A TCM Viewer's Guide for the Week of Sept. 26, 2016

Frankenstein (1931), starring Boris Karloff, is one of the classic movies airing on TCM this week.

This week, TCM is airing great movies from stars like Greer Garson, June Allyson, and Gene Wilder. Plus, they are putting the spotlight on slapstick comedy and Frankenstein's monster. 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: Greer Garson on Thursday.

Sunday Prime Time: Three of Universal Pictures' thirties horror films starring Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster.

Silent Sunday Nights: The 1925 version of The Wizard of Oz at 1 a.m. which was directed by and stars comedian Larry Semon as the Scarecrow along with Oliver Hardy as the Tin Woodman and Dorothy Dwan, as Dorothy Gale.

TCM Imports: Juliet of the Spirits (1965) at 2:15 a.m. Sunday night/Monday morning. Italian director Federico Fellini's drama about a troubled housewife (Fellini's wife, Giulietta Masina) who escapes her dreary life through a fantasy world.

Best Day to DVR: Sunday night. TCM is featuring three great performances from Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster.

Monday, Sept. 26

Michael Wilding and Joan Crawford in Torch Song (1953).
Three daytime picks: The theme is horse-racing movies starting with a fictionalized biopic of one of the thirties best-known racehorses The Story of Seabiscuit (1949) at 6 a.m., which stars Barry Fitzgerald and Shirley Temple (Seabiscuit's son Sea Sovereign plays his dear old dad). Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937) at 9 a.m. stars Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in their first film together as a young jockey and the girl who loves him. Three Men on a Horse (1936) at 3:45 p.m. is a delightful comedy that stars Frank McHugh as a meek greeting card writer who has a knack for picking the ponies.
Prime time lineup: TCM host Robert Osborne is carrying a "torch" with his September picks, starting with the Joan Crawford-Michael Wilding soaper Torch Song (1953) at 8 p.m. about a demanding Broadway star who falls in love with her blind pianist. Next up, is the film adaptation of Harvey Fierstein's landmark play, Torch Song Trilogy (1988) at 9:45 p.m.
Late night pick: Osborne continues the torch theme with Tonight and Every Night (1942) at midnight in which showgirl Rita Hayworth carries a torch for RAF pilot Lee Bowman.

Tuesday, Sept. 27

Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein (1974).
 Three daytime picks: The theme is movies starring married couple Dick Powell and June Allyson starting with the showbiz musical Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936) at 7:45 a.m. which teams Powell with his second wife, Joan Blondell (Allyson was Powell's third wife). In The Stratton Story (1949) at 2:15 p.m.  Allyson is teamed with her frequent co-star James Stewart for a biopic about disabled baseball player Monty Stratton. The Sailor Takes a Wife (1945) at 4:15 p.m. finds Allyson and Robert Walker embarking on a whirlwind romance.
Prime time lineup: Each Tuesday and Wednesday in September, TCM is turning the spotlight on slapstick comedy. Tuesday's selections focus on the 1970s, which featured a slapstick revival from directors like Woody Allen, who stars in Bananas (1971) at 8 p.m., about a meek New York City nebbish (also played by Allen) who gets mixed up in a South American revolution. Next up, director Mel Brooks bring laughs to Transylvania in the horror spoof, Young Frankenstein (1974) at 9:30 p.m.
Late night pick: The comedy/mystery Foul Play (1978) at 11:30 p.m. stars two leading slapstick comedians of the 1970s Chevy Chase and Dudley Moore.

Wednesday, Sept. 28

 Three daytime picks: The theme is the perils of fame starting with Susan Hayward's dynamite performance as alcoholic singer Lillian Roth in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) at 7:30 a.m. Another dynamite performance comes from Ida Lupino in The Hard Way (1943) at 1 p.m. She plays an ambitious woman who uses her younger sister (Joan Leslie) to gain wealth and fame. The Star (1952) at 3 p.m. finds Bette Davis as a down and out movie star. The movie is chiefly memorable for a scene in which a drunken Bette careens around Los Angeles with  one of her Academy Awards. 
Prime time lineup: The slapstick movies continue with films from the 1980s starting with Leslie Nielsen as bumbling police lieutenant Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad (1988) at 8 p.m. followed by Top Secret! (1984) at 9:45 p.m., which stars Val Kilmer as an Elvis-like singer who stumbles his way into espionage.
 Late Night Pick: TCM is airing the Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) at 11:30 p.m., which, depending on your perspective, is either the network broadening its horizons to include more modern films or the classic movie apocalypse.

Thursday, Sept. 29

Greer Garson
Three daytime picks: A birthday tribute to English actress Greer Garson who was born Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson on Sept. 29, 1904, in London. Garson was one of MGM's top female stars of the 1940s in movies like the World War II romance Adventure (1945) at 8 a.m., which was promoted with the unforgettable tagline, "Gable's back and Garson's got him." The Law and the Lady (1951) at 1:45 p.m., which is a remake of The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937), finds Garson as a jewel thief masquerading as a high society lady. The tribute ends with Garson's fine performance as First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in Sunrise at Campobello (1960) at 5:30 p.m.
Primetime lineup: A tribute to beloved actor Gene Wilder who died at age 83 on Aug. 29. The evening starts out with Role Model: Gene Wilder at 8 p.m., which features Alec Baldwin interviewing Wilder about his life and career followed by an encore performance of Young Frankenstein (1974) at 9:15 p.m.
Late Night Pick: Wilder first gained attention in the gangster movie, Bonnie and Clyde (1967) at 4:30 a.m., as a nervous young man who is taken hostage by the Barrow gang.

Friday, Sept. 30

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., in The Prisoner of Zenda
Three daytime picks: The theme is movies from John Cromwell, who was an exceptional journeyman director in old Hollywood. Cromwell started his career with searing pre-code dramas like Of Human Bondage (1934) at 9:45 a.m., which stars Bette Davis as a slovenly waitress who traps weak-willed doctor Leslie Howard. Cromwell also worked several times for independent producer David O. Selznick including directing the best version of the much-filmed The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) starring Ronald Colman and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. One of Cromwell's most underrated movies is The Enchanted Cottage (1945) at 4:45 p.m. which is a fine romance starring Robert Young as a disfigured war veteran who finds love with wallflower Dorothy McGuire.
Prime time lineup: TCM is celebrating the career of actor's actor Gene Hackman with a star of the month tribute every Friday in September. This week's selections focus on Hackman's roles in historical dramas starting with his small role as a magazine editor in Warren Beatty's Russian Revolution epic, Reds (1981) at 8 p.m.
Late night pick: Under Fire (1983) at 11:30 p.m. tells the story of three reporters (Hackman, Nick Nolte and Joanna Cassidy) who are covering the 1979 revolution in Nicaragua.

Saturday, Oct. 1

TCM's prime time lineup is all about Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson, who were a popular comedy duo in the 1940s. First up is Two Guys from Milwaukee (1946) at 8 p.m., which stars Morgan as an European prince who teams ups with taxi driver Carson to see the Big Apple. Two Guys from Texas (1948) at 9:45 p.m. finds the duo as down on their luck vaudevillians who try to make it as cowboys on a dude ranch. It's a Perfect Thing (1949) at 11:30 p.m. finds the guys playing exaggerated versions of themselves in a Hollywood spoof.

Sunday, Oct. 2

The Sunday Night Feature will put the spotlight on Frankenstein's monster each week in October. This week's movies are three Univeral Pictures horror films starring Boris Karloff: Frankenstein (1931) at 8 p.m., The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) at 9:30 p.m., and Son of Frankenstein (1939) at 11 p.m.