Monday, April 04, 2011

TCM Star of the Month: Ray Milland

This is a month many classic film fans have been looking forward to: 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.


Blogger Robby Cress said...

I know you recently received one of these awards, but one good reward deserves another, so here is your 2nd "stylish blogger" award. No need to follow the rules a 2nd time. Just know your blog is stylish.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Kevin Deany said...

I recorded "The Crystal Ball" last night and am really looking forward to it. I love that some of these Paramount titles are finally coming out of the vault.

The one Milland title I've always wanted to see is "The Well-Groomed Bride." I know its not suppose to be very good, but its one of the few Olivia deHavilland titles I've never seen. I can't remember it ever showing up anywhere.

There's also a big-budget Technicolor western he made with Barbara Stanwyck called "California" that, if memory serves, is pretty good.

But there's lot of choice titles Milland titles to be enjoyed this month. Thanks for the summary, Laura.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Robby, I'm so honored by your kind words -- thank you *very* much indeed for the compliment and the encouragement. Such feedback makes my day!

Best wishes,

3:05 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Kevin, hope I have time to see THE CRYSTAL BALL soon -- it may have to wait until the end of the film noir festival (grin).

I agree, I'd love to see THE WELL-GROOMED BRIDE. Happily, I'm going to see a new-to-me Olivia film tonight, THE DARK MIRROR. I've only seen the Jane Seymour TV remake. :)

Saw CALIFORNIA a while back -- thought it was OK but liked his Western COPPER CANYON much better.

So glad you enjoyed the summary!

Best wishes,

3:07 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I just recently saw Milland with Claudette Colbert in Leisen's 'Arise My Love', which is wonderful - a cross between a screwball comedy and a war film. Definitely another one to look out for, though sadly only on DVD in Spain!

11:43 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Judy, I agree, I was very impressed with ARISE, MY LOVE. It was shown on TCM a few months ago so I was a bit surprised it wasn't included in the Milland lineup. It needs to be available on DVD! :)

Best wishes,

11:47 PM  
Blogger Juanita's Journal said...

There's also a big-budget Technicolor western he made with Barbara Stanwyck called "California" that, if memory serves, is pretty good.

I didn't really think so. But I thought he and Stanwyck really burned up the screen.

6:04 PM  

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