TCM's spotlight on movie musicals continues this week with fifties favorites like Singin' in the Rain (photo above with Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly), Kiss Me Kate (1953) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). There's also great double bills from Bette Davis and Cary Grant and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's favorite movie. Note: All times are ET and the highlighted text has links to full-length articles.
Here's a link to the complete schedule for June 18-June 24.
Star of the Month Leslie Howard (Monday June 18 prime time and late night)
|Leslie Howard and Valerie Taylor in Berkeley Square (1933).|
Berkeley Square (1933) at 8 pm: A fascinating fantasy film about a 20th century man (Howard) who inherits a house in the fashionable London district and then is transported to life in the same building during the 18th century. Howard repeats his stage success.
Secrets (1933) at 9:30 pm: Mary Pickford's final film was this Western/melodrama about a young couple (Pickford and Howard) who elope and move out West to start a cattle ranch. Although both stars are required to age from young lovers to an elderly couple they both turn in creditable performances.
Animal Kingdom (1932) at 11:15 pm: Howard, Ann Harding, and Myrna Loy are all sensational in this Philip Barry play about a man who must marry his respectable fiance (Loy) although he is in love with a free-spirited artist (Harding). Another film version of a stage success.
It's Love I'm After (1937) at 12:45 am: A droll screwball comedy about a squabbling theatrical couple (Howard and Bette Davis) whose lives are interrupted by an adoring superfan (Olivia de Havilland).
Smilin' Through (1932) at 2:30 am: Another pre-code fantasy, this time Howard's frequent costar Norma Shearer plays a sort-of reincarnated version of herself who comforts her grieving lover.
Mad About Musicals, June 19th daytime
|Jane Powell and Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding (1951).|
Lili (1953) at 6 am Tuesday: This odd film about a young French girl (an enchanting Leslie Caron) who joins a traveling circus is, in my opinion, a coming-of-age drama with musical interludes, but it did win Bronislau Kaper an Academy Award best musical score.
Kismet (1955) at 8 am: A sumptuous, but by-the-numbers Broadway adaptation, although I always get chills during the Ann Blyth-Vic Damone version of "Strangers in Paradise." Also, the costumes are a hoot.
Royal Wedding (1951) at 10 am: A thoroughly enjoyable MGM picture that surrounds the 1947 wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Best remembered for Fred Astaire's memorable dance on the ceiling, the real highlight is the comic number "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life," which is performed with brio by Astaire and Jane Powell.
Silk Stockings (1957) at noon: This re-imagining of Ninotchka is perhaps the final great musical of old Hollywood's golden age. Also, all those of us who are rhythmically challenged can take comfort in Peter Lorre's awkward dance moves.
The Band Wagon (1953) at 2 pm: Astaire's late career masterpiece about a washed-up movie star who tries his luck on Broadway. The Girl Hunt ballet is a landmark in musical film.
It's Always Fair Weather (1955) at 4 pm: Gene Kelly directed this semi-sequel of On the Town (1949) about the reunion of three World War II buddies (Kelly, Dan Dailey, Michael Kidd). Doesn't always work, but there are plenty of high points, especially Dailey's underrated performance.
Brigadoon (1954) at 6 pm: This Broadway adaptation from Kelly and director Vincente Minnelli features a lovely Lerner and Loewe score.
Mad About Musicals, June 19th prime time and late night
Two of the greatest old Hollywood musicals are in tonight's lineup:
Singin' in the Rain (1952) at 8 pm Tuesday: Often considered the best old Hollywood musical ever made, this movie about the transition from silent to talking pictures is pure joy from start to finish.
An American in Paris (1951) at 10 pm: My personal pick for the best old Hollywood musical, this film combines ballet, the songs of George Gershwin, and glorious Technicolor into one of the 20th century's purest works of art.
Gigi (1958) at 12:15 am: This best picture winner from director Vincente Minnelli has a tuneful Lerner and Loewe score that includes "I Remember It Well" and "The Night They Invited Champagne."
Annie Get Your Gun (1950) at 2:30 am: This film adaptation of Irving Berlin's smash Broadway hit about sharpshooter Annie Oakley (Betty Hutton) had a troubled production, but it still ended up being one of the top-grossing films of 1950.
Show Boat (1951) at 4:30 am: The third film adaptation of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's landmark musical features Ava Gardner in a great performance as the tragic Julie.
Happy Heavenly Birthday to Errol Flynn (Wednesday, June 20 daytime)
The swashbuckling star was born June 20, 1909, in Battery Point, Tasmania. Wednesday's best bets are costume drama That Forsyte Woman (1949) at 7 am Wednesday, spy saga Northern Pursuit (1943) at 12:45 pm, Four's a Crowd (1938), a rom-com with frequent costar Olivia de Havilland at 4:15 pm, and swashbuckler The Adventures of Don Juan (1948) at 6 pm.
Two With Bette Davis (Wednesday, June 20 prime time and late night)
Wednesday night's theme of June brides brings two films from old Hollywood legend Bette Davis. First up, Davis and Robert Montgomery play a squabbling ladies magazine editor (Davis) and reporter (Montgomery) who are assigned to do a story on weddings in the fun rom-com June Bride (1948) at 10 pm. Next, Davis plays a domineering mother of the bride in The Catered Affair (1956) at midnight.
More brides: Katharine Hepburn has the enviable task of choosing between Cary Grant, John Howard, and James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story (1940) at 8 pm followed by Myrna Loy and William Powell in Double Wedding (1937) at 2 am.
Mad About Musicals, June 21st daytime
|Louis Armstrong on the set of High Society (1956).|
The fifties musicals continue:
Road to Bali (1953) at 6 am Thursday: The"Road" movies starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour were popular musical comedies that packed audiences into movie theaters in the 1940s and 1950s. Road to Bali is the sixth of the seven movies and the only one to be filmed in color.
Small Town Girl (1953) at 8 am: Jane Powell was another popular fifties musical star. In this film, she plays the daughter of a small-town judge (Robert Keith) who romances Broadway star Farley Granger when he gets picked up for a speeding ticket.
Calamity Jane (1953) at 9:45 am: This Western musical costarring Howard Keel made Doris Day an old Hollywood superstar. Her performance of the Oscar-winning "Secret Love" is one of the great moments in movie musicals.
Kiss Me Kate (1953) at 11:30 am: Composer Cole Porter's Broadway smash gets a stylish 3-D movie adaptation. Stars Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson are great, but Ann Miller really steals the show in the "Too Darn Hot" number.
High Society (1956) at 1:30 pm: A pleasant musical remake of The Philadelphia Story starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra. Great musical moments include Kelly and Crosby's "True Love" duet, Crosby and Louis Armstrong and his band performing "Now You Has Jazz" and Der Bingle and Ol' Blue Eyes scintillating performance of "Well, Did You Evah?"
Pal Joey (1957) at 3:30 pm: Sinatra is in fine voice in this musical about a cocky nightclub owner. He warbles "The Lady Is a Tramp" among other standards.
Guys and Dolls (1955) at 5:30 pm: Not even Marlon Brando's shaky rendition of "Luck Be a Lady" can dim the fun of this gangster musical based on writer Damon Runyon's colorful characters.
Mad About Musicals, June 21st prime time and late night
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) at 8 pm Thursday: A landmark dance musical, the barn-raising sequence alone is worth the watch. Also don't miss Howard Keel belting out "Sobbin Women" (just don't listen too closely to the lyrics).
A Star Is Born (1954) at 10 pm: Judy Garland gives a bravura performance in this old Hollywood tale about the rise and fall of two movie stars (Garland and James Mason).
Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) at 1:15 am: This biopic about aquatic star Annette Kellerman (Esther Williams) features a show-stopping aquacade designed by Busby Berkeley.
Jailhouse Rock (1957) at 3:15 am: The best of Elvis Presley's many screen musicals, especially notable for the iconic title number.
Rock Around the Clock (1956) at 5 am: This film about an unknown band's big break introduced rock 'n' roll to a wide audience through Bill Haley and the Comets.
Performance of the Week (Friday, June 22 daytime)
|Luise Rainer in The Good Earth (1937)|
The Good Earth (1937) at 10 am Friday: Old Hollywood studios had the unfortunate habit of casting non-Asian actors in Asian roles, but that doesn't lessen the accomplishment of Luise Rainer in the 1937 adaptation of Pearl Buck's epic novel. She gives an intuitive, deeply moving performance as O-Lan, a Chinese peasant woman who endures famine, political upheaval, and the abandonment of her husband (Paul Muni). Part of a daytime lineup of movies about revolution.
Winston Churchill's Favorite Movie (Friday, June 22 prime time)
|Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in That Hamilton Woman (1938).|
That Hamilton Woman (1941) at 10 pm Friday: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is quite popular at the movies these days, so why not watch this fascinating costume drama about the love affair between a beautiful married woman (a stunning Vivien Leigh) and 18th century naval hero Admiral Horation Nelson (played with crusty brio by Leigh's real-life amour, Laurence Olivier). This was Churchill's favorite film, which he reportedly screened dozens of times during World War II. Part of an evening lineup of films about the Napoleonic War.
More naval heroes: Gregory Peck also buckles a fine swash in Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951) at 8 pm, which is based on C.S. Forester's novels about the Napoleonic War.
Saturday Morning Matinee, June 23rd edition
Highlights from this week's Saturday morning lineup of family films are the travel short Color Scales (1932) about the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, Lex Barker as the Lord of the Jungle in Tarzan's Peril (1951-this film features Dorothy Dandridge in a small role), and the Popeye cartoon A Dream Walking (1934-everybody's favorite sailor man tries to save a sleepwalking Olive Oyl).
Noir Alley, June 23rd edition
The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950) at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning: Tough cop Lee J. Cobb is investigating a murder case with his brother and partner John Dall. The catch is that Cobb not only knows whodunnit, but he was also a witness to the crime.
Cary Grant Double Bill
|Cary Grant and Jean Arthur in The Talk of the Town (1942)|
Sunday night's lineup features two forties romantic comedies starring all-time great Cary Grant. First up, Grant plays a wrongly accused fugitive who hides out with former flame Jean Arthur in The Talk of the Town (1942) at 8 pm. In Mr. Lucky (1943) at 10:15 pm, Grant is a con artist who, instead of fleecing the lovely Laraine Day, falls in love with her.
Silent Sunday Nights, June 24th edition
TCM is airing eight comedy shorts from Harold Lloyd starting with Take A Chance (1919) at 12:15 am Sunday night/Monday morning.