Saturday, August 31, 2013

TCM in September: Highlights

Here we are, Labor Day weekend already, and it's time to look at the September schedule on Turner Classic Movies!

Kim Novak is the Star of the Month starting on Thursday, September 5th. Next week I'll have a detailed rundown on the Novak films showing in September. (Update: TCM Star of the Month: Kim Novak.)

There are two other big series on TCM this month: "Sundays With Hitch," featuring Alfred Hitchcock films all day long every Sunday of the month, and THE STORY OF FILM, a documentary series which will be shown each Monday and Tuesday, along with several films related to each episode's themes.

Here's an overview of just some of the interesting movies airing on TCM this month:

...The first Sunday With Hitch is on September 1st, with a marathon of 10 films. While I can't recommend the first film, MURDER! (1930) -- though one could say its uncharacteristic awfulness has to be seen to be believed -- there are plenty of worthwhile films on the schedule, including the very interesting ROPE (1948) with John Dall, Farley Granger, and James Stewart; Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman in the psychological thriller SPELLBOUND (1945); MARNIE (1964), another pyschological suspense film which I find fascinating, starring Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren; THE BIRDS (1963) which many people like but I admit to finding quite dull; and a film loved by Hitchcock and all his fans, SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943).

...You can't start Labor Day any better than with the two films showing first thing that day, the Powell-Pressburger classic I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! (1945) and Frank Borzage's HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT (1937). These are both simply wonderful movies.  Don't miss out on the chance to see them. (September 1st Update: I just learned that I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING!, which is in the printed TCM guide, is no longer on the schedule. The online schedule indicates it was replaced by the 1975 film HESTER STREET. HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT is still scheduled.)

...Later on Labor Day there's an excellent domestic drama/film noir, PITFALL (1948), starring Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott, Jane Wyatt, and Raymond Burr. I was fortunate to see the UCLA restoration of this film on a big screen at the Million Dollar Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles last year.

...Robert Osborne's Picks on September 4th include Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth in YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH (1941) and Jane Powell in the colorful HOLIDAY IN MEXICO (1946), costarring Walter Pidgeon. September is a particularly good month for fans of musicals.

...I really enjoyed the pre-Code THE OFFICE WIFE (1930), airing on September 5th. It's a short and sweet 59 minutes. Dorothy Mackaill, Lewis Stone, and Joan Blondell star.

...The morning of September 6th is terrific: it starts off with a couple of Marsha Hunt movies, THE AFFAIRS OF MARTHA (1942) and LOST ANGEL (1943). Hunt told me that MARTHA is one of her personal favorites. Hunt's MARTHA costar, Richard Carlson, then stars in A STRANGER IN TOWN (1942), which has been on my viewing wish list.

...ALONG CAME JONES (1945) is an amiable Western comedy airing on September 7th, starring Gary Cooper, Loretta Young, and Dan Duryea. Good fun.

...The second Sunday With Hitch on September 8th features 8 Hitchcock movies, starting with his lesser-known UNDER CAPRICORN (1949) starring Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten. That's followed by a couple more "lesser" Hitchcock films I've seen and enjoyed, STAGE FRIGHT (1950) and I CONFESS (1953). For those who mostly know Hitchcock's more famous titles, this is a good day to catch up on some interesting titles. Later on are what are for me the picks of the day, Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane in SABOTEUR (1942), with its Statue of Liberty finish; Joel McCrea and George Sanders in FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940), which I usually name as my favorite Hitchcock film; and Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in the classic NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959).

...The great MGM musical producer Arthur Freed was born on September 9, 1894. TCM celebrates with a day of musicals, including Esther Williams in PAGAN LOVE SONG (1950); SHOW BOAT (1951) with Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson; Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen in THE BELLE OF NEW YORK (1952); and Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the evergreen THE BAND WAGON (1953). There are even more airing so be sure to consult the schedule!

...There's more from Arthur Freed on September 11th, with BRIGADOON (1954) being part of a day of musical fantasies. Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse star. I've always really enjoyed this movie, despite its soundstage set.

...Friday, September 13th, features prison movies. I'm especially intrigued by a 77-minute programmer directed by Lew Landers, CONDEMNED WOMEN (1938), starring Louis Hayward, Anne Shirley, and Sally Eilers. I've lost count of how many Landers films I've seen so far this year, but it's been a lot of fun becoming acquainted with his work.

...Randolph Scott fans can enjoy him in CORONER CREEK (1948), based on a Luke Short story, on September 14th. I think this is one of Scott's stronger '40s Westerns.

...September 15th is the third Hitchcock day in the series. I've only seen three of the eight films airing on this date, but they're all great: VERTIGO (1958), REAR WINDOW (1954), and the first Hitchcock film I ever saw, TO CATCH A THIEF (1955).

...I really enjoyed Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery, and Anita Page in OUR BLUSHING BRIDES (1930), a pre-Code being shown on September 17th.

...I'm particularly looking forward to a tribute to Victor Mature on September 18th. I haven't seen most of the films, which include SEVEN DAYS' LEAVE (1942) with Lucille Ball, THE LONG HAUL (1957) with Diana Dors, and THE SHARKFIGHTERS (1956) with Karen Steele. My VCR will be humming! I liked THE LAS VEGAS STORY (1952) with Jane Russell, also showing that day.

...A day of '50s Westerns on September 19th includes a number of interesting titles. I'm looking forward to seeing Jacques Tourneur's GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING (1952) for the first time, starring Robert Stack, Virginia Mayo, and Ruth Roman.

...A tribute to director Norman Z. McLeod on the 20th includes some '30s comedies, Cary Grant and Constance Bennett in TOPPER (1937), Bennett and Brian Aherne in MERRILY WE LIVE (1938), and Fredric March and Virginia Bruce in THERE GOES MY HEART (1938).

...I gained a fresh appreciation for the familiar classic IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) when I saw it at the TCM Classic Film Festival last spring. I was impressed anew with the performances of Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, as well as the direction by Frank Capra and the cinematography by Joseph Walker. Highly recommended. It airs September 21st.

...There's another Sunday With Hitch on September 22nd, featuring eight films plus Hitchcock's interview with Dick Cavett. The day includes Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll in THE 39 STEPS (1935), as well as a film which is on my Top 5 Hitchcock list, THE LADY VANISHES (1938). THE LADY VANISHES stars Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave, a really delightful mixture of mystery, comedy, and romance.

...The Rodgers and Hart musical LOVE ME TONIGHT (1932) is a key movie musical of the '30s, and it's also very funny. It stars Jeanette MacDonald, Maurice Chevalier, and Myrna Loy, not to mention Charles Butterworth, Charlie Ruggles, and Sir C. Aubrey Smith. It was directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Don't miss this slice of movie perfection on September 23rd.

...A day of Ginger Rogers movies on September 24th includes the jury panel romance PERFECT STRANGERS (1950), costarring Dennis Morgan, and one of my very favorite Ginger films, I'LL BE SEEING YOU (1944) with Joseph Cotten.

...September 27th is one of the best days on the schedule, a nine-film tribute to Joel McCrea. The focus of the day is on McCrea's Westerns, but there's an interesting, atypical McCrea film on the schedule as well, the British-made suspense film SHOOT FIRST (1953), costarring Herbert Lom and Evelyn Keyes.

...There's a three-film tribute to British actress Peggy Cummins in primetime on September 28th. While her remarkable noir GUN CRAZY (1950) is widely known, be sure not to miss HELL DRIVERS (1957), which is tremendous fun. I saw HELL DRIVERS on opening night of this year's Noir City Film Festival and had a great time; the cast includes Stanley Baker, Sean Connery, David McCallum, and Patrick McGoohan, just for starters.

...The final Sunday with Hithcock is September 29th. The eight-film lineup includes Hitchcock's atypical MR. AND MRS. SMITH (1941), a marital comedy with Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery; Joan Fontaine's Oscar-winning performance in SUSPICION (1941); one of the director's greatest classics, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951); Grace Kelly, Ray Milland, and Robert Cummings in DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954); and Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in NOTORIOUS (1946), which rivals FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT for my favorite Hitchcock film.

...The daytime theme on September 30th made me laugh: "What else could go wrong?" Titles include Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in the classic weeper PENNY SERENADE (1941), Greer Garson and Ronald Colman in another classic, RANDOM HARVEST (1942), and Tyrone Power, Myrna Loy, and George Brent in the disaster drama THE RAINS CAME (1939).

As I mentioned in my preview of the month earlier this summer, I'm not a fan of TCM's decision to feature relatively recent films like TOTAL RECALL (1990), A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001), and MINORITY REPORT (2002) in its Friday Night Spotlight series this month. While TCM has always featured a limited number of "newer" titles, particularly during 31 Days of Oscar, the large number of these kinds of films being shown this month is concerning to me; they are easily accessible elsewhere, and frankly I consider these titles of questionable value. Hopefully this isn't an early indicator of a future programming trend, but simply a one-time programming choice for this series.

Otherwise, it's a great-looking month on Turner Classic Movies! Be sure to consult the complete schedule for additional titles.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it me be time to watch Saboteur again. Thanks for the reminder!

4:21 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Me too! I'd like to watch both SABOTEUR and SHADOW OF A DOUBT again soon. Hmmm, maybe I'll pull SABOTEUR off my DVD shelf this weekend... :)

Best wishes,

4:39 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

Agreed. I do not like the new titles showing up.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Vienna said...

What a gold mine of films to watch. I may have to move to America.
I think you would like The Rains Came.

12:04 AM  
Blogger LĂȘ said...

I love Hitchcock, yet the one I consider the weakest until now is Saboteur.
If I lvie in the US, I'd be more excited to watch the documentaries on the history of film. For the schedule, September 10th would be a day I wouldn't leave the house, so many good silent films!

1:19 PM  
Blogger bjbradford said...

Looking forward to THE STORY OF FILM as well. Enjoy your blog very much, read it regularly. By the way, when you get a chance, please take a look at my new blog, and tell me what you think. Thanks!

7:20 PM  

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