Tuesday, August 21 has been one of my two or three most anticipated days of TCM Summer Under the Stars. I haven't seen all 17 of the Kay Francis movies TCM is airing today, but I've seen a good enough number to make my recommendations.
Don't let your DVR burn out before it catches these, in order: 1) One Way Passage; 2) Jewel Robbery; 3) Confession; 4) The House on 56th Street; 5) Mandalay.
As all around incredible as today's Kay Francis schedule is I was a little puzzled by the 8 pm selection, Guilty Hands. I recall it as a bit static but I'm going to give it a second chance tonight. I do remember Lionel Barrymore being particularly nasty in that one.
The complete schedule follows with a treat coming below it.
Tuesday, August 21 - Kay Francis - TCM Summer Under the Stars
- 6:00 am - Dr. Monica (1934) starring Kay Francis, Warren William, Jean Muir
- 7:00 am - Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933) starring Kay Francis, Lyle Talbot, Glenda Farrell
- 8:15 am - Jewel Robbery (1932) starring William Powell, Kay Francis, Hardie Albright
- 9:30 am - One Way Passage (1932) starring Kay Francis, William Powell, Aline MacMahon
- 10:45 am - The Keyhole (1933) starring Kay Francis, George Brent, Glenda Farrell
- 12:00 pm - British Agent (1934) starring Leslie Howard, Kay Francis, William Gargan
- 1:30 pm - Confession (1937) starring Kay Francis, Basil Rathbone, Ian Hunter
- 3:00 pm - Women Are Like That (1938) starring Kay Francis, Pat O'Brien, Ralph Forbes
- 4:30 pm - Little Men (1940) starring Kay Francis, Jack Oakie, George Bancroft
- 6:00 pm - The Feminine Touch (1941) starring Rosalind Russell, Don Ameche, Kay Francis
- 8:00 pm - Guilty Hands (1931) starring Lionel Barrymore, Kay Francis, Madge Evans
- 9:30 pm - The House on 56th Street (1933) starring Kay Francis, Ricardo Cortez, Gene Raymond
- 10:45 pm - Mandalay (1934) starring Kay Francis, Ricardo Cortez, Lyle Talbot
- 12:00 am - Stranded (1935) starring Kay Francis, George Brent, Patricia Ellis
- 1:30 am - Give Me Your Heart (1936) starring Kay Francis, George Brent, Patric Knowles
- 3:15 am - My Bill (1938) starring Kay Francis, Bonita Granville, Anita Louise
- 4:30 am - Play Girl (1940) starring Kay Francis, Nigel Bruce, James Ellison
Something a little different today. As I starting digging into the NewspaperArchive for Kay Francis info I quickly realized that unless I turned this into a fashion site I wasn't going to come up with anything good. And that's all right. Kay Francis remains celebrated for her fashion. But I'm not the person to tell you about it.
Since Kay is so visual I decided to take today's entry in that direction. Following is what I'm lamely dubbing the Summer Under the Stars Kay Francis "Picto-Sked."
I've paged through my share of 1930's magazines over the years and I seem to recall them being on a real "Picto" kick back then. As photojournalism came of age stories were laid out as Picto-thises and Picto-thats.
The Picto-Sked to follow is, in order, today's TCM Summer Under the Stars schedule shown through old period newspaper ads for each movie.
What's striking about them is how with little exception Kay Francis is the selling point. Oh, she shares a couple of ads with William Powell and somehow Leslie Howard and Pat O'Brien pop up as well, but barring late effort The Feminine Touch, which is actually a Rosalind Russell movie, Kay is featured front and center in all ads to follow.
6:00 am EST - Dr. Monica (1934)
I posted two brand new articles about Dr. Monica today. One is HERE and the other comes from a different perspective at WarrenWilliam.com.
7:00 am EST Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933)
8:15 am EST - Jewel Robbery (1932)
A favorite that I covered on the site some time back. You can read that article HERE.
9:30 am EST - One Way Passage (1932)
Fantastic love story with some great comic relief courtesy Frank McHugh and Aline MacMahon. I wrote about it HERE and even covered the ending in a separate post HERE.
10:45 am EST - The Keyhole (1933)
12:00 pm EST - British Agent (1934)
1:30 pm EST - Confession (1937)
Confession is the Kay Francis title I really wanted to write about, but I couldn't finish it in time for Summer Under the Stars so I went with the lighter weight Dr. Monica instead.
Still, I think I let down my friend Kristina at Speakeasy who will be covering Confession today. I can't find a link to her post yet, but I'm sure it will pop up at the Summer Under the Stars blogathon sometime today.
3:00 pm EST - Women Are Like That (1938)
4:30 pm EST - Little Men (1940)
This was the toughest ad to find! Little Men was produced by The Play's the Thing Production Company, who I mentioned recently in my Freddie Bartholomew biography. The Play's the Thing produced just three films: 2 featuring Freddie and this one with Kay. No, Freddie isn't in Little Men.
6:00 pm EST - The Feminine Touch (1941)
8:00 pm EST - Guilty Hands (1931)
9:30 pm EST - The House on 56th Street (1933)
Everyone must have felt pretty secure in promoting Kay Francis at this point--they choose a shot of her with a bit of gray in her hair for The House on 56th Street! They could have easily gone in a far more glamorous direction. This one also marks the start of back-to-back Ricardo Cortez features.
10:45 pm EST - Mandalay (1934)
12:00 am EST - Stranded (1935)
1:30 am EST - Give Me Your Heart (1936)
4:30 am EST - Play Girl (1940)
Play Girl is feature number 17 and sadly brings us to the end of TCM's Summer Under the Stars Kay Francis coverage.
For more about Kay Francis check out my Site Index page which includes a link to my video review of Scott O'Brien's excellent Kay biography. Scroll to the bottom of that page and you'll see a gallery picturing all of the vintage Kay Francis movie cards and collectibles that are shown across Immortal Ephemera -- and there are quite a few!
For more on Kay elsewhere be sure to check out today's Summer Under the Stars blogathon entry which links to all of the new Kay Francis articles popping up around the web today as we celebrate this pre-code legend. Access the Blogathon entries through Sittin' On a Backyard Fence or ScribeHard On Film.
Do you want to see more Picto-Skeds? If so just let me know in the comments. If not I'll just consider this an experiment gone awry.
Enjoy the movies!
Danny Reid says
Cool post! Yeah, I found Guilty Hands to be a lot of fun last time I watched it. It’s an inversion of those drawing room scenes in mystery books, and it’s fun to watch since only we– and Kay– know that the man leading the investigation is the one who committed the murder! It’s ending is a bit hokey, but I still enjoyed it.
As for the pics, I have to feel sorry for Kay in My Bill. Her facial reaction to what looks like a bunch of cliched childhood stories that she’ll have to take on pretty much matches my own.
Cliff Aliperti says
Hey @twitter-134660241:disqus wouldn’t you know I put Guilty Hands on last night as intended and dozed off during the better part of it! No reflection on the movie, just tired.
Anyway, did catch the end again–that was more satisfying the first time. It seems ingenious for a few moments and then after the initial surprise fades I’m left thinking, “That’s it!” Anyway, don’t want to get it on it too hard since my overall memories remain faulty after last night’s nap!
Not her best photo, no? Seems like her hair is pulled so tight that she’s left with only that facial expression.
Lil G. says
Kay Francis was a wonderful actress! Bring back her kind.
Cliff Aliperti says
“Bring back her kind.” — All I can say is thank goodness for video recordings and TCM. Like so many other Golden Age actors and actresses my only complaint is that they didn’t leave even more work behind for us to enjoy.
Love the “picto-sked” concept! My only suggestion is that in the future, please give us the date of the ad and the paper it’s culled from. Sometimes we’re curious about the theaters these films were shown in, and make a side trip to the splendid site cinematreasures.org.
Cliff Aliperti says
Good call on date and source–I usually include them at least in the image title but see I didn’t do that this time. Thanks for the ‘picto-sked’ vote of confidence. I expect you shall see its return for Warren William as I spend time on a couple of more meatier posts for my Warren site.