TCM’s Star of the Month for May is Sterling Hayden and the Friday Night Spotlight is on Orson Welles. Strong picks, I like them both a lot, but most of their films are slightly outside our typical period of coverage. Highlights here include "Secretary Stories" on May 1, "Written by Lester Cohen" on May 5, and Jane Murfin day May 28. More on all that in a bit. First up, housekeeping.
In case you missed my Manhattan Melodrama post, the first of this year’s Classic Movie Blog Association blogathons just wrapped up. You’ll find all of the other posts listed on the main CMBA site HERE. I did my best to finish up early on this one (for once) so my post could be included in the eBook version of the Blogathon, which includes about half of the posts. You can pick that up for FREE on Smashwords or for 99¢ on Amazon.
A note to those who have upgraded from Standard subscription to Classic Movie Daily—First, thank you! Next, if you’re receiving two copies of this email just click that “Preferences” button at the top right of the email and deselect the Standard subscription (while making sure the box for Classic Movie Daily is still checked off - Standard subscribers can similarly upgrade to Daily). After that you shouldn’t receive duplicates.
Standard subscribers, expect to hear from me a little less this month as I push back to probably 8-10 days between reviews while I finish up work on my coming Helen Twelvetrees book. The Daily will remain Daily.
I recently plugged subscriber Bob Nardone’s Facebook group, Stars of the Silent Movies and Early Talkies, in an edition of Classic Movie Daily, but I also wanted to mention it here, in the main feed. If you’re on Facebook and want a constant stream of pics and info about the same types of movies and stars discussed here, then you’ll want to join Bob’s group.
Okay, enough chit chat. On to my picks and recommendations for TCM’s May schedule:
Pick of the month: I admit Sweepings isn’t the best movie playing on TCM this month, but I’ve probably watched it more than any of the others (excluding some of the Orson Welles titles that I’ve been watching over and over since grade school). I posted about it a couple of Christmases ago, probably a mistake, using the holiday as an excuse to concentrate on the Helen Mack character, who’s a pretty minor figure in the movie, even if she steals every scene that she’s in. There’s a lot more to her in Lester Cohen’s novel, which I recommend—used copies are rare but affordable on Amazon.
I love a sweeping saga, even if it does mean we have to put up with Lionel Barrymore trying to look decades younger than he really is for a little while. I especially love a good story about business or a businessman, which Sweepings is on the surface, though deep down it’s about family, fatherhood, and the expectations taken for granted from one generation to the next.
Besides Helen Mack Sweepings boasts an excellent performance from Gregory Ratoff, who has his own complicated relationship with his boss, department store founder and Pardway family patriarch Lionel Barrymore. Gloria Stuart fans will be disappointed, Eric Linden fans slightly less so, but there’s plenty of William Gargan, who plays the eldest son here and actually came back to play the part of the uncle in 1939 remake Three Sons (which plays on TCM immediately after Sweepings). Alan Dinehart plays the uncle in the 1933 movie.
Long for a movie of its era at 80 minutes, it actually isn’t enough time to tell this story as well as it could have been. Those who do pick up the book will be treated to a lengthy prologue that begins with brothers Daniel and Thane as boys, plus a lot more Mamie towards the end of the story. In between are some extra instances of adultery and details of drug addiction that didn't make the movie.
Other movies I’ve either written about and/or recommend … Based on the US schedule, all times Eastern. Days begin and end at 6:00 am.
May 2, 8:00 pm-2:00 am - Three starring Greta Garbo: Ninotchka (1939) at 8:00 pm; Queen Christina (1933) at 10:00 pm; Anna Christie (1930) at 12:00 am.
May 5, 6:00 am - One Man’s Journey (1933) starring Lionel Barrymore, May Robson, Joel McCrea, D: John S. Robertson.
Pick of the month. May 5, 7:15 am - Sweepings (1933) starring Lionel Barrymore, Eric Linden, William Gargan, D: John Cromwell. Followed by inferior remake Three Sons (1939) starring Edward Ellis at 8:45 am.
May 6, 6:00 am - Night Nurse (1931) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Clark Gable, D: William A. Wellman. Plays again on May 26 at 7:45 am.
May 6, 9:45 am -The Asphalt Jungle (1950), the quintessential caper movie and the highlight of any Sterling Hayden program of films.
May 7, 1:45 pm - Bright Leaf (1950) starring Gary Cooper, Lauren Bacall, Jack Carson, D: Michael Curtiz. Part of a Gary Cooper birthday celebration that begins at 6:00 am and wraps up with the two following it, The Fountainhead (1949) at 3:45 pm and The Pride of the Yankees (1942) at 5:45 pm.
May 7, 2:45 am - Five Came Back (1939) starring Chester Morris, Lucille Ball, C. Aubrey Smith, D: John Farrow.
May 10, 9:00 am - Stella Dallas (1937) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Anne Shirley, John Boles, D: King Vidor. Part of TCM’s Mother’s Day lineup.
May 13, 5:45 am - The Tunnel aka Trans-Atlantic Tunnel (1935) starring Richard Dix, Leslie Banks, Madge Evans, D: Maurice Elvey. Interesting early science fiction made in Britain. Includes cameo appearances by Walter Huston as the President of the United States and George Arliss as the Prime Minister of Britain.
May 14, 7:30 am-8:00 pm - A day of British science fiction, which I guess actually began at 5:45 with Trans-Atlantic Tunnel (above) and includes classic titles such as The Cosmic Monsters (1958) and X: The Unknown (1956).
May 17, 6:00 am - Grand Hotel (1932) starring Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, D: Edmund Goulding.
May 17, 10:15 pm - The Blue Angel (1930) starring Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron, D: Josef von Sternberg.
May 18, 6:00 am-8:00 pm - Frank Capra birthday tribute including essential titles Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and Meet John Doe (1941).
May 19, 10:30 am - Primrose Path (1940) starring Ginger Rogers, Joel McCrea, Marjorie Rambeau, D: Gregory La Cava.
May 21, 2:15 am - A Night to Remember (1958) starring Kenneth More, Honor Blackman, Anthony Bushell, D: Roy Ward Baker. My favored Titanic movie.
May 22, 10:00 pm - The Trial (1963), probably my favorite of the Orson Welles movies playing during TCM’s May Friday Night Spotlight, though I love the better known titles too. Thought I’d include it as it makes a good place to link to my review of My Lunches with Orson. I also love F for Fake (1973), which plays a little later at 1:30 am.
May 23-25 - TCM’s annual three-day Memorial Day marathon of war movies. Personal favorites include Dive Bomber (1941) at 3:00 pm on the 23rd; Sahara (1943) at 6:00 am on the 24th; A Walk in the Sun (1945) at 4:00 pm on the 24th; The Big Parade (1925) at 12:15 am on the 24th; and Battleground (1949) at 8:00 pm on the 25th.
May 26, 6:15 am - God’s Gift to Women (1931), a terrible disappointment starring Frank Fay with Joan Blondell, but a rare opportunity to see Louise Brooks play in a Hollywood-made talkie.
May 26, 8:00 pm - The Count of Monte Cristo (1934) starring Robert Donat, Elissa Landi, Louis Calhern, D: Rowland V. Lee.
May 27, 6:15 am - Little Men (1940) starring Kay Francis, Jack Oakie, George Bancroft, D: Norman Z. McLeod.
May 28, 6:00 am-8:00 pm - A daytime marathon of movies written by Jane Murfin includes the most eclectic pre-Code choices of May, plus some gems in What Price Hollywood? (1932) and Professional Sweetheart (1933). It will be my first time catching The Life of Vergie Winters (1934), which has been on my want list for awhile.
May 29, 6:00 am - The Case of the Lucky Legs (1935) starring Warren William, Lyle Talbot, Allen Jenkins, D: Archie Mayo.
May 29, 7:30 am - Miss Pacific Fleet (1935) starring Glenda Farrell, Joan Blondell, Hugh Herbert, D: Ray Enright.
May 30, 10:30 pm - Fury (1936) starring Spencer Tracy, Sylvia Sidney, Walter Brennan, D: Fritz Lang.
There is no Star of the Month for June. Instead TCM celebrates “Pin-Up Girls.” I doubt we will.
I’m sure they’ll squeeze some goodies into June, they always do, but I get the feeling most of my picks will be playing between 3:00 am and 8:00 am again.
Kristina beat me this month: May's Classic Movie Guide is up over at the Speakeasy. Be sure to check it out for links to other bloggers and their classic picks for May.