TCM This Week

Still from F.W. Murnau’s Phantom (1922).

Recommended viewing on Turner Classic Movies for the week of Sunday, October 3 to Saturday, October 9. Some are films I’ve seen and some are ones I plan to check out. All times are listed in PST because that’s where I live; see the full schedule here.

Wait Until Dark (1967, dir. Terence Young) (Sunday, October 3, 9AM PST) – This suspenseful thriller stars Audrey Hepburn as an innocent blind woman terrorized by a group of menacing thugs in search of a heroin-filled doll. Also starring Richard Crenna and Alan Arkin.

Phantom (1922, dir. F.W. Murnau) (Sunday, October 3, 9:30PM PST) – The Silent Sunday feature this week was made the same year as Nosferatu by the same director, but tells a story of psychological obsession rather than your traditional ghost story. It stars Alfred Abel, who went on to play the founding father of Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang), and the sets were created by Herman Warm, production designer on the beautiful Expressionist masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1922, dir. Robert Wiene). Backed by those kind of credentials, this is a film that can’t be missed.

Bette Davis Marathon (Tuesday, October 5, 3AM-5PM PST) – A full day’s salute to the legendary Ms. Davis, starting with All This, and Heaven Too (1940, dir. Anatole Litvak) and culminating in the 1984 biographical documentary Bette Davis: The Benevolent Volcano. (There’s a non-Davis skip in the middle with Shining Victory [1941, dir. Irving Rapper] playing at 5:30AM.)

Birthday Tribute: Carole Lombard (Wednesday, October 6, 6:30AM-5PM PST) – Happy Birthday Carole! Starts with No More Orchids (1932, dir. Walter Lang) and ends with the star-studded prototypical screwball comedy Twentieth Century (1934, dir. Howard Hawks).

Ziegfeld Girl (1941, dir. Robert Z. Leonard) (Thursday, October 7, 4:45AM PST) – A musical I’ve always wanted to see, starring Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr, and Lana Turner as three vivacious showgirls trying to reach the top. Also stars Jimmy Stewart.

Prime Time Feature: Adventures in Space (Thursday, October 7, 5PM-3AM PST) – Yaaay, scifi! Starts with Forbidden Planet (1956, dir. Fred M. Wilcox) and wraps up with the low-budget adaptation of the Jules Verne classic From the Earth to the Moon (1958, dir. Byron Haskin).

Queen Christina (1933, dir. Rouben Mamoulian) (Friday, October 8, 8:30AM PST) – Loose biographical account of the life of Queen Christina of Sweden, starring Greta Garbo in the titular role and John Gilbert as her doomed lover. Despite the very heterosexual plot, which forces Christina to choose between her royal duties and the love of a man, this film is significant in the history of lesbian depictions in motion pictures, as it features Garbo disguising herself and successfully passing as a man in one scene, and kissing her lady-in-waiting full on the lips in another.

Prime Time Feature: Hammer Horror Festival (Friday, October 8, 5PM-11:45PM PST) – Friday nights in October are dedicated to the campy horror films of British studio Hammer Film Productions. Tonight’s showcase starts with The Plague of the Zombies (1966, dir. John Gilling) and ends with Christopher Lee in The Gorgon (1964, dir. Terence Fisher). (Incidentally, the marathon is followed by two films by William Castle, always worth a look.)

Strangers On A Train (1951, dir. Alfred Hitchcock) (Saturday, October 9, 5PM PST) – Two strangers meet on a train, joke about killing the people in each other’s lives that make them miserable. But what happens when one of them goes through with it? Don’t miss Robert Walker’s chillingly pitch-perfect performance in this fantastic Hitchcock thriller, starring Farley Granger as a man whose life is thrown into chaos by a chance encounter.

Check out the schedule – what are YOUR recommendations for this week?

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