Sunday, May 17, 2009

TCM Highlights in August

Yesterday, I mentioned to The Classic Maiden in the comments section on James Mason’s centennial that I had taken a peek at what The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ had tentatively scheduled for the dog days of August when an afterthought kind of hit me: perhaps I should share this knowledge with other faithful TDOY readers as well. Here’s the link, and it’s not a bad idea to bookmark it because by changing the “8” (in the 8/1/2009 part of the addy) to a “9” you’ll soon get a scoop on the month of September as well.

TCM’s July schedule will focus on directors, and the August schedule (as of this posting) will concentrate on stars, with an entire day devoted to various and sundry performers and a representation of their films. I’ve jotted down a few (believe me, this is but the tip of the iceberg) and am presenting them here for your edification, highlighting a rarity or two that you may want to program the DVR-TiVo-or whatever recording device strikes your fancy in advance.

Marion Davies (August 3) – One of the movies currently available at the Warner Archive is The Red Mill (1927), a silent film based on the famed Victor Herbert-Henry Martyn Blossom operetta (adapted for the silver screen by Frances Marion). I added it to my Wish List, but I can now cross it off—of course, my main interest in watching the film is that it was directed by William Goodrich (known to silent film fans and comedy buffs as Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle)—because it will kick off Davies’ film festival at 6am. TCM also has scheduled what I believe (of the Davies films I’ve seen) to be her best vehicle, Show People (1928) at 8pm and a favorite (which co-stars Bing Crosby) from 1933, Going Hollywood at 12:30am.

Harold Lloyd (August 5) – While it seems sort of redundant to schedule another day of Lloyd films after celebrating his centennial birthday last month, it is Lloyd we’re talking about and to be honest, the lineup for this date concentrates more on his silent output like Safety Last! (1923), Why Worry? (1923), The Freshman (1925) and my favorite of all of “The Third Genius’” silents, The Kid Brother (1927). But the one you’ll want to program for is Lloyd’s first talking picture, Welcome Danger (1929), scheduled for 9:30pm. (Why the Region 1 DVD release The Harold Lloyd Collection doesn’t contain this film while the Region 2 set does is a grave injustice done to Lloyd fans everywhere.)

Clark Gable (August 12) – For those of you curious as to whether I like any other Gable films besides The Hucksters (1947), TCM is showing Manhattan Melodrama (1934, 8am), China Seas (9:45am), Idiot’s Delight (1939, 3pm—I can’t resist The King’s version of Puttin’ On the Ritz) and Red Dust (1932, 8pm). Now we’ll have no more talk about it. (By the way—they’ve also got Strange Interlude [1932, 6am] scheduled…which is a pretty dirty trick to do to those people who ponied up $19.95 to the Warner Archive for a copy of this elusive film.)

Gloria Grahame (August 13) – Close friends and faithful TDOY readers are well aware of my burning cinematic passion for the Gal with the Novocaine Lip, so I’m looking forward to taping and watching Blonde Fever (1944, 6am—check out the description: “A woman fights to save her husband from a sluttish waitress.” Roll that baby!), Merton of the Movies (1947, 9am), Roughshod (1949, 10:30am) and A Woman’s Secret (1949, 4:30pm—I’ve seen this, but it’s been a while). G-L-O-R-I-A…

Sidney Poitier (August 14) – Raquel of Out of the Past blog fame reviewed the box set The Sidney Poitier Collection back in March and I mentioned that since I was really interested in owning Edge of the City (1957) I couldn’t see myself ponying up the rest of the scratch for the collection. I’ll get an opportunity to do this when TCM shows City at 2:00am, and I’m also going to throw in Paris Blues (1961, another Marty Ritt film at 8:30am) and Something of Value (1957, 12 noon)—because Raquel’s review has made me want to see this.

Jennifer Jones (August 17) – Naturally, I will try to catch Madame Bovary (1949)—the film that inspired this post will be shown at 6:00am—but I’m also curious to check out Good Morning, Miss Dove (1955, 1:30am) because a fellow movie buff has been nagging me to see this. The one that I would like to pass along as a recommendation—it’s on DVD in case you miss it—is We Were Strangers (1949, 8:00am), a movie I bought a long time ago and reviewed when TDOY was residing in the Salon Blogs ghetto. I’m predisposed to be enthusiastic about any movie featuring John Garfield but I thought Jones was really outstanding in this one, making a more convincing Latina than her Pearl Chavez in Duel in the Sun (1946).

Red Skelton (August 19) – “You don’t look right, boy…you just don’t look right…” Skelton fans are going to be treated to a regular bonanza of his features; I’m pumped about the opportunity to grab the two films that I consider his best—A Southern Yankee (1948, 2:00pm) and The Yellow Cab Man (1950, 5:0pm)—not to mention completing my “Whistling” collection with Whistling in Dixie (1942, 9:30pm) and Whistling in Brooklyn (1943, 2:30am). Other fun vehicles will include Skelton’s debut feature film, Having Wonderful Time (1938, 6:00am), DuBarry Was a Lady (1943, 10:45am) and the always popular The Fuller Brush Man (1948, 11:00pm).

Miriam Hopkins (August 20) – I’m not quite certain how can you have a Hopkins festival without The Mating Season (1951)—or maybe it’s just sour grapes on my part because I’d really like to have a copy of this on DVD—but TCM will be showing The Richest Girl in the World (1934, 8:15am—Joel McCrea and Fay Wray? I am so there.), Virginia City (1940, 4:00pm), The Heiress (1949, 6:00pm) and Design for Living (1933, 11:15pm—the last time I saw this was on AMC, so you imagine how long that’s been). (Ms. Hopkins, by the way, is a Savannah, GA native—I just thought I’d slip that in.)

Sterling Hayden (August 22) – There aren’t many Hayden films I haven’t already seen but TCM is trotting out the 1957 inspiration for Airplane! (1980), Zero Hour! (2:30pm) and the 1949 noir Manhandled (with Dottie Lamour and Dan Duryea) at 10:00pm. There’s also a scheduled showing of Loving (1970, 4:30am) which I’ll watch only so I can say I’ve seen something by Irwin Kershner other than The Empire Strikes Back (1980). (Okay, I'm just having you on...I have seen The Hoodlum Priest [1961] and The Flim-Flam Man [1967].}

Fredric March (August 24) – TCM is apparently getting permission from 20th Century-Fox to show my favorite of all the versions of Les Miserables (1935—Charles Laughton…need I say more?) at 8:00pm, but I’m really looking forward to seeing again one of March’s most underrated films, One Foot in Heaven (1941)—a movie whose subject matter would make it a perfect double-feature companion piece to Stars in My Crown (1950).

Ida Lupino (August 27) – A great line-up of films by “the poor man’s Bette Davis”—but what I’m really looking forward to is Out of the Fog (1941, 11:30am) and Women’s Prison (1955, 2:30pm), a movie which pretty much had me at the title. But I do want to tell you—if you haven’t seen The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939) yet, it’ll be shown at 8:45am and features not only Ida but a gal named Rita Hayworth.

Jean Arthur (August 30) – Finally, no great film festival would be complete without a tribute to one of my favorite actresses—the films scheduled on that day are all ones I’ve seen, but I will be on the lookout for The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936, 10:15pm) (a Thin Man copy that I have seen already and that many people have asked me to watch again because I wasn’t too kind to it the first time around) and If You Could Only Cook (1935, 11:45pm).

Keep in mind that the times for all the films I’ve mentioned in this post are EDT…and that last-minute rearrangements of the schedule by TCM could very well happen. With that out of the way…I’ll see you at the movies!


Linda said...

> I’m also curious to check out Good
> Morning, Miss Dove

OMG, OMG, PLEASE tell me it's letterboxed, please tell me it's letterboxed...I love this movie and the pan and scan is terrible.

If it is and now if only TCM or Fox Movie Channel or one of the other uncut movie channels like HDNET or MGM would show 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET in proper perspective I would be a happy camper indeed.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I just checked the schedule. There's no indication of it being letterboxed. :-(

Classic Maiden said...

What marvelous schedules they have lined-up the coming months - thanks for the tip ;). If I lived in United States my recorder would sure be busy.

I’m especially glad to see Paris Blues on the planned list.

That reminds me, that I soon need to see my copy of The Richest Girl in the World - with Hopkins, McCrea and Fay Wray all in one movie, I’m so there….

Out of the Fog was the first film I ever saw with Ida Lupino… Such a great film, but what really impressed me was John Garfield - he plays the role of the gangster with such menace….

best wishes,

Pam said...

TCM's annual August Summer Under the Stars is second only to their annual 31 Days of Oscar.

Anonymous said...

Ivan, have you read Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool by Peter Turner. It describes Gloria G's last years.

Gloria's best role has to be in my favourite film noir of all time: In A Lonely Place. But she's also great in The Big Heat, Crossfire and Lang's under-rated 'Human Desire'.

A little known Ida Lupino gem is 'Road House' where she gets to sing a couple of numbers.

John Garfield - victim of HUAC and arguably of antisemitism. Force Of Evil is a work of genius. Script written in written in iambic pentameter.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Ivan, have you read Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool by Peter Turner. It describes Gloria G's last years.Anonymous, I've seen all the films you mentioned in your comments but I've yet to read Turner's book (I think someone else recommended it to me--the Self-Made Siren, mayhaps). I do agree with you 100% on the best Grahame role...although The Big Heat comes mighty close. ("Hup Debby, hup Debby, hup Debby, hup Debby...")