Star of the month Elizabeth Taylor (photo above) is featured in this week's TCM picks.
Highlights of this week's TCM lineup include five nights of films featuring star of the month Elizabeth Taylor and a Saturday St. Patrick's Day celebration. Note: All times are ET and the highlighted text has links to full-lengths articles. Here's the link to this week's complete lineup.
Performance of the Week (Monday March 12 daytime)
Mad Love (1935) at 2:45 pm Monday: A lineup of thirties horror films features Peter Lorre's sensational performance as an unhinged plastic surgeon who completes the weirdest hand transplant in movie history. Lorre's shaved head only adds to his creepy, charismatic portrayal of one of old Hollywood horror's most compelling villains.
More thirties horror: Fredric March won an Oscar for playing a Victorian scientist turned madman in the 1932 adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at 10:15 am Monday.
Set Your DVR for Elizabeth Taylor (Monday March 12 prime time and late night)
Night one of Elizabeth Taylor's star of the month tribute focuses on Taylor's days as a child star at MGM. The lineup includes some of the best family films ever made starting with the horse-racing saga (and my personal favorite Taylor film) National Velvet (1944) at 8 pm Monday. Taylor plays a young friend of the eccentric Day family in TCM fan favorite Life with Father (1947) at 10:30 pm and she makes a spirited Amy March in the 1949 version of Little Women at 12:45 am. Finally, Taylor made her MGM debut in the timeless story of a boy (Roddy McDowall) and his dog Lassie Come Home (1943) at 3 am.
Audrey Alert (Tuesday March 13 daytime)
Love in the Afternoon at 2:30 pm Tuesday: This Billy Wilder comedy can be a little tiresome by modern standards (Gary Cooper is much, much too old to be romancing Hepburn despite the fact that he looks like Gary Cooper), but it's still features beautiful location shooting in Paris, and, as you can see from the photo above, our Audrey is exquisite throughout.
Reader recommendations: The last time A Little Romance (1979) aired on TCM reader Harriet L commented how much she enjoyed watching this film with her grandchildren. The movie is about two teenagers (Diane Lane and Thelonious Bernard) who go on an European adventure with an elderly pickpocket (Laurence Olivier). It's on at 8:15 am Tuesday.
This Week's 1001 Classic Movie You Should See (Tuesday March 13 prime time)
Father of the Bride (1950) at 8 pm Tuesday: From my review: "Father of the Bride is a timeless family comedy that is as delightful today as when it was released. Watch it for the funny, tender performance of Spencer Tracy."
The inevitable sequel: Taylor, Tracy and company returned for a blessed event in Father's Little Dividend (1951) at 9:45 pm Tuesday.
B Movie Mania (Wednesday March 14 daytime)
TCM's tribute to editor Gene S. Ruggiero includes a morning of Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield and, of course, Cheeta (photo above). Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939) at 6 am Wednesday features Sheffield's first appearance as Tarzan and Jane's adopted son. Boy and Jane are kidnapped by evil prospectors on the hunt for gold in Tarzan's Secret Treasure (1941) at 7:30 am. Round out your morning with the ape man hitting the Big Apple in Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942) at 9 am.
Photo of the Week (Wednesday March 14 late night)
Giant (1956) at 11 pm Wednesday: James Dean and star of the month Elizabeth Taylor relax on break from filming this modern Western from director George Stevens.
Night Owl Pick (Wednesday March 14 late night)
Ivanhoe (1952) at 2:45 am Wednesday night/Thursday morning: This wonderful adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's novel rarely gets mentioned as one of star of the month Elizabeth Taylor's best movies, but she gives a sensitive performance as the beautiful Rebecca, who is an outcast in medieval society because of her Jewish faith and ethnicity. Taylor is pictured above with costar Robert Taylor.
Happy Heavenly Birthday to George Brent (Thursday March 15 daytime)
Actor George Brent was born March 15, 1904, in Shannonbridge, Ireland. He was a popular leading man in the 1930s and 1940s, especially opposite his frequent costar (and rumored offscreen love interest) Bette Davis. TCM is airing three of their fillms together on Thursday: The Old Maid (1939) at 9:45 am (Bette bears George's illegitimate child after he is killed in the Civil War); The Great Lie (1941) at 2:30 pm (Bette raises George's legitimate child by Mary Astor); In This Our Life (1942) at 4:30 pm (there's no kids in this one; instead, spoiled brat Bette ruins the lives of George, Olivia de Havilland, and anyone else who comes within a mile of her breathing space).
More Brent and Davis on FilmStruck: You can continue your Bette/George binge with FilmStruck, the streaming service from TCM and The Criterion Collection. They've got The Old Maid and The Great Lie plus the medical movie Dark Victory (1939) and costume drama Jezebel (1938).
Liz and Dick do Shakespeare (Thursday March 15 late night)
The Taming of the Shrew (1967) at 12:15 am Thursday night/Friday morning: The romance between Richard Burton and star of the month Elizabeth Taylor filled the tabloids during the 1960s, but the superstar couple also made some great (and admittedly not so great) film together. One of their best is this robust adaptation of Shakespeare's battle-of-the-sexes comedy, which features a fierce performance from Taylor as the fiery Kate.
More Liz and Dick: It's not the Bard, but Burton and Taylor are also quite good in director Vincente Minnelli's romance The Sandpiper (1965) at 10 pm.
Movie of the Week (Friday March 16 daytime)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) at 6 pm Friday: This somewhat watered down version of Tennessee Williams' landmark play (overt references to homosexuality were removed) is still a powerful portrait of greed and mendacity. Watch it for the crackling dialogue and sensational performances, especially from star of the month Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie the Cat.
More Tennessee and Taylor: Taylor is also excellent in Suddenly, Last Summer (1960) at 8 pm. Williams' Grand Guignol drama about a Southern matriarch (Katharine Hepburn) who resorts to desperate measures to keep her family's secrets.
Celebrate St. Paddy's Day (Saturday March 17 daytime)
The Fighting 69th (1940) at noon Saturday: Get your Irish up with this flag-waving World War I movie that features stellar performances from so-called Irish mafia members James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, and Frank McHugh (George Brent and Dennis Morgan also up the Blarney quotient in this film).
Celebrate St. Paddy's Day with John Ford: There's two films from the great Irish-American director on Saturday afternoon. The biopic Young Cassidy (1965) at 1:45 pm features Rod Taylor's best performance as the Irish revolutionary and writer Sean O'Casey (Note: Ford began this film, but, after he became ill, directing duties were taken over by Jack Cardiff ). The Rising of the Moon (1957) at 3:45 pm is a lovely anthology film starring Tyrone Power and actors from Dublin's Abbey Theatre.
Discovery of the Week (Saturday March 17 prime time)
Flight of the Doves (1971) at 8 pm Saturday: This family film about two orphans (Jack Wild and Helen Raye) who flee their abusive stepfather (Ron Moody) is best described as a Disney film crossed with the Lemony Snicket books. Its significant charms include the location shooting in Ireland and the Gaelic folk song "The Far Off Place."
Noir Alley, March 17th edition
Crossfire (1947) at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning and 10 am Sunday: This potent film about anti-Semitism in the U.S. military features a career-making performance from Robert Ryan and a crackling turn from noir favorite Gloria Grahame.
More noir: On Sunday morning, Crossfire is followed by low-budget thriller Gun Crazy (1950) at noon. This movie about a young couple (Peggy Cummins and John Dall) on a sadistic crime spree is part of a day of movies chosen by the TCM Backlots fan club.
Silent Sunday Nights March 18th Edition
Spring Fever (1919) and Spring Fever (1927) at midnight Sunday night/Monday morning: First up is the 1919 Harold Lloyd short, which finds bookkeeper Harold playing hooky to enjoy the warm weather. The 1927 version has William Haines masquerading as a golf champion to impress heiress Joan Crawford (photo above).