Ray Milland is the Star of the Month on Turner Classic Movies.
TCM will be showing just under 30 of Milland's films on Tuesdays in April, beginning tomorrow evening, April 5th.
April 5th features seven Milland comedies. I'm especially looking forward to THE CRYSTAL BALL (1943), a film he made with frequent costar Paulette Goddard. That's No. 1 on my recording list for the month of April!
The evening also includes the classic THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR (1942), in which he was memorably teamed with Ginger Rogers. Three other enjoyable romantic comedies airing that night are A WOMAN OF DISTINCTION (1950) with Rosalind Russell; THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE (1940) with Loretta Young; and IRENE (1940) with Anna Neagle.
The evening concludes with very early Milland: THE BACHELOR FATHER (1931) and POLLY OF THE CIRCUS (1932).
On April 12th the theme is "Crime Classics," leading off with SO EVIL MY LOVE (1948), which I had the pleasure of seeing at the 2010 Noir City Festival. It's a very dark but very compelling film with Milland playing a real heel.
The evening also includes his classics for Hitchcock and Lang, DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954) and MINISTRY OF FEAR (1944); a pair of films directed by Milland, THE SAFECRACKER (1958) and HOSTILE WITNESS (1968); and two Milland pre-Codes, PAYMENT DEFERRED (1932) and BLONDE CRAZY (1931). PAYMENT DEFERRED costars Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Sullivan, while BLONDE CRAZY stars James Cagney and Joan Blondell.
April 19th is an eclectic assortment of costume dramas, romantic comedies, and one of the best "spooky house" movies ever made. The night starts off with KITTY (1945) and REAP THE WILD WIND (1942), both costarring Paulette Goddard. Those titles are followed by the classic BEAU GESTE (1939), which also stars Gary Cooper, Robert Preston, Susan Hayward, and Brian Donlevy.
EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT NIGHT (1939) is a Fox film which costars Sonja Henie and Robert Cummings. THE UNINVITED (1944) is one of Milland's classics, a marvelous film costarring Gail Russell and Ruth Hussey; the standard "Stella By Starlight" was written for this film.
It's followed by the TV drama MARKHEIM (1956) and the romantic comedy WISE GIRL (1937), costarring Miriam Hopkins.
The final evening of Milland films, on the 26th, starts off with Milland's Oscar-winning role in THE LOST WEEKEND (1945).
Next off is the absorbing adoption drama CLOSE TO MY HEART (1950), costarring Gene Tierney.
HIGH FLIGHT (1957), NIGHT INTO MORNING (1951), and A LIFE OF HER OWN (1950) continue the evening, which wraps up with three more pre-Codes: THE MAN WHO PLAYED GOD (1932), STRANGERS MAY KISS (1931), and finally JUST A GIGOLO (1931). Milland just has a bit role in STRANGERS MAY KISS, but it's fun to see him onscreen briefly with another favorite, Robert Montgomery.
I confess to a bit of disappointment TCM wasn't able to license more of Milland's films, such as his jungle films with Dorothy Lamour; the excellent Western he starred in and directed, A MAN ALONE (1955); or ALIAS NICK BEAL (1949), a movie a great many film fans would love to see.
However, I'm delighted TCM is premiering THE CRYSTAL BALL, SO EVIL MY LOVE, and EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT NIGHT, and I hope we'll see more Milland on TCM in the future. SKYLARK (1941) would be an excellent choice...or LADY IN THE DARK (1944)...or UNTAMED (1940)...or FOREVER AND A DAY (1943)...or COPPER CANYON (1950)...and the list goes on! What a wonderful career he had.
For more information on TCM in April, please visit TCM in April: Highlights or the complete schedule.