May 8 highlights on Turner Classic Movies:
John Frankenheimer’s car racing epic, Grand Prix, boasts an all-star cast, split screens, lots of noise, and one excellent performance, courtesy of the always reliable Eva Marie Saint.
Bachelor Mother (right) was a minor disappointment, but Charles Coburn is outstanding as the patriarch who doesn’t care if his son (David Niven) is the father of Ginger Rogers’ baby – as long as he (Coburn) is the grandfather.
Written on the Wind is an overblown Douglas Sirk melodrama about sex, sin, and siblings that earned Dorothy Malone (top photo, with Rock Hudson) a somewhat undeserving Best Supporting Actress Oscar. But even though she doesn’t deliver a Great Performance, Malone is very much watchable as a rich brat with an insatiable sexual appetite. The rest of the stellar cast, however, doesn’t fare as well.
Modern Times may be Charles Chaplin’s film, but the only (or almost only) reason I find it watchable is Paulette Goddard’s radiant presence.
Some consider Laurence Olivier’s Academy Award-nominated performance in The Entertainer one of the greatest ever committed to film. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t – though it’s surely one of the hammiest.
Schedule (Pacific Time) and synopses from the TCM website:
1:30am Wings for the Eagle (1942)
Dedicated aircraft workers compete for the same girl.
Cast: Ann Sheridan, Dennis Morgan, Jack Carson. Dir.: Lloyd Bacon. Black and white. 84 min.
3:00am Modern Times (1936)
The Little Tramp tries to build a home with a young slum girl.
Cast: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman. Dir.: Charles Chaplin. Black and white. 83 min.
4:30am Bachelor Mother (1939)
A fun-loving shop girl is mistaken for the mother of a foundling.
Cast: Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn. Dir.: Garson Kanin. Black and white. 82 min.
6:00am Task Force (1949)
A naval officer devotes his life to the development of the aircraft carrier.
Cast: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Jane Wyatt. Dir.: Delmer Daves. Color. 117 min.
8:00am Love Crazy (1941)
A businessman concocts a series of harebrained schemes to keep his wife from divorcing him.
Cast: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Jack Carson. Dir.: Jack Conway. Black and white. 99 min.
9:45am Written on the Wind (1956)
A young woman marries into a corrupt oil family then falls for her husband’s best friend.
Cast: Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone. Dir.: Douglas Sirk. Color. 99 min. Letterbox.
11:30am The Buccaneer (1958)
French pirate Jean Lafitte tries to redeem his name helping the U.S. in the War of 1812.
Cast: Yul Brynner, Charlton Heston, Claire Bloom. Dir.: Anthony Quinn. Color. 120 min. Letterbox.
1:30pm Thunder Road (1958)
A fast-driving moonshiner locks horns with a Chicago gangster.
Cast: Robert Mitchum, Gene Barry, Keely Smith. Dir.: Arthur Ripley. Black and white. 93 min.
3:15pm The Entertainer (1960)
A third-rate vaudevillian uses liquor and young women to escape the pressures of changing times.
Cast: Laurence Olivier, Brenda de Banzie, Joan Plowright, Alan Bates. Dir.: Tony Richardson. Black and white. 104 min. Letterbox.
5:00pm Grand Prix (1966)
Auto racers find danger and romance at the legendary European road race.
Cast: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Toshiro Mifune. Dir.: John Frankenheimer. Color. 176 min. Letterbox.
8:00pm The Green Helmet (1961)
A race-car driver whose nerves are shot takes on one last job.
Cast: Bill Travers, Ed Begley, Sidney James. Dir.: Michael Forlong. Black and white. 89 min.
9:45pm To Please a Lady (1950)
A ruthless race-car driver falls for a crusading journalist out to clean up the sport.
Cast: Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou. Dir.: Clarence Brown. Black and white. 92 min.
11:30pm The Crowd Roars (1932)
A race-car driver tries to keep his brother from following in his footsteps.
Cast: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak. Dir.: Howard Hawks. Black and white. 70 min.
1:00am Corvette Summer (1978)
A high school student takes off in search of his stolen, rebuilt Corvette.
Cast: Mark Hamill, Annie Potts, Eugene Roche. Dir.: Matthew Robbins. Black and white. 105 min.