William Castle

What’s on TCM: March 2011

Ah, March.  March always feels like a bit of a slow month just because it’s hard to keep up the kind of momentum that 31 Days of Oscar has.  But it’s always been a little bit of a welcome lull to me since 31 Days of Oscar can be such a marathon.  But there are still definitely some big highlights to look forward to this month.  Namely, I’m most looking forward to Jean Harlow as Star of the Month.  If you’ve been wanting to see more of her movies, now is the perfect time because TCM will be playing nearly all of her most important movies.  Also worth noting is that instead of having just one guest programmer this month, there will be many.  On Mondays and Thursdays this month, prime time will consist of movies chosen by TCM employees and they have made a lot of very excellent choices.  Now, with no further ado, let’s get onto my highlights for the month!


I Saw What You Did (1965)

When Libby Mannering’s parents go out-of-town for the night, she does what any typical teenager would do and invites her friend Kit to come over.  Libby, Kit, and Libby’s little sister Tess decide to spend the evening making prank phone calls.  It’s all innocent enough until they decide to call Steve Marak (John Ireland) and say, “I saw what you did and I know who you are.”  Steve has just murdered his wife and had just gotten home from hiding the body when they talk to him.  Of course, Steve gets paranoid and wants to know who’s calling him.  But then his neighbor and girlfriend Amy (Joan Crawford) gets wind of Steve getting phone calls from strange women at night and becomes incredibly jealous.  Meanwhile, Libby and Kit are curious about what Steve looks like, so they decide to drive by his house to try to get a glimpse of him.  Unfortunately, the only person Libby ends up seeing is Amy, who reams her out for trying to steal her man.  Before Libby can leave, Amy swipes the registration from her mother’s car, then gives it to Steve and tries to blackmail him into marrying her.  But she, too, meets her demise at the hands of Steve Marak and Steve heads out to make Libby his next victim.

I love this movie!  When I wrote about the book Bette Davis: Larger Than Life, I said that sometimes books and documentaries tend to skip over certain films in a star’s career.  In the case of Joan Crawford’s career, I Saw What You Did seems to be the one that nobody ever acknowledges and I really don’t understand why.  I know it’s not like this was ever meant to win any Oscars, but it’s certainly better than some of her other campy era movies like The Caretakers or Berserk.  The movie is definitely campy, it is a William Castle movie after all, but that’s why I love it so much.  It’s absolutely hilarious!  Of course, everything about Joan Crawford in this movie was completely over the top: the acting, the hair, the jewelry.

And then there are the girls.  All of the girls’ performances were certainly worthy of the old Batman TV series, but I love the way they delivered their cheesy lines.  Sharyl Locke as Tess especially cracked me up.  But the real icing on the cake is the soundtrack.  Throughout the movie, they keep playing this song that sounds like it was leftover from Beach Blanket Bingo.  To get an idea of what I’m talking about, watch this clip of the beginning of the movie:

I really wish this movie were more available.  It was released on DVD, but now it’s out of print so it’s really expensive to buy.  Even the VHS is ridiculously expensive!  It rarely even turns up on TV.  I got TCM to play it once last year after I requested it, but that’s the only time I’ve seen it on TV.  It’s just a fun bit of camp that I love watching every Halloween.