Sunday, January 30, 2011

Coming distractions: April 2011 on TCM

I had a feeling that if I kept checking the bookmark I set for TCM’s tentative schedule it would eventually pay off—and it did yesterday morning, as The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ (ka-ching!) has their April lineup posted…and as always, the films listed are subject to change at their merest whim.  I have a sneaking suspicion that my esteemed blogging colleague Laura of Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings fame will be doing cartwheels of joy (though when you think about it, I don’t recall ever seeing anybody do a cartwheel of sorrow) at the news that the channel’s Star of the Month is her longtime pretend boyfriend, Ray Milland—who’ll be featured in a total of 29 films (thirty if you count the Screen Director’s Playhouse episode) every Tuesday night throughout April.  Here’s the lineup:

April 5, Tuesday
10:00pm The Crystal Ball (1943)
11:30pm A Woman of Distinction (1950)
02:45am Let's Do It Again (1953)
04:30am Irene (1940)

April 6, Wednesday
06:15am The Bachelor Father (1931)
08:00am Polly of the Circus (1932)

April 12, Tuesday
08:00pm So Evil My Love (1948)
10:00pm Dial M For Murder (1954)
12:00am The Safecracker (1958)
02:00am Ministry of Fear (1944)
03:30am Hostile Witness (1968)
05:15am Payment Deferred (1932)

April 13, Wednesday
06:45am Blonde Crazy (1931)

April 19, Tuesday
08:00pm Kitty (1945)
10:00pm Reap the Wild Wind (1942)
12:15am Beau Geste (1939)
03:45am The Uninvited (1944) (also showing on April 7th at 8pm)
05:30am Screen Director’s Playhouse: “Markheim” (04/11/56)

April 20, Wednesday
06:00am Wise Girl (1937)

April 26, Tuesday
08:00pm The Lost Weekend (1945)
10:00pm Close to My Heart (1951)
11:45pm High Flight (1957)
01:15am Night Into Morning (1951)
02:45am A Life of Her Own (1950)
04:45am The Man Who Played God (1932)

April 27, Wednesday
06:15am Strangers May Kiss (1931)
07:30am Just a Gigolo (1931)

I was kind of disappointed to see some of Ray’s classic forays into B-picture villainy left off this list, particularly his nasty turn in Frogs (1972)…and where the heck is Escape to Witch Mountain (1975; I know TCM has this, they show it all the time)?  There’s a few movies on here that I’m stoked about seeing; I haven’t watched Reap the Wild Wind since it was on AMC (and I guess you know I don’t have to go there) and I have So Evil My Love on an unobtainable VHS somewhere in the storage area annex of the dusty Thrilling Days of Yesteryear archives, so it will be nice to revisit that one as well.  (It would be positively jaw-dropping if the channel could get its hands on some of the rare and early titles in the Milland catalog—like We’re Not Dressing [1934], Four Hours to Kill! [1935], The Glass Key [1935], The Jungle Princess [1936] and Easy Living [1937].)

TCM’s other big event for the month is a festival of films with a Civil War theme—or as the people here in the Peach State who didn’t read the newspaper article about the South losing like to call it, “the woah of Nawthun aggreshun.”  Every Monday and Wednesday night in April Bobby Osbo (and a guest TBD, I’ll wager) will focus on movies dealing with the War Between the States…and though as a dedicated Yankee (on my mother’s side) I usually stare at flicks like these with only a modicum of interest there is some pretty good stuff scheduled…including a great lineup of silent films on the 11th (they’ll be re-showing Thomas H. Ince’s The Coward, which Chris Edwards at Silent Volume recommended to me and I’m most glad that he did).  Here’s what’s on tap:

April 4, Monday
08:00pm Gone With the Wind (1939)
12:00am Raintree County (1957)

April 6, Wednesday
08:00pm Friendly Persuasion (1956)
10:30pm Band of Angels (1957)
12:45am Of Human Hearts (1938)
02:45am Little Women (1949)

April 11, Monday
08:00pm The Birth of a Nation (1915)
11:30pm The Coward (1915)
01:00am The General (1927)
02:30am Grandma's Boy (1922)
03:30am Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927)

April 13, Wednesday
08:00pm A Southern Yankee (1948)
10:00pm The Littlest Rebel (1935)
11:30pm Advance to the Rear (1964)
01:15am Golden Girl (1951)
03:15am General Spanky (1936)

April 18, Monday
08:00pm The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
10:30pm Major Dundee (1965)
01:00am The Horse Soldiers (1959)
03:15am Escape from Fort Bravo (1953)
05:00am A Time for Killing (1967)

April 20, Wednesday
08:00pm Alvarez Kelly (1966)
10:00pm Virginia City (1940)
12:15am Siege at Red River (1954)
03:30am Hangman's Knot (1952)
05:00am Devil’s Doorway (1950)

April 25, Monday
08:00pm Glory (1989)
10:15pm Gettysburg (1993)

April 26, Wednesday
08:00pm Abraham Lincoln (1930)
09:45pm Tennessee Johnson (1942)
11:45pm Drango (1957)
03:30am Count Three and Pray (1955)

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the other goodies in store for us loyal TCM viewers for the rest of April, shall we?

April 1, Friday – My life’s philosophy can be boiled down to simply this…there are two kinds of people in the world—those who love Jane Powell, and those who—oh, who am I kidding?  How could you not love Janie?  But if by some odd chance I’m wrong about this, you might want to find some other way to spend April Fool’s because if the Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise Ms. Powell will turn 81 on that day and TCM will mark the occasion with showings of Small Town Girl (1953; 6am), Three Daring Daughters (1948; 8am), Nancy Goes To Rio (1950; 10am), Two Weeks With Love (1950; 12noon), Rich, Young and Pretty (1951; 2pm), Hit The Deck (1955; 4pm) and Three Sailors and a Girl (1953; 6pm).

Later that evening, one of Powell’s co-stars from Two Weeks with Love—Debbie Reynolds—gets a night of her own with a lineup that spotlights Tammy and the Bachelor (1957; 8pm), Mary, Mary (1963; 10pm) and The Mating Game (1959; 12:15am).  After this trio of Reynolds films, TCM Underground will unspool a pair of Joseph Losey-directed films, Secret Ceremony (1968) and These are the Damned (1963) at 2 and 4am, respectively…but Boom! (1968), a Losey joint that TCM had at one time penciled in and then scrubbed continues to be MIA.

April 2, Saturday – April marks the final month for TCM’s showing of the longest-running feature film series in movie history (48 in all): The Bowery Boys; Looking for Danger (1957) airs at 10:30am, with Up in Smoke (1957) the following week (April 9) and the final Boys opus, In the Money (1958) on the 16th.  So what does TCM have planned for that time slot thereafter?  Buck Rogers in the 25th Century!!!  You read that right; on April 23 the channel shows the first two chapters of the 1939 Universal serial, “Tomorrow’s World” (11am) and “Tragedy on Saturn” (11:30am)…and then the week after Chapters 3 (“The Enemy’s Stronghold” at 11am) and 4 (“The Sky Patrol” at 11:30am).

TCM will also start on this day another popular movie series in the Tarzan films; the inaugural Lord Greystoke epic, Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) gets a showing at 12 noon.  Then in the weeks to follow at that same time you can see Tarzan and His Mate (1934; April 9), Tarzan Escapes (1936; April 16), Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939; April 23) and Tarzan’s Secret Treasure (1941; April 30).

Later on TCM Essentials, an 8pm showing of the 1962 classic The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (a great little movie, by the way) kicks off a festival of films starring the distinguished thesp Tom Courtenay—it’s Billy Liar (1963) at 10pm, followed by The Dresser (1983; 12mid), Otley (1968; 2:15am) and Private Potter (1962; 4am).

April 3, Sunday – Will I need to remind Stacia to record Black Narcissus (1947) at 12 noon?  (Turning over 8-ball) It reads: “Signs point to yes.”

April 4, Monday – It’s Anthony Perkins’ natal anniversary, but for reasons unexplained TCM doesn’t get the ball rolling until 10:30am with The Actress (1953).  (I wonder if this means they’ll want a late check-out.  Get it?  Check-out?  Anybody?  Bueller?)  This is followed by Green Mansions (1959; 12:15pm), Tall Story (1960; 2pm), Goodbye Again (1961; 3:45pm) and Five Miles to Midnight (1963; 6pm).

A good while back me mate Matthew Coniam composed a great blog post on British comedy institution The Crazy Gang…and while my first inclination was to see if I could acquire some of their films via Region 2 DVD, my wallet argued vociferously against such a notion.  So I’m glad I waited; two of the Gang’s cinematic achievements, The Frozen Limits (1939) and Gasbags (1941), will air after the Civil War movies at 3am and 4:30am respectively.

April 5, Tuesday – It’s Macon, GA native Melvyn Douglas’ turn to blow out some candles and while I never really warmed to Mel’s work until he got much older (movies like Hud [1963] and The Candidate [1972], for example) TCM will show a B-picture I’ve been on the lookout for at 5:15pm, Tell No Tales (1939).  The other films to be shown are The Vampire Bat (1933; 6am), Prestige (1932; 7:15am), Dangerous Corner (1934; 8:30am), She Married Her Boss (1935; 9:45am), And So They Were Married (1936; 11:30am), Theodora Goes Wild (1936; 12:45pm), I'll Take Romance (1937; 2:30pm), Good Girls Go to Paris (1939; 4pm), and On the Loose (1951; 6:30pm).  (Check out this description for Vampire Bat: “Villagers suspect the town simpleton of being a vampire.”  “Hey, Skeeter—Rayford don’t seem to be too tightly wrapped…you suppose he could be one of the blood-suckin’ undead?”)

April 6, Wednesday – More cake and ice cream will be on hand when screen great Walter Huston is feted with a birthday tribute that starts at 9:15am with Dodsworth (1936), and that’s followed by The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941; 11am), American Madness (1932; 1pm), The Criminal Code (1931; 2:30pm), Kongo (1932; 4:15pm) and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948; 5:45pm).

April 7, Thursday – Looks like I picked the wrong month to go on that diet.  It’s TDOY idol James Garner’s turn in the birthday chair with the following films on tap: Boys' Night Out (1962; 6:30am), The Wheeler Dealers (1963; 8:30am), The Americanization of Emily (1964; 10:15am), 36 Hours (1965; 1:15pm), Grand Prix (1966; 3:15pm) and Mister Buddwing (1966; 6:15pm).  There’ll also be a showing of Private Screenings: James Garner (2001) at 12:15pm.

April 8, Friday – It’s Mary Pickford’s birthday, and TCM celebrates with two of her my very favorites of her silent films: The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917; 6am) and Sparrows (1926; 7:15am).  Unfortunately, what follows is a sterling example of why the Academy Awards are a joke—Pickford’s Oscar-winning turn in Coquette (1929; 8:45am).

I guess that must be all the Pickford vehicles TCM has permission to show because the channel then turns things over to the delightfully deadpan Virginia O’Brien for a retrospective of her work: Hullabaloo (1940; 10:45am), Ship Ahoy (1942; 12:15pm), Du Barry Was a Lady (1943; 2pm), Meet the People (1944; 3:45pm), The Great Morgan (1946; 5:30pm) and Merton of the Movies (1947; 6:30pm).  (Why they do this is a puzzler—O’Brien’s birthday is April 18.)

So by now you’re probably thinking: What could possibly top this Virginia O’Brien salute?  Why, a mini-festival starring French actress Suzanne Georgette Charpentier—better known by her nom de screen as Annabella (and also at one-time Mrs. Tyrone Power).  Wings of the Morning (1937) kicks things off at 8pm, followed by The Baroness and the Butler (1938; 10pm), Le Million (1931; 11:30am) and Bridal Suite (1939; 1:00am).

(Oh, check out this description for Galaxy of Terror [1981], a TCM Underground movie scheduled at 2:15am: “Members of a space mission are attacked by their deepest fears.”  I guess this means I would have to go mano a mano with a Margaret O’Brien film festival.)

April 9, SaturdayTCM Essentials’ showing of Splendor in the Grass (1961; 8pm) can only mean that more of director Elia Kazan’s oeuvre isn’t far behind; The Sea of Grass (1947; 10:15pm), America, America (1963; 12:30am) and A Face in the Crowd (1957; 3:30am) bolster this hypothesis.

April 10, Sunday – Something for everyone—a comedy tonight!  The fun begins at 8pm with a two-film tribute to one of my comedy heroes, Phil Silvers (“Glad to see ya!”)—A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), followed by Top Banana (1954) at 10. 

Then TCM’s Sunday Silent Nights gets into the act with Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus (1928) at midnight, accompanied by his 1919 short A Day’s Pleasure at 1:30am

TCM then journeys across the pond for a showing of French clown Jacques Tati’s Jour De Fete (1949) at 2am…and then winds up the evening with two movies from one of my favorite Goons, Spike Milligan—Postman’s Knock (1962; 3:30am) and Invasion Quartet (1961; 5am).  (“It’s all rather confusing, really…”)

April 12, Tuesday – Ever have one of those days where you’d just rather sit around and watch Ann Miller tap dance?  Seriously?  I thought I was the only one!  Well, let’s throw caution to the winds and play hooky with a film tribute that starts at 6am with Stage Door (1937), and continues throughout the day with Room Service (1938; 7:45am), Tarnished Angel (1938; 9:15am), Too Many Girls (1940; 10:30am), Watch the Birdie (1950; 12noon), Texas Carnival (1951; 1:15pm), Two Tickets to Broadway (1951; 2:45pm), Kiss Me Kate (1953; 4:45pm) and Eve Knew Her Apples (1945; 6:45pm).

April 13, Wednesday – The classic movie gods, outraged by the Margaret O’Brien joke I cracked a few paragraphs ago, get their revenge by cursing my TV with a Shirley Temple festival.  I find myself incapable of turning off the TV (it's kind of a nightmarish Twilight Zone scenario) due to this bad juju as the films Little Miss Marker (1934; 8:15am), Poor Little Rich Girl (1936; 9:45am), Heidi (1937; 11:15am), The Little Princess (1939; 12:45pm), Kathleen (1941; 2:30pm) and Since You Went Away (1944; 4pm) are showcased.

Since TCM sagely knows that their younger viewing audience is up at three in the morning (well, that’s usually when the Chuck-E-Cheese’s begin closing) they’ve scheduled the Bert Wheeler & Robert Woolsey comedy Kentucky Kernels (1934) at 4:30am, right after General Spanky.  (Both movies, as you may have guessed, feature Our Gang member George “Spanky” McFarland.)

April 14, Thursday – Julie Christie and Rod Steiger share a birthday today and since both thesps worked together in Doctor Zhivago (1965), you can watch that film classic at 10:45am.  Before Zhivago, however, Julie’s in the spotlight with Far From the Madding Crowd (1967; 6am) and Billy Liar (1963; 9am); then TCM turns the afternoon over to Rod with The Loved One (1965; 2:45pm) and In the Heat of the Night (1967; 5pm).

TCM will then show The Glass Key (1942) at 8pm.  Will I be able to turn this off should I happen to be watching?  (Turning over 8-ball) It reads: “Outlook not so good.”

April 15, Friday – If you were wondering when TCM was going to pick the proper time to showcase films about British prisoners of war, then whoever had the income tax deadline wins the pool.  The mini-festival of POW films kicks off with The Wooden Horse (1950) at 8 pm, followed by the 1955 classic The Colditz Story at 10 pm and Breakout (1959) at 12 midnight.

But before that gets underway, TCM rolls out at 7:30pm an installment of Screen Director’s Playhouse that didn’t make the cut of the January Hal Roach salute: “It’s Always Sunday” (01/11/56) starring Dennis O’Keefe and Fay Wray and directed by Allan Dwan.

April 16, Saturday – “I’m drivin’ in my car/I turn on the radio…”  TCM schedules a mess o’ film titles with the word “fire” beginning at 8pm with my favorite Barbara Stanwyck film, Ball of Fire (1941) on TCM Essentials.  After that, the lineup will be Crossfire (1947; 10pm), Fire Down Below (1957; 11:30pm), Ring of Fire (1961; 1:30am), Green Fire (1954; 3:15am) and Cross Fire (1933; 5am)—the last one being different from the 1947 version in that it’s a Tom Keene B-western with slow burn maestro Edgar Kennedy in the cast.

April 17, Sunday – TCM’s Silent Sunday Nights has the 1921 Alla Nazimova-Rudolph Valentino version of Camille on tap at midnight, so I’ll definitely have to fire up the DVD recorder for that.  A pair of films by Chantal Akerman—a director I’ve read about but, sadly, I’m not familiar with her work—follow: Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) at 2am and Hotel Monterey (1972) at 5:30.

April 19, Tuesday – A couple of B-pictures kind of caught my eye; the first entitled Midnight Court (1937; 11:45am), which is described as “a district attorney sells out to the mob until he falls for an honest girl.”  TDOY fave Ann Dvorak is in it, and so is character great John Litel—he plays the lawyer, and I’m sure you’ll agree this is quite a stretch for him.  The other is Exclusive Story (1936) at 3:30pm, with Franchot Tone as a legal eagle out to expose a numbers racket.  Joseph Calleia is in the cast, and while I don’t want to say anything before all the facts are in I’ll bet dollars to donuts he’s one of the bad guys.

A Man to Remember (1938) gets an airing at 6:30pm—I wrote a good while back that I thought this remake (written by Dalton Trumbo and directed by Garson Kanin) of 1933’s One Man’s Journey was superior to the original…though I’m certainly willing to consider this might be because I saw Remember first.  Tell you what—Journey is scheduled on April 15th at 1:15pm; watch ‘em both and then judge for yourself.

April 20, Wednesday – Happy birthday to the third genius: Harold Lloyd.  Honest to my grandma, you simply cannot go wrong with such silent comedy classics as Safety Last! (1923; 7:15am), Girl Shy (1924; 8:30am) and The Freshman (1925; 10am)…but as for Welcome Danger (1929; 11:30am)…well, there’s an alternate silent version of Lloyd’s talkie debut out there that I’d like to see one day because it’s supposed to be an improvement.

April 21, Thursday – I’ll bet you’re pretty fed up with having to constantly kick in money for a cake and a birthday card—but it’s Anthony Quinn’s natal anniversary and I think he’s worth it; the tribute starts at 7am with Bullets for O’Hara (1941) and is followed by Knockout (1941; 8am), The Black Swan (1942; 9:30am), Road to Morocco (1942; 11am), Back to Bataan (1945; 12:30pm), La Strada (1954; 2:15pm), Lust for Life (1956; 4:15pm) and Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962; 6:30pm).

Later that evening TCM spotlights films with a China background by airing The Painted Veil (1934) at 8, followed by China Sky (1945; 9:30pm), The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958; 11pm), Shanghai Express (1932; 2am), China Doll (1958; 3:30am) and West of Shanghai (1937; 5:15am).

April 22, Friday – When I was young I fell in love…I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead.  “Will we have rainbows, day after day?”  Here’s what my sweetheart said: “Will you put a sock in it, fat boy?!!  I want to watch this Doris Day movie!!!”  Okay, you try coming up with something novel to announce that TCM is showcasing Dodo with Julie (1956; 6:30am), Love Me or Leave Me (1955; 8:45am), My Dream is Yours (1949; 11am), Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960; 12:45pm), Romance on the High Seas (1948; 2:45pm), Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? (1968; 4:30pm) and With Six You Get Eggroll (1968; 6:15pm).

April 23, Saturday – With TCM Essentials’ showing of Gunga Din (1939) at 8pm, the channel decides to settle in for the evening with a collection of films featuring Oscar-winning character thesp Victor McLaglen: Sea Fury (1958; 10:15pm), Sea Devils (1937; 12mid), The Lost Patrol (1934; 1:45am), The Informer (1935; 3am) and Call Out the Marines (1942; 4:45am).

April 24, Sunday – TCM celebrates Easter Sunday with a slew of films centering on religion and faith beginning with The Silver Chalice (1954) at 6:30am.  The other movies are Barabbas (1962; 11am), King of Kings (1961; 1:30pm), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965; 4:30pm), Jesus Christ Superstar (1973; 8pm), Godspell (1973; 10pm), The Godless Girl (1929; 12mid), Ordet (1955; 2:15am) and The Miracle Woman (1931; 4:30am).  The only film that’s sort of out of place here is Easter Parade (1948; 9am) but if you subscribe to the belief (as I do) that Ann Miller is an absolute angel you can kind of make it work.

April 26, Tuesday6,000 Enemies (1939), another little B-picture delight that’s been on my radar for a good while now gets a showing at 7:30am.

April 28, Thursday – TCM loves you a bushel and a Peck…Gregory Peck, that is.  It’s not his birthday, so there must be some other special occasion—with a lineup of films that kicks off at 6am with The Yearling (1946), followed by Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951; 8:30am), The Chairman (1952; 10:30am), Night People (1954; 12:30pm), On the Beach (1959; 2:30pm), The Big Country (1958; 5pm) and The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952, 8pm).

April 29, Friday – The channel begins another broadcast day with One Million Years B.C. (1966) at 6pm…and brother, if that can’t jump-start your motor in the morning it’s time to call the code.

Later that evening beginning at 8pm, royalty ties the knot in such regal matrimonial films as Royal Wedding (1951), Roman Holiday (1955; 10pm), The Glass Slipper (1955; 12:15am), The Swan (1956; 2am) and The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927; 4am). Ah, love!

April 30, Saturday – “I love a Gershwin tune/How about you…”  Spend the evening with the timeless tunes of George and Ira Gershwin as TCM starts the evening with the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1951, An American in Paris on TCM Essentials at 8pm—and then follows this with Girl Crazy (1943; 10pm), Rhapsody in Blue (1945; 12mid), Shall We Dance (1937; 2:30am) and Give a Girl a Break (1953; 4:30am).

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Stacia said...

Will I need to remind Stacia to record Black Narcissus (1947) at 12 noon? (Turning over 8-ball) It reads: “Signs point to yes.”

Shut up.

I'm glad "The Wheeler Dealers" is going to be on again, because the last time my DVR goofed up and stopped after 2 minutes. Yes, sometimes, it's not my fault that I don't get a movie recorded.

And hot damn, they're showing "Band of Angels"! Now I can dig out my scathing review of it from nearly a decade ago and post it to SBBN.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I'm glad "The Wheeler Dealers" is going to be on again, because the last time my DVR goofed up and stopped after 2 minutes.

That's more than what I got--I had planned to record this when they aired it during the Summer Under the Stars fete for Lee Remick but I had to beg off because of a scheduling conflict.

I also had to forego 1977's Telefon for the same reason (and also with Remick) but fortunately they're encoring that film in April as well.

Yvette said...

Nice to see that TCM is showing three of my very favorite Ray Milland films: THE UNINVITED, MINISTRY OF FEAR and THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR. (Yeah, I know, I know, The Major and the Minor??? I can't help it. I like it.)

I blogged about MINISTRY OF FEAR a couple of weeks ago on my blog. I love that movie!!!

I also love Jane Powell and I agree with you, Ivan about there only being two kinds of people in the world...! They're not showing my favorite Janie movie: ATHENA. I saw this in the theater when it first came out many MANY moons ago. Yes, I'm officially ancient. Ha!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I blogged about MINISTRY OF FEAR a couple of weeks ago on my blog. I love that movie!!!

I watched this Saturday morning--had I known it would eventually come to TCM I wouldn't have shelled out so much for the Region 2 DVD,'ll have that sometimes.

My favorite part of this film is the bit Dan Duryea does with the scissors. Duryea is just one of those people I'll watch even in not-so-good movies.

VP81955 said...

Might the Gregory Peck films be in conjunction with his "Legends Of Hollywood" stamp? Congratulations to the family of the late Mr. Peck on this deserved honor, with hopes that one of these years, the USPS will do likewise for my fave, Carole Lombard.