Welcome to this week’s installment of TMP Recommends! In this series, I share five films that I think you should be keeping an eye out for on TCM over the next seven days. All times are listed in EST and come from the US version of the TCM schedule. Happy viewing!
On Moonlight Bay (1951) and By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953)
Airing on TCM: May 21, 2:45 pm and May 21, 6:15 pm
This is a little bit of a cheat. I’m including two films as one recommendation, making a total of six films this week rather than five. But, in my defense, By the Light of the Silvery Moon is a sequel to On Moonlight Bay, and TCM is airing both of these delightful Doris Day films on the same day! You can’t watch one without the other! Day stars in both films as Marjorie, the tomboyish daughter of a respectable banker and his wife. Knowing that her parents want her to become a “proper lady,” settling down and starting a family, Marjorie begins dating a neighbor named William (Gordon MacRae). On Moonlight Bay is, essentially, the story of their courtship; By the Light of the Silvery Moon explores the changes in their relationship as they begin wedding-planning, when William returns from fighting in the war. Both films contain lovely songs and even better performances. They’re sweet-to-watch, family-oriented films in the vein of Meet Me In St. Louis.
The Stranger (1946)
Airing on TCM: May 22, 8:00 pm
Orson Welles stars as Franz Kindler, a Nazi war criminal who has escaped and finds himself in small-town Connecticut, living under the assumed name of Professor Charles Rankin. As Professor Rankin he wins over the town, striking up a romance with Mary (Loretta Young), the daughter of a local judge. But with a federal agent (Edward G. Robinson) on his tail, Kindler can’t hide as Professor Rankin forever. Though it will never be regarded as one of Welles’ best films, The Stranger is still an effective thriller, with good performances and plenty of suspense.
Airing on TCM: May 24, 6:00 am
Humphrey Bogart stars as Sgt. Joe Gunn, an American man fighting alongside the British troops in the desert during World War II. Joe is the commander of a tank nicknamed “Lulubelle.” His unit has become stranded, banding together with other surviving stragglers of the Allied forces to search for water… and they’re directly in the path of approaching Nazi troops. Sahara is a gritty film, with very well-executed battle scenes, a nicely-paced script, and (of course) strong performances.
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Airing on TCM: May 25, 12:30 pm
Based on a novel by James Jones, From Here to Eternity tells the story of several Army men stationed in Hawaii just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The stellar cast includes Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster, Donna Reed, and Ernest Borgnine. There isn’t much to say about this film that hasn’t already been said; it’s a true classic and an epic film, taking home eight Oscars in its competition year. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a must-watch.
Belle of the Yukon (1944)
Airing on TCM: May 26, 3:30 pm
I discovered this delightful, easy-viewing film for the ‘Lindsey Tries to Appreciate Westerns’ series in early 2014. This was one that I definitely did appreciate. It’s a musical, starring Gypsy Rose Lee as Belle, a performer in a traveling troupe. Her troupe has come to the Yukon to put on a few shows, and she finds herself in the very town here her con man ex boyfriend “Gentleman Jack” (Randolph Scott) runs a dance hall. The plot is light, with Belle falling for Jack once again and becoming involved in a love triangle with her local competition, Lettie Candless (Dinah Shore). It’s a fluffy film with a breezy mood, but is bolstered by bright visuals and a lovably sweet rom-com story.