Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Quick Preview of TCM in September

The tentative September schedule for Turner Classic Movies has now been posted online.

The September Star of the Month is Kim Novak. Novak's films will be shown on Thursday evenings, including VERTIGO (1958), BELL BOOK AND CANDLE (1958), and two films I reviewed last month, 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE (1955) and PUSHOVER (1954). Other titles include PICNIC (1955), THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955), THE EDDY DUCHIN STORY (1956), and PAL JOEY (1957).

TCM also recently announced that in September the channel will be broadcasting a documentary series, THE STORY OF FILM. It will run on TCM for 15 weeks, beginning September 2nd.

A multi-film tribute to actress Peggy Cummins will include the terrific film HELL DRIVERS (1957), which I saw at the opening night of this year's Noir City Festival. This exciting film about hard-driving, lethal truck drivers has a fantastic cast including a young Sean Connery. Don't miss it.

PITFALL (1948), which I was fortunate to see on a big screen last year, is also on the schedule. It's an excellent crime film starring Dick Powell, Jane Wyatt, Lizabeth Scott and Raymond Burr.

In an interesting move, every Sunday's daytime lineup this September will be devoted to Alfred Hitchcock. There are also numerous musicals on the schedule in September, including an entire day of MGM musicals in celebration of the September 9th birthday of producer Arthur Freed.

Joan Crawford, Victor Mature, Mario Lanza, Ginger Rogers, Joel McCrea, and director Norman Z. McLeod receive multi-film tributes during September, and the themes featured this month include Westerns, prisons, divorce, and shipwrecks.

On the down side, there seem to be a significant number of more recent films airing on Friday evenings as part of a futuristic series. I can't say I'm happy that films of the past dozen years, like MINORITY REPORT (2002) and A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001), are being shown, not to mention titles like TOTAL RECALL (1990) and MAD MAX (1979).

Though my personal preference is for older films, I haven't really questioned TCM showing more recent films during Oscars month, but the sheer number and questionable value of this month's Friday night lineup disappoints me. I'd rather not see these types of films taking up airtime on TCM when they can so easily be found elsewhere. I never hesitate to sing TCM's praises, but in this particular case the Friday Night Spotlight choices constitute an issue worth discussion.

In the meantime, Paul Henreid is the July Star of the Month, and August brings the annual Summer Under the Stars festival.

Update: For a more detailed look at TCM this month, please visit TCM in September: Highlights and TCM Star of the Month: Kim Novak.


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