It’s probably good I’m scaling the TCM Top’s down to ten, especially this month. I’ll be providing coverage to all things TCM Film Festival starting next week, so being immersed in movies 24/7 is definitely going to put a damper on any TV watching. Luckily, I would hate for those readers at home to not have an idea of what I would be watching if I were at home (where I usually am the remaining 360 days of the year).
**As always times are Pacific. Dates and start times can change at TCM’s discretion**
Our first pick is a good example of why TCM should continue showing movie trailers in-between the feature. While waiting for another movie to start I caught the trailer for this 1963 comedy starring Doris Day and James Garner. My experience with Day’s movies extends to watching Calamity Jane, once, and she didn’t do much for me. However, I’ve increasingly grown fond of movies with James Garner who plays a befuddled doctor coping with his wife becoming successful in advertising. I’m sure 1960s notions of women will prevail but the trailer sold me. The Thrill of It All airs in tribute to Doris Day’s 90th birthday, April 3rd at 5pm.
I’ve never heard of the Miss Pinkerton series of novels, but any pre-Code starring Joan Blondell captures my attention. Joan plays a nurse wrapped up in a mystery she must solve. I’m assuming there’s a reason her name conjures up images of the famed Pinkerton Detectives. The movie also stars George Brent. This is an early morning airing so if you want to join Miss Pinkerton on the case set your alarms for 4am on April 4th.
Charly’s aired several times on TCM, but I’ve never picked it because I’m not sure about the premise. Cliff Robertson stars a mentally challenged man whose turned into a genius via technological advancements. I’m always sensitive about Hollywood movies involving the handicapped, particularly when it involves the mentally impaired as it comes off as Oscar bait, a melodrama about feeling sorry for people, or, like with this synopsis, how simple it is to fix. It doesn’t help that Cliff Robertson looks gorgeous! Regardless, I’ll take a chance on it and hope Hollywood does right by it. Charly airs April 6th at 11am.
I’m a fan of domestic dramas and the cast for this one struck me immediately. Bette Davis plays a mother struggling to give her daughter, played by Debbie Reynolds, the wedding of a lifetime; Father of the Bride starring the mother? I can’t figure out if Reynolds playing Davis’ daughter is a good casting decision or the worst, but I enjoy both leading ladies. I’m also intrigued to watch Davis playing a struggling mother in the 1950s. The Catered Affair kicks off an evening with TCM’s Fan Programmers on April 8th at 5pm.
The Very Thought of You could end up being a very bad decision for me. For starters, it’s directed by Delmar Daves who helmed A Summer Place; I’m hoping this isn’t as sickeningly sweet and incesty as that summery melodrama. The Very Thought of You deals with in-laws and a wartime marriage and I’m hoping this is more in line with something like Apartment for Peggy, following couples struggling to cope without a war. It stars Eleanor Parker who I want to watch in a role removed from The Sound of Music (Caged made an appearance on a previous TCM Top but I haven’t gotten to it yet), and Dennis Morgan is 1-1 for me. You can watch The Very Thought of You on April 9th at 3pm.
You’d expect I’d be a Mario Bava expert by this point with reviewing of many of Kino’s Mario Bava Collection. Hatchet for the Honeymoon’s one I’ve yet to experience and it’s premise intrigues me: A bridal designer kills various brides-to-be. What an idea for a horror movie! And if I know Bava, it sounds like a blood-soaked mess with lovely wedding dresses shred into confetti! Hatchet for the Honeymoon airs during TCM’s weekly horror/cult time slot, April 19th at 11pm.
The Glass Slipper’s reputation precedes it as one of the weirdest Cinderella adaptations out there. I adore Rodgers and Hammerstein’s take on the material, and I’m intrigued to watch an adaptation focused on dancing. Leslie Caron isn’t a great actress in my book, but she’s a beautiful dancer. The rest of the cast, including Keenan Wynn and Elsa Lanchester keeps me skeptical I’ll praise this as a fairy-tale classic. The Glass Slipper is part of the Essentials, focused on fairy tales, April 26th at 7pm.
The overabundance of 1950s movies was unplanned, but Lonelyhearts captured my attention because it’s premise reeks of murder and mayhem (I could be wrong). Montgomery Clift plays a writer penning the Miss Lonelyhearts column and ends up immersing himself into the readers lives. As if Clift’s name isn’t enough to grab you, the movie stars Robert Ryan and Myrna Loy. Myrna Loy being lonely? I refuse to believe it. This is a movie post-Clift’s car accident which always makes me sad to note the drastic change in his appearance, but he picked projects which remain watchable. Lonelyhearts airs April 27th at 7am.
As we round out the month a few old regulars start cropping up. I’m a fan of film noir, especially if stars Robert Mitchum and directed by Otto Preminger as Angel Face is. Angel Face tells the tale of a beautiful woman (Jean Simmons) who murders her loved one for profit. I’m assuming Mitchum finds himself ensnared by her and fearing for his life? Or is she swayed by him and contemplating an end to a life of murder? Either way, Simmons playing a murderess is worth indulging in. Angel Face technically airs April 29th at 2:30am but with Pacific time TCM counts it as April 28th.
Samuel Fuller makes another appearance on this list after Shock Corridor popped up in last month’s Top Ten. The Naked Kiss is another noirish film involving a prostitute who murders her pimp and hopes to return to small-town life. Having yet to watch a Fuller film I continue to take note of his movies because of the beautiful Criterion covers. TCM is airing this after Shock Corridor so I’m hoping to do a double-feature. The Naked Kiss airs April 29th at 3:30pm.
The TCM Trio
Larger than life characters are in the spotlight on Sunday, April 13th, so as I’m flying home from a whirlwind festival weekend kick back and enjoy James Dean as a rebellious youth in East of Eden at 10:45am, followed by Natalie Wood as a rising star in Inside Daisy Clover at 1pm, rounded out by Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea as Hollywood hobos in Sullivan’s Travels at 3:15pm.
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.