With the recent overhaul of the website maintained by The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ (ka-ching!), I wasn’t 100% certain there’d ever be another “Coming Distractions” post here at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear. However, I foolishly underestimated the online research powers of the indispensable Laura of Miscellaneous Musings fame, who e-mailed me a link some time back to a tentative schedule that admittedly had more than its fair share of gaps. But whoever’s in charge of this work in progress has fleshed it out with a few more entries, enough to enable me to highlight some of the upcoming sights and sounds in my imitable carnival barker style.
The big theme for the month of July is that every Tuesday and Thursday will be “Arabian nights” as TCM will present a festival of films set against the background of the
Middle East. I’ve looked at some of the offerings tentatively scheduled—emphasis on tentatively, as we are all aware by now that many of these schedules are composed with the tactile strength of gossamer—and I’m pretty jazzed about seeing some goodies like a couple of silent films I’ll need to add to the dusty TDOY archives (one of which was one of the first I ever saw as a kid, 1924’s The Thief of Bagdad), not to mention a Charley Chase two-reeler (pumps fist in air) and an Eddie Cantor film that’s usually the bailiwick of the Fox Movie Channel. So here’s what’s been penciled in for this festival, with all times being EDT:
Tuesday, July 5
The Sea Hawk (1924)
The Thief of
01:00am The Sheik (1921)
02:30am Tarzan the Fearless (1933)
03:45am The Lost Patrol (1934)
Thursday, July 7
Adventure in Iraq (1943)
Action in Arabia (1944)
01:00am Trunk to Cairo (1966; aka Einer spielt falsch)
03:30am Sinbad the Sailor (1947)
Tuesday, July 12
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
12:00am Lion of the Desert (1981)
03:00am The Four Feathers (1939)
05:00am Young Winston (1972)
Thursday, July 14
Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937)
Road to Morocco (1942)
01:45am Arabian Tights (1933)
02:30am The Sad Sack (1957)
04:30am Bowery to Bagdad (1955)
Tuesday, July 19
Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)
Dream Wife (1953)
12:15am Kismet (1944)
02:30am Chandu the Magician (1932)
03:45am The Desert Song (1953)
Thursday, July 21
Drums of Africa (1963)
Harum Scarum (1965)
12:00am The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
02:00am The Son of the Sheik (1926)
03:30am The Wind and the Lion (1975)
Tuesday, July 26
Five Graves to Cairo (1943)
The Black Tent (1956)
12:00am Three Kings (1999)
01:30am King Richard and the Crusaders (1954)
Thursday, July 28
Princesse Tam Tam (1935)
09:30pm The Band’s Visit (2007)
11:15pm Rana’s Wedding (2002)
01:00am The Battle of Algiers (1966)
Taste of Cherry (1997)
A glance at the tentative schedule also reveals that the channel apparently will not be honoring a Star of the Month—but for us B-western fans, Friday nights will be devoted to feting singing cowboys with a lineup of films that include such stars as Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Jimmy Wakely, Dick Foran and Rex Allen. The movies on the schedule are as follows:
Friday, July 1
Cowboy and the Senorita (1944)
Don’t Fence Me In (1945)
My Pal Trigger (1946)
12:15am The Golden Stallion (1949)
Trigger, Jr. (1950)
Friday, July 8
The Old Corral (1936)
Home on the Prairie (1939)
Back in the Saddle (1941)
Texans Never Cry (1951—when I asked Bill Crider if this was true he told me solemnly: “Gene wouldn’t lie.”)
01:00am Wagon Team (1952)
Friday, July 15
Song of the Gringo (1936)
The Old Chisholm Trail (1942)
Cowboy Canteen (1944)
Oklahoma Blues (1948)
12:45am Brand of Fear (1949)
Friday, July 22
Moonlight on the Prairie (1936)
Song of the Saddle (1936)
Treachery Rides the Range (1936)
Land Beyond the Law (1937)
Home on the Range (1946)
Under Colorado Skies (1947)
Friday, July 29
Under Mexicali Stars (1950)
The Last Musketeer (1952)
Harlem Rides the Range (1939)
In Old Santa Fe (1934)
And with that out of the way, here’s a look at the highlights in July:
July 1, Friday – The late Farley Granger would have turned 86 years old on this date but since TCM already bought the cake we’ll all have a slice in remembrance and watch a mini-festival of his movies beginning at with Behave Yourself! (1951) and then follow that with three of his best: Strangers on a Train (1951; 3pm), Side Street (1950; ) and my personal favorite, They Live by Night (1949; ). The reason why Farley’s fete starts so late in the day is because he shares a birthday with Charles Laughton, and Charlie also gets a natal anniversary salute beginning at 6am with Payment Deferred (1932) followed by The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934; 7:30am), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939; 9:30am) and The Canterville Ghost (1944; 11:30am).
July 2, Saturday – The Saturday morning time periods from 11-12pm on July’s tentative schedule aren’t listed yet but I have a sneaking suspicion that TCM will be soldiering on with continuing installments of the 1936 Universal serial Ace Drummond since they started it in June and I’m sure they don’t want to leave their viewers (cliff) hanging. But I’m not going to speculate on how they’re going to program it (they’ve got seven chapters left and five Saturdays to show them) until I see a definitive lineup.
“Tarzan Saturdays” will continue, however, as the channel bids farewell to Johnny Weissmuller and hello to Lex Barker, who made five feature films as the Lord of the Apes beginning with Tarzan’s Magic Fountain in 1949…which will be shown at . Next week, it’s Tarzan and the Slave Girl (1950), with Tarzan’s Peril (1951) on July 16th, Tarzan’s Savage Fury (1952) on the 23rd and the last of the Barker Tarzans, Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953) on July 30.
Countin’ flowers on the wall…that don’t bother me at all…TCM’s Essentials will spotlight Charlie Chaplin’s immortal comedy City Lights (1931) at 8pm, which will in turn usher in several movies featuring flowers and the people that sell them: Pygmalion (1938; 9:45pm), Brother Orchid (1940; 11:30pm), The Subject Was Roses (1968; 1am) and One Heavenly Night (1931; 3:15am).
July 3, Sunday – TCM is going to show a 2005 documentary that I’ve not seen entitled I’m King Kong!: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper, which chronicles the biography of the famed film producer who made what I consider one of the greatest monster movies of all time…and a personal favorite of mi madre’s, who in the tradition of calling Jaws (1975) “the fish movie” has dubbed Cooper’s 1933 King Kong “the monkey movie.” I’m King Kong precedes a showing of the original Kong at , followed by Kong wannabe Mighty Joe Young (1949) at . Even TCM’s Silent Sunday Nights is grooving on Merian, because they’ll show Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927) at .
July 4, Monday – The United States of America takes its turn in the birthday spotlight—235 years old today!—with a tribute of films that kicks off at 6am with the 1927 silent film short The Flag. Then for the rest of the day, the fireworks include The Devil’s Disciple (1959; ), John Paul Jones (1959; 10am), The Scarlet Coat (1955; ), 1776 (1976; 2pm), America, America (1963; 5pm) and Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942; 8pm).
July 5, Tuesday – It’s not Sir David Lean’s birthday but TCM won’t let that deter them from saluting the renowned director beginning at 6:45am with Major Barbara (1941), a film it is said he partially directed but did not receive credit for (though he did serve as the movie’s editor). Following Barb at is The Passionate Friends (1949; aka One Woman’s Story) and then it’s Madeline (1950) at , longtime TDOY fave Hobson’s Choice (1954; ), Summertime (1955; ) and Doctor Zhivago (1965; ).
July 6, Wednesday – Happy birthday, Janet Leigh! Leigh’s natal anniversary tribute will spotlight If Winter Comes (1947; 6am), The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947; 7:45am), Words and Music (1948; 9:45am), That Forsyte Woman (1949; 12noon), Angels in the Outfield (1951; 2pm), Two Tickets to Broadway (1951; 3:45pm) and Scaramouche (1952; 5:45pm).
Come evening, I noticed that the channel has tentatively scheduled The Spiral Staircase (1945) for 12 midnight and since I’m always whining about how they never show this one I hope it stays put.
July 8, Friday – The channel sets aside a good portion of the day for a Leslie Howard film festival, and since the only movies in the lineup that I’m curious to see are It’s Love I’m After (1937; 1:30pm) and 49th Parallel (1941; 3:15pm) I can pretty much sleep till the afternoon. The rest of the schedule consists of Secrets (1933; 6am), Captured! (1933; 7am), British Agent (1934; ), The Petrified Forest (1936; ) and The First of the Few (1942; —aka Spitfire)—the last of which was also directed by the actor.
July 9, Saturday – You Waltons fans in the audience might be interested in hearing that the movie that provided the blueprint for the long-running TV series, Spencer’s Mountain (1963), will get an afternoon showing at 1:30pm and it stars TDOY fave Maureen O’Hara (and SBBN non-fave Henry Fonda). But a better Fonda movie turns up later on TCM’s Essentials at 8pm with Fail-Safe (1964), a Cold War suspenser directed by the late Sidney Lumet and featuring such character luminaries as Dan O’ Herlihy, Walter Matthau, Frank Overton, Edward Binns, Fritz Weaver and Larry Hagman.
Nuclear brinkmanship continues the rest of the evening with showings of The Bedford Incident (1965; 10pm), The 49th Man (1953; 12mid), Seven Days to Noon (1950; ), Split Second (1953; ) and Seven Days in May (1964; ).
July 11, Monday – Monday brings on a fistful of pre-Code crime dramas, one of which—1934’s Heat Lightning (3:15pm)—I missed the last time it was on during my convalescence and since I’m too broke to pony up for the Warner Archives DVD I’ll try and snag it when it comes by again. The rest of the schedule is rounded out with The Woman Racket (1930; 6am); Gentleman’s Fate (1931; 7:15am), Sporting Blood (1931; 9am); Night Court (1932; 10:30am), The Mayor of Hell (1933; 12:15am), The Big Shakedown (1934; 2pm), Journal of a Crime (1934; 4:30pm), Straight is the Way (1934; 5:45pm) and The Murder Man (1935; 6:45pm).
Come nightfall, TCM turns things over to a Tab Hunter film festival—and while I would normally recoil at such a prospect they’re kicking it off at 8pm with a movie I’ve not seen in a month of Sundays, the 1958 Phil Karlson-directed oater Gunman’s Walk…which also may be Hunter’s finest moment onscreen if such a thing is possible. But after that I’ll have other administrative matters to attend to and so you can keep the home fires burning with Ride the Wild Surf (1964; 10pm), Return to Treasure Island (1954; 12mid), Battle Cry (1955; 1:30am) and The Golden Arrow (1962; 4:15am).
July 12, Tuesday – I don’t care what people say. Rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay. And TCM must be in agreement, for they’re going to be showing a lineup that consists of It’s Trad, Dad! (1962; 6am—aka Ring-a-Ding Rhythm), Bye Bye Birdie (1963; ), Juke Box Rhythm (1959; ), Senior Prom (1958; 11am), Rock Around the Clock (1956; ), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965; 2pm), The Cool Ones (1967; 4pm) and Jailhouse Rock (1957; 6pm).
July 13, Wednesday – During his stay here in the corporeal realm, Sir Laurence Olivier always insisted people call him “Larry.” But ever since he left this world for a better one, I find I’m more comfortable referring to him as “that dead guy who could really do Shakespeare.” Unfortunately, the only film based on a work by the Immortal Bard to be shown today is Richard III (1955) at 5:15pm—the rest of the day is set aside for Westward Passage (1932; 7:45am), Fire Over England (1937; 9am), The Divorce of Lady X (1938; 10:45am), Clouds Over Europe (1939; 12:30pm—aka Q Planes), Conquest of the Air (1936; 2pm) and Demi-Paradise (1943; 3:15pm—aka Adventure for Two).
Later, the channel turns over its evening hours to everybody’s favorite 70s TV singing mom…Shirley Jones; beginning with one of my favorite movie musicals, The Music Man (1962), at 8pm. This will be followed by The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963; 11pm), A Ticklish Affair (1963; ), Oklahoma! (1955; 3am) and The Secret of My Success (1965) at .
July 14, Thursday – It’s two, two, two Roberts in one! The early morning hours will feature a mini-film festival starring Robert Montgomery in four of his vehicles: Shipmates (1931; ), Another Language (1933; ), Three Loves Has Nancy (1938; 10am) and The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937; ). Then in the afternoon, Robert Young takes over with showings of The Right to Romance (1933; 1pm), Calm Yourself (1936; 2:15pm), The Bride Walks Out (1936; 3:30pm), The Longest Night (1936; 5pm) and The Bride Wore Red (1937; 6pm). (In addition to Walks Out and Wore Red, Young also made a 1935 film entitled The Bride Comes Home. Just how many times was this guy married, anyway?)
July 15, Friday – TCM throws a morning bash for birthday boy William Dieterle by dipping into the director’s lesser known works of his oeuvre—on tap are Her Majesty, Love (1931; 6am), Grand Slam (1933; 7:30am), Boots Malone (1952; 10:15am) and Salome (12 noon).
July 16, Saturday – With The Misfits (1961) scheduled for this evening’s presentation of TCM’s Essentials, it’s even money that the rest of the night will be devoted to screenings of Clark Gable films…and since Misfits is followed by Mogambo (1953; 10:15pm), Band of Angels (1957; 12:15am), Betrayed (1954; 2:30am) and The King and Four Queens (1956; 4:30am) you don’t want to bet against the house with such a sure thing.
July 17, Sunday – Who amongst us doesn’t fondly think back on their college days and reflect upon the fact that it was truly the best seven years of their life? (Okay…apparently I’m only talking about me now.) So I’ll just reminisce about those halcyon days of ivy-covered hi-jinks with an evening lineup of Horse Feathers (1932; 8pm), The Male Animal (1942; 9:15pm) and Too Many Girls (1940; 11pm)…followed by a Silent Sunday Nights showing of Harold Lloyd’s 1925 comedy classic The Freshman. (Even this week’s TCM Imports gets in on the action by scheduling 1980’s Mon Oncle D’Amerique at 2am.)
July 18, Sunday – Richard Bernard “Red” Skelton celebrates what would have been his 98th birthday today and TCM is only too happy to oblige with a lineup that consists of Whistling in the Dark (1941; 6:30am), The Fuller Brush Man (1948; 8am), A Southern Yankee (1948; 10am), Three Little Words (1950; 11:45am), The Yellow Cab Man (1950; 1:30pm), Excuse My Dust (1951; 3pm), Texas Carnival (1951; 4:30pm) and Lovely to Look At (1952; 6pm)…the last movie, I’m assuming, referring to co-stars Kathryn Grayson and Ann Miller.
Come nightfall—oo-wee…oo-wee baby…won’t you let me take you on a sea cruise with a lineup of “over the bounding main”-themed films that kicks off at with the Doris Day-Jack Carson romp Romance on the High Seas (1948). Luxury Liner (1948; 10pm), Love Affair (1939; ), Please Believe Me (1950; ) and the all-too appropriate Ship of Fools (1965; ) are the movies that follow.
July 19, Monday – TCM splits the day to devote movies featuring Walter Matthau and Karl Malden—neither of whom celebrate a birthday today so as to why this is so I can only speculate that Bobby Osbo is tinkering with his meds again. Of interest in the Matthau lineup is 1959’s Gangster Story (at ), which not only stars Walter but marks the first and only time he sat in the director’s chair. The schedule is rounded out with A Face in the Crowd (1957; ), Onionhead (1958; 9am) and Ensign Pulver (1964; ).
On the Mladen George Sekulvich side of the equation we’ll be able to see Karl in I Confess (1953) at , followed by The Hanging Tree (1959) at and Hotel (1967) at . The schedule says Tree will be shown in widescreen (which is a lie, you big fibbers) but I’ve noticed that they’ve started attaching “Letterbox Format” to every movie on the schedule, a sort of CBS DVD-Paramount inspiration (CBS-Paramount adopted a practice of putting “these shows might have been altered but we won’t tell you which ones” disclaimer on their TV-on-DVD sets as a CYA measure).
July 20, Wednesday – A day of movies featuring one of the few juvenile thesps that didn’t make me wish this country’s child labor laws were a tad stricter: Natalie Wood. Natalie’s all grown up by 5:30pm with Splendor in the Grass (1961) but before that she’s in her kid-star prime with Tomorrow is Forever (1946; 6:45am), Miracle on 34th Street (1947; 8:30am), The Green Promise (1949; 10:15am), Our Very Own (1950; 11:45am), No Sad Songs for Me (1950; 1:30pm) and The Silver Chalice (1954; 3pm).
July 21, Thursday – Where else in this country will you find a cable movie channel that will celebrate the birthday of moviedom’s resident veddy proper English old fart, C. Aubrey Smith? AMC? Not bloody likely! Daybreak kicks off the natal anniversary fete at…well, daybreak (actually 7:15am), followed by Secrets (1933; 8:45am), Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936; 10:15am), The Hurricane (1937; 12noon), The Four Feathers (1939; 2pm), Maisie Was a Lady (1941; 4pm) and An Ideal Husband (1947; 5:30pm).
July 23, Saturday – The last TCM showed Cool Hand Luke (1967) on The Essentials a slew of chain gang films followed in its wake—this time around, movies about life in the jernt in general are scheduled after Luke with the only weak movie being 1985’s Kiss of the Spider Woman (2:00am). (If you enjoy watching William Hurt camp it up, have at it—I was pulling for James Garner that year.) Otherwise, some real goodies on the schedule: the definitive “chicks in chains” film Caged (1950) at , Brute Force (1947) at 12:15am and Midnight Express (1978—sweet! I can get a letterboxed copy) at .
July 25, Monday – Beginning at , movies about unjustly accused individuals be featured starting with 1958’s I Accuse! (appropriately enough). Then a pair of movies that I highly recommend if you haven’t seen them already—The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) at and They Won’t Forget (1937) at . A Soldier’s Story (1984; ), Fury (1936; 3am) and They Made Me a Fugitive (1947; ) round out the rest of the evening.
July 26, Tuesday – Had it not been for his passing in December the late, great Blake Edwards would have been 89 today—but that’s no reason why we can’t hoist a slice of birthday cake in his direction and enjoy a mini-festival of his movies beginning at 6:30am with one of my favorites, Days of Wine and Roses (1962). The Great Race (1965; ), The Carey Treatment (1972; ) and Victor/Victoria (1982; 1pm) are the movies that follow.
July 28, Thursday – Everybody’s favorite wide-mouthed clown was born on this date in 1892, and on such an auspicious occasion the channel will roll out the barrel for Joe E. Brown beginning with On With the Show! (1929) at 6:30am and followed by Top Speed (1930; 8:15am), Going Wild (1930; 9:30am), Local Boy Makes Good (1931; 10:45am), Sit Tight (1931; 12 noon), 6 Day Bike Rider (1934; 1:30am), A Very Honorable Guy (1934; 2:45am), Polo Joe (1936; 4pm), Sons O’Guns (1936; 5:15am) and When’s Your Birthday? (1937; ). (FYI to you people out in
—if you want to assure that TCM will show the maximum amount of movies on your birthday, make sure they’re between an hour and an hour-and-fifteen minutes long, as the wise Mr. Brown clearly foresaw.) Blog Land
July 30, Saturday – With the TCM Essentials showing of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) scheduled for 8pm a slate of Lew Ayres films follows in its wake—and while a lazy person (oh, for argument’s sake let’s say me) might be tempted to just coast the rest of the evening with a bunch of Dr. Kildare vehicles the channel is showing great restraint by slotting only one Kildare flick—1938’s Young Dr, Kildare—at 10:30pm The Unfaithful (1947; 12mid), Johnny Belinda (1948; 2am), Donovan’s Brain (1953; 4am) and Panic on the Air (1936; 4:30am) all follow.
Speaking of Panic on the Air, a glance at the tentative July 2011 schedule shows that TCM has nothing going on for the last day of the month—and as to what that entails I’ll just leave it up to you and your fertile imaginations. (“TCM goes completely dark today…”)