Work & TCM Heads-Up Wednesday

Anyone else feel a little wonky thanks to Monday’s holiday? I spent all day at the doctor’s yesterday, too, so feel extra discombobulated. Thus, I sat down rattling off a post about something else…before realizing I needed to get my Work Wednesday and TCM heads-up post out. Whoops!

Goody Goody Gumdrops, movie theatre marquee detail. Copyright Jennifer Baker and Liberty Images

Goody Goody Gumdrops
Detail of the neon-and-bulb bedecked marquee of the historic Oldham Theatre in Crossville, Tennessee.

Just to clear up any Holiday Short Week Confusion, this is a look at the forthcoming schedule for TCM, because as a gal who loves to photograph classic cars, kitschy motels, and beautiful historic sites, TCM is probably my favourite television channel (you may commence worrying about my actually HAVING such a thing…now). This way you can plan ahead to DVR or watch anything that catches your eye. Titles with bolded letters are those I *really* recommend and am looking forward to. To break things up, I’ll also share photos I’ve recently finished…though pictures of movie palaces seem apropos as well, and I hope you’ll understand if some of my older works up now and then.

I will say that the Ernst Lubitch-directed “To Be Or Not To Be“, screening Saturday afternoon, is an especial favourite of mine—it comes to rest just this side of absurd, and always leaves me laughing. I really, really, really highly suggest that one, and it’s my top pick of the week. It’s the wonderfully talented Lombard’s last film—and in it, she left Hollywood in grand style.

The first day we’re looking at is tomorrow—Thursday, September 6.

  • 6:30AM The Affairs of Martha ’42    Written by Isobel Lennert, this comedy stars Marjorie Main—which is what caught my attention. The reviews I’ve found are conflicted, but this one might be worth a viewing. (I really, really need to get my DVR set to record from cable. Fellas, there’s a niche market just WAITING for you, because I’d happily pay you $20 to get this all figured out for me.)
  • 1:15PM Three Godfathers ’48    I’m a sucker for John Wayne movies—and this one is actually pretty cute, if I recall (not having seen it in years). It’s a little sentimental, but not necessarily in a bad way. Harry Carey, Jr, Ward Bond, and Pedro Armendariz star in this John Ford Western.
  • 5PM Cheaper by the Dozen ’50    Oh, come on. Myrna Loy! This one is a charmer, though. Just a plain old sweet movie. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Wilkerson's, abandoned filling station on Route 66 in New Mexico. Photo copyright Jennifer Baker and Liberty Images.

What remains of Wilkerson’s filling station, in Newkirk, New Mexico, on Route 66.

On Friday, September 7, TCM just doesn’t want you to work AT ALL. They want you to sit at home, glued to TCM, watching films directed by the great Elia Kazan. They do—and I can’t blame them. The man sure had a knack, didn’t he?

  • 6AM A Tree Grows In Brooklyn ’45    Based on Betty Smith’s famed novel, not only does the film star Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell, James Gleason, and James Dunn (who won an Oscar for his role in the film), it was directed by Elia Kazan—indeed, it was his debut.
  • 8:15AM Boomerang ’47    Great director, killer cast (Dana Andrews is the star), terrific story. It’s actually based on a real story concerning a prosecutor trying to saving an innocent man from being convicted with murder.
  • 9:45AM Pinky ’49    Jeanne Crain stars as a light-skinned black girl who returns home after  going to nursing school, where she was thought of as white. The premise alone startles me, and I’ve missed it the past few times TCM has screened it. Really hoping to amend that Friday, because it’s supposed to be an excellent (if, I am sure, difficult to watch) film. Ethel Barrymore and Ethel Waters also feature.
  • 11:30AM A Streetcar Named Desire ’51    Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden, Marlon Brando, and Kim Hunter. This is not one for the kiddies. Very tense film but amazing performances with a marvellous score. Did Kazan ever fail to get terrific performances from his actors?
  • 1:45PM East of Eden ’55   You thought I was lying about the “all day” thing, eh? Haven’t ever caught this film in its entirety, only bits and pieces.
  • 5:45PM A Face In The Crowd ’57   Incredible film with an AMAZING performance by Andy Griffith. Also not for the kiddies, but WOW. You won’t be able to turn away. Also starring Patricia Neal, Lee Remick, Walther Matthau, Rip Torn; appearing as themselves are Burl Ives, a very young Mike Wallace, and Walter Winchell.

Saturday, September 8 starts off with a takeoff on/sequel to a movie we found ourselves watching this past weekend—”Thunderbirds Are GO” (based on the TV series). At 9AM Saturday, TCM will screen Thunderbird 6, which is part of the same family. You will be transfixed by the weirdness. The kids might like it, though. Ahhhh, the 60s.

  • 1:30PM To Be or Not to Be ’42   Watch this. Trust me and watch this—it is a scream. Carole Lombard and Jack Benny star (and how!) as an actor and actress couple about to lose their theatre to the Nazis (they were, after all, mocking Hitler)…and to save it, the entire troupe push their acting talents to the limit and join the Polish underground. Benny’s “Joseph Tura” is hilariously full of himself and possibly at his best; Claudette is of course absolutely delightful, her frankness the perfect foil to Benny’s pompousness. I caught this one insomniatic evening and watch it whenever I can. Robert Stack pops up in this as well as a young officer in love with Lombard. A fast-moving, hilarious favourite.
  • 10PM The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer ’47    Another Myrna Loy movie—and you know one of my classic film rules is, “If Myrna Loy is in it, it’s worth watching. Usually times ten.” She plays opposite Cary Grant, the playboy her younger sister—Shirley Temple—has fallen head-over-heels in infatuation wit. Charming comedy that has certainly stood the test of time! Rudy Vallee also features.
Abandoned motor court in Newkirk, New Mexico. Route 66. Photo copyright Jennifer Baker/Liberty Images

One of the rooms at a mysteriously unknown abandoned motor court along Route 66 in Newkirk, New Mexico. There was no sign, and oddly, I’ve not been able to find any information about the old motel online…not that it stopped me from traipsing around taking pictures. Just watch out for rattlesnakes.

Sunday, September 9 looks like a good day for some classic movie viewing. Pop that chicken in the oven to roast and enjoy yourself.

  • 6AM Idiot’s Delight ’39   The cast alone piques my interest—Norma Shearer (love!), Clark Gable, Eddie Arnold, Charles Coburn (another favourite), and Burgess Meredith. Talk about a smorgasbord! Apparently, the gang must share a hotel on the eve of WWII…and Clark Gable sings and dances.
  • 8AM The Canterville Ghost ’44    Based on Oscar Wilde’s short story in which a long-dead man’s ghost must perform a very, very good deed in order to be released. Great cast, too—Charles Laughton, Robert Young, Una O’Connor, and Peter Lawford.
  • 10AM Call Northside 777 ’48   Jimmy Stewart (the only skinny fella I swoon over) is a reporter determined to learn the truth about a stale murder case, and goes to great lengths. Gripping movie that also stars Richard Conte and Lee Cobb; I like it more every time I see it.
  • 6:30PM Bad Day At Black Rock ’55    Spencer Tracy is a one-armed veteran who stumbles across secret after secret in his small town, which he’s only visiting to see the family of a war hero. Another one with a great cast—in addition to Tracy, we’ve got Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, Anne Francis, Walter Brennan (I think he was in every “out West” movie ever made), and Lee Marvin. Haven’t seen this, but I’d like to.
  • 8PM A Walk in the Sun ’46    Another one I’ve not seen but would like to. Another WWII movie, this starring Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, Lloyd Bridges, and George Tyne. It appears to be more of a character-based than action-based movie, so if you’re not necessarily into WAR MOVIE war movies, this might be a good one.
Smiley Face

Not the greatest picture I’ve ever taken of Ben, but look at that smile!

Monday, September 9 has a good lineup. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” is a classic ’50s confection with something for everyone, but there’s drama, too, with Clark Gable in the morning and Robert Mitchum in the late evening hours.

  • 12:30PM Man in the Dark ’53   This one has an interesting premise: a lifelong criminal has experimental brain surgery meant to correct him. He ends up losing his memory; his former fellow criminals really only want the money he hid.
  • 3:15PM Run Silent, Run Deep ’58   Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster butt heads in this WWII submarine movie. I’ve watched it with Dad, and it’s actually pretty interesting no matter how claustrophobic subs are (I’ve been in one, and it’s DefCon Level 48 for me).
  • 11:45PM Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ’53    Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell are two girls from the wrong side of the tracks—with the right looks. Marilyn chases every man with a fat wallet, but Russell has a sound head on her shoulders that can’t quite keep everything in check, leading to entertaining situations the girls must get out of. Memorable songs (including “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” and one I particularly enjoy, “When Love Goes Wrong (Nothing Goes Right) and of COURSE great costumery for these two shapely 50s’ icons who somehow manage to not be intimidating. Also starring Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, and Tommy Noonan, this is eye, brain, and ear candy.
  • 1:30AM Les Girls ’57    All of the girls love Gene Kelly (what else is new?). I found this one entertaining; the Cole Porter music certainly does not hurt, either. More beautiful costumes, this time adorning the likes of Mitzi Gaynor and Kay Kendall.
  • 3:30AM River of No Return ’54    Marilyn again, but here she plays opposite Robert Mitchum and the great American West. Indians, rescues, horses…sounds like this one has it all, and apparently, the CinemaScope makes the most of the locations.
Old Glory in B&W

Old Glory flies proudly over Wilmington, Ohio.

Tuesday, September 11. This is a date difficult for all of us, I am sure—especially as it is the first Tuesday September 11 since that awful, awful day. Rather difficult to believe, isn’t it? There’s not really much TCM can broadcast, though, to commemorate…actually, I’ll bet there ARE films they could show, but that’s a topic for another day. Interestingly, the day seems to be filled with comedies—this is fine, too, I suppose.

Looking best on this worst of anniversaries are 1938’s Maid’s Night Out, starring Joan Fontaine, and the entire prime-time lineup, which features Cary Grant in Monkey Business, People Will Talk (I must say, I found Jeanne Crain’s character to have a remarkably unattractive personality in this role, and have no idea what Cary’s character saw in her—her role was not well-written at all, and her performance does nothing to belie that impression), I Was A Male War Bride, the fabulous and hilarious The Awful Truth (one of my favourites—it stars Irene Dunne, too), and wraps things up with the original The Bishop’s Wife, with Cary trying to mend the marriage of Loretta Young and David Niven. It is definitely a lineup you’ll be pleased with, and it’s all safe for the kids, too.

Finally, Wednesday, September 12—which looks a little thin to me, I have to say.

  • 8AM Upper World ’34    Another one where the cast alone catches my attention—Mary Astor, Warren William, Ginger Rogers, Mickey Rooney. TCM warns us of an “unsatisfying conclusion”. Hm.
  • 9PM Confidential Agent ’45    Reading the description I worry that this flick about spies and heiresses during the Spanish Civil War might be dreary and heavy, but it does star Lauren Bacall, Charles Boyer, and Peter Lorre. Might be worth a viewing, and hey, it’s not hockey season yet, so what else are you doing?

Well, that’s my look at next week’s TCM schedule. Happy viewing!


7 thoughts on “Work & TCM Heads-Up Wednesday

  1. Whoa! And this my friend is why we don’t have cable – or TV at all. I seriously would get nothing done, ever! This list will be a good reminder of films to check out when Retro Roadhusband and I actually have some downtime, and can watch them on our laptops. Wacky short week indeed!

    • Ha! Oh, believe me…I am the type who does not believe in vacations and doesn’t really watch a lot of television. I don’t watch all of these even when they’re on, but it’s not too difficult to look ahead at the schedule. That’s what DVRs are for, I guess! Boy, hope I’m not giving the wrong impression…

      • Oh no worries – if anything I hope I don’t sound like we’re Amish, or all we do is work! If anything, for me having TV around is like having snacks at the house – too tempting! And if I had my way (and the $ to do so) I’d vacation all the time. Retro Roadmap type vacations of course!

        • Ahhhh. My parents never let us watch tons of TV, and even when we WERE watching something (usually a nature or history show, hmmm), we were always doing something else so we weren’t just staring at the box—colouring books, reading, crafts, etc.

          Constant Retro Roadmap-ping vacations sound pretty cool. Then I’d HAVE to have a little RV to serve as my office on the road! LOL

  2. Hey Jen, thanks for all the reviews, I’ve set up a number of those on the PVR. I watched Mr Blandings last night…good rump. Gary Grant is so dang adorable. We also watched ‘The Apartment’ on the weekend…..I just love that one, and so many good actors. You’re right….I love seeing Ben’s smile! Mmmmm weird that there’s no info on the Net about that abandoned Motel…maybe drive back and see if it’s actually there, maybe it’s a ghost hotel.

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