Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Coming distractions: May 2013 on TCM

With less than two weeks away before the arrival of the merry month of May, I figured I’d better get cracking on putting together Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s regular feature spotlighting some of the goodies to come in that particular month on The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™.  (By the way—the individual responsible for coining that appellation, distinguished pop culture analyst and dedicated Pittsburgh Pirates [meh] fan Rick Brooks, has returned to his proper place in the blogosphere at Cultureshark.  Stop by and say hi-dy when you get a chance.)  As always…many thanks to fellow classic film fanatic Laura of Miscellaneous Musings fame for alerting me to the news that Tee Cee Em had May’s tentative schedule up (I should stress that it’s not her fault I’m so darn late with this).

The channel has chosen to go with a potpourri theme for their May Star of the Month…which will be most welcomed, since it was getting kind of musty in here.  All seriousness aside, every Tuesday night in the month TCM will present a total of 22 films featuring some of cinema’s best known Tough Guys: Bogie, Cagney, Mitchum, Garfield, Franklin Pangborn.  (Wait, what?)  Here’s the rundown on what films will be featured:

May 7, Tuesday
08:00pm The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
10:00pm Crossfire (1947)
11:30pm Out of the Past (1947)
01:45am Out of the Fog (1941)
03:15am The Naked City (1948)

May 14, Tuesday
08:00pm Kiss of Death (1947)
10:00pm Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
11:45pm Point Blank (1967)
01:30am A Better Tomorrow (1986)
03:15am The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
05:00am The Secret Six (1931; also May 23 @ 5:30pm)

May 21, Tuesday
08:00pm Little Caesar (1930)
09:30pm The Petrified Forest (1936)
11:00pm Le Jour Se Leve (1939)
12:45am White Heat (1949)
02:45am Brute Force (1947)
04:30am The Big House (1930)

May 28, Tuesday
08:00pm Hard Times (1975)
10:00pm Bullitt (1968)
12:00am Pale Rider (1985)
02:00am Shaft’s Big Score! (1972)
04:00am Shaft in Africa (1973)

Boy, it would be nice if TCM would go back to indicating which of the films they’re going to show will be in a letterbox presentation…because I’d like to see Hard Times as such—even the DVD release is pan-and-scan, ferchrissake.  Well, what can you do—stuff happens.  On Friday nights in May, the channel will roll out a series of 26 films that fit under the category of “Second Looks”—movies that have been critically underrated and are worthy (in TCM’s estimation) of reevaluation.  The lineup is as follows:

May 3, Friday
08:00pm Alice in Wonderland (1933)
09:30pm No Greater Glory (1934)
11:00pm The Bride Wore Red (1937)
01:00am I Take This Woman (1940)
03:00am Three Comrades (1938)
04:45am Parnell (1937)

May 10, Friday
08:00pm The Great Moment (1944)
09:30pm The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945)
11:00pm Under Capricorn (1949)
01:15am Above and Beyond (1952)
03:30am Battle Cry (1955)

May 17, Friday
08:00pm Ace in the Hole (1951)
10:00pm Top Banana (1954)
12:00am It’s Always Fair Weather (1955)
02:00am Our Man in Havana (1960)
04:00am Autumn Leaves (1956)

May 24, Friday
08:00pm Inside Daisy Clover (1965)
10:15pm The Loved One (1965)
12:30am Mickey One (1965)
02:15am The Arrangement (1969)
04:30am The Fortune (1975)

May 31, Friday
08:00pm A New Leaf (1971)
10:00pm 1941 (1979)
12:15am Those Lips, Those Eyes (1980)
02:15am Absolute Beginners (1986)
04:15am Night of the Comet (1984)

To be honest, I’m a little more intrigued by the “Second Looks” offerings than “Tough Guys”—I think they were very eclectic in their choices (I’ve long championed movies like The Horn Blows at Midnight, Ace in the Hole and Night of the Comet) and I’m curious to see a couple of these: Under Capricorn is one of the few Hitchcock’s I’ve not viewed and I don’t think I’ve ever watched It’s Always Fair Weather, at least not in its entirety.  (Then there are some that I’ll just never warm up to: saw Mickey One in a film class one time and am just not a fan; same goes for 1941, though I imagine there’ll be much rejoicing and hoisting of mead at Castle Cozzalio on that night.)

Finally in May, a fitting filmic tribute over the Memorial Day weekend to commemorate the memory of those who served:

May 25, Saturday
06:00am Hell Below (1933)
08:00am Thunder Below (1939)
10:00am Destination Tokyo (1943)
12:30pm Torpedo Run (1958)
02:15pm Run Silent, Run Deep (1958)
04:00pm Up Periscope (1959)
06:00pm Operation Pacific (1951)
08:00pm Friendly Persuasion (1956)
10:30pm Sergeant York (1941)
01:00am Men Must Fight (1933)
02:30am The Deep Six (1958)
04:30am Foreign Correspondent (1940)

May 26, Sunday
06:45am Reunion in France (1942)
08:45am The Sea Chase (1955)
11:00am Back to Bataan (1945)
01:00pm They Were Expendable (1945)
03:30pm The Green Berets (1968)
06:00pm Flying Leathernecks (1951)
08:00pm Battleground (1949)
10:15pm Battle of the Bulge (1965)
01:15am Homecoming (1948)
03:15am The Coward (1915)
04:30am The Cranes are Flying (1957)

May 27, Monday
06:15am The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
09:00am The Guns of Navarone (1961)
12:00pm The Devil’s Brigade (1968)
02:30pm Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
05:00pm The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
08:00pm Air Force (1943)
10:15pm Command Decision (1948)
12:15am God is My Co-Pilot (1945)
02:00am Flight Command (1940)
04:00am Dive Bomber (1941)

Say that again?  You want to know what else is in store for us on TCM in May?  You people are never satisfied—I don’t know where you put it!  Well, let’s take a look at some of the other highlights…keeping in mind, of course, that films are subject to change and all scheduled times are EDT.

May 1, Wednesday – It’s a good thing today is Glenn Ford’s birthday, because TCM has got a DVD collection of five of the actor’s films to promote (which was released in March).  Fortunately, the channel’s not showing any of the movies on that set today—instead, you get The Doctor and the Girl (1950; 6:15am), The White Tower (1950; 8am), Young Man with Ideas (1952; 9:45am), Terror on a Train (1953; 11:15am), Blackboard Jungle (1955; 12:30pm), Interrupted Melody (1955; 2:15pm), Trial (1955; 4:15pm) and Ransom! (1956; 6:15pm).  Truth be told, I’ve only seen the last two and Jungle—and if anyone thinks I’ll be able to pry my father away from Prospectors to catch any of the others you’re living in a dream world, pallie.

Come nightfall, TCM turns the schedule over to actress Priscilla Lane, featured in six movies beginning at 8pm with Brother Rat (1938), then it’s Four Daughters (1938; 9:45pm), Silver Queen (1942; 11:30pm), Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938; 1am), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944; 2:30am) and Varsity Show (1937; 4:30am).

May 2, Thursday – A Facebook chum of mine mentioned some time back that the channel was going to be showing a Mercedes McCambridge movie I’ve not seen, Lightning Strikes Twice (1951; 12mid)—and he was not messing around, boy; it’s part of a primetime tribute to director King Vidor.  The other movies scheduled are Duel in the Sun (1946; 8pm), Ruby Gentry (1952; 10:30pm), An American Romance (1944; 1:45am) and Comrade X (1940; 4am).

May 4, SaturdayTCM continues to showcase films from RKO’s popular Falcon franchise (all films are shown at 10:45am) with a movie they later remade two years later (as Murder, My Sweet): The Falcon Takes Over (1942).  The last of the George Sanders (and first of his brother Tom Conway’s) Falcons, The Falcon’s Brother follows a week later on May 11 and then it’s The Falcon Strikes Back (1943; May 18).

At noon, the channel will feature westerns with tall-in-the-saddle Randolph Scott for the next three weeks: Fighting Man of the Plains (1949; May 4), Canadian Pacific (1949; May 11) and Ride the High Country (1962; May 18).

And when evening rolls around, Bobby Osbo and Drew Barrymore pull out a copy of Gold Diggers of 1933 to show on The Essentials at 8pm, then they follow that with two more Busby Berkeley-choreographed classics, Footlight Parade (1933; 10pm) and 42nd Street (1933; 12mid).

May 5, SundayTCM has a Fanny Brice double feature on tap for the evening…but I need to give you a heads-up and tell you that the two movies do not star Fanny—they’re fictionalized versions of her career.  Rose of Washington Square (1939) is up first at 8, and though 20th Century Fox couldn’t come right and say it was based on Brice’s career star Alice Faye sings Fanny’s signature tune, My Man…and also, too, Al Jolson is in it—so draw your own conclusions.  (Ms. Brice did, by the way; she sued Fox for $750,000 and the studio settled with her for an undisclosed amount.)  Following at 9:45pm is Funny Girl (1968), featuring Barbra Streisand’s Oscar-winning turn in the role she originated on stage.  Personally, for undiluted Brice I would recommend you invest in Radio Spirits’ fine Baby Snooks collection, Why Daddy?  (Oh, I’m so ashamed I resorted to that last bit of brazen self-promotion.)

On TCM’s Silent Sunday Nights—a special presentation will unfold for the nest three weeks: the 1917 Louis Feuillade serial Judex will be shown!

May 5, 12:30am: The Prologue (1917), The Mysterious Shadow (1917), The Atonement (1917), The Fantastic Dog Pack (1917)
May 12, 12:30am: The Secret of the Tomb (1917), The Tragic Mill (1917), The Licorice Kid (1917), The Woman in Black (1917)
May 19, midnight: The Underground Passages of the Chateau-Rouge (1917), When the Child Appeared (1917), Jacqueline’s Heart (1917), The Water Goddess (1917), Love’s Forgiveness (1917), The Epilogue (1917)

And following each of these Judex segments will be TCM Imports’ showing of three Yasujiro Ozu classics: Late Spring (1949; May 5-2:45am), Early Summer (1951; May 11-2:30am) and Late Autumn (1960; May 18-2:30am).

May 6, Monday – Three different birthdays will be celebrated by the channel in the daytime hours: Rudolph Valentino’s with The Sheik (1921; 6:45am) and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921; 8:15am) Orson Welles’ with The Magnificent Ambersons (1942; 11am) and The Lady from Shanghai (1947; 12:30am); and Stewart Granger’s with The Wild North (1952; 2pm), Soldiers Three (1951; 4pm) and King Solomon’s Mines (1950; 6pm).  (Always good to share the wealth.)

As evening shadows fall, it’s Uncle Bobby Osbo and another session of his universally beloved “picks,” it says here.  On tap are The Shopworn Angel (1938; 8pm), Boom Town (1940; 9:30pm), That’s Entertainment! (1974; 11:45pm) and Gentleman Jim (1942; 2:15am).  To round out the evening, another film with ClassicBecky fave Errol Flynn will be shown at 4:15am, Montana (1950).

May 7, Tuesday – The daytime hours are devoted to movies released in the year 1940—I saw the first one kicking things off at 6am, Cross Country Romance, a Saturday or two back and it left me with more questions than answers, chiefly: are there any movies where Cliff Clark doesn’t play a policeman?  (Okay, I do know Clark is a fireman in Henry Aldrich, Editor…but it’s practically the same thing.)  The rest of the films on the schedule: Gambling on the High Seas (1940; 7:15am), Irene (1940; 8:15am), Virginia City (1940; 10am), Strange Cargo (1940; 12noon), We Who Are Young (1940; 2pm), South of Suez (1940; 3:30pm), Brother Rat and a Baby (1940; 5pm) and Little Men (1940; 6:30pm).

May 8, Wednesday – The channel starts out the morning with five films featuring the incomparable Judy Garland:  Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937; 6am), Little Nellie Kelly (1940; 7:30am), Babes on Broadway (1941; 9:15am), Gay Purr-ee (1962; 11:15am) and I Could Go On Singing (1963; 12:45pm).  And since this last one pairs her with actor Dirk Bogarde, TCM decides to shift gears for the rest of the afternoon and concentrate on some of Dirk’s work with Song Without End (1960; 2:30pm) Night Ambush (1957; 4:45pm) and So Long at the Fair (1950; 6:30pm).

The primetime hours will see the debut of a TCM documentary, Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking: The Story of Richard D. Zanuck.  (The title references not the song but the biography written about the late Richard D.’s equally famous pop, one-time 20th Century Fox head Darryl F.—only with a “no” replacing the “yes.”)  As you might have guessed, it’s an overview on producer Zanuck’s career—it will be shown at 8 and 11:30pm, and will be supplemented by three Zanuck-produced films, Driving Miss Daisy (1989; 9:45pm), Cocoon (1985; 1:15am) and Compulsion (1959; 3:30am).

May 9, Thursday – French actor Alain Delon “gets a dinner” with a scheduling of some of his feature film appearances in the daylight hours, beginning with Rocco and His Brothers (1960) at 6amPurple Noon (1960) follows at 9, then it’s Have I the Right to Kill (1963; 11am), The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964; 12:45pm), Once a Thief (1965; 3pm) and Spirits of the Dead (1969; 5pm).

The theme for the primetime hours is “50’s Families”: There’s Always Tomorrow (1956) starts the ball rolling at 8pm, followed by A Summer Place (1959; 9:30pm), Our Very Own (1950; 11:45pm), A Hatful of Rain (1957; 1:30am) and Man on Fire (1957; 3:30am).  (I’ve seen a few of these—they should change that to “50’s Dysfunctional Families.”)

May 10, Friday – Spend a day with the Best Actor Oscar winners from 1935-41: The Informer (1935; 6am), The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936; 7:45am), Captains Courageous (1937; 9:30am), Boys’ Town (1938; 11:30am), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939; 1:15pm), The Philadelphia Story (1940; 3:15pm) and Sergeant York (1941; 5:30pm).

May 11, Saturday – My BBFF Stacia will probably be wide awake and watching The Strangler (1964; 7:30am), a nifty little chiller starring her fave Victor Buono as a lab technician who indulges in a rather unpalatable hobby as a serial killer.

Come nightfall, the “Drewsentials” showing of How Green Was My Valley (1941) at 8pm ushers in a three-film festival of movies dealing with “Memory Lane”; Valley is followed by A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945; 10:15pm) then Stand by Me (1987; 12:30am).

Then on TCM Underground, it’s all the Conried you can get your “Hans” on (oh, that’s gonna leave a mark)—OTR god Hans Conried stars in The Twonky (1953) at 2:15am, then encores with The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953) at 3:45

May 12, Sunday – “M” may be for the million things she gave me…but the channel is serving up nine films to commemorate Mother’s Day today.  Lady by Choice (1934; 6am), The Reckless Moment (1949; 7:30am), Stella Dallas (1937; 9am), So Big (1932; 11am), Light in the Piazza (1962; 12:30pm), Gypsy (1962; 2:30pm), Peyton Place (1957; 5:15pm), Roughly Speaking (1945; 8pm) and I Remember Mama (1948; 10pm).

May 13, Monday – The channel kicks off the early morning hours with a pair of Laurel & Hardy shorts—Helpmates (1932; 6:45am) and The Live Ghost (1934; 7:15am).  Then for most of the rest of day, you can watch the antics of the greatest movie comedy team of all time en Español!  Ladrones (1930; 7:45am), La Vida Nocturna (1930; 8:30am), Tiembla Y Titubea (1930), Noche de Duendes (1930; 9:45am), Politiquerias (1931; 10:45am), Les Carottiers (1931; 11:45am) and Los Calaveras (1931; 1:00pm).

Then beginning at 2:15pm, a four-film hat doff to character great Walter Connolly with Washington Merry-Go-Round (1932), The Captain Hates the Sea (1934; 3:45pm), The Girl Downstairs (1938; 5:15pm) and Coast Guard (1939; 6:45pm).

After the Connolly session, TCM oracle Robert Osborne invites police woman Angie Dickinson to be the evening’s guest programmer…and Ang selects for her program Gigi (1958; 8pm), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942; 10:15pm), Dog Day Afternoon (1975; 12:30am) and The 400 Blows (1959; 2:45am).  (Pretty eclectic choices there, Pepper!)

May 14, Tuesday – How many times have you heard yourself saying: “If only I had enough time in the day to step away from the computer and start reading selected works by author-playwright Edna Ferber like I’ve always wanted?”  Well, Tee Cee Em has that covered with a day of Edna: Cimarron (1931; 6:15am), Giant (1956; 8:30am), Saratoga Trunk (1945; 12noon), Stage Door (1937; 2:15pm), Show Boat (1936; 4pm) and So Big (1953; 6pm).

May 15, Wednesday – Happy birthday, Joseph Cotten!  Normally I celebrate the actor’s birthday by listening to every episode of Suspense on which he appeared…but since I’m kind of pressed for time, I’ve decided to check out TCM’s lineup that starts with Lydia (1941) at 6:30am, then Journey into Fear (1942; 8:15am), The Third Man (1949; 9:30am), Walk Softly, Stranger (1950; 11:30am), The Man with a Cloak (1951; 1pm), The Steel Trap (1952; 2:30pm), The Angel Wore Red (1960; 4pm) and Jack of Diamonds (1967; 6pm).

The evening theme is “Movies for Grown-Ups.”  I have no idea what the hell that is supposed to mean; I generally associate that with flicks that have a little “bow-chicka-wow-wow” in them, if you know what I mean.  But don’t let me detain you from watching Forbidden Planet (1956; 8pm), Spellbound (1945; 10pm), Rome, Open City (1946; 12mid), Pennies from Heaven (1981; 2am), The Projectionist (1971; 4am) and Born Yesterday (1950; 5:30am).

May 16, ThursdayTCM devotes the evening hours to “the lives of saints,” with a four-picture gathering of religious-themed films beginning at 8 with The Big Fisherman (1959).  That’s followed by Francis of Assisi (1961; 11:15pm), Joan of Arc (1948; 1:15am) and A Man for All Seasons (1966; 3:45am).

May 17, FridayTDOY fave Maureen O’Sullivan celebrates what would have been her 102nd birthday on this date…and the channel serves up some of her feature films in tribute beginning with My Dear Miss Aldrich (1937) at 11am, followed by Spring Madness (1938; 12:15pm), Sporting Blood (1940; 1:30pm), Where Danger Lives (1950; 3pm), Mission Over Korea (1953; 4:30pm) and Never Too Late (1965; 6pm).

May 18, SaturdayBride of Frankenstein (1935) is in the spotlight on TCM’s The Essentials at 8pm, so it seems only fitting that the three films scheduled afterward feature the “Bride” herownself, character great Elsa Lanchester.  The movies to be shown are The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933; 9:30pm), Murder by Death (1976; 11:15pm) and Passport to Destiny (1944; 1:15am).  Then on TCM Underground, a double feature guaranteed to force Craig Zablo to fiddle with his DVR: Below the Belt (1980) at 2:30am, followed by director Robert Aldrich’s cinematic swan song, …All the Marbles (1981; 4:15am).

May 19, Sunday – Fans of director Fritz Lang (raises hand) know that the director was rather fond of the Western and directed three oaters in his career, the first being The Return of Frank James in 1940.  The movie will be shown in TCM’s evening hours at 10pm, following the movie that preceded it, Jesse James (1939) at 8.

May 20, Monday – Happy birthday, James Stewart!  The Indiana, PA native celebrates what would have been number one-oh-five, and TCM dishes up cake, ice cream and movies: Speed (1936; 6:30am), You Can’t Take It With You (1938; 7:45am), The Mortal Storm (1940; 10am), Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962; 12noon), Carbine Williams (1952; 2pm), Winchester ’73 (1950; 3:45pm) and The Flight of the Phoenix (1965; 5:30pm).

After the party favors are stored away in the channel’s closet, it will be time for an evening devoted to spy movie spoofs: two of TDOY’s faves are on tap, back to back—the 1964 Carry On romp Carry On Spying at 1:45am, followed by Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965; 3:30am).  (The 1966 follow-up, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs follows Bikini Machine at 5:15am.  You have been warned.)  But before all this—it’s Our Man Flint (1966) at 8pm, followed a pair of Matt Helm vehicles, The Silencers (1966; 10pm) and Murderers’ Row (1966; 11:45pm).

May 21, Tuesday – Both Kay Kendall and Robert Montgomery celebrate birthdays today, so the channel once again demonstrates fealty to democratic principles by allowing ladies to be first in the morning hours beginning at 6:45am with Quentin Durward (1955), then it’s Les Girls (1957; 8:30am) and The Reluctant Debutante (1958; 10:30am).  Bob takes over in the afternoon: The Easiest Way (1931; 12:15pm), Hide-Out (1934; 1:30pm), Night Must Fall (1937; 3pm), Three Loves Have Nancy (1938; 5pm) and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941; 6:15pm).

May 22, WednesdayTCM splits the day up between Ronald Colman (“If I were king…”) and Anne Baxter—neither of whom are celebrating a birthday (Baxter’s is May 7), but that’s just how Tee Cee Em rolls.  Representing Colman’s oeuvre: Her Night of Romance (1924; 7am), My Life with Caroline (1941; 8:30am), Kismet (1944; 10am) and The Story of Mankind (1957; 11:45am).  Then it’s Anne in the Afternoon with The North Star (1943; 1:30pm), The Blue Gardenia (1953; 3:30pm), Bedevilled (1955; 5pm) and Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958; 6:30pm).

Come nightfall, the channel sets aside the schedule for some films from the oeuvre of Robert Duvall—the best of the bunch is slotted for the night auditor hours (of course) of 4:15am, Francis Ford Coppola’s underrated The Rain People (1969).  Before that, it’s The Natural (1984; 8pm), The Outfit (1973; 10:30pm), True Confessions (1981; 12:30am) and Countdown (1968; 2:30am).

May 23, Thursday – Two documentaries, Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women in Hollywood (2000; 6am) and Complicated Women (2003; 7pm), bookend a day filled with pre-Code goodies and films featuring women who called the shots in the industry.  The lineup features Coquette (1929; 7am), The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1929; 8:30am), Voice of the City (1929; 10:15am), The Divorcee (1930; 11:45am), The Life of the Party (1930; 1:15pm), The Office Wife (1930; 2:45pm), Kept Husbands (1931; 4pm) and The Secret Six (1931; 5:30pm).

The primetime schedule today is one that I’m really juiced about—the fun kicks off at 8pm with Safety Last! (1923), which ushers in an evening of films featuring The Third Genius himself, Harold Lloyd…including some shorts that I’ve not seen:

09:30pm Bashful (1917), Take a Chance (1918), A Gasoline Wedding (1918), The Big Idea (1917), By the Sad Sea Waves (1917), Lonesome Luke, Messenger (1917), Look Pleasant, Please (1918)
11:00pm The Freshman (1925)
12:30am Young Mr. Jazz (1919), A Sammy in Siberia (1919), Just Neighbors (1919), Spring Fever (1919), Next Aisle Over (1919), The Marathon (1919)
01:45am The Kid Brother (1927)
03:15am Captain Kidd’s Kids (1919)
03:45am His Royal Slyness (1920)
04:15am Now or Never (1921)
05:00am Hot Water (1924)

May 24, Friday – Another day of women to be reckoned with—and they name names, too!  Sadie McKee (1934; 6am), Lilly Turner (1933; 7:45am), Ann Vickers (1933; 9am), Ruby Gentry (1952; 10:30am), Esther Waters (1948; 12noon), Harriet Craig (1950; 2pm), Kitty Foyle (1940; 4pm) and Nora Prentiss (1947; 6pm).

May 29, Wednesday – But I just wanna tell ya…comedian Bob Hope celebrates what would have been his 110th natal anniversary today.  Unfortunately, except for The Seven Little Foys (1955; 6am) and maybe The Road to Hong Kong (1962; 11:30am), most of the offerings are from the nadir of his film career (I’ve yet to see 1956’s The Iron Petticoat, which will run at 7:45am, so my judgment may be a bit hasty).  So if your tastes run toward Hope vehicles like Bachelor in Paradise (1961; 9:30am), Call Me Bwana (1963; 1:15pm), A Global Affair (1964; 3pm), I’ll Take Sweden (1965; 4:30pm) and Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966; 6:15pm)—your prayers have been answered.

Once the dinner dishes are put away, the channel reserves the rumpus room for “Classic Disaster Films”: Titanic (1953; 8pm), In Old Chicago (1938; 10pm), The Hurricane (1937; 12mid), San Francisco (1936; 2am) and The Crowded Sky (1960; 4am).

May 30, Thursday – The 1933 James Cagney film The Mayor of Hell (7am) was remade in 1938 as Crime School (8:45am) with Humphrey Bogart and the Dead End Kids.  That establishes the pattern for the rest of the films scheduled today: Two Against the World (1932; 10:15am) and One Fatal Hour (1936; 11:30am); Libeled Lady (1936; 12:30pm) and Easy to Wed (1946; 2:30pm); and Five Came Back (1939; 4:30pm) and Back from Eternity (1956; 6pm).

Finally, TCM sets aside the evening schedule for two showings of a new documentary, Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story (2013), at 8 and 11:15pm.  As the title suggests, the doc explores the work of actor Clint Eastwood behind the camera, and supplements this as such with the Clint-directed White Hunter, Black Heart (1990; 9:15pm) and Bird (1988; 12:30am).  On a related note: what has two thumbs and is excited to see Clint’s classic TV oater Rawhide come to the once-proud AMC this Saturday (April 20)?  This guy!


Kevin Deany said...

Hope "Coast Guard" doesn't get cancelled at the last minute. Really want to see that one. We shall see.

Chris Vosburg said...

The mention of TCM's showing of "The Naked City" provides an excellent opportunity to point out that there was also a television series of that name, which MeTV provides reruns of each week at 1AM Monday (or think of it as late night Sunday if you like).

The reason I bring it up now is because this week's episode-- "Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow, They Went Out and Shot an Arrow"-- will feature a young Christopher Walken in one of his earliest roles, and I've been patiently awaiting this for over a year now, carefully counting the episode numbers and such.

He was Ronnie Walken then, and sort of a pretty boy-- not the slightly scary character he evolved into (Walken: I don't need to be made to look evil, I can do that on my own) but it's a great chance to get a look at the early days. He was twenty, and Walken fans, don't expect to see any dancing.

Rich said...

I would say that '1941' is Spielberg's worst film. If they're gonna air it under the category of 'Second Looks', I hope they'll provide some justification as to why it deserve a second look.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

The reason I bring it up now is because this week's episode-- "Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow, They Went Out and Shot an Arrow"-- will feature a young Christopher Walken in one of his earliest roles, and I've been patiently awaiting this for over a year now, carefully counting the episode numbers and such.

Thanks for the heads-up on this, Br'er Chris. That episode is on one of the Naked City DVD collections, so maybe I'll pull it out and have a gander at it in case I'm not able to make it to 1 am.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I would say that '1941' is Spielberg's worst film. If they're gonna air it under the category of 'Second Looks', I hope they'll provide some justification as to why it deserve a second look.

I really don't understand the love for the movie, to be honest -- I revisited it a couple of years ago when it made the rounds on the channel, hoping a letterbox version might make it...oh, I don't know, funnier, maybe. As to whether or not the film is Spielberg's worst...well, it does have stiff competition from Always.

Chris Vosburg said...

1941 ran recently on one of the other channels, and it is a sort of primer on the best and worst of the Spielberg directorial style.

I sum it up this way: emotionally, he's a twelve-year-old, which is a handicap or a plus, depending on the subject matter of the movie.

Now, who wants Monkey Brains?

Chris Vosburg said...

Also "Forbidden Planet" is most definitely not a "movie for grownups;" what with the rockets 'n' robots Heinlein-Juvenile subject matter, the manly astronaut models, and of course a completely naive-to-male-interaction Anne Francis, this is pointed directly at the twelve-year-old sci-fi geek with one hand on his crotch and the other on his model rocket collection.

By way of modern comparison, I saw "Fantastic Voyage" maybe a half-dozen times as a twelve-year-old, and same deal, I was most definitely the target audience. And most definitely willing to be so.

Raquel Welch in a provocatively unzippered wetsuit. Need I say more?

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Also "Forbidden Planet" is most definitely not a "movie for grownups;" what with the rockets 'n' robots Heinlein-Juvenile subject matter, the manly astronaut models, and of course a completely naive-to-male-interaction Anne Francis, this is pointed directly at the twelve-year-old sci-fi geek with one hand on his crotch and the other on his model rocket collection.

I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work there, Lou.

Most of what you describe is simply window dressing for some rather disturbing adult subtext...including its Freudian/Jungian overtones and the rather unhealthy relationship between Morbius and daughter Altaira. That having been said: I am not a huge fan of the movie -- I recognize its importance among sci-fi fans and its later influences, but I think it's just a little too impressed with itself at times. (And the male characters in the film do not come across as positive role models for anybody's kids.)

Chris Vosburg said...

I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work there, Lou.

Oh, ya? Jeez.

Seriously, good points, Ivan, and well-taken.

I tend to oversimplify sci-fi into one of two categories-- There's "Big Idea" and then there's "Rockets'n'Robots", and this movie is one that seems to have started out as the former but got doped down into the latter.

But yeah, you're right, there is definitely a Big Idea buried under all the hammy muscle-and-bounce spaceman stuff, and some gorgeous visuals (especially in the "above the power plant" scenes).

Also, I wanna patch-cord-whip Louis and Beebe Barron for their remarkably irritating "Electronic Tonalities" score.

Thomas Dolby put it best many years later when he said "Synthesizers don't have to sound like a box full of of moribund wasps, you know."

Scott said...

I suspect Forbidden Planet gets a hall pass from the Big Ideas Monitor largely due to its ambitious, if tenuous, connection to Shakespeare's The Tempest. But I also give it credit for being the first film of its era to think outside the Solar system. Rather than going to Mars or Venus in an Estes model rocket with a sparkler shoved up its tailpipe, our heroes get in a flying saucer and travel faster than light to a distant star.

In fact, it's the first movie I can think of that even considered the problems of interstellar -- rather than interplanetary -- travel, e.g., it takes a hell of a lot of time to get from one star to another (the United Planets is only now, 20 years later, getting around to investigating -- maybe even noticing -- the disappearance of the Bellerophon); it's dangerous and stressful (the crew has to go into stasis during deceleration), you can't just thumb the mic and and call Earth anytime you want (they basically have to dismantle their ship in order to build a big enough transmitter to send a message back to base). And nobody's wearing A-2 flight jackets and neckties.

A lot of it, I grant you, is childish (they didn't sell all those starship models and Robby the Robot toys by accident), but much of it is also mind-bendingly abstract and psycho-sexually warped for a mid-50s genre flick (okay, sure, film noir was also filled with folks getting their Freudian kink on), which makes seeing it as a kid and then again as an adult rather different experiences.

I like that the mass-murdering monster isn't an alien in a rubber suit, but a basically sympathetic human being we've gotten to know well. It's also one of the few sf movies where the monster is unseen for much of the running time and it doesn't feel like a budget-minded cheat (in fact, the only time the monster doesn't work for me is when we actually get a glimpse of it in the laser-cannon crossfire). And I like that Leslie Nielsen's Cmdr. Adams doesn't take down the Monster from the Id in the kind of half-assed, Hail Mary action scene that usually climaxes these pictures -- he basically talks it to death, and somehow the scene is still suspenseful.

Flaws aside, I think it's justly considered a classic.

Silver Screenings said...

The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ = You said it!

Thanks for the post and for going through the movies so thoroughly.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ = You said it!

Thanks, Ruth...but it would be unseemly for me to take the credit for this; it was coined by my good friend Rick Brooks, senior fellow at Cultureshark Institute.

Chris Vosburg said...

Nice one Scott, and I hope the enthusiastic nature of the comment means the back problem is subsiding.

I had another look at my DVD of FP this morning, and you're quite right-- it is in fact much better than the smarmy and careless smearing I gave it here the other day.

I am well rebuked [hanging head].

Scott said...

Chris, coming from the King of Comment Thread Rebukery, I take that as high praise.

I am concerned about one thing, though...You responded to a difference of opinion over a movie by going back and looking at the movie again, instead of just skimming the Wiki entry? That's dangerously close to a historian consulting a primary source, and that is not how arguing on the Internet is supposed to work!

I trust this sort of unfashionable scholarship will not become a habit.