A TCM Viewer's Guide for the Week of Sept. 19, 2016

Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), starring Charles Laughton, is one of the classic movies airing on TCM this week.

This week, TCM is airing great movies from stars like Grace Kelly, Van Heflin, and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Plus, they are putting the spotlight on slapstick comedy and the Gettysburg Address. 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: None.

Sunday Prime Time: A tribute to legendary dancer and African-American pioneer Bill Robinson with a musical biopic, A Shirley Temple film, and a short comedy.

Silent Sunday Nights: The Loves of  Pharaoh (1922) at midnight is a historical epic from director Ernst Lubitsch that was considered lost until it was reconstructed and restored in 2011.

TCM Imports: La Promesse (1996) at 2 a.m. Sunday night/Monday morning. Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's drama about human trafficking in Europe follows a teenage boy (Jeremie Renier) who  comes to realize that his father (Olivier Gourmet) is exploiting undocumented African workers.

Best Day to DVR: Monday night. TCM is featuring a night of diverse films that feature the Gettysburg Address including one of Marilyn Monroe's best dramas, an underrated comedy starring Charles Laughton, and an Abraham Lincoln biopic.

Monday, Sept. 19

Three daytime picks: The theme is movies from director E.A. Dupont. He was one of the pioneers of German cinema, but he made several low-budget movies in Hollywood during the 1950s, including the noir The Scarf (1951) at 8 a.m. starring John Ireland as an escaped insane asylum inmate who tries to prove he's not a serial killer, the science fiction drama, The Neanderthal Man (1953) at 9:30 a.m., which stars Robert Shayne as a professor who invents a potion that turns him into a cave man, and Return to Treasure Island (1954) at 2 p.m., which features "Sigh Guy" Tab Hunter looking for some buried loot. 
Prime time lineup: TCM's evening lineup is devoted to movies featuring President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address starting with Bus Stop (1956) at 8 p.m., in which Don Murray screams the famous speech to a terrified Marilyn Monroe followed by Charles Laughton's touching recitation in the genteel comedy Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) at 9:45 p.m.
Late night pick: The Gettysburg Address comes from the lips of Honest Abe himself as embodied by Raymond Massey in Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) at 4:15 a.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 20

Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball in The Long, Long Trailer (1954).
 Three daytime picks: The theme is World War II spy stories starting with The Casablanca-esque thriller The Conspirators (1944) at 9:15 a.m., which stars Paul Henreid as a Dutch Resistance spy who is hiding from the Nazis and romancing Hedy Lamarr in Lisbon followed by The Yellow Canary (1943) at 12:30 p.m., which stars Anna Neagle as a British woman who is spying for the Nazis in Nova Scotia. In Betrayed (1954) at 2 p.m. Clark Gable plays a Dutch intelligence agent who gets tangled up with suspected Nazi collaborator Lana Turner, who works under the unforgettable alias, "Carla Van Oven."
Prime time lineup: Each Tuesday and Wednesday in September, TCM is turning the spotlight on slapstick comedy. Tuesday's selections focus on the 1950s.  During that decade, slapstick spread to European films like Mon Oncle (1958) at 8 p.m. in which Jacques Tati (who also directed the movie) tries to cope with the complexities of modern life. Slapstick also moved to TV in sitcoms like I Love Lucy, whose stars, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, appear in The Long, Long Trailer (1954) at 10 p.m.
Late night pick: The leading purveyor of slapstick in fifties Hollywood was Jerry Lewis who starred in a series of wildly successful movies with partner Dean Martin like Scared Stiff (1953) at midnight.

Wednesday, Sept. 21

Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau.
 Three daytime picks: Movies with character actor Edward Ellis starting with the drama Chatterbox (1936) at 9 a.m. in which Ellis appears as the disapproving grandfather of a country girl (Anne Shirley) who wants a stage career. Next, Ellis starred in A Man to Remember (1938) at 1:15 p.m. about the life of a small-town doctor and in Three Sons (1939) at 2:45 p.m. as a department store owner who can't get his three sons interested in the family business.
Prime time lineup: The slapstick movies continue with films from the 1960s. The genre had a revival in that decade with movies like the all-star caper It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) at 8 p.m.
 Late Night Pick: Peter Sellers' bumbling Inspector Clouseau was a great slapstick character in The Pink Panther movies like A Shot in the Dark (1964) at 2 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 22

Three daytime picks: The theme is movies with numbers in the title starting with the comedy Four Girls in White (1939) at 12:15 p.m. about the lives and loves of a quartet of nursing students played by Ann Rutherford, Una Merkel, Florence Rice, and Mary Howard. Five Graves to Cairo (1943) at 1:30 p.m. follows the exploits of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (Erich von Stroheim) during his North African campaign. Finally the seven Pontipee brothers are looking for eligible ladies in the joyous musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) at 4:30 p.m.
Primetime lineup: The "numbered" movies continue in prime time with the all-star Western The Magnificent Seven (1960) at 8 p.m. followed by gangster drama The Secret Six (1931) at 10:15 p.m., which follows a group of six masked crime fighters who try to nab gangster Louis "Slaughterhouse" Scorpio (Wallace Beery).
Late Night Pick: Gene Kelly takes on a rare non-musical role in MGM's adaptation of The Three Musketeers (1948) at 3:30 a.m., which co-stars Lana Turner and June Allyson.

Friday, Sept. 23

Grace Kelly and Alec Guinness in The Swan (1956).
Three daytime picks: The theme is movies starring Grace Kelly starting with her first collaboration with director Alfred Hitchcock, Dial M for Murder (1954) at 8 a.m. Kelly's last film, the swellegant Cole Porter musical High Society (1956) will air at noon followed by her elegant performance as a conflicted princess in The Swan (1956) at 2 p.m.
Prime time lineup: TCM is celebrating the career of actor's actor Gene Hackman with a star of the month tribute every Friday in September. This week's selections focus on Hackman's dramatic roles starting with his performance as Gena Rowlands lost love in director Woody Allen's psychological drama Another Woman (1988) at 8 p.m. followed by I Never Sang for My Father (1970) at 9:30 p.m. which stars Hackman as a widowed college professor who is trying to start a new life without his demanding father played by old Hollywood favorite Melvyn Douglas.
Late night pick: Bite the Bullet (1975) at 11:15 p.m. is an underrated Western based on the true story of a 700-mile horse race that took place in 1906. It stars Hackman and James Coburn as two former Rough Riders who sign up for the grueling event.

Saturday, Sept. 24

TCM's prime time lineup is all about actor Van Heflin starting with what is his probably his best known role in the Western Shane (1953) at 8 p.m. followed by his performance as a junior executive in the Rod Serling-penned corporate drama Patterns (1956) at 10:15 p.m. Finally, Heflin is part of a love quadrangle comprising of Don Ameche, Rosalind Russell, and Kay Francis in The Feminine Touch at midnight.

Sunday, Sept. 25

The Sunday Night Feature celebrates the career of legendary dancer and entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson starting with a fictionalized version of his life's story in the musical Stormy Weather (1943) at 8 p.m. followed by The Littlest Rebel (1935) at 9:30 p.m. which is one of four films Robinson made with child star Shirley Temple. The evening wraps ups with Robinson's appearance in the comedy short King for a Day (1934) at 11 p.m.