Ray Milland Movies: 'Reap the Wild Wind,' 'Kitty'

Ray Milland, Paulette Goddard, John Wayne, Reap the Wild Wind
John Wayne, Paulette Goddard, Ray Milland, Reap the Wild Wind

Debonair Ray Milland is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month in April 2011. This evening, beginning at 8 p.m. ET, TCM will show a couple of Milland's biggest box office hits: Mitchell Leisen's period drama Kitty (1945), co-starring Paulette Goddard, and Cecil B. DeMille's color adventure Reap the Wild Wind (1942), with Goddard, John Wayne, Susan Hayward, and a giant octopus.

Also scheduled are William A. Wellman's Beau Geste (1939), a great-looking adventure tale starring Gary Cooper as an, ahem, Englishman, and featuring Milland, Robert Preston, Broderick Crawford, a very youthful Susan Hayward, and Donald O'Connor as the boy Beau. Brian Donlevy deservedly received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his sadistic Foreign Legion sergeant.

Some would derisively call Beau Geste politically incorrect; it's not. Much like Gunga Din, The Four Feathers, and The Charge of the Light Brigade, it's downright racist and imperialistic. Yet, it's a must-see because of its cast, its reflection of cultural mores of the time (and of today as well, really), and as an example of beautifully crafted studio-era filmmaking.

As an aside: Ronald Colman was considerably more effective than Cooper in the 1926 silent version. Too bad Colman wasn't a Paramount contract player; else, he'd likely have reprised the role in the '39 version.

The Uninvited and Wise Girl are often shown on TCM. The former is a delightful ghost story, starring Milland, Ruth Hussey, and a gloriously beautiful Gail Russell; the latter is a watchable romantic comedy co-starring Miriam Hopkins.

Schedule (ET) and synopses from the TCM website:

8:00 PM Kitty (1945) A penniless British lord passes a street urchin off as a lady to sell her to a rich husband. Cast: Paulette Goddard, Ray Milland, Patric Knowles. Dir.: Mitchell Leisen. Black and white. 103 mins

10:00 PM Reap the Wild Wind (1942) Two sailors vie for the affections of a southern temptress while fighting off pirates. Cast: Ray Milland, Susan Hayward, John Wayne. Dir.: Cecil B. DeMille. Black and white. 124 mins

12:15 AM Beau Geste (1939) Three brothers in the French foreign legion fight off murderous Arabs and a sadistic sergeant. Cast: Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston. Dir.: William A. Wellman. Black and white. 113 mins

2:15 AM Everything Happens at Night (1939) Two reporters compete to discover a scientist living in hiding and win his daughter. Cast: Sonja Henie, Ray Milland, Robert Cummings. Dir.: Irving Cummings. Black and white. 78 mins

3:45 AM The Uninvited (1944) A brother and sister buy a house with a ghostly secret. Cast: Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp. Dir.: Lewis Allen. Black and white. 99 mins

6:00 AM Wise Girl (1937) A rich girl plays poor to win over a Greenwich Village artist. Cast: Miriam Hopkins, Ray Milland, Walter Abel. Dir.: Leigh Jason. Black and white. 70 mins

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