Judy Garland

What’s on TCM: April 2016

Judy Garland

Happy April, everyone! There is a fantastic month of movies ahead on TCM to look forward to, so let’s get started.

First of all, we have Judy Garland as Star of the Month. Her movies will be paying every Friday night in April. There’s also a spotlight on John, Lionel, and Ethel Barrymore with a Best of the Barrymores spotlight every Monday night. Between those two movies, there’s a lot of great stuff to look forward to.

I’m also very excited about the From Caligari to Hitler spotlight on films from Germany’s Weimar era, which will be running on Wednesday nights starting April 13th. Since I’m a huge fan of many movies from this era such as Metropolis, Diary of a Lost Girl, The Blue Angel, and M, I’m so looking forward to this. Plus there are a few movies in that schedule that I’ve never seen before, but have been wanting to see for a long time. Should be great.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s a night of Sophia Loren coming up on April 28th. This night’s schedule includes the premiere of an interview she taped at the 2015 TCM Film Festival. I had the privilege of being able to attend the taping of this interview and I can safely say you’re in for a real treat. Since Robert Osborne was unable to attend the festival last year, Loren’s son Edoardo Ponti filled in for him, making this a totally unique interview. They’ll also be playing Human Voice, which is a short film she starred in in 2014. Her performance is absolutely incredible in it; I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Without further ado, let’s get on to the rest of the schedule!

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The Clock (1945)

The Clock 1945 Poster

When soldier Joe Allen (Robert Walker) arrives in New York City to start his 48-hour leave, he happens to meet secretary Alice Maybery (Judy Garland) when she trips over his foot and breaks her shoe. After he helps her get her shoe taken care of, Alice and Joe spend the afternoon together, visiting New York landmarks such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Before they part, they make a date to meet later that night underneath the clock at the Astor Hotel.

Back at her apartment, Alice tells her roommate about the soldier she’s just met. While Alice is thrilled about the new man in her life, her roommate cautions her about picking up strange soldiers. But she ignores her roommate’s advice and keeps her date with Joe. They share a wonderful night together that results in them losing track of time and missing the last bus of the night. But with a stroke of luck, they end up catching a ride with milkman Al Henry (James Gleason). The young couple accompanies Al on his milk deliveries, which don’t end until the very early hours of the morning.

As Alice and Joe start their second day together, their minds move towards marriage. They want to be married that very day, before Joe has to go back on duty. However, they fail to account for the time it would take to get the mandatory blood test. But Joe and Alice are nothing if not persistent and they spend the day running around town trying to get their blood test rushed and manage to get it done just in the nick of time. The judge marries them right there in his office. However, the experience feels so rushed that Alice hardly feels like she’s really married. As they leave, they pass by a church where a wedding has just ended and step inside to repeat their vows. This time, it feels more real for Alice and when Joe leaves the next day, they part feeling like a real husband and wife.

Not only was The Clock the only non-musical film Judy Garland made during her time at MGM, it was one of the few movies of her entire career she doesn’t sing in. When it was released in 1945, it wasn’t a hit with audiences because they were disappointed in the lack of singing. It’s too bad audiences were so unwilling to give it a chance at the time, because they missed out on a really sweet story. Judy Garland and Robert Walker had surprisingly good chemistry together and it’s easy to be charmed by them. Lack of singing aside, I can see how some people might be frustrated by this movie, though. A lot of people really like movies to have firmly defined endings and The Clock‘s ending is left quite open. I don’t mind open endings, but part of me wishes there was a sequel to The Clock just because I think a movie about Joe returning from the war and how he and Alice adjust to life as a married couple after their whirlwind courtship could have been just as interesting as The Clock was.

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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Girl Crazy (1943)

Girl Crazy PosterDanny Chuchill, Jr. (Mickey Rooney) has been living the high life as the son of a wealthy newspaper publisher.  But when his father gets tired of Danny’s scandalous behavior making headlines, he decides to send Danny out west to Cody College to teach him a thing or two about hard work.  And, most importantly, Cody is an all-male college so there won’t be any women to distract him.

But when Danny gets to Cody, he discovers there is one woman around — Ginger Gray (Judy Garland), the dean’s granddaughter.  It’s love at first sight for Danny, but Ginger isn’t as impressed with him.  Danny doesn’t fit in with the other students, he has a hard time adjusting to Cody’s strict schedule and rugged activities and would like to go home, but the prospect of getting together with Ginger motivates him to stay.  After Ginger turns down a marriage proposal from one of the other students at Cody, Ginger starts to warm to Danny.

Cody College suddenly faces a crisis when the Governor announces plans to close the school due to low enrollment.  Ginger is devastated by the news, but Danny comes up with a plan to attract new students by hosting an annual rodeo with a beauty contest.  Ginger loves the idea so the two of them go directly to the Governor to get him on board.  The Governor gives them thirty days to turn the school around, so Danny and Ginger get to work making it happen.  For Danny, that means flirting with a bunch of debutantes to get them to enter the beauty contest, which makes Ginger jealous, especially when he names another girl as Queen of the Rodeo.  But just as Ginger is about to leave, Danny goes to see her and convinces her that she’s the only one he loves. Ginger and Danny get back together, Cody College sees a big increase in student applications, and the college is saved.

Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies are often accused of all being the same and, well, there’s no denying that Girl Crazy has a pretty familiar plot.  But Girl Crazy is by far my favorite out of all the movies Mickey and Judy made together.  Mickey and Judy always had very good chemistry together, but there’s something about them in this movie, I can’t quite put my finger on what it is exactly, that just makes them shine brighter than they did in their other movies.

Girl Crazy also features the strongest bunch of songs featured in any of their movies.  Judy’s rendition of “Embraceable You” is one of my all-time favorite songs and the big “I Got Rhythm” finale is very memorable. Plus, be sure to watch for Tommy Dorsey and June Allyson who both make appearances in some of the musical numbers.  The jokes may be silly and corny, but they always make me laugh.  This is MGM doing what it did best — making wholesome, lighthearted entertainment the whole family could enjoy.  Girl Crazy is simply one of those movies that I can’t help but be happy after watching

What’s on TCM: May 2013

Humphrey Bogart in High SierraHappy May, everyone!

Rather than have just one Star of the Month for may, there will actually be several.  Every Tuesday night this month, TCM will be spotlighting some of cinema’s greatest tough guys, so that includes people like Bogart, Cagney, McQueen, and Robinson, just to name a few.

Friday Night Spotlight will be back with Illeana Douglas as the guest co-host.  Illeana has chosen the theme of “Second Looks.”  All of the movies she’s chosen weren’t particularly well-received when they were first released, but she thinks they’re deserving of a second chance.  I agree with several of her selections and since I’m all about those hidden gems, I’m really looking forward to seeing some of her other choices.

If you’re a Harold Lloyd fan, mark May 23rd on your calendar because TCM will be playing his feature movies and short films all night long, the vast majority of which have never been shown on TCM before.

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Listen, Darling (1938)

After the death of her husband, Dottie Wingate (Mary Astor) is unable to support her children, Pinkie (Judy Garland) and Billie (Scotty Beckett), and is on the verge of marrying banker Arthur Drubbs (Gene Lockhart).  She doesn’t love him and Pinkie and Billie don’t like him at all, but she needs the financial security.  Desperate to stop her mother from making such a big mistake, Pinkie and her boyfriend Buzz (Freddie Bartholomew) come up with a plan to “kidnap” Dottie and Billie in the family camper and take her for a little vacation, hoping the vacation will help her forget about Arthur.

Naturally, Dottie is surprised by this plan, but after a little while, she relaxes and begins to enjoy herself.  However, she still plans to marry Arthur when they get back home.  Buzz and Pinkie want to prove to Dottie that she can do better so they set out to find a more suitable match for her.  As luck would have it, they end up camping near Richard Thurlow (Walter Pidgeon), who just happens to have a lot in common with Dottie’s late husband.  Buzz thinks he’d be perfect for Dottie, and when Richard suddenly leaves the campground, he gets everyone together to follow him.

They manage to find Richard again, but Richard is very annoyed by the kids when Billie gets Richard’s camera (and himself) sprayed by a skunk.  Despite that incident, Richard and Dottie start to fall in love with each other.  The kids don’t know that, though, and think Richard hates them so they keep looking for another man.  They end up meeting J.J. Slattery (Alan Hale), who adores the kids and could very easily support them and Dottie.  But as much as Dottie likes Richard, she can’t share Richard’s love for living on the road because she needs to be settled in one place for the children.  Pinkie overhears her saying this and asks Slattery to adopt her and Billie so Dottie won’t be tied down and can be with Richard.  Of course, Slattery knows he can’t take Dottie’s children, but he sees to it that Dottie and Richard get back together.

Listen, Darling is a nice bit of fluffy entertainment, but nothing great.  By far, the most memorable thing about it is Judy Garland singing “Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart.”  Despite the first-rate cast, the movie is cute at best.  Judy Garland, Freddie Bartholomew, Mary Astor, and Walter Pidgeon have all starred in far more memorable movies.  But it is a pretty good example of the wholesome, family friendly movies that Louis B. Mayer was famous for making.

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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