Work & TCM Wednesday

Bumblebee enjoying a bright fuchsia flower in a verdant Virginia garden.

Autumn at Mount Vernon. I found a few things on the hard drive!

We’re expecting guests and I’ve been baking this morning, so let’s see how quickly I can knock this out! Today’s TCM look-ahead will be a bit truncated. This week’s “work Wednesday” photos included in the posts are a bit of a small garden show…and you get to meet my enemy. My sworn enemy. (He’s at the very end.)

Thursday, September 20

  • 7:15AM Two Women ’60    Starring the unbelievably stunning Sophia Loren as a widow trying to keep her young daughter safe during WWII; instead, the women are brutally raped by Allied soldiers. Unimaginable—put yourself in the mother’s shoes! I’ve not seen this, but heard much about it; apparently, it’s an incredibly moving film. Loren won an Oscar for her portrayal of Cesira, a role for which she drew upon her own past, when her mother protected her and her sister during the war.

All of Thursday daytime is dedicated to the Italian beauty; to be honest, I’m not that familiar with her work, as I tend to prefer movies from the 1930s and 40s; “Houseboat” is perhaps the only Loren movie with which I’m very familiar. All I know about Loren is that she’s a clever knockout who I suspect has a great sense of humour.

Friday, September 21, TCM will screen 1962’s “Gypsy” at 8:15AM. Classic Movie Fan Confession: I just cannot get into this movie, despite its popularity with many and despite what is, yes, a terrific performance by the wonderful Rosalind Russell (I usually turn it off after about 45 minutes). It’s just not my cup of tea. Believe me, though: I’ve even MORE shocking revelations that I am sure will shock my fellow classic film lovers.

  • 10:45AM The Manchurian Candidate ’62    I ALWAYS catch the very end of this film, and have never seen it all the way through. (For what it’s worth, the same went for “Star Wars” until I hit the ripe age of 18.) That said, based on what I’ve seen, it’s extremely well-photographed, which, of course, appeals to me; it’s all the more impressive that “Manchurian Candidate” was filmed in just 39 days. Frank Sinatra was thrilled to do the movie, in which he plays a Korean War Army man whose nightmares about what happened in Korea lead him to blow the cover off a dangerous plot. Also starring Raynmond Shaw, Janet Leigh, Leslie Parrish, and a lovely Angela Lansbury, this is a treat for the eyes—and the black humour still works today.
  • 8PM Easy To Love ’34    Mary Astor. That is all. (Leonard Malkin says “Delightful marital comedy deftly played by a good cast”, if that helps.)

Silhouette of a butterfly and zinnias in Virginia.

This beautiful butterfly was the worthy star of this photograph I took in a Virginia garden. The colours were almost too much, though, and as I loved the ‘skyline’ of zinnias and butterfly, I decided to go with black and white for the photo.

Saturday, September 22 looks, I must say, like a fun day from beginning to end. In addition to the standard kiddo-friendly (whatever happened to Saturday chores?) TCM Saturday time with Johnny Weismuller, there are brainy-fun 1950s horror movies and a bunch of casino-themed flicks from the 40s in prime time. Yes!

  • 6AM Maisie ’39   Fluffy romantic comedy featuring ranch hands, showgirls, and murder. Robert Young, Ruth Hussey, and Ann Sothern star, so you’ve got that going for you!
  • 1:30PM It! The Terror From Beyond Space ’58    Improbability of the title despite itself (“Beyond Space”? How does that happen?), a bunch of actors few of us have ever heard of find themselves the prey of a blood-sucking…something. Believe it or not, ALIEN got quite a bit from the actually pretty good script of this one; in fact, according to my sources, there was a lawsuit between the producers of this film and those of ALIEN because the plots are so similar.
  • 2:45PM THEM! ’54   Ahhhh, I have fond memories of this one, featuring enormous (noisy!) ants running rampant across LA and the Southwest. It didn’t even give me nightmares! Another 1950s horror flick with a good, surprisingly intelligent script, THEM is literally the daddy of all those great 1950s “giant nuclear bug” flicks . Believe it or not, this was one of Warner Brothers’ biggest films in 1954. Also: Leonard Nimoy appears. Look sharp.
  • 4:30PM The Thing From Another World ’51    A frozen alien is exhumed from the Arctic permafrost…and thawed. Things go from mundane to terrifying for the cast, which includes Margaret Sheridan, James Arness, and Kenneth Tobey. Howard Hawks produced and is suspected of secretly directing this one, and terrific performances and a good script make it a goody; it’s considered one of the top ten sci-fi films ever made.
  • 6PM The Time Machine ’60    Morlocks and tornado sirens: this one gave me nightmares for YEARS. I still can’t hear the tornado siren without getting chills. Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux star in this rather kitschy retelling of H.G. Wells’ novel about the future one scientist discovers when he takes a journey in his, well, time machine. Superior to the more recent version starring Guy Pearce…though that’s not saying much.
  • 8PM Gilda ’46   Of course everyone talks about Rita in this so, so good film about a love triangle, but to be honest, I think her costar Glenn Ford steals the show several times with a very strong performance. The pair burns up the screen.

My garden and bird-feeding nemesis: the squirrel. He knows I’m after him—look at that expression!

Sunday, September 23 looks like another good day. Too bad most of us will be busy raking leaves and picking up pumpkins at the church bazaar. That’s what DVRs are for, though, right?

  • 8AM Boys’ Town ’38    Classic, heartfelt story starring Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Henry Hull, and Frankie Thomas. Tracy won an Oscar for playing Father Flanagan, who founds and runs a school for juvenile delinquents; Rooney is so unlikeable you want to deck him at several intervals. This one is occasionally a bit twee, but so kind at heart that you won’t care.
  • 12PM The Bitter Tea of General Yen ’32    Weird name, but it stars one of my favourites, Barbara Stanwyck, who is finally enjoying the respect she spent decades earning. Stanwyck plays a missionary to China who falls in love with one Shanghai’s warlords, who rescues her from a riot. Filmed when interracial kissing was controversial, Frank Capra went ahead with the tale anyhow (it is SO odd to think of such a thing being problematic, but…different times). There’s a helpfully informative article about this one at TCM’s website. I’ve never seen it, but it’s definitely intriguing.
  • 6PM Please Don’t Eat The Daisies ’60   Doris Day and David Niven star in this story about a drama critic and the dramas of family life as they endure the shift from city life to country life. I love Doris Day and like Niven, too; this is just a plain fun movie.

Monday, September 24 appears to be a day full of Westerns, which I know will make some folks very, very sad. It’s amazing, the number of people who hate Westerns! I grew up on them, thanks to Dad, so they appeal to me. No highlights, really, though at 1:15AM, TCM screens the always-fine Fiddler on the Roof.

Tuesday, September 25 at 8, TCM plays 1945’s A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, starring Joan Blondell, James Dunn, and Dorothy McGuire in the movie version of Betty Smith’s novel.

Wednesday, September 26 (so much for this being abbreviated…) has a few good-looking movies:

  • 4:15PM Walk Softly, Stranger ’50   Can crooked Joseph Cotten (another favourite of mine) be reformed by the love of a crippled woman (Alida Valli? Come on. It’s Joseph Cotten!

Well, that’s the upcoming week on TCM!


2 thoughts on “Work & TCM Wednesday

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