Rosalind Russell

What’s on TCM: June 2014

Rock Hudson Doris Day Pillow Talk

Happy June, everybody! On the TCM front, June looks like it will be a bit of a quiet month, but there’s still plenty of good stuff to set your DVRs for. Rock Hudson is the Star of the Month; his movies will be featured every Thursday night this month. The Essentials, Jr. series will make its return on Sunday nights at 8:00 PM. Actor and comedian Greg Proops is the host for Friday Night Spotlight this month and he will be featuring some of his favorite pirate movies.

If you were at the TCM Classic Film Fest this movie and missed out on seeing Written on the Wind, The Pawnbroker, or The Italian Job, you’re in luck because each of those are on the schedule this month.

Without further ado, let’s get on to the schedule…

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Evelyn Prentice (1934)

Evelyn Prentice Myrna Loy William PowellEvelyn Prentice (Myrna Loy) adores her husband John (William Powell), but John is an attorney and often has to work long hours and travel for work.  Lately, he’s been hard at work defending Mrs. Harrison (Rosalind Russell) and Evelyn really misses spending time with her husband.  One night, she goes to a nightclub with her friend Amy (Una Merkel) and meets a man named Lawrence Kennard (Harvey Stephens), who claims to know her from somewhere.

Lawrence doesn’t actually know Evelyn, but he knows she’s married to a prominent attorney and plans to trap her in a scandal and blackmail her.  The next day, he sends Evelyn a book of his poetry and invites her to tea.  Evelyn isn’t at all impressed by Lawrence, but she’s feeling lonely with John out of town so when Amy accepts his invitation on her behalf, she meets with him.  She continues seeing him while John is away, but after John returns, she begins to suspect that he has been having an affair with Mrs. Harrison.  A heartbroken Evelyn goes to see Lawrence again, but ultimately decides to stay true to John and tries to end things off with Lawrence.

Lawrence isn’t about to let Evelyn get off that easily, though.  He reminds her of some letters she had written to him and demands $15,000 for them.  During the dispute, Evelyn shoots Lawrence with his own gun and leaves.  The next day, news of his murder is all over the front page, but nobody suspects Evelyn.  However, Lawrence’s other girlfriend Judith (Isabel Jewell) is considered the top suspect.  John agrees to defend Judith and during the trial, Evelyn’s guilt eats away at her.  Near the end of the trial, Evelyn tries to come clean about the whole thing.  But fortunately for them, John has a plan to get both Evelyn and Judith off the hook.

Movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy are always a hit with me.  Although it’s much more fun to watch them playing happily married couples in more lighthearted movies, Evelyn Prentice is still a darn good movie.  It’s very smartly written and well acted.  Myrna Loy did an excellent job of conveying the guilt Evelyn was feeling and Isabel Jewell and Una Merkel were both great in their supporting roles.  It’s another one of those wonderful underrated gems that I just love finding.

What’s on TCM: July 2013

Paul Henreid CasablancaHappy July, everyone!  It looks like July is going to be a somewhat quiet month on TCM, but that’s okay with me since I know Summer Under the Stars is already right around the corner.  This month, we have Paul Henreid as the TCM Star of the Month and you’ll be able to catch his movies every Tuesday night in July.

I’m pretty excited for July’s round of Friday Night Spotlight, which will be focused on the films of French director Francois Truffaut.  If you’ve never seen a Truffaut film or haven’t seen very many of them, this is a perfect opportunity to see more of his work.

This month will also feature Carson on TCM, a series of classic Tonight Show interviews by Johnny Carson, which I’m sure is going to be very fun.

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Recasting “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” (2008)

After being fired from her job as a governess, a very straight-laced Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) finds herself deemed unemployable by her employment agency.  But when she hears about a job for a woman named Delysia LaFosse (Amy Adams), she jumps at the chance to get it.  When she arrives at Delysia’s apartment, she expects she will be taking care of children.  Instead, she finds herself taking care of an aspiring actress tangled up in a love triangle.  First there’s the young theater producer, Phil Goldman (Tom Payne), who is putting on a play that Delysia desperately wants the lead in.  She’s trying to keep him interested in her and not her rival Charlotte Warren.  Then there’s Nick Calderelli (Mark Strong), who owns the nightclub Delysia sings at.  He’s the one footing the bill for her lavish apartment and expensive clothes.  And last but not least, there’s Michael (Lee Pace), the piano player who just got out of jail.  He isn’t rich and doesn’t have the influence Nick and Phil do, but he does genuinely love her.

Over the course of one day, Guinevere helps Delysia get out of various messes and Delysia, in turn, helps Guinevere learn to embrace life.  Delysia takes Guinevere to her friend Edythe’s (Shirley Henderson) salon and gives her a makeover.  It turns out that Edythe and Guinevere have a little dirt on each other.  They had bumped into each other on the street the night before Guinevere came to Delysia’s, so Edythe knows Guinevere isn’t really the social secretary Delysia thinks she is.  But Guinevere saw Edythe out with a man who isn’t her lingerie designer boyfriend Joe Blomfield (Ciarán Hinds).  When Delysia takes Guinevere with her to a lingerie show, Guinevere meets Joe for herself and the two of them are instantly attracted to each other.

Although released in 2008, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day was actually intended to be made as a movie in 1941.  Originally, it was a novel by Winifred Watson released in 1937, and she later sold the film rights to Universal Studios in 1939.  Universal held on to it for a little while and by 1941, had plans to turn it into a musical starring Billie Burke as Miss Pettigrew.  Watson was very eager to see “Miss Pettigrew…” turned into a movie, but unfortunately, the project was shelved after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  In 1954, Universal renewed the rights to the story, but again, nothing ever became of it.  Watson died in 2002 believing her story would never make it to the silver screen.

The novel was released in 1937, but I wish it had been released just a few years earlier because I think “Miss Pettigrew” would have made a great pre-code had it been around in 1934.  Delysia’s bed-hopping to further her career is hardly a secret, there’s lots of lingerie, and the book contains drug references.  I’m very curious about how Universal planned to get around some of these issues in 1941.  The drug references were gone in the 2008 movie, so those could easily been cut out in 1941, but whitewashing Delysia’s bed-hopping would have definitely been a challenge.  I also would have pegged this for an MGM movie rather than a Universal.

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What’s on TCM: June 2012

Hard to believe it’s already almost June!  June’s Star(s) of the Month are Teen Idols.  Every Thursday will be showcasing movies starring the likes of Elvis, Frankie and Annette, The Monkees, and Troy Donahue.  TCM will also be doing a series called The Immigrant Experience every Wednesday night this month.  June 10th is a very noteworthy day as it marks what would be Judy Garland’s 90th birthday.  TCM will be celebrating by playing her movies for a full 24 hours, all chosen by noted Judy Garland expert John Fricke.  The Essentials, Jr. series also makes its return to Sunday nights this month.

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What’s on TCM: March 2012

Happy March, everybody!  There are plenty of things I’m looking forward to on TCM this month!  First of all, there’s the tail end of 31 Days of Oscars.  The end of 31 Days of Oscars means the return of Silent Sunday Nights, and it’s back with some excellent silents.  Lovers of pre-codes should definitely keep an eye on the schedule this month because I noticed quite a few pre-codes mixed in there.  Starting this month, Drew Barrymore will take over Alec Baldwin’s co-hosting duties for The Essentials.  Karl Malden is the star of the month and I haven’t seen very many of his movies, so this is a good chance for me to see more of his work.  Every Monday night this month will feature films from the British new wave era, which is something I’m very eager to see.  So, let’s get on to all my highlights for the month:

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Forsaking All Others (1934)

Jeff Williams (Clark Gable), Dill Todd (Robert Montgomery), and Mary Clay (Joan Crawford, and not to be confused with the Lana Turner character from They Won’t Forget) have been friends since childhood.  For the past twenty years, Mary has been in love with Dill and Jeff has been in love with Mary.  Years later, Jeff goes off to Spain on a long trip and Dill and Mary decide to get married.  When Jeff returns, not knowing Mary and Dill are engaged, he comes home determined to finally tell Mary how he feels about her.  But when he arrives, he realizes he’s just in time for their wedding.  He’s a little deflated, but keeps his chin up, offers to give the bride away, and starts enjoying the pre-wedding festivities.

The night before the wedding is Dill’s bachelor party, and everybody has a swell time.  When Dill gets back to his room at the end of the night, he’s surprised to get a visit from Connie (Frances Drake), a past girlfriend.  She’s heard that he’s getting married and has shown up to make one last attempt to win him back.  Even though he resists at first, he ends up sending Mary a telegram the next day announcing that he’s run off and married Connie instead.  Humiliated, Mary goes to spend some time in the country with her Aunt Paula.  After a while, Jeff comes to visit and to see how she’s doing.  He also comes bearing some of her mail, which includes an invitation to a party Connie and Dill are having.  Jeff tries to talk her out of going, but she insists on going anyway.  When she and Jeff arrive at the party, Dill was surprised to see them because he had no idea Connie had invited them.  But once he sees Mary, he remembers just how much he loved her.

After the party, Dill keeps trying to see Mary.  Even though Jeff tells her to stay away from him, she won’t listen.  One day, they get together and take a trip out into the country.  But then they have a minor car accident and get caught in the rain.  But luckily for them, they aren’t too far from Aunt Paula’s country home so they crash there for the night.  Dill calls his valet to come pick him up, but secretly tells him not to come until the next day.  Nothing too scandalous happens that night, but Dill does get burned badly while trying to build a fire in the fireplace.  The next morning, Aunt Paula finds out that the two of them are there and calls Jeff to go with her to get them out.  Little do they know that Connie is also on her way over since Dill’s valet tipped her off.  Paula and Jeff get there first and when Jeff finds a burned up Dill, who now has a cold from walking in the rain, sleeping on the couch,  he realizes nothing happened and has a good laugh at his friend’s unfortunate night.  But then Connie arrives and wants a divorce.  After all that they’ve been through, Dill and Mary once again decide to get married.  And once again, Jeff shows up before their wedding determined to tell Mary how he feels.  But this time he goes through with it.  After he leaves to catch a boat to Spain, Mary realizes that she loves him, too, and runs after him.  This time it’s Dill who gets left at the altar.

I think Forsaking All Others is something of an underrated 1930s Joan Crawford movie.  It’s not Oscar material, but it is a pretty fun little comedy.  Joan and Clark Gable always made a fantastic team and they are in top form here.  Robert Montgomery was pretty fun, too.  Billie Burke doesn’t have a big part and she basically just plays the same type of character she did in Dinner at Eight.  Even though I liked Frances Drake as the conniving Connie, I might have been interested in seeing Rosalind Russell in that part.  This was only Rosalind Russell’s third movie and she doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but I think she might have done well as Connie.  The writing is pretty fast paced and sharp, which Roz later proved she was a pro at working with, so I think she could have done well in a bigger part.  If you’re a fan of either Joan, Clark Gable, or Robert Montgomery, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.