I see this is my first post dedicated to a TCM Star of the Month since William Powell last December. Most of the movies I write about are from the 1930's with a few 40's flicks sneaking in every so often. In what probably began as coincidence but developed into grand design, most of the collectibles I talk about on the site are from the same period. Sorry TCM, but Karl Malden and Angela Lansbury didn't do the trick for me.
But those are past gripes. I'm happy to let bygones be bygones and excited to find ourselves on the cusp of the first TCM Star of the Month to genuinely excite me in 2012!
Turner Classic Movies brings us 42 films featuring Joel McCrea over five Wednesday nights (and early Thursday mornings!) throughout May 2012. What's to like? First off there are so many Paramount pre-code titles mixed in that I began to feel like I was typing out a schedule for Constance Bennett month. Pushing along our timeline McCrea stars in several romantic and screwball comedies, some classics, others hidden gems. Finally our Star of the Month ages gracefully in a group of Westerns celebrated on the bottom half of the May calendar.
I'm not a huge fan of Westerns. If you read the articles I write about old movies you'll have noticed that. I find many Westerns painful to watch, even from my beloved 1930's, but that's personal taste. At the same time I find quality Westerns wind up becoming some of my favorite films and I'd recommend McCrea in Ride the High Country as emphatically as I do The Palm Beach Story or The More the Merrier. That lengthy preamble mostly warms me up to say that I'm looking forward to getting to know some of those (mostly) later Westerns at the end of the month as much as I am many of my already established favorites early on in May.
As for those McCrea titles airing this month that I've actually seen I'll skip the obvious and point to a few I wouldn't want you to miss. I've written in detail about both Woman Wanted and The Richest Girl in the World (just last night!), so those two are as obvious recommendations coming from me as would be Sullivan's Travels.
I'd also point you towards Come and Get It on the 16th, though more for the opportunity to see beloved supporting man Edward Arnold in one of his leading roles. Bed of Roses is sinful pre-code fun (Constance Bennett and Pert Kelton are prostitutes for goodness sake!) airing towards the end of McCrea opening night, May 2. Speaking on wanton women Marjorie Rambeau is a tragic hoot as Ginger Rogers mother in Primrose Path, another late, late nighter May 23 into 24th.
And if you haven't seen some of the better known classics featuring Joel McCrea: Sullivan's Travels, The Palm Beach Story, The More the Merrier on the 2nd; The Most Dangerous Game and Foreign Correspondent on the 9th; Dead End on the 16th; Ride the High Country on the 30th, then this is the month to do so! They've each earned their strong reputation.
The complete May 2012 Joel McCrea TCM Star of the Month schedule follows immediately after the Four Faces West image picturing McCrea with wife and co-star, Frances Dee. A Joel McCrea gallery showing off even more vintage collectibles follows the schedule.
Joel McCrea TCM Star of the Month Schedule
*All times EST; Schedule for TCM in the U.S.
Wednesday, May 2
- 8:00 pm - Sullivan's Travels (1941) starring Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, William Demerest
- 9:45 pm - The Palm Beach Story (1942) starring Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor
- 11:30 pm - The More the Merrier (1943) starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn
- 1:30 am - The Richest Girl in the World (1934) starring Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea, Fay Wray
- 3:00 am - Woman Chases Man (1937) starring Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea, Charles Winninger
- 4:15 am - Bed of Roses (1933) starring Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea, Pert Kelton
- 5:30 am - Kept Husbands (1931) starring Dorothy Mackaill, Joel McCrea, Robert McWade
- 7:00 am - Dynamite (1929) starring Kay Johnson, Charles Bickford, Conrad Nagel
- 9:15 am - One Man's Journey (1933) starring Lionel Barrymore, May Robson, Joel McCrea
- 10:30 am - Chance at Heaven (1934) starring Joel McCrea, Ginger Rogers, Marian Nixon
Wednesday, May 9
- 8:00 pm - The Most Dangerous Game (1932) starring Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks
- 9:30 pm - Foreign Correspondent (1940) starring Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, George Sanders
- 11:45 pm - Shoot First (1953) starring Joel McCrea, Evelyn Keyes, Herbert Lom
- 1:15 am - Espionage Agent (1939) starring Joel McCrea, Brenda Marshall, George Bancroft
- 2:45 am - The Lost Squadron (1932) starring Joel McCrea, Richard Dix, Mary Astor
- 4:15 am - Born to Love (1932) starring Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea, Paul Cavanagh
- 5:45 am - Bird of Paradise (1932) starring Dolores Del Rio, Joel McCrea, John Halliday
- 7:15 am - Woman Wanted (1935) starring Maureen O'Sullivan, Joel McCrea, Lewis Stone
- 8:30 am - Adventure in Manhattan (1936) starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Reginald Owen
Wednesday, May 16
- 8:00 pm - Dead End (1937) starring Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart
- 9:45 pm - The Great Man's Lady (1942) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Brian Donlevy
- 11:30 pm - Rockabye (1932) starring Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea, Paul Lukas
- 12:45 am - Stars in My Crown (1950) starring Joel McCrea, Ellen Drew, Dean Stockwell
- 2:30 am - These Three (1936) starring Merle Oberon, Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea
- 4:15 am - Come and Get It (1936) starring Edward Arnold, Frances Farmer, Walter Brennan
- 6:00 am - They Shall Have Music (1939) starring Jascha Heifetz, Joel McCrea, Andrea Leeds
- 7:45 am - Barbary Coast (1935) starring Edward G. Robinson, Miriam Hopkins, Joel McRae
- 9:30 am - The Common Law (1932) starring Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea, Lew Cody
Wednesday, May 23
- 8:00 pm - The Virginian (1946) starring Joel McCrea, Brian Donlevy, Sonny Tufts
- 10:00 pm - Union Pacific (1939) starring Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Preston
- 12:30 am - Cattle Drive (1951) starring Joel McCrea, Dean Stockwell, Chill Wills
- 2:00 am - The Silver Horde (1930) starring Joel McCrea, Evelyn Brent, Jean Arthur
- 3:30 am - The Outriders (1950) starring Joel McCrea, Arlene Dahl, Barry Sullivan
- 5:15 am - Primrose Path (1940) starring Ginger Rogers, Joel McRae, Marjorie Rambeau
- 7:00 am - Gambling Lady (1934) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Pat O'Brien, Joel McRae
- 8:15 am - The Sport Parade (1932) starring Joel McCrea, William Gargan, Marian Marsh
Wednesday, May 30
- 8:00 pm - Ride the High Country (1962) starring Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, Mariette Hartley
- 9:45 pm - The Tall Stranger (1957) starring Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo, Michael Ansara
- 11:15 pm - Wells Fargo (1957) starring Joel McCrea, Bob Burns, Frances Dee
- 1:00 am - Fort Massacre (1958) starring Joel McCrea, Forrest Tucker, Susan Cabot
- 2:45 am - Frenchie (1950) starring Joel McCrea, Shelley Winters, Paul Kelly
- 4:00 am - Trooper Hook (1957) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McRae, Earl Holliman