Welcome to TMP Recommends, the weekly series where I share five films you should keep an eye out for on TCM. All times are listed in EST and come from the US version of the TCM schedule.
Night Nurse (1931)
Airing on TCM: May 6, 6:00 AM
Lora Hart (Barbara Stanwyck) is a nursing student, devoted to her work. She works with a fellow student nurse, Maloney (Joan Blondell), who has become one of her close friends. After graduating, the two begin working as private nurses for the children of rich but neglectful parents, and Lora becomes determined to help the children, who she believes are being mistreated. Night Nurse is an interesting little film, blending some comedy into an otherwise very intense, dramatic plot. The performances are very good, with Joan Blondell stealing quite a few scenes.
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Airing on TCM: May 8, 3:15 AM
Crime reporter John Jones (Joel McCrea) is being sent to Europe. His editor hopes he’ll be able to deliver the real scoop, since the current foreign correspondents haven’t been doing a great job. Traveling under a pseudonym, John becomes involved in a twisted web of spies and suspicion. Equal parts suspenseful and fun, Foreign Correspondent is without a doubt one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most enjoyable Hollywood films. And you really can’t go wrong with Joel McCrea, either!
Stella Dallas (1937)
Airing on TCM: May 10, 9:00 AM
Barbara Stanwyck gives one of her most emotional performances in this film, which tells the tale of a woman willing to do anything to create a better life for her daughter. After her marriage to a man of higher social status falls apart, Stella (Stanwyck) devotes herself to her daughter, which sometimes means sacrificing her own happiness. The film is heartbreaking, and while some may find it over-dramatic, I described it as “melodrama at its best” when I reviewed it in 2013.
Imitation of Life (1959)
Airing on TCM: May 10, 11:00 AM
Imitation of Life tells the story of two women, Lora and Annie, both single mothers who are struggling to raise their children. When Lora loses track of her daughter on the beach one day, she finds the girl being cared for by Annie. Learning that Annie is down on her luck, Lora decides to take in Annie and her daughter. As the years pass, the two raise their daughters under the same roof, Annie helping care for Lora’s daughter as Lora rises to fame as an actress. It’s a very moving film, and as I’ve mentioned a few times before on the blog, one of my all-time favorites.
Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
Airing on TCM: May 12, 12:00 PM
Based on a play by Tennessee Williams, Suddenly, Last Summer tells the story of a woman named Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn). Violet is upset with her niece, Catherine (Elizabeth Taylor), who has allegedly been spreading lies about Violet’s son, Sebastian. Sebastian died while on vacation with Catherine in Spain. Believing that extreme measures must be taken to stop Catherine, Violet calls in a surgeon (Montgomery Clift) to perform a lobotomy. This is a gripping, emotional roller-coaster of a film with fantastic performances, especially from Hepburn.