Tuesday, April 30, 2019

TCM in May: Highlights

It's time to review the May schedule for Turner Classic Movies!

Paul Newman is the May Star of the Month. Every Wednesday evening in May will feature five Newman films. There will not be a separate Star of the Month post for May.

There will be a special post on TCM's Thursday evening Spotlight series on WWII in the Movies: The Homefront. The homefront series, which begins on May 2nd, will be followed by a series on WWII battle films in June, which is also the 75th anniversary of D-Day. (Update: Please visit TCM in May: WWII Homefront Films.)

Additional TCM news: Last week TCM announced the return of THE ESSENTIALS series on Saturday, May 4th. Ben Mankiewicz will host with director Ava DuVernay. The titles for May are MARTY (1955), ASHES AND EMBERS (1982), CABIN IN THE SKY (1943), and PATHER PANCHALI (1955).

Also of special interest this month is a Tuesday evening romantic comedy series titled Meet Cutes, beginning on May 7th.

Robert Osborne's May 3rd birthday will be celebrated with "Best of Robert Osborne's Picks." I'm particularly delighted by the inclusion of THE TIME, THE PLACE AND THE GIRL (1946) in the Osborne tribute, as it introduced me to the lilting tune "Oh, But I Do" by Arthur Schwartz and Leo Robin. Dennis Morgan, Martha Vickers, Jack Carson, and Janis Paige star (seen at right). The other films airing that night are LADY OF BURLESEQUE (1943) with Barbara Stanwyck and BORN TO DANCE (1936) starring Eleanor Powell.

The Noir Alley films for May are NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947) on May 4th and 5th, WHITE HEAT (1949) on May 11th/12th, KEY LARGO (1948) on the 18th and 19th, and DEAD RECKONING (1947) on May 25th and 26th. Tyrone Power and Coleen Gray (seen at left) are very special costarring in NIGHTMARE ALLEY, a dark yet impressive film.

Below are just a few of TCM's May highlights; click on any hyperlinked title for my past review.

...May 1st features women involved in crime. There are several interesting titles showing that day, but for me the pick of the bunch is Wellman's MIDNIGHT MARY (1933), which is one of my favorite pre-Codes and also one of my favorite Loretta Young films. Franchot Tone, Ricardo Cortez, and Una Merkel costar.

...The first evening of Paul Newman films on May 1st includes the absorbing WWII film UNTIL THEY SAIL (1957), costarring Jean Simmons and Joan Fontaine.

...There's more Loretta on May 2nd in the well-plotted CAUSE FOR ALARM! (1951). Loretta stars as a woman trying to intercept a letter in which her nasty husband (Barry Sullivan) frames her for his murder. Later in the day there's another very interesting film about another evil husband, RAGE IN HEAVEN (1941). RAGE IN HEAVEN turns the expected on its head with Robert Montgomery as the husband and George Sanders as the knight in shining armor trying to save Ingrid Bergman.

...Anthony Mann's terrific "French Revolution film noir" THE BLACK BOOK (1949), also known as REIGN OF TERROR, will air on May 3rd. Robert Cummings and Arlene Dahl star in this excellent film, shot in black and white by the great John Alton.

...DODGE CITY (1939) never seems to be quite as good as I want it to be, yet I'm drawn back to it time after time for the starring team of Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, glowing in beautiful Technicolor. It's on Saturday, May 4th.

...Enrst Lubitsch's classic NINOTCHKA (1939) airs on Sunday, May 5th. It stars Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas.

...The adoption melodrama CLOSE TO MY HEART (1951) stars the very attractive team of Ray Milland and Gene Tierney. It's worth a look, showing on May 6th.

...The first night of "Meet Cutes" on May 7th kicks off in fine style with IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934). Among the other five films on the schedule I particularly recommend William Powell and Carole Lombard in the classic MY MAN GODFREY (1936).

...A day of films set in Mexico on May 8th including multiple films starring Robert Mitchum, including THE BIG STEAL (1949), a lighthearted chase film which reunited Mitchum with his OUT OF THE PAST (1947) costar Jane Greer. (That one's on, too!) I also really enjoy SECOND CHANCE (1953), teaming Mitchum with Linda Darnell. I was lucky to see that one in 3-D at the World 3-D Expo at the Egyptian Theatre in 2013.

...The colorful, goofy sci-fi film QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE (1958) will be shown on May 10th. Zsa Zsa Gabor stars.

...Saturday, May 11th features Fran Capra's MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, and a marvelous cast of character actors.

...Mother's Day on May 12th features a lineup of appropriately themed films, including Joan Crawford in MILDRED PIERCE (1945), which I'll be seeing that same afternoon at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival.

...The May 14th "Meet Cutes" start off with the timeless classic THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940). Five other films air that evening, including the enjoyable RKO "B" comedy CROSS-COUNTRY ROMANCE (1940) starring Gene Raymond and Wendy Barrie.

...Joseph Cotten is honored with a multifilm tribute on May 15th. I recommend the lesser-known title THE MAN WITH A CLOAK (1951), in which Cotten plays...well, watch and find out! Barbara Stanwyck and Leslie Caron costar in this period suspense film.

...May 16th features a lineup about buses, race cars, and trucks, including the wonderfully titled TRUCK BUSTERS (1943), a "B" film starring Richard Travis and Virginia Christine.

...Another lesser-known, very good Joseph Cotten film, A BLUEPRINT FOR MURDER (1943), will be shown on May 17th. He plays a man who comes to suspect that his sister-in-law has murdered her stepdaughter, his late brother's child.

...THE MAN FROM LARAMIE (1955), one of the fine Westerns made by James Stewart and director Anthony Mann, will be shown on May 18th.

...Margaret O'Brien, James Craig, and Marsha Hunt star in the delightful MGM comedy LOST ANGEL (1943) on May 20th.

...WIVES UNDER SUSPICION (1938) is an entertaining 69-minute film starring Warren William and Gail Patrick. It's a nice change of pace watching Patrick play a sweet, innocent type. It will be shown on early on May 21st.

...On Thursday, May 21st, the theme is "Mid-Century Meet Cutes," with half a dozen films on the schedule including the delightful SUNDAY IN NEW YORK (1963) starring Rod Taylor, Jane Fonda, Cliff Robertson, and Robert Culp.

...Laurence Olivier is celebrated on Wednesday, May 22nd. One of the lesser-known films on the schedule is THE DIVORCE OF LADY X (1938) costarring Merle Oberon and David Niven; the film has a unique look with unusual yet visually pleasing color combinations.

...Joan Fontaine is BORN TO BE BAD (1950). It's a truly fun film costarring Robert Ryan, Joan Leslie, and Zachary Scott, airing on May 23rd.

...Earlier this month I was fortunate to see Gigi Perreau introduce SHADOW ON THE WALL (1950), a fine crime film costarring Zachary Scott, Ann Sothern, and Nancy Davis (Reagan). It will be shown on TCM on the 24th.

...DESPERATE JOURNEY (1942) is a fine WWII films about American pilots who bail out over Germany and attempt to fight make their way to freedom. Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan costar. It's airing on May 25th.

...I just saw HIGH SOCIETY (1956) at the TCM Classic Film Festival and had a marvelous time watching it for the first time in years. Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra star, with able support from Celeste Holm, John Lund, and Louis Armstrong. The score is by Cole Porter. It's showing on May 26th.

...The final evening of "Meet Cutes" on May 28th I find of lesser interest, but it does feature the Oscar-winning THE GOODBYE GIRL (1977) which I felt held up quite well when I revisited it a couple years ago for the first time in decades.

...The delightful comedy TWICE BLESSED (1945), which incidentally was just released on DVD by the Warner Archive, will be shown May 29th. Years before the similarly plotted THE PARENT TRAP (1962), Lyn and Lee Wilde play identical twin sisters hoping to reunite divorced parents Preston Foster and Gail Patrick.

...Last month I had the chance to see the pre-Code THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932) at UCLA. Joel McCrea and Fay Wray star in the classic adventure story, showing on TCM on May 31st.

For more on TCM in May 2019, please visit my Quick Preview of TCM in May, TCM in May: WWII Homefront Films, and TCM's complete schedule.

Enjoy all the wonderful movies ahead this month on Turner Classic Movies!


Blogger Lee R said...

Hmm, sounds like TCM is in a bad need of fresh blood. That is movies they haven't already shown 230 times before. A couple "unseen" films show up there once every 6 months or so but mainly it's the same stable of MGM-Warner movies over and over and over. I rarely have to tune in anymore, anything good they show I’ve seen there many times before and the rest of the stuff they do show I have no interest in.

How about some little seen Universal westerns or maybe even some little seen film noir movies, of which there are an abundance that TCM has NOT shown. Do we really need to see White Heat, Key Largo, and Dead Reckoning again for the 553rd time? Noir Alley should be ashamed of itself for showing nothing but the “greatest hits” of noir over and over. So many good but never seen noirs that could be shown in that Noir devoted time slot. Show all those greatest hits 600 times in other TCM spots, save Noir Alley for the real good stuff you DON’T ever see. "Shakedown" comes immediately to mind. Showing the same old same old isn’t going to draw any true fan there to see something we’ve seen and probably already have in our own library for years.

TCM needs to freshen up it’s stock of movies and start dipping into all the other studio’s films the wonderful Paramount early movies and ‘40’s and ‘50’s Universals and all the great Republic crime dramas and western movies. Well there are so many movies that they SHOULD be showing but seem to be stuck in a 20 year rut of replaying the same movies over and over. I totally avoid March Academy Award stuff all together, nothing but the same junk over and over again.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Lee, some of your questions have come up at TCM Festival press conferences. The films we'd all enjoy seeing from Universal, Paramount, etc., cost TCM considerably more to license than the MGM/Warner/RKO library, so they are only able to do it in limited numbers. I always appreciate when a Fox or Universal film turns up on the channel but the reality is it's simply not going to happen with great frequency.

While the movies shown on Noir Alley have appeared elsewhere on TCM, they are all brand-new to Noir Alley and have never been shown before with Eddie Muller's interesting and educational introductions. I love that TCM gives Eddie the time to talk at length about these movies, sharing the same types of information he does at the Noir City Festivals. I don't think Noir Alley has anything to be ashamed of here in presenting these films in this context.

Eddie attempted to program Universal's CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY last year but it ran into licensing issues which I have the impression were beyond the network's control. I'm thrilled to report, however, that this year Eagle-Lion's marvelous REPEAT PERFORMANCE will be shown on Noir Alley just before New Year's!

Best wishes,

7:06 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

As some comedian once said, those are the jokes. Go to another show if you don't like them, I do. TCM in come ways functions as a museum showcasing the art that inspired many and gave substance to our culture.

6:48 AM  

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