Born on this date: Frank Sheridan in 1869; Gilbert Emery in 1875; Virginia Brissac in 1883; Peggy Hyland in 1884; Vera Gordon in 1886; Wesley Ruggles in 1889; Walter Byron in 1899; June in 1901; Jack Livesey in 1901; Gerald Mohr in 1914; Buddy Baer in 1915; Jane Bryan in 1918; Richard Todd in 1919; Robert Hutton in 1920; and John Bromfield in 1922.
TCM TV Alerts through tomorrow at 7 am:
These titles play on TCM's US schedule and all quoted times are for my own local Eastern time zone.
Ah, it's here! Richard Dix night on TCM! Unfortunately, they don't play these in the order that I would have set them up—look, I still found something to complain about! Actually, this is pretty good if you're a fan of Richard Dix for his Westerns. Which are fine. They even play Academy Award Best Picture winner Cimarron at 9:30 pm. You'd think I'd be happy. The problem is, the best two movies playing on Richard Dix night are the last two, beginning at 2:45 am with Ace of Aces, and followed by The Lost Squadron at 4:15 am.
I have a feeling that in attempting to reward Dix with his own night of movies, they're actually going to wind up doing him a disservice. I'm really expecting him to take a beating on Twitter and other social outlets during Prime Time hours, especially while Cimarron plays. Maybe I should have more confidence in Dix's talents, but I don't think I've ever read a kind modern review of Cimarron. I'll post one, one of these days.
Richard Dix is an actor who grows on you. Hopefully enough viewers stick around to let it happen.
I'll link the few titles I've reviewed in the following schedule. First up, you might want to check out my Richard Dix biography. It's a lengthy post and includes mini-reviews of what I consider Dix's three most important movies: The Vanishing American (1925), Cimarron (1931), and The Ghost Ship (1943). These aren't necessarily Dix's best movies, but they were the most important of his career.
Thursday night's schedule:
—8:00 pm - The Kansan (1943), a Western, but an entertaining one. Fans of the genre should really get a kick out of it, and there are enough familiar faces (Jane Wyatt, Albert Dekker, Eugene Pallette, Victor Jory, Robert Armstrong) to keep you going in case Westerns just aren't your thing.
—9:30 pm - Cimarron (1931), a huge movie for Dix in his time, Cimarron's Academy Award for Best Picture not only does him a disservice today, but really harms opinion of early talkies in general. It isn't even high on my list when it comes to recommending movies from 1931. The land rush at the beginning is great action though, and Dix is excellent in the scene that places him in the Church pulpit. As the movie progresses Dix becomes somewhat subordinate to Irene Dunne's character, which Dunne fans will be happy to hear. The movie has a terrible reputation for having aged badly, and while I can see the point I still enjoy it.
—11:45 pm - The Arizonian (1935), the only one of tonight's bunch that I haven't seen. It's another Western that previously played on TCM just a few months ago. Reputation similar to The Kansan. So far, this schedule is great if you think of Dix for his Westerns. I do not.
—1:15 am - Men Against the Sky (1941), I really thought they should have played this one after Ace of Aces, since that is the nickname of the Dix character in Men Against the Sky. It's well after the First World War, prepping for the second at an aircraft factory run by Edmund Lowe with Kent Taylor his second in command. Love interest to Taylor is Wendy Barrie, who's playing Dix's sister. Dix gives interesting performance as a stunt flyer now grounded because of his alcoholism. The TCM schedule page gives this one their lowest rating of the evening, 1-1/2 stars. I say it's the best movie that's played yet (jumping to some assumptions about The Arizonian when I say so). Full review of Men Against the Sky is HERE.
—2:45 am - Ace of Aces (1933), my own favorite Richard Dix movie, a brand new full review follows in this issue of the Daily. Dix is a pacifist peacetime sculptor with no interest in enlisting. Overseas he turns into a killing machine. Good action, strong character, unusual moral trajectory.
—4:15 am - The Lost Squadron (1932), another goodie. This time it's post-war and a group of fliers led by Dix, along with Joel McCrea, Robert Armstrong, and Hugh Herbert, land Hollywood jobs as stunt fliers. Dix's ex-girlfriend Mary Astor is star on a set directed by her new flame, played by Erich von Stroheim. The von Stroheim character, unsurprisingly, has it in for Dix. Great action, strong cast. Full review is HERE.
And if you want a little more Richard Dix, here are a few other articles of interest on the site:
- Secret Service (1931)
- The Public Defender (1931)
- The Conquerors (1932)
- His Greatest Gamble (1934)
- It Happened in Hollywood (1937)
- Interview with author Dan Van Neste about The Whistler series
—When the Richard Dix marathon concludes, TCM's Summer of Darkness takes over Friday morning at 6:00 am with Ladd and Lake in The Glass Key (1942).
I'll pick it up from there tomorrow. Talk to you then!
Issue count: Since going Daily on April 6, I've mailed posts to subscribers 64 out of 66 days.