Monday, November 13, 2017

A TCM Viewer's Guide for the Week of Nov. 13, 2017


TCM is airing three of James Stewart's films with director Alfred Hitchcock this week. Vertigo (1958), which costars Kim Novak (photo above), is airing on Wednesday night.

TCM's November star of the month is beloved actor James Stewart. The network is airing three films he made with Alfred Hitchcock this week: Rope (1948) and Vertigo (1958) on Wednesday and Rear Window (1954) on Saturday. There's also two nights of movies about the Hollywood blacklist and a daytime lineup of movies about dinner parties.

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: Dick Powell on Tuesday.

Noir Alley: Con Man Richard Widmark tries to break into London's criminal underworld in director Jules Dassin's Night and the City (1950) at 10 a.m. Sunday. Watch for the location shooting in London and a fight scene between professional wrestlers Mike Mazurki and Stanislaus Zbyszko.

TCM Essentials: See Best Day to DVR section.

Silent Sunday Nights: Two movies about relationships. First is the soaper The Single Standard (1929) at midnight in which Greta Garbo tries and fails to practice free love. Next, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Mabel Normand are unhappily married newlyweds (mostly becausing of Fatty's carousing with Ford Sterling) in That Little Band of Gold (1915) at 1:30 a.m.

TCM Imports: The medieval drama Marketa Lazarova (1967) at 2:30 a.m. is widely considered the best Czech film every made.

Best Day to DVR: Wednesday afternoon and prime time and Saturday prime time and late night: Start out on Wednesday afternoon with Rope at 6 p.m. Stewart is a bit miscast in this movie as a Nietschze-quoting teacher whose former students (John Dall and Farley Granger) take his lessons much too seriously, but I still think this film deserves a much higher place in Hitch's filmography than it gets from most critics. Stewart gave perhaps his most complex performance in Vertigo at 8 p.m. Anatomy of a Murder (1959) at 10:30 p.m. was directed by Otto Preminger, but the courtroom drama has enough plot twists to satisfy Hitchcock fans, and Stewart gives a great performance as a folksy attorney who turns out to have a sharp legal mind.
Saturday's prime time lineup is devoted to Stewart's great friend, Grace Kelly. The only film they made together was the Hitchcock classic Rear Window at 8 p.m. That film is followed by The Philadelphia Story remake High Society (1956) at 10:15 p.m.; this movie isn't nearly as good as the original, but it's worth tuning in for Cole Porter's score and Kelly's gorgeous Helen Rose-designed wardrobe (keep an eye out for her 10.5 carat diamond engagement ring, which she wore throughout the filming). The action-adventure Green Fire (1955) at 12:15 a.m., which is about emerald mining in South America, is a bit of an obscurity these days, but it's still worth watching for the location shooting in Colombia, a great supporting performance by Paul Douglas, and Stewart Granger at his manly man peak.

Monday, Nov. 13

Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember (1957).
Three daytime picks: The theme is movies set in New York City starting with Gene Kelly, Jules Munshin, and Frank Sinatra as three sailors on 24-hour leave in the Big Apple in On the Town (1949) at 8 a.m. Lovers Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant agree to meet atop the Empire State Building in the classic romance An Affair to Remember (1957) at 12:30 p.m. Small-town girl Judy Holliday tries to hit the big time by plastering her name on a NYC billboard in the charming rom-com It Should Happen to You (1953) at 2:30 p.m.
Prime time lineup: Each Monday and Tuesday in November, TCM is airing movies about the Hollywood Blacklist of the late 1940s and early 1950s. During that time period, the U.S. Congress investigated actors, directors, and writers for alleged Communist activity and many were blacklisted, which meant they were barred from earning a living in their chosen profession. Monday's lineup deals with blacklisted writers and directors starting with the great noir Force of Evil (1948) at 8 p.m. from blacklisted writer-director Abraham Polonsky. Blacklisted director Irving Pichel helmed the powerful anti-Nazi drama The Man I Married (1940) at 9:45 p.m.
Late night pick: There's more great noir in late night starting with The Racket (1951) at 11:15 p.m. from blacklisted director John Cromwell. The Naked City (1948) at 3 a.m. was made by blacklisted director Jules Dassin.

Tuesday, Nov. 14

Dick Powell
Three daytime picks: A birthday tribute for actor Dick Powell who was born Richard Powell on Nov. 14, 1904, in Mountain View, Ark. Powell rose to a fame as a performer in Warner Bros. musicals like Flirtation Walk (1934) at 8:15 a.m. Powell eventually outgrew his sunny screen persona and pursued a career in films noir like Cornered (1946) at 11:30 a.m. One of his best performances was as private detective Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet (1944) at 6:15 p.m.
Prime time lineup: The spotlight on the Hollywood Blacklist continues with films from blacklisted actors. Blacklisted actors John Garfield and Norman Lloyd both appeared in the noir He Ran All the Way (1951) at 8 p.m. Gale Sondergaard was an Academy Award-winning character actor in films like the costume drama Anthony Adverse (1936) at 9:30 p.m.
Late night pick: Karen Morley had a thriving old Hollywood career in films like the gangster saga Scarface: The Shame of the Nation (1932) at midnight until she was blacklisted in 1947.

Wednesday, Nov. 15


Lana Turner, Judy Garland, and Hedy Lamarr on the set of Ziegfeld Girl (1941).
Three Daytime Picks: The daytime lineup of Stewart movies starts out with Jimmy and Paulette Goddard in the comedy Pot o' Gold (1941) at 10 a.m. I have never seen this movie, but I've heard a lot of good things about it on Twitter. No Time for Comedy (1940) at 11:45 a.m. finds Jimmy as a bumbling playwright who is taken in hand by theater star Rosalind Russell, while Stewart romances Lana Turner in the musical Ziegfeld Girl (1941) at 1:45 p.m.
Prime time lineup: See the Best Day to DVR section.
Late night pick: One of Stewart's childhood heroes was aviator Charles Lindbergh. He got the chance to portray Lucky Lindy in the biopic The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) at 1:30 a.m.

Thursday, Nov. 16

Marie Dressler in Dinner at Eight (1933).
Three daytime picks: The theme is movies about parties. Marion Davies shows off her comedic chops as a ditzy woman who tries to host a society bash in the delightful pre-code film Not So Dumb (1930) at 6 a.m. (A 1940 Ann Sothern remake titled Dulcy is on at 7:30 a.m.). You Can't Fool Your Wife (1940) at noon is a fun screwball comedy starring Lucille Ball as a frumpy housewife who transforms into a glamorous beauty just in time for a costume party. A star-studded cast including John Barrymore, Marie Dressler, and Jean Harlow gather for Dinner at Eight (1933) at 4:15 p.m.
Prime time lineup: The prime-time theme is seventies movies featuring actor Marsha Mason. She received her first of four best actress Oscar nominations for the quirky romance Cinderella Liberty (1973) at 8 p.m. Mason also received an Oscar nod for the popular rom-com The Goodbye Girl (1977) at 10:15 p.m.
Late night pick: Mason gives another sensitive performance in the medical drama Promises to Keep (1979) at 12:15 a.m. about a doctor who becomes attached to a young cancer patient (Kathleen Beller). 

Friday, Nov. 17

Irene Dunne.
Three daytime picks: The theme is the early films of actor Irene Dunne. The popular leading lady hit the big time with the screwball Theodora Goes Wild (1936; not airing), but before that she was an RKO Pictures contract player who did all kinds of films such as the pre-code romance Bachelor Apartment (1931) at 6:30 a.m. (an innocent small-town girl chased by playboy Lowell Sherman); the Sinclair Lewis adaptation Ann Vickers (1933) at 12:15 p.m. (a crusading social worker); and the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical Roberta (1935) at 6 p.m. (a fashion designer).
Prime time lineup: Author and illustrator Brian Selznick will discuss three films that influenced his novel Wonderstruck, which was recently adapted for the big screen by director Todd Haynes. Selznick, who is related to legendary old Hollywood producer David O. Selznick, begins with the silent film The Wind (1928) at 8 p.m. starring Lillian Gish. A character played by Julianne Moore is inspired by Gish's character in The Wind. Selznick also pays homage to Peter Sellers performance in Being There (1979) in a key moment in Wonderstruck.
Late night pick: Director Martin Scorsese's classic gangster film Mean Streets (1973) at 12:15 a.m. inspired the look of the seventies scenes in Wonderstruck.

Saturday, Nov. 18

See the Best Day to DVR section.

Sunday, Nov. 19

The prime time lineup is all about the popular fifties science-fiction character Robby the Robot. The animatronic character voiced by Martin Miller first appeared in Forbidden Planet (1956) at 8 p.m. Robby made a second appearance in The Invisible Boy (1957) at 10 p.m. where he befriends a young Richard Eyer



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