Welcome to another edition of Fedya's “Movies to Tivo” Thread, for the week of January 8-14, 2018. It's finally supposed to warm up a bit this week, but it's still going to be winter outside. So why not spend some dark winter hours watching some great old movies? Once again I've used my good taste to select a bunch of movies I know you'll all like. There's more from Star of the Month Charles Boyer, a spotlight on survival movies (we survived the cold snap! ), and more. As always, all times are in Eastern, unless otherwise mentioned.
TCM is running a bunch of David Wayne movies on Monday morning and afternoon. One of the lesser-known of these is The Tender Trap, which will be on at 11:15 AM. Wayne isn't the star; that honor goes to Frank Sinatra who plays a Broadway agent Charlie. Charlie is successful and single, although he's got a lot of women he's interested in. Currently chief among them is violinist Sylvia (Celeste Holm). And then Charlie's old friend Joe (that's David Wayne) comes to visit. He's already married and has three children, but he's in New York away from his wife, so you just know there's going to be the temptation to stray. And Joe's having a mid-life crisis doesn't help. Further complicating things is that Joe begins to fall for… Sylvia. But there could be another girl for Charlie, in the form of aspiring young actress Julie (Debbie Reynolds). So Charlie pursues her, but she rebuffs his advances because she's got her life all plotted out. Or does she?
The 1962 version of Cape Fear is going to be on once this week, at 1:58 PM Monday on StarzEncore Classics. (The 1991 remake is going to be on multiple times on various channels; check your box guide.) You probably all know the story already. Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck) plays a southern lawyer with a big house, a wife (Polly Bergen) and a teenage daughter (Lori Martin). However, several years ago he witnessed a crime and testified against the defendant Max Cady (Robert Mitchum). Max got several years in the clink for it, but has recently gotten out after serving his sentence. Max has come to the Bowdens' hometown and intends to do… well what does he plan? Sam is nervous, but so far Max hasn't done anything illegal that can be pinned on him. If anything, Sam's pre-emptive actions are the only things that could be considered illegal. And yet you just know Max is going to get up to something. So the plan is made to set a trap for Max. But have they set the wrong trap? Mitchum is great, and the egg scene is creepily disturbing.
If you want something in rousing Technicolor, you could do worse than to watch The Adventures of Don Juan, which will be on TCM at 11:15 AM Tuesday. In this version of the Don Juan story, it's Errol Flynn who plays the Spanis lover, who at the beginning of the movie is getting himself in hot water thanks to his dalliance with a woman in the English court. So he's recalled to Spain, where King Phillip III (Romney Brent) gives him a chance to redeem himself, by becoming the head of the court fencing academy. It's in this role that Don Juan meets Queen Margaret (Viveca Lindfors) and begins to fall in love with her, even though he can't act upon those feelings in any way. But being able to get close to the Queen means that he's able to learn about the Duke de Lorca (Robert Douglas), who is plotting to become the real power behind the throne, which threatens to have negative repercussions for Spain. It's up to Don Juan and his band of merry men to prevent this. Alan Hale (Sr.) is Don Juan's sidekick, and watch for a young Raymond Burr as Alvarez, one of the Duke's henchmen.
Triple Cross is back on TCM, at 6:00 AM Wednesday. Based on a true story, the movie stars Christopher Plummer as Eddie Chapman, a safecracker whose criminal activities ultimately result in his getting a long prison sentence on the British isle of Jersey around 1939. Ah, but Jersey is one of the Channel Islands and one of the few British holdings the Nazis took over during the war. The Nazis see that they have a possible asset in their midst: a fully British criminal with all sorts of skills that they could use to gain intelligence, in exchange for Chapman's ultimate freedom. So Baron von Grunen (Yul Brynner) becomes Chapman's handler. Chapman goes off to Britain, and… immediately turns on the Nazis. British intelligence in the form of Freddie (Trevor Young) decides to make it look like the Germans' schemes worked so that the British can use Chapman as a double agent. And then back on the Continent Chapman gets involved with a member of the French Resistance (Claudine Auger) and a member of the German nobility (Romy Schneider).
Charles Boyer returns for a second night in his turn as TCM's Star of the Month on Thursday night, including being one of many many stars in the great anthology movie Tales of Manhattan, which will be on at 2:15 AM Friday. Seven stories are told, with the thread that ties them all together being a man's formal coat that changes owners. Boyer stars in the first story, as a wealthy man having an affair with another man's (Thomas Mitchell) wife (Rita Hayworth). After that, the coat winds up with Henry Fonda and Ginger Rogers (the only time they worked together); composer Charles Laughton; lecturer W.C. Fields; failed lawyer-turned-bum Edward G. Robinson; a couple of robbers; and then Paul Robson and Ethel Waters. For years, prints excised the Fields story although more recent prints have included it. I'm not certain about the print TCM will be running. The Laughton and Robinson stories are the best; Robinson in particular is excellent, helped by George Sanders and James Gleason.
I'm not certain if I've recommended One More Train to Rob before; it'll be on StarzEncore Westerns at 6:01 AM Friday. George Peppard plays Harker, who together with Nolan (John Vernon), Katy (Diana Muldaur), and three other guys robbed a train in the gold-mining part of California in the 1880s. The gang split up to evade detection, but before they could get back together to split the proceeds, Harker was arrested and framed for the whole crime. He spent his stint in prison, figuring that it was Nolan who set him up so dammit, he's going to get his revenge once he gets out of prison. Worse is that when he finds Nolan, he finds that Nolan is wealthy and “respectable”, and that Nolan has married Katy, who was Harker's woman at the time of the robbery. Oh, and Nolan is now exploiting the Chinese immigrants who are working the railroad. And unsurprisingly, the rest of the gang wants to get rid of Harker.
TCM's prime time spotlight for January is survival movies, which are on TCM every Friday in prime time. One that I've mentioned a couple of times in the past, but which I think is making its TCM premiere, is Inferno, at 10:00 PM Friday. Robert Ryan plays Donald Carson, married to hot Geraldine (Rhonda Fleming). However, she has a lover in Joseph (William Lundigan). So when Donald goes out to the Arizona desert for a land deal and brings Geraldine with her, she comes up with the perfect scheme. She and Joseph will make sure that Donald gets injured in a fall from a horse and, unable to make it out of the desert, he'll die of exposure. And once the rains come it will cover up all the evidence. The only thing is that once Donald gets injured, he has no intention of just staying there and dying, so he tries to make his way out of the desert. Meanwhile, Geraldine and Joseph are back in Los Angeles waiting for Donald to die as well as the rain, and when the rains don't come…. The movie was originally shot in 3D, but still works well in 2D and Ryan is excellent in the lead.
A movie returning to FXM Retro after a long absence is House of Bamboo, which will be on at 3:00 AM Saturday. Robert Stack plays Eddie, a GI who is sent to Tokyo in the years not long after World War II when Japan was still an occupied country to investigate the death of a fellow serviceman. It seems that somebody has been holding up US military transports to get the ammo and guns that are being transported, which obviously implies the yakuza. How are they doing it? When an American soldier gets killed that makes a much clearer case for US jurisdiction, hence Eddie's presence. Eddie meets Sandy (Robert Ryan) who seems to know a thing or two about the Japanese underworld. Perhaps a thing or two too much. Eddie also meets Mariko (Shirley Yamaguchi), the widow of the dead US soldier, who may also be able to shed some light on the story. Along the way, Eddie begins to develop romantic feelings for Mariko, which is a problem. Authentic Tokyo locations were used for the exterior scenes, making this one of the first postwar Hollywood productions to film in Japan.
The interesting but flawed Anna Lucasta will be on TCM at 4:00 PM Saturday. Eartha Kitt plays the title role, the daughter in a family led by patriarch Joe (Rex Ingram) who has more or less disowned her. This has led to Anna going away and becoming a prostitute, although that's obviously never explicitly mentioned. You can tell since she's in a dive bar looking for guys, especially for sailor Danny (Sammy Davis Jr.) when he's on shore leave. Danny loves her, but has no intention of marrying her. But Joe is coming to bring her back into the fold. Of course, there's a catch. It turns out that Joe has learned that the son Rudolph (Henry Scott) of an old family friend from back east now has money and in want of a wife, so the obvious thing is to marry off Anna to the guy. Rudolph, it turns out, is really out here to find a job teaching at a college more than to find a wife. But he falls in love with Anna anyway. Joe decides that if he's not going to get the money, he's going to ruin Rudolph and Anna's chances at happiness. It way over the top at times, but still an interesting viewing experience.
TCM has a Gene Tierney double feature on Sunday evening. They've run The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (8:00 PM) multiple times, but I think Rings on Her Fingers (10:00 PM) might be a TCM premiere. Gene Tierney plays Susan, a department store clerk who is approached by two people with an interesting proposal. Warren (Laird Cregar) and Mrs. Worthington (Spring Byington) want Susan to pass herself off as their relation (niece and daughter to the two, respectively) and go down to Florida to woo a rich suitor. There they meet John (Henry Fonda) and sell him a boat they don't own, fleecing him for a lot of money. They then try to marry Susan off to Tod (Shepperd Strudwick credited as John Shepperd). But there's still the matter of John. It turns out he wasn't a millionaire at all and, having lost his life savings, has hired a detective to find out who has fleeced him. Susan didn't know he wasn't a millionaire, but the two had fallen in love along the way, which unsurprisingly causes all sorts of problems. Fonda didn't like a lot of the stuff he was asked to make at Fox before going off to fight in World War II, but this and many of the others are better than he gave credit for.