Some notes about what’s showing this week on Turner Classic Movies:
Saturday is the 100th anniversary of Bette Davis’ birth, so there’s a whole day of her movies in her honor. There’s a wide range, from melodramatic romance to historical epic, and even a documentary, Stardust: The Bette Davis Story. (Saturday, 4/5, 6:30 PM ET). I recommend, in particular, The Letter (12:45 PM, 1940); Now, Voyager (4:30 PM, 1942); Dark Victory (Sunday, 4/6, 12:30 AM, 1939); and if you can only watch one, All About Eve (8:00 PM, 1950), which I talked about last month. The first and third show off different facets of her uniquely obsessive attraction, while the second softens her (in the story of a shy caterpillar blossoming) and the last is quite witty.
Tuesday morning starts with a series of wartime musical entertainments, where a nightclub owner fights Nazi spies (Panama Hattie, 8:00 AM, 1942) or a dancer taps secret messages for the government (Ship Ahoy, 9:30 AM, 1942) or singing sisters start a canteen for military men and fall in love (Two Girls and a Sailor, 2:45 PM, 1944). Why don’t we get musicals about wartime, since our current military commitment is now longer-lasting? All we get are turgid position pieces about how bad things are. We know that. That’s why we’re all trying to not pay attention. Give us happy endings about how what we’re doing is so important that it’s necessary for us all to make sacrifices… well, I guess this war would first have to be a good idea for that to happen.
I know, I know, shut up with the politics and get back to the old movies. So sometimes TCM has mini-themes, 3 or 4 films in a row with a shared actor or director or premise. They identify the ones in the evenings, but if you read their magazine, sometimes you’re left to guess at the ones earlier in the day. Best I can tell from the plot descriptions, Wednesday morning, 4/9, the theme is “rape victims”. Well, that’s interesting.
Sorry I don’t have much to recommend again this week… but I have an alternate suggestion coming up shortly with a review of a new classic DVD set.