This Week on TCM spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan viewing or DVR scheduling. All times are EST.
Monday, October 31 — Halloween Classic Horror
TCM is featuring horror films all day, here are just a few…
10:15 a.m. Dracula, Prince of Darkness
In Hammer’s sequel to Dracula (aka Horror of Dracula), a series of incidents leads four travelers to the Count’s castle, where they unwittingly resurrect him. Followed by another Dracula picture at noon, both feature Christopher Lee as Dracula.
3:15 p.m. Frankenstein Created Woman
One of Hammer’s takes on the Frankenstein story. Peter Cushing as Frankenstein transplants a convicted murderer’s soul into the body of a disfigured woman. He cures the woman’s deformity and she begins to act on the soul’s agenda. One of the films Martin Scorsese picked for a National Film Theatre season of his favorites.
8:00 p.m. Village of the Damned (1960)
Everyone in a British village blacks out momentarily but all seems normal when they wake up. A couple of months later it becomes apparent that all the women of childbearing age are pregnant. When the children are born, they are all towheaded, grow like weeds, and have a telepathic bond with each other. It becomes apparent they also have no emotions or scruples. A truly disturbing movie. Watch and tweet with hashtag #TCMParty.
12:15 a.m. (Tues.) The Innocents (1961)
A Victorian-era governess (Deborah Kerr) thinks her charges may be possessed by demons or ghosts. Commenter Roger Ryan wrote last week on my Top 5 Classic Horror post that this film has been “slavishly imitated recently by films like The Others….it never fails to unsettle me. Kubrick borrowed some ideas from this Jack Clayton film when he made The Shining.”
Tuesday, November 1
There’s a whole bunch of films noir scheduled for today. Of course I highly recommend Out of the Past (9:00 a.m.) and The Big Sleep (6:00 p.m.). And Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street (2:15 p.m.) is an interesting example of the genre. But I’ve never seen “tautly directed B-movie gem” Tension (4:00 p.m.), in which “(a) man who had planned to murder his wife’s lover becomes the prime suspect when somebody beats him to it.”
Wednesday, November 2
8:30 a.m. The Flame and the Arrow
Jacques Tourneur (Out of the Past, Cat People) directed this account of Roman rebels, led by Burt Lancaster, fighting barbarian invaders.
5:30 p.m. Seven Days in May
This political thriller from Manchurian Candidate director John Frankenheimer stars Lancaster as a military officer who discovers his superiors are planning a coup d’etat against the President of the United States.
Thursday, November 3
10:45 a.m. Storm Center (1956)
I’m looking forward to seeing Miss Bette Davis as a librarian fighting censorship and McCarthyism in a small Kansas town in this still-relevant film, made when memories of the House on Un-American Activities Committee were still fresh. Rarely shown.
Friday, November 4
6:00 p.m. A Big Hand for the Little Lady
A pioneer woman (Joanne Woodward) learns how to play poker in a hurry when her husband (Henry Fonda) has a heart attack and can’t stay in a high-stakes game in which he’s managed to lose all their money.
8:00 p.m. The Invisible Man (1933)
Claude Rains portrays a scientist whose experiments with invisibility are successful. But the stuff he takes to become invisible drives him to insanity and murder. Directed by James Whale, who also helmed the 1931 versions of Waterloo Bridge and Frankenstein. Watch and tweet with hashtag #TCMParty.
9:30 p.m. Gold Diggers of 1935
Part of TCM’s block of films starring Gloria Stuart, this one is considered by many to be the finest of Busby Berkeley’s film and was reportedly Berkeley’s own favorite. His staging of “Lullaby of Broadway” is a stunning example of his choreographical storytelling technique.
Saturday, November 5
1:45 p.m. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
Another Hammer Films classic, with Peter Cushing (as Sherlock Holmes) and Christopher Lee (as Sir Henry Baskerville).
Sunday, November 6
8:00 a.m. The Divorce of Lady X
Merle Oberon, usually known for her dramatic roles in movies like The Scarlet Pimpernel and Wuthering Heights, shows her comedic abilities as a woman who dupes a lawyer (Laurence Olivier) into thinking she’s the soon-to-be ex of his client.
2:00 a.m. (Mon.) The Two of Us
During World War II, an older Catholic French couple agree to take in a mischievous Jewish boy. The anti-Semitic husband develops a strong and complicated affection for the child. Based on director Claude Berri’s own childhood.
What will you be watching this week on TCM and why? Did I miss any of your favorite movies? Let me know in the comments.