TCM & Work Wednesday

Roadside Barn in rural Ohio or West Virginia. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

A sturdy old barn seen during my travels.

Every day is a work day, really. Isn’t it? Well, not Sunday, but…you know. Let’s take a look at the upcoming week’s highlights!

Tomorrow is a bit thin on the ground, at least to my eyes. Two heist flicks starring Alec Guinness and a melodrama about overcoming addiction seem to be the only things worth watching:

  • 7:45AM The Lavender Hill Mob ’51    Bank clerk Alec Guinness decides to rob a truck full of gold after two decades of work at the same bank. Promises a “madcap chase climax”—and anytime you offer me something madcap, I’m interested.
  • 10:45AM The Ladykillers ’55    This was on last fall, and I did enjoy it. Guinness and his fellow bandits take lodging in a little old lady’s house as they plan a huge heist—but she has a knack for, um, getting involved. Top that off with the fact that a few of the crooks are rather dull-witted and you’ve got a very good time here. Also stars Katie Johnson, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, and Jack Warner.
  • 2:30PM The Man With The Golden Arm ’55    Dated, but still touching story about a man dealing with his drug addiction. Frank Sinatra is the addict; Eleanor Parker his wife. Also stars Kim Novak.

Friday looks a good deal better to me. Set those DVRs, sweethearts! 

  • 7:30AM The Moon and Sixpence ’42    Okay, first of all? I’ve never seen this, but what a lovely name for a movie, don’t you think? Doesn’t it sound romantic and idyllic? Well, get over that. It’s about the artist Gauguin, who was a self-centered, heartless man who abandoned his family so he could paint. But the performances, particularly that of George Sanders as Mr. Selfish Jerk, are said to be fine. Also stars Herbert Marshall (two silver voices in one film!), Eric Blore, and Doris Dudley.
  • 9AM To Be Or Not To Be ’42    Hilarious Ernst Lubitsch comedy set in, of all places, Nazi Germany.  I’ve mentioned this one several times here, and it’s very entertaining with great performances. Stars Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, Robert Stack, Lionel Atwill, Felix Bressart.
  • 10:45AM I Married A Witch ’42    Fredric March marries the resurrected witch his Puritan family burned at the stake three hundred years before. She’s seeking revenge, and he love…well, it is 40s Hollywood. Very cute. Also stars Veronica Lake, Susan Hayward, Robert Benchley.
  • 10:15PM Red River ’48    Famed Howard Hawks film considered by some a Western Mutiny On The Bounty. Hard-headed, despotic John Wayne butts heads with his young stepson, played by Montgomery Clift (his first movie role). The battle takes place during a dangerous but important cattle drive, making things more adventurous than you might imagine. Also stars Walter Brennan, Joanne Dru, John Ireland, Harry Carey, Jr. and Harry Carey, Sr.
  • 12:45PM Witness For The Prosecution ’57    Terrific courtroom drama based on an Agatha Christie play. The performances make this truly fantastic—Marlene Dietrich as the wife, Tyrone Power as the accused killer, Charles Laughton as the defense attorney, Elsa Lanchester his nurse. Also stars Una O’Connor and Henry Daniell. If you’ve never seen this Billy Wilder suspenser, you’re in for a real, real treat!
  • 3PM Cyrano De Bergerac ’50    Jose Ferrer, Mala Powers, William Prince.

Saturday, March 1 has a very good lineup during daytime, which is too bad as Studebaker interior. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved. we’re approaching springtime and many of us are brimming over with cabin fever! That, I suppose, is why we have DVRs and rainy days. 😉

  • 7AM The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe ’54    Classic, fun family adventure with something for everyone. Daniel O’Herlihy, Jamie Fernandez, Felipe de Alba.
  • 1:15PM Some Like It Hot ’59    Yet another perfect comedy from Billy Wilder. Musicians Jack Lemmon & Tony Curtis witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and realize their only way out of leaden swimming flippers is to masquerade as women in an all-girl orchestra. Unsurprisingly, Curtis falls for the (let’s admit it) luscious Marilyn Monroe (“Sugar Kane”), and hilariously portrays himself as a Cary Grant-esque bazillionaire in order to win her heart. IMO, this is much superior to “The Seven Year Itch”. Hilarious one-liners; Curtis & Lemmon are really great together. I’ve laughed myself to tears with Some Like It Hot, and hope you do, too.
  • 3:30PM The Fortune Cookie ’66    I’ve not seen this, but it sounds promising: a dirty lawyer (there are other kinds?! ;D) sees his cameraman brother-in-law injured in an NFL game accident and whips up an insurance case. The insurance company’s detectives, of course, decide to look into this little thing and make sure it’s legit. The cast is, really, what has me interested: Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, directed by Billy Wilder.
  • 8PM Around The World In 80 Days ’56    This is worthwhile simply because of the 40 superstar cameos within from the likes of Marlene Dietrich. But it’s fun to watch and offers a good score, too.

Sunday, March 3. Well…what can we say. This is a great day to relax (everyone needs to take a day away from labor to simply rest, IMO) and watch some of the OTHER movies you’ve DVR’d.

  • 3PM The Pink Panther ’64    David Niven, Peter Sellers, Capucine.
  • 5PM Fiddler on the Roof ’71    Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey star in the wonderful film version about the travails of a Jewish milkman hoping his three daughters make good marriages—while his people are being persecuted. Fantastic movie musical; the wedding scene remains (well, until
    Goolrick's Pharmacy neon, Fredricksburg, VA. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

    Goolrick’s Pharmacy in Fredricksburg, Virginia.

    the Jew-hating constable and his men show up) one of my favourite movie weddings of all time. Marvellous classic everyone should see at least once.

Monday, March 4. Wow, a bunch of John Garfield movies where he isn’t playing characters almost utterly indistinguishable from one another! (That’s not a crack against Garfield, by the way. But if you’ve seen a LOT of his movies, especially of the romance sort, they do seem to run together in the memory. Not his fault—maybe his agent’s.)

  • 6AM Blackwell’s Island ’39    I’ve not seen this, but it sounds like the sort of flick I like—spunky reporter (the old-fashioned sort that checked his sources instead of checking the internet) Garfield does his best to expose a mobster, but ends up in prison instead. This happened to James Cagney in a movie once and it didn’t end well for him, but let’s see how this one goes! Also stars Rosemary Lane and Dick Purcell.
  • 8:45AM Saturday’s Children ’40   Only tagging this one because Claude Rains is in it and he apparently gives a marvellous performance. I’ve not seen it, though. Garfield is an investor with his head in the clouds; he marries Rains’ daughter Anne Shirley, a hard-working girl. This is the sort of Garfield film I alluded to earlier. We’ll see.
  • 12:30PM Pride of the Marines ’45    A Japanese attack leaves a young Marine permanently blinded and must readjust to life. Stars John Garfield, Eleanor Parker, Dane Clark, Ann Doran.
  • 4:45PM The Red Badge Of Courage ’51    Based on Stephen Crane’s famed Civil War novel, this stars real-life war hero Audie Murphy in the lead role as a Yankee soldier who races away from battle and struggles with guilt over his fear. Directed by John Huston.
  • 8PM Goodbye, Mr. Chips ’39    I LOOOOOVE this movie. The plot doesn’t sound all that exciting, but the writing of this film’s script is marvellous and the acting even better. Robert Donat is a rather stiff, unmerciful schoolteacher at a boys’ school—only to have his heart and demeanour entirely changed when he falls head over heels for beautiful young Greer Garson. It’s long, but it’s almost perfect. Very, very good film. I love it. Watch it.
  • 1:30AM Pride And Prejudice  ’40  Still my favourite version of Jane Austen’s story, this lush production stars Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Edna May Oliver, Edmund Gwenn, Mary Boland, Maureen O’Sullivan, Ann Rutherford—with screenwriting work done by, among others, Aldous Huxley. A real charmer.
  • 3:30AM Blossoms In The Dust ’41   This is one of those films I caught late one insomniatic night and really came to love—particularly after learning it’s based on a true story. Greer Garson turns in a marvellous, heartfelt performance as Edna Gladney, a Texan who founded an orphanage after losing her own child—and after her adopted sister kills herself upon learning her fiance’s parents will not let her, an illegitimate adoptee, marry their son. Yes. Have your tissues? Seeing how orphans are treated, she soon comes to fight for the rights of these parentless children and illegitimate ones, too, arguing “there are no illegitimate babies, only illegitimate parents”. Again: GREAT performance from Garson, who’s my birthday month Star Of The Month. Also stars Walter Pidgeon, Felix Bressart, Marsha Hunt.

The schedule on Tuesday is full of dog stories, all day long. I’ve not seen many of them, so be sure to take a look for yourself and see if there’s anything you’d like to see that I didn’t mention.

  • 1:45PM Good-Bye, My Lady ’56    I’m including this movie about a stray basenji that brings two generations together simply because it’s directed by William Wellman and stars Walter Brennan and Sidney Poitier. Those two things alone make me think it is worth watching.
  • 3:45PM The Courage Of Lassie ’46    After Ben on the hunt! Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved. saving the life of his little girl several times, Bill the collie is separated from her and sent to the Army’s War Dog training camp—and then to the Japanese battlefields. His heroic but harrowing combat experiences during there leave the dog shell-shocked and deeply traumatized (collies are very sensitive souls). Somehow, after the war, he manages to find his way back home, only to face the loss of his life. Elizabeth Taylor plays the little girl who adores and tries to rehabilitate him. One of the best tear-jerkers ever made—beautiful locations, too. But I choke up just thinking about Courage Of Lassie (no doubt in part because of the collies in my life past and present).
  • 5:45PM Old Yeller ’58    Yes, this one is hard to take, but it’s a classic for a reason. Stars Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, and Tommy Kirk. It’s funny how many people say they “hate” this movie; are we just too sheltered these days? I rather think the answer is yes. Life is, as a wise man pointed out, nasty, brutish, and short. We ought to treasure the fine moments all the more, knowing dreadful ones await.
  • 12AM Limelight ’52    Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Claire Bloom, Nigel Bruce. Sentimental-sounding movie about an elderly comic doing all he can to help a young girl break to the top after he saves her from suicide.
  • 2:30AM A Day At The Races ’37    The Marx brothers are at it again, this time trying to save a sanitarium where a pretty girl is receiving care. Groucho, Harpo, and Chico star along with Maureen O’Sullivan, Margaret Dumont, and Dorothy Dandridge.

What I’m most excited to see from Wednesday’s lineup is a James Cagney movie I’ve never seen!

  • 9AM Torrid Zone ’40    Showgirl Ann Sheridan is at the center of a battle between James Cagney and Pat O’Brien, both of whom fall for her in Puerto Rico. Or…is she being used to keep Cagney in town? Apparently this has a good mix of everything—adventure, humour, and of course romance.
  • 4PM The Unfaithful ’47    Remake of the terrific Bette Davis drama The Letter, this stars Ann Sheridan, Eve Arden, Lew Ayres, and Zachary Scott. I really like Bette’s version, so this might be worth seeing.
  • 12AM Picnic ’55    TCM celebrates the work of stunner Kim Novak tonight, live from the TCM Classic Film Festival. I’ve not seen this drama, though. Starring Novak alongside William Holden, Rosalind Russell, Arthur O’Connell, Cliff Robertson, and Betty Field, it’s about a drifter (Holden) who causes all sorts of trouble at a little Kansas town’s Labor Day picnic. Based on William Inge’s Pulitzer prize-winning play.

*whew* That’s the lineup for next week. Hope you find a few appealing movies!


2 thoughts on “TCM & Work Wednesday

  1. Omgosh, so many great ones coming up! I can not miss ‘Some Like It Hot’, I just adore Jack Lemon. It was filmed at Coronado Hotel too, so we love watching for familiarity. Have a great week!

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