Sunday, March 30, 2014

Coming distractions: April 2014 on TCM

Big doin’s in the month of April on The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™…and as always, I was given a most enthusiastic heads-up on the tentative schedule by none other than my fellow film scribe at ClassicFlix, Laura of Miscellaneous Musings fame.  (Yes, I know there was a time when I did this feature a month or two in advance…but I kind of got weary of Tee Cee Em changing things at the last minute.)  April will be bringing us many exciting features: there’ll be anniversaries, fan programmers…and a new wrinkle on the channel’s Star of the Month.

Rather than showcase movies featuring the Star of the Month on select nights in April—TCM is going to go for broke with a gi-normous tribute to the one and only John Wayne beginning April 21 at 8pm and continuing all week until the early Saturday morning hours of April 26th.  The reason for this change I’ll get to in a minute, but what this basically means for Tee Cee Em devotes is that if you tune into the channel at any time of the day during that period you’ll stumble across one of 55 films (plus 2 documentaries and an episode of Screen Director’s Playhouse) featuring the man born Marion Robert Morrison.  (In other words, you might think you turned into AMC by mistake.  I’m only half-kidding about that, by the way.)  When I told my father of this momentous event—and keep in mind, this is a man who shuns black-and-white films the way a vampire shuns direct sunlight—I think there was a tear in his eye.  There’ll be films of the Duke’s that I haven’t seen in ages—notably The Shepherd of the Hills (1941)—and some of them aren’t technically John Wayne starrers (*cough* I Married a Woman *cough*) but for your edification, here’s what’s on tap:

April 21, Monday
08:00pm The Big Trail (1930)
10:30pm Sea Spoilers (1936)
12:00am Haunted Gold (1932)
01:15am Somewhere in Sonora (1933)
02:30am Baby Face (1933)
04:00am Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (2008)
05:30am The Telegraph Trail (1933)

April 22, Tuesday
07:00am The Life of Jimmy Dolan (1933)
08:30am Ride Him, Cowboy (1932)
09:45am The Big Stampede (1932)
11:00am The Man from Monterey (1933)
12:15pm Sagebrush Trail (1934)
01:30pm Randy Rides Alone (1934)
02:45pm The Star Packer (1934)
03:45pm The Lawless Frontier (1935)
05:00pm Allegheny Uprising (1939)
06:30pm 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year (2009)
08:00pm Stagecoach (1939)
10:00pm The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
12:15am Fort Apache (1948)
02:30am The Searchers (1956)
04:45am The Long Voyage Home (1940)

April 23, Wednesday
06:45am 3 Godfathers (1948)
08:30am She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
10:45am Rio Grande (1950)
12:30pm The Quiet Man (1952)
02:45pm The Wings of Eagles (1957)
04:45pm How the West Was Won (1962)
07:30pm Screen Directors Playhouse: “Rookie of the Year” (12/07/55)
08:00pm They Were Expendable (1945)
10:45pm Operation Pacific (1951)
01:00am The Fighting Seabees (1944)
03:00am Back To Bataan (1945)
04:45am The Green Berets (1968)

April 24, Thursday
07:15am Reunion in France (1942)
09:15am Flying Tigers (1942)
11:15am Flying Leathernecks (1951)
01:15pm The Sea Chase (1955)
03:15pm Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)
06:00pm Blood Alley (1955)
08:00pm Red River (1948)
10:45pm The Shepherd of the Hills (1941)
12:45am Reap the Wild Wind (1942)
03:15am The Spoilers (1942)
04:45am I Married a Woman (1958)

April 25, Friday
06:15am Tall in the Saddle (1944)
07:45am Without Reservations (1946)
09:45am Tycoon (1947)
12:00pm Angel and the Badman (1947)
01:45pm Trouble Along the Way (1953)
03:45pm Big Jim McLain (1952)
05:15pm Rio Bravo (1959)
08:00pm North to Alaska (1960)
10:15pm McLintock! (1963)
12:45am The Shootist (1976)
02:30am The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
04:45am The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

April 26, Saturday
08:15am Big Jake (1971)

From April 7 through April 11, TCM will offer up a grab bag of “fan favorites”; movies selected by the Tee Cee Em faithful in conjunction with both the annual TCM Classic Film Festival (which will take place from April 10-13) and the channel’s recent Ultimate Fan Contest, in which the winner (Tiffany Vasquez, come on down!) will not only introduce a film at the Classic Film Festival…but will co-host a film on air with Bobby Osbo on the channel—and let me just say, I don’t know Ms. Vasquez…but she can’t be any worse than some of those other mooks doing intros there now (*cough* Drew Barrymore *cough*).  Yours truly will not be attending the festivities because my charity work in finding homes for orphan DVDs runs into quite a bit of money…but some of my other classic film blogger brethren and sistren will be writing about the fun, and I cannot stress enough the importance of checking out their reportage during the event.

Also in April: The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ (Rick Brooks will be able to take the kids to McDonald’s every day this week!) will celebrate its twentieth anniversary the day after the closing of the Festival (April 14)…and it’s funny; it seems like it was only yesterday that I received my first copy of the channel’s program guide, and walked over to my TV set…and started bitching to anyone within earshot that our cable company didn't carry TCM.  (You just don’t forget good times like that.)  The channel will celebrate their birthday with an hour-long special, Twenty Classic Moments, a repeat of the Private Screenings outing that features angerbear Alec Baldwin interviewing Uncle Bobby…and the following:

05:00am Mildred Pierce (1945)
07:00am The Maltese Falcon (1941)
09:00am The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
11:00am Gaslight (1944)
01:00pm Citizen Kane (1941)
03:00pm Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
05:00pm Casablanca (1942)
07:00pm Twenty Classic Moments (2014)
08:00pm Gone With the Wind (1939)
12:00am Private Screenings: Robert Osborne (2014)
01:30am Singin' in the Rain (1952)
03:30am It Happened One Night (1934)
05:30am The Petrified Forest (1936)

On Thursday, Tee Cee Em commemorates another milestone: the ninetieth anniversary of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the motion picture studio without whom there’d be no classic movie programming on TCM, and it would wind up like AMC.  (Shh…don’t cry…Uncle Ivan didn’t mean it…shh…that couldn’t really happen…it was just a bad dream…)  Here’s what’s in store during the two-day fete of MGM:

April 17, Thursday          
05:00am The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Story (1950)
06:00am Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)
08:30am Dinner at Eight (1933)
10:30am The Thin Man (1934)
12:15pm The Good Earth (1937)
02:45pm Boys Town (1938)
04:30pm Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
06:30pm Lassie Come Home (1943)
08:00pm Flesh and the Devil (1926)
10:00pm Grand Hotel (1932)
12:00am Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
02:15am Ninotchka (1939)
04:15am Marie Antoinette (1938)
April 18, Friday
07:00am The Philadelphia Story (1940)
09:00am The Band Wagon (1953)
11:00am North by Northwest (1959)
01:30pm How the West Was Won (1962)
04:15pm Doctor Zhivago (1965)
08:00pm Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
10:00pm The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
12:00am Singin' in the Rain (1952)
02:00am Ben-Hur (1959)

While I thought it was novel that they’re bookending the event with the sound and silent versions of Ben-Hur…you really should watch how many times you scheduled Meet Me in St. Louis, TCM.  (Anything more than three times in a month and you’re liable to summon forth a demon.)

Well, that should be enough to hold…what’s that you say?  You’d like more?  Ah, there’s no satisfying you people…

April 1, Tuesday – There’s no better way to celebrate April Fool’s Day than an all-day classic comedy celebration that will bring on the “lovers, liars and clowns”…of special interest in the House of Yesteryear are Safety Last! (1923; 6am), The Nitwits (1935; 10:30am), The Yellow Cab Man (1950; 12pm), The Disorderly Orderly (1964; 8pm), Sleeper (1973; 9:45pm), Way Out West (1937; 11:15pm) and Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928; 12:30am).  Also rounding out the day of fun are At the Circus (1939; 7:30am), Abbott & Costello in Hollywood (1945; 9am), The Pink Panther (1964; 1:30pm), The Twelve Chairs (1970; 3:30pm), The Great Race (1965; 5:15pm), The Kid (1921; 1:45am), The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze (1963; 2:45am) and The Long, Long Trailer (1954; 4:30am).

April 2, Wednesday – TCM rolls out a big honkin’ sheet cake in honor of Sir Alec Guinness’ centennial birthday!  The tribute kicks off at 6:15am with To Paris with Love (1955), then it’s The Swan (1956; 8am), Great Expectations (1946; 10am), The Scapegoat (1959; 12noon), Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949; 1:45pm), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951; 3:45pm), The Comedians (1967; 5:15pm), The Ladykillers (1955; 8pm), Lawrence of Arabia (1962; 9:45pm), A Majority of One (1961; 1:45am) and All at Sea (1958; 4:30am).

April 3, Thursday – The entertainment legend whose terrible 1968-73 sitcom is examined under a microscope as part of TDOY’s Doris Day(s) celebrates her ninetieth birthday today (knock wood).  It’s a day of Day with I'll See You in My Dreams (1951; 6am), Lover Come Back (1961; 8am), Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962; 10am), Love Me or Leave Me (1955; 12:15pm), April in Paris (1952; 2:30pm), Calamity Jane (1953; 4:15pm), The Tunnel of Love (1958; 6pm), The Thrill of It All (1963; 8pm), Move Over, Darling (1963; 10pm), Send Me No Flowers (1964; 12mid), With Six You Get Eggroll (1968; 2am) and Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960; 4am).

April 4, Friday – A week before the U.S. Postal Service issues a commemorative stamp honoring Charlton Heston (April 11), the channel recognizes the occasion with an evening of Chuck’s films.  (I asked Mom if she would be interested in my obtaining some of these stamps for her, punctuating it with a “Get your stinkin’ paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”  Stony silence.)  Ruby Gentry (1952) kicks off the evening at 8pm, followed by The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965; 9:30pm), 55 Days at Peking (1955; 12mid), Soylent Green (1973; 3am) and Skyjacked (1972; 4:45am).

April 5, Saturday – TCM continues its 10:30am showcase of movies from the Mexican Spitfire series, with Mexican Spitfire (1940—the first official Spitfire) on tap this morning…followed by Mexican Spitfire Out West (1940; April 12), Mexican Spitfire’s Baby (1941; April 19) and Mexican Spitfire at Sea (1942; April 26).  Following the Spitfire films on April 5, 12 and 19 are the 1992 documentary MGM: When the Lion Roars (it’s split up into three parts, just as it originally was during its public television run).

TCM’s Essentials kicks off an evening of “fantasy baseball” films with the beloved classic Field of Dreams (1989) at 8pm, followed by two TDOY favorites: Angels in the Outfield (1951; 10pm—yeah, I love it even if it is the Pittsburgh Pirates) and It Happens Every Spring (1949; 12mid).  TCM Underground originally had Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) on its schedule at 2am, but they’ve called an audible and replaced it with Sweet Jesus, Preacherman (1973).  (Now you know why I’ve been waiting until the end of the month to do these things.)

April 12, Saturday – Another example of “now we plan it, now we don’t”: the original April schedule had the last of the three Michael Caine “Harry Palmer” films from the 1960s, Billion Dollar Brain (1967), slotted at 8:15am…now California Suite (1978) has been substituted in its place.  (I think Brain has only been released as a Region 2 DVD due to some sticky copyright issues.)

On The Essentials, Osborne and Barrymore have pretty much decided that the titular definition applies to How to Marry a Millionaire (1953; 8pm).  I’m not sure I’d agree with that (it’s a fun movie, but hardly essential), but be that as it may—it gives the channel a reason to run two more movies featuring Marilyn Monroe, The Misfits (1961) at 9:45pm and Bus Stop (1956) at 12:15am.

April 13, Sunday – In the primetime hours, the channel schedules Boys Town (1938; 8pm) and Men of Boys Town (1941; 10pm) as a back-to-back double feature.  Since both of these movies featured Mickey Rooney, I believe this is an example of what the Bush administration referred to as “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

April 15, Tuesday – The fleet is officially in beginning at 7am with Joe E. Brown’s Son of a Sailor (1933)—which ushers in other films of a Naval bent: On an Island with You (1948; 8:15am), The Sailor Takes a Wife (1945; 10:15am), Follow the Boys (1963; 12noon), Mister Roberts (1955; 1:45pm), Don’t Go Near the Water (1957; 4pm) and Kiss Them for Me (1957; 6pm).

Come nightfall, the focus of the filmage turns to “Rock Stars”—yes, rock ‘n’ roll-themed films beginning at 8pm with Bye Bye Birdie (1963), followed by Jailhouse Rock (1957; 10pm), Go, Johnny, Go! (1959; 12mid), The Buddy Holly Story (1978; 1:30am), Jamboree (1957; 3:30am) and Elvis: That's The Way It Is (1970; 5am).  (Damn skippy, King.)

April 16, Wednesday – My BBFF Stacia has asked me to let everyone know that she will not be accepting any calls or e-mails or text messages on this date…because TCM will be hosting their very own Marie Prevost Project.  Here’s the lineup: The Racket (1928; 7am), Paid (1930; 8:30am), War Nurse (1930; 10am), Gentleman's Fate (1931; 11:30am), The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931; 1:15pm), Sporting Blood (1931; 2:45pm), Carnival Boat (1932; 4:15pm) and Hell Divers (1932; 5:30pm).

The primetime theme reminds me of an anecdote in which a phellow philm phanatic, having not seen The Remains of the Day (1993), asked me what it was about.  I told her it was a love story without any love in it.  Remains airs at 8pm as part of “Butlers in Love” (I could have sworn that was a Jackson Browne hit), and is followed by If You Could Only Cook (1935; 10:30pm), My Man Godfrey (1936; 12mid), Merrily We Live (1938; 1:45am) and English Without Tears (1944; 3:30am).

April 19, Saturday – The film noir classic Laura (1944) is in the Essentials spotlight at 8pm, and as an encore, two more features starring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews: TDOY fave Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950; 9:45am) and one I haven’t seen in ages, The Iron Curtain (1949; 11:30am).

April 20, Sunday – The Easter Sunday tribute gets underway earlier with the infamous film that actor Paul Newman once took out a trade ad asking people not to see (which inspired one wag to dub it Paul Newman and the Holy Grail), The Silver Chalice (1954), which airs at 5:45am.  Barabbas (1962) follows at 8am, then The Big Fisherman (1959; 10:30am), King of Kings (1961; 1:30pm) and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965; 4:30pm—starring John Wayne!).

With the airing of Easter Parade (1948) at 8pm, the channel pairs it with another Irving Berlin musical, Annie Get Your Gun (1950) at 10…and in the Silent Sunday Nights spotlight it’s Fritz Lang’s Spione (1928) at midnight.  That’s followed by two must-see movie classics: Lola Montes (1955; 2:30am) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942; 4:30am).

April 21, Monday – Before the Wayneathon begins in primetime, TCM bids a fond farewell to spring break with a day of beach party-themed movies…although the first of the bunch, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965) is really a James Bond spoof that features my man Vincent Price (it’s derpy as hell, but I love it).  Following Bikini Machine is Ski Party (1965; 7:30am), Beach Party (1963; 9:15am), Muscle Beach Party (1963; 11am), Bikini Beach (1964; 12:45pm), Pajama Party (1964; 2:30pm), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965; 4pm) and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965; 6pm).

April 26, Saturday – The 1946 Jean Cocteau classic Beauty and the Beast is scheduled for 8pm on The Essentials, and that’s the channel’s cue to offer up two more “fairy tale” films in The Glass Slipper (1955; 10pm) and Hans Christian Andersen (1952; 12mid).  Later, on TCM Underground, the moody cult offering Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) will run at 3:45am.

April 28, Monday – The silver screen’s most lovable wheelchaired curmudgeon, Oscar-winning actor Lionel Barrymore, was born on this date in 1878…and TCM schedules a day of Barrymore features including Night Flight (1933; 3:30pm), which I have missed every time it’s been on in the past.  (Not this time, my friends.  Oh, and I’m not sure you can call 1930’s Free and Easy—airing at 9:30am—a Barrymore film but whatever.)  Rounding out the lineup are West of Zanzibar (1928; 6:15am), The Unholy Night (1929; 7:45am), Guilty Hands (1931; 11:15am), Arsene Lupin (1932; 12:30pm), Looking Forward (1933; 2pm), Should Ladies Behave? (1933; 5pm) and Sweepings (1933; 6:30am).

Come nightfall, TDOY fave Robert Mitchum is in the spotlight with The Sundowners (1960) at 8pm…then it’s The Wonderful Country (1959; 10:30pm), The Racket (1951; 12:15am), Ryan’s Daughter (1970; 2am) and Angel Face (1953; 5:30am).

April 29, Tuesday – I recently got the opportunity to watch Samuel Fuller’s oddball war film Verboten! (1959) and have reviewed it over at ClassicFlix; you’ll get the opportunity to see it (it airs at 1:30pm) today along with a slew of other Fuller flicks: I Shot Jesse James (1949; 7:15am), The Baron of Arizona (1950; 8:45am), The Steel Helmet (1951; 10:30am), Run of the Arrow (1957; 12noon), Merrill's Marauders (1962; 3pm), Shock Corridor (1963; 4:45pm) and The Naked Kiss (1964; 6:30pm).

In primetime, movies adapted from novels and short stories by author Irwin Shaw rap the podium for attention beginning at 8pm with The Young Lions (1958), followed by Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957; 11pm), Three (1969; 1am—based on “Then We Were Three”) and Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) at 3am.

April 30, Wednesday – Did you really think we’d close out the month without sitting down with TCM oracle Robert Osborne to watch a few of his “picks”?  (Oh, the naiveté of some.)  Bob’s got the Bette Davis classic The Letter (1940) on tap at 8pm, followed by one of my faves, Man Hunt (1941) at 10pm.  Holiday in Mexico (1946; 12mid) and the Deanna Durbin film (there’s always a Durbin film) It’s a Date (1940; 2:15am) bring the evening (and month) to a close.  And this post, come to think of it.  Happy viewing, cartooners!


Hal said...

Always nice to see Wheeler and Woolsey included in the April Fools, and the Stooges' AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAZE is probably my second fave of the Curley Joes next to THE OUTLAWS IS COMING!. And great that they are showing Mexican Spitfire flicks all month; love Lupe, and Leon Errol never gets enough air time. Was Mr. Errol ever NOT funny?

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Was Mr. Errol ever NOT funny?

The answer to this, of course, is "no."

the Stooges' AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAZE is probably my second fave of the Curley Joes next to THE OUTLAWS IS COMING!

It's my second favorite, too...though my fave Curly Joe is still The Three Stooges Meet Hercules, since I saw it so often as a kid.

Page said...

Hi, Ives!
My mom is going to be thrilled with so many Westerns back to back, causing my dad to take over her favorite channel. (Sure I'll hear about that)
As it is now, every time I call, Gene Autry is singing on TV in the background.

Congrats to the lucky winner!
Have a great week!

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

My mom is going to be thrilled with so many Westerns back to back, causing my dad to take over her favorite channel. (Sure I'll hear about that)
As it is now, every time I call, Gene Autry is singing on TV in the background.

I know what you mean...the only time my Dad will tolerate a black-and-white movie is if someone is in it riding a horse.

Caftan Woman said...

We've recently switched TV providers and there is only one flaw. We're getting your (the U.S.) TCM instead of TCM Canada which means when they don't have the broadcast rights for Canada we get blacked out. Previously we would just get something different. It's not a tragedy. After all, I can't spend every waking hour in front of the television. Well, I shouldn't spend every waking hour in front of the television. All bets are off when it's Duke Week!

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

After all, I can't spend every waking hour in front of the television. Well, I shouldn't spend every waking hour in front of the television.

It gets easier with the passage of time, Our Lady of Great Caftan. I offer up my father as Exhibit A.

Before I purchased the official DVD collection of the Thriller TV series, I had a bootleg collection that contained shows recorded when the show ran on some station in The Great White North. My understanding was that because there weren't as many commercial breaks as there are here in the States you actually saw more of the program in Canada.

Classic Film and TV Cafe said...

Ivan, awesome review of TCM's April schedule, but I got stuck on 21 April...because it's Beach Party day and features movies with Annette (plus Susan Hart!).