We’re back for our regularly scheduled TCM picks! Listen up everyone, I’m stupidly excited for this week of programming! There’s lots of fun, delightful goodness, and a dash of Rod Taylor and Hugh O’Brian sprinkled in. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Let’s dive right on in!
The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)
This one is a simple bit of fun. The Glass Bottom Boat is not really the best remembered of the Doris Day fair, but it’s a cute one. The movie crafts a fun, early space-age story through a Frank Tashlin shaped lens, featuring Rod Taylor as an aerospace engineer who starts wondering if the woman of his affections (Day) is really a Russian spy.
Meanwhile, The Glass Bottom Boat brings a legendary supporting cast that is a who’s who of TV comedy during the mid-1960s, with names like Paul Lynde, Dom DeLuise and Dick Martin filling the credits. Now, with that, the inclusion these comedians does leave parts of the movie feeling very manic. A tone like this doesn’t work for some. However, if you’re a fan of this brand of 1960s comedy, definitely check this one out.
The Glass Bottom Boat airs during a Rod Taylor mini-marathon on what would be the actor’s 91st birthday. It is a WatchTCM viewing, airing at 3:45am PST on January 11th.
This isn’t the first time you’re going to hear me talk about Arthur Hailey content this month. Hotel pops up early in the week as part of the (already mentioned) mini Rod Taylor marathon on January 11th. Like most of Hailey’s work, Hotel features a super-sized cast in a slice of life drama set in a New Orleans hotel. Taylor is backed up by Catherine Spaak, Karl Malden, Melvyn Douglas, Merle Oberon, Richard Conte, Michael Rennie and Kevin McCarthy (to name a few!).
Fans of the supersized casts and event programming of the late 1960s and 1970s should add this one to their lists.
Hotel is another WatchTCM viewing, airing at 7:30am PST on January 11th.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
It has been far too long since I sat down to watch The Night of the Hunter, a truly fascinating drama directed by Charles Laughton. The story follows a con man (Robert Mitchum) as he attempts to swindle two young children (as well as their widowed mother) into turning over money their father stole in a bank robbery. The film features a legendary cast behind Robert Mitchum, including Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish.
The genre bending feature is difficult to describe, but every frame which reaches the screen is a work of art. While this is Laughton’s only billed directorial credit, it is a work which receives a lot of praise, and it deserves each and every bit of it.
The Night of the Hunter airs at 10:30am on January 13th.
Murder By Death (1976)
Murder by Death is a longtime favorite of mine. In fact, I watched this murder mystery parody before I even had a frame of reference for the subject matter it examines.
The delightful Neil Simon script follows thinly disguised literary detectives solving a murder at an old dark house). The movie features an all-star cast, including: Peter Falk, Peter Sellers, Truman Capote, David Niven and Elsa Lanchester (to name a few). Sure, Murder By Death does have a few problems (most notably a problematic Peter Sellers yellow-face performance), but this is a fun watch, and is definitely worthy of checking out if you’ve missed this one.
Murder by Death airs at 5:00pm PST on January 13th.
Clue is another old, old favorite of mine. In fact, I think I watched this movie before I even started watching classic films. The murder mystery features an all-star cast, including: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael McKean (again, to name a few). The story follows the characters of the legendary board game as they attempt to solve a murder.
Admittedly, Clue hit theaters in 1985, and as a result, is a bit on the new side for TCM programming. However, this is one of the ultimate dinner party, murder mystery pictures, and it pairs incredibly well with the more “classic” films playing during this themed evening.
Clue airs at 6:45pm PST on January 13th.
Ten Little Indians (1966)
It’s like the folks at TCM were reading my mind with this one. I might have been flirting with a bit of a Hugh O’Brian deep-dive lately, but anywhooo… It has been quite a long time since I’ve watched Ten Little Indians. However, the movie is one of my favorites of the many, many Agatha Christie cinematic retellings to flood movie screens over the last half century or so. The atmospheric murder mystery features a fascinating cast including: O’Brian, Fabian, Shirley Eaton, Stanley Holloway and Wilfrid Hyde-White as dinner party guests trying to solve just who is killing them off one by one.
Ten Little Indians airs at 8:30pm PST on January 13th.
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
First time watch alert! I previously went public with this embarrassing omission on social media, but have yet to remedy this glaring oversight. Everyone has their cinematic blindspots, sure. However, Doctor Zhivago is a big… long…. blindspot. I promise to get this done this month! The David Lean directed picture is a sweeping period epic and like so many of the auteur’s films is supremely grand in scale and well-known for its grandeur. Oh yeah, Omar Sharif is in there too!
Doctor Zhivago airs at 9:15am PST on January 14th.
Kisses for My President (1964)
There’s a bit of a Polly Bergen mini marathon airing on TCM on January 15th, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve already gone on at length about my feelings for actor, singer, gameshow panelist and ardent feminist Polly Bergen. However, this movie is one which has long eluded me. In Kisses for My President, Bergen stars as the first woman to be voted President of the United States. Enough said, with everything going on in Washington on a daily basis, I need this movie in my life.
Kisses for My President airs at 12:45pm PST on January 15th.
As I said, there’s lots of fun programming on TCM this week. There’s lots of mini-marathons which look to pop up, most notably the Rod Taylor films on the 11th, and the Polly Bergen films on the 15th. At the same time, your’s truly is beyond stoked for the murder mystery night of programming on January 13th. I absolutely bow to the programming exec who decided on that night. I want to shake their hand.
Stay turned for next week’s picks!
Podcaster, film historian, and general lover of all things classic film and television. Studying the contributions of women behind the camera in classic television.
You can find me on Twitter @kpierce624!