Once again, I’m just going to pick a couple of movies a day for the next week that really stand out. Having had to travel for Grandpa’s funeral, I lost a full week and as I’m sure you understand, have much catching up to do!
- 6:30AM The Kennel Murder Case ’33 William Powell and Mary Astor against a background of pampered pooches…and a murder case.
- 2PM The Postman Always Rings Twice ’46 Classic noir starring Lana Turner and James Garfield, lovers who plot to kill the young woman’s older husband.
- 6PM Strangers On A Train ’51 I’ve suggested again and again that you watch this terrific Hitchcock film—it’s not as well-known as his other work, but in my opinion, it’s one of his best. Blockbuster ending.
- 9AM The Little Princess ’39 No doubt you’ll be hard pressed to find many women over the age of 30 who won’t be able to recall watching and loving this Shirley Temple classic as little girls. Now that I’m all grown up, I find it even more endearing and charming, portraying as it does the dauntless faith and love a little girl has for her beloved father. Anita Louise, Cesar Romero, and Arthur Treacher also star in a true heart-warmer.
- 12PM The Saint In London ’39 George Sanders stars in the titular role, and believe me, Val Kilmer wilts in the face of Sanders’ coolness (in more ways than one).
- 2AM The Harvey Girls ’46 Harvey houses dotted western Route 66, which is what got me to sit down for this one last year; I was delighted to see two of my favourite character actors, Marjorie Main and Ray Bolger (the Scarecrow in “Wizard of Oz” and Clay Aiken’s long-lost twin brother) starring alongside a deliciously glamourous Angela Lansbury and good girl Judy Garland. This isn’t a great film, and in fact has some goofy moments, but overall, it is fun to watch with a couple of good songs, too.
Sunday, November 18 is, luckily, packed with fine films! A good day to do the ironing in front of TCM. 😉
- 8AM The Prisoner of Zenda ’37 THIS is the one to watch: Ronald Colman is superb in the title role, just as we’d expect him to be. I just love this version! It also stars Madeleine Carroll, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (excellent as the envious, dastardly brother of the king), Raymond Massey, Mary Astor, and David Niven. Trust me. You won’t giggle at Colman the way you do Stewart Granger. Watch it, watch it, watch it!
- 10AM I Love You Again ’40 I’ve not seen this, but it stars William Powell and Myrna Loy, making it a good bet. Powell is a good man who returns to his former life as a con man during an amnesiatic episode…while trying to keep his wife (Loy, of course!) from finalizing their divorce. Yes, this is a comedy. 😉 Frank McHugh also stars.
- 2PM Casablanca ’42 Need I say anything? This gets better every time I see it. Today, in an era without honour, the ending would be completely different, and Casablanca would be the worse for it.
- 6PM It Happened One Night ’34 Another favourite comedy you can’t go wrong with—one of the best!
- 3:30AM Daybreak ’31 I’ve not seen this in ages but if I recall correctly, it is quite good. Ramon Navarro’s Austrian nobleman falls for a common woman, a piano teacher to be exact, played by Helen Chandler. She, in turn, is being chased by Jean Hersholt, the gambler.
Monday, November 19 has just two offerings that sound fantastic, though they are, happily, both based on superb novels.
- 1:30AM The Hunchback of Notre Dame ’39 Stunning Maureen O’Hara is the gypsy girl rescued by the grand church’s deformed bell-ringer, played by none other than Charles Laughton. Superb, unbeatable version of Hugo’s haunting tale.
- 3:30PM Madame Bovary ’49 Flaubert’s tale of hope, love and betrayal is this time directed by Vincente Minnelli, who earned great performances from Jennifer Jones, Van Heflin, James Mason, Louis Jordan, and Harry Morgan. Excellent adaptation.
- 7:30AM The Phantom of the Opera ’25 This silent version of Gaston Leroux’s novel—a tale made most famous by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation—is probably the best film adaptation, starring Lon Chaney as the Phantom.
- 9:30PM Merrily We Live ’38 Star of the Month Constance Bennett falls for one of the hobos hired by her high society mother, the indomitable Billie Burke, in this fun comedy.
- 11:15PM Topper ’37 The tale of a screwy couple come back from the dead to help Mr. Topper, an unappreciated husband, is an absolute riot—but since the ghostly pair is played by Cary Grant and Constance Bennett, I’m not sure why you’d expect anything other than aching sides by the end. This is one of those great 1930s comedies that has it all: wit, glamour, and charm. You won’t lose. The 1939 sequel, “Topper Takes A Trip” (missing only Cary Grant) is almost as good, and it follows at 1AM.
Wednesday, November 21 is actually the day before Thanksgiving here in the USA. Are you KIDDING me?! I really need to get cracking on my Christmas-gift crafting.
- 2:15PM Broadway Melody of 1940 TCM will be screening the Melodies of ’36 and ’38 earlier, but I think this is the one to watch. Fred Astaire and the great Eleanor Powell star alongside Frank Morgan, George Murphy; two men doing the vaudeville circuit together break up the act when they both fall for the same beautiful dancer. Fine dancing and a lot of Cole Porter music.
- 4:15PM Lady Be Good ’41 The strain of putting on a show almost ends the marriage of Red Skelton and Eleanor Powell. Ann Sothern, Robert Young, Lionel Barrymore also star—along with Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra! It’s all about the music and the dancing.
- 10:15AM Gone With the Wind ’39 We all know. We all know its high points and faults, but it’s absorbing anyhow, so we sit watching it ’til the wee hours. Vivien Leigh is probably too pretty to play Scarlett (Margaret Mitchell wrote in the book itself that Scarlett wasn’t exactly a beautiful woman), but she certainly had the right amount of spitfire to play an O’Hara. Trust me, I am one—I know. 😉