Welcome to this week’s installment of TMP Recommends, where I share five films that 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.
To Sir, With Love (1967)
Airing on TCM: May 27, 3:15 pm
The great Sidney Poitier stars as Mark Thackeray, an out-of-work engineer who finds a way to make ends meet by taking a job as a teacher. The school at which he’ll be working is full of rough kids who prefer dance parties to book clubs. They’re disrespectful, disruptive, and totally unwilling to crack open their textbooks. Slowly earning the respect of his students, Thackery is able to change their lives for the better. Much of this film’s appeal can be credited to the fantastic performance by Mr. Poitier, but the story is enjoyable as well, and has a lot of heart.
What Price Hollywood? (1932)
Airing on TCM: May 28, 12:00 pm
Constance Bennett stars as Mary Evans, one of thousands of Hollywood waitresses with dreams of making it big in show business. Mary isn’t delusional about her chances for success, realizing that it is rare to find fame, and that the city is full of people working toward the same goal. But she catches a break when she meets a famous director while working at the diner. The higher her star rises, the more Mary struggles in her personal life, learning that the movie business isn’t all glitz and glamour. Constance Bennett gives a captivating performance in this scathing critique of the Hollywood lifestyle. Though a bit unevenly paced, What Price Hollywood? is a good watch.
Another Thin Man (1939)
Airing on TCM: May 30, 12:00 pm
Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) are at it again in this third entry into the sleuthy Thin Man series. They’ve recently become parents with the arrival of Nick Jr., but that doesn’t stop them from putting their detective skills to work. Colonel MacFay, an old business partner of Nora’s father, has been killed. He was receiving threats from a man named Phil Church before he died, but is Phil really the culprit? Nick doesn’t think so, and he’s going to prove it. You can’t go wrong with any film from this series — they’re plenty of fun, with witty scripts and always-lively performances from the central cast.
Rachel, Rachel (1968)
Airing on TCM: June 2, 4:45 am
Paul Newman directs his wife, Joanne Woodward, in this interesting story of a small-town schoolteacher’s personal struggles. Rachel Cameron (Woodward) spends her days at the school and her nights at her mother’s home, where she lives and helps keep house. She doesn’t have an active social life, and she’s very unhappy. Things begin to change when she runs into an old classmate named Nick (James Olson), but will this rekindled friendship change her life for the better… or will she spiral downward further? Woodward gives a fantastic performance in the title role. As a director, Newman strives for realism, giving the film a somewhat slow and independent feel. I had trouble scoring this one when I reviewed it back in March, but I’d say it’s worth a watch, particularly for fans of Woodward.
Miracle in the Rain (1956)
Airing on TCM: June 2, 6:00 pm
Jane Wyman and Van Johnson star in this romantic drama of a shy woman and a soldier who fall in love in New York City during World War II. If you’re the type to shed a tear or two over a sentimental film, you’ll definitely want to keep a few tissues on hand for this one. Though the story is somewhat predictable, the two leads give very good performances and have sweet chemistry, making them easy to like (and easy to believe as a couple). Jane Wyman in particular gives a powerful performance, carrying the film with her sensitive portrayal of Ruth. Reminiscent of emotional dramas released in the ’40s, such as The Clock and Waterloo Bridge, Miracle in the Rain is a film that grabs onto the viewer’s heartstrings and tugs them with all its might.