The TCM Top Twelve for June 2013
The first month of summer, and TCM appears to be easing into things. I did my monthly check of the TCM guide, and this was the first time in a while where I didn’t have to cut down my list; I had exactly twelve movies. I won’t call it a bad month for movies, maybe I’ve simply watched too many? Either way, my list marks the return of the documentary pick, and the TCM Trio; here’s what I’ll be DVR’ing this month!
All times listed are Pacific. The schedule is the latest on the TCM website, and can be changed at the network’s discretion.
I’ve had Sunday in New York on my DVR since it was on TCM last, but I never actually placed it on a Top Twelve list; I’m rectifying that now! The film has Jane Fonda as a bubbly, romantic comedy lady (a role she’d tire of and abandon in a few years) who decides to have a fling. Honestly, the predominant reason this is on the list because I love Cliff Robertson and want to watch more of his work! You can see Robertson and Fonda when Sunday in New York airs June 2nd at 3pm.
I had no idea that The Maltese Falcon had been adapted other than the 1941 Humphrey Bogart version, so it was surprising to see this 1936 version, starring Bette Davis no less! I expect this to be a pulpier take on the material; I mean just look at the scandalous title! Davis appears to be the big draw to fans now, but it also has Warren William in the cast and is directed by William Dieterle. Satan Met a Lady airs during the Friday Night Spotlight showcasing noir writers (the whole night is worth watching as it’ll include presentations of After the Thin Man and The Glass Key) on June 8th, at 1:30am, and follows the 1941 remake!
The Thief of Paris is my requisite wild-card because I’m know nothing about actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, and French cinema and I come to loggerheads. Regardless, I’m a fan of director Louis Malle (his films are controversial and I’ve debated the merits of a few of them) and actress Genevieve Bujold is in this; I’ve had a long-standing appreciation of all her work since Anne of the Thousand Days. June appears to be the month of my favorite stars! The Thief of Paris is on during a night devoted to Belmondo, in case you’d like to get an education in his films, June 8th at 6:45pm.
Detour is one of the quintessential films noir, and I haven’t watched it. My film teacher showed a few snippets, but that’s not the same as experiencing the film. The movie stars troubled actor Tom Neal and Ann Savage; it’s directed by iconic director Edgar G. Ulmer whose made a few pictures I’ve enjoyed. In a nutshell: If you enjoy noir, get in on watching Detour! Detour airs June 11th at 11:45am.
You’re probably wondering why I’m gambling on another Sandra Dee movie after I ripped apart A Summer Place. I do believe Dee is a good actress, she just needs material that plays to her strengths; also, I got this in a dual pack with the 1930s version and want to open the DVD. Imitation of Life is another movie I’ve caught bits from, and it’s highly dated subject matter might be the type of sudsy melodrama I didn’t get in A Summer Place. Imitation of Life airs during TCM’s tribute to Lana Turner in the 1950s on June 12th at 5pm.
It’s been awhile since I included a documentary and Katharine Hepburn: All About Me caught my eye. The doc’s almost twenty years old, being made in 1993, but boasts interviews with Hepburn as well as showcasing her memorabilia. With stars getting older, I always appreciate the ones that actually include their participation because they’re few and far between. A fine actress like Hepburn has some stories to tell, making this documentary one worth taping. Katherine Hepburn: All About Me will run June 14th at 3am.
Father’s Day weekend had two intriguing movies, the above a bonfide classic, both that I decided to add here. I might need to turn in my classic film card, but I’ve never watched To Kill a Mockingbird! Shocker, I know. Having read the book as a requirement in school there’s no excuse why I haven’t watched the film before. The story of loyal father Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) is a classic for several reasons and I plan on rectifying my own personal brand of justice by watching the movie. To Kill a Mockingbird kicks off the father’s day festivities, June 16th, at 5pm.
For my second Father’s Day feature, I picked the 1947 family comedy, Life With Father. From an acting standpoint, I’ll watch William Powell in anything and from what I’ve read he plays a blustery, turn-of-the-century father (complete with mustache!). It also includes Elizabeth Taylor who is usually engaging in roles like these. Life With Father is on right after To Kill a Mockingbird on June 16th, at 7:15pm.
Joan Crawford never disappoints, and I’ve head that this is her meatiest role, ever. A Woman’s Face follows a criminal (Crawford) who believes her life will change once she gets plastic surgery. I immediately think of the Bogie/Bacall film, Dark Passage, and I hope the two aren’t the same. You can watch A Woman’s Face, as well as a host of other features written by Donald Ogden Stewart, on June 19th at 10:30pm.
How Green Was My Valley appears to air in perpetuity on TCM, and yet this is the first time it’s made my Top Twelve. The story of a family of Welsh coal miners is commonly considered one of the best movies ever made, and it has quite the cast of A-listers including Maureen O’Hara and a young Roddy McDowall (one of the reason I added it to the list). How Green Was My Valley airs June 22nd, at 11am.
I spent quite a bit of time with director Val Lewton over the last three months of school, but we never watched The Leopard Man (although I did watch an example of the Lewton Bus technique within it). Directed by Lewton regular, Jacques Tourneur, the movie tells of an escaped leopard, a publicity stunt, and murder; sounds good enough for me! The Leopard Man airs June 28th at 5pm as part of TCM’s continued series on noir writers.
And Sandra Dee shows up again in the final slot of the Top 12. Back when I reviewed modern-day movies on this blog, I reviewed the Amanda Bynes comedy What a Girl Wants; I liked it, but didn’t love it. Here’s hoping this version, which tells of an English debutante preparing for her American début, is as good as the remake. Oh, and it’s directed by Vincente Minnelli, the director who I continue to have a love/hate relationship with. The Reluctant Debutante airs June 30th at 4:45am.
You’ll want to stay in on Wednesday, June 26th because guest programmer Joseph Abboud has quite the list of Academy-Award nominated films to watch (two of which are directed by the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock). At 7:30pm, Joan Fontaine is in love with the mysterious Laurence Olivier in Rebecca; at 10pm, Ingrid Bergman is a CIA spy for Cary Grant in Notorious; and at midnight, Bergman and Humphrey Bogart find out they don’t amount to a “hill of beans” in Casablanca. Yes, I wrote that out while hearing the TCM announcer in my head!
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.
Love Life with Father-perfect for Father’s Day weekend.