Welcome to this week’s installment of TMP Recommends! Here are five films you should keep an eye out for over the next seven days on TCM. Times are listed in EST and come from the US version of the TCM schedule. Happy viewing!
Mister Roberts (1955)
Airing on TCM February 25, 5:45 pm
Mister Roberts was not a film I expected to love when I watched it for the “Through the library, alphabetically” series that I did in 2012. I ended up scoring it 4/5, and have even re-watched it a couple of times since. The film follows the crew of a navy cargo ship, which includes some of old Hollywood’s greatest stars: James Cagney, Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and William Powell. The cast certainly makes the film worth watching, but beyond all of that star power, it’s just plain well-made. The story is interesting, and comic relief is mixed in to offset the drama between the men working on the ship.
Wait Until Dark (1967)
Airing on TCM February 28, 10:45 am
Audrey Hepburn stars in this thriller as Susy Hendrix, the blind wife of artist Sam Hendrix. Susy is terrorized when three criminals involved in drug trafficking and a murder plot invade her home, looking for a doll that was given to Sam by one of his models. This film is full of suspense and features stellar performances by Hepburn and Alan Arkin.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Airing on TCM February 28, 2:00 pm
There are very few Hitchcock films that I don’t love, but when pressed to choose just one favorite, it would have to be Strangers on a Train. To Catch a Thief is my most-watched Hitch picture, and is certainly a favorite of mine, but Strangers on a Train sets the bar by which I judge all other thrillers that I watch. The story! The script! The cinematography! The performances! Robert Walker, starring as Bruno, gives one of my all-time favorite performances by a male actor… from any genre, and any era. I can’t rave about this film enough. It’s a must-watch if you haven’t seen it, and a must-re-watch if you have!
On the Town (1949)
Airing on TCM March 1, 12:15 pm
If Strangers on a Train sets the bar by which I judge all other thrillers, On the Town is the musical equivalent. I wouldn’t hesitate to name this one my all-time favorite musical. It’s got two of my favorite midcentury men, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, sharing the screen. The songs are catchy as hell, and the romances are sweet to watch. Betty Garrett and Ann Miller both give captivating and fun performances. You can’t go wrong with this talented ensemble cast.
Now, Voyager (1942)
Airing on TCM March 3, 2:45 pm
Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains — three TMP favorites — all give wonderful performances in this tale of Charlotte Vale, a woman who breaks free from an oppressive life with her overbearing mother, finding herself and finding love in the process. Though this film is considered a classic romance, I would recommend it even to those who aren’t fans of the romance genre, for the heart of the film is Charlotte’s personal transformation. Bette Davis made too many great films to count, so it’s hard to determine which ones were her best… but I think most people would agree that Now, Voyager falls near the top of the ranking.