TCM TiVo ALERT



TCM TiVo ALERT
For
August 1–August 7

DAVID’S BEST BETS:

LITTLE CAESAR (August 1, 7:30 pm): You can't go wrong with any of the Edward G. Robinson films being aired on August 1 to honor the legendary actor. I selected this one because it's the one that made Edward G. Robinson a legitimate movie star. Warners set the standard for its gritty, engaging, violent, tense-filled gangster films in 1931 with the release of Little Caesar on January 9 and Public Enemy with James Cagney on April 23. Both are classics. Robinson and Cagney set the bar very high for cinematic gangsters in the two films. In Little Caesar, Eddie G. plays Caesar Enrico "Rico" Bandello, a small-time hood who does everything possible to become a mob boss in Chicago. Robinson's portrayal of Rico, also called Little Caesar, is so authentic. His ability to get into character, playing someone that cold-blooded, ruthless and single-minded without a concern about anything or anyone else is impressive. The ending is a classic with Rico gunned down in the gutter saying with surprise, "Mother of mercy! Is this the end of Rico?" It is, but hardly the end of Robinson's career as a Hollywood gangster. Myah!

THE SEARCH (August 6, 4:00 pm): A touching film about a young boy in post-World War 2 searching for his mother after the two were separated while held in a concentration camp. Montgomery Clift is an Army engineer in Germany after the Nazis are defeated who finds the boy and takes care of him. Clift rarely gave a bad performance, but this is one of his most special ones. The 1948 movie was primarily filmed in post-war Germany, showing the ruins of what was left of several cities.

ED’S BEST BETS:

DOCTOR X (August 4, 10:15 am): Art Deco meets German Expressionism in this early exercise in horror from Warner Brothers and director Michael Curtiz. It’s worth watching for more than its curiosity value as a film made in the early two-strip Technicolor process; it’s an interesting exercise in Grand Guginol – and where else would Warner Brothers stage a horror film but right in the city? Lee Tracy is a wise-cracking reporter hot on the trail of the “half-moon murders.” The trail leads him to the mysterious Doctor Xavier (Lionel Atwill), the head of a medical academy located on Manhattan’s lower East Side. When Atwill moves his staff to his Long Island country estate for an elaborate reenactment of the murder, Tracy suddenly shifts from mere observer to actor when the killer threatens Atwill’s lovely daughter, Joanne (Fay Wray), with whom Tracy has fallen in love. I have often thought the comic element was introduced to keep the critics at bay, for this film has something for everyone: cannibalism, rape, dismemberment, and even necrophilia. The two-strip Technicolor process, added to the sets by Anton Groh and the makeup from Max Factor, heightens the eeriness already present, and once we hear the words “synthetic flesh,” they’ll remain with us always.

KING KONG (August 4, 10:00 pm): Is there anyone out there who hasn’t seen this film? Along with The Lost World, it’s the granddaddy of the “monster-on-the-loose,” films and still holds its grip on us to this day. The search for and capture of a gigantic ape on a previously unknown island is stuff of our childhoods and I know of few people who aren’t in love with this adventure. Animator Willis O’Brien created one of the classic creatures of filmdom which, combined with an intelligent script, continues to dazzle with each viewing. The addition of Fay Wray only ratchets up the mythic heat with a modern take on Beauty and the Beast: She and co-stars Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot do an admirable job of acting, but it’s Kong we’ve come to see. And when he finally dies in a hail of bullets atop the Empire State Building, there’s not a dry eye left in the house, for he proves to have more humanity than his captors.

WE DISAGREE ON ... GOING MY WAY (August 3, 8:00 pm)

ED: A+. Leo McCarey was one of the greatest directors in Hollywood history. He was noted for his comedies, such as Duck SoupThe Awful Truth, and Good Sam. He was also the director who first paired the classic duo of Laurel and Hardy back in the late ‘20s. But besides comedy, McCarey also loved one other thing: schmaltz – and plenty of it. This film is a prime example of it, with Bing Crosby as the youthful priest who comes to the failing St. Dominic’s and not only saves the church, but wins over the crusty old pastor, Father Fitzgibbon, played by Barry Fitzgerald, in the process. It won Oscars for Crosby (Best Actor), Fitzgerald (Best Supporting Actor), Best Original Story, Best Screenplay, Best Song (“Swinging on a Star”), and Best Director. In a rare occurrence, Fitzgerald was nominated both in the categories of Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. It’s a beautifully constructed film and is perhaps McCarey’s optimistic ‘40s answer to his 1937 story of unwanted senior citizens, Make Way for Tomorrow. In this film the older pastor is not shunted aside but made into a vibrant force renewing the failing church. The best moment of the film comes when Bing and opera star Rise Steven sing the wonderful “Ave Maria,” one the most moving songs ever written. It’s one of the best moments in the history of film. It’s one of my favorites and I’m relatively immune to schmaltz, but when it’s done right, as in this case, it’s worth watching.

DAVID: C+. This isn't a musical though Bing Crosby sings a bit too much in it. The film is an overly sentimental story about Father Chuck O'Malley (Crosby), a young priest, sent to New York City to take over St. Dominic's Church from the grumpy old pastor, Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald). I don't hate the film – I gave it a C+ – but there's no way it deserved to win seven Oscars including for Best Picture. Among its competitors were the vastly superior Gaslight and Double Indemnity. There are plenty of cliches in Going My Way in which the old and supposed new ways of the two priests clash. Fitzgibbon is convinced the youth in the inner-city neighborhood to be beyond saving while O'Malley believes the boys to be good because at least they come to church. O'Malley convinces the boys to join the church choir. We get the well-worn story of the church in financial woes and the only way to save it is for the gang to get together and put on a play. Oh, wait a minute, this has Crosby in it so the plan is to get the kids together and perform a song, "Going My Way," at the Met. The song will be a big hit and sold to a record company with the profits going to pay the church's mortgage. However, the music executive (William Frawley – Fred Mertz from I Love Lucy) doesn't think it will sell. So the boys sing "Swing on a Star," which he loves and buys. The church is saved! I bet no one saw that coming. It's got a few cute moments, but it's pretty hokey and runs too long at 126 minutes.

Schedule Subject to Change (All Times Eastern)

August is the annual “Summer Under the Stars” feature on TCM. Each day a different star is highlighted.

August 1 – Edward G. Robinson

6:00 am – TIGER SHARK (WB, 1932): Edward G. Robinson, Zita Johann, & Richard Arlen. Howard Hawks directed this drama about a tuna fisherman who marries a woman in love with another man. C+

7:30 am – LITTLE CAESAR (WB, 1930): Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.  Robinson is mesmerizing as a small-time hood who rises to the top of the rackets and falls dramatically. A+

9:00 am – FIVE STAR FINAL (WB, 1931): Edward G. Robinson, Aline MacMahon, & Boris Karloff. The editor of a sleazy tabloid resurrects an old crime to sell papers, destroying lives in the process. A+

10:30 am – KID GALAHAD (WB, 1937): Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, & Wayne Morris. Mob-connected trainer Robinson trains bellhop Morris for the boxing ring. B+

12:30 pm – THE SEA WOLF (WB, 1941): Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino & John Garfield. A sadistic captain rescues the survivors of a shipwreck in this adaptation of Jack London’s story. A

2:15 pm – ILLEGAL (WB, 1955): Edward G. Robinson, Nina Foch. A DA who sends the wrong man to his death becomes a criminal defense attorney but redeems himself by defending former ADA Foch for murder. B-

4:00 pm – DOUBLE INDEMNITY (Paramount 1944): Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, & Edward G. Robinson. A femme fatale lures an insurance adjuster into a plot to kill her husband. A+

6:00 pm – LARCENY INC. (WB, 1942): Edward G. Robinson, Broderick Crawford. Eddie G. is funny in this comedy about a group of crooks leasing a luggage store to break into the bank next door. B+

8:00 pm – SCARLET STREET (Universal, 1945): Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett & Dan Duryea. A middle-aged would-be painter falls into the clutches of an unscrupulous woman. A

10:00 pm – THE RED HOUSE (UA, 1947): Edward G. Robinson, Judith Anderson. A strange old house holds many secrets and terrors for a farmer. A

12:00 am – OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES (MGM, 1945): Edward G. Robinson, Margaret O’Brien. Dalton Trumbo scripted this tale of small town life in Wisconsin. It’s as pink as they come and a real hoot. B+

2:00 am – THE STRANGER (RKO, 1946): Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson & Loretta Young. A small town schoolteacher suspects her new husband may be a fugitive Nazi. A

August 2 – Lucille Ball

6:00 am – BEAUTY FOR THE ASKING (RKO, 1939): Lucille Ball, Patric Knowles. A jilted woman makes her fortune in cosmetics. C+

7:15 am – NEXT TIME I MARRY (RKO, 1938): Lucille Ball, James Ellison. In order to secure a huge inheritance, an heiress must find a husband fast. C+

8:30 am – THE AFFAIRS OF ANNABEL (RKO, 1937): Lucille Ball, Jack Oakie. A screen queen must suffer the wild publicity stunts dreamed up by her agent. C+

11:30 am – FIVE CAME BACK (RKO, 1939): Chester Morris, Lucille Ball. Survivors of a jungle plane crash realize that their repaired airplane can only carry five passengers. A-

1:00 pm – THE BIG STREET (RKO, 1942): Henry Fonda, Lucille Ball. A story of unrequited love redeemed at the end between a busboy and a showgirl. B

6:00 pm – CRITIC’S CHOICE (WB, 1963): Bob Hope, Lucille Ball. A Broadway critic must write a negative review about his wife's play. C

8:00 pm – THE DARK CORNER (Fox, 1946): Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb & William Bendix. A secretary helps her private eye boss when he's framed for murder. A-

10:00 pm – YOURS, MINE AND OURS (UA, 1968): Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda. A widow with eight children marries a widower with ten, then gets pregnant. B+

12:00 am – THE LONG, LONG TRAILER (MGM, 1954): Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball. A honeymooning couple invests in a trailer and later discovers life on the road is not all it’s cracked up to be. C+

1:45 am – BEST FOOT FORWARD (MGM, 1943): Lucille Ball, William Gaxton. A movie star causes havoc when she accepts an invitation to a military academy dance. B

August 3 –Bing Crosby

6:00 am – GOING HOLLYWOOD (MGM, 1933): Marion Davies, Bing Crosby, & Fifi D’Orsay. Davies is a fan who goes all out to lure singer Crosby away from screen star D’Orsay. B+

7:30 am – PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (Columbia, 1936): Bing Crosby, Madge Evans. Singer Bing gets involved with a grieving family and a haunted house. B-

9:00 am – THE ROAD TO HONG KONG (UA, 1962): Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, & Joan Collins. Two con men get mixed up in international intrigue and the space race. C-

10:45 am – MAN ON FIRE (MGM, 1957): Bing Crosby, Inger Stevens. A divorced man fights for custody of his son when his ex-wife remarries. B-

12:30 pm – HIGH SOCIETY (MGM, 1956): Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, & Grace Kelly.  Sinatra and Crosby shine in this musical remake of The Philadelphia StoryA-

2:30 pm – A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT (Paramount, 1949): Bing Crosby, Rhonda Fleming. A musical take on the classic Mark Twain story. B-

6:30 pm – RHYTHM ON THE RANGE (Paramount, 1936): Bing Crosby, Frances Farmer & Martha Raye. A cowboy falls for his boss, a beautiful lady ranch owner. C+

8:00 pm – GOING MY WAY (Paramount, 1944): Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald. A young priest revitalizes a failing parish and brings new life to the elder priest. Ratings: See above.

10:15 pm – THE COUNTRY GIRL (Paramount, 1955): Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly. While trying to help her husband make a comeback, an alcoholic singer's wife fights her love for another man. A

12:15 am – ROAD TO MOROCCO (Paramount, 1942): Bob Hope, Bing Crosby & Dorothy Lamour. Bob and Bing get caught between an Arabian bandit chief and a beautiful princess. B

2:00 am – SING YOU SINNERS (Paramount, 1938): Bing Crosby, Fred MacMurray. A brother act is broken up by one sibling's devotion to gambling. A-

August 4 – Fay Wray

6:00 am – THE UNHOLY GARDEN (UA, 1931): Fay Wray, Warren Hymer. A gentleman thief falls for the daughter of the man he’s trying to rob. C+

7:30 am – ANN CARVER’S PROFESSION (Columbia, 1933): Fay Wray, Gene Raymond. A female lawyer is torn between her profession and her husband’s ego. C+

9:00 am – WILDCAT BUS (RKO, 1934): Charles Lang, Fay Wray. A bankrupt playboy helps young woman save her family’s bus line. C-

10:15 am – DOCTOR X (WB, 1932): Lee Tracy, Lionel Atwill, & Fay Wray. Wonderful old horror film about “the full moon murders.”  Directed by Michael Curtiz in two-strip Technicolor. B

11:45 am – THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD (RKO, 1934): Miriam Hopkins, Fay Wray. Heiress Hopkins trades places with secretary Wray to discourage fortune hunters, but plans backfire when she falls in love. C-

1:15 pm – BLACK MOON (Columbia, 1934): Dorothy Burgess, Fay Wray & Jack Holt. Wray stands out in this tale of voodoo on an island near Haiti. B-

2:30 pm – CAPTAIN THUNDER (WB, 1931): Fay Wray, Victor Varconi & Charles Judels. A Mexican bandit kidnaps a wedding party. D+

3:45 pm – THE CLAIRVOYANT (Gaumont, 1934): Claude Rains, Fay Wray. A fake spiritualist’s predictions suddenly come true after meeting a young woman. A

5:15 pm – MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (WB, 1933): Fay Wray, Lionel Atwill & Glenda Farrell. Sculptor Atwill creates the most lifelike wax statues. Or are they? A-

6:45 pm – IT HAPPENED IN HOLLYWOOD (Columbia, 1937): Richard Dix, Fay Wray. A silent Western star has trouble adjusting to the coming of sound. C

8:00 pm – THE WEDDING MARCH (Paramount, 1928): George Fawcett, Maude George & Fay Wray. An Austrian Army officer falls for a bourgeois girl to the dismay of both their parents. A+

10:00 pm – KING KONG (RKO, 1933): Robert Armstrong, Fay Wray & Bruce Cabot. Animator Willis O’Brien was at the top of his game in this, the original – and still the best by far. A-

12:00 am – THUNDERBOLT (Paramount, 1929): George Bancroft, Fay Wray. A death-row convict plots to kill the man who stole his girl. A-

1:45 am – BELOW THE SEA (Columbia, 1933): Ralph Bellamy, Fay Wray. Criminals threaten a wealthy woman‘s underwater expedition. C

3:15 am – THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (RKO, 1932): Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks. Noted big game hunter McCrea is shipwrecked on an island and hunted by Count Zaroff (Banks). A-

4:30 am – ONE SUNDAY AFTERNOON (Paramount, 1933): Gary Cooper, Fay Wray. A small-town dentist’s infatuation with a vamp almost ruins his marriage and life. Remade as The Strawberry Blonde (1941). A-

August 5 – Karl Malden

6:00 am – PHANTOM OF THE RUE MORGUE (WB, 1954): Karl Malden, Patricia Medina. Updating of the Lugosi classic. A mad scientist uses an ape to murder his enemies. C

7:30 am – HOT MILLIONS (MGM, 1968): Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith. A computer whiz and his pregnant girlfriend set out to rob a huge corporation. B

9:30 am – HOTEL (WB, 1967): Rod Taylor, Catherine Spaak. A sort of Grand Hotel, this is the story of the clock-like movements of a giant, big city New Orleans hotel with all the side dramas. D+

11:45 am – TAKE THE HIGH GROUND (MGM, 1951): Karl Malden, Richard Widmark. No-nonsense drill sergeants train raw recruits for the Korean War. B

1:30 pm – BOMBERS B-52 (WB, 1957): Natalie Wood, Karl Malden. A hard-nosed Air Force sergeant tries to keep his daughter from dating a hotshot flyer. C+

3:30 pm – CAT O’NINE TAILS (Nat’l General, 1971): Karl Malden, James Franciscus & Catherine Spaak. A blind man and a reporter investigate a break-in at a center for genetic research. B+

8:00 pm – ON THE WATERFRONT (Columbia, 1954): Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, & Eva Marie Saint. Elia Kazan’s classic about a dockworker (Brando) that stands up to the Mob. A+

10:00 pm – A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (WB, 1951): Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh. Fading southern belle Leigh tries to build a new life when she moves in with her sister and brutish brother-in-law. A+

12:15 am – ALL FALL DOWN (MGM, 1962): Eve Marie Saint, Warren Beatty & Angela Landsbury. A young drifter’s possessive mom gets in the way of his romance with an older woman. B-

2:15 am – BABY DOLL (WB, 1956): Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, and Eli Wallach. A child bride holds her husband at bay while flirting with a sexy Italian farmer. B-

August 6 – Montgomery Clift

8:00 am – THE BIG LIFT (Box, 1950): Montgomery Clift, Paul Douglas. Two Air Force sergeants find love while flying the Berlin Airlift. C+

10:00 am – LONELYHEARTS (UA, 1958): Montgomery Clift, Robert Ryan & Myrna Loy. A sensitive young reporter assigned to write an advice column gets caught up in his readers' lives. B-

11:45 am – SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER  (MGM, 1958): Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor & Montgomery Clift. Hepburn is a rich widow who wants Clift to perform a lobotomy on niece Taylor to hide a family secret. B

1:45 pm – THE MISFITS (UA, 1961): Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe. A young divorcee becomes involved with a group of modern cowboys who are roping mustangs for sale as dog food in Gable’s final movie. B-

4:00 pm – THE SEARCH (MGM, 1948): Montgomery Clift, Aline MacMahon. An American soldier in postwar Berlin forms a bond with an abandoned child while the boy’s mother searches for him. A+

8:00 pm – RED RIVER (UA, 1948): John Wayne, Montgomery Clift. Young cowhand Clift turns against his tyrannical adoptive father (Wayne) during a big cattle drive. A+

10:30 pm – A PLACE IN THE SUN (Paramount, 1951): Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Taylor. A filmed version of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy directed by George Stevens. B+

12:45 am – FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (Columbia, 1953): Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr & Montgomery Clift. Enlisted men in 1941 Hawaii fight for love and honor on the eve of war. B

August 7 – Jean Harlow

6:00 am – RIFFRAFF (MGM, 1936): Spencer Tracy, Jean Harlow. A young married couple in the fishing business runs afoul of the law. B

8:00 am – SARATOGA (MGM, 1937): Clark Gable, Jean Harlow & Lionel Barrymore. Horse breeder Barrymore’s granddaughter (Harlow) falls for a bookie (Gable) in Harlow’s last film. B-

10:00 am – THE BEAST OF THE CITY (MGM, 1932): Walter Huston, Jean Hersholt. Police captain Huston leads the fight to bring vicious Mob chieftain Hersholt to justice. A

11:45 am – PERSONAL PROPERTY (MGM, 1937): Jean Harlow, Robert Taylor. The bailiff charged with disposing of a financially strapped widow’s estate pretends to be her butler. B-

1:15 pm – CHINA SEAS (MGM, 1935): Clark Gable, Wallace Beery, Rosalind Russell, & Jean Harlow. A sea captain (Gable) is caught in a romantic triangle and also has to fight off Malaysian pirates. B-

3:00 pm – HARLOW: THE BLOMDE BOMBSHELL (Turner, 1993): Sharon Stone hosts this look at Jean Harlow''s rise to stardom and her tragic end. A

4:00 pm – DINNER AT EIGHT (MGM, 1933): Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow. David O. Selznick produced this excellent ensemble about the goings-on behind the scenes during an elegant dinner party. A

8:00 pm – RED DUST (MGM, 1932): Clark Gable, Jean Harlow & Mary Astor. It’s a hot time in French Indochina with Gable as a plantation overseer torn between boss’s wife Astor and hooker Harlow. A

9:30 pm – BOMBSHELL (MGM, 1933): Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy. A glamorous movie star (Harlow) rebels against her studio, family and hangers-on. A

11:15 pm – WIFE VS. SECRETARY (MGM, 1936): Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow. An executive’s wife believes her husband's relationship with his secretary is more than professional. B+

2:45 am – RED HEADED WOMAN (MGM, 1932): Jean Harlow, Chester Morris. One of the best of the Pre-Code films: A gold-digger busts up her boss’s marriage and sins her way to financial success. A+


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1 comment:

  1. Once again... My main source for "recording" TCM classics! Thanks guys!

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