Happy April, everyone! For Turner Classic Movies, April 2014 isn’t just any ordinary month — it marks the channel’s 20th anniversary. This entire month can only be described as a celebration of everything that makes TCM wonderful. TCM will be celebrating their 20th year by handing control over to their fans with a week of viewer requested movies during the daytime from April 7-11th. In prime time that same week, several of the top contestants in TCM’s Ultimate Fan competition will join Robert Osborne to introduce some of their favorite movies. And on April 14th, the day the channel was launched, you’ll find a day packed to the brim with many of the greatest films ever made.
TCM’s anniversary isn’t the only major milestone happening this month. April 2nd is the 100th birthday of Alec Guinness and April 3rd is Doris Day’s 90th birthday. Both stars will be feted with 24-hour marathons of their films on their respective birthdays. Also turning 90 this year is MGM Studios. TCM will be featuring 48-hours of some of MGM’s finest films from April 17-18.
John Wayne fans may want to clear some space on their DVRs because John Wayne is April’s Star of the Month. Instead of having one night a week of his movies, as is usually the case for Star of the Month showcases, TCM will be dedicating five straight days to The Duke. That’s right, from April 21-25, TCM will be all John Wayne, all the time. Although I’m personally not the biggest fan of Westerns, I’ve gotta admit that John Wayne is a perfect choice to be Star of the Month during such a milestone month for TCM.
Louisa Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) is a lonely, old woman. She lives alone with her parrots and passes her time by watching her neighbors and concocting wild stories about them to report to the police. The police politely listen to her tales, but realize they’re just nonsense and don’t act on them.
Louisa’s life starts getting more eventful when Professor Marcus (Alec Guinness) comes to her house looking to rent a room. He tells her he is part of a musical group and they would like to use the room as a practice space. She agrees and doesn’t think anything of it when Major Courtney (Cecil Parker), Harry Robinson (Peter Sellers), “One Round” Lawson (Danny Green), and Louis Harvey (Herbert Lom) start showing up at her house carrying instruments. What she doesn’t realize is they are actually bank robbers planning to rob an armored van.
The gang pulls off their heist and even manages to trick Louisa into picking the money up for them from the train station. However, they aren’t able to keep their secret from Louisa for long and even though the gang manages to convince her to not call the police, they decide there’s only one thing they can do — kill her. However, the only thing they manage to kill is themselves. With the gang all dead, Louisa is now left with the stolen money and when she tries to turn it in to the police, they don’t believe her story.
I got a real kick out of The Ladykillers. With my somewhat dark sense of humor, this was right up my alley. It’s very well written and the cast is brilliant — what more could you possibly want? I’m actually at kind of a loss for words about The Ladykillers because I really liked the movie, but I don’t think words can really do justice to how funny it is and how amazing the cast is. It’s the kind of movie you really have to see to believe.
Happy Halloween! Before we get to the TCM schedule for October, it’s time for a little site news. To celebrate Halloween, I’ll be reviewing a different horror film every Wednesday this month. I promise it will be a mix between some typical Halloween favorites and some more unusual choices, so be sure to check that out.
Now, back to the TCM schedule. Since it’s October, I’m sure it’s not at all surprising that there will be tons of horror movies this month. Every Friday night is a night of horror classics from Hammer Film Productions. Fredric March is the star of the month, which I’m pretty geeked up for. Every Monday and Wednesday night is Critic’s Choice night, where two notable film critics pick two of their favorite movies to play. Some of the critics include Leonard Maltin, Roger Ebert and Mick LaSalle and they’ve made some pretty great choices.