The TCM Top Ten for September 2014
School’s back in session and that means we’re officially nearing the end of the year! September is the last gasp before the onslaught of holiday themed films so let’s try to get as far away from those as we can since, come October, we won’t be escaping them.
All times are Eastern. TCM can change the schedule at their discretion.
September 1st is my birthday and I gotta say I’m sad that TCM isn’t honoring me this year (one day!). With that, I went with a movie I’ve technically already seen, but not for several years. I recall enjoying The Most Dangerous Game with its exotic jungle settings and Joel McCrea and Fay Wray as the prey. I remember this being an entertaining action/adventure we don’t see enough of. Hopefully, my thoughts haven’t changed. The Most Dangerous Game airs September 1st at 4pm.
I’ve studied Our Town and have an interest in watching it translate to film. For a play all about a lack of sets and theatrical storytelling, how can Hollywood not do their best to turn it into an A-list production, and with William Holden, no less! Our Town is an early morning movie, 6:30am, on September 2nd.
Maybe it’s the lack of exotic vacations in my life, but I love the plot about “three girls travel to Europe;” I’ve even reviewed one (The Pleasure Seekers). Come September has Rock Hudson playing chaperone to trio of American girls visiting Italy. I’m sure hijinks and love are found, and it’s probably mired in silliness. Travel to Italy via the magic of television when Come September airs September 3rd at 6am.
After watching Edward Dmytryk’s Murder, My Sweet I looked through his IMDB profile and saw he was quite the chameleon. TCM has several of his films on tap throughout the month, and I chose one of his weirder titles. You know I love the bizarre plots Hollywood used to come up with and the insanity of this movie should be evident in the title: Hitler’s Children. I expected some weird movie about Hitler stealing babies or having a secret gaggle of kids, but apparently it’s about a German-American woman forced to join the Hitler Youth. Talk about a letdown from my expectations. Either way, I have to indulge in this bit of wartime propaganda. Hitler’s Children airs September 4th at 1pm.
The plot of How to Murder Your Wife sounds like Unfaithfully Yours with a writer instead of a composer (going purely based on their respective plot summaries). In this case, Jack Lemmon plays the writer who marries a woman and inserts fantasies of murdering her into his writing. I’m sure by the end it’ll all be a comic misunderstanding…unless this is a dark comedy and he does end up killing her! Did Jack Lemmon ever play someone ACTUALLY evil? I can’t picture it. I love Lemmon either way. You can learn How to Murder Your Wife on September 6th at 6am.
The Friday Night spotlight for September is Classic Pre-Code (hey, maybe they are giving me a birthday present after all), so it was hard avoiding a complete ten list of just movies from this era. The Story of Temple Drake is considered one of the essential pre-Codes, probably explains why it’s airing here, for its depiction of sexual assault. It’ll be interesting watching star Miriam Hopkins – who I love – playing comedy in Trouble in Paradise, airing before this, and then being terrorized here. You can enjoy The Story of Temple Drake, September 12th at 2:30am (technically, September 13th).
I probably shouldn’t have put another Luis Bunuel film on here after my disastrous viewing of Diary of a Chambermaid, a movie that felt so cold to me I turned it off halfway through. Belle Du Jour is one of the “must-see films” according to various lists, so I’m willing to give Bunuel a second chance. Belle Du Jour airs September 13th at 8pm during an evening devoted to houses of ill repute.
With the rise of divorce rates post WWII and into Vietnam, the destruction of the nuclear family, and the creation of blended families became a source for cinematic chicanery. Much in the same way I enjoy stories about girls going to Europe and having fun, I’m a fan of family stories wherein families are attempted and things go awry. With Six You Get Eggroll sees Parent Trap star Brian Keith team up with Hollywood darling Doris Day for a movie that sounds like everything from Yours, Mine, and Ours to The Brady Bunch. I doubt it’ll reinvent the wheel, but it should be entertaining. With Six You Get Eggroll plays September 14th at 6pm.
Melvyn Douglas is the Star of the Month and this month’s top ten wouldn’t be complete without one of his features. I went with The Shining Hour, which tells the story of a nightclub dancer (Joan Crawford) butting heads with her new sister-in-law. Hate to tell the sister-in-law, but no one is a match against Joan! The Shining Hour airs September 18th at 8:30am.
Employees Entrance was one of the films screened at this year’s TCM Film Festival, and I’ve heard nothing but raves about it since. I skipped it, so I’ve decided to rectify the situation. Employees’ Entrance follows a department store manager who’s a little less than savory. Cue the pre-Code! Employees’ Entrance airs September 26th at 2:30pm.
THE TCM TRIO
I would be remiss if I didn’t give this month’s TCM Trio spot to the lovely Lauren Bacall who recently passed away. September 15th and 16th will be devoted to her. The trio I’m recommending starts at 9pm on the 15th with Bacall teaming up for the first time with future husband, Humphrey Bogart, in To Have and Have Not. Then, at 11pm, Bogie and Bacall reteam for Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. Finally, at 1am, Lauren, Betty Grable, and Marilyn Monroe scheme to find out How to Marry a Millionaire.