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The TCM Top Twelve for March 2013


I have quite a few movies of TCM Top 12’s past to watch.  Oh, how I wish I could just retire and work on the blog full-time (isn’t that a dream for every blogger).  The 31 Days of Oscar comes to a close, but that’s not to say there’s nothing worth watching this month.  There’s an awesome TCM special in this round-up, a little film noir, and a movie I vowed to watch during one of my retrospectives.  Let’s delve into what you should be prepping for in March!

***As always, times used are Pacific Standard Time.  TCM has the ability to change this schedule at their discretion.***

To Be or Not to Be has various elements I’m interested in seeing.  I haven’t made a determination on whether I love director Ernst Lubitsch, or not, and I know this is considered one of his best efforts.  It also has Carole Lombard, in her final film that was released posthumously.  Lombard’s performance in My Man Godfrey is my only experience with the actress, and I’d love to see another screwball comedy.   The plot involves black comedy, Nazis, and Robert Stack, all of which should combine into a fun experience.  To Be Or Not to Be airs March 1st at 6am.  (It might be cheating, but right after this is Veronica Lake in I Married a Witch, which I recommend.)

I’m taking a class on the 1920s, and we spent some time discussing the Scopes Monkey Trial, of which this is based on.  It’s bound to be a tour-de-force, cinematically, as the cast consists of Spencer Tracy, Fredric March and Gene Kelly.  According to what I’ve read, Kelly actually plays a bit of a villain, which I’m not sure I can believe till I see it.  Catch Inherit the Wind on March 2nd at 8am.

More Liz Taylor (oddly enough this isn’t airing near her birthday), and I’ve been itching to see this for a while.  Reflections in a Golden Eye is rife with homoeroticism involving a military officer (Marlon Brando) obsessing over another man.  I’m not sure how blatantly the movie deals with homosexuality, especially with an actor like Brando who epitomized masculinity at the helm.  Add in director John Huston and Elizabeth Taylor (playing opposite Brando to make one hot couple), and I’m in.  Reflections in a Golden Eye is on March 4th at 3pm.

I mentioned it in a News From the Lake segment, but actress Kim Novak is being honored on TCM March 6th with her own special.  Kim Novak: Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival is a fifty minute interview with host Robert Osborne that was filmed last year during the TCM Classic Film Fest.  With this year’s festival right around the corner, this is a great special to watch if you’re going and want to see what you can expect.  I’m interested in hearing about Novak’s life and career, and hopefully this special gives some insiders scoop on her famous roles.  A whole evening devoted to Novak herself follows, but Kim Novak: Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival is on March 6th at 5pm.

Speaking of the TCM Classic Film Festival, and News From the Lake, I mentioned  a few weeks ago that this would be shown at the festival.  I’ve read that this is easily one of the must-see examples of film noir, and I really hate to make assumptions about what I expect.  I expect it to be dark and intricate.  Hell, I can’t even comment on the actors as they aren’t huge stars (at least that I know of).  I’m always happy to find a movie where I can go in blind.  The Narrow Margin airs March 8th at 8:15am.

Some more film noir in store this month.  I heard of this while reading The Dark Side of the Screen.  It almost sounds akin to Notorious with the story of a FBI agent invading a Nazi spy ring.  Other than that, I’m going in blind to this one, as well.  The House on 92nd Street airs, during a night devoted to double agents, on March 14th at 6:45pm.

Wow, I’m deeply confused about this movie now.  The poster above calls the movie Angst, but TCM and IMDB call it Fear.  Then again, TCM lists this as being made in 1956, and IMDB has it listed as 1954 (maybe the later date is US?).  Either way, I’ve never seen any of the films Ingrid Bergman did with second husband Roberto Rosselini (otherwise known as the man who ruined Bergman’s career for several years), and this sounds like a lurid potboiler involving marital infidelity and blackmail.  Bergman is always classy, and this could be another strong performance.  Fear (I’ll stick with the TCM title) airs March 15th at 10:45pm.

I’ve never seen Tootsie.  Does that make me a bad movie buff?  I’ve spoken to a slew of people who all praise Tootsie, and thank goodness, TCM is showing it!  It’s directed by acclaimed director Sydney Pollack and stars Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange; that trio right there is worthy of my attention.  I understand the plot already, and the attraction for me is comparing this to Victor/Victoria which has a similar spin on the cross-dressing story.  You can watch Tootsie, during a tribute to Dustin Hoffman, on March 16th at 5pm.

I usually include a film starring the Star of the Month, and for March it’s actress Greer Garson.  I’ve only see Garson’s performance in Mrs. Miniver, but Julia Misbehaves might change my mind on Garson as it removes her from the staid, English mother I saw in the last movie.  It also stars Elizabeth Taylor.  I enjoy family comedies born out of dysfunction, probably because it’s a funnier version of my life.  Julia Misbehaves tells the story of  a showgirl return to her stuffy husband when her daughter is set to marry.  It sounds like it could lead to a strong blend of comedy and drama.  Julia Misbehaves is on March 18th at 6:45pm.

This is one of those choices where I actually own the movie, and by placing it here it’s a reminder I should actually take it out of the packaging.  Manhattan Melodrama is commonly known as the last movie John Dillinger ever say, getting gunned down outside the movie theater showing it.  Aside from that piece of American history attached to it, it stars a pre-Thin Man Myrna Loy and William Powell; it also has pre-Code Clark Gable and Powell playing brothers!  Sign me up!  Manhattan Melodrama airs March 21st at 9:45am.

Throwing a little Alfred Hitchcock into the ring with I Confess.  I’m aware that this isn’t the best of Hitchcock’s work, but I find the plot incredibly fascinating; telling the story of a priest, played by Montgomery Clift, being accused of murder and to reveal the culprit would force him to reveal a man’s confession.  Clift won me over when I reviewed The Heiress, but sadly I haven’t seen anything else with him since.  It also has Anne Baxter who I enjoy.  You can watch I Confess on March 22nd at 5am.

Last year, I watched the majority of Jean Harlow’s filmography in a retrospective of her work.  I’d originally planned on reviewing her iconic performance in the essential pre-Code, Red-Headed Woman, but couldn’t land a copy.  It’s a bit late, but by gum I’m finally going to see this movie!  The story tells of a woman, with flaming red hair, who sleeps her way into high society.  I’ve seen clips of this on various pre-Code documentaries, and I need to see it just to see what all the fuss is about.  Red-Headed Woman is on March 25th at 3am.

That’s all the TCM goodies for this month.  Any I forgot to mention?



TCM Top Twelve

Kristen Lopez View All

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.

6 thoughts on “The TCM Top Twelve for March 2013 Leave a comment

  1. Kristen, “Manhattan Melodrama” is my favorite of the Powell/Loy pairings. Of course, you know that I don’t lean to comedy, so that is probably not a surprise. There is another piece of American history attached to the film. In the beginning of the film, there is a pleasure cruise fire which takes the lives of hundreds of people, including the parents of the little boys who will grow up to be William Powell and Clark Gable. That event actually happened. The General Slocum was the name of the ship (in real life and in the movie), and it happened off New York Harbor. (The Powell/Gable characters, of course, are fictional, but the event is not.)

    “I Confess” happens to be my favorite Hitchcock film, and the character of Michael Logan is one of my all-time favorite film characters. I know, it’s one of Hitch’s lesser-known films, but you know me…often walking to the beat of my own drum. Perhaps it’s my fave because Monty Clift is one of my beloved guys. I would encourage you to see more of his work. He was a terrific actor. His “A Place in the Sun” is my all-time favorite movie.

    TCM airs “Inherit the Wind” constantly. I DVR’d it maybe 2 times ago…still haven’t had a chance to watch it. So many movies in the DVR, so little time to watch them all!

    Have a great day!

    • I have Manhattan Melodrama as part of a William Powell/Myrna Loy set so might give me an excuse to crack that open. I didn’t know about the General Slocum! Always fascinated to see movies tied into history. Haha, don’t be afraid to beat your own drum, that’s why we all got into blogging! I have seen A Place in the Sun (can’t believe I forgot to mention that), and Clift is fantastic in that as well. Yeah, I have quite a few films taped that have aired several times already, we all need to be able to retire and live off blogging.

  2. Oh, and a goodie I am looking forward to in March is “Saturday’s Children,” a little-known John Garfield film. It’s one of the few of Mr. Garfield’s films I haven’t seen yet, and it provides a rare opportunity to catch him in a romantic role.

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