For me, May is a very weak month on Turner Classic Movies. Fortunately, even a weaker month still brings us a lot of great films. While the films below may not necessarily be all the very best films, many of them are forgotten today…and these films (with the exception of Empire of the Ants) are too good to miss.
Saturday, May 6th at 8:30am Tarzan and His Mate (1934). This is the second of the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films and it’s the best. If you watch, take note of the amazingly risqué underwater swimming sequence. After the new Production Code was enacted in mid-1934, most copies of the film had this portion removed to please censors. Recently, TCM discovered this missing sequence and restored it to the film…and it’s an amazingly tasteful and beautiful scene…and definitely makes this an adult film!
Tuesday, May 9th at 6am Journey for Margaret (1942). This is one of child actress Margaret O’Brien’s best films. It’s a bit of a tearjerker and is about a war correspondent who is trying to adopt two orphans in Europe and bring them back to America. Have a Kleenex nearby for this one!
Tuesday, May 9th at 7:30am Lost Angel (1943). Another one of Margaret O’Brien’s best films. It’s an unusual story of a child raised by professors to be a super-genius. She’s brilliant….but also sadly lacking in understanding the simple pleasures in life.
Friday, May 12th at 2:45am Empire of the Ants (1977). Before Joan Collins hit it big with Dynasty on television, her career was in a horrible slump and she had great difficulty finding work. Unfortunately, some of the films made during this era are god-awful….and Empire of the Ants might just be the worst of them! Embarrassingly bad, Collins gave it her all…even when she was being attacked by giant ant props! A great film for bad movie buffs!
Sunday, May 14th at 4pm and Wednesday, May 31st at 10pm Marty (1955). This film earned Ernest Borgnine the Best Actor Oscar. It’s an incredibly sensitive and well written story about a lonely middle-aged man who has all but given up on finding love. Once again, this is a film best seen with some Kleenex as well as your sweetheart.
Sunday, May 14th at 8pm I Remember Mama (1948). A very simple story about a nice Norwegian-American family. Sweet, well told and a joy to watch!
Tuesday, May 16th at 1:45am Seven Days to Noon (1950). A British scientist is sick of the arms race and in order to help mankind, he threatens to blow it up if they don’t stop making nuclear weapons. And, to back up his threat….he’s stolen a nuclear bomb. Tense and intelligent….and well worth seeing.
Tuesday, May 23rd at 12:30am Strait-Jacket (1964). Of all the films shown at the last TCM Cruise, this one received more laughter and applause than any other. The movie is anything but subtle…but it’s over-the-top scenes and Joan Crawford’s amazing performance make this a truly fun movie…sort of a comedy-horror classic!
Tuesday, May 23rd at 9:15am Fury (1936). This is one of Spencer Tracy’s best films yet it’s oddly been mostly forgotten. He plays an innocent man who wanders into an awful town and almost immediately he’s accused of a crime and a lynch mob mentality breaks out. He barely manages to escape alive…and vows his vengeance on the hellish town. A powerful, powerful drama not to be missed.
Wednesday, May 24th at 10:15am Across the Wide Missouri (1951). One of Clark Gable’s better films. Oddly enough, he plays a trapper who lives among the Native Americans long before white civilization arrived.
Saturday, May 27th at 4:30pm Steel Helmet (1951). A very, very low budgeted war film from director Sam Fuller, despite it’s tiny budget, it’s one of the best films about the Korean War. Exceptional.
Sunday, May 28th at 8am 36 Hours (1964). James Garner plays an American officer during WWII who goes to sleep just before D-Day and awakens….many, many months later and the war is over. However, over time, he starts to realize that it’s all a lie…the war is still on and the Germans are actually doing all this to pump him for information about the upcoming allied invasion!
Sunday, May 28th at 8pm 12 O’Clock High (1949). This is one of Gregory Peck’s best. Peck plays an officer who is upset the American bombing effort during WWII is going poorly and he decides to begin flying missions with his men to improve morale. Unfortunately, over time, he begins to lose his mind due to all the anxiety and tension.
As always, if you have any additions or comments, please feel free to drop me a line!