Turner Classic Movies celebrates its twentieth anniversary throughout April including a special schedule of "Best of TCM" movies airing on actual anniversary date, April 14. The highlight of that evening is the 8:00 pm EST showing of Gone With the Wind (1939), the very first movie to air on our favorite channel back in 1994. It's a major month for the TCM brand as their anniversary date will also be the day most folks return home from their now annual Hollywood pilgrimage to the TCM Classic Film Festival, which runs April 10-13 this year.
TCM's Star of the Month for April will be John Wayne. If you're a big fan of the Duke I hope you planned your vacation around this one because rather than airing John Wayne movies once per week, TCM is showing a total of 58 movies between April 21 and 25. Consecutively. This mega-marathon begins Monday the 21st at 8:00 pm with The Big Trail (1930) and runs non-stop until the final film, Big Jake (1971), winds down a little after 10 am on Saturday the 26th.
I'm going to run with an abbreviated preview this month, basically paging through my copy of Now Playing and noting a handful of themes, but mostly concentrating on linking back to any relevant articles I've written about movies that play on TCM this month. This will be followed by some general housekeeping at the bottom of the post, site news and notes and items of that sort.
First though, if you're looking for April's tally it has already posted. You'll find it at the top of THIS page. I broke down all of the John Wayne movies in a separate count and also updated the 2014 cumulative tally with April's numbers.
After the April 1 mirth subsides, TCM gets down to business with a couple of big 24-hour birthday bashes beginning with an Alec Guinness (1914-2000) centennial celebration on Wednesday the 2nd and an all-day Doris Day (1924- ) marathon on Thursday the 3rd.
Friday, April 4 opens with some interesting pre-Codes: Scarlet Dawn (1932), a Nancy Carroll title I haven't seen since I disposed of my old VHS, at 6:00 am EST; Joan Blondell and George Brent in the underwhelming Miss Pinkerton (1932) at 7:00 am; Blondell again with James Cagney starring in He Was Her Man (1934) at 8:15 am; Bette Davis with Ricardo Cortez and Charles Farrell in The Big Shakedown (1934) at 9:30 am; and, slightly post-Code enforcement, Babbitt (1934) with Guy Kibbee and Aline MacMahon -- this is going to be the next Sinclair Lewis title I cover, so you may find that eventual post more interesting if you catch this Warner Bros. adaptation. It includes a decent part for Claire Dodd if you're a Claire Dodd fan, which you know I am.
Part 1 of the 1992 documentary MGM: When the Lion Roars plays on Saturday morning, April 5 at 11:45 EST. TCM is spreading this one out with Part 2 playing on Saturday the 12th and Part 3 on Saturday the 19th, each of those also beginning at 11:45 am. I'd imagine TCM is playing this as part of their celebration of MGM's 90th Anniversary, which they do in more concentrated form through a 48-hour marathon of movies from that studio come April 17-18.
Freddie Bartholomew fans can get up early to catch Captains Courageous (1937) on Monday, April 7 at 6:00 am.Later that same afternoon I'm thrilled to see TCM play Snowed Under (1936) with George Brent leading a whole cast of zany characters. As I mention in the linked article, this is a surprisingly witty movie that not too many know about.
In what now seems to be a rare case of my extending myself beyond the 1930s, TCM plays a 1954 release that I've actually written about, giant ant thriller Them!, at 1:30 am later that night. It's followed by '50s sci-fi classics The Cosmic Monsters (1958) at 3:15 am and The Wasp Woman (1959) at 4:45 am.
Then we've got a bit of a gap when it comes to those oldies I prefer. These few days sort of bear out the findings of this month's tally, which was light on the '30s. The 1937 version of Madame X starring Gladys George plays on Tuesday, April 8 at 4:45 pm; Chaplin's Modern Times (1936) plays that night at midnight; Hide-Out (1934) with Robert Montgomery and Maureen O'Sullivan plays at 12:45 pm on Thursday, April 10; It is followed by a Hitchcock favorite, The Lady Vanishes (1938) at 2:15 pm.
The "lady gangster" movie, Blondie Johnson (1933), starring Joan Blondell with Chester Morris plays on Friday, April 11 at 12:45 pm.
Jean Harlow with Lee Tracy in Bombshell (1933) on Sunday morning, April 13, at 6:30 am; a Boys Town double-feature plays in Prime Time that evening, with the 1938 original at 8:00 pm, followed by sequel Men of Boys Town (1941) at 10:00 pm.
Heavy hitter classics play on the 14th to celebrate TCM's 20th. Joining 8 pm selection Gone With the Wind are: The Maltese Falcon (1941) at 7:00 am; The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) at 9:00 am; Gaslight (1944) at 11:00 am; Citizen Kane (1941) at 1:00 pm; Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) at 3:00 pm; Casablanca (1942) at 5:00 pm, and after GWTW comes Singin' in the Rain (1952) at 1:30 am; It Happened One Night (1934) at 3:30 am and The Petrified Forest (1936) at 5:30 am.
It's Marie Prevost day on Wednesday, April 16, giving me excuse to link to posts about a couple of my favorite Louis Wolheim movies again: The Racket (1928), which opens the day at 7:00 am and Gentleman's Fate (1931) playing at 11:30 am. The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) plays after Gentleman's Fate at 1:15 pm, giving cause to link to my Helen Hayes biography. For more details about Prevost day, don't miss THIS preview from the go-to source for all things Prevost, Stacia at She Blogged by Night.PS: Do your best to catch Hell Divers (1932), an entertaining pre-Code featuring Wallace Beery and Clark Gable as Navy fliers, closing out those Marie Prevost titles at 5:30 pm on the 16th.
That same evening, Wednesday the 16th, brings us a night of "Butlers in Love" and includes three screwball comedy classics: If You Could Only Cook (1935) at 10:30 pm; My Man Godfrey (1936) at 12:00 midnight; Merrily We Live (1938) at 1:45 am.
The pre-1940 portion of TCM's salute to MGM on their 90th anniversary plays throughout the 24 hours of Thursday, April 17 and runs like so: Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) at 6:00 am; Dinner at Eight (1933) at 8:30 am; The Thin Man (1934) at 10:30 am; The Good Earth (1937) at 12:15 pm; Boys Town (1938) at 2:45 pm; Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) at 4:30 pm; Lassie Come Home (1943 - How'd that slip in here?) at 6:30 pm; interesting to see TCM go silent at 8:00 pm with Flesh and the Devil (1926); Grand Hotel (1932) at 10:00 pm; Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) at 12 midnight; Ninotchka (1939) at 2:15 am; and Marie Antoinette (1938) at 4:15 am.
The Philadelphia Story (1940) is a strong beginning to day two of the MGM celebration, Friday, April 18 at 7:00 am. Mostly '50s and '60s stuff after that, with a couple of notable exceptions in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) at 8:00 pm followed by The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) at 10.
A rare TCM showing of Twentieth Century Fox noir classic Laura (1944) as the 8:00 pm TCM Essential on Saturday, April 19. It opens a triple-feature of Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews movies, followed by Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) at 9:45 pm and the less thrilling The Iron Curtain (1958) at 11:30 pm.
John Wayne's turn as Star of the Month begins at 8:00 pm on Monday, April 21 with Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail (1930) at 8 pm, as mentioned above, but the pre-Code era Wayne movies continue all night Monday through midday Tuesday. While a few of these are already Westerns, you also have titles such as Baby Face (1933) at 2:30 am and The Life of Jimmy Dolan (1933) early Tuesday at 7:00 am.
I haven't covered much John Wayne on the site, but I did take a look at Stagecoach (1939) awhile back. It plays on Tuesday, April 22 at 8:00 pm and kicks off a marathon inside the marathon of Wayne's movies directed by John Ford.
Our month is almost over by the time the John Wayne features end on Saturday morning, April 26. Gunga Din (1939) plays later that afternoon at 5:45 pm.
My favorite Alfred Hitchcock film, The 39 Steps (1935) plays at 10:00 am on Sunday, April 27. Two of my favorite screwball comedies, and I'm really not a big fan of that genre, play back-to-back that night with Too Many Husbands (1940) at 8:00 pm and My Favorite Wife (1940) at 9:30 pm. I don't want to say if you've seen one, you've seen them both, because both offer their own unique moments, but just to drive home their similarity TCM has given this double-feature the title, "Same Story, Same Year, Same Studio" The earlier movie stars Jean Arthur, Fred MacMurray and Melvyn Douglas in its triangle, while the more familiar follow-up feature stars Cary Grant, Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott.
TCM celebrates the birth of Lionel Barrymore (1878-1954) all day Monday, April 28, beginning with wild silent film West of Zanzibar (1928), starring Lon Chaney, at 6:15 am. I've written about two titles playing this day, disappointing all-star effort Night Flight (1933), which plays at 3:30 pm and one that's developed into a personal favorite, Sweepings (1933), the depressing tale of a department store tycoon whose children let him down, at 6:30 pm.
Filling out the Lionel Barrymore marathon are the following: The Unholy Night (1929), which was directed by Barrymore, at 7:45 am; Free and Easy (1930) at 9:30 am; Guilty Hands (1931) at 11:15 am; Arsene Lupin (1932), with brother John, at 12:30 pm; Looking Forward (1933), another depressing one set around a department store, at 2:00 pm; and in between the two that I linked above comes Should Ladies Behave? (1933) at 5:00 pm.
If you caught Louis Wolheim and Thomas Meighan in The Racket back on Marie Prevost day, then you may want to compare it the 1951 remake with film noir icons Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan and Lizabeth Scott as their talkie counterparts. It plays after midnight on the 28th, at 12:15 am EST.
The month closes out with Robert Osborne's picks, including Bette Davis in The Letter (1940) at 8:00 pm on the 30th, followed by Fritz Lang's Man Hunt (1941) with Walter Pidgeon at 10:00 pm. The month finishes with Michael Curtiz pre-Code title Mandalay (1934) starring Kay Francis and Ricardo Cortez at 4:15 am of what really is May 1, even out West.
For a different taste of April don't miss Kristina's Speakeasy round-up of other bloggers previewing this month's classic movies on TV.
TCM Star of the Month for May will be June Allyson.
Time to share a couple of banners for upcoming Blogathons that I will be contributing too.
The Classic Film & TV Cafe hosts "The James Stewart Blogathon" on April 14-17. I will be posting about Stewart with Ginger Rogers in Vivacious Lady (1938) on the 14th. To be honest I tried for You Can't Take it With You (1938), but response to this Blogathon was so enthusiastic that I had to settle for my third (or was it fourth?) choice. Still, I aim to do Vivacious Lady proud!
Click the banner below to check out the roll call of contributors:
The Lady Eve's Reel Life and They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To will be co-hosting a one-day Tyrone Power Blogathon, titled "Power-Mad," on the day of Power's centenary, May 5. That date always sticks in my head because it's my Dad's birthday, so I immediately associate it with not only Power, but Fox stablemate Alice Faye, who was born exactly one year after Power. Doing so has set me up for a challenge as I'm going to cover Tyrone Power and Alice Faye--who starred in three films together: In Old Chicago (1937), Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938), Rose of Washington Square (1939)--for "Power-Mad" on May 5.
Once again, click to banner to see who will be writing about what:
I am proud to say Immortal Ephemera is now a member site in the Classic Movie Blog Association (CMBA), which I had formerly been a part of with my Warren William site. CMBA holds two Blogathons each year and I plan to participate in each. The topic for the first of those was recently announced to members, but since I don't see it on the CMBA site yet I'll keep quiet for now. Not a big deal since I haven't settled on a subject yet, but I'll definitely be writing something for my first Blogathon back with the group--I'll let you know the specifics in the May preview.
More Coming Soon:
As I mentioned in my review of Winner Take All (1932), I'm now on Warner Archive's list for review copies of their Made-On-Demand DVD-Rs. Up next from their catalog should be a look at Joan Crawford in Our Blushing Brides (1930), but what I'm really excited to cover are the five recently released titles starring one of my favorites, Richard Dix. Those new-to-WAC Dix titles are The Public Defender (1931), Ace of Aces (1933), His Greatest Gamble (1934), Reno (1939) and Men Against the Sky (1940). I'll likely be reviewing three or four in brief and one or two in greater detail with Ace of Aces definitely set for the royal treatment.
Looking for Galleries?
The old movie card and collectible galleries are still posting to this site, but alerts to those galleries are now being sent through the Immortal Ephemera Store newsletter. That newsletter is a weekly alert, typically being sent on Sunday or Monday, that points you to the latest listings available in the Store and also highlights either a brand new collectible gallery or an existing "classic" collectible gallery each issue.
You can subscribe on THIS page -- Be sure to look for the confirmation email from MadMimi. It includes a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.
Speaking of the Store, I wanted to send thanks to the Carole & Co website for featuring a couple of my sales listings recently. Both items, of course, included pieces picturing the star of that site, Carole Lombard. Thank you again!
That's all for now. Back with either Our Blushing Brides or Richard Dix very soon and Vivacious Lady set in stone for "The James Stewart Blogathon" on April 14.