TCM Week: March 19-25

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST.

Monday, March 19
8:00 p.m. This Sporting Life (1963)
10:00 p.m. Billy Liar (1963)
***TCM PARTY***  Guest hosted by @mercurie80
TCM continues the month-long British New Wave celebration tonight with our TCM Party selections This Sporting Life and Billy Liar, followed by Tom Jones (1963), Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) and Only Two Can Play (1962). Billy Liar is another of Morrissey’s favorites that I’ve never seen. He used lines from it in Smiths’ songs “The Queen Is Dead” and “Vicar in a Tutu” and adapted another line for the album title Strangeways, Here We Come, among many borrowings. I’m recording all of these but the one I’ll probably watch right away is Tom Jones. I first saw it when I was in high school and over the years, I’ve come to realize that it pretty much defines the term “lighthearted romp.” Also, based on my AP English grade, it’s a pretty darn faithful adaptation of the novel.

Tuesday, March 20
6:15 p.m. The Moon and Sixpence (1942)
George Sanders Alert
Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent in this film, which was “loosely inspired by the life of” painter Paul Gauguin. George Sanders plays a middle-class Brit who dumps his family and runs off to Paris to paint. He’s so callous and coldhearted that even I had trouble liking him…until he is redeemed by the love of a good Tahitian woman. Sanders at his worst, and for him that means best. If you don’t have cable, fear not…some nice person put the whole thing on YouTube.

Aline MacMahon, Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell, and Ruby Keeler of Gold Diggers in 1933.

8:00 p.m. Gold Diggers of 1933
***TCM PARTY***  Guest hosted by @strbuk
Sassy Joan Blondell leads a trio of showgirls trying to become stars. They won’t turn down any marriage proposals from rich guys either. Did I mention it’s pre-code? It’s not all fun and games though—this film has a surprisingly dark undertone epitomized by the number “Remember My Forgotten Man.”

3:00 a.m. (Weds.) The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1932)
I’m only vaguely aware of what this film could be about, but it stars Barbara Stanwyck and is directed by Frank Capra, and that’s good enough for me.

"On California's magnificent Big Sur shoreline, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are the artist and minister who must meet in secret."

Wednesday, March 21
It’s Karl Malden Day but I confess I’m not too interested in the Westerns of his they’ve got scheduled for tonight. I still miss Elizabeth Taylor and evidently someone at TCM does too; they’ve got seven of her movies in chronological order, beginning at 6:15 a.m. with Cynthia (1947) and continuing with Conspirator (1949), Love Is Better Than Ever (1952), Rhapsody (1954), Butterfield 8 (1960), The Sandpiper (1965) and The Comedians (1967). In Sandpiper and Comedians she stars with Richard Burton so I’ll be recording those. Tonight is also Casablanca Night, aka the biggest TCM Party in the world, brought to you by the channel and Fathom Events 🙂

Thursday, March 22
TCM has Radioactive Calamities and a couple of monster movies until 8 p.m. when they take a look at the films of Rosalind Russell’s later career.

Friday, March 23
8:00 p.m. Wuthering Heights (1939)
***TCM PARTY*** Guest hosted by @kimmiechem
Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff and Merle Oberon as Cathy in what many argue is the definitive version of Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel about a a poor boy brought up in a wealthy family and the foster sister with whom he falls hopelessly, passionately, violently in love. Followed by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1944) at 10 p.m. and the Brontë family biopic Devotion (1946) with Ida Lupino as Emily, Olivia de Havilland as Charlotte, and Arthur Kennedy as Branwell, along with Sydney Greenstreet as another of my favorite writers, William Makepeace Thackeray, at 12:00 a.m. (Sat.).

Saturday, March 24
8:00 p.m. The Goodbye Girl (1977)
***TCM PARTY***
Can you picture Robert de Niro in the role played by Richard Dreyfuss in this? I can’t really, but it almost happened. Sort of, it’s complicated.

Sunday, March 25
6:00 a.m. That Certain Woman (1937)
Bette Davis plays a mother who sacrifices all so that her son can have a better life in this remake of a 1929 picture starring Gloria Swanson, The Trespasser. Davis requested Henry Fonda as her leading man.

Noon Key Largo (1948)
One of my essential film noirs, in which a gangster (Edward G. Robinson) holds a bunch of people, including a war veteran (Humphrey Bogart), and a hotel owner (Lionel Barrymore) and his daughter (Lauren Bacall), hostage during a storm.

Midnight La Roue (1922)
“In this silent film, a railway worker and his son fall in love with the same beautiful woman.” French, directed by Abel Gance.

 

 

TCM Week: March 12-18

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST.

Familiar to millions: A Taste of Honey author & Louder Than Bombs cover star Shelagh Delaney

Monday, March 12
A Kind of Loving (1962)
***TCM PARTY***
TCM’s British New Wave Mondays continue with five films tonight, beginning with A Kind of Loving at 8 p.m., followed by The L-Shaped Room (10 p.m.), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (12:15 a.m.), and A Taste of Honey (2:15 a.m. Tues.), all released in the US in 1962, and Girl with Green Eyes (1964) at 4:00 a.m. (Tues.). These films promise to be a treasure trove of references for fans of English singer-songwriter Morrissey, who borrowed freely from them during his time with the Smiths and his solo career. As early as 1984, Morrissey was shouting out A Taste of Honey and The L-Shaped Room, and it has always frustrated me that these two films, along with quite a few other British works mentioned by Morrissey as favorites or influences, haven’t been available in the US. The writer Shelagh Delaney, who wrote the book upon which A Taste of Honey is based, definitely provided a lot of inspiration to him. It seems as if nearly every line was appropriated by Moz in some form. In 2006, he told Mojo magazine, “I know I overdid it with Shelagh Delaney. It took me a long, long time to shed that particular one.” Guest hosted by @mercurie80

Tuesday, March 13
1:30 a.m. (Weds.) The Lodger (1944)
George Sanders Alert
This is not the 1926 version directed by Alfred Hitchcock; this one was directed by John Brahm and stars the gorgeous Merle Oberon as a dance hall girl who lives with her aunt and uncle in Victorian London. Jack the Ripper is on the loose but the family is broke and must take in a lodger, a sinister-seeming weirdo (Laird Cregar). George Sanders is the detective on the case. Foggy, atmospheric and creepy old-school thriller.

Wednesday, March 14
EDIT: 8:00 p.m. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
***TCM PARTY***
It’s old-school vs. Method as Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando star in Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

2:00 a.m. (Thursday) Hotel (1967)
I love this movie so I was happy to see that no less an august personage than Martin Scorsese has given it his imprimatur…sort of. He wrote in this month’s Now Playing, “it’s actually become more interesting over the years….it’s like a snapshot of the shared American cultural horizon in the late ’60s, or at least a piece of it.” And who am I to argue? With Elizabeth Taylor, Karl Malden, Merle Oberon and a cast of, um, tens.

Thursday, March 15
10:00 p.m. The Whole Town’s Talking (1935)
Edward G. Robinson plays a hardware clerk who is a little on the meek side. He also happens to have a lookalike who is an infamous gangster wanted by the law. A series of plot twists lead him to take on the gangster’s identity. I haven’t seen this in a while but I remember being disturbed by the underlying message. Basically the hardware clerk is much happier and better off when he’s acting the thug. Carl Jung himself couldn’t have come up with a better representation of the “shadow” self though. Also starring the lovely and talented Jean Arthur; directed by John Ford.

Friday, March 16
8:00 p.m. Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Clash of the Titans (1981)
***TCM PARTY***
Greek mythology done right, with effects by Ray Harryhausen, “the father of modern special effects pictures.” Guest hosted by @DraconicVerses

Saturday, March 17
Stereotypes Alert
TCM is apparently in violation of the Federal statute that dictates that they must show The Quiet Man on St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, they’ve got some lesser-known Irish-themed movies today until 8:00 p.m. The most interesting-looking one is scheduled at 10:45 a.m., The Irish In Us (1935). It’s one of only three films that James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland did together (not counting documentaries…the other two are A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935) and The Strawberry Blonde (1941)). Directed by Lloyd Bacon (42nd Street).

Sunday, March 18
8:00 p.m. Born Free (1966)
***TCM PARTY***

 

TCM Week: Feb 27-March 4

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST.

Monday, February 27
As I’ve been saying all month, with the 31 Days of Oscar (ending March 2), it’s really difficult to go wrong. There’s a lot of well-known ones on the schedule for today, so I wanted to spotlight 1947’s Boomerang (3:00 p.m.), a lesser-known film noir considered by its director Elia Kazan to be his “breakthrough film,”  in which he applied newsreel-style documentary techniques to Hollywood storytelling. However, he didn’t really value his star, Dana Andrews, so I’m interested to see how it all worked out. Nominated for Best Screenplay.


Tuesday, February 28

The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
***TCM PARTY***
John Huston directs a story by Rudyard Kipling in which a couple of ne’er-do-well British Army officers (Sean Connery and Michael Caine) are mistaken for gods and live it up…until the day they’re found out. Nominated for Best Art Direction, Costume Design, Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay. Check out #TCMParty on Twitter…watch and tweet along!

Wednesday, February 29
6:00 a.m. The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
I was so surprised to read about the tortuous production of this film. If it had a Facebook profile, its relationship status would be “It’s complicated.” And yet it turned out perfectly. Starring Conrad Veidt as the evil Jaffar and Sabu as the titular thief; directed by Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell and Tim Whelan (see what I mean?)

Gene Tierney as Poppy in The Shanghai Gesture.

8:00 p.m. The Shanghai Gesture (1941)
“[A] tale of murder and mayhem in a Chinese bordello” directed by Josef von Sternberg of The Blue Angel and Morocco fame. Nominated for Best Art Direction and Musical Score.

Thursday, March 1
10:30 p.m. From Here to Eternity (1953)
***TCM PARTY***
Various military personnel (Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra) and their wives/girlfriends (Donna Reed, Deborah Kerr) experience trials and tribulations in the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Won Best Picture, Director (Fred Zinneman), Screenplay, Supporting Actor (Sinatra), Supporting Actress (Reed), Cinematography, Editing, and Sound Recording. Nominated for Best Actor (Clift and Lancaster), Actress (Kerr), Costume Design, and Score. Check out #TCMParty on Twitter…watch and tweet along!

Friday, March 2
2:00 p.m. A Guy Named Joe (1943)
WWII pilot Pete (Spencer Tracy) is shot down and sent back to Earth to show a newbie flyer (Van Johnson) the ropes. Complications ensue when Ted begins courting civilian pilot Dorinda (Irene Dunne), who was Pete’s girl. I love this movie…guaranteed waterworks. Nominated for Best Writing (Original Story).

11:30 p.m. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
***TCM PARTY***
Check out #TCMParty on Twitter…watch and tweet along!

Saturday, March 3
8:00 p.m. Some Like It Hot (1959)
***TCM PARTY***
I watch this every time it’s on and I think I recommend it every time. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play musicians on the run from gangsters; the only band they can join is women-only. The grand-daddy of Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Bosom Buddies. The 31 Days of Oscar ends on Friday, but I just want to point out that Hot won Best Costume Design and was nominated for Best Director, Actor (Lemmon), Art Direction, Cinematography, and Writing. Check out #TCMParty on Twitter…watch and tweet along!

Sunday, March 4
12:15 a.m. (Mon.) The Temptress (1926)
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t know too awful much about silents. But I’m learning. This is one and it stars Greta Garbo as a, um, temptress.

4:00 a.m. (Mon.) La Jetée (1962)
A short film about time travel, created almost entirely from still photos, La Jetée influenced works as varied as a Sigue Sigue Sputnik video and 12 Monkeys.

TCM Week: Feb 13-19

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST.

I’m having trouble limiting myself during the 31 Days of Oscar…if I could, I’d call in every day for the month and just watch TCM. But that’s out of the question, so here are my highlights for the week. Remember though, you can’t really go wrong with anything on the channel this month.

Monday, February 13
8:00 p.m. Z (1969)
This French political thriller is a thinly veiled depiction of the 1963 assassination of a Greek pacifist politician and doctor, Grigoris Lambrakis (played by Yves Montand), and the subsequent cover-up by the military dictatorship in power at the time. Any resemblance actual persons and events, the disclaimer reads, is entirely intentional. It has been a while since I saw this, but the questions and fears it raises are still relevant today.

Don't forget...Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did backwards...and in high heels!

Tuesday, February 14
8:00 p.m. Top Hat (1935)
***TCM PARTY***
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ biggest hit is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Mistaken identity leads to true love. It’s also the excuse for great dancing, awesome songs and elaborate sets. Don’t blink or you might miss Lucille Ball in a cameo. Find us on Twitter with hashtag #TCMParty…watch and tweet along!

Wednesday, February 15
1:00 p.m. Air Force (1943)
Just when I think I’ve seen every film Howard Hawks ever directed, I see this in the schedule. And if there ever was a sucker for WWII movies, I am it. With John Garfield and Harry Carey Sr.

I wish I had a better screen cap from Sundown (1941). Gene Tierney second from left and George Sanders on the far right.

Thursday, February 16
9:00 a.m. Sundown (1941)
In Kenya, a couple of British officers are basically sitting out the war, enjoying the “best part of the day, sundown. Nothing more to do in a place where there’s nothing to do anyway.” That all changes when rules-oriented Major Coombs (George Sanders) takes over the casually-run outpost and Zia (Gene Tierney), a beautiful trader, shows up, eventually helping the British fight the Nazis. Known for “the sumptuous [and Oscar-nominated] black-and-white cinematography of Charles Lang” and the nominated score by Miklós Rózsa.

Friday, February 17
10:30 p.m. Gone with the Wind (1939)
***TCM PARTY***
There’s nothing I can say about this film that hasn’t already been said, except that, although parts of it make me very uncomfortable, I really like it quite a bit; that it was my grandmother’s favorite movie so I’ve seen it so many times that I can recite it from memory; and that I was very proud a few years back when a Facebook quiz told me that the GWTW character I’m most like is Mammy, who I think is the only character with consistently good sense. If you haven’t seen it, you really should. Then come back and watch this clip from The Carol Burnett Show (below). I think it was done with a lot of love.  Find us on Twitter with hashtag #TCMParty…watch and tweet along!

TCM Week: Feb 6-12

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST.
Monday, February 6
Plenty of WWII movies today as TCM takes us to Eastern Europe and The Netherlands as part of the travel-themed 31 Days of Oscar.
4:15 p.m. Once Upon a Honeymoon
The rare Cary Grant movie I haven’t seen, in which his character tries to rescue Ginger Rogers’ from her ill-advised marriage to a Nazi.

6:15 p.m. To Be or Not To Be 1942
A crazy bunch of thespians including Carole Lombard and Jack Benny cope with the Nazi occupation of Poland and attempt in their own eccentric way to aid the Resistance.

8:00 p.m. Foreign Correspondent 1940
***TCM PARTY***
Britain was at war with Germany but the Blitz hadn’t yet begun, and the USA’s entry into WWII was over a year away, when Alfred Hitchcock started shooting Foreign Correspondent. As the newsreel-style trailer suggests, the plot is ripped from the headlines. American newspaperman Johnny Jones (Joel McCrea) is dispatched to Europe to get the truth about the growing international crisis. Jones,with the help of a British reporter (George Sanders), attempts to unravel the asssassination of a Dutch official, as the leader of the Universal Peace Party (Herbert Marshall) and his daughter (Laraine Day) complicate matters. Hitchcock definitely intended to sway US hearts and minds, but he also created a suspenseful, compelling and underrated film, one of my all-time favorites. Find us on Twitter with #TCMParty…watch and tweet along!

Tuesday, February 7
8:00 p.m. Decision Before Dawn 1952
Along with Powell and Pressburgers The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, this is one of the few films made during or just after WWII that portrayed Germans as potentially noble human beings instead of bloodthirsty killing machines.

Wednesday, February 8
11:45 a.m. The Search 1948
I’ve never seen this film, shot in documentary style in still-ruined Nuremberg after WWII. A boy (Ivan Jandl) who survived a death camp is adopted by an American soldier (pre-stardom Montgomery Clift) while the boy’s mother (Jarmila Novotna) looks for him.

8:00 p.m. State Fair 1933
***TCM PARTY*** Hosted by @hockmangirl
Love and drama among farmers’ sons & daughters at the Iowa state fair in this “affectionate slice of Americana.”  Find us on Twitter with #TCMParty…watch and tweet along!

Thursday, February 9
10:45 a.m. The Public Enemy 1931
James Cagney’s portrayal of a volatile street criminal on the South Side of Chicago made him a star.

10:30 p.m. Written on the Wind 1956
Douglas Sirk’s dramatic commentary on the American upper class, starring Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall and Robert Stack.

Friday, February 10
3:00 a.m. Portrait of Jennie 1948
A starving artist (Joseph Cotten) finds inspiration when he falls in love with a beautiful girl (Jennifer Jones) who just happens to be a ghost.

Saturday, February 11
8:00 p.m. Wait Until Dark 1967
***TCM PARTY***
This movie scares the heck out of me…Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman held captive in her home by evil thugs. Find us on Twitter with #TCMParty…watch and tweet along!

Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in The Apartment

10:00 p.m. The Apartment 1960
***TCM PARTY***
Bud Baxter (Jack Lemmon), an ambitious employee, thinks it’s a good idea to let his married boss (Fred MacMurray) use his apartment for trysts with girls from the office. Until the elevator operator Bud’s in love with (Shirley MacLaine) is one of those seduced and abandoned. It’s a pointed satire of corporate (im)morals, with some comedy, sweetness, and chemistry between Lemmon and MacLaine to take the edge off. Find us on Twitter with #TCMParty…watch and tweet along!

Sunday, February 12
10:15 a.m. It Should Happen to You 1954
Another of my favorite Jack Lemmon movies, it also happens to be his first film, which eerily predicts the rise of reality stars who are famous for being famous, all hype and no talent. Judy Holliday is an unemployed model who gambles with her last dime on a billboard with her name on it and wins. But is fame all it’s cracked up to be?

***TCM PARTY-THON***
There’s so many great movies today, we couldn’t make up our minds. So stop on by anytime.
11:45 a.m. Lover Come Back 1961
1:45 p.m. Seven Little Foys 1955
3:30 p.m. There’s No Business Like Show Business 1954
5:45 p.m. Let’s Make Love 1960
8:00 p.m. Funny Girl 1968

So classic movie fans, what are you watching this week? Leave me an answer in the comments!


TCM Week: Jan. 23-29

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST. 

Simone Signoret in La Ronde

Monday, January 23
Tonight beginning at 8 p.m., TCM presents six films directed by Max Ophüls in Hollywood. Born in Germany in 1902, Ophüls was a director, creative director and producer in theater, then in films. He fled from the Nazis to France in 1933, and landed in Hollywood via Switzerland and Italy by 1941. He didn’t make a film in the US until five years later, when Robert Siodmak helped him land The Exile (1:00 a.m. Tues.). To me, Ophüls is synonymous with love and destiny, luxurious productions, and the brilliant, saturated color of the tragic Lola Montes. Other films in the block include:
8:00 p.m. The Reckless Moment
9:30 p.m. Caught
11:15 p.m. Letter from an Unknown Woman
1:00 a.m. The Exile
2:45 a.m. La Ronde
4:30 a.m. The Earrings of Madame de…

Tuesday, January 24
11:30 a.m. The Catered Affair (1956)
I’ve always heard, the wedding is for the family and the honeymoon is for the couple, and so it is when a daughter (Debbie Reynolds) gets engaged and her mother (Bette Davis) makes every effort to give the girl a wedding like the mother always wanted.

 

4:30 p.m. The Dirty Dozen (1967)
If you haven’t yet seen this classic about Aldo Raines Major Reisman (Lee Marvin) and 12 convicts (Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, and George Kennedy, among others) on an impossible mission to blow up a movie theater chateau containing a whole mess of Nazis, set your DVR now. If you don’t have a DVR, call in sick. At least put it in your Netflix queue. I’m serious.

Wednesday, January 25
8:00 p.m. Private Screenings: Angela Lansbury

9:00 p.m. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982)
***TCM Party***
A barber (George Hearn) begins a murderous partnership with the baker downstairs (Angela Lansbury). Find us on Twitter with #TCMParty…watch and tweet along!

Thursday, January 26
Jack Cardiff is best-known as a cinematographer but he was also an Oscar-nominated director (for 1960’s Sons and Lovers). Tonight TCM is showing another five of the 13 films Cardiff directed:
8:00 p.m. Intent to Kill (1958)
9:45 p.m. The Lion (1962)
11:30 p.m. Young Cassidy (1965)
1:30 a.m. The Liquidator (1966)
3:30 a.m. Dark of the Sun (1968)

Friday, January 27
TCM has a block of films directed by James Whale beginning at 8:00 p.m. tonight. I can recommend The Invisible Man and Frankenstein, but I also highly recommend Gods and Monsters, an imagining of the end of Whale’s life. It’s superbly acted by Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser, and it’s nowhere near as depressing as it sounds.
8:00 p.m. The Great Garrick (1937)
9:45 p.m. One More River (1934)
11:15 p.m. The Invisible Man (1933)
12:30 a.m. (Sat.) Frankenstein (1931)

ZsaZsa Gabor in Queen of Outer Space

Saturday, January 28
There’s a lot of famous movies scheduled today…Rocky, King Solomon’s Mines, The Misfits, Soylent Green, Rebel Without A Cause, and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner…but I’m going to try to catch Zsa Zsa Gabor as one of the all-female inhabitants of Venus in a movie that promises to give new meaning to the term “campy,” Queen of Outer Space (7:30 a.m.); and Saratoga (10:15 p.m.), which pairs Clark Gable with Jean Harlow in her last film.

Sunday, January 29
6:00 a.m. The Hard Way (1942)
Yep, it’s early in the morning, but who am I to refuse an Ida Lupino movie?

2:00 a.m. (Mon.) The Vanishing (1988)
“A young man is obsessed with finding the girlfriend who vanished at a rest stop.”

 

TCM Week – Jan. 16-22

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST. 

Monday, January 16 — Before Spike (Lee)
For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, TCM is featuring a day of films related to how Americans dealt with race and racial issues. My top choice is The Defiant Ones (1958) at 6:15 p.m. Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier play two men—one white, the other black— who escape from prison in the South. They despise each other, but they are literally chained together and have to learn to cooperate if they’re going to survive. At the time, American films hardly ever addressed racial inequity and almost never starred African-Americans. Neither actor was afraid to play against their usual likability; both Curtis and Poitier were nominated for Best Actor Oscars. The film also received nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Theodore Bikel), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Cara Williams), Best Director (Stanley Kramer), Best Film Editing (Frederic Knudtson), and Best Picture. It won Best Black-and-White Cinematography and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen. There’s no question that it’s an old-fashioned movie; Spike Lee felt that Poitier’s character was the prototype of the “Magical Negro.” But it does propose that if we don’t get to know those who are different from us, we’ll never respect or like each other either…something that as a society we still need to work on.

Tuesday, January 17
6:15 p.m. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend…especially Arthur Seaton (Albert Finney), a rebellious young Brit who works in a factory all week and just wants to unwind with a few pints and his best friend’s wife on his days off. Based on Alan Sillitoe’s novel of the same name, both book and film were part of the Angry Young Man movement in literature and cinema trending in Britain from the mid-’50s to the early-’60s. Saturday Night shares the same sensibility as Look Back in Anger, Room at the Top, A Taste of HoneyBilly Liar and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. They’re a bit melodramatic, but these were the first British films to focus on the working class and portray their everyday lives. You might find the mood or some of the dialogue in Saturday Night familiar…this film and its movement have been an enduring influence on British (and thus, eventually, American) popular culture. For example, Morrissey of The Smiths borrowed lines directly from Saturday Night and generally made the AYM attitude a lifestyle; both the Stranglers and the Arctic Monkeys have albums named after this film.

1:30 a.m. (Wed.) Diary of a Chambermaid (1946)
Paulette Goddard plays a maid who records her impressions of the houses where she works. A rare chance to see Jean Renoir’s version of a novel of the same name by French writer Octave Mirbeau. Remade in 1964 by Luis Buñuel.

Wednesday, January 18 — Happy Birthday, Cary Grant
TCM honors the birthday of one of my favorite actors of all time with 12 hours of movies beginning at 6:15 a.m. If you can only watch one or two of these, my personal advice would be to choose from those in which sparks fly between Grant and his female co-stars, all great talents in their own right.
8:15 a.m. Topper (Constance Bennett)
10:00 a.m. Holiday (Katharine Hepburn)
noon In Name Only (Carole Lombard)
1:45 p.m. My Favorite Wife (Irene Dunne)
Happy birthday to all you hardworking, stylish Capricorns out there as well. Take some time for you and watch your knees. Love you guys.

8:00 p.m. The World of Harry Orient
***TCM Party***
Last night I saw a clip on TCM of Star of the Month Angela Lansbury describing her character in this as less than intelligent and not very nice. Sounds like a departure from type for her (although she wasn’t very pleasant in State of the Nation). She also said that she and co-star Peter Sellers improvised most of their dialogue, so this should be pretty interesting. Find us on Twitter with #TCMParty…watch and tweet along!

Thursday, January 19
Though his best-known films were done with Powell & Pressburger, cinematographer-director-genius Jack Cardiff had a lot of career outside of that collaboration. Tonight TCM has four films in which Cardiff worked with other directors, and while they might not be the greatest in terms of direction, acting, or writing, they certainly have effective and beautiful cinematography. If Faber & Faber are reading this, please bring out another edition of Cardiff’s book Magic Hour…the cheapest copy I can find is around $100!
8:00 p.m. Under Capricorn I see what you did there TCM
10:15 p.m. The Master of Ballantrae Roger Livesey Alert
midnight The Prince and the Showgirl The making of this film was apparently fraught with tension between stage-trained Laurence Olivier and Method proponent Marilyn Monroe. It formed the basis for the book and the film My Week with Marilyn.
2:00 a.m. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

Friday, January 20
Bright Leaf (11:15 a.m.) caught my eye. I’ve never seen it but the cast includes Gary Cooper and Lauren Bacall, although she is apparently not the female lead; Patricia Neal is. It was directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca). Also of note is tonight’s Essential, A Letter to Three Wives. Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, Suddenly Last Summer) wrote and directed this soapy look at three different crumbling marriages.

 

Was it self-defense or…gasp!…murder? Bette Davis and James Stephenson in The Letter

Saturday, January 21
midnight The Letter (1940)
Ms. Bette Davis is at her best as a woman claiming it was self-defense when she shot and killed a man one night in Malaysia. My favorite Bette Davis movie.

Sunday, January 22
8:00 p.m. Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
One of three films tonight starring Bela Lugosi, who along with Boris Karloff, provided many of Universal’s thrills and chills during the early ’30s.

2:00 a.m. (Mon.) Night of Cabiria
I’m not really all that familiar with Federico Fellini’s work, having only seen La Dolce Vita, but I wanted to give those who are a heads up.

So TCM fans…what are you watching this week? Any favorite Cary Grant movies? Leave me a comment!

TCM Week – Jan. 9-15


TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST. 

Monday, January 9
I’m not a huge fan of either of the genres represented today — Westerns and Epidemics. Choosing strictly based on TCM summaries and IMDB reviews, I’d pick The Dude Goes West with Eddie Albert and Gale Storm at 4:30 p.m. At 8:00 p.m. the Epidemics begin contamination, led by The Andromeda Strain. Based on a novel by Michael Crichton and directed by Robert Wise (Somebody Up There Likes Me, West Side Story), it seems to be the least chintzy of the lot.

Benjy (Mark Linn-Baker) is in for a wild ride when he babysits Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole) in My Favorite Year.

Tuesday, January 10
Writer-director-producer James L. Brooks (of Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News fame, among many others) is tonight’s Guest Programmer, beginning at 8:00 p.m. with This Is Your Story, which I haven’t seen. I’ve not seen Prince of the City (2:00 a.m.) either. But I love Brooks’ other three choices. My Favorite Year (8:15 p.m.) is about a 1940s radio show writer (Mark Linn-Baker) trying to keep fun-loving actor Alan Swann (Peter O’Toole doing his best Errol Flynn) sober and vertical, at least until Swann can guest star on that week’s broadcast. Dr. Strangelove (10:00 p.m.) and Network (11:45 p.m.) are two of the most prophetic movies ever made — the former foreshadows the increasing dominance of the military-industrial complex, the latter prefigures the rise of reality TV and that medium’s overall “if it bleeds, it leads” ratings-first mentality.

Wednesday, January 11
8:00 p.m. The State of the Union (1948)
***TCM Party***
Frank Capra’s follow-up to the now-beloved flop It’s A Wonderful Life was made as Truman defeated Dewey and the House Un-American Activities Committee investigated Hollywood. It’s about a presidential candidate who gets mixed up in the dirty side of politics. Though Star of the Month Angela Lansbury was in her early twenties when she made this film, she was nonetheless cast as Spencer Tracy’s character’s fortysomething mistress.
Watch and tweet with #TCMParty

Just one frame of the amazingly beautiful Black Narcissus

Thursday, January 12
TCM’s tribute to cinematographer Jack Cardiff continues tonight with my favorite films of his, those he did with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, collectively known as the Archers. Cardiff was the foremost practitioner of Technicolor and an accomplished fine artist who — I can’t think of any other way to say this — painted with light. I don’t think anyone else could have done the beautiful work he did. Put that together with the excellent direction, writing, art direction, acting, etc., and you have some incredibly fascinating and moving films.
8:00 p.m. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
11:00 p.m. Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)
We are lucky to have this excellent documentary as it seems as if Cardiff passed away not long after it was completed. But if you haven’t seen tonight’s films, my advice is to record this or wait until it’s rerun next Thursday…seriously. You want to experience the magic before you see how it was done.
12:30 a.m. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
2:30 a.m. The Red Shoes (1948)
5:00 a.m. Black Narcissus (1947)

Greta Garbo is a Polish aristocrat and Charles Boyer is Napoleon in Conquest

Friday, January 13
8:00 p.m. Conquest (1937)
Director Clarence Brown guided Greta Garbo from the silents into talkies and was a favorite with the star, apparently because, he said, “I had a special way with her. I never gave her direction in anything louder than a whisper.” This was the last film they made together, the story of a Polish countess (Garbo) who gets involved with Napoleon (Charles Boyer).

Saturday, January 14
10:30 p.m. Adam’s Rib (1949)
I’ll be setting the DVR for this one as I’ve never seen it, but with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn starring, and George Cukor directing — he also directed Hepburn in my favorite movie of hers, The Philadelphia Story — it should be good.

Sunday, January 15
Abbott and Costello spoof scary monsters and the horror genre beginning at 8:00 p.m., in a block that includes Abbott and Costello Meet FrankensteinAbbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man, and Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy.

 

Video: Angela Lansbury on her first film, Gaslight '44

While I’m under the weather I’m taking a little breather but I wanted to share this video I found of Angela Lansbury recalls making her first film, Gaslight (1944). She earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, which is amazing to me, as she was just 17 years old when the movie’s shoot began. Lansbury is TCM”s Star of the Month and this film is tonight’s #TCMParty, beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST. Join the party by watching and tweeting with the hashtag #TCMParty. Hope to see you there!

TCM Week – Jan 2-8

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered movies on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST.

Monday, January 2
8:00 a.m. A Stolen Life (1946)
Bette Davis is absolutely brilliant at playing twin sisters, one naughty and one nice, in this movie. Both are in love with the same man (Glenn Ford), but the naughty one steals him away from the nice one and the couple marries. When the naughty twin dies accidentally, the nice one takes over her life. Davis relies on attitude and gesture, rather than clothing or hairstyle changes, to differentiate the twins, and later, effectively captures the awkwardness of one twin imitating the other’s completely opposite nature, while avoiding any appearance of acting. To sum up, she is amazing.

Tuesday, January 3
9:45 p.m. Annie Oakley (1935)
Before the musical Annie Get Your Gun, there was this 1935 version of the sharpshooter’s life story, starring one of my favorite movie stars, Barbara Stanwyck, as the title character. It was director George Stevens’ second A-picture, after Alice Adams, and continued his hot streak, one that included Swing Time, Vivacious LadyGunga Din, A Place in the Sun, and Giant, among others.

Ingrid Bergman regards Charles Boyer with some suspicion...as she should.

Wednesday, January 4
8:00 p.m. Gaslight (1944)
***TCM Party***
Though multi-talented Angela Lansbury is TCM’s star of the month, she isn’t the star of this movie — Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman are — but she did earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work. Bergman also earned a nomination, for Best Actress, and won the award, edging Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity. Watch and tweet with #TCMParty.

Thursday, January 5
9:00 a.m. The Red Danube (1949)
This Cold War movie, made while the HUAC hearings were roiling Hollywood, exemplifies the ideological conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union in the story of a Russian ballerina (Janet Leigh) attempting to defect.

Friday, January 6
11:15 a.m. The Unguarded Hour
The rare starring role for Franchot Tone (Five Graves to Cairo) as the prosecutor whose wife (Loretta Young) could save a condemned man, but only if she reveals information that would humiliate her husband.

Saturday, January 7
10:30 a.m. Counter-Espionage (1942)
During the WWII Blitz, a detective known as the Lone Wolf (Warren William) is on the trail of Nazi spies. This movie interests me because it mines similar territory as Powell & Pressburger’s Contraband.

Sunday, January 8
Today’s schedule features two different movie stars. Beginning at 6:00 a.m., Elvis Presley stars in Clambake, followed by It Happened at the World’s Fair at 8:00 a.m., and Spinout at 10:00 a.m. Then TCM celebrates the 100th anniversary of José Ferrer‘s birth with a block that starts at noon with The Caine Mutiny. Other classic movies featuring Ferrer follow: I Accuse (4:00 p.m.), Deep in My Heart (5:45 p.m.), Cyrano de Bergerac ’50 (8:00 p.m.), and Joan of Arc ’48 (10:00 p.m.).