Sunday, April 30, 2017

TCM in May: Highlights

April has flown past and it's time to turn the calendar to May!

The online May schedule is titled Now Playing. (As I write this, the May schedule is confusingly labeled April at the top; hopefully that will change once May is here. May 1st Update: It's now fixed!) This is in keeping with the recent news that TCM is discontinuing the print version of the Now Playing guide as of this summer; in the future the network will only provide an online schedule.

Clark Gable is the May Star of the Month. Well over 50 Gable films will be shown on Tuesday evenings in May. I'll have a separate post showcasing the Gable lineup posted here Monday or Tuesday. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Clark Gable.)

The TCM Spotlight will focus on "Creature Features" every Thursday evening, with two dozen "monstrous" films shown this month.

TCM's traditional Memorial Day Weekend marathon will take place from Friday, May 26th, through Monday, May 29th.

Below are just a handful of this month's many highlights; click on any hyperlinked title to read the related review.

...TCM celebrates the centennial birthday of Danielle Darrieux on Monday, May 1st, with a six-film prime time tribute. I recommend THE RAGE OF PARIS (1938), a charming romantic comedy with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The supporting cast is filled with wonderful names like Helen Broderick, Mischa Auer, Louis Hayward, Charles Coleman, and Harry Davenport.

...A prime time tribute to James Whitmore on May 3rd includes the crime film MRS. O'MALLEY AND MR. MALONE (1950). It's lightweight but enjoyable fun, with some good William Bowers dialogue and a deep cast which includes Marjorie Main, Ann Dvorak, Dorothy Malone, Phyllis Kirk, and Fred Clark, not to mention top supporting players like Clinton Sundberg, Regis Toomey, Douglas Fowley, and Frank Cady. Those are plenty of reasons to give the film a look.

..The first night of "Creature Features" on May 4th includes the TCM premiere of REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (1955), starring John Agar and Lori Nelson. Also on the schedule to kick off the series is the classic CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954), starring Julie Adams and Richard Carlson.

...Cinco de Mayo features several films with a Mexican setting. It may not be Esther Williams' best film, but I'm quite fond of FIESTA (1947), which has an excellent cast, including Mary Astor, and some fantastic dancing by Cyd Charisse and Ricardo Montalban, seen at right.

...I haven't seen a majority of this month's Noir Alley titles! Eddie Muller kicks off the month on May 7th with Edmond O'Brien in SHIELD FOR MURDER (1954). John Agar and Carolyn Jones costar.

...The prime time theme on May 8th is "Cattle Drives," leading off with the wonderful James Stewart film THE FAR COUNTRY (1954), one of my favorite films Stewart made with director Anthony Mann. You won't forget that jingling bell on the saddle! THE FAR COUNTRY is Caftan Woman's "One for May" pick; read her thoughts here.

...It's Margaret O'Brien day on May 9th, with a run of eight of her films, including the all-time classic MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944). I also particularly recommend the very fine JOURNEY FOR MARGARET (1942), in which she's an orphan of the London Blitz adopted by Robert Young and Laraine Day; LOST ANGEL (1943) in which she's a child genius, costarring James Craig and Marsha Hunt (seen here with O'Brien); and THE SECRET GARDEN (1949), an excellent filming of the Burnett classic with Dean Stockwell and Herbert Marshall.

...A Margaret Rutherford birthday tribute on May 11th includes the very funny mermaid comedy MIRANDA (1948), starring Glynis Johns, and its sequel from several years later, MAD ABOUT MEN (1954). In MIRANDA Rutherford plays an eccentric nurse engaged to look after Johns as the mermaid, and her reaction to meeting a real mermaid is great fun.

...Tim Holt stars in THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD (1957) on May 11th. It's part of the second evening of "Creature Features." As a Holt fan I need to see this one!

...James Stewart, Janet Leigh, and Robert Ryan star in Anthony Mann's THE NAKED SPUR (1953) on May 13th. A classic. It's also being shown on May 23rd.

...On the 14th Noir Alley features another new-to-me crime film, THE PROWLER (1951), starring Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes.

...George Brent and Jean Arthur star in the romantic comedy MORE THAN A SECRETARY (1936) on May 15th. Some of the film is quite outdated, while at the same time some of it seems very modern. It has a terrific supporting cast including Reginald Denny, Ruth Donnelly, and Lionel Stander. Check it out for lighthearted fun.

...On May 17th TCM pays tribute to the lovely and talented Frances Dee with a seven-film prime time tribute. The tribute includes the TCM premieres of three films: HAPPY LAND (1943) with Don Ameche, AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY (1931) with Phillips Holmes, and FOUR FACES WEST (1948) with Dee's husband, Joel McCrea. FOUR FACES WEST, costarring Charles Bickford and Joseph Calleia, is a superb, unusual Western which I recommend most highly; in fact, I'd go so far as to say if you try just one movie on TCM this month, let it be this one. The other Dee films showing on the 17th are I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943), OF HUMAN BONDAGE (1934), FINISHING SCHOOL (1934), and LOVE IS A RACKET (1932).

...There's a terrific evening of "Creature Features" on May 18th, including two real favorites of mine, THEM! (1954), featuring giant ants, and IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955), in which a giant octopus attacks San Francisco! Seen at right, the cast of IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, Donald Curtis, Kenneth Tobey, and Faith Domergue. Also on that night: THE MAGNETIC MONSTER (1953), starring Richard Carlson.

...There's an amazing day of mysteries on May 19th, including five Richard Dix "Whistler" mysteries, I LOVE A MYSTERY (1945) with Jim Bannon and Nina Foch, and THE UNKNOWN (1946) with Bannon and Jeff Donnell. I saw the latter two films at UCLA last year as part of a series titled Out of the Ether: Radio Mysteries and Thrillers On Screen.

...The Boston Blackie series will be featured as the Saturday morning "series" movie beginning May 20th, starting off with MEET BOSTON BLACKIE (1941). There won't be a Saturday morning series film later in the month due to Memorial Day Weekend, but look for Boston Blackie films to resume airing on TCM Saturday mornings in June.

...May 20th: Fred Astaire. Rita Hayworth. Jerome Kern. YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (1942). Be there.

...Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden, and Raymond Burr star in CRIME OF PASSION (1957), the Noir Alley film airing on May 21st.

...Tyrone Power and Kim Novak star in THE EDDIE DUCHIN STORY (1958) on May 24th.

...The last evening of "Creature Features" on May 25th includes TARANTULA (1955), starring John Agar and Mara Corday.

...DANCING CO-ED (1939), airing May 26th, is terrific MGM fun. Lana Turner, Ann Rutherford, Richard Carlson, and Artie Shaw star.

...Titles I especially recommend in the Memorial Day Weekend marathon are ABOVE AND BEYOND (1952) with Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker, showing on May 26th, and ONE MINUTE TO ZERO (1952) with Robert Mitchum and Ann Blyth (seen at right). The latter film will air May 27th.

...The final Noir Alley title for May, JOURNEY INTO FEAR (1943), is the only one this month I've previously seen! Joseph Cotten, Dolores Del Rio, and Ruth Warrick star along with an interesting supporting cast. Norman Foster directed, perhaps with some help from Orson Welles, who cowrote the screenplay with Cotten. This film is one of several "spy movie classics" being shown May 28th as part of the Memorial Day Weekend marathon.

...The Memorial Day Weekend marathon concludes Monday evening, May 29th, with several submarine films, including THE ENEMY BELOW (1957) with Robert Mitchum (left) and Curt Jurgens, directed by Dick Powell.

...There's a fantastic Howard Hawks birthday tribute on May 30th, including TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1944), THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951), and RIO BRAVO (1959). Each of these films is a top-drawer classic in the war, sci-fi, and Western genres, and all three are most highly recommended.

For more on TCM in May, please visit the complete schedule. Additionally, the May promo video reel may be found on Twitter.


Blogger Jerry E said...

Whoa! May 19th, Laura! Will this be the day you finally meet 'The Whistler'? Watch this space, folks.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

You just never know! LOL.

Thanks, Jerry!

Best wishes,

11:40 PM  

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