Wednesday, August 31, 2011

TCM in September: Highlights

Turner Classic Movies has a truly outstanding schedule ahead for September! It's a great viewing month including some rarely seen films such as THE CONSTANT NYMPH (1943) and the controversial Miriam Hopkins pre-Code THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE (1933).

TCM has announced September's guest hosts, who will fill in as Robert Osborne continues his break. Actress Illeana Douglas, the granddaughter of Melvyn, will host the first 10 days of the month. She'll be followed by Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips, actress Winona Ryder, and the month will close out with Leonard Maltin hosting the week of September 26th. I'm especially happy about that last choice.

Kirk Douglas will be the Star of the Month beginning Tuesday, September 6th. I'll share more information on that in the next few days.

Here are just a handful of the TCM treats ahead as fall approaches:

...Early September starts off in fine style with an evening of mermaid movies on September 2nd, including Ann Blyth and William Powell in MR. PEABODY AND THE MERMAID (1948), which is a TCM premiere, and Glynis Johns in MIRANDA (1948) and its sequel MAD ABOUT MEN (1954).

...On September 3rd, an evening of William Holden films includes the only one of William Holden and Nancy Olson's four costarring films missing from my collection, FORCE OF ARMS (1951). Also that night, a TCM premiere of a hard-to-find Paramount film, YOUNG AND WILLING (1943), costarring Susan Hayward. My DVR is already set!

...Margaret O'Brien is superb as an orphan of the London Blitz in JOURNEY FOR MARGARET (1942), costarring Robert Young and Laraine Day. It's on September 4th.

...I'm very fond of Fredric March and Veronica Lake in I MARRIED A WITCH (1942), which also features a funny performance by a young Susan Hayward. It was directed by Rene Clair. Robert Benchley costars. The air date is September 6th.

...On September 7th Barbara Stanwyck stars in LADY OF BURLESQUE (1943).

...September 9th is one of those great days with all sorts of movies: Greer Garson and Robert Ryan in HER TWELVE MEN (1954), Dana Andrews and Joan Fontaine in Fritz Lang's BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (1956), Robert Taylor and Cyd Charisse in the terrific Nicholas Ray film PARTY GIRL (1958), Connie Francis and Jim Hutton in LOOKING FOR LOVE (1964), and Doris Day in I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS (1952). That's entertainment!

...Mary Astor and Ricardo Cortez star in the pre-Code BEHIND OFFICE DOORS (1931) on September 10th.

...On September 12th I'm very much looking forward to Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Joan Blondell in the pre-Code UNION DEPOT (1932).

...Later on the 12th TCM is showing one of the last films I need in my Priscilla Lane collection, LOVE, HONOR AND BEHAVE (1938), costarring Wayne Morris and Dick Foran. The two Lane titles I'm still looking for: SILVER QUEEN (1942) with George Brent and THE MEANEST MAN IN THE WORLD (1943) with Jack Benny.

...I thought Jean Peters was wonderful in the suspense film NIAGARA (1953), part of a multi-film tribute to Marilyn Monroe. Joseph Cotten also stars.

...Robert Osborne may be off in September, but there will still be an evening of Robert Osborne's Picks on September 14th. His choices that night start off with the controversial, rarely seen pre-Code THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE (1933), starring Miriam Hopkins. Hopkins is seen again that evening in a completely different type of film, the romantic comedy THE MATING SEASON (1951), directed by Mitchell Leisen and starring Gene Tierney, John Lund, and Thelma Ritter.

...PICCADILLY JIM (1936) returns to TCM on September 15th, starring Robert Montgomery and Madge Evans, with a delightful supporting turn by Eric Blore as (what else?) a loyal butler. Blore is also in THREE GIRLS ABOUT TOWN (1941), starring Joan Blondell, Janet Blair, and Robert Benchley. You can read an enticing review of that one at Kristina's Kinema.

...The lovely and talented Ann Blyth, who just turned 83, receives a five-film primetime tribute on September 17th. The evening starts with her Oscar-nominated performance in MILDRED PIERCE (1945). Next Blyth's lovely soprano dazzles singing standards like "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" and "Stranger in Paradise" in KISMET (1955); it's a relatively lackluster MGM musical but the duets by Blyth and Vic Damone are sublime. After that, Blyth is torn between good brother Robert Taylor and bad brother Stewart Granger in ALL THE BROTHERS WERE VALIANT (1953); we should all be so lucky! The adoption drama OUR VERY OWN (1950) and another musical, ROSE MARIE (1954), round out a great evening of diverse films starring a wonderful lady.

...On September 19th Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Elisabeth Bergner star in THE RISE OF CATHERINE THE GREAT (1934). Another film for my "record" list!

...The 19th will include "A Night at the Ballet," showing THE RED SHOES (1948), Gene Kelly's INVITATION TO THE DANCE (1956), Margaret O'Brien and Cyd Charisse in THE UNFINISHED DANCE (1947), and a 1938 film I'm not familiar with titled BALLERINA.

...Only on TCM: a tribute to Jack Holt! It's on September 21st. Titles include BLACK MOON (1934) with Fay Wray and WHIRLPOOL (1934) with Jean Arthur.

...Walter Pidgeon's birthday is celebrated with an eight-film tribute on September 23rd. I'm especially looking forward to a pair of 1939 films he made with Virginia Bruce, SOCIETY LAWYER and STRONGER THAN DESIRE. (As a side note, these two films were released by Warner Archive as a "double feature" DVD.) Pidgeon can also be seen with Audrey Totter in THE SELLOUT (1951) the previous day, September 22nd.

...Later on the 23rd, you just can't go wrong with KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1950), a terrific adventure with Stewart Granger's most charismatic performance, not to mention gorgeous redhead Deborah Kerr. It should be shown on THE ESSENTIALS, if it hasn't been already.

...Six films featuring the timeless music of Rodgers and Hart will be shown on September 24th. These titles include LOVE ME TONIGHT (1932), a must-see early musical directed by Rouben Mamoulian. It stars Jeanette MacDonald, Maurice Chevalier, and Myrna Loy, in a scene-stealing breakout role. The creative staging of "Isn't It Romantic?" was groundbreaking.

...On September 25th TCM is showing BACK STREET (1941), starring Charles Boyer, Margaret Sullavan, and Richard Carlson, back to back with its 1961 remake, which starred Susan Hayward, John Gavin, and Vera Miles.

...I love Joan Leslie, who can be seen costarring with Eddie Albert in THIEVES FALL OUT (1941) on September 28th.

...The rarely seen THE CONSTANT NYMPH (1943), which was tied up for years by legal rights issues, will screen on September 28th as part of a 24-hour Tribute to the Library of Congress Film Archive.

...The superb docu-noir THE NAKED CITY (1948) shows up on September 29th, starring Barry Fitzgerald, Don Taylor, and an excellent supporting cast.

...The month concludes with a tribute to Deborah Kerr on September 30th, with titles including IF WINTER COMES (1947), costarring Walter Pidgeon and Janet Leigh; the Powell-Pressburger classic BLACK NARCISSUS (1947); and THE SUNDOWNERS (1960), in which the loving relationship between Aussie sheepherders Kerr and Robert Mitchum is the best thing about the film.

There's much, much more airing in September, including a big tribute to the films of Merchant Ivory; I'll be recording THE EUROPEANS (1979) on September 8th.

Please review the complete schedule for even more great viewing ideas, and enjoy TCM in September!

Update: TCM Star of the Month: Kirk Douglas.


Blogger Kevin Deany said...

I agree that this September is the best TCM line-up in a long time. Especially looking forward to "The Story of Temple Drake", "The Constant Nymph" and "Whirlpool."

Also glad to see Winona Ryder hosting. She's a big-time old movie fan.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Blake Lucas said...

Laura, I hope you will write something about "Force of Arms" when you see it. It's a film I predict you will like, though of course there's no telling, but I'd be interested in your take. A very romantic movie and excellent, mature view of war as well, beautifully directed by Curtiz.

I think it's the best of the four movies starring Holden and Olsen, who did have great chemistry, which especially shows here.

Yes, I know..."Sunset Boulevard." It's a film with many strengths and plenty of wit along with the darkness. But for all that, there is something unpleasant about it--Gloria Swanson to a great degree redeems her character but I'm never sure I'm comfortable with how Wilder truly sees Norma Desmond. With all due credit for its good points, it's far from my favorite Billy Wilder film.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Estella said...

WOW, Laura--thanks so much for the fabulous and informative "Highlights" post! I am SO excited about the September lineup and have, as we speak, my Tivo remote at the ready to set them all up to record! I am especially looking forward to LOVE ME TONIGHT, which I have never seen! I am a die-hard Jeanette MacDonald fan, and for some reason, this particular movie has always eluded me (but not anymore!)

9:28 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Laura, try to watch, or at least record if you can, Young And Willing (1943)

I’ve been trying without success for years to find this B movie again. I once had it, many years ago, on 16mm. It’s a priceless comedy which I’m sure you would enjoy. There is a copy of it on YouTube but the soundtrack has been removed, rendering it useless.

It’s scheduled to be shown tomorrow at 12 midnight, Saturday/Sunday 3rd/4th September (it’s not clear which time zone).

9:42 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to you all so much for the feedback!

Blake, thanks very much for the critique of FORCE OF ARMS -- I'm looking forward to it even more now. :) I've yet to see SUNSET BOULEVARD -- I've been avoiding it due to the darkness you mention -- but I've got it on a list of "classics" I really need to catch up with soon.

Estella, you're so very welcome! LOVE ME TONIGHT is probably my favorite Jeanette film -- you've got a real treat in store. It's got great music and is wonderfully funny, especially Myrna Loy, who gets the best lines in the movie. This is the movie that broke her out of playing Oriental femme fatales and similar roles, and then PENTHOUSE the next year set her up to be selected for THE THIN MAN (1934).

If by chance you haven't seen it yet, Jeanette is also on that evening in I MARRIED AN ANGEL. :) Looking forward to chatting more soon!

Best wishes,

9:46 PM  
Blogger DKoren said...

Oh! A William Holden night! Sigh... I still don't know why I read these particular posts and drive myself crazy seeing all the things I want to see and can't! LOL!

11:18 AM  
Blogger Melissa Clark said...

What an exciting month on TCM! Thanks for your recommendations. :)


11:27 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Mel, thanks so much for the recommendation of YOUNG AND WILLING. I dropped you a note via email today!

Deb, I sure wish you had TCM -- especially for William Holden nights! :) Someday, right?!

MC, it was my pleasure, I hope you'll enjoy this month's TCM offerings!

Best wishes,

8:24 PM  

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