A TCM Viewer's Guide for the Week of Jan. 15, 2018

The Heiress (1949), starring Olivia de Havilland, is airing Tuesday night on TCM.

TCM is airing a lineup of films about The Gilded Age on Tuesday that includes classics The Heiress (1949) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). There's also a great lineup of survival movies on Friday night and three fifties musicals starring Fred Astaire on Saturday.

I'll go in-depth a little further down in the article, but first here's a quick rundown of what else is on the schedule. Note: All program times are EST.

Birthday tributes: None.

Noir Alley: A disabled former prisoner of war (Robert Ryan) hunts down the officer (Van Heflin) who betrayed him in Act of Violence (1949) at 10 a.m. Sunday. This movie was one of the first films to address issues regarding veterans who were POWs. 

TCM Essentials: Washed up movie star Fred Astaire attempts a comeback on Broadway in The Band Wagon  (1953) at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Silent Sunday Nights: Viewers are in for a visual treat with action-adventure epic The Viking (1928) at 12:30 a.m., which stars a bewhiskered Donald Crisp as Leif Ericsson. This was the first film made in the three-strip Technicolor process. 

TCM Imports: Italian director Ermanno Olmi's neorealist film The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) at 2:15 a.m. is about the lives of peasant farmers in northern Italy.

Best Day to DVR: Tuesday prime time and late night. There's an interesting lineup of four films about The Gilded Age, which is a term coined by writers Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner to describe America in the decades after the Civil War. The evening starts out with director Martin Scorsese's adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about New York society, The Age of Innocence (1993) at 8 p.m. Next are two old Hollywood movies that are also based on classic works of fiction: director William Wyler's The Heiress (1949) at 10:30 p.m. is based on Henry James' novella about a shy woman (Olivia de Havilland) from a society family and director Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) at 12:45 a.m. is based on Booth Tarkington's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a powerful Indiana clan. Finally, director King Vidor's portrait of an immigrant turned industrialist (Brian Donlevy) An American Romance (1944) is airing at 2:30 a.m.

Monday, Jan. 15

Sidney Poitier
Three daytime picks: TCM is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., Day with a lineup of films starring black actors. The Green Pastures (1936) at 7:45 a.m. features an all-black cast headed by Rex Ingram and Oscar Polk re-enacting Biblical stories. Next, Woody Strode gives a powerful performance as a buffalo soldier who is falsely accused of rape and murder in director John Ford's Western Sergeant Rutledge (1960) at 2 p.m. Finally, the powerful family film Sounder (1972) at 4 p.m., about a family of Southern sharecroppers during the Great Depression, features powerful performances from Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson
Prime time lineup: The prime time lineup features African-American filmmakers starting with living legend Sidney Poitier. He was one of the top leading men of the 1960s and 1970s, but he also directed several films, including the gentle romance A Warm December (1972) at 8 p.m., which finds Poitier as a doctor who falls for a princess (Esther Anderson). Daughters of the Dust (1991) at 10 p.m. from director Julie Dash is a beautiful film about the Gullah community of coastal Georgia.
Late night pick: The late-night lineup includes two blaxploitation classics: Trouble Man (1972) at midnight and Shaft (1971) at 2 a.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 16

Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in Ninotchka (1939).
Three daytime picks: The morning lineup is devoted to films starring character actor Sig Ruman. His thick German accent and blustery demeanor meant that he was often cast as either Nazi officers and/or comic relief, but he sometimes played straight dramatic roles, such as an unsympathetic bureaucrat in the medical drama Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940) at 7:15 a.m. Ruman plays a sympathetic restaurant owner who helps out ne'er do well William Holden in the family comedy Father Is a Bachelor (1950) at 10:45 a.m. Ruman was one of three bumbling Soviet appartchiks in the all-time great rom-com Ninotchka (1939) at 2 p.m. Ninotchka is followed by two of its remakes: The Iron Petticoat (1956), starring Katharine Hepburn and Bob Hope, at 4 p.m. and Silk Stockings (1956), starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, at 5:45 p.m.
Prime time lineup: See the Best Day to DVR section.
Late night pick: See the Best Day to DVR section.

Wednesday, Jan. 19

Ronald Reagan as George Gip in Knute Rockne-All American (1940).
Three Daytime Picks: A day of movies about sports starting with Pat O'Brien as the legendary Notre Dame football coach in Knute Rockne-All American (1940) at 8:30 a.m. The Pittsburgh Pirates get some heavenly help in Angels in the Outfield (1951) at 1:30 p.m. Joan Bennett turns the heads of a college football team in Eleven Men and a Girl (1930) at 3:15 p.m. 
Prime time lineup: A night of movies with "midnight" in the title starting with director and star Orson Welles' retelling of Shakespeare's history plays in Chimes at Midnight (1965) at 8 p.m. Midnight Lace (1960) at 10:15 p.m. is a great thriller that finds Doris Day as a newlywed who is threatened by unseen voice.
Late Night Pick: Kathryn Grayson and Mario Lanza share That Midnight Kiss (1949) at 12:15 a.m.

Thursday, Jan. 18

Charles Boyer
Three daytime picks: The theme is movies about farming starting with A Stranger's Return (1933) at 6 a.m., which finds divorcee Miriam Hopkins returning to her grandfather's farm where she finds romance with neighbor Franchot Tone (this movie previews the exact plot line of every Hallmark movie by about fifty years). Next, Barbara Stanwyck goes from nightclub singer to mail-order bride for a shy North Dakota farmer (George Brent) in The Purchase Price (1932) at 1 p.m. Farm girl Ida Lupino falls for escaped convict Dane Clark in Deep Valley (1947) at 6 p.m.
Prime time lineup: TCM is airing movies from star of the month Charles Boyer every Thursday in December. Boyer plays an otherworldly professor who falls for free-spirited servant Jennifer Jones in Cluny Brown (1946) at 8 p.m. Next, Boyer plays the husband of the beautiful Danielle Darrieux in director Max Ophuls' masterpiece The Earrings of Madame de... (1953) at 10 p.m.
Late night pick:  Boyer plays Brigitte Bardot's extramarital love interest in Une Parisienne (1957) at midnight. Boyer is the patriarch of a French-Canadian family in The Happy Time (1952) at 1:45 a.m., which comes highly recommended by my fellow CMBA member Patricia Nolan-Hall at the Caftan Woman blog (here's her review). Boyer plays the director of an upscale psychiatric clinic in The Cobweb (1955) at 3:30 a.m. Boyer also co-starred with Lauren Bacall in the spy saga Confidential Agent (1945) at 5:45 a.m. 

Friday, Jan. 19

Richard Attenborough and James Stewart in The Flight of the Phoenix (1965).
Three daytime picks: A day of movies starring Joel McCrea starting with he and William Gargan as college buddies who go from the gridiron to professional wrestling while vying for the hand of Marian Marsh in The Sport Parade (1932) at 9:15 a.m. Constance Bennett plays a gold digger who falls for the charms of McCrea's hunky riverboat captain in Bed of Roses (1933) at 1:15 p.m. The excellent rom-com The Richest Girl in the World (1934) at 5:15 p.m. finds McCrea as one of several men who are vying for the hand of heiress Miriam Hopkins.
Prime time lineup: TCM is airing survival movies each Friday night in January. Tonight's lineup involves castaways who are trying to get back to civilization. James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch and company try to rebuild a plane that crashed in the Sahara Desert in The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) at 8 p.m. followed by Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters et al trying to escape an overturned ocean liner in The Poseidon Adventure (1972) at 10:45 p.m.
Late night pick: Five Came Back (1939) at 1 a.m. and its remake Back from Eternity (1956) finds a group of airline passengers stranded after a crash in the Amazon jungle.

Saturday, Jan. 20

I recently wrote about the Great Depression drama Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) as part of my tribute to the great character actor Beulah Bondi. It's airing at 7:45 a.m.
This week's The Essentials pick is the backstage musical The Band Wagon (1953) at 8 p.m. followed by two more fifties musicals starring Fred Astaire: Royal Wedding (1951) at 10:15 p.m. and Three Little Words (1950) at midnight.

Sunday, Jan. 21

Two movies about investigative journalists starting with Absence of Malice (1981) at 8 p.m., which stars Sally Field as a newspaper reporter who is involved in a libel case concerning a powerful businessman (Paul Newman). TV reporter Jane Fonda uncovers safety violations at a nuclear power plant in The China Syndrome (1979) at 10:15 p.m.