I always get a bit leery doing this posts because they remind me how quickly the year is going by. It seems like I just did the TCM Top Ten for January a few weeks back and now we’re in July! Anyway, we have quite the ten assembled as TCM gears up for dog days of summer and Summer Under the Stars. Let’s see what’s worth making time for in July!
**Times are listed as Eastern. TCM can change the schedule at their discretion and without notice.**
Maureen O’Hara is the actress of the month and the only movie I chose to spotlight looks like a three-hanky weeper from the title alone. Sentimental Journey tells the story of a dying actress (O’Hara) who adopts an operhan so her husband won’t be alone. I can only assume O’Hara doesn’t bite it by the end; she’s Maureen O’Hara! O’Hara is the sexy mom everyone wishes they had, and I’m sure Sentimental Journey shows her acting chops in a romantic melodrama, alongside her wonderful interactions with the child actress. Sentimental Journey kicks off O’Hara’s month, July 2nd at 12:30am.
I’ll get to the premise first and foremost: The Day of the Dolphin is about a scientist who has to stop speaking dolphins from assassinating the president. Who else thinks that idea sounds all sorts of stupid and awesome! And it’s directed by Mike Nichols, starring George C. Scott?! I have to watch this purely to see how everything comes together. Flipper taking out the leader of the free world? I just can’t talk about this movie without smiling as I type. I mean, they’re dolphins! Dolphins are loveable rascals of the ocean. Is it because all tuna isn’t dolphin safe? The Day of the Dolphin airs during an evening devoted to ‘talking to the animals,’ July 3rd at 12:30am.
I don’t often pick foreign films, but I’m compelled to seek out the works of bizarre filmmaker Luis Bunuel. Diary of a Chambermaid stars Jeanne Moreau as a woman who learns the family she works for is a bit strange. What’s it going to be everyone? I’m going with weird corpses in the basement or something. I expect nothing less from Bunuel. Catch Diary of a Chambermaid on July 7th at 4am.
I first heard about The Marrying Kind in Jeanine Basinger’s book on marriage in the movies (which I loved and reviewed). George Cukor directs this tale of a divorcing couple (Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray) who look back on the events that led them to split. Basinger described the film as a rather serious look at a divorcing couple, hobbled by personal tragedies. After adoring Holliday as the flighty dame in Born Yesterday, I’m interested to watch her in a more dour role, even if the concept of her playing a sad housewife reminds me of her role in Adam’s Rib. The Marrying Kind airs July 7th at 10:15am.
A little film noir in the offing this month with Dick Powell in Cornered. This noir has murder, revenge, and Nazis. What’s not to love? I’ve yet to take in Powell as a serious leading man, but the plot sounds interesting and timely for 1946; it’s also directed by Edward Dmytryk who’s directed some strong noirs. Cornered is the lunchtime film on July 8th at 12:30pm.
Bill Hader’s going to teach the kids about 1930s glamour gir, Kay Francis on The Essentials, Jr. Her 1935 performance in I Found Stella Parish tells of an actress who’ll do anything she can to hide her past from her daughter. I’m not sure if this was in the book Moms in the Movies, but I get the sneaking suspicion it was (feel free to correct me). It’s directed by Mervyn LeRoy which lends some credibility, and, worst case scenario, we watch Francis in beautiful gowns for the runtime. I Found Stella Parish is part of the Essentials, Jr. July 14th at 10:45pm.
It wouldn’t be a TCM Top Ten without a little Babs Stanwyck for the month, would it? Witness to Murder features Barbara as a woman desperate to make someone believe she witnessed a murder. Not too much to that premise, is there? It also stars the silver-tongued George Sanders, an interesting pairing I couldn’t have foreseen. Witness to Murder airs July 16th at 1:45pm.
A one-two punch of Stanwyck this month! Crime of Passion is another self-declared story; Stanwyck put out several of these throughout the 1950s. I’m not sure how much passion there’ll be in Crime of Passion considering the Production Code atmosphere, a hindrance when your narrative revolves around a wife willing to barter her sexual favors for her husband’s elevated position within his company. I think it’s safe to assume much of the movie will be spent talking about the pros and cons of what Stanwyck’s character seeks to do. Whether she ends up following through is another story. Crime of Passion is the 5pm movie on July 16th.
I always try to include one off-kilter horror movie and while The Day of the Dolphin may take the cake, I kept coming back to The Visitor. I’ve heard of this 1979 sci-fi/horror movie, and based on the pictures I saw just searching for the poster, I’m more intrigued to see this than ever. The Visitor comes off like a pre-Poltergeist horror film involving a young girl with telekinetic powers being the lynchpin in the battle between good and evil. I’m very interested to hear from those who’ve seen it. Am I completely off-base? The Visitor airs at 2am on July 20th.
Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None has been adapted several times, predominately under the title Ten Little Indians (we actually got an Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner take on the premise this year!). Rene Clair, who directed my favorite Veronica Lake movie, I Married a Witch, takes the reigns, helming an all-star cast who must band together when they’re being murdered one by one. The fantastic cast includes Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, Louis Hayward, Judith Anderson, Roland Young, and Mischa Auer. Christie’s works are usually a great ride. And Then There Were None leads a night devoted to Agatha Christie, July 21st at 8pm.
The TCM Trio
It’s Halloween in July when a Val Lewton trio takes over July 27th. Starting at 8pm, watch Simone Simon struggle to contain her animal nature in Cat People. Then, at 9:30, Simon returns in a different guise, as the imaginary friend of Ann Carter in The Curse of the Cat People. Finally, at 10:45, Martin Scorsese takes us into the dark world of director Val Lewton in Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows.
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.