Saturday, March 31, 2018

TCM in April: Highlights

It's time for a look at highlights from the April schedule on Turner Classic Movies!

There's a great month ahead for TCM fans, including the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood April 26th-29th.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I'll again be covering the festival as a member of the credentialed media. Be watching for more on the festival here in April, including a close look at the festival schedule along with my top picks once the schedule is available. (It's typically posted a couple weeks ahead of the festival.) Then I'll have a complete post-festival wrap-up beginning a day or so after it all comes to an end!

Tying in with it being festival month, last year's LIVE FROM THE TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL interview, featuring Michael Douglas, will debut on TCM on April 3rd.

William Holden is the April Star of the Month on TCM. Stefanie Powers will join Ben Mankiewicz to celebrate the centennial of Holden's birth beginning on Monday, April 2nd. I'll have more on the William Holden lineup in a separate post in the very near future. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: William Holden.)

I'm especially looking forward to this month's TCM Spotlight on director Michael Curtiz, with over 50 Curtiz films shown in a series of 24-hour marathons on Wednesdays, beginning April 4th. Curtiz biographer Alan K. Rode (seen at left) will be on TCM with Ben Mankiewicz each Wednesday evening to discuss Curtiz's life and films. Alan has posted the schedule for his intros at his website.

It's a fantastic series; the only thing that could have made it more perfect for me would have been if TCM had been able to include Paramount's WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954). That film has its detractors but for me, it's perfection, one of my favorite films of all time, as I wrote in the linked review.

This month's Noir Alley titles, playing both Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, are SUDDENLY (1954) on April 7th and 8th, MYSTERY STREET (1950) on April 14th and 15th, CRY DANGER (1951) on the 21st and 22nd, and HOLLOW TRIUMPH (1948) (aka THE SCAR) on April 28th and 29th.

All four titles are excellent; my favorite is probably CRY DANGER with Dick Powell, which I had a tremendous time seeing at the UCLA Festival of Preservation a few years ago. Powell is seen here with his real-life close friend Regis Toomey on the left and Richard Erdman on the right. Rhonda Fleming, William Conrad, and Jean Porter also star. Great stuff.

Speaking of film noir, we're incredibly fortunate here in Southern California to have not only the TCM Classic Film Fest but the annual Noir City Hollywood festival this month. Be on the lookout for extensive details on that festival here in April along with the TCM Classic Film Fest!

Below are just a few of TCM's April highlights; click on any hyperlinked title for the related review:

...Easter Sunday, April 1st, includes EASTER PARADE (1948) and HOLIDAY INN (1942). EASTER PARADE is a film I've seen so many times I can visualize every scene just listening to it; you could say it's been part of my "Easter soundtrack" for my entire life.

...Doris Day turns 96 on April 3rd! TCM celebrates with several Day films including CALAMITY JANE (1953). I saw a bit of that this weekend and was reminded all over again that it's one of her very best. Howard Keel costars.

...The first day of the Michael Curtiz Spotlight series on April 4th features many interesting films -- which can be said of every day in the series. I'm calling special attention to the silent-talkie hybrid NOAH'S ARK (1928), which stars George O'Brien (at his hunkiest) and Dolores Costello. 90 years later the flood sequence remains an astonishing piece of pre-CGI filmmaking. Did extras die in the making of the film? We'll never know...Curtiz biographer Alan K. Rode has posted background on the film, adapted from his book, at his website.

...One of the first films I ever saw at the Noir City Film Festival in Hollywood was SO EVIL MY LOVE (1948), starring Ray Milland and Ann Todd (seen at right), costarring Geraldine Fitzgerald. It's "gothic noir," a dark thrill ride of a movie, with a great part for Leo G. Carroll as a private investigator. It's on April 5th.

...If you like newspaper movies -- and who doesn't?! -- there are several good ones playing on April 6th, including the classic comedy LIBELED LADY (1936) with William Powell, Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, and Spencer Trcy.

...I like what TCM is doing on Saturday mornings, creating a "day at the movies" with shorts, cartoons, a serial, a "B" Western, and film from an ongoing series. This month, starting on April 7th, you can catch a Tim Holt Western every Saturday morning -- all filmed before his break for service in WWII -- followed by a Tarzan film, some with Johnny Weissmuller and later in the month with Lex Barker.

...A day of Ward Bond films to celebrate his birthday on April 9th includes GYPSY COLT (1954), a family film costarring Frances Dee and the excellent child actress Donna Corcoran.

...Jane Powell turns 89 on April 1st. A few days later, on April 10th, TCM honors her with a five-film prime time tribute including TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE (1950), an all-time favorite, and THE GIRL MOST LIKELY (1958), partly filmed on Balboa Island here in Orange County. TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE costars Debbie Reynolds, who shared an April 1st birthday with Powell.

...The second evening of Michael Curtiz films on April 11th features films starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, including what I consider one of the finest films ever made in Hollywood, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938). Earlier that day, don't miss FOUR DAUGHTERS (1938), seen at right, with a wonderful cast including Priscilla Lane (and sisters!) and John Garfield.

...April 13th features an evening screening of THE TALL T (1957), one of the great Randolph Scott-Budd Boetticher Westerns, filmed in Lone Pine, California. Richard Boone and Maureen O'Sullivan costar.

...I'm delighted that TCM is celebrating the late Peggy Cummins with a prime time tribute on April 17th. Of course, it features GUN CRAZY (1950), HELL DRIVERS (1957), and CURSE OF THE DEMON (1957), but I'm particularly delighted it has the comedy ALWAYS A BRIDE (1954). Ironically I just ordered that recently from Amazon UK, though I've not watched it yet. The fifth and final film of the evening is THE LATE GEORGE APLEY (1947) with Ronald Colman. (Update: Here is a lovely video tribute to Cummins from Eddie Muller.)

...The Curtiz films on the 18th kick off with Doris Day's star-making role in ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS (1948), which I was fortunate to see last month in the Curtiz series at UCLA. That evening Alan Rode joins Ben Mankiewicz to focus on Curtiz in the '40s, including CASABLANCA (1942) and MILDRED PIERCE (1945).

...A day of "beach" movies on April 19th includes Frankie and Annette in BEACH PARTY (1963), costarring Bob Cummings and Dorothy Malone.

...Harold Lloyd's birthday is celebrated all day on April 20th with a lineup of shorts and feature films including GIRL SHY (1924), which is my personal favorite (seen at left, with Jobyna Ralston), plus THE KID BROTHER (1927), THE MILKY WAY (1936) and more.

...Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo star in WONDER MAN (1945) and A SONG IS BORN (1948) in prime time on Sunday evening, April 22nd. Wonderful Technicolor entertainment.

...The final day of the Curtiz series on April 25th features some very interesting titles I haven't seen yet, including Alan Ladd in THE MAN IN THE NET (1959) and Will Rogers Jr. and Nancy Olson in THE BOY FROM OKLAHOMA (1954). The prime time lineup includes the excellent Western THE PROUD REBEL (1958) starring Ladd and Olivia de Havilland.

...I need to see Irene Dunne as Queen Victoria in THE MUDLARK (1950), showing on April 26th.

...Victor Mature and Jane Russell star in THE LAS VEGAS STORY (1952) on April 27th. It's an entertaining film with Hoagy Carmichael, location filming in Vegas, neon signs, and great other words, my kind of movie. Not a classic, but definitely fun.

...Also fun: Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in HAVING WONDERFUL TIME (1938) on April 30th. It will make viewers long for summer vacation at a lakeside camp!

For more on TCM in April, please review the complete schedule.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Well, that's it! April is shot. I'll be spending the entire month in front of the TV.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Ana Roland said...

So glad LIVE FROM THE TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL is airing before and not during the festival. I've finally got to see the Sophia Loren one!

5:28 AM  
Blogger Ana Roland said...

I'm with you on WHITE CHRISTMAS. Last summer I was watching it every night...along with TEACHER'S PET... I must have been depressed.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

It's really quite a remarkable month for TCM, isn't it, ladies?

Always glad to hear from someone who loves WHITE CHRISTMAS as much as I do. It's the ultimate "feel good" film! I revisited TEACHER'S PET in the last few years and was reminded what a good film it is. I should check it out again soon. :)

Best wishes,

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura, April, 2018 is a fabulous month on TCM. I first saw WHITE CHRISTMAS(1954) on NBC SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES in 1964. It was a timeless Christmas Classic then and still is and will continue to be.

TEACHER'S PET(1958) is a favorite movie of mine. Doris Day and Clark Gable were really good along with those wonderful supporting character actors. When are the Academy Awards ever going to honor Doris Day with a Lifetime Achievement Award? I think it is forty years past due.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Bill O said...

Day and Richard Widmark were both offered Lifetime Oscars - both turned them down. You have to agree to show up to receive it.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doris Day received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1989.
The Cecil B. DeMille Award is an honorary Golden Globe Award bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." Clint Eastwood presented the award to her. She gave a most gracious acceptance speech. This can be viewed on YouTube Also, afterwards she answered questions from the media or just go to YouTube and type in Doris Day Cecil B. DeMille Award and it will show up.

Richard Widmark received the National Board of Review, USA D.W. Griffith Career Achievement Award in 1989. Sydney Poitier presented the award to him.

5:35 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you for the YouTube info, will check it out later! And I love hearing that Poitier presented Widmark a special award given their work together.

I think the Academy's insistence that Doris appear to accept the award is silly. (Like Bill, I've heard numerous times that she's refused.) For one thing, the Academy has bounced honorary coverage off their telecast and to a separate event with the technical awards, and for another, it should be about the award being incredibly deserved, not about her showing up. But I'm "preaching to the choir" here...!

Best wishes,

9:27 AM  
Blogger Bill O said...

Understandably, the Academy then wanted to make a big event of the Lifetime Oscar. Only exception I know of was for Orson Welles, who sent John Huston in his place. Welles was supposedly "out of the country", when in fact he was in town, watching it on TV. "Bring it over, John!".

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura, Myrna Loy received an honorary Academy Award in 1991 in recognition of her extraordinary qualities both on screen and off, with appreciation for a lifetime's worth of indelible performances. (Oscar statuette) - Myrna Loy was not present at the awards ceremony. She gave her acceptance speech live via satellite from her Manhattan apartment. or just type in Myrna Loy Oscar.

Mary Pickford received an honorary Academy Award in 1976. Producer Walter Mirisch presented the award to her in recognition of her unique contributions to the film industry and the development of film as an artistic medium. Mary Pickford was not present at the awards ceremony. The presentation was made at her Pickfair estate and taped for inclusion in the broadcast. or type in Mary Pickford Oscar.

I would like to know positively if Doris has actually ever been nominated by the Academy's Board of Governors for the lifetime award. There is always a lot of hearsay.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Bill O said...

Loy and Pickford were obviously physically unable to attend - not the same thing. I think the Oscar was given to Maureen O'Hara earlier cuz there was doubt she live to the ceremony.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill O, Maureen O'Hara didn't receive her Honorary Academy Award early, because the Honorary Awards have been awarded three months before the glitzy ceremonies, ever since the 2009 Awards. My mistake in using Myrna Loy and Mary Pickford. I guess that I should have used Greta Garbo and Paul Newman. Greta had Nancy Kelly accept for her in 1955 and Paul accepted his via satellite from Chicago in 1986.

Doris Day will be ninety-six years old tomorrow. I would like to thank her for sharing such remarkable talents with us for these many years.

6:01 PM  

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