Turner Classic Movies posted the online preview of the station's May schedule today. Wonderful news: the May Star of the Month is Joel McCrea!
McCrea fans on the Turner Classic Movies discussion boards have been campaigning for a McCrea month for quite a while now, and it's wonderful that TCM has followed through on this request.
Over 40 McCrea films will be shown on Wednesday nights in May, representing a broad cross-section of his work, from pre-Codes to Preston Sturges to Westerns. My 2010 McCrea birthday tribute includes review links for many of the films which will air in May.
Perhaps the most exciting news is that TCM licensed Paramount's WELLS FARGO (1937), which costarred Joel's wife, Frances Dee. The print I reviewed last summer was 97 minutes, but the original release version was 115 minutes. The TCM schedule gives the running time as 115 minutes, so if that turns out to be the print actually shown -- information on the early schedules sometimes changes -- that would be very exciting news indeed.
THE VIRGINIAN (1946) and CATTLE DRIVE (1951), two of the films from the upcoming Joel McCrea Westerns Collection, will be among the films shown in May. The Westerns Collection will be available from TCM on April 2nd.
Some favorite McCrea titles are missing from the schedule, such as the United Artists release FOUR FACES WEST (1948), which was another film he made with his wife, or Universal's SADDLE TRAMP (1950). All in all, however, this is a wonderful tribute which is a great representation of McCrea's long career. I'll be reviewing the McCrea movie lineup in much more detail closer to May 1st.
A few more 20th Century-Fox films have turned up in the May schedule, including BELLE STARR (1941), CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE (1947), BOOMERANG! (1947), CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (1948), MY BLUE HEAVEN (1950), and STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (1952).
Extra-good news is the presence of a rarely shown Universal film on the schedule, Deanna Durbin's ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL (1937).
May will also feature multi-film tributes to Glenn Ford, Joseph Cotten, Henry Fonda, Kay Kendall, Barbara Stanwyck, directors Henry Koster and Frank Capra, and novelist Edna Ferber. I'm happy to say the annual birthday tribute to fan favorite Robert Montgomery is also on the schedule for May 21st! And of course Memorial Day weekend will be appropriately commemorated with a significant number of films paying tribute to our armed forces.
The 31 Days of Oscar Festival concludes on Friday, March 2nd, so I'll be back in the next day or two with suggestions for interesting viewing options in March, when Karl Malden will be Star of the Month. The April Star of the Month is Doris Day.
Related article: Joel McCrea Ranch: The Grand Opening.