What’s on TCM: May 2010

May looks like it’s going to be all about Donna Reed, Native Americans, war movies, and birthday tributes.  Donna Reed is the star of the month, but I guess she doesn’t excite me very much.  Every year in May, TCM spends the month spotlighting how minorities have been portrayed on film over time.  This year they are focusing on Native Americans every Tuesday and Thursday night.  I’m always a little conflicted about this month because one thing I don’t have much patience for is really bad racial stereotypes, but at the same time, I’m interested in how those images have evolved over the years.  In past years, they have gone in chronological order, starting with the silent era and working their way up to the modern day.  This year is a little different and each night has a theme such as “non-Indians in Indian roles,” “Indians as noble savages,” and “Indians as actors and filmmakers.”  Starting on May 28th and running through May 30th is the Memorial Day weekend movie marathon with nothing but war-related movies.  With no further ado, let’s get to my picks for May.

May 1:  Starting at 8:00 PM is a night of Billy Wilder comedies!  The night begins with A Foreign Affair at 8:00, followed by Some Like it Hot at 10:15 PM, and goes into Sunday with The Fortune Cookie at 12:30 AM, The Major and the Minor at 2:45 AM, and the documentary Billy Wilder Speaks at 4:30 AM.  I haven’t seen The Fortune Cookie yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

May 2:  All This, And Heaven Too at 10:00 PM, a Bette Davis movie I’ve been wanting to see for a while now.

May 3:  Starting at 2:00 AM is the German version of Greta Garbo’s Anna Christie, followed by the documentary Garbo at 3:30 AM, and The Single Standard 5:00 AM.  If you’re a Garbo fan and haven’t seen that documentary, it’s a must-see, I love it.  My birthday is on May 2nd, so I’ll basically be ringing it in with Billy Wilder, ending it with Greta Garbo, and there’s some Bette Davis in between.  I very greatly approve of this.  Mary Astor’s birthday is the day after mine and TCM will be playing lots of her movies during the day.  I’m rather intrigued by The Sin Ship at 9:45 AM.  I haven’t seen it, but that title sure sounds exciting.  Other Mary Astor movies worth seeing are Midnight at 4:15 PM and The Great Lie at 6:00 PM.  Prime time looks like a fun line-up with Can’t Help Singing at 8:00 PM, Moon Over Miami at 9:45 PM, and Cover Girl at 11:30 PM.  Can’t Help Singing and Moon Over Miami are both TCM premieres.

May 4:  The Harvey Girls at 1:30 AM, always a fun movie.  Then at 6:00 AM, there’s Suzy with Jean Harlow and Cary Grant.  I haven’t seen that one, but I like Jean and Cary.  If you’re an Audrey Hepburn fan, Roman Holiday is on at 4:00 PM, followed by Breakfast at Tiffany’s at 6:00 PM.

May 6:  Happy birthday, Orson Welles!  Journey Into Fear is on at 11:30 AM, The Tartars at 12:45 PM, The Stranger at 2:15 PM, The Third Man at 4:00 PM, and Citizen Kane at 5:45 PM.

May 7:  Boy, TCM sure isn’t skimping on the birthday tributes this month!  May 7th is Gary Cooper day and includes Meet John Doe at 10:45 AM, Sergeant York at 1:00 PM, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town at 3:30 PM, and The Fountainhead at 5:30 PM.  Later at 10:00 PM is Doctor Zhivago.  It’s one I’ve been wanting to see, but just haven’t gotten around to yet.  Maybe this time I’ll finally make myself watch it.

May 8:  If you like bad movies, you’re in luck!  At 2:00 AM is something called Zaat.  MST3K fans best remember that one by the name Blood Waters of Dr. Z.  Zaat is followed by Tentacles at 3:45 AM.  Oh boy…Tentacles really is…something.  It’s full of baffling accents, lots of random still frames for no real reason, I’m not quite sure why Henry Fonda is even in it, it’s just one big hilariously bad mess.  At 5:30 AM is the classic Duck and Cover short.

May 9:  It’s Mother’s Day, so there are lots of movies featuring mothers today like Bachelor Mother at 6:30 AM, Mildred Pierce at 1:15 PM, and Gypsy at 10:00 PM.  Because nothing says, “I love you, mom!” like a movie about the ultimate domineering stage mother!

May 10:  The Patsy at 12:30 AM.  I absolutely adore Marion Davies in The Patsy!  At 4:00 AM, there’s Frances starring Jessica Lange.  I checked it out during 31 Days of Oscar and thought Jessica Lange did a great job playing Frances Farmer.  There’s a little Joan Crawford with Chained at 11:00 AM and The Gorgeous Hussy at 12:30 PM.  Guest programmer Shirley Jones makes some great picks, including Elmer Gantry at 8:00 PM, For Me and My Gal at 10:30, Love Me or Leave Me at 12:30 AM on May 11, and Random Harvest at 2:45 AM.

May 11:  It’s apparently the day o’ murder on TCM!  But of all the titles with ‘murder’ in the title, I’m looking forward to Murder, My Sweet at 6:14 PM.

May 14:  If you’re at home during the day, there’s some great stuff!  Gaslight at 10:30 AM, North By Northwest at 2:30 PM, and Lolita at 5:00 PM.  Prime time looks fun too with Red, Hot and Blue at 8:00 PM and It Should Happen to You at 9:30 PM.

May 15:  The Blue Dahlia at 8:00 PM and Days of Wine and Roses at 10:00 PM, both things I’ve been wanting to see.

May 17:  Summertime at 8:00 PM, worth seeing just for the stunning scenery.  I think it’s a pretty underrated Katharine Hepburn movie.

May 18:  The Story of Esther Costello at 12:15 AM, then there’s a gold digger marathon with Gold Diggers of 1933, 1935, 1937, and In Paris.  I’ve only seen Gold Diggers of 1933 and 1935, but those are some good ones.  I think I may have mentioned my love of Gold Diggers of 1933 a few times on here.

May 20:  Happy birthday, James Stewart!  They’re playing a pretty good assortment of his roles including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at 10:00 AM, Bell, Book, and Candle at 2:00 PM, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance at 4:00 PM.

May 21:  Pre-code lovers, rejoice!  The Big House at 6:30 AM, The Divorcee at 8:00 AM, Private Lives at 9:30 AM, Faithless at 11:00 AM, and Hide-Out at 12:30 PM.  Joan Crawford makes another appearance this month in The Last of Mrs. Cheyney at 4:00 PM.  There’s a little Alec Guiness in prime time with Kind Hearts and Coronets at 8:00 PM and The Ladykillers at 11:00 PM. Edit:  TCM has changed their schedule in order to pay tribute to Lena Horne.  The prime time line-up now consists of: The Duke is Tops, Cabin in the Sky, Panama Hattie.

May 22:  Tarzan, the Ape Man at 4:15 PM.  Another pre-code, glad I’ll finally get around to seeing that one.

May 24:  The Big Parade at 12:00 AM.  War movies aren’t always my thing, but The Big Parade really is a masterpiece.

May 26:  It’s John Wayne’s birthday!  I’m really not a big fan of westerns, but if you are, you’re in luck.

May 27:  Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow at 9:30 AM.  I quite liked that one, Sophia Loren was fantastic in it.  At 8:00 PM is Nanook of the North.  I’ve only seen parts of that one, and it’s a silent in prime time, which is always a good thing.

May 28-30:  Like I said, war movies aren’t really my thing, but there’s some good stuff on like Sergeant York (5:30 PM on May 28), Stalag 17 (8:00 PM on May 28), The Best Years of Our Lives (May 29 at 8:00 PM), and What Price Glory (12:30 AM May 31).  I haven’t seen What Price Glory yet, it’s a TCM premiere, but I look forward to it.

May 31: The last birthday tribute of the month goes to Clint Eastwood.  Lots of good stuff on such as A Fistful of Dollars at 8:00 AM, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly at 12:00 PM, and the premiere of a documentary, The Eastwood Factor, at 8:00.  The Eastwood Factor is followed by Dirty Harry at 12:15 AM on June 1.

All times are Eastern.