Welcome to another edition of Fedya's “Movies to Tivo” thread, for the week of July 24-30, 2017. Training camp is finally going to be here, the time when we can all raise a terrible stink because OMG Jeff Janis! dropped a pass in practice. So instead of panicking over every little thing, why not spend some time with some good movies? There's more from Star of the Month Ronald Colman, the end of the Hitchcock spotlight, and some good stuff on other channels as well. As always, all times are in Eastern, unless otherwise mentioned.
I'll start off ith this week's Silent Sunday Nights selection, The Mating Call, at midnight Monday (ie. 11:00 PM tonight LFT). Thomas Meighan plays Leslie, a farmer who left for World War I, but not before marrying Rose (Evelyn Brent). However, while he was away, her parents had the marriage annulled so that their daughter could marry rich Lon (Alan Roscoe). Leslie runs off to Ellis Island and marries the immigrant Catherine (Renée Adorée) instead to keep her and her parents from being deported. Rose, meanwhile, keeps trying to woo Leslie back. She does this in part because Lon is such a philanderer. However, he thinks he should be allowed to cheat while women shouldn't, so the moral group Lon helped found goes after Leslie for alleged indiscretions despite the fact that Leslie is completely innocent. Oh, and there's a nude swimming scene, too, which I know will interest all of you.
Over on StarzEncore Westerns is a movie with a really interesting cast: Texas Rangers Ride Again, at 6:46 AM Monday at 3:59 AM Tuesday. One of the leads is Ellen Drew playing Ellen, granddaughter of Cecilia (May Robson), the matriarch of a ranch. However, modern-day rustlers are stealing the cattle, so the authorities send in an agent Jim (John Howard, best remembered from The Philadelphia Story the same year) who will try to pass himself off as the Pecos Kid to infiltrate the gang. Jim's law enforcement partner is Mace, played by… Broderick Crawford early in his career; yes it's tough to imagine him in a western although this one isn't a period piece. The actual head of the criminal gang is Joe Yuma, played by… Anthony Quinn. And playing a near-retirement-age Texas Ranger is Charley Grapewin, memorable the same year for playing Grandpa in The Grapes of Wrath. What a cast of supporting actors overshadowing the two bland leads.
If you want more young Anthony Quinn, also from 1940, you could do worse than to catch City For Conquest, which will be on TCM at 1:15 PM Thursday. Danny (James Cagney) is a turcker in New York who does amateur boxing on the side while trying to help his composer brother Eddie (Arthur Kennedy) who pays the bills by giving piano lessons but really wants to compose a great symphony. Danny's girlfriend Peg (Ann Sheridan) likes to dance, and one night wins a dance contest while partnered by slimy Murray (that's Anthony Quinn); Murray takes Peg on the road as a professional dancer. So Danny decides to become a prizefighter to win enough money to win back Peg. But just as he gets to the big fight, the gangsters backing the other guy decide to cheat and put resin on the other guy's gloves, which basically blinds poor Danny. Can he win Peg and help Eddie put on that symphony? Donald Crisp plays Danny's boxing manager, while future director Elia Kazan plays a gangster who winds up helping Danny.
The Story of Ruth has been back on FXM Retro for a little while now, so why not mention it this week for those of you who like your Bible stories? It'll be on at 7:50 AM Friday and 6:00 AM Saturday. Ruth (played here by Elana Eden) is a character straight outta Moab and the Old Testament. In the bible, she marries one of Naomi's (Peggy Wood) sons, and then follows Naomi back to the Israelites. In this version things are a little more complicated, as they build up a story by having Ruth plucked by the Moabites to be a priestess before she meets Naomi's son Mahlon (Tom Tryon). But she still meets Naomi, and still leaves Moab for Israel after Mahlon dies. There, she's faces with two suitors, Boaz (Stuart Whitman) and Tob (Jeff Morrow). If you know the Bible then you'd know which one she chose, although the movie again makes things more dramatic. Ruth was the matriarch in a family that would include King David. This one isn't quite as epic as the other Bible movies from the 1950s and 60s, although there were some other Bible movies (Esther and the King) that weren't epic, either.
Tuesday on TCM brings several Lily Damita movies, including one that will interest at least one poster here, Goldie Gets Along at 3:00 PM. Goldie (Damita) is a young woman sick of her small town life and her small-time boyfriend. So she decides that the's going to get up and head for Hollywood to try to make it into the big time. After a series of problems she gets there, only to find that inexplicably, her boyfriend Bill (Charles Morton), also got the idea to leave for Hollywood after she did. But he got there first and became a star, which makes you wonder how it could take so long for Goldie to get there. (Then again, she's used to reporting old news that everybody else already knows.) At any rate our two new stars should live happily ever after, right? No, of course not! Bill decides that Hollywood is not for him and would like to go back to the sleepy small town life! Goldie should just go after one of her other boyfriends, but this Goldie wants Bill.
Mel Brooks fans will probably enjoy Spaceballs, which you can catch at 1:49 AM Wednesday on StarzEncore Classics. This time around, Mel turns his parodic eye to the science fiction genre. There are two rival planets, Spaceball and Druidia. Spaceball's atmosphere is becoming no longer viable, so their leader Skroob (Mel Brooks if you couldn't tell by the name) comes up with a fiendish plan: kidnap the daughter (Daphne Zuniga) of Druidia's King Roland (Dick Van Patten), and then hold the princess hostage in exchange for Druidia's atmosphere. But the forces of good have a mercenary in Lone Starr (Rick Moranis) who is going to lead a darring mission to rescue the princess and put all right with the universe. Of course, all of this is just a hook on which to hang a bunch of genre jokes, as well as include a couple of cameos. John Hurt plays himself, while Joan Rivers provides the voice for the princess' android servant.
There's one more week of the TCM Spotlight on Alfred Hitchcock, with movies on Wednesday and Friday in prime time. Wednesday goes from the late 50s through The Birds in 1963, and the 10:30 PM showing of North by Northwest should be mentioned because the recently deceased Martin Landau has a key role as one of James Mason's henchmen, trying to kill Cary Grant who is a CIA pawn being used in a plot to get Mason and the secrets he's trying to spirit out of the country. Friday sees Hitch's last five movies, which are interesting if not as successful as earlier films.
Speaking of Hitchcock and Grant, there's a Cary Grant movie that looks as though it could have been made by Hitchcock but wasn't: Charade, which will be on at 7:00 AM Sunday on The Movie Channel. (If you only have the west coast feed, it will be three hours later.) Audrey Hepburn is the star here, playing the glamorous wife of a Paris-based UN interpreter. She goes home from vacation to Paris to find that her husband has been murdered. And at the funeral, a couple of strange guys show up (James Coburn, George Kennedy, and Ned Glass). But US spymaster Walter Matthau is there to help poor Audrey. And then Cary Grant shows up also purporting to help Audrey, but he seems to keep changing his story to the point that who knows what to believe? Anyhow, everybody's hanging around Audrey because all these people have connections to a World War II heist of gold from the Nazis. They think Audrey's late husband double-crossed them, and that she knows what he did with the proceeds. A really stylish and fun mystery caper.
Thursday night brings one more night of Star of the Month Ronald Colman, with the highlight probably being what I think is the TCM premiere of Colman's Oscar-winning role in A Double Life at 8:00 PM. I haven't seen that one, so I'll recommend The Late George Apley, which will be on at 2:30 AM Friday. Colman plays George Apley, the current patriarch in a family which has lived in Boston's Back Bay for generations and who is part of the Boston Brahmins, those stuffy upper-crust types who think their way of life is the only thing that matters, and how could anybody else possibly want to live differently? But now it's the 1910s, and change is coming quickly. It's coming on particularly for George's two children, John (Richard Ney) and Ellie (Peggy Cummins). Ellie has fallen in love with a Harvard professor, which is nice, except that the guy graduated from Yale (the horror!) and teaches some unorthodox ideas about Emerson. John, meanwhile, has fallen in love with a rich girl, except that she's the daughter of an industrialist from… Worcester!
Warner Bros., I think, made the best B movies and programmers. A good example of this is Beauty and the Boss, which will be on TCM at 7:45 AM Saturday. Warren William plays the boss, Viennese Baron Josef. He's a banker who is also a playboy, going out with a different beautiful woman every night. The only thing is, this attracts a bunch of pretty secretaries, which makes work a problem, so he fires them one after another in order to spend his nights with them instead, until plain Susie (Marian Marsh) walks in. As I said, the's all the way at the other end of plain, but she makes a damn good secretary, seeming to have no interest in romance and only in improving her secretarial skills. Susie's efficiency makes the Baron's professional life run so much more smoothly, but you just know that eventually the two of them are going to fall in love for real. She gets to experience some glamor on a business trip to Paris, but when other men start pursuing her, she realizes it's the Baron she wants.