Saturday, March 03, 2018

TCM in March: Highlights

This year March 3rd is the final day of 31 Days of Oscar on Turner Classic Movies, with the March schedule beginning in earnest on March 4th.

There's a great month ahead on TCM, including Treasures From the Disney Vault, the return of Noir Alley after a month's sabbatical, a St. Patrick's Day celebration, and much more.

Beginning on the weekend of March 10th-11th, Noir Alley films will be shown twice each weekend, at 9:00 p.m. Pacific (Midnight Eastern) on Saturday and then again in the current Sunday morning time slot, 7:00 a.m. Pacific/10:00 a.m. Eastern. The Saturday night option should especially help Pacific Time viewers, as well as Sunday morning church-goers!

This month's Noir Alley titles are Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame in THE BIG HEAT (1953) on March 4th; Peter Lorre in the early noir STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR (1940) on March 10th-11th; Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, and Robert Ryan in CROSSFIRE (1947) on March 17th-18th; and Barry Sullivan, Arlene Dahl and Jean Hagen (all seen in still) in NO QUESTIONS ASKED (1951) on March 24th-25th. Noir Alley takes an Easter weekend break and then returns on April 7th-8th with SUDDENLY (1954) kicking off a great April Noir Alley lineup.

Elizabeth Taylor is the March Star of the Month. TCM will utilize an infrequent format and show Taylor's movies every evening for the week of March 12th through 16th, rather than one night per week over the course of a month.

The Taylor films will actually begin during the afternoon on the 12th, 13th, and 16th, with key films then screening in prime time (5:00 Pacific/8:00 Eastern). This month I'll be incorporating information on the "Elizabeth Taylor Week" into this Highlights post rather than doing a separate Star of the Month post.

Below are a few of this month's highlights; click on any hyperlinked title for the related review.

...A prime time tribute to Anna May Wong on Sunday, March 4th, includes SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932). It's a terrific pre-Code, so good that I watched it twice in less than a year. Marlene Dietrich stars.

...Dean Stockwell's career is celebrated during the day on March 5th, with some wonderful films including THE ROMANCE OF ROSY RIDGE (1947), STARS IN MY CROWN (1950), and THE SECRET GARDEN (1949).

...I'm going to record Greer Garson in THE VALLEY OF DECISION (1945) on March 6th and see if it has a better soundtrack than the DVD I recently viewed, or at least captions!

...On March 7th there's a marvelous prime time tribute to the late Anne Jeffreys, who passed away last September. It includes DICK TRACY (1945), in which she played Tess Truehart; the terrific RIFFRAFF (1947), which has been finding appreciative new audiences thanks to TCM and the Warner Archive; two films with Lawrence Tierney, the electric DILLINGER (1945) and enjoyable "B" crime film STEP BY STEP (1946); and two Randolph Scott Westerns, RETURN OF THE BAD MEN (1948) and TRAIL STREET (1947). I recommend setting the DVR for the entire evening and then sitting back to enjoy some wonderful entertainment.

...John Payne, Coleen Gray, and Preston Foster star in Phil Karlson's KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952) on March 10th. I've put off seeing that one, hoping my first time will be on a big screen, but at some point I'm going to have to give in. What a cast! Also that night: Payne in Karlson's 99 RIVER STREET (1953) with Evelyn Keyes.

...The first day of Elizabeth Taylor films, on March 12th, includes some personal favorites such as CYNTHIA (1947), seen at right with Jimmy Lydon, A DATE WITH JUDY (1948), and LITTLE WOMEN (1949). Early Taylor classics such as NATIONAL VELVET (1945) and LASSIE COME HOME (1943) are also scheduled, along with LIFE WITH FATHER (1947).

...Taylor's young adult roles in films such as CONSPIRATOR (1949) and FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1950) are featured on March 13th. Also on hand that date: THE BIG HANGOVER (1950), THE LAST TIME I SAW PARIS (1954), and several additional fairly minor films.

...Taylor epics are featured on March 14th: RAINTREE COUNTY (1957), GIANT (1956), IVANHOE (1952), and BEAU BRUMMELL (1954). I've only seen GIANT from that group, and I think it's terrific; Taylor is seen in it at left, with costar Rock Hudson.

...Elizabeth Taylor films from 1960 on are the theme on March 15th, starting with her Oscar-winning role in BUTTERFIELD 8 (1960). The evening also includes THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (1967).

...On the final day of Taylor's films, March 16th, there's CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (1958), followed by a miscellany of films released between 1960 and 1973. While I enjoy Taylor's films of the '40s and '50s, my interest in her career concludes around the time of CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, hence the lack of recommendations beyond that point!

...This year's St. Patrick's Day lineup includes Marion Davies in PEG O' MY HEART (1933), James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Dennis Morgan, and George Brent in THE FIGHTING 69TH (1940), Rod Taylor in YOUNG CASSIDY (1965), Fred Astaire in FINIAN'S RAINBOW (1968), and Orson Welles in RETURN TO GLENNASCAUL (1953), plus a few more films and shorts.

...On Sunday evening, March 18th, TCM will be showing Walter Matthau in the crime film CHARLEY VARRICK (1973), which I first saw last year at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Fest in Palm Springs. It made my list of Favorite Film Discoveries of 2017. Be sure to catch it!

...I'm intrigued by the idea of a young Jim Davis (Jock Ewing on DALLAS) starring opposite...Bette Davis? The movie is WINTER MEETING (1948), showing on March 21st.

...A day of ballet films on March 22nd includes Leslie Caron in THE GLASS SLIPPER (1955) and Margaret O'Brien and Cyd Charisse in THE UNFINISHED DANCE (1947).

...Jean Harlow stars as a movie star in BOMBSHELL (1933), along with Lee Tracy, Franchot Tone, and Pat O'Brien. It's on March 24th.

...A March 27th prime time tribute to Ben Johnson includes two of my all-time favorite John Ford films, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) and WAGON MASTER (1950).

...The Treasures From the Disney Vault lineup on March 29th is one of the best yet, spotlighting a pair of terrific Richard Todd-Glynis John films, THE SWORD AND THE ROSE (1953) and ROB ROY: THE HIGHLAND ROGUE (1953). (The first of Todd's trio of Disney films, 1952'S THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD AND HIS MERRIE MEN, was shown last December.) Also in the lineup: Hayley Mills in IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS (1962), a film of admittedly dubious quality, and the musical THE ONE AND ONLY, GENUINE, ORIGINAL FAMILY BAND (1968) with Lesley Ann Warren and Buddy Ebsen heading a good cast.

...A tribute to British actress Diana Dors on March 30th includes THE LONG HAUL (1957) with Victor Mature.

...The month concludes with religious films on Easter Eve, March 31st, including Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr in QUO VADIS (1951). On Easter Sunday be looking for EASTER PARADE (1948) and HOLIDAY INN (1942)!

For additional important TCM news, please be sure to visit More TCM News: New Co-Hosts and Robert Osborne Award, along with FilmStruck and Warner Archive Streaming News.

For more information on TCM in March 2018, please visit the online schedule. Happy viewing!


Blogger Jerry Entract said...

Hi Laura!
Any film tribute to Diana Dors must surely include her finest performance in "YIELD TO THE NIGHT", I would have thought.
By the way, go for "KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL". You can always watch it again if it turns up on the big screen LOL. That and "99 RIVER STREET" make a terrific John Payne double bill!

12:32 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Jerry, for the Diana Dors recommendation -- I wonder if to some extent TCM's selections were guided by what was available at a good price (grin). I've only seen a couple of her films, THE LONG HAUL and MAN BAIT, maybe another I'm forgetting...someone to see more of in the future.

Thanks for the encouragement on KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL! I'll probably make sure it's not on the Noir City and Arthur Lyons Film Noir schedules this spring and if not, go ahead and watch it -- my dad's DVD copy is sitting right next to my TV! 99 RIVER STREET was great stuff. It's so interesting to me that Payne, like Dick Powell, originated as a WB crooner (though Payne did less singing than Powell did) but ended up in film noir.

Best wishes,

1:30 PM  

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