TCM Week – June 4-10

Not that anyone noticed that I stopped doing my weekly TCM picks, but there’s a very simple reason. My subscription to Now Playing, the TCM monthly magazine, ran out and I forgot to renew. Evidently I’m quite reliant on it because I missed two months of it and it’s too difficult to do picks without it. Everything is back to normal this month. Just so you know 🙂

Apparently Bette Davis (as Queen Elizabeth I) slapped Errol Flynn (as the Earl of Essex) so hard during the filming of Elizabeth and Essex that he saw stars.

Monday, June 4
8:00 p.m. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
Possibly in honor of Elizabeth II’s real-life Diamond Jubilee, TCM has two Elizabeth I-related films tonight, the #TCMParty Private Lives at 8:00 and The Virgin Queen (1955) following at 10:00, both with Bette Davis as Britain’s best-loved monarch. (I just conducted a scientific poll via Google search and she is the one royal about whom people have the least bad things to say.) Watching her run a country while trying to keep the Earl of Essex (Errol Flynn) and Walter Raleigh (Richard Todd) in line is quite a treat. Apparently Davis and Flynn were no more well-matched than their characters and feuded during filming to the point of physically injuring each other. Despite this, or because of it, this is a great period drama, with beautiful costumes, sets and lighting. Watch for Herbert Marshall and Joan Collins in Virgin Queen. Watch and tweet along with #TCMParty.

There’s a couple other people in the picture but whatever.

Tuesday, June 5
12:45 a.m. (Weds) Union Depot (1932)
A rather racy-sounding pre-code picture chosen for the presence of Joan Blondell and the fact that it takes place in real time, 20+ years before High Noon.

Looks like Orson Welles borrowed heavily from Peter Lorre’s look in Mad Love for the older Charles Foster Kane.

Wednesday, June 6
TCM has scheduled a bunch of 1930s horror films for daytime, several of which —Island of Lost Souls, Mark of the Vampire, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) — have the gorgeous Expressionistic cinematography I love so. I’ve chosen two I’ve not yet seen. Doctor X (1932) at 7:45 a.m. was directed by the versatile Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) and is sung about in “Science Fiction/Double Feature,” the first number in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Mad Love (1935) at 3:30 p.m. shares a cinematographer, Gregg Toland, and some details with Citizen Kane. This film is one of several based on the novel Les Mains d’Orlac and it will be interesting to compare to The Hands of Orlac (1924), which starred Conrad Veidt as the recipient of the titular evil hands.

Thursday, June 7
8:00 p.m. Jailhouse Rock (1957)
This is one of the best Elvis Presley movies, along with Loving You and Viva Las Vegas. Unfortunately, it’s also his only his third movie, and he made quite a few more. However, nobody delivers a classic line such as “That ain’t cheap tactics, honey. That’s just the beast in me” better than Elvis. With special #TCMParty guest host @CitizenScreen.Watch and tweet along

Friday, June 8
TCM has scheduled an unofficial block to honor Alexis Smith on her birthday. Born in 1921, this Canadian actress, though not as well-known today as some of her contemporaries, had a career in movies, stage and TV for more than 50 years.
7:45 a.m. Dive Bomber (1941)
Smith had uncredited roles in 12 films before landing this, her first credited role, opposite Errol Flynn and Fred MacMurray as the girl who comes between them in a WWII drama made just before the U.S. entered the war. (Her last film role was in Age of Innocence (1993)).

9:30 a.m. The Constant Nymph (1943)
I won’t even front like I like this movie. I find it very odd and at times ridiculous. Joan Fontaine is supposed to be a teenager who separates her composer cousin (Charles Boyer) from his wife (Smith). (Seriously, am I the only one who thinks this is weird?) By the end of the film, I felt they deserved each other. But I’m going to watch it again just for Smith, as I’ve read this was her breakthrough role which led to her parts in Night and Day (1946) and The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947).

There’s a great summary of today’s TCM Gothic offerings here, courtesy of Classic Movies Examiner Jennifer Garlen.

Saturday, June 9
5:30 p.m. The Train (1965)
In the waning days of World War II, a French railway inspector who is also a member of the Resistance (Burt Lancaster…just go with it) is ordered by the Nazi-in-charge (Paul Scofield) to get a train through to Germany no matter what. Which wouldn’t be a big deal, except that nearly every important piece of art left in France is on that train. Directed by John Frankenheimer, this excellent film is an unpredictable chess match that’s as near to an anti-war statement as you’ll get in a WWII picture. Look for us on Twitter with #TCMParty.

Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck, and someone in a sombrero

midnight The Mad Miss Manton (1938)
The Lady Eve co-stars Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda made this lesser-known comedy three years before Eve. Let’s see…great chemistry in a comedy/mystery with Hattie McDaniel…i’m so there.

Sunday, June 10
You can’t really go wrong with anything today.

11 thoughts on “TCM Week – June 4-10

  1. Bette Davis as Elizabeth remains one of my favorite roles for this formidable actress. And ‘The Train’ for this coming Saturday? Wow. It’s a great John Frankenheimer and Burt Lancaster film. It’s black & white cinematography, story, and action sequences (with real trains) are quite something. Sounds like a great week coming up, Paula.

    1. I think so too, Michael! Maybe you can join us for one or both films? 🙂 I only became aware of The Train a couple of months ago. TCM showed it in the middle of night or something but I DVRed it due to Lancaster and Frankheimer. After I saw it I wondered why it isn’t better known. It is an amazing picture.

    1. You’re welcome and thanks, Jennifer! Actually I do too 😉 I know you’re really busy but I hope you can join us for #TCMParty sometime 🙂

  2. Oh my God, Judy Garlands 90th! My mother took me to see her when I was a child.

    Ah Bette Davis and Errol Flynn, great movie

  3. I’d think that the Diamond Jubilee will inspire some British monarch-related film schedules 😀 Now I want to see that one of Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth, surely Errol Flynn made for a very hunky Earl of Essex 😀

  4. Hi, Paula and company:

    Great selections!

    Looking forward to ‘The Train’. One of Bert Lancaster’s most physical roles in a film where Frankenheimer pulled out all the stops. Pun intended. Especially when using a real train in a collision in one of the film’s major stunts.

    A yardstick that I use to gauge later train wrecks. And the CGI train wreck in ‘The Fugitive’ always comes up very short.

    Oh, and no one can do elite, ego driven arrogance like Bette Davis. As displayed so well in ‘The Virgin Queen’ and ‘All About Eve’.

    1. Thanks Jack! I love The Train. The more I hear about it, the more I learn about how authentic it really was. I figured Lancaster did the vast majority of his own stunts. I agree, a train wreck isn’t something that CGI does well 🙂 It’s interesting that Frankenheimer wasn’t supposed to direct it at all, Arthur Penn of Bonnie and Clyde fame was, but Lancaster didn’t think he was putting as much action into it as there could be. Lancaster was also a producer so he canned Penn one week in. I don’t think The Train would have been anywhere near as good with him directing it.

      Davis is one of my faves, as is All About Eve, and yep, she did haughty and condescending very well. She also did shy and neurotic very well, as in Now, Voyager.

  5. Hey Paula, just dropping by to say hi! Enjoy your weekend doll, I’m flying to Chicago for a few days to spend w/ my best friend.

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