Monday, March 5, 2018

TCM Picks for the Week of March 5, 2018

My TCM movie of the week is The Snake Pit (1948) starring Olivia de Havilland. This drama about mental illness airs at 10 pm ET Monday.

Highlights of this week's TCM lineup include two nights of films about mental illness in the movies and a Saturday night of noir. Note: All times are ET and the highlighted text has links to full-length articles. Here's the link to this week's complete lineup.

Happy Birthday, Dean Stockwell (Monday March 5 Daytime)

Brian Roper, Margaret O'Brien, and Dean Stockwell in The Secret Garden (1949).
Stockwell, who was born March 5, 1936, in North Hollywood, Calif., is a familiar face thanks to his prolific work on TV and films, but he was also a popular child star during the 1940s. Watch him as the orphaned nephew of preacher Joel McCrea in Stars in my Crown (1950) at 8 am; as a young invalid whose life is enlivened by spunky orphan Margaret O'Brien in The Secret Garden (1949) at 12:30 pm, and as a high-spirited prep school student who drive his father (Leon Ames) and teachers crazy in The Happy Years (1950) at 6 p.m.
Fun Fact: Stockwell's father, Harry, was the voice of Prince Charming in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).

Movie of the Week (Monday March 5 Prime Time)

The Snake Pit (1948)  at 10 pm: Night one of TCM's special theme on mental illness in the movies features this drama based on an autobiographical novel by Mary Jane Ward. The Snake Pit follows a young woman named Virginia Cunningham (Olivia de Havilland) who is admitted to a mental asylum after a nervous breakdown. Virginia endures harsh treatments like shock therapy until she comes under the guidance of an understanding psychiatrist (Leo Genn). This film features a complex, multi-faceted performance from de Havilland and a surprising amount of genuine emotion (have your hankies ready for the "Goin' Home" scene).
More mental illness: Joanne Woodward won a much-deserved Academy Award for playing one woman with three distinct personalities in The Three Faces of Eve (1958) at 8 pm Monday.

Edited by Blanche Sewell (Tuesday Morning March 6)

Celebrate Women's History Month by viewing some films cut by this legendary editor for MGM, who is best-known for her work on The Wizard of Oz (1939). Some of the films airing on Tuesday morning are silent Western Tide of Empire (1929) at 6 am, the pre-code romp Beauty for Sale (1933) at 8:45 am, and the Ann Sothern-Robert Young rom-com Dangerous Number (1937) at noon.

Night Owl Pick (Tuesday March 6 Late Night)

Bedlam (1946) at 3 am Tuesday night/Wednesday morning: This great horror film from producer/writer Val Lewton is part of night two of the special theme on mental illness and the movies. Bedlam finds Boris Karloff as the corrupt keeper of  the notorious 18th-century mental asylum and Anna Lee as a reform-minded actress (photo above).
Even more mental illness at the movies: TCM's prime time movie is The Cobweb (1955) at 8 pm. Director Vincente Minnelli's drama about an exclusive psychiatric clinic features great performances from Lauren Bacall, Gloria Grahame, Charles Boyer, Oscar Levant, and Lillian Gish.

Star Spotlight: Deborah Kerr (Wednesday March 7 Daytime)

TCM has a great mini-marathon of films from this English leading lady on Wednesday. Start out with the African adventure King Solomon's Mines (1950) at 6 am followed by the Biblical epic Quo Vadis (1951) at 8:15 am and the frequently filmed swashbuckler The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) at 11:15 am. The afternoon begins with Kerr as Queen Elizabeth I in the biopic Young Bess (1953) at 1:15 pm followed by two great performances to wrap up the afternoon: As a lonely schoolteacher in Tea and Sympathy (1956) at 3:15 pm and as the matriarch of an Australian family in The Sundowners (1960) at 5:30 pm.
More Kerr on FilmStruck: You can continue your Kerr binge with FilmStruck, the streaming service from TCM and The Criterion Collection. They have The Sundowners plus Black Narcissus (1947); Separate Tables (1958); From Here to Eternity (1953); I See a Dark Stranger (1946), and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943). 

B Movie Mania (Wednesday March 7 Prime Time)

Pat O'Brien and Anne Jeffreys in Riffraff (1947).
TCM is celebrating the career of B movie queen Anne Jeffreys by airing a night of her films. She's probably best-known as Tess Trueheart from the Dick Tracy series: Dick Tracy (1945) is on at 8 pm. There's also her performance as girl friday to oilman Pat O'Brien in Riffraff (1947) at 9:15 pm and as the notorious gangster's girlfriend in Dillinger (1945) at 10:45 pm.
Singing Sweethearts programming alert: Jeffreys appeared in the Nelson Eddy-Jeanette MacDonald musical I Married an Angel (1942) at 4:45 am.

Performance of the Week (Thursday March 8 Daytime)

I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) at 3:30 pm Thursday: TCM's bottom of the bottle theme features Susan Hayward's searing performance as alcoholic singer and actor Lillian Roth. Hayward didn't win an Oscar for this role (she was nominated but lost to Anna Magnani in The Rose Tattoo), but she probably should have.
More of the (Oscar-nominated) lush life: Bette Davis won her first Oscar as a flamboyant, dipsomaniac stage actress in Dangerous (1935) at 10:15 am Thursday.

Song of the Week (Thursday March 8 Prime Time)

High Noon (1952) at 8 pm Thursday: TCM's guest programmer for March is HGTV star Drew Scott. His first selection is the all-time great Western High Noon, which features the Oscar-winning song "Ballad of High Noon" aka "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'" by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington. Tex Ritter's wailing, mournful rendition (clip above) is the perfect complement to this film's tale of lonely courage.
More from Scott: Scott also chose To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) at 9:45 pm Thursday.

Director of the Week: Robert Aldrich (Friday March 9 Daytime)

Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davis in Hush. . .Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964).
Hush. . .Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) at 10:15 am Friday: Aldrich, a versatile director of noir (Kiss Me, Deadly), Westerns (Apache and Vera Cruz), and action-adventure films (The Flight of the Phoenix), pioneered the sub-genre of horror known as Grand Dame Guignol (explanation here) with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962). His followup film is about an unmarried woman (Bette Davis) who is being tormented by decades-old memories of the murder of her fiance (Bruce Dern).

Set Your DVR for Eddie G. Does Comedy (Friday March 9 Prime Time)

Edward G. Robinson was one of old Hollywood's great gangsters, but he was also a versatile character actor with razor-sharp comic timing, especially when satirizing his own tough-guy image. TCM is airing two great Robinson comedies on Friday night starting with The Whole Town's Talking (1935) at 8 pm in which Robinson plays a meek clerk who is mistaken for a notorious gangster. Robinson and fellow hoods Edward Brophy and Broderick Crawford set up a luggage-store front in Larceny, Inc (1942) at 10 pm.

This Week's 1001 Classic Movie You Should See (Saturday March 10 Daytime)

Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) at 10 am Saturday: From my review, "Tarzan the Ape Man is dated and somewhat silly, but it is nevertheless worth watching for [Johnny] Weissmuller and [Maureen] O'Sullivan's chemistry, the African location footage, and the first appearance of the famous Tarzan yell."

A Night of Noir (Saturday March 10 Prime Time and Late Night)

TCM is moving its weekly Noir Alley feature to Saturdays at midnight starting on March 10 with the thriller Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)  (Noir Alley will repeat at 10 am Sunday). This early noir (some film historians label it as the first true noir to come out of the old Hollywood studio system) features John McGuire as a reporter who's on the trail of a brutal killer. 
More Noir: TCM is airing two great movies starring noir favorite John Payne on Saturday night: The sensational heist film Kansas City Confidential (1952) at 8 pm and The Crooked Way (1948) in which Payne plays an amnesia victim who can't remember his criminal past.

Photo of the Week (Sunday March 11 daytime)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) at 4 pm Sunday: A behind the scenes photo of Errol Flynn and his schnauzer, Arno, on the set of this all-time great swashbuckler.

Favorite Screen Couples: Doris Day and Rock Hudson (Sunday March 11 Prime Time)

Doris Day and Rock Hudson made three sparkling and witty films that are still the pinnacle of the romantic comedy genre. TCM is airing two of these films on Sunday night: Pillow Talk (1958) at 8 pm and Lover Come Back (1961) at 10 pm.

Silent Sunday Nights March 11th Edition

Beau Brummel (1924) at midnight Sunday night/Monday morning: John Barrymore lends his great profile to this costume drama about the 18th-century English fashion plate. Mary Astor plays his aristocratic lady love.

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