You’ll notice this month’s TCM Top Ten doesn’t start till after the TCM Classic Film Festival. Sure, I’ll be getting my fair share of films, but I’d hate to miss something on the channel so I’m keeping everything safe (not that there weren’t great choices). Here are ten films I’ll be seeking out…after I get back from Los Angeles, of course. Feel free to add your own recommendations below.
*Times are listed as Eastern. TCM can change the schedule at their discretion.*
Let’s kick off the month with a musical that I’m assuming will be pure bubblegum fun. Nancy Goes to Rio (1950) sees a mother and daughter compete in their careers and for men. Jane Powell never ceases to make me smile and this came out the same year as another Ann Sothern film I thoroughly enjoyed, Shadow on the Wall. It also has Barry Sullivan, Scotty Beckett, and Carmen Miranda who I’ve been itching to see in a film. Nancy Goes to Rio kicks off May 8th at 6am.
After spending five days in July consuming Fred and Ginger movies I figured it’d be worthwhile to catch the ones I didn’t originally watch. Carefree (1938) stars Fred and Ginger alongside regular director Mark Sandrich. Astaire doesn’t play a scrappy hoofer here, but a psychiatrist….who’s probably going to have some type of hoofer background; Rogers is the woman seeing him professionally but, of course, will personally fall into his arms. The plot sounds wackier than usual Fred and Ginger narratives, and I have to see how we explain Astaire’s dance history. You can enjoy Carefree on May 10th at 3pm.
The day’s theme is gambling and I’m anticipating a lot of A) preachy cautionary tales or B) bubbly Vegas stories. The Great Sinner (1949) wins my attention purely on its cast: Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Melvyn Douglas and Agnes Moorehead! Be still my heart! And that’s not including titans like Walter Huston and Ethel Barrymore. Peck plays a young man struck with “gambling fever” so while I’m assuming it’ll fall into my A category, you can’t ignore those stars. The Great Sinner airs May 13th at 10:30am.
When I interviewed Paul Henreid’s daughter Monika she mentioned The Spanish Main (1945) was her favorite of her father’s films. Though I don’t naturally gravitate to swashbucklers, my recent foray into the work of Errol Flynn has changed my mind. The Spanish Main also stars my favorite fiery Irish lass, Maureen O’Hara in this international tale. The Spanish Main is the noon film on the 22nd.
Let’s get a little Doris Day in this month. The Tunnel of Love (1958) has a grounded plotline involving a married couple’s attempts to adopt a child. As adoption became more prominent after the war Hollywood created several prominent weepies around the subject. This one could be an interesting slice of life as the nation transitioned from the apple pie world of the ’50s into the ’60s. I’m having a harder time believing Doris Day is married to Richard Widmark! You can enter The Tunnel of Love on May 23rd at 8:45am.
Golden era movies are so good they can make the end of the world fun! The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) could have only happened during a time when the end of the world seemed both real and fantastical. Jack Benny stars as an angel meant to destroy the Earth with a single trumpet blast. I’m guessing it’s safe to assume the world is in one piece by the end? It also stars Alexis Smith, an actress I’m still on the fence about. The horn doesn’t quite blow at midnight, but you can listen to The Horn Blows at Midnight when it airs on May 25th at 4:30am.
I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Nora Prentiss (1947) with many considering it a staple of the film noir genre. I haven’t given many films starring Ann Sheridan a watch, but it also stars Kent Smith – you all know how I feel about him! Honestly, I’m in the mood for some good noir and this should fit the bill. Nora Prentiss airs May 25th at 7:45am.
Happy Mother’s Day (it’s May 8th, actually)! What better way to tell mom you love her than watching an unhinged Shelley Winters in a Roger Corman film? I’ve heard Bloody Mama (1970) is a lot of fun, if only because Shelley Winters is just a nutcase in it. The film follows a family, based on the infamous Barker clan, who terrorize and kill at will. Okay, so maybe it’s not something to watch with your mom but it’s something my mom would watch with me! Bloody Mama is part of the network’s salute to American International Pictures on May 27th at 2am.
How am I only hearing about A Matter of Time (1976) right now?! The premise is as follows: “An eccentric countess teaches a hotel chambermaid to follow her dreams.” Sounds pretty generic, right? What makes me say “What” is the talent here. You have Liza Minnelli starring in a film directed by her father, Vincente, only four years after her luminous, Academy Award-winning performance in Cabaret. You also have Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer here! I’m in. A Matter of Time airs May 27th, right after Blood Mama, at 5:30am.
There’s a lot of films I’ll miss at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival, and one I’m hoping to catch after I return is Double Harness (1933) starring Ann Harding and my beloved William Powell. Harding plays a woman who tricks Powell into marriage and then tries to win his heart the old-fashioned way. Sounds like a comedy William Powell would make! Double Harness airs May 27th at 11am.
Spend the twelfth honoring the luminous Katharine Hepburn with a trio of her best titles. Starting at 8am, watch Katharine, Ginger Rogers and a host of other lovely ladies navigate the world of show business in Stage Door (1937). Then, at 10am, Cary Grant tries to get a Holiday (1938) from Katharine. And, at noon, Katharine, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart find themselves in a love triangle in The Philadelphia Story (1940).
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.