The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ has assembled its tentative classic film schedule for the merry month of May, and a poring over of its contents reveals that the Star of the Month and Theme of the Month experiments from the previous April must have been only temporary. You will recall that TCM scheduled April’s spotlight star—the incomparable Doris Day—for a full consecutive five days at the beginning of the month, and a salute to “Spring Break” a week or two later…but now it looks as if things are back to normal, with May’s Star of the Month honors going to…
…Joel McCrea! (crowd goes wild) Yes, one of TDOY’s favorite actors will be feted with a 42-film tribute that includes many favorites here at the House of Yesteryear (Sullivan’s Travels, Foreign Correspondent, Stars in My Crown, Ride the High Country) and a few that haven’t made the rounds at Tee Cee Em in a long while (Dynamite, Wells Fargo, Union Pacific). Here’s the tentative lineup:
Wednesday, May 2
08:00pm Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
The Palm Beach Story (1942)
The More the Merrier (1943)
01:30am The Richest Girl in the World (1934)
03:00am Woman Chases Man (1937)
Bed of Roses (1933)
Kept Husbands (1931)
Thursday, May 3
07:00am Dynamite (1929)
09:15am One Man’s Journey (1933)
10:30am Chance at Heaven (1934)
Wednesday, May 9
The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Shoot First (1953)
01:15am Espionage Agent (1939)
02:45am The Lost Squadron (1932)
Born to Love (1932)
Bird of Paradise (1932)
Thursday, May 10
07:15am Woman Wanted (1935)
08:30am Adventure in Manhattan (1936)
Wednesday, May 16
Dead End (1937)
The Great Man’s Lady (1942)
12:45am Stars in My Crown (1950)
These Three (1936)
Come and Get It (1936)
Thursday, May 17
They Shall Have Music (1939)
Barbary Coast (1935)
09:30am The Common Law (1932)
Wednesday, May 23
The Virginian (1946)
Union Pacific (1939)
12:30am Cattle Drive (1951)
02:00am The Silver Horde (1930)
03:30am The Outriders (1950)
05:15am Primrose Path (1940)
Thursday, May 24
07:00am Gambling Lady (1934)
08:15am The Sport Parade (1932)
Wednesday, May 30
Ride the High Country (1962)
The Tall Stranger (1957)
Wells Fargo (1937)
Fort Massacre (1958)
02:45am Frenchie (1950)
04:30am Trooper Hook (1957)
Also on the May classic movie buffet is a month-long retrospective of “true crime” films—dramatizations based on real-life incidents when desperate people took a gi-normous bite out of the weed that bears bitter fruit. These kind of films are most assuredly my meat (meat…fruit…buffet…why I am suddenly so hungry?) so I will be looking forward to settling in on Thursday nights with some of the 21 films scheduled as follows:
Thursday, May 3
In Cold Blood (1967)
The Boston Strangler (1968)
12:15am 10 Rillington Place (1971)
02:15am The Onion Field (1979)
Thursday, May 10
The Phenix City Story (1955)
The Case Against Brooklyn (1958)
I Want to Live! (1958)
01:45am Madeleine (1950)
04:00am Boxcar Bertha (1972)
Thursday, May 17
Call Northside 777 (1948)
12:00am The Wrong Man (1956)
02:00am Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
04:45am Dr. Crippen (1963)
Thursday, May 24
Al Capone (1959)
Mad Dog Coll (1961)
The Valachi Papers (1972)
05:15am King of the Roaring 20’s: The Story of Arnold Rothstein (1961)
Thursday, May 31
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
The Night Holds Terror (1955)
Inside the Mafia (1959)
Finally, towards the end of May…the channel will present its annual salute to the men and women who are rightfully remembered service to and sacrifice for their country. The Memorial Day lineup of movies is as follows:
Sunday, May 27
06:00am The First Motion Picture Unit (1943)
Winning Your Wings (1942)
07:00am Command Decision (1948)
09:00am Bataan (1943)
11:00am First to Fight (1967)
The Hill (1965)
The Steel Helmet (1951)
06:15pm Merrill’s Marauders (1962)
Sergeant York (1941)
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
01:00am West Point (1928)
Germany Year Zero (1947)
04:30am PT 109 (1963)
Monday, May 28
07:00am Darby’s Rangers (1958)
09:15am The Green Berets (1968)
Where Eagles Dare (1968)
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957; also May 5 at )
The Great Escape (1963)
02:00am Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
05:00am An Annapolis Story (1955)
And with that, let’s take a look at what TCM has in store for the rest of the month…keeping in mind, as always, that all times are EDT and programming is subject to change.
May 1, Tuesday – The channel kicks off the month with a birthday hat tip to the late Glenn Ford, who celebrates what would have been his 96th natal anniversary today. The film festivities start at with The White Tower (1950), followed by Trial (1955; 8am), Ransom! (1956; 10am), The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956; 12noon), Don’t Go Near the Water (1957; 2pm), The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963; 4pm) and Dear Heart (1964) closing the tribute out at 6pm.
My Facebook compadre Andrew Leal mentioned to me the other day that he’s toying with the idea of applying paddles to his blog and instituting an episode-by-episode takedown of the Barney Miller spin-off, Fish…similar to what I do here at Mayberry Mondays. (It would be called, appropriately enough, “Fish on Fridays.”) Well, TCM has gotten a jump on Andrew with “Fish on Tuesdays”—the evening lineup of films deals with the noble art of angling. It’s Man’s Favorite Sport? (1964) at , followed by The Old Man and the Sea (1958; ), Flipper (1963; 12mid), Stromboli (1950; ) and The Toast of New Orleans (1950; ).
May 4, Friday – More birthday celebration as TCM schedules a few flicks in honor of what would have been Audrey Hepburn’s 83rd go-round the calendar. The fun starts at 9:30am with Audrey’s brief appearance in The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), and then it’s The Nun’s Story (1959) at 11am followed by Green Mansions (1959; 1:45pm), Love in the Afternoon (1957; 3:45pm) and Wait Until Dark (1967; 6pm).
In the world of character actors, they don’t come any greater than Lee J. Cobb—and the channel schedules a hat trick with the venerable thespian come nightfall with The Three Faces of Eve (1957) at 8pm, then 12 Angry Men (1957) at 9:45pm and They Came to Rob Las Vegas (1969) finishing the night out at 11:30. If you can stay awake for TCM Underground at 2am, a couple of cult favorites directed by John Carpenter are on tap: They Live (1988) and then Escape from New York (1981) at .
May 5, Saturday – My nefarious scheme to blog on Fridays about all the Boston Blackie movies being shown on the channel at 10:45am Saturdays was foiled last week for two reasons: 1) I forgot they started on March 10; 2) I wouldn’t have been able to do it anyway because of all the assignments I was juggling that day. But that should in no way hinder you from enjoy the adventures of Chester Morris,
Richard Lane and George E. Stone as the Columbia comedy-mystery series continues with Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion (1945), followed by Boston Blackie and the Law (1946; May 12), A Close Call for Boston Blackie (1946; May 19) and The Phantom Thief (1946) finishing out the month on May 26. (I shall return to Master Horatio Black another day.)
The precarious perils of plucky Pauline Hargrave (Evelyn Knapp) continue this month in the 1933 Universal serial that will also be released to DVD via VCI Entertainment this April 24th. (I’m hoping to be lucky enough to score a copy.) Three chapters will be shown from each week with the exception of May 26:
May 5 – Trapped by the Enemy/The Flaming Tomb/Pursued by Savages
May 12 – Tracked by the Enemy/Dangerous Depths/The Mummy Walks
May 19 – Confu’s Sacred Secret/Into the Flames/The Night Attack
On the 26th, TCM will resurrect the first serial starring
’s favorite comic-strip detective, Dick Tracy…the 1937 Republic cliffhanger featuring Ralph Byrd and Smiley Burnette, on loan from Gene Autry. The first three chapters—“The Spider Strikes,” “The Bridge of Terror” and “The Fur Pirates”—will be slid into the time slot. America
Come evening, the TCM Essentials’ scheduling at of the 1936 Greta Garbo-Robert Taylor classic Camille ushers in an evening of tales of “star-crossed lovers”—folks for whom the expression “lucky in love” need not apply. Bob Taylor strikes out again in Waterloo Bridge (1940), which follows at 10, and then it’s Written on the Wind (1956) at . Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955; 2am) and The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981; 4am) complete the evening’s tragic romance tales. (Hankies will not be furnished by the management.)
May 6, Sunday – A Norma Shearer silent that I’ve wanted the channel to run again gets an encore on Silent Sunday Nights at : A Lady of Chance (1928). (I’ve always been more partial to Shearer’s silent work for reasons unknown.)
May 7, Monday – There comes a time in every moviegoer’s life when they just have to phone in sick for work and settle in for a day of movies featuring TDOY idol Robert “Big Bad Bob” Mitchum. After you’ve complained to the boss man about your scratchy throat, switch on the set and spend some time with Undercurrent (1946; ), The Big Steal (1949; ), Where Danger Lives (1950; 11am), His Kind of Woman (1951; ), My Forbidden Past (1951; ), The Angry Hills (1959; 4pm) and Cape Fear (1962; 6pm).
The preceding advice is merely wacky blog humor. Please do not try this at home.
At 8pm, TCM ushers in what they are calling “Mean Streets” with Crime in the Streets (1956), and that’s followed by West Side Story (1961) at…what the fuh…? What’s so “mean” about people singing and dancing? Oh, well…Story at , followed by The Young Savages (1961; 1am), The Purple Gang (1960; 3am) and The Angels Wash Their Faces (1939; ).
May 8, Tuesday – A few June Allyson movies are on tap for the channel today…and miraculously, attendance at work places all around the country hits an all-time high. It’s Right Cross (1950) at with Mr. Allyson (Dick Powell), followed by Two Sisters from Boston (1946) at and Music for Millions (1944) at . This last movie features She Who Must Not Be Named, as does The Unfinished Dance (1947) at . (Now you’re definitely not staying home from work.)
May 9, Wednesday – Duh…don’t you worry…never fear…Robin Hood will soon be here… Yeah, I think I did that joke the last time the channel ran a bunch of “Robin Hood” themed movies—but do I look like I’m not too lazy to look it up? Red River Robin Hood (1943) kicks off the day at 6:45am, followed by Robin Hood of El Dorado (1936; 8am), Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964; 9:30am), A Challenge for Robin Hood (1968; 11:45am), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938; 1:30pm), The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946; 3:30pm), Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950; 5pm) and Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960; 6:30pm).
May 11, Friday – Three out of the four delightful films starring Dame Margaret Rutherford as Agatha Christie’s sleuthing creation Miss Jane Marple are spotlighted on the channel in the morning: Murder She Said (1961; 6am), Murder at the Gallop (1963, 7:30am) and Murder Most Foul (1964; 9am). Even a movie in which
Rutherford cameos as Marple, The Alphabet Murders (1966), is on the schedule (pronounced shed-dule) at …so the fact that my favorite of the Rutherford Marples, Murder Ahoy (1963) is missing I can attribute only to rank…er…something or another.
Come nightfall, one of the greatest comedy teams of all time gets a cinematic hat trick when (not only…but also) Peter Cook & Dudley Moore headline Bedazzled (1967; 8pm), my particular favorite of their movie teamings…followed by Stacia fave The Wrong Box (1966) at 10pm and The Bed Sitting Room (1969) at midnight.
May 12, Saturday – If you’re up early enough before the Boston Blackie and Perils of Pauline material starts, TCM is going to run one of my favorite fantasy comedies: A Thousand and One Nights (1945; 6am). Phil Silvers as the hero’s sidekick (“Glad to see ya!”), Evelyn Keyes as a sexy genie, Rex Ingram reprising his The Thief of Bagdad role—what’s not to like?
TCM Essentials spotlights the Henri-Georges Clouzot suspense classic Les diaboliques (1955) at 8pm, and after that school is in session under the supervision of various headmasters including The Browning Version (1951; 10:15pm), The Sandpiper (1965; 12mid), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939; 2:15am) and Au revoir les enfants (1987) at 4:15am. (There will be a test on this next week.)
May 13, Sunday – “M is for the million things you gave me…” Yes, the channel turns the spotlight on Moms everywhere for their special day, beginning with The Catered Affair (1956) at . This is then followed by Three Darling Daughters (1948; ), So Big (1953; ), Pocketful of Miracles (1961; ), Mrs. Miniver (1942; 3pm), I Remember Mama (1948; ), Stella Dallas (1937; 8pm) and Mildred Pierce (1945; 10pm). You may have noticed that the moms get more…well…formidable as the evening wears on, and this is also carried over in the Silent Sunday Nights presentation (Torrent , 12mid) and on TCM Imports (Autumn Sonata ; 2am).
May 14, Monday – When I think of director Henry Koster, I always associate him with movies with a slight whimsical or fantastic bent, like The Bishop’s Wife (1947) or Come to the Stable (1949) or Harvey (1950). But the man born Herman Kosterlitz also had a dab hand when it came to musicals (not to mention Deanna Durbin features), and TCM sets aside the evening to showcase a few of them beginning with Stars and Stripes Forever (1952) at 8pm. That’s followed by My Blue Heaven (1950; 9:45pm), One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937; 11:30pm), Two Sisters from Boston (1946; 1am), The Singing Nun (1966; 3am) and one of my favorite Danny Kaye vehicles, The Inspector General (1949), wrapping things up at 4:45am.
May 15, Tuesday – James Mason celebrates what would have been his 103rd birthday on this date, and though TCM won’t be showing the one with the crop dusting plane and
Mt. Rushmore, there’s plenty of Mason goodness on tap with Forever, Darling (1956; 6:30am), Cry Terror! (1958; ) and Lolita (1962; 10am). But it’s also Joseph Cotten’s natal anniversary (the birthday boy would have been 107), so the afternoon is turned over to movies from his oeuvre: Under Capricorn (1949; 12:45pm), The Man with a Cloak (1951; 2:45pm), The Steel Trap (1952; 4:15pm) and a film that recently underwent analysis by the feminine half of TeamBart, Niagara (1953; 5:45pm).
At 8, Bobby Osbo sorts through his video library and showcases a few movies of interest—TDOY fave Gun Crazy (1949) starts the ball rolling (my pal Kev at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World recently looked at this one), followed by one of those movies you probably haven’t seen but should, Remember the Night (1940) at . The Moonlighter (1953) follows at (the only one of the quartet I haven’t seen) and with the conclusion of Osborne’s picks at —one of the greatest Westerns in the history of cinema, The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)—the wee a.m. hours offer up two other fine films directed by Incident’s “Wild Bill” Wellman, Across the Wide Missouri (1951; 2:45am) and Midnight Mary (1933; 4:15am).
May 16, Wednesday – Henry Fonda? We were just talking about him! Well, actually it was about Ox-Bow Incident…but Hank celebrates his 107th natal anniversary and the channel is only too happy to honor him with showings of The Male Animal (1942; 7:30am), The Long Night (1947; 9:15am), Fort Apache (1948; 11am), Mister Roberts (1955; 1:15pm), Stage Struck (1958; 3:30pm) and Advise & Consent (1962; 5:15pm).
May 17, Thursday – Back when TCM first started running the Bowery Boys comedies (this would have been in the late 90s, since I had most of them on VHS) their telecast of Spy Chasers (1955) had the reels out of sequence So when they ran this movie again a year ago I thought the problem would have been corrected…but Hal Erickson told me on Facebook that they were still screwing up the reels. Will the problem be fixed by the time of this next airing? The suspense is killing me!
May 18, Friday – The director of Lost Horizon (1937), the topic of my most recent essay at Edward Copeland on Film…and More, was born on this date in 1897—and though Horizon isn’t scheduled to be shown there’s still plenty of “Capra-corn” on hand with Frank Capra’s The Miracle Woman (1931; 6:30am), The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933; 8:15pm), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939; 9:45am), It Happened One Night (1934; 12noon), You Can’t Take It With You (1938; 2pm), Lady for a Day (1933; 4:15pm) and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936; 6pm).
Come nightfall, we’re gonna “rock around the clock” with the 1956 movie of that same title at . But before that, it’s a film that I guesstimate I have seen nearly 50 times (and in my opinion, the only George Lucas film worth a damn), American Graffiti (1973) at . Rounding out the courses in “DJ 101” are Go, Johnny, Go! (1959) at and Jamboree (1954) at .
If you missed Ganja & Hess (1973) the last time around, there’ll be an encore of it on TCM Underground at , followed by The Slams (1973) at 4. (Kind of curious about this last one since it was directed by Jonathan Kaplan, who also helmed Over the Edge, Heart Like a Wheel and The Accused.)
May 19, Saturday – Back before the Bravo channel became Reality Show Central, their programming often consisted of cult films and TV shows (with no commercials, if you can remember back that far) and that’s where I first saw 1963’s Soldier in the Rain, a curious little flick starring Steve McQueen as a hick soldier who idolizes his mentor, Jackie Gleason. The film really didn’t work for me—McQueen’s character is a bit too much to take at times—but it’s a fine Gleason performance, and Tuesday Weld is also in it so it’s worth a look.
When evening shadows fall, the best argument for the monochromatic artistry of black-and-white films will unfold when TCM Essentials schedules Wuthering Heights (1939) at …with cinematography by the immortal Gregg Toland. Toland’s outstanding work continues at 10 with The Long Voyage Home (1940) followed by The Outlaw (1943) at . Then it’s two of Toland’s masterpieces—The Grapes of Wrath (1940) at 2am and Citizen Kane (1941) at . (I know—who the hell schedules Kane at that time of the morning?)
May 20, Sunday – Set your recording devices on stun…er, I mean to record two Jean Renoir masterpieces that will start on TCM Imports at with one of the most admired films in cinematic history, The Rules of the Game (1939), and then followed by Partie de campagne (1936) at 4.
May 21, Monday – Two birthdays of special note are on this date, beginning with Robert Montgomery’s 108th and a lineup that will consist of Faithless (1932; ), Another Language (1933; ), When Ladies Meet (1933; ), Trouble for Two (1936; ) and Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941; ). Then it’s a doff of the TCM cap to Justine Kay Kendall-McCarthy…but she lets us call her Kay Kendall, and on what would have been Kay’s 86th (she left us far too soon) the channel serves up Quentin Durward (1955; ), Les Girls (1957; ) and The Reluctant Debutante (1958; ).
A couple of weeks ago on Parks and Recreation, the Leslie Knope character complimented a voter’s bowling prowess by cracking “You’re so good at strikes, they ought to call you Norma Rae.” I laughed pretty hard at that, and the 1979 film classic directed by TDOY fave Martin Ritt at 8pm kicks off a tribute to actress Sally Field (you like her, you really like her) that’s followed by the film that won her a second Best Actress Oscar, Places in the Heart (1984) at 10pm. Good stuff on tap for the rest of the evening with fine Field films in Absence of Malice (1981; 12mid), Murphy’s Romance (1985; ) and The End (1978; ).
May 22, Tuesday – Okay…I successfully repressed the urge to make any Flying Nun references a second ago—but I’m powerless to keep mum about revealing that I’m old enough to remember when Debra Winger was Wonder Woman’s younger sister, Wonder Girl. I’d like to think Robert Osborne will ask her about this when she stops by as TCM’s Guest Programmer, but I know I’ll be doomed to disappointment. Good lineup of films chosen by Deb, though: The Night of the Iguana (1964; 8pm), Wings of Desire (1987; ), Rififi (1954; ) and Gilda (1946) closing out the visit at .
May 24, Thursday – “Don’t be thinkin’ that I don’t want you/’Cause lady I do…” Now that I mangled the Little River Band hit, it shouldn’t be too hard to dope out what the films scheduled have in common: Du Barry Was a Lady (1943; 10am), Lady in the Lake (1947; 12noon), The Lady from Shanghai (1948; 2pm), The Lady Eve (1941; 3:45pm) and Funny Lady (1975; 5:30pm). (No coaching from the audience, please.)
May 25, Friday – The channel devotes the evening hours to a worth-your-time hat trick helmed by Academy Award-winning director Frank Borzage: Three Comrades (1938; 8pm), The Mortal Storm (1940; 10pm) and Strange Cargo (1940; 12mid).
May 26, Saturday – It’s Marie Dressler who steals the show in the 1933 film classic Dinner at Eight, but TCM Essentials’ showing of this at 8pm will concentrate more on the talents of beloved character actress Billie Burke. Billie is feted in fine style with Topper (1937) following at , then Father of the Bride (1950; 12 mid), Merrily We Live (1938; 2am) and The Barkleys of Broadway (1949; 4am) afterward.
May 29, Tuesday – My BFF The Duchess once asked me if Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck ever made a movie together. I didn’t think they did, but that’s why the IMDb exists (well, that and to constantly screw with actors’ credits) and it turns out that they are both appeared in the 1932 film So Big! (showing at ). After that it’s all Babs in Baby Face (1933; 7:30am), Ever in My Heart (1933; 9am), Ladies They Talk About (1933; 10:15am—yowsah!), Annie Oakley (1935; 11:30am), The Secret Bride (1935; 1:15pm), The Woman in Red (1935; 2:30pm), His Brother’s Wife (1936; 3:45pm), The Bride Walks Out (1936; 5:15pm) and Breakfast for Two (1937; 6:45pm).
The best film I’ve ever seen Dorothy Dandridge in—apart from Carmen Jones (1954), which kicks off an evening tribute to the actress-singer at 8pm—is the rarely shown Tamango (1957), which I was fortunate enough to see many years ago through the VHS generosity of my longtime Internet pal Laura (not to be confused with Laura of Miscellaneous Musings, by the way). Instead, the channel is going to toast Miss D with stuff like Tarzan’s Peril (1951; ), which does her a tremendous disservice. The other movies on tap are Bright Road (1953; 10pm), The Harlem Globetrotters (1951; ), The Decks Ran Red (1958; 1am) and Dorothy and her sisters in Irene (1940) at .
May 30, Tuesday – One of my favorite Helen Hayes films gets a showing at —What Every Woman Knows (1934). Catch this little gem if you haven’t seen it.
May 31, Wednesday – Finally, the channel closes us out with a lineup of “Doctor” films during the daylight hours, including three from the long-running British film series featuring Kate Gabrielle fave Dirk Bogarde: Doctor in the House (1954; 2:45pm), Doctor at Large (1957; 4:30pm) and Doctor in Distress (1963; 6:15pm). (VCI has released all these films in a nifty box set that I’m going to try and open one of these Overlooked Films Tuesdays.) But before Dirk, it’s a mini-festival of the popular Crime Doctor film series cranked out by Columbia in the 1940s starring Warner Baxter and based on the popular radio program created by Max Marcin: Crime Doctor (1943; 6am), Crime Doctor’s Strangest Case (1943; 7:15am), The Crime Doctor’s Courage (1945; 8:30am), Crime Doctor’s Warning (1945; 9:45am), Crime Doctor’s Man Hunt (1946; 11am), Crime Doctor’s Gamble (1947; 12:15pm) and The Crime Doctor’s Diary (1949; 1:30pm). (Unlike the aborted Boston Blackie project, I have seen and reviewed all of the Crime Doctor films—you’ll find them here.)