A TCM Viewer's Guide for the Week of April 10, 2017

Harvey (1950), starring James Stewart, is one of the 1001 classic movies you should see.

Every Tuesday and Thursday in April TCM is featuring movies from some of Old Hollywood's most beloved characters actors. This week's lineup includes such familiar faces as Eugene Pallette, Margaret Hamilton, Charles Coburn, and Billie Burke. There's also a lineup of Easter movies and a night of fifties melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk.

I'll go in-depth on each pairing a little further down in the article, but first here's a quick rundown of what else is on the schedule.

Birthday tributes: Howard Keel on Thursday.

TCM Film Noir Franchise: Director Robert Wise's The Set-Up  (1949) at 10 a.m. Sunday finds Robert Ryan as an aging boxer who gets once last shot in the ring.

Silent Sunday Nights: The lavish 1925 version of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ at 1:30 a.m. stars Ramon Novarro as the Jewish prince and Francis X. Bushman as an unforgettable Messala.

TCM Imports: English director Mike Leigh's drama Meantime (1984) at 4:30 a.m. Sunday night/Monday morning deals with an East End family's hardships during a financial recession.

Best Day to DVR: Saturday prime time. There's a fun lineup of "Easter Bunny" movies including James Stewart and his pooka friend in Harvey (1950) and mutant-killer rabbits in the horror film, Night of the Lepus (1972).

Monday, April 10

Three daytime picks:  The theme is movies about heiresses starting with rich American Constance Bennett marrying impoverished English lord Alan Mowbray in Our Betters (1933) at 6 a.m. Madcap heiress Lucille Ball is the terror of Pottawatomie College in the fun musical comedy Too Many Girls (1940) at 11 a.m., which also stars Ball's future husband, Desi Arnaz. Texas heiress Barbara Stanwyck tries to reform playboy Herbert Marshall in the screwball comedy Breakfast for Two (1937) at 5 p.m.
Prime time lineup:The prime time lineup features picks from the late TCM host Robert Osborne. Osborne chose two great anthology films for prime time starting with director Julien Duvivier's Tales of Manhattan (1942) at 8 p.m. about five owners (Charles Boyer, Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton, Edward G. Robinson, and J. Carrol Naish) of a dress tailcoat. O. Henry's Full House (1952) at 10 p.m. shares five stories from the gifted writer, including Gift of the Magi.
Late night pick: James Mason, Leslie Caron, and Kirk Douglas recount their romantic adventures in The Story of Three Loves (1953) at 2:15 a.m.

Tuesday, April 11

James Cagney and Bette Davis on the set of The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)
Three daytime picks: The theme is Westerns starring Virginia Mayo starting with her performance as the girlfriend of doomed outlaw Joel McCrea in Colorado Territory (1949) at 6:30 a.m. Mayo plays a Denver dress shop owner who gets mixed up with poker player Robert Stack in Great Day in the Morning (1956) at 1:30 p.m. Mayo plays the former flame of Union officer Randolph Scott in the Budd Boetticher-directed oater, Westbound (1959) at 6:45 p.m.
Prime time lineup: TCM is featuring movies from some of old Hollywood's best character actors each Tuesday and Thursday. Tonight's lineup features four great gents starting with Eric Blore as a as a con man posing as English nobility in The Lady Eve (1941) at 8 p.m. Next, Eugene Pallette plays the father of spoiled heiress Bette Davis in The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941) at 10 p.m.
Late night pick: Charles Coburn plays the wealthy uncle of fixer-upper owner Ann Sheridan in George Washington Slept Here (1942) at midnight. The Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn comedy Woman of the Year (1942) at 1:45 a.m. is filled with wonderful character actors, including the always endearing William Bendix.

Wednesday, April 12

Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon in Beach Party (1963)
Three daytime picks: The theme is Hollywood hunks starting with fifties heartthrob Montgomery Clift flying supplies to bombed-out Berlin in The Big Lift (1950) at 7 a.m. Before he played Norman Bates in Psycho (1960), Anthony Perkins was a teen idol in films like the jungle romance Green Mansions (1959) at 1:15 p.m. Steve McQueen typified a new breed of sixties leading man with his charismatic performance as a hotshot poker player in The Cincinnati Kid (1965) at 6 p.m.
Prime time: The prime time lineup is devoted to teen idol Frankie Avalon, starting with his role as a survivor of a nuclear apocalypse in the science-fiction film, Panic in Year Zero! (1962) at 8 p.m., followed by he and frequent co-star Annette Funicello having a Beach Party (1963) at 10 p.m.
Late night pick: Avalon gamely spoofed his own image in the horror comedy Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965) at 2 a.m., which also co-stars Vincent Price

Thursday, April 13

Howard Keel
Three daytime picks: A birthday tribute to Howard Keel who was born Harry Keel April 13, 1919, in Gillespie, Ill. Keel got his big onscreen break as the male lead in composer Irving Berlin's musical Annie Get Your Gun (1950) at 6 a.m. His best performance is as the arrogant theatrical star in Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate (1953) at noon. No Keel tribute would be complete without his iconic performance as the head of a pioneer clan in the toe-tapping musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) at 4 p.m.
Prime time lineup: The character actors continue with two The Wizard of Oz (1939) alums First, Wicked Witch of the West. Margaret Hamilton is a concerned citizen who tries to stop Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland from putting on a show in Babes in Arms (1939) at 8 p.m. Next Glinda the Good Witch Billie Burke plays the dizzy wife of the haunted Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) in Topper Takes a Trip (1938) at 10 p.m.
Late night pick: Academy Award-winner Fay Bainter plays an English orphanage director who finds homes for two children (William Severn and Margaret O'Brien) in Journey for Margaret (1942) at 11:45 p.m. Beulah Bondi plays the mother of an Australian nurse (Rosalind Russell) who pioneered polio treatment in Sister Kenny (1946) at 1:30 a.m.

Friday, April 14

Butterfly McQueen and Joan Crawford bake pies in Mildred Pierce (1945).
Three daytime picks: The morning lineup features movies directed by Vincent Sherman, including Ida Lupino as a traveling salesman who can't find a room in overcrowded Washington D.C. in the wartime comedy Pillow to Post (1945) at 8:15 a.m. TCM is putting the spotlight on postwar melodramas starting with two Joan Crawford soapers including her Oscar-winning performance in Mildred Pierce (1945) at 1:45 p.m. Next, drifter William Holden crashes a Labor Day celebration in a small Kansas town in Picnic (1956) at 5:45 p.m.
Prime time lineup: The evening lineup is dedicated to melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk starting with Lana Turner and Juanita Moore dealing with racism and motherhood in the 1959 version of Imitation of Life (1959) at 8 p.m. Magnificent Obsession (1954) at 10:30 p.m. made Rock Hudson a huge star as a playboy turned doctor who loves Jane Wyman.
Late night: Hudson, Wyman, and Sirk reunite for All That Heaven Allows (1955) at 12:45 a.m., which deals with the forbidden romance of a widow and her gardener.

Saturday, April 15

The prime time lineup is all about movies about "Easter bunnies" starting with James Stewart and his 6-foot 3 1\2-inch invisible friend Harvey (1950) at 8 p.m. followed by Ernest Borgnine as a father who is caught between responsibility to his job and his young son's worries about a pet in The Rabbit Trap (1959) at 10 p.m. The campy science fiction film Night of the Lepus (1972) at 11:30 p.m. finds researchers Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh unleashing giant mutated rabbits on a small Arizona town. Finally, there are two rabbit-related MGM cartoons: The Hound and the Rabbit (1937) and The Hungry Wolf at 1:15 a.m.  

Sunday, April 16

The prime time lineup features two movies about the Biblical Easter story. First, Roman soldier Richard Burton feels overwhelming guilt for his role in the death of Jesus Christ in The Robe (1953) at 8 p.m., followed by Jeffrey Hunter playing Christ in director Nicholas Ray's version of King of Kings (1961) at 10:30 p.m.