Happy November, everyone! Hope everyone had a great October and a very happy Halloween. Coming up in November, we have Natalie Wood as TCM’s star of the month to look forward to, as well as an excellent spotlight on documentary filmmaking. So let’s get to it and take a look at some of TCM’s scheduling highlights for November.
Like many teenagers, Elizabeth Taggart (Natalie Wood) enjoys spending evenings with her boyfriend Owen (Richard Anderson) at the town’s Lovers’ Loop. Elizabeth and Owen are engaged, but it’s a secret engagement because Elizabeth is afraid that her overbearing father, police captain Dan Taggart (Edmond O’Brien), won’t approve. One night at Lovers’ Loop, a disturbed man named Harold Loftus (Raymond Burr) hides among the trees watching the couples. When Owen hears a noise, he goes to investigate and is knocked unconscious by Harold. Harold then drives off in Owen’s car with Elizabeth inside.
After Owen comes to again, he tries to get help from the police, but the officers mistakenly think he’s drunk and take him to the station to sober up. Meanwhile, Harold has taken Elizabeth to an abandoned shack where he tries to force her into being his girlfriend. Back at the jail, Owen is examined by a doctor who realizes Owen isn’t just another drunk. The police finally listen to his story and realize Captain Taggart’s daughter is involved. When Captain Taggart finds out his daughter has been kidnapped, he blames Owen for the ordeal.
While the police are investigating Elizabeth’s kidnapping, Harold’s mother calls the station to report that he has gone missing. The way Harold’s mother talks about him makes a criminal profiler realize that Harold might be the man they’re looking for. They manage to track down the shack, but Harold isn’t willing to let Elizabeth go without a fight. During the fight, Owen saves Captain Taggart’s life and when Harold finally surrenders, Captain Taggart finally gives his blessing for Elizabeth and Owen to be together.
I was somewhat underwhelmed by A Cry in the Night. The cast is quite good; Raymond Burr made an excellent creep and Edmond O’Brien nailed the overbearing aspect of his character. A Cry in the Night isn’t a bad movie, but unfortunately there just isn’t a lot of substance to it. It’s an alright way to spend 75 minutes, but it left me wanting something more.
After the death of her husband, Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) spends a year living with her controlling mother-and-sister-in-law. Eventually, Lucy decides it would be best if she found a place of her own to raise her daughter Anna (Natalie Wood as a child, Vanessa Brown as an adult). Her family highly disapproves of this idea, but she’s determined to live on her own. She finds a place that would be perfect for her and the price seems almost too good to be true. When she goes to look at the place, she quickly discovers the place is haunted. Other tenants have been scared off by the ghost, but Lucy is determined to live there.
After she moves in, Lucy realizes the house is haunted by its previous owner, Captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison). Daniel tries to scare her away, but after she stands up to him, the two of them become very fond of each other. Daniel manages to help Lucy out in many ways. He helps her stand up to her controlling family and when she falls into financial trouble, he has her write his life story for him, which becomes a big hit. Eventually,they fall in love with each other, but they know they couldn’t truly be together.
After meeting with her publisher one day, Lucy meets children’s author Miles Fairley (George Sanders) and can’t resist his charms. The two of them begin a relationship, but Daniel is jealous of their relationship and tries to warn her about Miles, but Lucy won’t listen. Daniel decides the best thing he can do is step out of Lucy’s life and lets her carry on her relationship with Miles. Unfortunately, it turns out Daniel was right about Miles and Lucy soon discovers that Miles is already married and has children of his own. Heartbroken, Lucy goes home to live out her life as a single woman. As the years go by, Daniel doesn’t come to visit her, but she never forgets him. One night, as an old woman, Lucy sits down in her room and passes away. Daniel finally appears, waiting to lead her into the afterlife with him where they can finally be together again.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a pretty unique movie. At first, I thought it might be something along the lines of The Uninvited, but then it became more of a fantasy movie than a horror movie, and then it finally turned into a romance movie. It can be hard to make a movie with so many shifts in style, but Joseph L. Mankiewicz totally made it work. I loved Gene Tierney as Lucy and Rex Harrison was spot-on as Captain Daniel Gregg. This was such a charming and sweet movie with an excellent Bernard Hermann score as the icing on the cake. This would be the perfect movie to watch on a cool Fall night while having a cup of hot chocolate.
Happy July, everyone! Hard to believe that it’s already almost time for Summer Under the Stars, but TCM has lots of fun stuff going on in July to keep us busy until then. Leslie Howard is the Star of the Month and his movies will be on every Tuesday night this month. Every Monday in July will be dedicated to showing 24 hours of adventure movies. Spike Lee is this month’s guest programmer and has chosen some excellent movies for the night of July 5th. There are a lot of good things to mention, so let’s get to it:
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.
June is looking like a pretty stellar month on TCM. Natalie Wood is the star of the month, which I’m happy to see since I’ve become pretty fond of her lately. If you’re a Jeanette MacDonald fan, you’re really in luck because 10 of her movies are on this month. It’s really a pretty diverse month. You can see anything from tributes to Judy Garland and Jaques Cousteau to a day of movies about brides and a night of movies that involve mental institutions. It’s going to be a busy month, so let’s get to the highlights.