This will (really!) be truncated this week due to some family things and other general hectic events—just two or three movies per day.
Tomorrow, Thursday October 24, features lovely ladies, travel—and big bankrolls up for grabs.
- 3:15PM Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ’53 Fortune-hunting Marilyn and level-headed Jane Russell are just two little girls from Little Rock racing over two continents and one ocean in this easy-on-the-eyes musical comedy. The costumes are terrific, too. Charles Coburn also stars; this movie is fun from beginning to end.
- 10PM It Happened One Night ’34 I don’t think this one will ever get old. Heiress and new bride Claudette Colbert escapes from her father (who is trying to protect her from a fortune hunter), only to find reporter Clark Gable on her trail. The pair find themselves falling in love on a bus trip, of all things, and as with any road trip, wackiness and good times ensue. Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night, which also stars Walter Connolly, Alan Hale, and Ward Bond, was the first film to sweep the Academy Awards—and rightly so.
- 3AM North By Northwest ’59 A case of mistaken identity leads to an adventure across the country—and directer Alfred Hitchcock milks the possibilities for all they’re worth, resulting in several scenes that have become iconic. Cary Grant manages, as always, to find humour in his danger; Eva Marie Saint is elegant and alluring; James Mason is just…well, James Mason. Bernard Hermann’s score is a classic all its own, too.
Friday, October 26 starts with Jackie Coogan silents (including Chaplin’s The Kid at 6:30AM), but we spend our afternoon in the jungle. No matter the weather—and it’s gorgeous here in central Ohio—let me assure you, I’m always up for a visit to the tropics!
- 11:45AM The Jungle Book ’42 Starring Sabu, who later became a war hero (being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross) for the United States, this is simply a very enjoyable film version of Rudyard Kipling’s famous tales. Terrific sets with a solid score, too.
Saturday, October 27 is truly packed with fabulous old horror movies, from Dracula to Sherlock Holmes—a bag full of pre-Halloween fun.
- 6AM The Devil Doll ’36 Honestly, I really must set the DVR (as I always catch the very end) for this horror classic, wherein prison escapee Lionel Barrymore (occasionally in drag) shrinks people down to doll size so they might carry out his evil deeds. Maureen O’Sullivan and Frank Lawton also star.
- 7:30AM Bedlam ’46 Asylum-keeper Boris Karloff realizes that Anna Lee truly intends to improve conditions at the infamous asylum, and has her committed in order to prevent her from doing so. Have never seen this, but it sounds like a good one! Also, the famous portiere dress from Gone With The Wind, sans some accessories and trim, is supposedly worn by Anna Lee. Jason Robards, Sr, also stars.
- 3:15PM Village Of The Damned ’60 I’ve never seen this (that I can recall), but it stars George Sanders, so I automatically approve. Looks creepy as all get-out, though. Check out the trailer—oh my goodness.
- 4:45PM House of Wax ’53 Just a few weeks ago during a bout of insomnia I caught the film on which this is based, Mystery of the Wax Museum. This 1953 remake, though, stars Vincent Price—and indeed launched him into his role as the Big Man in horror films. After his wax museum is destroyed by fire, Price begins to seek out—and use—humans to replace what was lost.
- 6:30PM The Hound of the Baskervilles ’59 Peter Cushing is the famed detective in this version of Doyle’s most famous Holmes novel. Christopher Lee, Andre Morell, and Maria Landi also star.Good stuff. 🙂
- 8PM Diabolique ’55 Another I’ve not seen, but would like to. A fed-up wife and her lover decide to do away with her cold, dictatorial schoolteacher husband.
Sunday, October 28 starts off with the very good film noir D.O.A. and wraps up with Martian-related horror flicks (and the 1925 silent The Phantom of the Opera).
- 8AM Kind Hearts and Coronets ’49 This black comedy about a man who decides to knock off everyone between himself and a hereditary title—and its related fortune—is a scream, all the more so because Alec Guinness plays all eight victims. A very English movie. Which makes it all the better.
- 8PM 20 Million Miles To Earth ’57 and Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers ’56 This pair of alien movies run ’til 11PM, but unlike many standard flying saucer flicks, they’re both well-written and well-executed. If you’d prefer to watch anything but football, here you go!
- 1AM The Phantom of the Opera ’25 The silent classic starring Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, and Norman Kerry; certainly one of Cheney’s best.
- 2:45AM M ’31 This one probably is not for the children. A fascinating and unnerving look at a deranged child-murderer—and how the underworld of Berlin brings him to justice. Peter Lorre is the killer and this is one of his most fantastic, if also most chilling, performances.
Monday, October 29 has all the Saint and Falcon movies you’d ever want to see starting at 7:45AM—all starring the delightfully good George Sanders. Enjoy the suaveness, ladies. That’s about all you need to be aware of, other than…
- 5PM Appointment in Berlin ’43 Still starring George Sanders, but here as an officer court-martialed after rather loudly expressing his frustration with Neville Chamberlain’s signing of the Munich Pact with prewar Germany. As a result, he’s drafted to pose as a British turncoat helping the Nazis in order to discover their plans. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of this, but most films with Sanders are (obviously) enjoyable to me. Also stars Marguerite Chapman and Gale Sondergaard.
Tuesday, October 30 is another day dedicated to Spencer Tracy and then continues its monthlong look at how those with disabilities are portrayed by Hollywood. 1946’s Bedlam will also air again tonight at 10:30PM.
- 8PM The Unknown ’27 This aired several weeks ago and I missed it, so perhaps this time ’round I’ll catch it. Lon Chaney portrays an escaped murderer posing as a sideshow freak for a circus. Also stars Joan Crawford. Leonard Maltin calls it “ultra-creepy…with an unforgettable finale”.
- 9:15PM Freaks ’32 I’ve never seen this one, but would like to; Browning was known for treating people such as the ones in this film with great compassion, just as the world callously mocks and abuses them. Having grown up knowing a few people with disabilities, I’ve little patience for such reviling of those who have no control over their genetics, and have been known to fly off the handle in their defense, so if you’re a troll who just happened to pop in—don’t even start (though I know my regular readers are not at all cruel). At any rate, real-life “sideshow freaks” were recruited as actors for the Tod Browning film, in which the group wreaks vengeance on a trapeze artist who they learn is planning to murder her husband, a midget. Stars Wallace Ford, Olga Baclanova, Leila Hyams, Harry Earles, Roscoe Ates, Johnny Eck, conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, Prince Randian, Zip and Pip, Schlitze; was banned from the UK until the 1960s.
- 2:30AM The Snake Pit ’48 One of the loveliest ladies of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, Olivia de Havilland yet again allows herself to go with minimal making-up in this fascinating and often touching tale of a woman dealing with a mental breakdown in one of New York’s mental institutions. Olivia is marvellous in this movie, which also stars Celeste Holm, Beulah Bondi, Mark Stevens, Ruth Donnelly, Isabel Jewell, Betsy Blair, Leo Genn, and Lee Patrick.
On Halloween, TCM is of COURSE horror movies from stem to stern! Leave it on while you pass out candy to the crumb-crunchers at your door or throw your costume party. I really don’t know where to start, because though I find contemporary horror films to be thoroughly abhorrent, the old ones—at least those made between the 1920s and the 1950s—are often very enjoyable. Just a couple of highlights?
- 7:30AM The Ghoul ’33 Egyptologist Boris Karloff is buried with a jewel he’s certain will impart to him eternal life. Unsurprisingly, it is stolen, and he rises from the grave to chase it and the thief down. Also stars Cedric Hardwick.
- 5:15PM White Zombie ’32 Bela Lugosi is a “zombie master” (I did not know such a career path existed, did you?) harassing newlyweds on a plantation in Haiti.
- 6:30PM The Body Snatcher ’45 Boris Karloff AND Bela Lugosi in a film adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson short story about a doctor forced to buy cadavers from a grave robber. What a trio!
Now, from 8PM on, just enjoy yourself. It starts with 1931’s Frankenstein, the still-gripping classic starring Colin Clive, Mae Clark, and John Boles and is followed by 1939’s Son of Frankenstein, starring the great Basil Rathbone as the doctor alongside Karloff and Lugosi. At 11:15 is the oddly touching and smart The Wolf Man. Starring Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains, Maria Ouspenskaya, Bela Lugosi, and Ralph Bellamy, this IS one of the best horrors ever made: the head-in-the-clouds father is what always gets me about this one.
At 12:30AM TCM will once again screen the 1932 The Mummy, starring Boris Karloff; 2AM sees 1940’s The Mummy’s Hand, which is not a sequel to the Karloff version. It sounds instead more like the more recent incarnation of the Mummy movies, where humour and horror are mixed to good effect. At 3:15AM TCM gives you Charles Laughton in Island of Lost Souls from 1933, and wraps up the fun with 1933’s The Invisible Man, starring Claude Rains as a scientist who makes himself invisible—and drives himself mad.
Sorry, no Young Frankenstein. Alas! TCM will air rotten tripe like Mr. Holland’s Opus, but not Young Frankenstein. *sigh*