Welcome to another TCM and Work Wednesday! This weekly post got its start when I saw another blogger doing “Work Wednesdays”, where she’d share a home or garden project every Wednesday. In an effort to give you some value in this, my photography blog, though, I thought it would be nice to take a look at some of the highlights in Turner Classic Movies’ schedule for the forthcoming week.
As someone who shoots classic and retro Americana and is also often told she “looks like you just stepped out of an old movie”, from antique cars to Route 66, classic movies seem to fit in perfectly—plus I really do love them so. Modern movies lack a lot, in my opinion; a lot of flash without good writing or heart.
I find that those who like my photography tend to think the same way about Hollywood, or they at least also really love classic film; it seems like a perfect fit. So, every Wednesday, barring a blizzard or cake explosion in the kitchen (and usually even then), I share the upcoming highlights (bolding the best picks), along with a few of my recently released photos, or simply those I feel like sharing. Also, if it’s one of my photos but not in my shop—please ask. Just today I FedExed out a 20×30 of Ripe, which I just released a couple of weeks ag0—someone saw it on Twitter, asked, and we were off to the races.
Ready to look at the next week on TCM?
- 12PM A Wicked Woman ’34 Starring a few European actors (as well as a very, very young Robert Taylor in a brief role) including Mady Christians, Wicked Woman tells the story of a mother who, late in the pregnancy of her fourth child, kills her husband in a scuffle. The scuffle is over his attempting to abscond with their money and eldest son, since the sheriff is on his tail. Understandably horrified, the mother hides the body, leaves town, and does her best to raise her children by herself , with no one knowing her horrible secret. Eventually, though, she falls in love with a good man…only when it is time to reckon with the deed of her past. I’ve not seen this, but it sounds good and gets fair reviews, so it might be worth a viewing. Jean Parker and Charles Bickford also star.
- 2:45 Night Song ’48 The cast is what has me intrigued—Dana Andrews, Ethel Barrymore, Hoagy Carmichael, Merle Oberon. Be warned that this is a soap, pure and simple: socialite Oberon falls for blind classical pianist Andrews and pretends to be blind herself and goes to other great lengths to win his love. Barrymore is apparently the precursor to the Dowager Countess in Downton, the witty aunt pushing things along with her bon mots and knowing smiles.
- 10:15PM Love Me Tonight ’32 Charming musical featuring some delightful Rodgers & Hart songs performed by Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, the former a lowly tailor and the latter the princess he falls in love with. Marvellous photography. Also stars Charlie Ruggles, Myrna Loy, C. Aubrey Smith. Sounds like a confection to me!
I’ve only seen one of the movies from Friday, March 8, but it does seem to be a day full of terrific thrillers.
- 7:30AM Stage Fright ’50 Not Hitchcock’s best, but enjoyable story about a young actress who decides to test her chops by going undercover in order to prove a man was murdered by a famous singer. Stars
Marlene Dietrich, Jane Wyman, Michael Wilding, Richard Todd, Alastair Sim.
- 11:15AM The Narrow Margin ’52 A tough-as-nails cop might be up against it for the last time when he’s made, against his will, to transport a mobster’s widow to trial via train and every gangster in danger of being named comes after the pair. Stars Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White.
- 2AM Man in the Attic ’53 Sounds good just because it stars a “full-blast” Jack Palance as none other than Jack the Ripper…and his landlady, suspecting his identity, is (understandably) unnerved. Who wouldn’t want to see that performance? Constance Smith also stars.
- 6:30PM Suddenly ’54 Frank Sinatra is reputedly marvellous as the head of a group of killers for hire who take over a home so they can plot an assassination. Maltin calls it a “white-knuckle thriller” and praises the remainder of the cast, too—Sterling Hayden, James Gleason, Nancy Gates, Will Bouchey, Paul Frees, Kim Charney, and Christopher Dark.
- 8PM Rome, Open City ’46 Roberto Rossellini directs this movie about the Italian underground fighting back against the Nazis near the end of WWII.
Saturday, March 9 has some good entertainment for daytime…and GREAT entertainment in prime time. You see, TCM is once again showing one of my very favourites…an example of nearly flawless storytelling. Today’s Hollywood would implode if they actually tried to match it.
- 8AM The Littlest Rebel ’35 A real crowd pleaser, starring Shirley Temple as an irresistible little gal who earns the affection of a Union officer so that her father, a Confederate officer, is safe when he returns to visit her. In the meantime, her own father risks everything to head back home and see her. Some great tap dancing in this, one of Shirley’s best movies! Also stars John Boles, Jack Holt, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.
- 1:15PM Kit Carson ’40 Carson the frontiersman fights Indians for land and another man over the woman he loves in this Western.
Jon Hall, Dana Andrews, Ward Bond.
- 3PM Captain From Castile ’47 After his family’s abuse at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition, young Tyrone Power heads to Mexico with Cortez with revenge on his mind. Beautiful score. Also stars Cesar Romero, Jean Peters, Lee Cobb.
- 8PM Grand Hotel ’32 You know I adore this film. Just watch it. Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt, Ferdinand Gottschalk.
- 3:30AM Rules of the Game ’39 A little It Happened One Night (well, okay, just the airman bit), a little Upstairs, Downstairs from director Jean Renoir. A French country estate is the scene of all sorts of intrigue for masters and servants alike just before the war begins, though it centers on a famous Lindbergh-like pilot’s insistence on chasing a married woman. By the way, the beautiful estate? Belongs to the woman’s husband.
- 6PM Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation ’62 Jimmy Stewart is the head of a large vacationing family in this lighthearted, full-of-laughs comedy…because as I’m sure you can guess, not everything goes according to plan! Also stars Maureen O’Hara and Fabian.
- 8PM Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison ’57 It has been longer than I care to confess since I’ve seen this charming little dramedy about a nun and a marine shipwrecked on an island swarming with Japanese soldiers in the Pacific during WWII, but I recall it being delightful. Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum star. Kerr could, I think, be surprisingly good in a comedic role—her ice-queen arch looks were often betrayed by a sparkle in her eyes and a barely-perceptible curve of the lips. Also, Dad
likes this one. So it has to be good.
- 3:45AM The Big Sleep ’46 Bogey and Bacall star in a ridiculously convoluted murder story. Even writer Raymond Chandler didn’t know who the killer was…but this is fun to watch. Ignore the plot and just hop on for the ride.
Monday, March 11 is the second Monday night featuring movies starring the beautiful Greer Garson. Though everyone is familiar with Mrs. Miniver, I’m most happy to see Random Harvest on the lineup.
- 11AM Murder, My Sweet ’44 Seems a bit early in the day for this fine noir, but just the same…This is a terrific flick! Stars Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley, and Otto Kruger.
- 2PM The Horn Blows At Midnight ’45 Set up Jack Benny as an angel sent to earth in order to blow the trumpet that will destroy it all, and I’ve no doubt you get a very entertaining movie. Also stars Alexis Smith, Dolores Moran, Guy Kibbee, Robert Blake.
- 8PM Mrs. Miniver ’42 Greer Garson is the star of this multiple Oscar-winner about a family surviving the first days of the second World War in England. Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, Dame May Whitty, Reginald Owen, Henry Travers also star.
- 10:30PM Random Harvest ’42 Unbelievably romantic and bittersweet movie about a woman who loves and marries a man who happens to be suffering from amnesia due to the events of WWI. The script—and the superb performances from stars Greer Garson and Ronald Colman—will put you through the wringer. Maybe a bit sentimental, but I love it just the same. Beautiful film, and never has the English language been spoken more mellifluously. Henry Travers, Reginald Owen, Susan Peters, Ann Richards also star.
- 12:45AM Madame Curie ’43 TCM’s Star Of The Month, Greer Garson, is the title lady, a woman struggling to save her marriage while also conducting her ambitious scientific experiments. Walter Pidgeon and Henry Travers co-star.
Tuesday, March 12 is…um…a great night for catching up on DVRd movies (providing there’s not a good hockey game on).
- 3:15PM Air Hawks ’35 Listed because this sounds SO WEIRD. Just wackadoodle. It begins with serious drama about competing pilots…then a mad scientist and death ray show up. No joke. And we all need weird in our lives, don’t we? Weird is fun. Stars Ralph Bellamy and real-life ace Wiley Post.
- 10PM The Westerner ’40 Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Dana Andrews, and Fred Stone star in this western.
At last we reach Wednesday, March 13. It, too, seems to be slim pickings.
- 6:15AM A Streetcar Named Desire ’51 Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden star in this film version of Tennessee Williams’ play. Hard to watch because of the subject matter—especially at 6AM—but it’s very well done.
- 10:30AM Suddenly, Last Summer ’59 Another from Tennessee Williams, here featuring wealthy matron Katharine Hepburn trying to have her niece Liz Taylor lobotomized…after Taylor witnesses Hepburn’s son’s murder. Montgomery Clift is the neurosurgeon; adapted by Gore Vidal. TCM tells me that Maggie Smith starred in a 1992 TV remake—I’m a big fan of Smith, so that might be worth digging up.
That’s the week on TCM! Hope there’s something you like.