Dean Martin would have turned 94 on Tuesday, June 7. Generally a somnolent presence in low-brow comedies co-starring either Jerry Lewis or Frank Sinatra, Martin was at his most interesting in dramas, e.g., Vincente Minnelli's Some Came Running, Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo.
Both the somnolent Dean Martin and the interesting Dean Martin can be seen Tuesday morning and afternoon on Turner Classic Movies. In addition to Some Came Running, co-starring Sinatra, and the Oscar-nominated trio of Shirley MacLaine, Arthur Kennedy, and Martha Hyer, TCM will be showing Marriage on the Rocks, Bells Are Ringing, Ocean's Eleven, 4 for Texas, and Robin and the Seven Hoods.
The last three films are for Rat Pack fans only, though 4 for Texas offers two unforgettable pairs of knockers that, quite literally, make Martin – and Frank Sinatra at his most unbearable – all but invisible. And for that the world must praise the gods for Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress.
Marriage on the Rocks is an atrocity, but since Deborah Kerr is in it, it's also a must. Kerr doesn't manage to save the film – not even Zeus in all his glory could have. But she does prove herself a quite capable comedienne, far out-comic timing both Sinatra and Martin.
Adapted from the Broadway musical comedy by Adolph Green and Betty Comden, Bells Are Ringing is a disappointingly overdone Vincente Minnelli effort. Judy Holliday, however, has several good moments – don't miss her “Mary and Ethel” bit. Bells Are Ringing is also notable as Holliday's last film. She would die of cancer five years later, at age 43; come to think of it, Holliday died exactly 48 years ago (June 7, 1965).
Schedule (ET) and synopses from the TCM website:
6:30 AM Marriage on the Rocks (1965) A couple divorces by mistake during a madcap Mexican vacation. Dir.: Jack Donohue Cast: Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Dean Martin. 109 mins
8:30 AM Bells Are Ringing (1960) An answering service operator gets mixed up in her clients' lives. Dir.: Vincente Minnelli Cast: Judy Holliday, Dean Martin, Fred Clark. 126 mins
10:45 AM Some Came Running (1958) A veteran returns home to deal with family secrets and small-town scandals. Dir.: Vincente Minnelli Cast: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine. 136 mins
1:15 PM Ocean's Eleven (1960) A group of friends plot to rob a Las Vegas casino. Dir.: Lewis Milestone Cast: Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra. 127 mins
3:30 PM 4 for Texas (1963) Double-crossing outlaws go straight and become rival saloon owners. Dir.: Robert Aldrich Cast: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Anita Ekberg. 115 mins
5:45 PM Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964) A Chicago gangster stumbles into philanthropic work during a gang war. Dir.: Gordon Douglas Cast: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.. 123 mins