A TCM Viewer's Guide for the Week of March 7, 2016

Mildred Pierce (1945), starring Joan Crawford and Ann Blyth, is one of the old Hollywood favorites airing on TCM this week.

This week, TCM is featuring great movies from leading ladies Joan Crawford, Merle Oberon, and Cyd Charisse. Plus, they are airing Walt Disney classics, Laurel and Hardy silents, and movies about the lives of great artists. So, without further ado, let's jump right in to this week's offerings. Just a note: the highlighted text has links to full length articles.

I'll go in-depth a little further down in the article, but first here's a quick rundown.

Birthday tributes: Claire Trevor and Cyd Charisse on Tuesday.

The Essentials pick (airs Saturday nights at 8): Director George Roy Hill's classic caper movie The Sting (1973), co-starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

Sunday Prime Time: Julie Andrews gender-bending musical Victor/Victoria (1982) at 8 p.m.

Silent Sunday Nights: Laurel and Hardy shorts at midnight.

TCM Imports: Sawdust and Tinsel from director Ingmar Bergman at 2 a.m.

Best Day to DVR: Wednesday daytime, which features some of Joan Crawford's best films.

Monday, March 7

S.Z. Sakall and Kay Francis on the set of It's a Date (1940). 
Daytime Theme: Let's Go to Hawaii featuring films set in our 50th state. Viewers can start off the day with the classic costume drama Hawaii (1966) at 7:45 a.m. that features Max von Sydow and Julie Andrews as 19th century missionaries who go native. It's a Date (1940) at noon is a fun Deanna Durbin musical about mother-and-daughter singers who are vying for the affections of a Hawaiian pineapple magnate (Walter Pidgeon). The movie features a great performance from Kay Francis and Durbin's classic version of Loch Lomond. No island tribute would be complete without a surfer movie, so why not sit back and chill out with Fabian, Shelley Fabares, and Tab Hunter in Ride the Wild Surf (1964) at 6 p.m. This B movie features beautiful Oahu locales, a classic Jan & Dean soundtrack, and characters with groovy names like Steamer Lane.
Primetime Lineup: TCM is featuring movies about artists each Monday in March. The evening kicks off with The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) at 8 p.m., which is an underrated Michelangelo biopic starring Charlton Heston as the artist and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II. Harrison is especially good here (it's my favorite performance of his), and his tussles with Michelangelo over the ceiling of the  Sistine Chapel are both unexpectedly comic and suitably epic. Moulin Rouge (1952) at 10:30 p.m. is another underrated biopic about French artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (Jose Ferrer) from director John Huston.
 Late Night Pick: George Sanders plays a highly fictionalized version of the French painter Paul Gauguin in The Moon and Sixpence (1942) at 2:45 p.m.

Tuesday, March 8

 Daytime Theme: Birthday tributes to character actress Claire Trevor and dancer Cyd Charisse. Trevor plays her familiar floozy role in Honky Tonk (1941) at 9:15 a.m., a Western starring Lana Turner as a judge's granddaughter who falls for a rakish gambler (Clark Gable). Ida Lupino was one of the few female directors in Old Hollywood. Her drama Hard, Fast, and Beautiful (1951) at 12:45 p.m. features Trevor as the hard-charging mother of a tennis star played by Sally Forrest. The Unfinished Dance (1947) at 2:15 p.m. is an unusual drama about a young dancer's obsession with a prima ballerina (Charisse).
Primetime Lineup: TCM host Robert Osborne focuses on author Daphne du Maurier for his March picks. Frenchman's Creek (1944) at 8 p.m. is a costume drama starring Joan Fontaine as a young noblewoman who falls in love with a pirate (Arturo de Cordova), while My Cousin Rachel (1952) at 10 p.m. is a mystery about a young woman (Olivia de Havilland) who may have murdered her wealthy husband (John Sutton).
Late Night Pick: Abbott and Costello try to solve a murder in Who Done It? (1942) at midnight.

Wednesday, March 9

 Daytime Theme: The movies of Joan Crawford. Start out your morning with Joan, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell and company as a group of high society ladies who have men on their minds in director George Cukor's The Women (1939) at 7:45 a.m. Crawford's Academy Award-winning role as a housewife turned chicken and waffles mogul in the classic film noir Mildred Pierce (1945) is on at noon. Next up is Humoresque (1946) at 2 p.m., which stars Crawford as a wealthy woman who is obsessed with hunky musician John Garfield.
Primetime Lineup: Critic and film historian Leonard Maltin unearths another round of treasures from the Disney vault. This month's collection includes classic cartoons with nautical themes starring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy, and one of Disney's best live-action features, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) at 8:30 p.m.
 Late Night Pick: Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N (1966) at 4:45 a.m. is a fun family comedy that stars Dick Van Dyke as a navy pilot who is marooned on a tropical island.

Thursday, March 10

Daytime theme: A classic movie weather report. The early morning forecast is fair with the sentimental Lassie vehicle, The Sun Comes Up (1949) at 8:30 a.m. Then, the skies cloud over with the pre-code soaper Fog Over Frisco (1934) at 10:15 a.m., which stars Bette Davis as a heiress who gets mobbed up. Finally, the forecast is calling for Rain (1932) at 11:30 a.m. when TCM airs the classic story of streetwalker Sadie Thompson starring Joan Crawford and Walter Huston.
Primetime lineup: TCM is featuring movies condemned by the National Legion of Decency each Thursday night in March. First up is (1951) at 8 p.m. This movie, which is a remake of director Fritz Lang's 1931 German film, tells the story of a child killer (David Wayne) who is brought to justice by the L.A. criminal underworld. The French Line (1954) at 9:45 p.m. ran afoul of the censors for its 3-D closeups of star Jane Russell in skimpy costumes.
Late Night Pick: If you've never seen director Jean-Luc Godard's seminal New Wave film, Breathless (1960), set your DVR. It's on at 3 a.m.

Friday, March 11

Daytime theme: Unexpected romance. Early risers won't want to miss Bette Davis and Paul Heinreid lighting up cigarettes and each other in the classic romance, Now, Voyager (1942) at 6 a.m. Next up is the classic romantic comedy, The Philadelphia Story (1940) at 8 a.m., which features Katharine Hepburn as a wealthy heiress who must choose between three men (Cary Grant, James Stewart, John Howard). Finally, director Billy Wilder's classic romance, Sabrina (1954), at 5:15 p.m. stars Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden.
Primetime lineup: TCM continues its star of the month celebration of Merle Oberon with some of her best costume dramas. The Lodger (1944) at 8 p.m. is a remake of director Alfred Hitchcock's films about the inhabitants of a boarding house who fear one of their own is Jack the Ripper (Laird Cregar). Wuthering Heights (1939) at 9:30 p.m. is director William Wyler's adaptation of Emily Bronte's beloved novel about the death-defying romance between Cathy Earnshaw (Oberon) and Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier).
Late Night Pick: The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935) at 4:30 a.m. brought Oberon to the attention of Hollywood with her elegant performance as Lady Blakeney.

Saturday, March 12

TCM's primetime lineup features a heaping helping of director George Roy Hill. The night begins with this week's The Essentials pick, The Sting (1973) at 8 p.m. followed by Hill's screen adaptation of Lillian Hellman's play Toys in the Attic (1963) at 10:30 p.m. The night winds up with Hill directing Laurence Olivier and Diane Lane in the story of teenagers who befriend an elderly pickpocket in A Little Romance (1979) at 12:15 a.m.

Sunday, March 13

The Sunday Night Double Feature brings classic movie fans two eighties movies about gender bending. Victor/Victoria (1982) at 8 p.m. features Julie Andrews as an unemployed singer who becomes a female impersonator. Tootsie (1982) at 10:30 p.m. features Dustin Hoffman as an actor whose volatile personality means he can no longer get work until he dresses up as a woman and becomes a star on a cheesy soap opera.