TCM & (Neon) Work Wednesday

Tonquas Tribe #222 Neon sign, Troy Ohio. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

These seem to roll around too fast, don’t they? In addition to a look at the week ahead in classic films for TCM types, I’ve a couple of great neon signs from right here in Ohio to share with you. The neon above is from the Tonquas Tribe #222 in Troy, Ohio; this is a fraternal organization that boasts as its ancestors the Sons of Liberty!

March 21 has only one flick that I’m truly familiar with.

  • 12:45PM Manhattan Melodrama ’34    Hubby and I watched this for the first time several years ago, and were pretty impressed by this story about a D.A. and a gangster who began life as and remain friends. What makes this movie so good is that though we’ve all heard this plot before, and sometimes it is so saccharine you feel like you’re heading into a coma, it’s actually well done here. Stars Clark Gable, William Powell, and Myrna Loy.
  • 10PM Down to the Sea in Ships ’49    I feel as if I’ve seen and liked this. So here it is. Richard Widmark, Lionel Barrymore, and Dean Stockwell star in this remake of the ’22 silent (which may be the one I’ve seen…I once went about 6 months on but 3 hours a sleep a night during a health collapse, and enjoyed a ton of TCM!) about a whaling ship and the lives of those in the Quaker town it sails from.
  • 12:15AM Kim ’50    Errol Flynn stars in this adaptation of Kipling’s story about an orphan helping the British Army fight Indian rebels. Dean Stockwell, Paul Lukas also star.

Friday morning features Hitchcock’s I Confess (’53, 8AM), about a priest who can only clear himself of murder by violating the sanctity of the confessional. Starring Monty Clift, Anne Baxter, and Karl Malden, this is referred to as a “lesser Hitchcock”, but it sounds good to me. For something a bit goofier-sounding, at 11PM Roberto Rossellini’s The Machine That Kills Bad Peoplewhich is about a self-righteous photographer’s camera being possessed by a demon, then murdering those whose picture it takes. (Note: Not worried about this happening to my own camera, thanks.) Yup, that’s the plot! It sounds so wild—plus, it’s marked a comedy—I just have to try and remember to catch it. 

The picks for Saturday, March 23:

  • 10:30AM The Case of the Lucky Legs ’35    Warren William stars as a trying-to-stay-sober Perry Mason while trying to solve the murder of a scum-sucking beauty pageant promoter. 
  • 3PM Monte Walsh ’70    I like cowboys. I like Westerns. I like Lee Marvin. (Also, Lee Marvin with facial hair, which he really rocks in this movie.) There ya go.
  • 9:45PM Annie Oakley ’35    Barbara Stanwyck stars as “Little Sure Shot”, in this fancified and probably somewhat fictional biopic one of Ohio’s most famous residents. Preston Foster, Melvyn Douglas also star. This was Stanwyck’s first western, and it quickly became a genre she truly loved working in. I’ve never seen it, but you know I adore Stanwyck, love Westerns, and greatly admire the real Annie Oakley, whose grave I visited last fall. Looks like it’ll be a Saturday in for us!
K's Hamburger Shop in Troy, Ohio. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

Charming neon sign from K’s Hamburger Shop in Troy, Ohio. Don’t you love it?

Sunday, March 24 offers three very good movies, including two from Alfred Hitchcock.

  • 8AM Anna And The King Of Siam ’46    The Irene Dunne-Rex Harrison version, beautifully filmed with excellent performances from its leads. Linda Darnell, Lee Cobb, Gale Sondergaard also star.
  • 4PM Notorious ’46    Great Hitchcock spy tale starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains. If you’ve not seen Notorious, your film education is sorely lacking.
  • 6PM Dial M For Murder ’54    It should be fun to watch two Hitch films in a row. In this, Ray Milland decides to have his wife (Grace Kelly) murdered, but when she kills the man hired to do the deed, Milland frames her instead. (Yes, what a fine husband.) Robert Cummings also stars; John Williams as Inspector Hubbard is simply wonderful.

Monday, March 25 is dedicated to beautiful redheads!

  • 6AM Red-Headed Woman ’32    Racy indeed for its time, thanks to Jean Harlow sleeping her way to the top of society (and the company she works for, but do YOU think she wants to keep working?). Of course, the nice thing about the 30s flicks is you don’t see anything; it’s all implied, because adults know what’s going on and kids don’t need to. Harlow is a knockout to begin with, but especially in this Jazz Age romance from early in her career. Chester Morris, Una Merkel, Lewis Stone, Charles Boyer also star.
  • 9AM The Strawberry Blonde ’41   It’s been a too long since I’ve seen this comedy about a dentist who remains head-over-heels for a gold-digger well after marrying a good woman. Great leads—James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth, Alan Hale, Jack Carson, Una O’Connor, and George Reeves.

TCM is screening Sunrise At Campobello, starring Greer Garson as Eleanor Roosevelt, but I must confess that I only lasted about 20 minutes when I last tried to view it and just couldn’t take it, despite my love for Greer; just not for me (and in all honesty, it has nothing to do with my distaste for FDR). It starts at 1:30AM, so if you want to see it, you at least know now when it is on.

Just one for Tuesday, March 26The Asphalt Jungle at 6AM (what?!). Classic jewel heist flick starring Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe (who is very good) and Marilyn Monroe in a bit part, all directed by John Huston. Just one…but what a one, right?

Cadillac Ranch Tailfins in Amarillo, Texas. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved

Famous Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

Finally, we reach Wednesday, March 27. I suppose I should note now that I may not be doing this post for next week—it’s a bit time-consuming to put together, as you can probably imagine, and since it’s Easter weekend (my birthday falling on that grand holiday this year), I rather want to take a little time off. That said, I may just pick the top 5 of the week. We’ll see. Anyhow, Wednesday! I’ve not seen any of these, but they all sound good.

  • 9AM The Spy In Black ’39   Conrad Veidt, a favourite of mine, stars in this WWI war drama set in Scotland. Veidt is a German officer and spy trying to sink the entire British fleet; Valerie Hobson is a double agent with a schoolteacher front. It seems there’s a love triangle, too, though it seems safe to guess it won’t work out perfectly. Loosely based on the J. Storer Clouston novel. AKA U-Boat 29.
  • 12:45PM I Know Where I’m Going ’45    Romance about a young lady determined to marry for money, only to find herself stuck in a coastal Scottish town, falling for a local. Apparently, this is a very charming movie. Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney, Petula Clark star.
  • 1AM Thunder Road ’58    I’ve been liking the work of Robert Mitchum more and more lately. He plays a Korean war veteran and moonshiner doing his best to avoid both the Feds and the Chicago Mob. Filmed in Asheville, North Carolina, this is still popular at drive-ins!  Gene Barry, Sandra Knight, and Robert Mitchum’s son James also star.

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