Monday, March 03, 2014

TCM in March: Highlights

The 31 Days of Oscar have now drawn to a close on Turner Classic Movies, and the regular schedule resumes on Tuesday, March 4th. Here's a look at some of the treasures awaiting on the March schedule!

The Star of the Month for March is Mary Astor, with weekly marathons of her films beginning on Wednesday evening, March 5th. I'll be taking a closer look at the Astor films showing this month in the near future. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Mary Astor.)

Below are just a few of the interesting movies TCM has in store for viewers this month; check out reviews at any hyperlinked title.

...March 4th kicks off with a fantastic 9-film John Garfield marathon. I'd particularly like to call attention to one of his lesser-known films, the "B" movie EAST OF THE RIVER (1940). This Warner Bros. film is an uncredited loose remake of MGM's MANHATTAN MELODRAMA (1934), with Garfield and William Lundigan as adoptive brothers who end up on opposite sides of the law. Brenda Marshall is the girl they both love, and there are also good roles for Marjorie Rambeau and George Tobias.

...A day of radio-themed movies on March 5th includes CAMPUS RHYTHM (1943) starring lovely Gale Storm.

...Last fall I watched A KISS BEFORE DYING (1956) starring Robert Wagner, Joanne Woodward, Jeffrey Hunter, and Virginia Leith. The movie owes more than a little to A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951) -- and I frankly found it far more entertaining. It airs March 6th. Mary Astor has a small role in the film, but I'm sneaking it into this post!

...Two films I'll be recording on March 7th: ONE BIG AFFAIR (1952), starring Dennis O'Keefe and Evelyn Keyes, and ENCHANTED ISLAND (1958), starring the interesting combination of Dana Andrews and Jane Powell.

...The Friday Night Spotlight theme for March is "Food in the Movies." On March 7th the titles include MOSTLY MARTHA (2001), a German film which was the basis for the later U.S. film NO RESERVATIONS (2007), which starred Catherine Zeta-Jones.

...TCM's memorial tribute to Shirley Temple is Sunday, March 9th. Eight films on are the agenda, including HEIDI (1937), THE LITTLE PRINCESS (1939), I'LL BE SEEING YOU (1944), and THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947).

...There's a wonderful tribute to actress Ruth Roman on Monday, March 10th. The eight films in the lineup include THE WINDOW (1949), in which she terrorizes a little boy who saw her commit a murder; COLT .45 (1950), in which she's a strong heroine who manages to dynamite herself out of trouble; the fun Gary Cooper Western DALLAS (1950); the thriller LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE (1050) with Richard Todd and Zachary Scott; Hitchcock's classic STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951); and Anthony Mann's THE FAR COUNTRY (1955), starring James Stewart. (I hope to see THE FAR COUNTRY on a big screen at UCLA on March 23rd!) All in all March 10th might be a good day to call in sick and enjoy a wonderful lineup.

...On March 11th Tom Conway and Hillary Brooke star in Andrew L. Stone's CONFIDENCE GIRL (1952). It's certainly not the greatest movie ever made, but as a fan of "B" movies and those involved, I found it diverting.

...The "Food in the Movies" series continues on March 14th with four more films, including CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945). When I think of that movie I always remember Barbara Stanwyck flipping pancakes!

...If it's March it's time to start thinking about baseball, and TCM has IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING (1949) on the schedule on March 15th. This baseball fantasy from 20th Century-Fox stars Ray Milland, Jean Peters, and Paul Douglas.

...March 16th another Fox film is on the schedule, JESSE JAMES (1939), with Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Nancy Kelly, and Randolph Scott in glorious Technicolor.

...TCM never misses celebrating St. Patrick's Day, and this year the lineup includes MY WILD IRISH ROSE (1947) with Dennis Morgan, YOUNG CASSIDY (1965) with Rod Taylor, and FINIAN'S RAINBOW (1968) with Fred Astaire.

...March 18th the titles include the colorful MGM musical TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE (1950) with a marvelous cast including Jane Powell, Ricardo Montalban, and Debbie Reynolds. This is the one where cute young Debbie joins with Carleton Carpenter to sing the tongue-twisting "Aba Daba Honeymoon." I'm due for a rewatch!

...FEMALE (1933), starring Ruth Chatterton and George Brent, is one of my very favorite pre-Codes. It's a fast-moving 61 minutes, and it features some amazing set design. It's on March 21st.

...As a matter of fact, I could happily watch TCM all day on the 21st! Other titles include the classic comedy BACHELOR MOTHER (1939) with Ginger Rogers; Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas in the romantic comedy THIRD FINGER, LEFT HAND (1940); Kay Francis in PLAY GIRL (1940); Joan Leslie in CINDERELLA JONES (1946); Kathryn Grayson and June Allyson in TWO SISTERS FROM BOSTON (1946); Leslie Caron in a wonderful take on Cinderella, THE GLASS SLIPPER (1955); and to top it all off, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938), which I just reviewed a few days ago. A wonderful lineup.

...The taut submarine film RUN SILENT RUN DEEP (1958) airs on March 22nd. Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster star.

...The great Audrey Totter acts opposite a camera in Robert Montgomery's experimental LADY IN THE LAKE (1947) on March 23rd. The Oscars may have inexcusably forgotten Totter when they prepared their memorial reel for last night's Oscar ceremony, but her star will always burn brightly in the hearts of film noir fans. As Aubyn Tweeted, "Oscars may have forgotten Audrey Totter but no true fan of film noir ever could. Hail to the Queen, baby."

...While LADY IN THE LAKE featured Robert Montgomery's version of Philip Marlowe, Dick Powell played Chandler's detective in MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) airing the very next day, on March 24th.

...A night of navy films includes Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Kathryn Grayson in the Technicolor confection ANCHORS AWEIGH (1945) on March 24th.

...Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan star in the granddaddy of the Tarzan films, TARZAN, THE APE MAN (1932) on March 26th.

...Last year I watched as many programmers directed by Lew Landers as I could get my hands on, finding them consistently enjoyable entertainment. One of the very best is FLIGHT FROM GLORY (1937), which airs on March 27th. Chester Morris and Van Heflin star as pilots working for a rickety air service in the Andes, a couple of years before the similarly themed Howard Hawks classic ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939). Landers and company show what good actors and creative filmmakers can do on a limited budget. I included it in my "Favorite Discoveries" guest column for Rupert Pupkin Speaks.

...The final night of "Food in the Movies" on March 28th includes BIG NIGHT (1996), which I reviewed just a few months ago. This film about a struggling restaurant has a cast which includes Stanley Tucci, Minnie Driver, and Allison Janney; Tucci cowrote and codirected. It's a slow-moving but absorbing film which builds to a beautiful ending, a wordless scene shot in one very long take. The movie is worth watching just to get to that moment.

...Fritz Lang's WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956) is worth watching just to enjoy the all-star cast doing their thing: Dana Andrews, George Sanders, Ida Lupino, Rhonda Fleming, Thomas Mitchell, and Vincent Price lead a deep cast. It's on March 29th.

...Esther Williams plays swimming star Annette Kellerman in MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID (1942) on March 30th. Victor Mature and Walter Pidgeon costar.

...On March 31st TCM airs EVA MARIE SAINT: LIVE FROM THE TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL. This was filmed at the Avalon Hollywood during the 2013 festival.

For more on TCM in March, please consult the complete schedule.

As a postscript, Fox Movie Channel has stopped putting their schedule online; that and an extremely repetitive schedule have made it difficult to attempt doing a separate Fox Movie Channel post in recent months. Very recently FMC has rotated some movies onto the schedule which haven't aired there in a while, and I particularly recommend I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN (1951) on March 5th. It's a lovely piece of Americana about a rural minister and his wife, starring William Lundigan and Susan Hayward, directed by Henry King.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

"The Far Country" on the big screen should be spectacular!

Thanks for the heads-up on the Dennis O'Keefe flick to check out.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

I envy you that great line-up of movies coming your way courtesy TCM, Laura, although TCM UK certainly contributes much to my viewing week as they continue to air B-movies never shown on British TV screens before.

Recently, I got to see Ruth Roman's first film part, in a cheapo B-western called "White Stallion" (1944) starring Ken Maynard. She was quite good in it but showed little indication that within a few short years she would be wowing us in great little movies like "The Window".

Best wishes,

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You lucky people, so much to choose from.
I like your description - the great Audrey Totter acted opposite a camera!" So true.
And I am also disappointed to hear the Oscars overlooked Audrey.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Glad I could share the O'Keefe tip, Caftan Woman! The more I see of his films, the more I find I enjoy him. Did you see him in THE FAKE with Coleen Gray? I'll be reporting here on THE FAR COUNTRY!

Jerry, we're very fortunate in having TCM, that's for certain. I'm very interested to learn what types of films TCM shows on TCM UK if you'd like to share more -- how interesting you've been able to catch new-to-you "B" movies there.

WILD STALLION sounds fun! THE WINDOW is one I was able to see at the Noir City Festival, one of a trio of Cornell Woolrich films, and it made quite an impression!

Thanks, Vienna! Audrey Totter was a gem. :)

Best wishes,

11:51 PM  

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