TCM & Work Wednesday

The black-and-yellow grille of a vintage Dodge pickup, just off Route 66 in Texas.

Shamrock, Texas, USA

Well, let’s take a look at the TCM schedule for the upcoming week—and I’ll share some of my recently released photography. You can always keep up with my latest work here, and as always, if you see something you like that’s not in the shop, do drop me a line! And hey—if you don’t like classic movies, you can still zip through the post to enjoy some of my documentary photography (and two of our ‘furkids’, Ben and Buckley, make another appearance this week)!

I have to say, not having any hockey to watch means a lot more TCM time. (I’d rather have hockey, though.) It’s a little weird, really, isn’t it? Any other hockey fans missing the NHL out there?

Well, let’s start with tomorrow—Thursday the 11th, though like many Americans, I’ll be watching the VP debate (9PM EST). I had some technical issues with websites and with WordPress here, but I don’t think it messed things up too much. *crosses fingers*

  • 11:30AM The Man Who Found Himself ’37    TCM has filled the day with mid-30s flicks tomorrow, and for the style factor alone it is probably worth turning on. This one features Joan Fontaine—estranged sister of Olivia de Havilland—as a tough nurse in love with a surgeon hiding from his own past. Also starring John Beal.
  • 4:30PM Blind Alibi ’38   Interesting premise in this movie I’ve never seen—a man feigns blindness in order to thwart blackmailers.
  • 8PM Flight of the Phoenix ’65    Great cast in this tale of men trying to get their plane into the air—after it crashes in the desert. Jimmy Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Ernest Borgnine, Peter Finch star.
  • 10:30PM What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? ’62    I have never seen this film in its entirety for some reason—only bits and pieces. Of course, as it’s airing this late and I’ve had several late nights this week already, I may miss it this time, too, but this one is a cult classic. Bette and Joan (do I need to give you their last names?) face off in a crumbling Hollywood mansion. Intense. (No, really!)
  • 3:15AM Kiss Me Deadly ’55    Adaptation of one of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels, starring Ralph Meeker, Paul Stewart, Cloris Leachman, and Albert Dekker in this story of  a pretty hitchhiker donned in nothing but a trench coat found dead—a murder that needs to be solved. Violent but well-styled; much worth seeing.

Friday, October 12 has some charming-sounding films; I may leave the DVR running so I have some good old movies waiting when I need a pick-me-up or just a good, sweet story to enjoy! The 30s and 40s were full of movies that were just that: Plain good stories we could enjoy without being insulted or preached to (often the same thing). The trailer for “On Borrowed Time”, for instance, says the movie is “like looking through the windows of a happy home”—and sometimes, that’s just what we want to see, isn’t it? Don’t let the snobs

New perspective on a red 1960 Chevy Corvair

“Cool Dirt”
Route 66, Missouri, USA

insult you for this desire, either.

  • 9AM Happiness Ahead ’34    TCM says this is a “pleasant little film”, and that sounds really good to me this week. After falling for a (singing!) window-washer played by Dick Powell,  a wealthy heiress pretends to be working class, too, in order to win his heart. Just sounds sweet, don’t you think? Also stars John Halliday, Frank McHugh, Josephine Hutchinson, and Ruth Donnelly. Powell sings to you at about 2:40 in the trailer.
  • 10:30AM A Man To Remember ’38   A good-hearted small-town doctor stands up against dirty politicians during a polio epidemic in this RKO movie once considered lost. After its rediscovery, TCM screened it in 2007, the first time it had been seen in nearly 70 years. Anne Shirley and Lee Bowman star. Have never seen it, but might be another warm-fuzzies type of movie.
  • 12PM On Borrowed Time ’39    Lionel Barrymore, Bobs Watson, Beulah Bondi, and Cedric Hardwicke star in this fanciful tale about a man and his orphaned grandson trapping Death—who was coming for Grandpa—in a tree. Yes, you read that right!
  • 1:45PM Cross Country Romance ’40   A bit of a takeoff on the great It Happened One Night in which spoiled heiress Wendy Barrie hides in the trailer of her doctor, 30s and 40s heartthrob Gene Raymond, on the eve of her wedding, seeking escape. Sounds familiar, but there’s not much wrong with that (usually). Also stars Hedda Hopper—and a quick appearance by a young Alan Ladd. My fellow vintage seamstresses will be swooning over Barrie’s darling confection of a slip, featured in the clip I’ve linked to!
  • 3PM Come Live With Me ’41   Writer Jimmy Stewart marries Hedy Lamarr—platonically, of course—to prevent her from being deported to Vienna. Of course, real romance is sure to bloom between these two stars. Her performance in this sweet rom-cam is what led to her role in Ziegfeld Girls. Ian Hunter and Donald Meek also star.
  • 4:30PM One Foot In Heaven ’41    With the coming years come big changes, as discovered by a Methodist minister and his wife dealing with the onset of the 20th century. An unsentimental look at an earnest preacher and his family, it sounds like this film was kinder to people of faith than most movies we see today. Based on the true story of William Spence, this stars Fredric March, Beulah Bondi, and Martha Scott. Rev. Spence’s widow and Rev. Norman Vincent Peale were both consultants for the film; after seeing the movie, Mrs. Spence sent March (who portrayed her late husband) both her husband’s hymnal and the hymnal her husband had gifted to her during their courtship. Seems like endorsement enough to me. March considered this one of his best films, too.
  • 8PM Born Yesterday ’50   One of my favourite comedies, which stars Judy Holliday as a dirty businessman’s moll who finds her horizons vastly expanded by bespectacled William Holden, a reporter hired to teach her the finer points of life as a civilized person in Washington, DC. Sweet and very funny film that is satisfying all the way through. Broderick Crawford and Howard St. John also star against the backdrop of the nation’s Capitol; directed by George Cukor. You won’t go wrong with this one, for which Holliday rightly won an Oscar. Some great sets as well.
  • 12:30AM I Married A Witch ’42    TCM screens this one again. Veronica Lake was burned as a witch in Salem 300 years ago, and has returned to haunt the family of those who killed her—that family personified by Fredric March. Hijinks (and romance, of course) ensue.
Tower Motel sign, Route 66, Santa Rosa New Mexico

Santa Rosa, New Mexico (the town of Santa Rosa is a desert oasis if ever I’ve seen one!)

Saturday, October 13 has a few good-looking movies, though the bookends of the day are the best picks, if you ask me.

  • 6AM Mr. Skeffington ’44    Maybe it’s a little soapy, but what a good lather it works up. (Oh, that was BAD…) Self-centered socialite Bette Davis snares good-hearted stockbroker Claude Rains in order to save her brother from the consequences of his idiocy; we follow the NYC couple from 1914 on, through affairs (mostly hers), beaus (ditto), deaths, a child, illness, and the Nazis. Fantastic performance by Bette; never a conventional stunning beauty, she makes you believe she’s the most gorgeous woman in town in this one. One of my favourites; don’t miss it!
  • 8:30AM Crack-Up ’46    Good cast in this tale of an art critic who finds himself entangled in murder and train wrecks: Pat O’Brien, Claire Trevor, Herbert Marshall, Wallace Ford. “Hitchcockian thriller”.
  • 8PM The Third Man ’49    I love Joseph Cotten, and he’s excellent (as always) in this thriller about a man trying to understand what truly happened to a recently deceased friend. Terrific, suspenseful cinematography in this one. Orson Welles, Trevor Howard, Alida Valli also star.

Right here in Ohio, on Route 40 in Springfield, this unusual mod structure is actually a decorative screen for a vintage motel!

Sunday, October 14. Yes, My Fair Lady screens at 1:30 this day. Just so you know.

  • 10AM Neptune’s Daughter ’49    Surely many other little girls were enchanted by Esther Williams movies. I’m not sure they’ll hold the same appeal for me today, but here’s MGM’s mermaid starring as a swimsuit designer. Red Skelton, Ricardo Montalban, Keenan Wynn, and Betty Garrett also star, so you at least have a good cast—as well as the Academy Award-winning song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside”.
  • 12PM Lady By Choice ’34    Carole Lombard stars as a fan dancer who takes in May Robson and grooms her to be  her “mother”—and a proper lady. Followup to Lady For A Day.
  • 4:30PM The Mouse That Roared ’59    Riotous comedy about teeny-tiny Grand Fenwick declaring war on the United States. Peter Sellers in three roles, along with Jean Seberg. Very funny.
  • 8PM The Dirty Dozen ’67    Lee Marvin’s Major John Reisman is given a top-secret suicide mission—he must train a dozen soldiers convicted of felonies to take out a Nazi-packed chateau in Brittany in order to hamper the Germans’ actions on D-Day. This is a terrific movie with a heck of a cast, all perfect for their roles; aside from Marvin, we have Ernest Borgnine, Donald Sutherland, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Ralph Meeker, Robert Ryan, Clint Walker, Telly Savalas, and Robert Webber. Webber, Ryan, Bronson, Borgnine, Walker, Savalas, and Marvin were all WWII vets, by the way. John Wayne and Jack Palance both turned down roles in the film; Wayne because he objected to adultery in the film and Palance because the character he was asked to play remained a bigot throughout the film. This is a very violent movie—if I recall, it was the first big film with modern-day-style explicit violence, though it doesn’t go so far as today’s films do (and in today’s movies, it’s mostly gratuitous, not a war movie). Once this one gets going—and it doesn’t take long—it’s really hard to turn away.
  • 1:30AM The Unknown ’27    Lon Chaney is an escaped murderer, masquerading as an armless circus sideshow act. Joan Crawford and Norman Kerry also star in this silent film that was once thought to be lost; all but 15 minutes of this silent have been found, and here they are.

Monday, October 15 is all Spencer Tracy during prime time.

Golden mushrooms cling to the trunk of a tree in a northern West Virginia forest.

West Virginia, USA

  • 8PM Boys’ Town ’38    Spencer Tracy’s role as Father Flanagan in this movie about a man founding and managing a school for delinquent boys won him an Oscar. A little obvious about tugging your heartstrings, but it’s hard not to like this one. Mickey Rooney, Gene Reynolds, Frankie Thomas, Henry Hull also star.
  • 9:45PM Father Of The Bride ’50     It’s hard to beat the original film about a dad dealing with his daughter’s impending marriage. Funny, sweet, clever, and stylish. Spencer Tracy stars alongside Joan Bennett, a radiant Elizabeth Taylor, and Billie Burke.
  • 11:30PM Bad Day At Black Rock ’55    Spencer Tracy stars as a one-armed veteran unwittingly dumping skeletons out of closets in a small desert town. Also starring Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, Anne Francis, Lee Marvin, Walter Brennan, and John Ericson.
  • 2:30AM Captains Courageous ’37    Fantastic tale of a rotten little rich boy who falls off a cruise ship and is scooped up by a Portuguese fisherman, with whom he must stay until the fishing boat is ready to return to land. Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for this one, too, playing Manuel the fisherman. But he’s not the only big star—the cast is hard to beat in this one: Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, Freddie Bartholomew, Charley Grapewin, John Carradine, Walter Kingsford, and Mickey Rooney.

TCM is also airing 1936’s very good San Francisco at 4:30 AM, but believe me, I won’t (God willing, ha!) be awake.

On Tuesday, October 16, TCM has a lot of adventure in store for us during the day and mystery by night.

  • 12:30PM The Devil at Four O’Clock ’61    Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra star in this movie about a drunk missionary and three convicts trying to save children from a volcano. Yes, you read that right. Haven’t seen it that I recall, but it sure sounds interesting. Or like a “…walked into a bar…” joke!
  • 8PM Eyes In The Night ’42    A blind detective gets mixed up with Nazis and a friend’s snotty stepdaughter. Edward Arnold, Donna Reed, Reginald Denny, Ann Harding star.
  • 9:30PM 23 Paces To Baker Street ’56    Blind playwright Van Johnson hears kidnappers plotting, but the London police refuse to believe him. Might be interesting.
  • 11:30PM Johnny Belinda ’48    I’ve never seen this, though I know I ought to. Jane Wyman is a deaf-mute being taught to speak by her doctor, Lew Ayres. Wyman won an Oscar for her role in this movie, which is said to be sensitively filmed.

The boys are clearly up to NO good.

At 3:30AM, TCM will be screening 1967s Wait Until Dark, starring Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman whose apartment is invaded by drug smugglers. My sister is a big fan of this one, and it’s not bad, but I’ll be honest—it’s too intense for me in some parts and too draggy in others. A lot of people really like it, though, so if you’re interested, DVR it.

Finally, a week from today, on October 17th, TCM starts the day with two of my favourite movies (yes, I have a lot of those, don’t I?) starring my favourite actor, Jimmy Stewart!

  • 6AM Mr. Smith Goes To Washington ’39    We all know the story, but it never gets old. One of Capra’s best, which speaks to his confidence in the American system as founded.
  • 8:15AM You Can’t Take It With You ’38    Banker’s son Jimmy Stewart falls for the spirited Jean Arthur, who lives in a house full of delightful, colourful eccentrics. A little bit screwball, this comedy is hard to resist—and Capra had the cream of the crop in his cast, too! In addition to Stewart and Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold, Ann Miller, Spring Boyington, Donald Meek, Eddie Anderson, Mischa Auer, Charles Lane, Harry Davenport, and Samuel Hinds star. Sweet and fun as a movie can be.
  • 4PM The Search ’48    I’ve never seen this movie, which stars Montgomery Clift as a soldier taking care of a child who has survived a concentration camp in postwar Berlin. At the same time, the child’s mother is of course desperately seeking her child. Can’t say I’ve heard of the rest of the cast, but this sounds very good.

From 8PM on, TCM really gets into the Halloween spirit, with classic 50s horror flicks starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

  • 8PM Horror of Dracula ’58    Christopher Lee is the bride-seeking Count, playing against Peter Cushing’s tireless Professor Van Helsing. Properly done, despite my lengthy rant about vampires in contemporary culture a couple of weeks ago, vampire stories don’t really get old, and this is supposed to be a well-done version. He’s bad—let him be bad!
  • 11PM The Mummy ’59    Archaelogists arouse an ancient Egyptian evil, much to the delight of filmgoers. Stars Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux, and Raymond Huntley.

That’s the coming week! For some reason TCM’s server went down, so I couldn’t get all of the trailers linked up. Perhaps I’ll try again later. Ah, it’s all fixed!


2 thoughts on “TCM & Work Wednesday

  1. Wow Jen, what a lot of work you put into these. Appreciate it. Our PVR is overflowing, bring on winter so I can hunker down and catch up. I will totally record ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘Father of the Bride’ and ‘The Mummy’…I’ve seen the old Theatre Poster for the last one and it looks like campy fun. Have a great weekned

  2. Maybe it’s just a “Laura” thing — I am a big fan of “Wait Until Dark,” as well. I loved the movie, but I’ve also seen it produced as a stage play. The local community college did a great job when I was a student there, and then I also saw it at the Alley Theater in Houston, Texas not long after my husband and I got married. Also an excellent show. I always wanted to live in a little apartment like the one in the movie. 🙂

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