Welcome to the new and improved TMP Recommends, where I share two TCM viewing recommendations and two films available for streaming, every other Sunday here on TMP. Today we’ve got four films of good variety — a mystery, a Western, a pre-code, and a light romance!
Lured (1947) – Airing on TCM at 6:00 am EST on April 18
Who’d have thought Lucille Ball, known for her comedic chops, could lead a mystery film? She proves herself more than capable with Lured, a stellar little film about a woman willing to take on the investigation herself when her friend goes missing. Directed by Douglas Sirk, this film is wonderfully photographed, genuinely mysterious, and has several eccentric side characters that keep the audience on its toes, wondering how the mystery will be resolved.
Wagon Master (1950) – Airing on TCM at 11:00 am EST on April 25
Wagon Master is a unique Western in that it isn’t about gunslingers or ranchers, but about Mormons! Inspired by an expedition known as “Hole-in-the-Rock,” which took place in 1879 and 1880, the film tells the story of Mormons moving West following the Civil War. They are aided by two horse traders (Ben Johnson and Harry Carey, Jr.), and face many dangers along the way. Directed by John Ford, this film is not a high-action, dusty-west tale, but a story of teamwork, community, and perseverance — beautifully shot and told.
Employees’ Entrance (1933) – Available on Warner Archive Instant for streaming
Warren William and Loretta Young star in this pre-code tale of a sleazy department store manager who refuses to give a woman a job (in the middle of the Depression, when she needs it most) unless she spends the night with him. She takes the job, but fears that the truth of how she got it will be discovered by the other employees. Great performances make this film a worthwhile watch, and the script is well-written, making it even better.
Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) – Available on the US version of Netflix for streaming
This story of three American roommates living in Italy is the perfect springtime watch — light, airy, and romantic. Visually, it’s a film of beautiful cinematography and sets. (That villa! I want to live in it!) There are three romances (not one, but three!) for the viewer to get wrapped up in. The three central characters — portrayed by Jean Peters, Maggie McNamara, and Dorothy McGuire — are easy to like. Top it all off with a wonderful opening song crooned by Frank Sinatra and you’ve got yourself a very enjoyable picture.