So, we’ve been considering for some time offering a weekly round-up of the classic pictures we’re inclined to recommend among those being aired in the week ahead on our favorite network (and surely it’s yours, too), Turner Classic Movies.
We’ll stick mostly to the same years in this listing that we generally focus on here at Cladrite Radio—the 20th century up to 1960 or so—but we reserve the right to step outside those boundaries when we’re so inspired. We’ll recommend whatever tickles our fancy that week; some movies we love won’t get cited, and other that we know are special-interest only will. No squawking allowed (well, you can squawk, but it won’t do you any good).
We’ll try to post this every weekend, usually on Sunday. If you think it’s a good idea and you’d like to see this weekly listing continue, let us know by clicking the Like button at the bottom of this post. If we don’t hear from enough of you, we’ll pull the plug, and no hard feelings.
All that said, here are our TCM recommendations for the upcoming week:
THE FEMININE TOUCH (1941)
Cast: Rosalind Russell, Don Ameche, Kay Francis. Dir: W.S. Van Dyke II.
A frothy comedy with two of our favorite actresses.
KINGS ROW (1942)
Cast: Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Ronald Reagan. Dir: Sam Wood.
Can’t go wrong with Ms. Sheridan, and it’s said to be Reagan’s best work. If you’re going to watch just one Ronald Reagan movie, perhaps this should be it.
Cast: James Mason, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Ryan. Dir: Max Ophuls.
Ophuls is one of our ten favorite directors of all time, and this is a crackerjack thriller.
THE SEVEN SAMURAI (1954)
Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Kuninori Kodo. Dir: Akira Kurosawa.
Should be seen on a big screen, of course, but perhaps you have one of those at home.
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)
Cast: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Karl Malden. Dir: Elia Kazan.
A classic, but the changes required by the Production Code grate exceedingly if you know the play well.
WIFE VS. SECRETARY (1936)
Cast: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow. Dir: Clarence Brown.
Jean Harlow’s the star of the month in March on TCM, and there’s not a picture among the six listed below that we wouldn’t recommend to you.
RED DUST (1932)
Cast: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Mary Astor. Dir: Victor Fleming.
HOLD YOUR MAN (1933)
Cast: Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Stuart Erwin. Dir: Sam Wood.
CHINA SEAS (1935)
Cast: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Wallace Beery. Dir: Tay Garnett.
THE SECRET SIX (1931)
Cast: Wallace Beery, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow. Dir: George Hill.
Cast: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore. Dir: Jack Conway.
Harlow’s last picture. She died during filming, and they used a double to complete certain scenes.
GOOD MORNING (1962)
Cast: Keiji Sada, Yoshiko Kuga, Chishu Ryu. Dir: Yasujiro Ozu
A wonderful picture by the great Ozu. Don’t miss it.
GEORGY GIRL (1966)
Cast: Lynn Redgrave, Alan Bates, James Mason. Dir: Silvio Narizzano.
We’re suckers for British cinema of the late fifties and early to mid-sixties. Redgrave is wonderful.
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER (1962)
Cast: Tom Courtenay, Michael Redgrave, Alec McCowen. Dir: Tony Richardson.
More sixties Brit cinema. A classic.
THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (1949)
Cast: Farley Granger, Cathy O’Donnell, Howard da Silva. Dir: Nicholas Ray.
A wonderful noir-ish crime picture/romance. Granger and O’Donnell are sheer magic, one of the most memorable romantic couples in cinema history.
GUN CRAZY (1949)
Cast: Peggy Cummins, John Dall, Morris Carnovsky. Dir: Joseph H. Lewis.
One of the most entertaingly bonkers noir-ish thrilled you’ll ever experience. Watch it.
THE BIG STREET (1942)
Cast: Henry Fonda, Lucille Ball, Eugene Pallette. Dir: Irving Reis.
Noir lite, with our gal Lucy.
20,000 YEARS IN SING SING (1932)
Cast: Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, Lyle Talbot. Dir: Michael Curtiz.
A Pre-Code prison picture. If you’ve never seen Bette at this early stage of her career, catch this.
KITTY FOYLE (1940)
Cast: Ginger Rogers, Dennis Morgan, Gladys Cooper. Dir: Sam Wood.
One of Ginger’s best non-musical roles.
STRANGE CARGO (1940)
Cast: Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Ian Hunter. Dir: Frank Borzage.
It’s Gable, it’s Crawford, it’s a strange movie.
ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)
Cast: Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Steiger. Dir: Elia Kazan.
Kazan can kiss our patooties for informing, and this movie doesn’t take him off the hook for it. But it’s an all-time classic.
Cast: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire. Dir: Ernst Lubitsch.
The only Garbo picture we have use for. Leave it to Lubitsch to make her palatable to us. The great director at his peak.
THIS HAPPY BREED (1944)
Cast: Robert Newton, Celia Johnson, John Mills. Dir: David Lean.
If you thought David Lean only did wide-screen epics, think again. Every one of these five early efforts is a must-see, especially this one.
BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1945)
Cast: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway. Dir: David Lean.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946)
Cast: John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Finlay Currie. Dir: David Lean.
OLIVER TWIST (1948)
Cast: Alec Guinness, Robert Newton, John Howard Davies. Dir: David Lean.
HOBSON’S CHOICE (1954)
Cast: Charles Laughton, John Mills, Brenda De Banzie. Dir: David Lean.
THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943)
Cast: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn. Dir: George Stevens.
A delight. Contains one of the most subtly sexy scenes you’ll ever see in a movie from the Code era. We won’t say more; we don’t want to spoil it.
Cast: Joan Crawford, Diana Dors, Ty Hardin. Dir: Jim O’Connolly.
Only if you can stomach latter-day Joan at her most garishly extreme.
ANIMAL CRACKERS (1930)
Cast: The Marx Brothers, Lillian Roth, Margaret Dumont. Dir: Victor Heerman.
Hooray for Captain Spaulding, the African Explorer!
MILDRED PIERCE (1945)
Cast: Joan Crawford, Ann Blyth, Jack Carson. Dir: Michael Curtiz.
Warm up for the HBO miniseries with not-terribly-faithful movie adaptations of Jame M. Cain’s terrific novel.
DAISY KENYON (1947)
Cast: Joan Crawford, Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews. Dir: Otto Preminger.
It’s Crawford, after all.
THIS WOMAN IS DANGEROUS (1952)
Cast: Joan Crawford, Dennis Morgan, David Brian. Dir: Felix E. Feist.
Again, it’s Crawford.
GOODBYE, MY FANCY (1951)
Cast: Joan Crawford, Robert Young, Frank Lovejoy. Dir: Vincent Sherman.
What part of “It’s Crawford” don’t you understand?
THE DAMNED DON’T CRY (1950)
Cast: Joan Crawford, David Brian, Steve Cochran. Dir: Vincent Sherman.
Really? You have to ask?
STELLA DALLAS (1937)
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Anne Shirley, John Boles. Dir: King Vidor.
Stanwyck stands alone in our eyes, and this is a fine effort on her part.