This Week on TCM spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan viewing or DVR scheduling.
Monday, September 26
7:30 a.m. Sylvia Scarlett
Five years before The Philadelphia Story, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant teamed up with George Cukor for this story of a thief’s daughter masquerading as a boy and her amiable con man pal.
8:00 p.m. The Painted Veil (1934)
Greta Garbo plays the lonely wife in a marriage of convenience. Possibly due to limits set by the newly-enforced production code (a.k.a. Hays Code), this film wasn’t the greatest success in the US, but was popular in Europe.
Tuesday, September 27
8:00 p.m. Spartacus (1960)
Classic epic about a slave (Kirk Douglas) who sparks a rebellion against the cruel, corrupt Roman Empire. With Sir Lawrence Olivier, Charles Laughton and Tony Curtis. If it hasn’t been a TCM Essential, it sure as heck should have been. Tune in and join the #TCMparty.
1:30 a.m. Seven Days in May (1964)
I know I recommend this film every time it’s on. Not only is it a really good, still-rellevant film, it’s still influential. Director John Frankenheimer’s work was cited repeatedly this summer by Matthew Vaughn as one of his inspirations for X Men: First Class.
Wednesday, September 28
All of today’s films are part of the Library of Congress Film Archive.
2:00 p.m. I Take This Woman (1940)
Spencer Tracy plays a physician who gets mixed up with Hedy Lamarr’s suicidal refugee.
10:00 p.m. Baby Face (1933)
I’ve never seen this film. But Barbara Stanwyck, with her genius for comedy and timing, is always watchable.
3:30 a.m. (Thursday) British Agent (1934)
Directed by one of the best Golden Age directors, Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Robin Hood, Mildred Pierce).
Thursday, September 29
A couple of interesting films noirs are among today’s offerings: The Killers (1946, 1:15 p.m.), starring Burt Lancaster, is a classic of the genre and an absolute must; and The Naked City (1948, 3:15 p.m.) with Barry Fitzgerald, directed by Jules Dassin (Rififi, Thieves’ Highway, Topkapi).
The final Merchant Ivory block begins tonight at 8:00 p.m. and includes works made for TV.
Friday, September 30
Deborah Kerr is featured until 8:00 p.m. today. Powell & Pressburger’s Black Narcissus (1947) shows at 10:00 a.m. and I highly recommend it if you have not seen it already. I’m also interested to see The End of the Affair (1955) as I’ve seen the 1999 remake with Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore. But you really can’t go wrong with any of Kerr’s films, she is another super-talented actress who is always interesting.
TCM Underground presents two films by Yugoslav director Dušan Makavejev early Saturday morning: The Switchboard Operator (2:00 a.m.) and Man Is Not A Bird (3:15 a.m.).
Saturday, October 1
1:45 p.m. Another Thin Man (1939)
Clear off your DVR or just stay home to see the great chemistry between William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles.
8:00 p.m. Ball of Fire (1941)
Hilarious entry in the fish-out-of-water genre as a nightclub singer (Stanwyck) hides out with a professor (Gary Cooper) and his colleagues. A TCM Essential, as well it should be. Directed by the great Howard Hawks, it garnered four Oscar nominations, including Best Actress and Best Writing (Original Story).
EDIT: By popular demand, Ball of Fire will be a #TCMParty. Tune in and tweet with us!
Sunday, October 2
6:00 a.m. Berlin Express (1948)
Often a star-director combo piques my interest, and so it is in this case with Jacques Tourneur (Out of the Past) guiding Merle Oberon as she goes up against persistent Nazis in post-WWII Europe.
As I’ve stated in this space previously, I’m not necessarily a zealous fan of silent films. I think the acting style is not to my taste. But with Buster Keaton classics on offer every Sunday evening in October, I may give in and check out one or two.
Are silent movies really OK? What do you like about them? What else will you be watching this week on TCM and why? Let me know in the comments.