Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Coming distractions: May 2011 on TCM

Thanks to the online vigilance of Laura at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ (ka-ching!) has their tentative May schedule up for everyone’s perusal—and if I may be permitted a small editorial comment, I think this is the fastest I’ve ever TCM get their monthly listings up in recent memory.  So I’ll admit that I’m a little more hesitant than usual to commit to “now playing” because of the speed—the last time I did a post on coming attractions two of the movies scheduled to be shown were changed that same day!

As it stands, it looks like TCM will make a run for the roses every Tuesday night in May with a salute to the sport of kings—namely, films on the subject of horses and horse racing.  The movies to be showcased are as follows:

May 3, Tuesday
08:00pm A Day at the Races (1937)
10:00pm Stablemates (1938)
11:45pm Fast Company (1953)
02:45am Glory (1956)
05:45am Sporting Blood (1931)

May 4, Wednesday
07:30am Big Boy (1930)

May 10, Tuesday
11:30pm She Went to the Races (1945)
02:30am Down the Stretch (1936)
05:00am Boots Malone (1952)

May 17, Tuesday
08:00pm National Velvet (1944)
10:15pm International Velvet (1978)
12:30am Black Beauty (1946)
02:00am Snowfire (1958)
03:30am Casey's Shadow (1978)

May 24, Tuesday
08:00pm The Black Stallion (1979)
12:15am Run Wild, Run Free (1969)
02:00am White Mane (1952)
03:00am Sylvester (1985)
05:00am Gypsy Colt (1954)

May 31, Tuesday
08:00pm My Pal Trigger (1946)
09:30pm The Red Pony (1949)
11:15pm Smoky (1946)
01:00am The Lion and the Horse (1952)
02:30am The Palomino (1950)
04:00am Ride Him, Cowboy (1932)
05:00am The Man From Monterey (1933)

“Wet, she’s a star.  Dry, she ain’t.”  With that memorably witty observation the great Fanny Brice cogently summed up the appeal of TCM’s May Star of the Month, none other than that damp thespian from 20,000 leagues under the sea…Esther Williams.  Since Esther spent most of her movie career at M-G-M, whose library is prominently featured on the channel (you may have noticed), it won’t come as any huge surprise that every Thursday night in May TCM will trot out a total of 21 films in Mrs. Fernando Lamas’ honor—here’s the rundown as follows:

May 5, Thursday
08:00pm Bathing Beauty (1944)
10:00pm Thrill of a Romance (1945)
12:00am Easy to Wed (1946)
02:00am Fiesta (1947)
04:00am This Time For Keeps (1947)

May 6, Friday
06:00am On an Island With You (1948)

May 12, Thursday
08:00pm Neptune's Daughter (1949) (also showing on May 23 at 11:15am)
10:00pm Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949) (also showing on May 23 at 2:45pm)
11:45pm Duchess of Idaho (1950)
01:30am Pagan Love Song (1950)
03:00am Texas Carnival (1951)

May 19, Thursday
08:00pm Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)
10:00pm Skirts Ahoy! (1952)
12:00am Dangerous When Wet (1953)
01:45am Easy to Love (1953)
03:30am Jupiter's Darling (1955)

May 26, Thursday
08:00pm The Unguarded Moment (1956)
11:45pm A Guy Named Joe (1943)
02:00am The Hoodlum Saint (1946)
04:00am Callaway Went Thataway (1951)

Um…look, I like Callaway Went Thataway as much as the next person but I think it’s stretching it a bit calling it an Esther Williams film; she’s got more screen time in 1945’s Ziegfeld Follies.  (I guess that’s why they’ve scheduled Callaway for a wee a.m. slot.)  But I’m not here to question TCM’s judgment…only to poke a little good-natured fun.

If you missed TCM’s documentary Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood when it saturated the schedule in November and December, you’ll get another opportunity to catch it in May when the channel encores the seven-part series every night at 7 pm beginning on Monday, May 2 and ending Sunday, May 8.  Finally, since we commemorate Memorial Day on Monday, May 30th this year TCM will showcase a weekend-long marathon of war and military-themed films around that date to remember those who fought and served.  The scheduled films include:

May 27, Friday
08:00pm Run Silent, Run Deep (1958)
10:00pm Destination Tokyo (1943)
12:30am Up Periscope (1959)
02:30am Torpedo Run (1958)
04:15am Hell Below (1933)

May 28, Saturday
06:00am Tank Battalion (1958)
07:30am The Tanks are Coming (1951)
09:30am Sahara (1943)
11:15am Imitation General (1958)
12:45pm Invasion Quartet (1961)
02:30pm Buck Privates (1941)
06:00pm Ensign Pulver (1964)
12:00am Flying Leathernecks (1951)
02:00am Flight Command (1940)
04:00am Fighter Squadron (1948)

May 29, Sunday
06:00am Hell to Eternity (1960)
08:30am From Here to Eternity (1953)
01:00pm Sergeant York (1941)
03:30pm The Deep Six (1958)
05:30pm They Were Expendable (1945)
08:00pm Story of G.I. Joe (1945)
10:00pm Battleground (1949)
12:15am Tell It to the Marines (1926)
02:15am Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
04:15am Paratrooper (1953)
05:45am Screaming Eagles (1956)

May 30, Monday
07:15am Objective, Burma! (1945)
09:45am The Green Berets (1968)
12:15pm Kelly's Heroes (1970)
02:45pm The Devil's Brigade (1968)
05:00pm A Bridge Too Far (1977)
11:00pm Since You Went Away (1944)
04:15am Homecoming (1948)

So with the festival-oriented fare covered and out of the way, let’s examine a few of the highlights this month, shall we?

May 1, Sunday – TCM’s Sunday Silent Nights has the 1929 Greta Garbo film Wild Orchids scheduled at midnight.  (Yet another film I can cross off my Warner Archive want list.)

May 2, Monday – It might as well be Bing—the old Groaner celebrates what would have been his 108th birthday and TCM is going to help him out with a showing of such favorites as Going Hollywood (1933; 7am), Pennies From Heaven (1936; 8:30am), Road to Singapore (1940; 10am), Road to Zanzibar (1941; 11:30am), Road to Morocco (1942; 1:15pm), Going My Way (1944; 2:45pm) and Blue Skies (1946; 5pm).

May 3, Tuesday – It’s Mary Astor’s turn to wear the birthday crown as TCM throws her a bash that will include a flick that’s been on my “must-see” radar for a good many years now: The World Changes (1933) at 7:30am.  The other films scheduled are Red Dust (1932; 6am), Dinky (1935; 9:15am), The Kennel Murder Case (1933; 10:30am), The Case of the Howling Dog (1934; 12noon), The Man With Two Faces (1934; 1:30pm), Midnight (1939; 3pm) and The Great Lie (1941; 5pm).

May 4, Wednesday – To commemorate Audrey Hepburn’s birthday, let’s all meet for danishes outside that jewelry store…you know the one, the name escapes me at the moment.  Then we should get back in time to watch Gary Cooper rob the cradle (Aud) in Love in the Afternoon (1957) at 8:45am, followed by Green Mansions (1959; 11am); The Nun's Story (1959; 1pm) and My Fair Lady (1964; 3:45pm).

May 6, Friday - Rodolfo Alfonzo Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d'Antonguolla celebrates his 116th natal anniversary—and since a moniker like that would have eaten up quite a bit space on a theater marquee, he was prescient enough to shorten it to Rudolph Valentino.  Rudy’s birthday movie marathon will feature Beyond the Rocks (1922) at 8am, followed by Moran of the Lady Letty (1922; 9:30am), The Young Rajah (1922; 10:45am), Camille (1921; 11:45am), The Conquering Power (1921; 1pm) and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921; 2:45pm).

Come nightfall, TCM will feature a three-film salute to pulp novelist and tough guy Mickey Spillane (and his famous creation, Mike Hammer) beginning at 8pm with TDOY fave Kiss Me Deadly (1955) and My Gun is Quick (1957) at 10.  Ralph Meeker plays Hammer in the first film and Robert “Lassie” Bray in the second…but in the third feature, The Girl Hunters (1963; 11:45pm), life imitates art—Spillane displays a flair for the buskin by interpreting the role of Hammer himself.

May 7, Saturday – TCM’s presentation of the 1939 Universal serial Buck Rogers (in the 25th Century, that is) continues with chapters five (“The Phantom Plane”) and six (“The Unknown Command”) at 11 and 11:30am.  Chapters seven (“Primitive Urge“) and eight (“Revolt of the Zuggs“) will be shown the following week, and on May 21 it’s chapters nine (“Bodies Without Minds“) and ten (“Broken Barriers“).  Buck gets a break on the 28th due to the Memorial Day movie marathon.  (If by some chance you miss out on all the intergalactic fun I’d like to get in a shamelessly gratuitous plug and mention that VCI has re-released this classic cliffhanger in a new 70th anniversary edition with liner notes written by In the Balcony sage/Facebook compadre Laughing Gravy.)

Also, we pick up right where we left off in the Tarzan series with one of my favorites in the franchise—Tarzan’s New York Adventure (1942), which will be shown at 12noon.  On May 14, it’s Tarzan Triumphs (1943—Tarzan versus Nazis!) and on the 21st Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943).  (The Lord of the Apes also gets a week’s reprieve to commemorate Memorial Day.)

In the evening, TCM will show one of my favorite movies at 10pm with Salt of the Earth (1954-“The formula!  The formula!”) but I also want to make special note of the channel’s scheduling of The Charge at Feather River (1953) at 1:30pm—an underrated little oater (and a favorite of Classic Images book reviewer/Facebook chum Laura Wagner) that plays a lot better in its original 3-D version because then you can experience the sensation of Frank Lovejoy spitting at the camera.

May 9, Monday – TCM sets aside part of the day to fete one of Savannah, GA’s favorite sons: Academy Award-winning character great Charles Coburn.  The film that nabbed Chuck an Oscar, The More the Merrier (1943), will be shown at 11:30am, and this will be rounded out with airings of Of Human Hearts (1938; 6am), Unexpected Uncle (1941; 8am), H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941; 9:15am), Rhapsody in Blue (1945; 1:30pm), The Green Years (1946; 4pm) and Lured (1947; 6:15pm).

May 10, Tuesday – Happy birthday, Anatole Litvak!  Try saying his name three times fast in succession in between breaks of these films that he directed: The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938; 6:30am), The Sisters (1938; 8am), Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939; 9:45am), The Roaring Twenties (1939; 11:30am), All This, and Heaven Too (1940; 1:30pm) and The Journey (1959; 4pm).  (Okay, I’m as puzzled as you—I don’t know why Roaring Twenties is in there, since that’s a Raoul Walsh film.  I have a feeling that schedule will be adjusted…maybe to accompany something like The Snake Pit [1948].)

May 11, Wednesday – If you were curious as to when TCM would get around to showing those delightful Miss Marple films again you might want to circle this date on your calendar because in honor of star Margaret Rutherford’s birthday they’ll run all four films in the series: Murder She Said (1961; 1:30pm), Murder at the Gallop (1963; 3pm), Murder Most Foul (1964; 4:30pm) and my favorite in the franchise, Murder Ahoy (1964; 6:15pm).  There’ll be some movies featuring Maggie in the morning hours, too: The Demi-Paradise (1943—aka Adventure for Two; 7am), Miranda (1948; 9am), Trouble in Store (1953; 10:30am) and The Mouse on the Moon (1963; 12noon)—Trouble in Store will be on my record list because it stars the late, great Sir Norman Wisdom…and I’ll also be on the lookout for Miranda because my pretend girlfriend Glynis Johns (*sigh*) plays a mermaid.  (To quote a renowned blogger and winner of the prestigious Chuckie Award: “Hot cookies, Agnes!”)

Come nightfall…well, ever since Facebook comrade Rupert of Classic Movies Digest fame reviewed Trade Winds (1938) last year I’ve been aching to see it and because TCM will dedicate a night to its star, Joan Bennett it looks as if I may get the opportunity.  Winds will be shown at 10pm; it’s preceded by Fritz Lang’s classic Scarlet Street (1945; 8pm) and then The Housekeeper's Daughter (1939; 12mid), The Woman on the Beach (1947; 1:30am), House of Dark Shadows (1970; 3am) and Eleven Men and a Girl (1930—aka Maybe It’s Love; 4:45am) follow.

May 12, Thursday – It’s that time of the year when the calla lilies are in bloom…rahlly they are… (Never gets old.)  Celebrate Katharine Hepburn’s natal anniversary with a festival of Morning Glory (1933; 6am), The Little Minister (1934; 7:15am), Break of Hearts (1935; 9:15am), Sylvia Scarlett (1935; 10:45am), A Woman Rebels (1936; 12:30pm), Quality Street (1937; 2pm) and Little Women (1933; 3:30pm).  The channel will also show a pair of Dick Cavett Show repeats with Kate as guest from September 14, 1973 (5:30pm) and October 2, 1973 (6:45pm)

May 13, Friday – Okay, ordinarily a Walter Slezak birthday tribute wouldn’t be something to really get all worked up about…but because TCM is showing a movie that’s been MIA from their schedules for a good while now—namely, the 1947 actioner Riffraff (7:30am)—I have a feeling there will be DVRs and recorders working overtime out there in Yesteryearland.  TDOY faves The Inspector General (1949; 9am) and The Yellow Cab Man (1950; 10:45am) are also scheduled—Step Lively (1944; 6am), Confidentially Connie (1953; 12:15pm), Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957; 2pm), The Miracle (1959; 4pm) and The Mysterious House of Dr. “C” (1966—aka Dr. Coppelius; 6:15pm) complete the roster.

May 14, Saturday – With a TCM Essentials showing of East of Eden (1955) at 8pm, the channel decides to continue its Raymond Massey streak by showing Carson City (1952; 10:15pm), Seven Angry Men (1955; 12mid), Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940; 1:45am) and 49th Parallel (1941; 3:45am).  (Before the Massey festivities start, however, I can’t recommend highly watching the underrated 1970s oater Monte Walsh, scheduled at 6pm.)

May 16, Monday – What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…and what better way to demonstrate this by scheduling a block of movies on the subject of “The Entertainment Capital of the World”: Ocean's Eleven (1960; 8pm), Viva Las Vegas (1964; 10:15pm), The Las Vegas Story (1952; 12mid), Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951; 1:45am) and Machine Gun McCain (1969; 3:30am).  (No relation to the U.S. Senator from Arizona, by the way.)

But before that sojourn to “Sin City,” TCM will light some candles on a cake for Henry Fonda (look away, Stacia!) with a birthday tribute—the best of this bunch is You Only Live Once (1937; 9:15am); I Dream Too Much (1935; 6am), Wings of the Morning (1937; 7:45am), Slim (1937; 10:45am), That Certain Woman (1937; 1:15pm), Jezebel (1938; 3pm), The Mad Miss Manton (1938; 4:45pm) and Young Mr. Lincoln (1939; 6:15pm).  The 1992 documentary Fonda on Fonda, where daughter Jane and her siblings babble on for forty-six minutes about their famous pop is also on the schedule at 12:15pm.

May 17, Tuesday – Just what I need to help me through the day—a little Mo-mentum.  That’s “Mo” as in Maureen O’Sullivan, who’ll celebrate a b-day with The Big Shot (1932; 6am), Payment Deferred (1932; 7:15am), Strange Interlude (1932; 8:45am), Stage Mother (1933; 10:45am), Tugboat Annie (1933; 12:15pm), The Flame Within (1935; 1:45pm), Woman Wanted (1935; 3pm), Between Two Women (1937; 4:15pm) and Let Us Live (1939; 5:45pm).

May 18, Wednesday – TCM holds a day-long seminar on how to rob a bank with some really first-rate films on the schedule, notably TDOY faves Odds Against Tomorrow (1959; 8am) and The Asphalt Jungle (1950; 10am).  The other chapters on successful heists are The Day They Robbed The Bank Of England (1960; 6:30am), Cairo (1942; 12noon) and Rififi (1955; 2pm)—plus the 1941 classic High Sierra at 4pm and its 1955 remake, I Died a Thousand Times, following at 6pm.

In the evening hours, TCM has a rare showing of the 1941 Universal horror classic The Wolf Man scheduled at 8pm…and then still later, Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) at 1:30am.  Encore Westerns devotees know that this movie is shown often in all its non-letterboxed glory—Turner Classic Movies is promising a widescreen version…but then yesterday’s The Hanging Tree (1959) was supposed to be that way, too, so make what you will of that.

May 19, Thursday – What makes this day of noir films so interesting in that things kick off with Escape in the Desert (1945) at 6:15am—and then the film on which Escape is based, The Petrified Forest (1936), follows at 7:45am.  You really can’t go wrong with the majority of films scheduled; I highly recommend His Kind of Woman (1951; 12:30pm) but The Killers (1946; 9:15am), Where Danger Lives (1950; 11am), The Big Sleep (1946; 2:45pm), Crime in the Streets (1956; 4:45pm) and Side Street (1950; 6:30pm) are all worthy of the attention of any self-respecting film noir devotee.

May 20, Friday – I’ve long held a theory that the reason why actors Henry Fonda and James Stewart were such lifelong chums is because their birthdays were in the same month.  Think about it—on May 16, Jimmy would go over to Hank’s for ice cream and cake, and then four days later it would be Fonda’s turn.  Give this special consideration as you’re watching a cinematic tribute to Jimbo with a lineup of movies that consists of You Can't Take It With You (1938; 6am), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939; 8:15am), The Philadelphia Story (1940; 10:30am), The Spirit of St. Louis (1957; 12:30pm), Anatomy of a Murder (1959; 3pm) and Bell, Book and Candle (1958; 5:45pm).

Later that evening, TCM pays fealty to author-playwright William Inge with three films adapted from his works: Picnic (1955; 8pm), Splendor in the Grass (1961; 10pm) and All Fall Down (1962; 12:15am).  But all that drama will more than likely pale in comparison to a short subject scheduled by the channel for the wee a.m. hours with the deathless title: Tear Gas in Law Enforcement (1962—“Vintage training film used by police to show tear gas techniques”).

May 21, Saturday – Actress Simone Simon is the star of TCM Essentials’ Cat People (1942) at 8pm…and that’s as good a reason as any to continue on the rest of the evening with a collection of her film appearances including the “sequel,” The Curse of the Cat People (1944) at 9:30pm…followed by Johnny Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1944; 11pm), The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941; 12:30am), House of Pleasure (1952; 2:30am) and Mademoiselle Fifi (1944; 4:15am).  (Pleasure is better known by its French title, Le Plaisir—it was helmed by noted French filmmaker Max Ophuls—but I think the English title makes it sound like a B-pic…and the description, “Three stories explore the intersection of pleasure, purity and sex,” doesn’t help matters much either.)

May 22, Sunday – TCM will show at 6am an old John Barrymore title that I haven’t seen in ages—1939’s The Great Man Votes.  I was going to say that the last time I watched it was on AMC but I think people are getting tired of me ranting about that by now (though it is true, that’s where I caught it).  After Great Man, TCM rolls out Miracle on 34th Street (1947; 7:30am), which they also showed during the 31 Days of Oscar—but it’s a shame they can’t schedule it during the holiday season, when it really hits home.

May 24, Tuesday – I’m well aware that when the oeuvre of Elvis Presley is discussed and arguments form over just which of the King’s film vehicles are the best (Jailhouse RockKing CreoleFlaming Star?)…well, Tickle Me (1965; 6:15pm) won’t even be in the running.  But because it was written by Edward Bernds and Elwood Ullman—the two men who guided the cinematic fortunes of the Three Stooges and the Bowery Boys—it’s one of my guilty pleasures.  And besides, Elvis gets to do some Stooge-like gags in the climactic haunted house sequence…that’s gold, baby!

May 25, Wednesday – I was reading the other day that despite having won five Golden Globe awards during her incredible film career, Rosalind Russell never—ever—won an Oscar.  Three of those Golden Globe performances will be shown today—Sister Kenny (1946; 11:15am), Auntie Mame (1958; 2:45pm) and A Majority of One (1961; 5:15pm)—along with Four's a Crowd (1938; 6:15am), Fast and Loose (1939; 8am), My Sister Eileen (1942; 9:30am) and Never Wave at a WAC (1952; 1:15pm).

After dusk, TCM doffs its classic cinema beanie in the direction of filmmaker Archie Mayo with some really good entries: Black Legion (1937; 8pm), The Man with Two Faces (1934; 9:30pm), The Doorway to Hell (1930; 11pm), It's Love I'm After (1937; 12:30am), Angel on My Shoulder (1946; 2:15am) and The Life of Jimmy Dolan (1933; 4am).

May 26, Thursday – Finally, Marian Robert Morrison (aka John Wayne) celebrates his 104th natal anniversary and with the exception of Rio Bravo (1959; 5:30pm) TCM goes with some unusual and lesser-known choices to celebrate the Duke’s birthday beginning with Reunion in France (1942) at 6am, then followed by Without Reservations (1946; 8am), Trouble Along the Way (1953; 10am), Allegheny Uprising (1939; 12noon), The Wings of Eagles (1957; 1:30pm) and Big Jake (1971; 3:30am).  Saddle up, pilgrim!

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Linda said...

Wow, they're showing SNOWFIRE...remember seeing it as a kid; looked it up one day and you would not believe how many people were looking for this film!

GYPSY COLT is an odd film, since it's basically the script for LASSIE COME COME rewritten for a horse in the modern American west. Playing Gypsy is "Fury."

Stacia said...

look away, Stacia!

Normally, I would agree, but "That Certain Woman" is in the list! I have been kicking myself for recording it on a really horrible speed, because it turned out to be a great film. Fonda is best when he plays a guy who seems nice on the surface but ends up being flawed and kind of creepy, like in "Daisy Kenyon".

Kevin Deany said...

The one I'm really looking forward to seeing is "Red Light" with George Raft and Virginia Mayo in the wee hours on May 23. I'm very fond of these Raft crime dramas, and this is a rare one. Which means I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will run as scheduled. Plus it has a Dimitri Tiomkin score. Giddy up.

It would never occur to me watch "Tickle Me" but after your write-up, I have to now.

ClassicBecky said...

You're killing me! I just had to downgrade my TV package because of economic difficulties (in other words, I'm flat broke). I don't have TCM anymore!!! I asked AT&T if they would consider a special individual package which consisted of ONLY TCM, but for some reason they don't offer that. Nasty AT&T!

I'll survive, mainly because I have about 600 movies I've taped or have DVD's, but it's just not the same, is it. However, when I looked over the lineup of the rest of this month, I realized that most of the movies I was interested in, I already have. So, strangely enough, I'm going to follow what TCM is showing quite a bit, only I won't get to hear Robert Osborn....ACK!

Loved your post -- your wit and knowledge make for good writing!