Sorry for my absence last week fair and gentle readers! Starting today I’m back on my game for a new round of TCM picks. Trust me, there’s lots and lots of good stuff happening on the network. A quick look over this week’s schedule shows not only all the Lana Turner one could want, but also a host of the best romances to come out of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and of course, film noir! Would it be a round of Ticklish Business picks otherwise?
Without further ado, here are the picks!
Dancing Co-Ed (1939)
First time watch alert! As I mentioned above, there’s lots of Lana Turner playing this week. Dancing Co-Ed sees the future starlet on the cusp of breaking out and starring opposite the utterly adorable Richard Carlson as well as the equally adorable… albeit problematic…. Artie Shaw. This is one which has been on my list for a while and I’m excited to finally sit down and watch the little musical.
Dancing Co-Ed follows the goings on when word breaks that a famous dancer is… expecting! With a show that still needs to go on, a producer (Thurston Hall) schemes to find an unknown co-ed to fill the role.
Dancing Co-Ed is a WatchTCM airing. it aired 5:00am PST on February 8th.
Yup, another noir! I can’t help but slide these tasty little morsels in wherever I can. Crossfire is a tremendously important deep cut, vital to not only the film noir movement, but the Hollywood Blacklist as well.
Crossfire features an all-star cast, including a trifecta of actors named Robert (Young, Mitchum, and Ryan), Gloria Grahame and Paul Kelly. The film comes from noir legend (and member of the Hollywood Ten) Edward Dmytryk and follows the a group of soldiers who might be involved in a murder. At the same time, there are questions of racism and anti-semitism woven intricately through the story. These may not have been conversations which were popular in the mainstream during the post World War II period, but they were necessary.
Crossfire airs at 4:45am PST on February 9th.
They Made Me a Criminal (1939)
First time watch alert! As you’ve undoubtedly heard via our own Ticklish Business twitter page, John Garfield is February’s Star of the Month. Trust me, there have been celebrations.
They Made Me a Criminal follows Garfield as a boxer who flees after being framed for a murder he didn’t commit. With no one to clear his name, he ends up at a farm in Arizona where he meets a colorful group of juvenile delinquents (The Dead End Kids). I don’t know about you, but the collision of all these tones (add into this Busby Berkeley’s directing credit), and this film intrigues the heck out of me.
They Made Me a Criminal is a WatchTCM viewing for most, airing at 2:45am PST on January 10th.
Ever Since Eve (1937)
First time watch alert! Marion Davies is one of the performers who, thanks to a childhood trip to Heart Castle, is responsible for my passion in classic Hollywood. However, in the years which followed, I’ve watched embarrassingly few of her films. Luckily, TCM is shifting some focus onto Davies this month and I’m excited to finally rectify this.
Ever Since Eve immediately jumped out at me. Perhaps this is thanks to its amazing cast! You can’t go wrong with Robert Montgomery, Patsy Kelly and Frank McHugh supporting Davies. At the same time, Lloyd Bacon is also credited on the film. Old Hollywood fans will recognize his name as the director of Footlight Parade and 42nd Street.
The plot follows Davies as a secretary who discovers that she’s tired of being so darn beautiful. I mean, her bosses don’t take her seriously. So, one day she decides to make herself more “homely” and ends up working for a playboy writer (Montgomery). You can probably guess what happens from here. Screwball, flirtation and misunderstandings abound!
Ever Since Eve airs at 12:30pm PST on February 11th.
Man Wanted (1932)
I’ve already mentioned the Pre-Code blindspot I’ve been working on rectifying. Due to this, Kay Francis has been an actress I’ve largely missed. So, when I saw Man Wanted on the schedule (the movie which introduced me to her work) I wanted to make sure I included it. Granted, there are a number of bigger and better known films on Francis’ prolific filmography, but this sweet little movie is where I got my start.
Man Wanted stars Francis as the traditionally powerful, brassy Pre-Code woman. We all know the type. This time, she’s a magazine publisher. One day, when her secretary walks out on her, she does what any desperate boss does, hires the first warm body that comes into the office. This happens to be a repairman sent to fix her rowing machine (the charming David Manners). There’s love, mix-ups and drama all-around before the story comes to a close.
Man Wanted airs at 3:45pm PST on February 11th.
The Thrill of it All (1963)
Each week we have a new noir pick and apparently a new Doris Day pick! This week, we have The Thrill of It All. The delightful comedy is a bit of a step away from her work with Rock Hudson, and I suppose a bit of a deeper cut. This time Day appears opposite the lovable James Garner.
The Thrill of It All follows Day as a housewife who — while supporting her husband at a dinner party– impresses a soap executive so much with a story that she becomes a spokesmodel for a popular soap brand. Suddenly, she becomes the family breadwinner, plunging the stand gender dynamic of the early 1960s household into chaos. In other words, she’s driving her husband nuts.
The Thrill of It All airs at 9:00pm PST on February 11th.
Bachelor in Paradise (1961)
Okay, Bob Hope movies really should be their own genre. After a certain point, they can be a dime a dozen. Typically, I find myself enjoying Hope’s work, but forget it right after. Bachelor in Paradise however, landed differently for me. Sex and suburbia is always a fascinating combination, and this movie gives a truly interesting depiction of this unique time in history.
Bachelor in Paradise follows Hope as a writer who moves into a standard 1960s suburbia. Once he’s settled in, he quickly finds himself the unofficial relationship counselor to dozens of sexually frustrated housewives. Birthday girl Lana Turner co-stars as his realtor and eventual love interest. The film features a stellar supporting cart, including Jim Hutton, Paula Prentiss, Don Porter and Janis Paige.
Bachelor in Paradise airs at 10:45am PST on February 12th.
The next few films are getting a little… Valentines Day-ey. So, do with that what you will. However, while TCM is turning their attention to romances for the day, they’re showing some of the genre’s cream of the crop.
Ernest Borgnine is known to most for starring in McHale’s Navy, for others he plays a heck of a good heavy, yet others remember his infamously short-lived marriage to Ethel Merman. Relatively early in his career though, Borgnine starred in Marty opposite Betsy Blair. The film follows a butcher and a school teacher, beaten down by life and by love. However, they quickly realize they might be able to find that special someone after all– each other.
Marty was a small, but mighty success, taking home a number of Oscars, including: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing and Best Actor for Borgnine. The role would be Borgnine’s lone nomination and win. It also received an additional four nominations.
Marty airs at 9:45pm PST on February 12th.
Brief Encounter (1945)
Excuse me while I stop ugly crying. Brief Encounter is a gosh darn experience and one that film fans, anglophiles and hopeless romantics alike should see. Beautiful acting and poignant story aside, Brief Encounter may also be partly responsible for my lengthy schoolgirl crush on Trevor Howard. True story.
Brief Encounter follows a forbidden romance as a married English woman (Celia Johnson) learns (thanks to an attractive Doctor played by Trevor Howard) she may be meant for more in life than simply her unhappy marriage. The legendary David Lean is credited as the director.
Brief Encounter is a WatchTCM viewing for most, airing at 1:30am PST on February 13th.
Woman of the Year (1942)
Hepburn and Tracy. They’re one of Old Hollywood’s most legendary couples, both on-screen and off. While the pair made a number of movies together, this year TCM picked my favorite of their work to air on Valentines Day.
Woman of the Year follows the unlikely romance between a sports reporter (Spencer Tracy) and a political journalist (Katharine Hepburn). Will these two crazy kids be able to work it out through their differences?
Through all the romance, the Oscar winning script by Ring Lardner Jr and Michael Kanin paints a sophisticated and interesting take down of gender roles during the period. Men are supposed to be the breadwinners and really the aggressors. So, how does one of Hollywood’s ultimate “man’s men” Spencer Tracy deal with being shoved into the metaphorical passenger seat by an equally powerful woman?
Woman of the Year is yet another WatchTCM airing at 1:15am PST on February 14th.
Now, Voyager (1942)
Now, Voyager was a movie I resisted watching for a long time. Why? I really don’t know. However, this has been remedied and… *swoon*. If you watch nothing else this Valentines Day, make sure you check this one out.
Now, Voyager stars Bette Davis at her peak, opposite a positively swoon-worthy Paul Henried. Davis portrays an “ugly ducking” who manages to find herself, her voice, and above all, love with a magnetic and beautiful man… who has an unbelievable flair for lighting cigarettes. From start to finish, Now, Voyager is a stunning romance and a beautiful character exploration. This one is a must-see, and very much an essential for fans of classic Hollywood.
Now Voyager airs at 2:45pm PST on February 14th.
There’s so much good stuff to watch this week! We can thank the programers for giving us the gift that keeps on giving, otherwise known as John Garfield as Star of the Month. Meanwhile, the ‘Kiss Connection’ programming might be painfully early in the morning, but there are some truly good movies playing. Make sure to set your DVR’s for these essentials. Finally, keep an eye out for some great marathons celebrating birthday girl Lana Turner (on what would be her centennial) as well as a tribute to the always amazing James Garner.
Stay tuned and happy viewing!
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!