A TCM Viewer's Guide for the Week of May 9, 2016

The Philadelphia Story (1940), starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart, is one of the classic movies airing on TCM this week.

This week, TCM is airing great movies from stars like Katharine Hepburn, Fred Astaire, and James Cagney.  Plus, they are featuring films about India and marriage. So, without further ado, let's jump right in to this week's offerings. Just a note: the highlighted text has links to full length articles.

I'll go in-depth a little further down in the article, but first here's a quick rundown.

Birthday tributes: Fred Astaire on Tuesday; Katharine Hepburn on Thursday.

Sunday Prime Time: A James Cagney double feature.

Silent Sunday Nights: La Roue (1927) at  midnight. This romantic drama from French director Abel Gance was revolutionary for its lighting and editing techniques. TCM is showing a four and one-half hour restoration that was culled from the original film, which was somewhere between seven and nine hours long.

TCM Imports: Director Max Ophuls bed-hopping comedy-drama La Ronde (1950) at 4:30 a.m. Sunday night/Monday morning.

Best Day to DVR: Thursday daytime, which features several of Katharine Hepburn's best films.

This is a great week for . . .: Ginger Rogers fans. Three of her best films with Fred Astaire are airing on Tuesday daytime and her hard-to-find drama Tender Comrade is airing on Friday during TCM's Robert Ryan tribute.

Monday, May 9

Daytime Theme: Movies about cowboys. TCM is airing several B Westerns from cowboy stars Tim Holt and George O'Brien. First up is Dude Cowboy (1941) at 3:45 p.m. which stars Holt as a U.S. Marshal who goes undercover at a dude ranch to uncover a counterfeiting ring. Next up are two of O'Brien's 1939 oaters, Lawless Valley at 4:45 p.m. and Trouble in Sundown at 6:45 p.m. Both films feature O'Brien as a man who is falsely accused of a crime he didn't commit.
Primetime theme: Movies in which stars appear as themselves. Brigitte Bardot appears as herself in the family comedy Dear Brigitte (1965) at 8 p.m. about a young math prodigy (Bill Mumy) who is obsessed with the French actress. Two Guys From Milwaukee (1946) at 10 p.m. is a fun Roman Holiday-esque comedy about a European prince (Dennis Morgan) who pretends he a regular citizen so he can see New York City. Along the way he bumps into Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
 Late Night Pick:  Hollywood Canteen  (1944) at 1:15 a.m. features cameos from several big name stars like Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and Roy Rogers and Trigger.

Tuesday, May 10

Fred Astaire
 Daytime Theme: A birthday tribute to Fred Astaire who was born Frederick Austerlitz on May 10, 1899, in Omaha, Neb. Astaire started out as a singing and dancing team with his sister, Adele, but when she retired, he struck out on his own and found success in Hollywood with dance partner Ginger Rogers. After he and Rogers split up in 1939, he became one of the great dance stars in American films. TCM is airing three of the Astaire-Rogers musicals. My picks are Roberta at 6 a.m. and Swing Time at 9:45 a.m. Royal Wedding (1951) at 1:15 p.m. is a wonderful MGM musical that features Astaire's famous dance on the ceiling.
Primetime Lineup: Films of 1941. TCM celebrates one of cinema's most innovative years with two landmark films. First up is Orson Welles masterpiece Citizen Kane at 8 p.m. followed by the seminal film noir The Maltese Falcon at 10:15 p.m.
Late Night Pick: Suspicion at 12:15 a.m. is another great 1941 movie from master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock.

Wednesday, May 11

Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., in Gunga Din (1939).
 Daytime Theme: Movies about India. The Little Princess (1939) at 10:15 a.m. takes place in Victorian London, but it does feature an Indian servant (Cesar Romero) who befriends an orphaned Shirley Temple. Gunga Din (1939) at noon is one of Hollywood's best action-adventure movies about three soldiers (Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) who battle the natives during the British Raj. The live-action version of The Jungle Book (1942) at 5:45 p.m. starring Sabu is my favorite version of Rudyard Kipling's classic tale.
Primetime Lineup: Movies about illegal drugs. Pickup Alley (1957) at 8 p.m. is a British film about a U.S. narcotics officer (Victor Mature), who is trying to shut down an international narcotics ring. Dick Powell plays another noble narcotics agent who is trotting the globe to quash the illegal drug trade in To the Ends of the Earth (1948) at 10 p.m. 
 Late Night Pick: The French Connection (1971) at midnight is both a great thriller about New York narcotics officers and one of the best films of the 1970's.

Thursday, May 12

Katharine Hepburn
Daytime theme: A birthday tribute to Katharine Hepburn who was born May 12, 1907, in Hartford, Conn. This daughter of a prominent New England family made a sensational screen debut in 1932, and she became a  star in pre-code Hollywood in films like Little Women (1933) airing at 6 a.m.. Her career faltered a bit in the late 1930's, but she made a sensational comeback in The Philadelphia Story (1940) airing at noon. Her legendary partnership with Spencer Tracy began with the battle of the sexes comedy Woman of the Year (1942) at 2 p.m. She never looked back from there forging a career that would win her four Academy Awards and give her the status of a feminist icon.
Primetime lineup: TCM will celebrate the legendary B movie company American International Pictures with a spotlight on the company's films every Thursday in May. Director Martin Scorsese calls director Roger Corman's cycle of movies based on the horror stories of Edgar Allan Poe the "crown jewel" of AIP's releases. TCM is airing one of the best of these films, The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) at 8 p.m. followed by another Corman-directed classic, the science fiction film X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963) at 9:30 p.m.
Late Night Pick: The horror film Black Sabbath (1964) at 1 a.m. is another AIP release that Scorsese highly praises.

Friday, May 13

Robert Ryan.
Daytime theme: Appropriately for Friday the 13th TCM's morning lineup is all about bad luck including The Great Sinner (1949) at 10:30 a.m., which is an all-star adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevesky's story The Gambler featuring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Walter Huston, Agnes Moorehead, and Ethel Barrymore. In the afternoon, TCM switches over to star of the month Robert Ryan featuring two of his best early films: The football drama The Iron Major (1943) at 3:30 p.m. and the homefront drama Tender Comrade at 6:15 p.m. The second film was written by Dalton Trumbo, and its advocacy for a mild form of socialism is one of the reasons Trumbo landed in hot water with Congress in the 1950's.
Primetime lineup: TCM continues Ryan's films in prime time with the seafaring drama Billy Budd (1962) at 8 p.m. and the TCM debut of About Mrs. Leslie (1954) a romance co-starring Shirley Booth that host Robert Osborne calls a "jewel which somehow has fallen through the cracks in Hollywood's history books."
Late Night Pick: Ryan plays the patriarch of a backwoods Georgia clan who battle the Great Depression and each other in God's Little Acre (1958) at 1:45 a.m.

Saturday, May 14

TCM's prime time lineup is all about marital misunderstandings. The night begins with three classic comedies: Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth (1937) at 8 p.m. followed by William Powell and Myrna Loy in Love Crazy (1941) at 9:45 p.m. and Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray in The Marrying Kind (1952) at 11:30 p.m. The night winds up with the silent short Fatty's Tintype Tangle (1915) at 1:30 a.m., which features Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle in one of the comedies where he played a henpecked husband.

Sunday, May 15

The Sunday Night Feature is a celebration of James Cagney. First up is the classic noir White Heat (1949) at 8 p.m., which stars Cagney as deranged gangster and mama's boy Cody Jarrett. Next is Footlight Parade (1933) at 10 p.m., which features Cagney as a pugnacious Broadway producer.