Thursday, March 03, 2016

TCM Star of the Month: Merle Oberon

Turner Classic Movies will be celebrating actress Merle Oberon as the March 2016 Star of the Month.

Over two dozen films starring Oberon will be shown on Friday evenings this month. Below is the complete lineup; click any title link to read the corresponding review.

The series kicks off on Friday, March 4th, with THESE THREE (1936), one of a couple classics in which Oberon was directed by the great William Wyler. Joel McCrea and Miriam Hopkins star in this tale of scandal in a girls' school, with memorable support by Bonita Granville and Marcia Mae Jones as troubled students.

Oberon stars with Brian Aherne in BELOVED ENEMY (1936); they were reunited a few years later for FIRST COMES COURAGE (1943), showing later this month.

FOLIES BERGERE DE PARIS (1935) costars Maurice Chevalier, and THE DARK ANGEL (1935) also stars Fredric March and Herbert Marshall. The evening concludes with THE PRIVATE LIFE OF DON JUAN (1934), costarring Douglas Fairbanks (Sr.), and THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII (1934) with Charles Laughton.

On March 11th the lineup stars with the very good suspense film THE LODGER (1944), costarring George Sanders and Laird Cregar, directed by John Brahm. I very much enjoyed Oberon and Sanders' scenes together.

Oberon's greatest performance was probably as Cathy in William Wyler's WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939). I'll never forget the first time I saw it as a teenager, as it took me a long time to stop crying! Even the commercials on KTLA Ch. 5 couldn't dilute the movie's power.

THE COWBOY AND THE LADY (1938) (additionally reviewed here) is a romantic comedy charmer costarring Gary Cooper which I particularly like.

THE DIVORCE OF LADY X (1938), costarring Laurence Olivier, was memorable to me for its unique pastel Technicolor design.

The evening concludes with the WWII film THE LION HAS WINGS (1939) and the swashbuckling classic THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1935) with Leslie Howard.

March 18th begins with the WWII film FIRST COMES COURAGE (1943), followed by the biopic A SONG TO REMEMBER (1945), with Cornel Wilde starring as Chopin.

Although I love Oberon and Melvyn Douglas, Burgess Meredith makes Lubitsch's THAT UNCERTAIN FEELING (1941) a tough watch for me.

Other titles on the 18th: LYDIA (1941) with Joseph Cotten; 'TIL WE MEET AGAIN (1940) with George Brent; and OVER THE MOON (1940) with Rex Harrison. I haven't seen these three films and definitely need to rectify that!

The series concludes on March 25th with DESIREE (1954), starring Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons. Also shown on the 25th is HOTEL (1967) with Rod Taylor and an all-star cast.

Other films on the 25th are the musical DEEP IN MY HEART (1954); the thriller BERLIN EXPRESS (1948), which teamed Oberon with Robert Ryan; and NIGHT SONG (1947), an enjoyable melodrama with Dana Andrews and Hoagy Carmichael.

Also on the 25th: AFFECTIONATELY YOURS (1941) with Dennis Morgan and Rita Hayworth; and a reprise of THAT UNCERTAIN FEELING (1941)

For more on TCM in March, please consult the online schedule as well as my post TCM in March: Highlights.


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