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 schedule.
Summer Under The Stars wraps this week. Once again, I’ve watched more movies (and shoehorned more onto the DVR) than I thought possible. I’ve also had some great conversations with other classic fans; I encourage you to follow these folks on Twitter (tell ’em Paula sent you).
Monday, August 29 – Anne Francis
7:45 a.m. So Young, So Bad
Inmates (Francis, Enid Pulver and Rita Moreno) in a girls’ reform school are subject to a kind social worker (Paul Henreid), sadistic matrons, and escape attempts. Fictional story told in documentary style.
10:00 p.m. Forbidden Planet
Rocky Horror Picture Show devotees and sci-fi fans owe it to themselves to check out this influential ’50s version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The special effects might not stand up but the startlingly modern electronic score wouldn’t sound out of place in a chillout mix. Years later, movies and electronic acts alike are using aspects of this picture as a framework for their own innovations.
12:00 a.m. (Tues.) Brainstorm
Francis portrays a woman whose lover fakes insanity as cover for killing her husband.
Tuesday, August 30 – Howard Keel
Until very recently, I thought of Howard Keel only as Jock Ewing in the ’80s soap Dallas. He actually had quite a career in Hollywood musicals like Showboat (showing today at 2:30 p.m.) and Annie Get Your Gun (showing today at 4:30 p.m.) and the occasional drama.
8:30 a.m. Kismet (1955)
Classic Arabian Nights tale with music by Borodin; Keel plays the handsome prince courting the daughter of the king of the beggars.
6:30 p.m. Floods of Fear
Lesser-known film with Keel & Cyril Cusack as prisoners whose escape is both enabled and hampered by a flood.
8:00 p.m. Three Guys Named Mike
Keel plays his first non-musical co-starring role as an airline pilot, one of the three Mikes pursuing Jane Wyman.
Wednesday, August 31 – Marlene Dietrich
This lady is a great performer even if her movies aren’t always stellar. If you can’t call in sick to watch TCM all day, here are three suggestions — movies I haven’t seen and will be taking a chance on:
6:00 a.m. The Monte Carlo Story
Bicycle Thief director Vittorio de Sica plays one of two chronic gamblers who are after Dietrich. Not a well-reviewed film, but not a frequently programmed one either, and not available on DVD.
9:45 a.m. The Lady is Willing
Dietrich is a Broadway entertainer who finds a baby on the street and needs a husband in order to adopt. Fred MacMurray is the nearest available guy…her obstetrician.
8:00 p.m. The Scarlet Empress
Josef von Sternberg directed Dietrich’s early pictures, for example The Blue Angel (showing early Thursday at 3:30 a.m.) and Shanghai Express (showing today at 6:30 p.m.), so I expect an interesting, if un-biographical film, about Catherine the Great’s early life.
What is everyone watching this week? Did I miss your favorite star’s best film? Leave your picks in the comments!