First, though, it's time for a look at the May schedule on Turner Classic Movies!
Right off the top, a reminder that the TCM Classic Film Festival runs through Sunday, May 1st. Tune in throughout the weekend for interviews and other festival coverage in between the movies! (Update: It was announced during the festival that interviews would not be recorded this year to play during the weekend on TCM.)
The TCM Star of the Month is Robert Ryan. Over three dozen Ryan films will be shown on Fridays in May, beginning on May 6th; in a break from TCM's typical pattern with Star of the Month films, the movies will air starting during daytime hours and continuing into prime time. I'll be sharing more about this month's Robert Ryan movies in a separate post prior to the 6th. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Robert Ryan.)
The TCM Spotlight will focus on American International Pictures each Thursday evening in May.
TCM's traditional Memorial Day Weekend war movie marathon takes place May 27th through 30th. It includes THE LONGEST DAY (1962) with Robert Mitchum, seen above.
Below are just a handful of this month's highlights; click on any hyperlinked title to read the related review.
...One of the first films showing in May is the excellent film noir THE BIG CLOCK (1948), starring Ray Milland, Charles Laughton, and Maureen O'Sullivan. The deep cast also includes Rita Johnson, Harry Morgan, and Elsa Lanchester, who provides some very funny comic relief. This taut film, directed by John Farrow, also boasts some great set design. It was a treat to revisit it last year at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival. THE BIG CLOCK airs early on May 1st.
...Deanna Durbin's films don't appear on TCM very regularly, as Universal movies are more expensive for TCM to license; so it's a real treat that one of her best-known early films, THREE SMART GIRLS (1936), will be shown on Monday evening, May 2nd. It's being shown as part of a series of films inspired by the documentary CINEMA'S EXILES: FROM HITLER TO HOLLYWOOD (2009). Director Henry Koster, a Jew, fled his native Germany for France after knocking out a Nazi soldier, so the story goes.
...There's more film noir on May 4th, with a showing of the iconic film THE KILLERS (1946). Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien...and as I wrote of William Conrad and Charles McGraw, "In their coats and fedoras, they are film noir."
ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) is a truly great film, with Bette Davis starring as actress Margo Channing and Anne Baxter, in the title role, as the young woman who wants to take over Margo's career. Gary Merrill, Celeste Holm, and George Sanders costar in this terrific movie, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. It's showing May 7th.
...The Mother's Day theme on May 8th includes the Jane Powell musicals NANCY GOES TO RIO (1950) and THREE DARING DAUGHTERS (1948), plus the Claudette Colbert version of IMITATION OF LIFE (1934), Joan Crawford in MILDRED PIERCE (1945), and Irene Dunne in I REMEMBER MAMA (1948).
...The daytime theme on May 9th is cowboys, with titles including Tim Holt in DUDE COWBOY (1941) and SIX GUN GOLD (1941) and George O'Brien in LAWLESS VALLEY (1938) and TROUBLE IN SUNDOWN (1939). The O'Brien films were recently released on DVD.
...Fred Astaire was born May 10, 1899, and TCM celebrates by shown eight terrific Astaire films. I'm particularly fond of CAREFREE (1938), a screwball comedy with Ginger Rogers and Ralph Bellamy.
...On May 11th Dick Powell stars in TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH (1948), a tough docu-noir about an opium ring.
...Loretta Young stars in the pre-Code PLAY-GIRL (1932), costarring Loretta's real-life future brother-in-law, Norman Foster. It's on May 13th.
FOOTLIGHT PARADE (1933), starring James Cagney. You just can't beat "By a Waterfall" for brilliantly insane excess! It's shown on May 15th.
...I enjoyed THE FALLEN SPARROW (1943) at last year's Noir City Film Festival. It stars John Garfield and a trio of great leading ladies, Maureen O'Hara, Patricia Morison, and Martha O'Driscoll. THE FALLEN SPARROW will be shown May 17th.
...CRISIS (1050) is a really interesting drama, directed by Richard Brooks, starring Cary Grant as a brain surgeon and Jose Ferrer as a dictator with a brain tumor. Since the brain surgeon has a healthy ego of his own, he's more than a match for the dictator demanding his services. It will air on May 19th.
...COVER UP (1949) was a favorite discovery last year; I liked this small-town Christmastime mystery so much I watched it twice! Dennis O'Keefe plays an insurance investigator trying to get to the bottom of the suicide of the most unpopular man in town. Barbara Britton and William Bendix costar. The air date is May 21st.
...On May 23rd Robert Taylor and Richard Widmark star in a John Sturges Western, THE LAW AND JAKE WADE (1958).
...There are a particularly high number of interesting films airing on May 25th. Of those I'd particularly like to recommend GUN GLORY (1957), a very solid Western starring Stewart Granger, Rhonda Fleming, and Chill Wills.
...It's John Wayne's birthday on May 26th, and I'm always happy to have the chance to recommend one of my all-time favorite Wayne films, ANGEL AND THE BADMAN (1947), costarring Gail Russell.
...The Star of the Month and Memorial Day Weekend war movie marathon merge on Friday, May 27th, with the showing of several war films starring Robert Ryan. On May 28th the titles include what might be the best war movie ever made, John Ford's THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945). On the 29th the wonderful MISTER ROBERTS (1955), codirected by Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, will be shown; Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell, and Jack Lemmon star. On May 30th the titles include Gary Cooper in SERGEANT YORK (1941).
...The month comes to an end on May 31st with a series of films set in Las Vegas, including PAINTING THE CLOUDS WITH SUNSHINE (1951), MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS (1956), and VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964).
For more on TCM in May, please visit the complete May schedule.