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Thu Oct 11, 2018, 12:29 AM

TCM Schedule for Thursday, October 11, 2018 -- What's On Tonight: TCM Spotlight - Funny Ladies

In the evening hours, TCM is continuing their month-long salute to Funny Ladies. From the TCM website:


"People either have comedy or they don't; you can't teach it to them," Lucille Ball famously said. Lucy, of course, had it in spades - just like the other Funny Ladies in our roundup of great comic female actresses. Each Thursday in October, TCM presents a lineup of rib-tickling films featuring many of the cinema's most gifted comediennes.

This Spotlight is hosted by actress/filmmaker Illeana Douglas, a TCM regular who has presented other programming related to accomplishments by women in film; and comedy legend Carol Burnett, a special favorite of television, stage and film audiences for decades.

Our salute is broken down by eras:

The 1950s saw sparkling work from some of our brightest female talents, with Judy Holliday proving that a sterling performance in comedy can beat out more dramatic competition in the Oscar race. By repeating her stage performance as Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday (1950), Holliday was named Best Actress in competition with such heavyweights as Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson. Jean Hagen won a nomination in the Supporting category for her hilarious bit as a screechy-voiced silent film star in Singin' in the Rain (1952), while Doris Day was nominated as Best Actress for displaying a sleek, sexy (and funny) new persona in the romantic comedy Pillow Talk (1959). The imposing movie careers of television comedy favorites Lucille Ball and Eve Arden are represented, respectively, by Forever, Darling and Our Miss Brooks (both 1956).


6:08 AM -- GANG BOY (1954)
In this short film, a police officer tries to prevent a gang war by bringing the rival groups together over dinner.
Dir: Arthur Swerdloff
Cast: Curly Riviera,
C-27 mins,

Like many films produced and directed by Sid Davis, this one was recorded silently. The sound was recorded later and synched to fit the picture; in many cases editor Arthur Swerdloff cut to another shot to allow him to re-sync the audio and the video.

6:45 AM -- A CRY IN THE NIGHT (1956)
A police captain's emotions get in the way when his daughter is kidnapped.
Dir: Frank Tuttle
Cast: Edmond O'Brien, Brian Donlevy, Natalie Wood
BW-75 mins, CC,

Owen Clark is played by Richard Anderson, who would later star opposite Raymond Burr in the final season of "Perry Mason."

8:15 AM -- BEHAVE YOURSELF! (1951)
A young couple's dog gets them mixed up in a string of murders.
Dir: George Beck
Cast: Farley Granger, Shelley Winters, William Demarest
BW-81 mins, CC,

The firm of Cannell & Chaffin, Inc. listed in the opening credits as supplying furniture for the film was a high-end furniture and interior design business founded in 1917 in Los Angeles. It was located at 3000 Wilshire Blvd., and was hired by William Randolph Hearst to furnish his estate now known as Hearst Castle. Joseph Cannell, one of the founders of the firm, was the father of Stephen J. Cannell, television writer and creator of such shows as "The A Team" and "The Rockford Files". Evidently the firm filed for bankruptcy and went out of business in the late 1980s.

9:45 AM -- NOWHERE TO GO (1958)
A burglar on the run holes up with an innocent English girl.
Dir: Seth Holt
Cast: George Nader, Maggie Smith, Bernard Lee
BW-87 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Normally hairy-chested George Nader was forced to buff his torso for the bathtub sequence.

An American woman tries to break off her relationship with her Italian lover.
Dir: Vittorio De Sica
Cast: Jennifer Jones, Montgomery Clift, Gino Cervi
BW-63 mins, CC,

Nominee for an Oscar for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White -- Christian Dior

The script was originally meant to be a study in adultery and its effects. To that end, it was rejected by the PCA on moral grounds. When producer David O. Selznick came on board, he altered the script's viewpoint, remodeling it as a portrait of a married woman tempted by adultery but who doesn't give in. This was primarily so that Selznick's wife, Jennifer Jones, wouldn't have her pristine reputation tarnished.

12:30 PM -- SOMETHING OF VALUE (1957)
Childhood friends end up on opposite sides of a bloody African uprising.
Dir: Richard Brooks
Cast: Rock Hudson, Dana Wynter, Wendy Hiller
BW-113 mins, CC,

Rock Hudson drove the film crew around the Nairobi National Park, with the stand-in for his co-star next to him. The crew and game warden were in the back of the semi-open Land Rover. Although all of the animals in the park were wild, they were used to vehicles. Many shots of various animals were taken, including baboons. For the latter, Hudson threw peanuts onto the front of the vehicle. One half-grown male, seeing the actual source of this food, jumped through the half-door onto Hudson's lap, stole some extra peanuts and even snatched a lipstick from the hand of the stand-in. Hudson grabbed the baboon by the scruff of the neck, calmly took back the lipstick, and threw the animal out.

2:30 PM -- CRIME IN THE STREETS (1956)
A social worker tries to end juvenile crime by getting involved with a street gang.
Dir: Don Siegel
Cast: James Whitmore, Sal Mineo, Mark Rydell
BW-91 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

Don Siegel says in his biography that he argued much on the set with actor Mark Rydell because he did not shoot Rydell's face enough.

A college dropout has no choice but to go into the Army.
Dir: David Butler
Cast: Tab Hunter, Natalie Wood, Jesse Royce Landis
BW-103 mins, CC,

In the mid-1950s, Warner Brothers pursued a strategy of promoting some of their biggest young stars as believable on-screen couples in multiple films. They followed the model of famous 1930s pairings such as Myrna Loy and William Powell, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Audiences had continued to flock to see those on-screen couples in the many movies they made together. In each case, the studio had cultivated rumors of off-screen romance between the popular couples and had worked to make sure that each pair appeared in public events together and were seen in public dates set up by the studio. Warner Brothers tried to emulate this model, including the studio-arranged dates, in order to make Hunter and Wood appear as a believable couple that would capture the public's imagination. The studio had plans for five films to feature the pair, asked Wood and Hunter to give multiple magazine interviews suggesting a real romance, and conspicuously placed the two on dates in high-profile establishments. Despite these machinations, Hunter and Wood never attained the success of the more-recognizable 1930s pairings, and the highly promoted couple only appeared in two films together, both of which were shot nearly simultaneously and released within two months of one another. In real life, Hunter and Wood were very close friends and got along quite well. Hunter, however, was a closeted homosexual and Wood was attracted to men older than her co-star. As a result, no romantic relationship ever developed.

6:15 PM -- TALL STORY (1960)
Love puts a college basketball star into a tailspin.
Dir: Joshua Logan
Cast: Anthony Perkins, Jane Fonda, Ray Walston
BW-89 mins, CC,

Film debut of Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, and Van Williams.


8:00 PM -- HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940)
An unscrupulous editor plots to keep his star reporter-and ex-wife-from re-marrying.
Dir: Howard Hawks
Cast: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
BW-92 mins, CC,

One of the first films (preceded by "Stage Door" (1937)) to have characters talk over the lines of other characters, for a more realistic sound. Prior to this, movie characters completed their lines before the next lines were started.

9:40 PM -- HOT MONEY (1935)
In this short comedy, Patsy Kelly and Thelma Todd come across some much needed money that just happens to be stolen.
Dir: James W. Horne
Cast: Thelma Todd, Patsy Kelly, Brooks Benedict
BW-17 mins,

10:00 PM -- MY MAN GODFREY (1936)
A zany heiress tries to help a tramp by making him the family butler.
Dir: Gregory La Cava
Cast: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady
BW-94 mins, CC,

Nominee for Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role -- William Powell, Best Actress in a Leading Role -- Carole Lombard, Best Actor in a Supporting Role -- Mischa Auer, Best Actress in a Supporting Role -- Alice Brady, Best Director -- Gregory La Cava, and Best Writing, Screenplay -- Eric Hatch and Morrie Ryskind

William Powell suggested his ex-wife Carole Lombard for the leading role with the explanation that his real life romance with Lombard had been much the same as it was for the characters of Godfrey and Irene.

11:42 PM -- OKAY TOOTS! (1935)
In this comedic short, a husband and wife manage to switch bodies with the assistance of a psychic.
Dir: Charley Chase
Cast: Grace Goodall, Jeanie Roberts, Charley Chase
BW-16 mins,

12:00 AM -- THEODORA GOES WILD (1936)
A woman's two lives as small-town innocent and author of torrid romances collide.
Dir: Richard Boleslawski
Cast: Irene Dunne, Melvyn Douglas, Thomas Mitchell
BW-94 mins, CC,

Nominee for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role -- Irene Dunne, and Best Film Editing -- Otto Meyer

The dialogue from this film is re-used in the film Bedtime Story (1941), in which Fredric March portrays a playwright and Loretta Young his actress wife. All the dialogue in March's new "play" is actually from the screenplay of this film. It's virtually word for word, with only the heroine's name changed. The "gardener" referred to in the dialogue is of course Melvyn Douglas. Columbia Pictures, the distributor of "Bedtime Story," made this film, too, but none of the writers overlap between the films. Interestingly, in "Bedtime Story," the actors playing the onstage scene are not meant to be in a comedy. What is borrowed is the confrontation over the gardener between Theodora, her aunt, and the local club ladies. Also, in an early scene, March has an inspiration for the last line of his play - something about nobody in the town ever calling the heroine "baby" before - an idea that figures in "Theodora Goes Wild" as well.

2:00 AM -- THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943)
The World War II housing shortage brings three people together for an unlikely romance.
Dir: George Stevens
Cast: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn
BW-104 mins, CC,

Winner of an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role -- Charles Coburn

Nominee for Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role -- Jean Arthur, Best Director -- George Stevens, Best Writing, Original Story -- Frank Ross and Robert Russell, Best Writing, Screenplay -- Richard Flournoy, Lewis R. Foster, Frank Ross and Robert Russel, and Best Picture

Jean Arthur was getting into trouble with Columbia Pictures because she kept turning down roles. Rather embarrassed about this, she contacted her friend Garson Kanin and asked him to pen her something that she could take to the studio. Kanin was out of work at the time and readily accepted her proposal which Arthur ended up paying for out of her own pocket.

3:47 AM -- MACKINAC ISLAND (1944)
This short films takes the viewer to Mackinac Island in Lake Michigan.
Dir: James A. FitzPatrick
C-9 mins,

The ship seen at the beginning of the film is the S.S. North American, owned by the Chicago, Duluth & Georgian Bay Transit Company. It was built in 1914 by the Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse, Michigan. She was retired from Great Lakes passenger service in 1964 and sold in 1967 to the Seafarers International Union for use as a training ship. While being towed to Maryland, the ship suddenly sank 25 miles off Nantucket, Massachusetts on September 4, 1967.

4:00 AM -- I LOVE YOU AGAIN (1940)
A solid married man discovers he's forgotten a past existence as a con artist.
Dir: W. S. Van Dyke II
Cast: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Frank McHugh
BW-99 mins, CC,

Myrna Loy had originally been scheduled to make "The Road to Rome" with Clark Gable, but its anti-war message would have made it a difficult movie to market with World War II going on in Europe. The film was shelved and Loy moved on to make this film instead. She did not mind the change, as she was a great friend of William Powell and loved working with him.

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