Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford in Gilda
Glenn Ford will have his "Summer Under the Stars" day on Friday, Aug. 7.
The Turner Classic Movies Glenn Ford marathon will include three TCM premieres: Convicted Woman, Mr. Soft Touch, and A Time for Killing. The first one sounds like a B flick that may be quite enjoyable (hey, it revolves around women behind bars); the one in the middle is directed by Gordon Douglas, which is almost invariably a good sign; and the third one is a wild card: it could be a forgotten gem; it could be the sort of dreary star vehicle that ruined Ford's film career at about that time.
Now, I must admit that I haven't seen most of the Glenn Ford vehicles listed below. In fact, I've only watched two of them: Gilda and 3:10 to Yuma.
I'm assuming everyone who cares about movies has already seen Gilda at least once. I've seen it about five or six times, and I could watch it again and again. Flawed as it is, I find Gilda the quintessential 1940s (brightly lit) film noir, superior to all the other revered noirs Hollywood cranked out at that time, from The Maltese Falcon to The Big Sleep.
Part of the reason, of course, is that Rita Hayworth is in it. Talk about perfect casting. But Glenn Ford holds his own remarkably well, bouncing back and forth between ex-flame Hayworth and his (very intimate) boss, George Macready. It's really too bad that Charles Vidor didn't direct many more movies of this kind.
3:10 to Yuma is one of my all-time favorite Westerns. As far as most film critics are concerned, John Ford is the topmost director of Westerns; as far as I'm concerned, nothing Ford has done in the wide open spaces gets close to what either Delmer Daves and Anthony Mann accomplished in their films set in the American West. (I'm still unfamiliar with most of Budd Boetticher's work. Gotta check those out.)
Of the Daves' Westerns, 3:10 to Yuma is his best (along with The Hanging Tree): it's terse, dramatic, complex, suspenseful, poetic. You can't ask for more — though you do get more, including two first-rate performances (Ford and fellow player Van Heflin), superb cinematography (Charles Lawton Jr.), and a great score (George Duning). Screenplay by Halsted Welles from a story by Elmore Leonard. Don't miss it.
Most of the ones I haven't seen sound interesting, if only because of co-stars such as Edward G. Robinson (Destroyer), Miyoshi Umeki (Cry for Happy), and Evelyn Keyes (the aforementioned Mr. Soft Touch). Most of the directors listed below sound less interesting, but I'm a sucker for crime movies of the 1940s and 1950s (no matter how bad or absurd). For that reason, Framed, Convicted, and The Undercover Man sound quite intriguing.
3:00 AM Convicted Woman (1940)
An innocent woman sent to prison becomes the focus of a prison-reform movement. Cast: Rochelle Hudson, Frieda Inescort, Glenn Ford. Director: Nick Grinde. BW-66 mins.
4:15 AM Destroyer (1943)
The crew of a torpedoed ship fights to take out an enemy sub. Cast: Edward Robinson, Glenn Ford, Marguerite Chapman. Director: William A. Seiter. BW-99 mins.
6:00 AM It Started With A Kiss (1959)
After a whirlwind courtship, an Army officer and his wacky wife try to make their marriage work. Cast: Glenn Ford, Debbie Reynolds, Eva Gabor. Director: George Marshall. C-100 mins.
8:00 AM Cry for Happy (1961)
Army photographers on leave in Japan take over a geisha house. Cast: Glenn Ford, Donald O'Connor, Miyoshi Umeki. Director: George Marshall. C-110 mins.
12:00 PM Mr. Soft Touch (1949)
After being betrayed, a gangster hangs out in a settlement house while seeking revenge. Cast: Glenn Ford, Evelyn Keyes, John Ireland. Director: Gordon Douglas, Henry Levin. BW-93 mins.
1:45 PM Framed (1947)
A femme fatale lures an unemployed man into helping her with a criminal scheme. Cast: Glenn Ford, Janis Carter, Barry Sullivan. Director: Richard Wallace. BW-82 mins.
3:15 PM Convicted (1950)
A prison warden fights to prove one of his inmates was wrongly convicted. Cast: Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford, Dorothy Malone. Director: Henry Levin. BW-91 mins.
5:00 PM Gilda (1946)
A gambler discovers an old flame in South America, but she's married to his new boss. Cast: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready. Director: Charles Vidor. BW-110 mins.
7:00 PM Undercover Man, The (1949)
A treasury agent tries to convict a ruthless mobster of tax evasion. Cast: Glenn Ford, Nina Foch, James Whitmore. Director: Joseph H. Lewis. BW-84 mins.
8:30 PM 3:10 To Yuma (1957)
A sheriff must run the gauntlet to get his prisoner out of town. Cast: Glenn Ford, Van Heflin, Felicia Farr. Director: Delmer Daves. BW-92 mins.
10:15 PM Rounders, The (1965)
Two ne'er-do-well cowpokes look for sex and easy money in the modern West. Cast: Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, Sue Ane Langdon. Director: Burt Kennedy. C-85 mins.
11:45 PM Time for Killing, A (1967)
Confederate soldiers keep the war's ending a secret so they can escape to Mexico. Cast: Inger Stevens, Glenn Ford, Paul Petersen. Director: Phil Karlson. C-89 mins.
1:15 AM Heaven With a Gun (1969)
A gunslinger-turned-preacher is forced to return to his old ways. Cast: Glenn Ford, Carolyn Jones, Barbara Hershey. Director: Lee H. Katzin. C-101 mins.