Welcome to this week’s installment of TMP Recommends, the series in which I share five TCM recommendations for the next seven days. All times are listed in EST and come from the US version of the TCM schedule. Happy viewing!
Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
Airing on TCM: June 3, 11:30 pm
Judy Garland, Jimmy Stewart, Hedy Lamarr, and Lana Turner make up the all-star cast of this fabulous musical. Garland, Lamarr, and Turner star as three girls whose lives are changed dramatically when they’re recruited to the Ziegfeld Follies. This film includes one of Judy’s greatest songs (and my personal favorite), “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.” Ziegfeld Girl has a great cast, great songs, and all of the glitz and glamour you’d expect from an MGM musical.
The Letter (1940)
Airing on TCM: June 5, 9:45 am
Bette Davis stars in this twisted tale of Leslie Crosbie, a woman who kills a man and claims self defense. Her defense may be proven false when a blackmailer shows up claiming to have a letter that she wrote to the man she killed, on the day that he died. Davis gives a trademark strong performance in this dramatic film, which is made even more appealing by its beautiful cinematography.
Born Yesterday (1950)
Airing on TCM: June 7, 2:00 pm
Billie Dawn (Judy Holliday) is a former showgirl with a “dumb blonde” reputation. Her boyfriend (Broderick Crawford), a wealthy tycoon, decides to hire a tutor (William Holden) to teach her how to be a respectable lady. She hits the books, gaining plenty of knowledge, but also a sense of self-respect… which leads her away from her direspectful boyfriend, and directly into the arms of her charming, kind tutor. Blending comedy, drama, romance, and social/political commentary, Born Yesterday is a very good watch. Judy Holliday took home an Oscar for her performance.
The Smiling Ghost (1941)
Airing on TCM: June 8, 8:15 am
Don’t let his nickname fool you: Alexander “Lucky” Downing (Wayne Morris) is not a lucky man. In fact, he’s deep in debt. His friend and secretary, Clarence (Willie Best), tries to help out “Lucky” by placing an ad in the paper to help him find a job. A job, he does get — but a strange one. A woman hires him to pretend to be engaged to her niece, shipping him off to the old family estate, which just might be haunted! The Smiling Ghost is a fun watch. It’s definitely a B-movie, but a gem of a B-movie, with lots of laughs to be had.
Man Hunt (1941)
Airing on TCM: June 8, 8:00 pm
Man Hunt is just the right film to turn to for a fascinating take on the second World War. The somewhat-outlandish but very engrossing story follows Alan Thorndike (Walter Pidgeon), a British hunter and world traveler who has attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Escaping back to London after being captured by Hitler’s men, Alan must find a way to save his own life as the world teeters on the brink of war. Tension is high from the opening scene of this film, and while there are a few lighter-toned scenes that feel out of place, Man Hunt is still a great watch.