droll comments both about the Americans and about his inept British superiors.
The whole movie is fun and fast-moving, and you get to see three great actors at the top of their form. (Scott is good as well, but the script doesn't give her as much to work with.) Highly recommended.