I hope you enjoyed TCM’s Summer Under the Stars in August. After my general preview, I ended up posting ten new articles to the site including biographies of Walter Pidgeon and Herbert Marshall and reviews of Black Fury (1935), Lady by Choice (1934), Hot Saturday (1932), Blessed Event (1932), and Madame X (1937). Plus a couple of Picto-Skeds. I petered out a little at the end, but all in all, I was happy with my production throughout August.
Speaking of biographies, the site already boasts a strong write-up about September’s TCM Star of the Month Melvyn Douglas. I took a look at that piece about a week ago and cleaned up some references to TCM marathons past, so it reads more smoothly for anybody discovering it this month. You’ll find it linked at both the top and bottom of all Immortal Ephemera pages throughout September.
Despite being a Melvyn Douglas fan, Star of the Month is definitely TCM’s number two attraction for me in September. The highlight, accounting for the spectacularly high rating I give this month’s overall schedule, is no doubt the 67 pre-Code movies that TCM is playing as a series of four 24-hour marathons on Fridays in September. I’m going to blog along with this feature as well, hoping to have one new review posted in time for each Friday as they come.
For those with GetTV access, highlights of Columbia classic titles playing throughout September include the aforementioned Lady by Choice (1934) with Carole Lombard, Made for Each Other (1939) with Lombard and James Stewart, She Married Her Boss (1935) with Claudette Colbert and Melvyn Douglas (also on TCM’s September schedule), Angel and the Badman (1947) with John Wayne and Gail Russell, Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) with Robert Montgomery, Love Affair (1939) with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, The Little Princess (1939) with Shirley Temple, Kansas City Confidential (1952) with John Payne and Coleen Gray, Ann Carver’s Profession (1933) with Fay Wray (another one also found on TCM this month), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck, The Stranger (1946) with Edward G. Robinson and Orson Welles (also on TCM in September), and a couple of the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies.
Most, if not all, of those titles play multiple times on GetTV in September. Check the GetTV schedule for playing times most convenient to you.
Let’s change the channel back now and have a look at what caught my eye on TCM throughout September:
Monday, September 1 - It’s TCM’s annual 24-hour tribute to the Tellerude Film Festival, which includes a showing of World War I classic The Big Parade (1925) starring John Gilbert and Renee Adoree at 9:30 am ET.
I've had a logo picturing a scene from The Big Parade up on the site for several weeks now in anticipation of this month's "World War I in Classic Film" blogathon. While I've already covered The Big Parade, I'll be posting about 1931's The Last Flight for that Blogathon on September 7. The "World War I in Classic Film" blogathon is being hosted by Silent-ology and Movies Silently.
Tuesday, September 2 - TCM’s spotlights “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film” with 20 movies on Tuesday evenings throughout the month. Playing on the 2nd at 8:00 pm is one of the most important movies ever made, Alan Crosland’s The Jazz Singer (1927) starring Al Jolson. Too bad it’s not as good as it is important. The evening closes with King Vidor’s adaptation of the stage hit Street Scene (1931), starring one of my favorites, Sylvia Sidney, and providing a strong role for one of my favorite character actors, David Landau, as her father.
Wednesday, September 3 - The first night of movies featuring Star of the Month Melvyn Douglas, with movies beginning at 8 pm and playing through the next morning at 10:30 am.
Friday, September 5 - The first of four 24-hour pre-Code marathons begins at 6 am. Movies playing during this marathon that I’ve covered in the past include William A. Wellman’s Safe in Hell (1931 - 12:15 pm) with Dorothy Mackaill and, over on my Warren William site, Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933 - 1:00 am). While the entire remaining schedule is recommended, the pre-Code essential of the bunch is Barbara Stanwyck in Baby Face (1933) at 8:00 pm. More Stanwyck throughout the day including a pretty good runner-up to Baby Face, Night Nurse at 5:30 pm. I recently enjoyed pal Will McKinley's post 5 Reasons to Watch Night Nurse at his site, Cinematically Insane.
By the way, if you've yet to discover Danny Reid's site Pre-Code.com, well, I couldn't imagine a better month to get to know it inside and out. Believe it or not, Danny already has covered most of these 67 titles!
Saturday, September 6 - Lew Ayres comes to TCM Saturday mornings for awhile beginning with Young Dr. Kildare (1938 - 10:30 am), the first movie of that MGM series.
Sunday, September 7 - The day begins with a Marie Dressler-Wallace Beery double feature, Min and Bill (1930 - 6:00 am) followed by Tugboat Annie (1933 - 7:15). The first is more acclaimed, the second the better movie. They are followed by Charles Laughton in Ruggles of Red Gap (1935 - 8:45 am) and then Mae West with Cary Grant in I’m No Angel (1933 - 10:30 am).
Monday, September 8 - An evening tribute to Beatrice Lillie begins with with Clive Brook’s hilarious comedy of manners On Approval (1944) at 8:00 pm. It’s followed by Exit Smiling (1926) at 9:30 pm.
Tuesday, September 9 - It’s Aline MacMahon day! If you know this popular character actress than you’re already celebrating, but if the name doesn’t mean anything be sure to tune in for a day beginning with several 1930s gems. A couple of favorites that I've previously covered on the site are Silver Dollar (1932) with Edward G. Robinson as a character based on "Haw" Tabor at 7:45 am and MacMahon in a strong dramatic turn as leading lady in Kind Lady (1935) at 1:15 pm - A very creepy Basil Rathbone co-stars. In between do not miss The Mouthpiece (1932 - 9:15 am), featuring Warren William in a William J. Fallon inspired role; Aline with sister Ann Dvorak in Heat Lightning (1934 - 10:45), and MacMahon in one of a few turns she had as Guy Kibbee’s wife in Big Hearted Herbert (1934 - 12:00 pm).
Wednesday, September 10 - A strong day and night of programming with TCM’s 1940s Crime Wave going off during the day — includes George Raft in Red Light (1949 - 6:30 pm) — and a marathon of 1930s Melvyn Douglas classics playing at night.
Ernst Lubitch’s classic Ninotchka (1939) with Greta Garbo opens night two of Melvyn Douglas movies at 8:00 pm, and you can catch the Garbo-Douglas pairing again later that night in Garbo’s swansong, Two-Faced Woman (1931) at 4:30 am. Following Ninotchka comes the classic Captains Courageous (1937 - 10 pm), which sees Douglas on land playing Freddie Bartholomew’s father. After that, Douglas plays love interest to Irene Dunne in screwball comedy classic Theodora Goes Wild (1936 - 12:00 am) and then opposite Claudette Colbert in She Married Her Boss (1935 - 1:45 am), which you can also find on GetTV this month. Douglas is with horror icon Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray in indie low budgeter The Vampire Bat (1933) at 3:15 am. He and Warren William play well together along with Virginia Bruce in Arsene Lupin Returns (1938), the following morning at 7:45 am.
Friday, September 12 - The second pre-Code marathon includes some Jean Harlow favorites in the late afternoon and early evening with Bombshell (1933 - 4:45 pm), Red Headed Woman (1932 - 6:30 pm) and Red Dust (1932 - 8:00) playing consecutively at that time. Later that evening comes the ultimate Miriam Hopkins pre-Code marathon beginning with my two favorite Ernst Lubitsch movies, Design for Living (1933 - 9:30 pm) and Trouble in Paradise (1932 - 11:15 pm), followed by Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931 - 12:45 am), and then one of the eras most notorious titles, The Story of Temple Drake (1933 - 2:30 am). Other goodies playing throughout the day and night include Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in Union Depot (1932 - 12:30 pm), Gregory La Cava’s The Age of Consent (1932 - 3:00 pm), and William Powell and Kay Francis in Jewel Robbery (1932 - 5:00 am).
Monday, September 15 - A three-movie Fay Wray birthday tribute opens the day with The Finger Points (1931 - 6:00 am), The Unholy Garden (1931 - 7:30 am), and Ann Carver’s Profession (1933 - 9:00). The rest of daytime is filled out by a Jackie Cooper birthday marathon that includes one covered on the site, Gallant Sons (1940 - 2:45 pm), also featuring Bonita Granville and Gene Reynolds. Also recommended is later Cooper-Wallace Beery pairing O’Shaughnessy’s Boy (1935 - 11:45), a very busy movie of circus life.
Note that the original TCM schedule for the evening of the 15th has been preempted to begin a 24-hour tribute to Lauren Bacall at 8:00 pm ET.
Tuesday, September 16 - Originally slated as a Lauren Bacall birthday celebration, TCM has doubled a 12-hour marathon to a full 24 hours that begin the previous night at 8 pm. The complete TCM Lauren Bacall tribute schedule is as follows:
Monday, Sept. 15
8 p.m. – Private Screenings: Lauren Bacall (2005)
9 p.m. – To Have and Have Not (1944)
11 p.m. – The Big Sleep (1946)
1 a.m. – How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
2:45 a.m. – Private Screenings: Lauren Bacall (2005)
3:45 a.m. – Harper (1966)
Tuesday, Sept. 16
6 a.m. – Bright Leaf (1950)
8 a.m. – Young Man with a Horn (1950)
10 a.m. – Dark Passage (1947)
Noon – Key Largo (1948)
2 p.m. – Blood Alley (1955)
4 p.m. – Sex and the Single Girl (1964)
6 p.m. – Designing Woman (1957)
Additional details from the TCM press room HERE.
Wednesday, September 17 - Night 3 of Melvyn Douglas includes Fast Company (1938 - 1:30 am), Dangerous Corner (1935 - 4:45), and, the following morning, Prestige (1932 - 6:00 am). Dangerous Corner is recommended. Another Virginia Bruce pairing for Douglas, also includes a good performance from Conrad Nagel. The movie has a twist that might prove frustrating on first view, but I’ve come to like it. Prestige is an early Tay Garnett title I’ve not seen before, so I'm really looking forward to that one.
Thursday, September 18 - A Greta Garbo birthday tribute begins at 10:30 am with Love (1927), The Single Standard (1929 - 12:00 pm), and Wild Orchids (1929 - 1:15 pm). Those are followed by the two-part 1986 Garbo documentary beginning at 3:00 pm.
Friday, September 19 - The third pre-Code marathon and this one includes some key Warren William titles: The Mind Reader (1933 - 2:30 pm), Beauty and the Boss (1932 - 3:45 pm), and, much later that evening, Skyscraper Souls (1932 - 3:30 am).
Also playing that day is Two Seconds (1932 - 11:45) which rises from an extremely routine beginning to show off Edward G. Robinson giving one of the most intense performances I’ve ever seen. Despite several superior movies playing throughout the month, Two Seconds would be one of the first I would force anyone into a chair to watch, and it’s all because of Robinson — don’t give up on it if the beginning doesn’t do anything for you.
Mae Clarke shows up throughout the day, especially in the early morning: Parole Girl (1933 - 6:00 am), Three Wise Girls (1932 - 7:30 am), Lady Killer (1933 - 8:45 am), and Waterloo Bridge (1931 - 5:00 pm). Also a lot of early Cary Grant playing: Hot Saturday (1932 - 6:30 pm), Blonde Venus (1932 - 8:00 pm), I’m No Angel (1933 - 9:45 pm), She Done Him Wrong (1933 - 11:30). Of those be especially sure to catch Josef von Sternberg’s Blonde Venus with Marlene Dietrich. It’s a pre-Code essential and I can’t recall it having been on TCM any time recently. Marathon #3 closes with another favorite, Loretta Young in She Had to Say Yes (1933 - 5:15).
Saturday, September 20 - Jack Benny in the morning with The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945 - 7:00 am) and George Washington Slept Here (1942 - 8:30 am), followed by a 1973 Benny visit to Johnny Carson at 10:15 am. I’m a big fan of George Washington Slept Here, probably my favorite of the small sub-genre of homeowner disaster movies.
From the early newspaper cycle, Edward G. Robinson stars with Marian Marsh in Five Star Final (1931) that Saturday at midnight. A creepy Karloff performance in this one too, though not one of my favorites.
Sunday, September 21 - Trouble in Paradise (1932) plays again Sunday morning at 10:30 am. Wartime favorite Mrs. Miniver (1942) with Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon follows at noon. TCM plays one from Fox that afternoon with Henry King’s The Black Swan (1942), an entertaining swashbuckler starring Tyrone Power with Maureen O’Hara on at 4:30 pm.
Monday, September 22 - An eclectic mix of movies gathered under the them of “Unrequited Love” plays during the Monday daytime, beginning with Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera (1925) at 6:00 am and including The Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera (1935 - 10:00) along with smaller titles, such as The Office Wife (1930 - 7:45 am) and One Sunday Afternoon (1933 - 8:45 am). That last one, starring Gary Cooper and Fay Wray, is actually an earlier version of the popular later film, The Strawberry Blonde (1941) starring James Cagney, Olivia De Havilland and Rita Hayworth.
Tuesday, September 23 - TCM’s Mickey Rooney birthday tribute sticks mostly to the 1930s and includes Mickey in support of Freddie Bartholomew in Lord Jeff (1938 - 1:45) as well as a three Andy Hardy movies: Judge Hardy’s Children (1938 - 3:15 pm), The Hardys Ride High (1939 - 4:45 pm), and Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946 - 6:15 pm).
At 8:00 pm ET comes a rare showing of one of George Arliss’ best films, The House of Rothschild (1934). Arliss himself is fantastic, though there’s a Robert Young-Loretta Young romance in there that adds nothing to the story. Boris Karloff plays the villain again, but this time I think he’s a perfect fit!
Wednesday, September 24 - The final evening for Melvyn Douglas as TCM’s Star of the Month begins at 8:00 pm.
Friday, September 26 - The final 24-hour marathon of pre-Code movies begins at 6:00 am. The highlight for most will be the trinity of gangster movies beginning at 6:30 pm with The Public Enemy (1931), followed by Scarface (1932 - 8:00 pm) and Little Caesar (1931 - 9:45 pm), though my favorites that day include Warren William in - what I consider his best movie - Employees’ Entrance (1933 - 2:30 pm), and Clara Bow in Call Her Savage (1932 - 2:15 pm), which is unfortunately tucked into the late night. Other gems playing throughout the day include John Gilbert in Downstairs (1932 - 8:00 am), Richard Barthelmess in Heroes for Sale (1933 - 1:15 pm), and Loretta Young in Midnight Mary (1933 - 4:00 pm). Penthouse (1933 - 11:15 pm) starring Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy is a goodie I’ve written about in the past. No matter how often you watch, Ann Dvorak remains outstanding in Three On a Match (1932 - 1:00 am).
Saturday, September 27 - The TCM Essential at 8:00 pm that evening is film noir classic Laura (1944) starring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews. A Fox title, it doesn’t show up on TCM very often. It’s surrounded by some classics too, with North by Northwest (1959) playing just ahead of it at 5:30 pm and The Apartment (1960) following at 9:45 pm.
Sunday, September 28 - Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert star in Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night (1934) at 6:00 pm. In case you haven't bumped into it yet, here's my post about the myth of Gable and the undershirt.Monday, September 29 - Movies from directors Roy Del Ruth and William Beaudine yield a few titles of interest that I’ve yet to see: Del Ruth’s Three Faces East (1930 - 8:15 am) with Constance Bennett and Erich von Stroheim is followed by My Past (1931 - 9:30 am) with Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon. As for Beaudine there’s Loretta Young with Jack Mulhall (who I really liked in Show Girl in Hollywood) in Road to Paradise (1930 - 12:15 pm) followed by a Booth Tarkington adaptation, Adventures of Penrod and Sam (1931 - 1:45 pm).
The evening theme of Max Steiner scores brings some big movies: Dodge City (1939 - 8:00 pm), Gone With the Wind (1939 - 10:00 pm), The Informer (1935 - 2:00 am), and Now, Voyager (1942 - 4:00 am).
Tuesday, September 30 - A Deborah Kerr birthday tribute includes a title I always want to like more than I do, The Hucksters (1947 - 8:30 am), but the Kerr-Clark Gable romance always seems to bog this one down for me. Love the ad exec business content around that though.
For a look at what other bloggers are excited about on TCM in September, be sure to see Kristina's roundup of Classic Film on TV previews for September.
The TCM Star of the Month for October is Janet Leigh. In addition to Leigh in Psycho (1960), you can bet TCM will also roll out the usual round of horror classics leading up to Halloween.
Enjoy the month ... be sure to have DVR space ready on Fridays!