A couple of new discoveries I had mentioned in Part 1 that I have already enjoyed this month include King Vidor’s An American Romance (1944), the rare two hour film that I wish had been longer, and Frankie Darro along with some other familiar youthful faces in Frank Borzage’s No Greater Glory (1934). Fantastic job of hosting by Illeana Douglas on that last one as well as 1933’s Alice in Wonderland, which I still need to watch beyond her intro. Hopefully you caught Lee Tracy in Washington Merry-Go-Round (1932) on Monday afternoon—if you did you might enjoy my look at that title from THIS previous post (lots of background info).
And now, May 16 and beyond, but first, the usual reminder of my East Coast bias:
We’ll jump right over Thursday the 16th, mostly consisting of a bunch of big and popular ‘50s movies that air quite often, and point to Friday, May 17 instead. That morning begins with five 1930s and ‘40s titles from director George B. Seitz, who’d been around since the teens but I best remember as director of 13 of MGM’s Hardy Family series of the 1930s and ‘40s. None of those air Friday, but a couple of mid-30s murder mysteries look interesting and offer a chance to see Madge Evans and Elissa Landi.
These picks are based upon Turner Classic Movies' US schedule (most also air in Canada). Any times mentioned are all EST because that's what TCM uses inside my Now Playing Guide and that's what I use when I set the clocks here on Long Island. The days are TCM's own slightly screwy time periods, typically beginning at 6 am and working through to the following morning at the same time.
The fifth Seitz movie is My Dear Miss Aldrich (1937) at 11 am EST and also counts as the first of a six-movie Maureen O’Sullivan birthday marathon (born 1911). Not a Tarzan among them. TCM instead airs a wide range of O’Sullivan titles dating from 1937 through 1965, including the horse racing film Sporting Blood (1940) and the film noir favorite Where Danger Lives (1950).
Early Saturday morning, May 18, I’ll finally get to catch The George Raft Story (1961), featuring Ray Danton as Raft. Later that morning The Falcon series continues as well as the noon-time run of Randolph Scott Westerns: A goodie this week with Scott and Joel McCrea in Sam Peckinpah’s Ride the High Country (1962).
Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is the TCM Essential at 8 pm EST that same Saturday night and it’s followed by another favorite, Charles Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933). Both of those titles are part of a four-movie celebration of Laughton's real-life wife, Elsa Lanchester, who also happens to be the most humorous of Henry’s collection of Queens. Those two titles are followed by Lanchester in Murder by Death (1976) and Passport to Destiny (1944).
Sunday night, May 19, TCM airs the double-feature Jesse James (1939) with Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda, and brings Fonda back immediately after with The Return of Frank James (1940). That pairing begins at 8 Eastern. Judex returns to Sunday Silents.
Daytime Monday, May 20, brings a Jimmy Stewart birthday marathon (born 1908). Seven movies total dating 1936 to 1965 and including Academy Award winning Best Picture You Can’t Take It With You (1938), Frank Borzage’s The Mortal Storm (1940), and the Anthony Mann Western Winchester ‘73 (1950), among others.A five-movie Robert Montgomery birthday marathon (born 1904) eats up Tuesday, May 21, beginning at 11 am with 1931’s The Easiest Way. That is followed by Hide-Out (1934) at 1:30 pm; Night Must Fall (1937) at 3; with Janet Gaynor and Franchot Tone in the enjoyable Three Loves Has Nancy (1938) at 5; and opposite Carole Lombard in the Alfred Hitchcock comedy Mr. And Mrs. Smith (1941) at 6:15 pm EST.
Little Caesar (1931) brings out the TCM Tough Guys that night at 8 and reminds me that I’ve yet to make good on my promise to cover this classic gangster title as of yet. I won’t get to it before the 21st either, but here are a bunch of other old gangster films I’ve previously covered and here’s Laura’s post on Little Caesar at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, which I believe includes links to some other bloggers coverage from about that same time—check the date, that’s when I should have posted mine!
If you have insomnia that night, though any form of recording technology will do as well, don’t miss early prison flick The Big House (1930) with Chester Morris and Wallace Beery at 4:30 that morning, slightly before sun-up May 22.
No birthday, but a wide ranging four movie marathon of Ronald Colman movies on Wednesday the 22nd, beginning at 7 am EST with 1924 Silent Her Night of Romance starring Constance Talmadge and ending with the bizarre The Story of Mankind (1957), airing that morning at 11:45. That’s followed by four with Anne Baxter, also for no special occasion that I’m aware of.
Thursday morning, May 23, begins with the can’t miss documentary Without Lying Down about early screenwriter Frances Marion at 6 am EST. It bookends a group of 8 early titles, all 1929-1931, with the wonderful Complicated Women documentary, based on Mick La Salle’s even more wonderful book, at 7 pm.
The movies in between read like my customer history at Warner Archive: Mary Pickford in Coquette (1929) at 7 am; Norma Shearer in The Last of Mrs. Cheyney at 8:30; Willard Mack’s The Voice of the City, starring Mack with the gone-too-soon Robert Ames, at 10:15 am; More Norma Shearer in the classic The Divorcee at 11:45 am; a new one to me in The Life of the Party (1930), with Winnie Lightner and Irene Delroy, at 1:15 pm; 2:45 pm EST kicks off a double-feature starring site-favorite Dorothy Mackaill in The Office Wife (1930) and then Kept Husbands (1931) at 4 pm—Be sure to DVR these if you’ve only seen her in Safe in Hell (1931); then a huge cast of soon-to-be MGM favorites in the messy but enjoyable The Secret Six (1931) winds things up at 5:30.
Great day! Because of the quirks of my recommendations this month (Two parts; no Now Playing Guide; etc.) I didn’t do my Short Guide, but if I were to recommend any day for you to call in sick, May 23 would be it!
And wow, Harold Lloyd shorts and features run that entire night beginning at 8 pm with the classic Safety Last! (1923). Okay, sick day, DVR space and lots of coffee called for on May 23.
All right, I don’t know how you or your DVR are going to manage this one, but I suggest you get up early on Friday, May 24 for three more pre-Code titles featuring strong women: Joan Crawford in Sadie McKee (1934) at 6 am EST; Ruth Chatterton in Lilly Turner (1933) at 7:45 am—I just caught this one earlier this month and I loved it! Hope to cover it soon, once I return to a more regular writing schedule. If you want to know more about it now do check out Karen Burroughs Hannsberry's post at shadowsandsatin, where she made it her TCM pick-of-the-month for April (must have been when I watched!); Lilly Turner is followed by Irene Dunne in Ann Vickers (1933) at 9 that morning.
Beginning at 6 am Saturday, May 25, and running right through til early Tuesday morning, May 28, is TCM’s annual 3-day, 72 hour Memorial Day marathon of war movies. Lots of the usual titles airing.No surprise, I’m partial to the war films made prior to World War II, but there aren’t too many of those: Hell Below and Men Must Fight (both 1933), both air on Saturday. The first one is set during the First World War and the second a futuristic look at a war in 1940: As prophetic and interesting as that may sound, it’s a bit of a dud and doesn’t do any favors for site favorite Phillips Holmes either. One of TCM’s Memorial Day oldies was actually filmed before US entry into World War I, 1915’s The Coward, and I make special mention of it because it stars a silent actor I’ve written a little about, Frank Keenan.
It’s not my cup of tea, but I know 1945’s The Enchanted Cottage wins new fans every time TCM airs it. It plays on TCM at 11:15 EST the morning of Tuesday, May 28. I’m more partial to the movie coming on after it, 1947’s Desire Me, a twisted post-War romance featuring Greer Garson with Robert Mitchum and Richard Hart.
TCM celebrates Bob Hope’s birthday (born 1903) on Wednesday, May 29, with an 8 movie marathon of all 1950s and ‘60s titles.
It’s disaster night beginning at 8 pm on the 29th with 1953’s Titanic followed by a favorite of mine, In Old Chicago (1938), at 10 pm. TCM jams The Hurricane (1937) in between, but if you’re recording these to watch later then try to watch San Francisco (1936), which airs later at 2 am EST, right before In Old Chicago. The later movie from Fox is pretty clearly an attempt to cash in on the success of the earlier MGM title. Both are excellent though and each contains exciting disaster sequences.
Top of the World, the 1992 James Cagney documentary, begins the day, Thursday, May 30. It’s followed by pre-Code favorite The Mayor of Hell (1933), starring Cagney, but really putting a shine on Frankie Darro. I somehow haven’t covered this title yet, but it was written about recently by my buddy Danny at Pre-Code.com. TCM does exactly what I would wish it to do when it next airs the 1938 remake Crime School, starring Humphrey Bogart, but I’d have love to have seen them take the next natural step and air the next version, 1939’s Hell’s Kitchen, after that. But they don’t.
That said, TCM does spend the entire day of the 30th showing pairs of originals and remakes! The other pairings: Two Against the World (1932) and more Bogie in One Fatal Hour (1936); The classic Libeled Lady (1936) with Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy, followed by remake Easy to Wed (1946); and Five Came Back (1939) followed by Back From Eternity (1956). An intriguing day. I just hope I don’t sit down for one, doze off and wake up at the close of a remake. Could get confusing!
Not much for me on Friday, May 31, but I do want to catch Anthony Asquith’s The Way to the Stars aka Johnny in the Clouds (1945). The only thing keeping my Netflix subscription active in recent times has been their collection of (mostly) 1970s British mini-series. As I’ve run through them I’ve also begun to pull out previously neglected British films of the 1940s that I had recorded for safe-keeping. This title, to more or less steal the IMDb summary, about life on a British bomber base from the start of the Battle of Britain, appears to be right up one of my most recent alleys.
Good news: My June 2012 edition of TCM’s Now Playing Guide has arrived! While I’m not overjoyed by Star of the Month selections Eleanor Parker for June or Paul Henreid for July, I’m sure TCM will more than make up for that once I start digging through the schedules a little better and unearthing any new-to-me '30s nuggets.
I see that the selections for August’s Summer Under the Stars programming has recently slipped out as well. While I much prefer the 2012 crop of stars to those chosen for 2013, that isn't intended to cast a negative pall upon these latest choices--I have a feeling I’ll be clinging to 2012 as my favorite line-up for a long time! And I am looking forward to days for Mickey Rooney (August 13) and Glenda Farrell (August 29).
Back in a few days with an article about an old movie. Most likely something with Helen Twelvetrees unless I bump into something different that I can’t resist writing about between now and then!
PS: Collectors, you may want to check out my updated guide to the 1934 Brown & Williamson set of Golden Grain tobacco cards. I recently acquired a big batch of these and have added 25 images to the Gallery. Just need another 3 to have the entire set on display!
PPS: Did you know you can access complete movie card galleries by clicking on any card* shown on this page? If you like the look of one of the cards just click on it to head over to a gallery of that entire set. *Exception: Dorothy Mackaill, I haven't made a page for that set yet.
See you soon,