TCM Picks for the Week of May 21, 2018

The Thin Man Goes Home (1945), starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Asta the wire fox terrier, is airing Wednesday on TCM.

There's a lot of great movies on TCM this week. The classic movie series continue with all six The Thin Man movies plus the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple movies, Dick Tracy, Nancy Drew, and Perry Mason. The weekend brings the annual Memorial Day War Movie Marathon.

Here's a link to the complete schedule for May 21-May 27.

Happy Heavenly Birthday to Robert Montgomery (Monday, May 21 daytime)

Actor and director Robert Montgomery was born May 21, 1904, in Fishkill Landing, N.Y. He grew up wealthy, but his father lost the family fortune during the 1920s so Montgomery went to work on Broadway as a writer and actor. He moved to Hollywood upon the arrival of sound, appearing in films like Joan Crawford's first talkie, Untamed (1929) at 6 am (Joan's an oil heiress who falls for poor boy Robert). He was a popular leading man during the pre-code era in films like the witty Noel Coward adaptation Private Lives (1931) at 7:30 am costarring Norma Shearer  and opposite Ann Harding and Myrna Loy in the soaper When Ladies Meet (1933) at 11:45 am. Montgomery fought to take on more challenging parts in his later career, playing a racketeer who takes refuge in a rural farm in Hide-Out (1934) at 1:15 pm and as a charming servant with a shocking secret in the thriller Night Must Fall (1937) at 6 pm. Montgomery also appeared in the Alfred Hitchcock-directed screwball comedy (yes, you read that right) Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) at 4:15 pm.

Movie of the Week (Monday, May 21 prime time)

Dorris Bowdon, Jane Darwell, and Henry Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath (1941).
The Grapes of Wrath (1941) at 8 pm Monday: TCM's night of films about the Four Freedoms includes director John Ford's masterpiece about the lives of migrant workers during the Great Depression. A deeply resonant portrait of forgotten Americans featuring iconic performances from Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell.
Another great movie: Casablanca (1942), about the lives of refugees during World War II, is airing at 10:30 pm.

Picks from Around the Blogosphere (Tuesday, May 22 daytime)

Street Scene (1931) at 6 am Tuesday: My fellow Classic Movie Blog Association member Patricia Nolan-Hall chose this underrated drama about life in New York City tenements as her TCM pick for April. Read her review here. Street Scene is part of a morning lineup of movies starring Sylvia Sidney.

Classic Movie Series, May 22nd edition

Margaret Rutherford and Stringer Davis in Murder Ahoy (1964).
This week's classic movie series spotlight features mystery movies starting with all four Nancy Drew films starring Bonita Granville as the teenage sleuth. The night starts out with Nancy Drew. . .Detective (1938) at 8 pm Tuesday and ends with Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (1939) at 12:15 am (this one happens to be based on my favorite Nancy Drew novel). The late night lineup has all four of the sixties Miss Marple movies starring Margaret Rutherford as novelist Agatha Christie's indomitable elderly lady with a knack for solving murders. The night begins with Murder, She Said (1961) at 1:30 am and ends with Murder Ahoy at 6:30 am Wednesday morning.

Classic Movie Series, May 23 edition

Nick Charles (William Powell) indulges in Christmas morning target practice in The Thin Man (1934).
The mysteries continue on Wednesday with all nine of the Torchy Blane movies starting with Smart Blonde (1935) at 8:45 am Wednesday. Glenda Farrell played the wisecracking reporter in seven of the nine movies, while Lola Lane took over the role in Torchy Blane in Panama (1938) at 1:45 pm. Jane Wyman played Torchy in the last entry in the series, Torchy Plays with Dynamite (1939) at 6:45 pm.
TCM is airing all six of the beloved The Thin Man movies about boozing detectives Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) starting with The Thin Man (1934) at 8 pm and ending with Song of the Thin Man (1947) at 5:15 am.

Classic Movie Series, May 24 edition

The final day of mysteries starts with six Perry Mason movies that Warner Bros. made in the 1930s. Warren William plays the famed defense attorney in the first four movies starting with The Case of the Howling Dog (1934) at 6:45 am Thursday and ending with The Case of the Velvet Claws (1936) at 12:30 pm. Ricardo Cortez plays Mason in The Case of the Black Cat (1936) at 12:30 pm while Donald Woods takes over the title role in the final entry in the series, The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (1937) at 1:45 pm. 
There's also four feature films about tough P.I. Dick Tracy: Dick Tracy (1945) at 3 pm and Dick Tracy vs. Cueball (1946) at 4:15 pm starring Morgan Conway and Dick Tracy's Dilemma (1947) at 5:30 pm and Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947) at 6:45 pm, which star Ralph Byrd, who was famous for playing the detective in several thirties serials.

Star of the Month: Marlene Dietrich (Thursday May 22 prime time and late night; Friday morning)

Marlene Dietrich  in Foreign Affair (1948)
TCM is airing six of the glamorous German star's forties movies on Thursday night. Here's the lineup:
A Foreign Affair (1948) at 8 pm: Dietrich gives a fearless performance as a nightclub singer with Nazi ties in writer-director Billy Wilder's dark comedy about Postwar Berlin. Composer Friedrich Hollander wrote three poignant songs for Dietrich that are not to be missed.
The Spoilers (1942) at 10:15 pm: After being labeled box-office poison in the late 1930s, Dietrich made her comeback in the Western comedy Destry Rides Again as a big-hearted saloon girl. She plays a similar role in this oater starring John Wayne and Randolph Scott
Kismet (1944) at midnight: The non-musical version of this Arabian nights tale is the film in which la Dietrich famously appears painted in gold.
Manpower (1941) at 2 am: Sparks fly as utility workers George Raft and Edward G. Robinson clash over the considerable charms of nightclub singer Dietrich. This one is really corny but hugely entertaining.
Martin Roumagnac (1946) at 4 am: Dietrich is a fabulous femme fatale in this French film noir costarring Dietrich's off-screen amour Jean Gabin. Martin Rougmagnac is also on FilmStruck if you have the Criterion Channel subscription.
The Lady Is Willing (1942) at 6 am Friday: Screwball comedy doesn't seem like a natural fit for Dietrich's sultry screen persona, but the star is delightful in this movie about a Broadway performer who finds an abandoned baby but can't keep the child unless she gets married to mild-mannered pediatrician Fred MacMurray.

Performance of the Week (Friday, May 25 daytime)

Jezebel (1938) at 1:30 pm Friday: Bette Davis won her second Oscar for playing a willful young woman living in pre-Civil War New Orleans who loses the love of her fiance (Henry Fonda) after she defies the strict conventions of Southern society. Davis didn't get to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind, but she makes up for it in this costume drama/woman's picture with a powerful performance of  fire and grit.
Other great leading ladies: Jezebel is part of a daytime lineup of movies about feisty women. Other great performances airing are Kay Francis in Mary Stevens M.D. (1933) at 7:30 am (check out Karen Burroughs Hansberry's review here), Greta Garbo in Queen Christina (1933) at 8:45 am, and Barbara Stanwyck in Baby Face (1933) at noon.

Celebrate Memorial Day with TCM (Friday prime time and late night and all-day Saturday)

Stanley Baker and Anthony Quinn (standing at left), Gregory Peck (seated), Anthony Quayle (with briefcase), James Darren (in doorway),  and David Niven (on bed) in The Guns of Navarone (1961)
TCM's annual Memorial Day War Movie Marathon kicks off Friday with the all-star action-adventure  The Guns of Navarone (1961) at 8 pm. The marathon continues on Saturday with Gregory Peck as a tough-as-nails Army Air Corps commander in Twelve O'Clock High (1949) at 6:15 am, John Wayne and Robert Montgomery as commanders of a fleet of PT boats in They Were Expendable (1945) at 4 pm, the Pearl Harbor film From Here to Eternity (1953) at 8 pm, and the spy thriller Across the Pacific (1942) at 10:15 pm.

Noir Alley, May 26 edition

The Clay Pigeon (1949) at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning and at 10 am Sunday: This thriller based on a true story stars Bill Williams as a former prisoner-of-war who wakes up from a coma to find that he is accused of treason. The Clay Pigeon costars future Perry Mason alum Barbara Hale, who also was married to Williams.

Photo of the Week (Sunday, May 27 prime time)

Where Eagles Dare (1968) at 10:30 pm Sunday: Superstar couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the Austrian Alps while Burton filmed the World War II action-adventure.


  1. What a week of choices! Thanks for the nod to Street Scene. I do hope those who haven't seen it will take the time or set their recording system.

    Here's a bit of trivia for the mystery lovers among us: Donald Woods, who stars as Perry Mason in The Case of the Stuttering Bishop is the first Canadian-born (Brandon, Manitoba) actor to play Perry. I imagine a lot of people think Raymond Burr (New Westminster, British Columbia) owned that distinction.

    1. Thanks for the wonderful trivia. I've never seen Woods as Perry Mason, so I'm looking forward to watching this film.


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