Are we ready for another round? We have a few rather “blah” days, but also some where I wish I could find an excuse to sit and watch TCM all day long. And yes, this is a bit later going live than I’d like it to be; I’ve been quite busy baking cupcakes: strawberry—with chopped-up strawberries tossed into a vanilla batter—and today, Earl Grey cupcakes that have made the house smell like something near Heaven. Both are topped with lemon frosting…because I made far too much to top off the batch of strawberry cupcakes, mostly. Sadly, no pictures of the former; they were devoured by my husband’s coworkers! Once the Earl Greys are frosted (angry Earl Grey!), I’ll try to get a picture of them before they, too, are eaten.
Thursday, February 7: I’ve not seen a single one of today’s movies, not one! There are a few that look interesting, though (if they contain offensive content or are just plain awful…you’ve been warned):
- 7:45AM Wild Strawberries ’57 En route to receiving and honorary degree, a professor (played by Ingmar Bergman) decides to make a quick stop at his family home; this triggers a flood of memories and wistful fantasies.
- 8PM Anne Of The Thousand Days ’69 The story of Anne Boleyn has long fascinated me (for whatever reason, though it is likely because I think her daughter, who would become Queen Elizabeth I, was one of England’s greatest and most delightfully wily monarchs). This is yet another Hollywood version of her story, starring Richard Burton, Genevieve Bujold, and Irene Papas. Many consider Burton’s portrayal of the oft-wed Henry VIII to be the man’s best performance. Unsurprisingly, Burton’s wife Liz Taylor wanted to play the role of Anne—but Burton himself smilingly reminded her she was “too long in the tooth”. Brave man! Nominated for ten Academy Awards, Anne won only the Oscar for Costume Design.
- 4:15AM Smokey and the Bandit ’77 My including this may lose me a few readers, and I can’t believe I’m putting it here, but as silly as “Smokey” is…it IS entertaining, albeit mindlessly so, as I learned after my husband forced me to sit down and watch it. Also, good cars, 70s or not, and you know I can’t resist that. Sometimes we just need candy for our overwrought minds—and goofy, ridiculous, silly, pointless ribbon candy this is. In fact, it’s just an excuse to destroy a lot of cars. Enjoy. Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jackie Gleason star. Nominated for Best Film Editing for the action sequences—seeing it, you’ll understand why, considering this was well before the age of nonstop special effects.
Friday, February 8 features a cornucopia of adventure and romance!
- 6AM Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans ’27 One of, if not my very, favourite silent films, starring George O’Brien, a painfully trusting Janet Gaynor, and Margaret Livingston. It’s a timeless story: man’s eye wanders, he falls for a flashy, dangerous woman, and decides to leave his faithful wife for her. In this case, though, the man decides he shall try and murder his wife. What follows will wrench your heart; this is a bittersweetly beautiful, wonderful movie, one of the most poignant I’ve ever seen. Please don’t miss it; set that DVR and save it for a rough day. Beautifully filmed—for which it won a Cinematography Oscar; moreover, Gaynor won Best Actress. “This song of the Man and his Wife is of no place and every place; you might hear it anywhere, at any time. For wherever the sun rises and sets, in the city’s turmoil or under the open sky on the farm, life is much the same; sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet.” Good score, too.
- 11:30AM The Mask Of Zorro ’40 Tyrone Power is the masked nobleman fighting evil by night. Also stars Basil Rathbone (as guess who?) Linda Darnell, and Gale Sondergaard.
- 1:30PM Blood And Sand ’41 Remake of the Rudolph Valentino version, starring Tyrone Power as a famous married matador having an affair with an aristocrat. Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth, Nazimova, John Carradine and George Reeves also star. The Valentino version of “Blood And Sand”, however, is the one said to have inspired a cocktail of the same name.
- 5:45PM Anna And The King Of Siam ’46 Talented and beautiful Irene Dunne stars as Anna; Rex Harrison is the king. Gale Sondergaard also stars. Beautiful sets and costumes in this first of several versions of this tale.
- 11PM The Grapes Of Wrath ’40 The American Dream of making one’s station better through hard work; Route 66; auto camps…come on. Based on Steinbeck’s novel, this stars Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell, both of whom won Oscars for this film. Route 66 shows up for real, too. For a movie version of a book, this really is good.
- 1:30AM A Tree Grows in Brooklyn ’45 Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell, James Dunn, James Gleason.
- 3:45AM Captain From Castile ’47 Tyrone Power stars as a man desperate to avenge the barbaric treatment of his family via the Spanish Inquisition, which he himself had fled. Cesar Romero also stars.
Saturday, February 9 is a bit thin. That’s fine, the NHL in all of their brilliance have scheduled an afternoon Red Wings game! (I HATE daytime hockey games. It’s a sport that ought to be played exclusively after 7PM, for Pete’s sake!)
- 12:15AM Pinky ’49 Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore, Ethel Waters. I’ve still not seen this in its entirety, but really need to!
- 4PM Decision Before Dawn ’52 The US Army decides to use a few German POWs as spies during WWII. Really? Richard Baseheart, Oskar Werner, Hildegarde Neff.
- 6:15PM Titanic ’53 Barbara Stanwyck, Clifton Webb, Robert Wagner, Thelma Ritter, Brian Aherne. This one focuses on divided couple who come to see their own difficulties as small when the famed ship hits the iceberg. Not as good as “A Night To Remember”, but the cast is solid.
- 4:15AM The Snake Pit ’48 Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Celeste Holm, Beulah Bondi.
- 6:15AM The Virgin Queen ’55 Bette Davis plays Queen Elizabeth I a second time, here opposite Richard Todd as Sir Walter Raleigh & his lady love—Elizabeth preferred none of the handsome young men at her court have lady loves—Joan Collins (who dons several beautiful, understated costumes). Herbert Marshall also stars as the Queen’s true love, Robert Dudley; filmed in CinemaScope. Many actresses have played Elizabeth, and that’s just the problem; Bette IS Elizabeth I, and I doubt anyone will match her performance in that role. At 5’2″, she’s barely taller than I am, but believe me, when she sweeps into a room as Elizabeth I, she’s almost scraping the ceiling.
- 1:15AM The Flight Of The Phoenix ’65 Jimmy Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Ernest Borgnine.
How I wish there were a way to simply cut and paste the schedule for Monday, February 11. A wonderfully solid lineup of films—start the DVR in the morning and let it go! A few I’ve not seen but have heard how good they are; therefore I’m listing them as well.
- 6:15AM Cimarron ’31 Original film version of the story starring Irene Dunne, Richard Dix, and Estelle Taylor. Dix is said to overperform, but for what it’s worth, the same talkers all rank this as better than the later version starring Glenn Ford.
- 8:30AM Flying Down To Rio ’33 Dolores Del Rio, Gene Raymond, Raul Roulien, Fred & Ginger, and Brazil.
- 10AM Swing Time ’36 Fred & Ginger, Victor Moore.
- 11:45AM The Lost Patrol ’34 Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford, Alan Hale star in this John Ford-directed story about a small British Army unit lost in the desert, trying to survive attacks by the natives. This plot has been done many times, but it always makes for a good story.
- 1PM The Informer ’35 John Ford and Victor McLaglen return in this one, which is about an alcoholic rebel turning in his best friend so he can pick up the cash needed to flee Ireland for the United States. Heather Angel, Preston Foster, Wallace Ford, Una O’Connor, Donald Meek also star.
- 2:45PM Alice Adams ’35 Middle class, small town, ambitious Katharine Hepburn falls for a society man. Oft-told story, but very well done; Hepburn is almost winsome, and the dinner scene is simultaneously painful to watch and hilarious. Fred MacMurray, Fred Stone, Hattie McDaniel, Hedda Hopper also star.
- 4:30PM Stage Door ’37 It’s hard to be really noticed when you’re a star-in the making surrounded by the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, Eve Arden, Lucille Ball, Andrea Leeds, Ann Miller, Jack Carson, and Ralph Forbes! Based on the play written by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman about actors trying to catch that big break while living in an actors’ boarding house.
- 6:15PM Vivacious Lady ’37 University prof Jimmy Stewart falls for and weds showgirl Ginger Rogers—then has to figure out how to break the news to his straight-laced parents, played by Charles Coburn & Beulah Bondi. Maltin says this is “overlong”; maybe so, but it’s a charmer with terrific performances by all.
- 8PM Little Women ’33 Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Paul Lukas, Frances Dee, Jean Parker, Edna May Oliver, Spring Byington.
- 10:15PM Abe Lincoln in Illinois ’40 Raymond Massey, Gene Lockhart, Ruth Gordon, Howard da Silva. Based on Sherwood’s play.
- 12:15AM Love Affair ’39 Shipboard romance with a fabulous cast—Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Maria Ouspenskaya. You may think this is the ancestor of An Affair To Remember, and you’d be right!
- 2AM Top Hat ’35 Why are they showing this at TWO IN THE MORNING? Fred and Ginger star alongside Edward Everett Horton & Helen Broderick. GREAT songs: “Cheek To Cheek”, “Isn’t This a Lovely Day to Be Caught in the Rain”, “Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails”, “Piccolino”. Classic.
- 4:15AM Bachelor Mother ’39 Hubby and I caught this near Christmastime, and it’s a very cute movie. Single girl Ginger Rogers is thought to be the mother of an orphan, and this being 1939, you can imagine the varied responses she gets. Delightful film; her costars are David Niven, Charles Coburn, and Frank Albertson, all marvellous. Don’t miss it!
Tuesday, February 12 begins in Paris and ends, rightly I suppose, with romance. Also, it’s another day of solid, marvellous films in genres ranging from adventure to drama to romance and suspense. (Well, romance is often suspenseful, but I’m talking about the white-knuckle, spine-chilling, dropping a glass of wine on the floor sort here.)
- 6:15AM The Hunchback of Notre Dame ’39 Charles Laughton, Thomas Mitchell, Sir Cedric Hardiwicke, Maureen O’Hara. My favourite film version of Hugo’s heart-wrenching tale.
- 8:15AM Suspicion ’41 Alfred Hitchcock directs Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Sir Cedric Hardiwicke, Dame May Whitty, Nigel Bruce.
- 10:15AM Joan Of Paris ’42 I’ve not seen this, but it sounds good: waitress Michele Morgan puts her life on the line so that downed pilots Paul Henreid and Thomas Mitchell can make it back to the Allied lines. Alan Ladd, May Robson also star.
- 6:15PM The Magnificent Ambersons ’42 Stars Tim Holt, Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter, Agnes Moorehead; directed by Orson Welles.
- 8PM Citizen Kane ’41 Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Everett Sloane, Ruth Warrick, Dorothy Comingore. I don’t consider this the greatest film of all time, but the cinematography is *fantastic*, the script is indeed engrossing, the acting superb—and Welles pulled it off at the tender age of 25. Respect.
- 10:15PM Notorious ’46 I actually get a shiver when I see this one is about to air! Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains star in this marvellous thriller.
- 12:15AM My Favorite Wife ’40 Just as Cary Grant is about to remarry after losing wife Irene Dunne in a shipwreck, she is rescued and returns home. Delightful screwball comedy with a warm and fuzzy center. Also stars Randolph Scott, Ann Shoemaker, and Scotty Beckett.
- 2AM Kitty Foyle ’40 Ginger Rogers, who has worked her way out of poverty and up the corporate ladder, finds herself in love with bluestocking Dennis Morgan, who cannot give up his (awful) family and their money for the woman he, too, loves. The couple’s new marriage is annulled—and within weeks Ginger finds she is pregnant and her love is marrying a society girl to please his family. When a young doctor (James Craig) enters the picture and Morgan makes his return, lovelorn Kitty must make a choice between the two men. Wonderful love story also starring Eduardo Cianelli and Gladys Cooper. I really like this one; maybe it’s a bit soapy, but it’s good. Everyone thinks of Ginger as a dancer, and rightly so—but she was a fine actress overall, one you believed.
Finally, Wednesday, February 13:
- 6AM The Stranger ’46 Federal agent Edward G. Robinson has long been chasing down escaped Nazi war criminal Orson Welles. As Welles’ marriage with a small-town teacher nears, her own suspicions grow—and the net around all grows tighter.
- 8AM Sister Kenny ’46 Have never seen this, but it stars Ros Russell in a true story about Aussie nurse Mary Kenny, a woman determined to treat polio despite the establishment’s disbelief. Also stars Alexander Knox, Dean Jagger, and Beulah Bondi.
- 12PM The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer ’47 Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee.
- 6:30PM The Window ’49 A little boy known for lying witnesses a murder, but—surprise, surprise!—no one will believe him. Barbara Hale, Arthur Kennedy, Paul Stewart, Ruth Roman, Bobby Driscoll.
- 8PM I Remember Mama ’48 And I LOVE THIS MOVIE. Beautifully written and filmed movie about a girl growing up in turn-of-the-century San Fran with her family, all Norwegian immigrants. I LOVE THIS MOVIE. If your heart does not warm to the Hansons, I don’t even think we can have a civil conversation with one another, because you just can’t be a human being. Irene Dunne is fantastic; sadly, she was only nominated for Best Actress and did not win (the film was nominated in 5 categories, including for its cinematography). If I could have children, I’d do my best to be a mama like Irene Dunne. (She actually reminds me of my own mother, so perhaps it’s no wonder.) Also stars fellow nominee Oscar Homolka as well as Barbara Bel Geddes, Philip Dorn, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Edgar Bergen, Rudy Vallee, Barbara O’Neil, and Hope Landin. I LOVE THIS MOVIE. Please watch it. Pretty please.
- 10:30PM She Wore A Yellow Ribbon ’49 John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Harry Carey, Jr., Victor McLaglen; directed by John Ford (the second in his cavalry trilogy).
- 12:30AM The Narrow Margin ’52 I’ve not seen this but it sounds exciting and intriguing: a cop finds himself having to transport a gangster’s widow to trial so she might testify, though he very much doesn’t want to. The pair find themselves doing their best to survive the many hit men trying to kill her in order to prevent testimony—and the whole thing takes place on a train. I imagine the claustrophobic surroundings and inability to get away make for fine suspense. Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White star.
And that’s TCM for the next week—I hope you find a few things you enjoy!