Saturday, September 29, 2012

TCM in October: Highlights

Wasn't it just summer the other day? Yet somehow it's already time to check out the October schedule for Turner Classic Movies.

Spencer Tracy is the October Star of the Month beginning Monday evening, October 1st. I'll have more on that in the near future. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Spencer Tracy, which has now been posted.)

There are lots of interesting titles airing on TCM this month, including a series on disabled characters in the movies; a look at American politics on film, including a brand-new documentary; a tribute to Cinerama; a high number of interesting "B" movies; and of course the usual October assortment of horror, science fiction, and suspense thrillers.

Here are a few of the great titles available on TCM in October:

...It was a real thrill for me to see Susan Peters in THE SIGN OF THE RAM (1948) at this year's Noir City Festival. This was Peters' only film after a shooting accident left her in a wheelchair, and it's a brave, fascinating performance which causes the viewer to wish her film career had continued. Phyllis Thaxter, Alexander Knox, Peggy Ann Garner, and Diana Douglas costar. It airs October 2nd.

...Last October I watched the wonderfully spooky Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur film I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943). This tropical variation on JANE EYRE stars Frances Dee and Tom Conway. It's on October 3rd.

...There's a pair of good Gene Tierney films from 20th Century-Fox airing in prime time on Thursday, October 4th: first the marvelous adventure film SON OF FURY (1942), which I described a few years back as "a little slice of Tyrone Power heaven," and then THUNDER BIRDS (1942), a drama about pilots training for WWII which costars John Sutton and Preston Foster. I wrote of THUNDER BIRDS that "the Fox Technicolor is worth the price of admission in and of itself."

...SHADOW OF DOUBT (1935) is one of the little-known films I'm interested in checking out this month. It stars Ricardo Cortez and Virginia Bruce, airing on October 4th.

...Another interesting little movie on my watch list is called SINGAPORE WOMAN (1941), starring Brenda Marshall, directed by Jean Negulesco. It will be shown early on October 5th.

...TCM's new Night at the Movies documentary, HOLLYWOOD GOES TO WASHINGTON (2012), first airs on October 5th.

...My appreciation for Nicholas Ray's PARTY GIRL (1958), starring Robert Taylor and Cyd Charisse, has only grown since I first saw it half a decade ago. It will be shown October 6th.

...GOODBYE, MY FANCY (1951) was an interesting, if occasionally maddening, movie starring Joan Crawford, Robert Young, Frank Lovejoy, and Eve Arden. It's worth catching on October 7th.

...BRIGHT VICTORY (1951) has been on my viewing wish list for some time now. It has a great cast, topped by the Oscar-nominated Arthur Kennedy, with the lovely Peggy Dow and Julie Adams in support. It's part of the series on disability in film, airing October 9th.

...BRIGHT VICTORY is followed by another film which sounds interesting, REACH FOR THE SKY (1951). Kenneth More and Alexander Knox star in a film about a double amputee who becomes a WWII flying ace.

...It wouldn't be October without everyone's favorite spooky house movie, THE UNINVITED (1944). Don't miss Ray Milland, Gail Russell, Ruth Hussey, and the memorable "Stella By Starlight" on October 10th.

...October 11th there's a great day of short "B" movies. A couple of the most interesting titles are FLIGHT FROM GLORY (1937), with Chester Morris and a young Van Heflin as pilots, and THE MAN WHO FOUND HIMSELF (1937) with Joan Fontaine and John Beal.

...DESTINATION MURDER (1950) airs in the early morning hours on October 12th. I enjoyed this programmer when I watched it a few months ago thanks to the Warner Archive. The initial minutes of the film feature a cleverly staged murder, and there are some other well-planned bits including a killer who likes to work accompanied by "Moonlight Sonata."

...Later on the 12th there's a Dick Powell musical I've never seen, HAPPINESS AHEAD (1934), directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

...EYES IN THE NIGHT (1942) is a nifty crime drama with Edward Arnold as a blind detective. He has a remarkable dog! It leads off an evening of films on the disabled on October 16th.

...Another really interesting title in the disability in film series: 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET (1956) with Van Johnson as a blind playwright. Vera Miles costars. it will be shown October 16th.

...A day of Miriam Hopkins films on October 18th includes the entertaining WISE GIRL (1937) and WOMAN CHASES MAN (1937). She's teamed with Ray Milland in the first film and Joel McCrea in the second.

...SHADOW OF A WOMAN (1946) stars Andrea King as a woman who fears her husbands wishes to kill his son from a previous marriage. It airs October 20th. I highly recommend the official Andrea King website which has gorgeous photos of Andrea and her films.

...Joan Fontaine will turn 95 on October 22nd. The day's lineup includes a couple of obscure "B" films, YOU CAN'T BEAT LOVE (1937) with Preston Foster and SKY GIANT (1838) with Chester Morris. Some of Fontaine's better-known films also air that day, including THE CONSTANT NYMPH (1943), which I think might be her finest hour; the deliciously soapy BORN TO BE BAD (1950), in which Fontaine wreaks havoc in the lives of Robert Ryan, Joan Leslie, and Zachary Scott; and UNTIL THEY SAIL (1957), in which she movingly portrays a New Zealand woman who finds love with an American soldier during WWII. This would be a great day to stay home in front of the TV for a dozen hours or so!

...It's Joan Taylor night on October 28th, with a double bill of 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957) and EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956).

...APPOINTMENT IN BERLIN (1943) is another relatively obscure film I plan to record. George Sanders as a British secret agent battling the Nazis? Yes, please! Marguerite Chapman costars. It will be shown October 29th.

This is just a small selection of some of the well-known classics and interesting little discoveries available this month on Turner Classic Movies.

For more on TCM in October, check out the complete schedule, and be sure to visit Cliff's picks at Immortal Ephemera and Ivan's "Coming Distractions" at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.

2 Comments:

Blogger Raquelle said...

I definitely second your recommendation of Sign of the Ram! I wish Susan Peters could have had a longer life and career.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Raquelle! Susan Peters was a very talented and sensitive actress. I've enjoyed every one of her performances and like you I very much wish her life had gone differently.

Best wishes,
Laura

11:46 AM  

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