Monday, October 30, 2017

A TCM Viewer's Guide for the Week of Oct. 30, 2017


TCM is airing 24 hours of James Stewart films this Wednesday.

TCM's November star of the month is beloved actor James Stewart. The network is kicking off the month-long celebration with 24-hours of his early films on Wednesday, including his iconic performance in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). There's also a Halloween lineup of horror films and a centenary tribute to Ann Rutherford.

I'll go in-depth a little further down in the article, but first here's a quick rundown of what else is on the schedule. Note: All program times are EST.

Birthday tributes: Ann Rutherford on Thursday.

Noir Alley: Escaped convict Stephen McNally takes a group of hostages to a Nevada nuclear testing site in  Split Second (1953) at 10 a.m. Sunday. This movie marks noir favorite Dick Powell's directorial debut. 

TCM Essentials: Detective Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) investigates a case of blackmail against two beautiful L.A. sisters (Lauren Bacall and Martha Vickers) in The Big Sleep (1946) at 8 p.m. Saturday. 

Silent Sunday Nights: The delightful Harold Lloyd comedy Kid Brother (1927) at 12:45 a.m. in which our hero plays a nervous weakling in a family of he-men.

TCM Imports: The restored version of Italian director Luchino Visconti's coming-of-age drama Rocco and His Brothers (1960) at 2:45 a.m., which stars Alain Delon as a naive rural youth whose family falls apart when they move to Milan.

Best Day to DVR: Wednesday afternoon, prime time, and late night: TCM is airing some of James Stewart's best films of the 1930s starting with he and Carole Lombard as newlyweds who are trying to cope with family disapproval, limited finances, and a sick child in Made for Each Other (1939) at 6 p.m. Next is the documentary James Stewart: A Wonderful Life (1987) at 8 p.m. followed by another 1939 classic, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at 9:45 p.m. Stewart plays a gangly sheriff who cleans out a wild cow town in the Western spoof Destry Rides Again (1939) at 12:15 a.m. followed by a rare villain role in After the Thin Man (1936) at 2 a.m. Finally, Stewart and Ginger Rogers play a mismatched pair of newlyweds (he's a college professor; she's a nightclub singer) in Vivacious Lady (1938) at 4 a.m.

Monday, Oct. 30

Rudolph Valentino in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921).
Three daytime picks: The theme is movies about Communist infiltration starting with Frank Lovejoy confessing that I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951) at 9:45 a.m. John Wayne and James Arness hunt for commies in Hawaii (the islands don't really seem like a Red hot spot, but the Duke manages to find plenty skulking around) in Big Jim McClain at 12:45 p.m. Finally, brainwashed Medal of Honor winner Laurence Harvey is the linchpin to an elaborate Communist conspiracy in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) at 5:45 p.m.
Prime time lineup: Each Monday in October, TCM is partnering with the non-profit organization Women in Film to put the spotlight on the trailblazing ladies who worked behind the scenes in old Hollywood. Tonight's lineup features female producers such as June Mathis who helped push Rudolph Valentino to international stardom in movies like The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) at 8 p.m. One of the most prolific and successful producers in modern Hollywood is Kathleen Kennedy, who is represented by the eighties blockbuster Back to the Future (1985) at 10:30 p.m.
Late night pick: Virginia Van Upp produced the classic film noir Gilda (1946) at 12:45 a.m.

Tuesday, Oct 31

Julie Harris in The Haunting (1963).
Three daytime picks: TCM is celebrating Halloween with a lineup of horror movies starting with Bela Lugosi as a voodoo master in White Zombie (1932) at 8:45 a.m. Next, Peter Lorre is possibly the weirdest (and baldest) crazy scientist in cinema history in Mad Love (1935) at 10 a.m. Horror icon Vincent Price plays another mad sculptor in the 3-D spectacular House of Wax (1953) at 4:30 p.m.
Prime time lineup: The evening lineup is devoted to haunted house movies starting with one of the first and best movies in the genre, director James Whale's The Old Dark House (1932) at 8 p.m. followed by the psychological horror film The Haunting (1963) at 9:30 p.m.
Late night pick: Vincent Price traps several unlucky house guests in The House on Haunted Hill (1958) at 11:30 p.m. The funny horror spoof The Cat and the Canary (1939) at 1:15 a.m. finds Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard and company trapped in a spooky house for the reading of a will.

Wednesday, Nov. 1





Three Daytime Picks: TCM is airing some of star of the month James Stewart's early films starting with his role as Edward G. Robinson's romantic rival in The Last Gangster (1937) at 7:30 a.m. Stewart plays Jeanette MacDonald's brother in Rose Marie (1936) at 1 p.m. (he mostly looks awkward while MacDonald and Nelson Eddy warble "Indian Love Call" at each other). If you ever wanted to see Stewart and Joan Crawford on ice skates then The Ice Follies of 1939 at 4:30 p.m. is for you.
Prime time lineup: See the Best Day to DVR section.
Late night pick: See the Best Day to DVR section.

Thursday, Nov. 2

Ann Rutherford.
Three daytime picks: An 100th birthday tribute to actor Ann Rutherford who was born Nov. 2, 1917, in Vancouver, British Columbia. A teenage Rutherford broke into show business by appearing on radio dramas and she eventually earned a contract with MGM where one of her early roles was as The Spirit of Christmas Past in the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol at 6 a.m. Her roles as Carreen O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (1939) and as Andy Hardy's girlfriend Polly Benedict led to several perky teenager roles in films like the college comedy These Glamour Girls (1940) at noon. She also appeared in a popular series of films with Red Skelton that includes Whistling in Brooklyn (1943) at 6:15 p.m. This film, which is about sleuth Skelton going undercover with the Brooklyn Dodgers to solve a murder, features several cameos from Dodgers' players and manager Leo Durocher.
Prime time lineup: The prime-time lineup is devoted to Sophia Loren, featuring two of her popular collaborations with director Vittorio De Sica and actor Marcello Mastroianni: Marriage - Italian Style 1964) at 8 p.m. and Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (1963) at 10 p.m.
Late night pick: The late-night lineup includes Loren's Academy Award-winning role in Two Women (1961) at 12:15 a.m. and an interview recorded at the TCM Classic Film Festival with Loren and her son Edoardo Ponti.

Friday, Nov. 3


Three daytime picks: The theme is sports biopics starting with Ronald Reagan as troubled St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander (Doris Day plays his supportive wife) in The Winning Team (1952) at 9:45 a.m. Aquatic sensation Esther Williams plays Australian swimming star Annette Kellerman (Victor Mature plays her supportive husband) in Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) at 4:30 p.m. Finally, Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson plays himself in The Jackie Robinson Story (1950) at 6:30 p.m. (Ruby Dee plays his supportive wife).
Prime time lineup: A night of seventies thrillers starting with TV reporter Jane Fonda uncovering shoddy operations at a nuclear power plant in The China Syndrome (1979) at 8 p.m. Next, Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine are on the run from the South African secret police in The Wilby Conspiracy (1975) at 10:15 p.m.
Late night pick:  Paul Newman plays an undercover British agent in director John Huston's The Mackintosh Man (1973) at 12:15 a.m.

Saturday, Nov. 4

The Essentials series continues at 8 p.m. with host Alec Baldwin. He will be joined by former late night host David Letterman to discuss the film noir The Big Sleep (1946) at 8 p.m. followed by two more films about blackmail: A greedy Southern family blackmail each other in The Little Foxes (1941) at 10:15 p.m. and Communists use blackmail to lure Robert Ryan back to the party in The Woman on Pier 13 (1950) at 12:30 a.m.

Sunday, Oct. 29

 TCM is presenting two compilations of early avant-garde cinema in prime time: Unseen Cinema (2006) at 8 p.m. and Unseen Cinema: The Mechanized Eye (2011) at 10:45 p.m.
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