Friday, September 30, 2022

TCM in October: Highlights

It's October, and there's lots of spooky viewing ahead on Turner Classic Movies!

TCM is changing things up from the norm with this month's schedule; the Star of the Month on Saturday nights is "Robots" rather than a specific actor or actress.

One of the first robots featured will be Robby the Robot in FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956) on October 1st. Please note there will not be a separate Star of the Month post this month.

The TCM Spotlight for October focuses on "Creepy Cinema" on Monday evenings so between the Star of the Month and Spotlight franchises, TCM has plenty of horror, fantasy, crime thrillers, and sci-fi on the way for the "spooky season."

There's also a Halloween marathon on October 30th and 31st, culminating in the showing of seven '30s Universal Pictures horror films on Halloween night.

There are two "special themes" this month: "The Blacklist" will be the focus on three Thursday nights, and actress Pam Grier will be featured on the last two Wednesdays of the month. I enjoyed hearing Pam speak at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival.

The October Noir Alley films will be THE RED HOUSE (1947) October 1st and 2nd, THE PHENIX CITY STORY (1955) October 8th-9th, THE ARGYLE SECRETS (1948) October 15th and 16th, CAGE OF EVIL (1960) on the 22nd and 23rd, and EL VAMPIRO NEGRO (1953), aka THE BLACK VAMPIRE, on October 29th and 30th.

I really enjoyed seeing UCLA's restoration of THE RED HOUSE at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival a few years ago. Its pleasures include a young and gorgeous Julie London and Rory Calhoun. Check out my review for a nice collection of stills from the film.

I was also impressed with the Argentinian film EL VAMPIRO NEGRO at this year's Lyons Festival. It will be released by Flicker Alley in a Blu-ray/DVD combination set in November.

Below are a few more highlights from among the many interesting films airing on TCM this month. Please click on any hyperlinked title to read my full-length review.

...Sunday, October 2nd, the lineup includes Rodgers & Hammerstein's FLOWER DRUM SONG (1961), which I reviewed this summer. James Shigeta and Nancy Kwan are particularly good.

...A day of films featuring waitresses on October 4th includes the delightful comedy GOOD GIRLS GO TO PARIS (1939) starring Joan Blondell and Melvyn Douglas. This film was an unexpected treat for me a few years ago.

...An evening of obscure films starring black actors, based on the Academy Museum exhibit Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971, has some interesting and unusual titles. I'll be checking out HARLEM ON THE PRAIRIE (1937), a "B" Western starring Herb Jeffries, and REFORM SCHOOL (1939), which has a rare starring role for one of my favorite character actresses, Louise Beavers. The movies will be shown October 5th.

...An eight-film Carole Lombard birthday tribute on October 6th includes SWING HIGH, SWING LOW (1937), which is often only seen in poor public domain prints. I was fortunate to see this film in a nice 35mm print at UCLA a decade ago. Fred MacMurray costars.

...The Saturday morning lineup of "B" films and cartoons on October 8th includes the Tim Holt Western DUDE COWBOY (1941). Marjorie Reynolds costars.

...I've never seen ON OUR MERRY WAY (1948), also known as A MIRACLE CAN HAPPEN, which airs on October 9th. The amazing cast includes James Stewart, Paulette Goddard, Henry Fonda, Harry James, Dorothy Lamour, and Fred MacMurray. It's also got a few actors I'm not so fond of, like Burgess Meredith, Victor Moore, and Hugh Hubert, but I've got to try it out!

...The evening of "Creepy Cinema" on October 10th includes Alfred Hitchcock's ROPE (1948), an unusual film which I reviewed a decade ago. James Stewart, Farley Granger, and John Dall star.

...A day of legal films on October 11th includes some very enjoyable minor films: CRIMINAL COURT (1946) with Tom Conway and Martha O'Driscoll; THE LAW IN HER HANDS (1936) with Margaret Lindsay and Glenda Farrell; and SOCIETY LAWYER (1939), a remake of PENTHOUSE (1933) starring Walter Pidgeon and Virginia Bruce.  I think this is a particularly fun day of viewing.

...The October 12th theme is road trips, including THE HITCH-HIKER (1953), directed by Ida Lupino. Look for a post on one of the movie's locations here in a few days. THE HITCH-HIKER is so scary that I consider it excellent Halloween month programming!

...The first evening of TCM's Blacklist series on October 13th includes a new documentary, HIGH NOON ON THE WATERFRONT (2002). Former L.A. Times classic film writer Susan King wrote more about the series for TCM.

...Along with ROPE on October 10th, a few more John Dall films will air as part of a tribute to the actor on the 14th. Titles include the classic crime film GUN CRAZY (1950) which I consider "must see" viewing for anyone who loves cinema. Peggy Cummins costars.

...A birthday tribute to Montgomery Clift on October 17th includes Hitchcock's I CONFESS (1943), costarring Anne Baxter. Clift plays a priest who has a terrible conundrum when someone confesses a murder to him and he can't say anything to break the seal of the confessional. Even "lesser" Hitchcock is worthwhile!

...A Margaret Sullavan tribute on October 18th includes THE SHOPWORN ANGEL (1938), costarring James Stewart and Walter Pidgeon. I recently caught Sullavan and Stewart in NEXT TIME WE LOVE (1936) for the first time and look forward to THE SHOPWORN ANGEL, another new-to-me Stewart-Sullavan film.

...A day of "career transitions" on October 19th includes BEAUTY FOR THE ASKING (1939), a very good "B" film starring Lucille Ball as a successful businesswoman.

...I tend to like Val Lewton's horror films as they're more about mood and suspense than anything graphic. One of my favorites is THE LEOPARD MAN (1943), showing on October 20th. Dennis O'Keefe and Jean Brooks star.

...October 21st features a lineup of football movies including Harold Lloyd in THE FRESHMAN (19250, a wonderful film which costars Jobyna Ralston. I most recently saw it as a drive-in movie a couple years ago.

...Humphrey Bogart stars as a cheesecake-loving gangster who ends up battling Nazi saboteurs in ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (1942). Worth seeing for the deep, deep supporting cast alone. It's on October 24th.

...The low-budget film noir MURDER IS MY BEAT (1955), starring Barbara Payton (TRAPPED), is worth seeing simply because it's so odd, including documentary footage of a ceramics factory midway through the movie for no particular reason. It airs October 27th.

...A tribute to costume designer Edith Head on October 28th includes an October showing of CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945), providing some alternative holiday programming to all the films inspired by Halloween!

...A favorite Hitchcock film, DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954), will be shown October 29th. Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Bob Cummings star, with a marvelous supporting performance by John Williams.

...There are more Val Lewton films on October 30th, including the classics CAT PEOPLE (1942) and I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943).

For more on TCM in October 2022, please visit my Quick Preview of TCM in October and TCM's online schedule.

Happy October!


Blogger Vienna said...

For those of us who don’t have your TCM, your monthly listings seem just incredible - so many films to choose from!
I haven’t seen Good Girls Go to Paris in decades, yet I have fond memories of it.
I have never heard of On Our Merry Way. Hope it becomes generally available.
I think John Dall should have been a bigger star.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Vienna said...

Looks like a good print of On Our Merry Way on You Tube. Great!

12:45 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Vienna, we are indeed fortunate to have the "U.S." version of TCM! I'm glad you tracked down ON OUR MERRY WAY. I hope to revisit GOOD GIRLS GO TO PARIS soon -- glad to know you enjoyed a past viewing as well.

Dall was kind of a unique film presence. Have seen him in maybe three or four films. He was certainly unforgettable in GUN CRAZY, especially.

Best wishes,

9:28 PM  

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