On TCM 2/13/17- By capturing the other character’s reaction to Oscar winner here Claire Trevor in Key Largo (1948) playing washed-up, boozy nightclub singer Gaye Dawn and her pathetic rendition of the torch song “Moaning Low” for a drink, master director John Huston brings out the cold lack of compassion from Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) and the developing admiration of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall for each other.
On TCM 2/25/17 -I was moved by director’s Gregory La Cava Stage Door (1937) about a boardinghouse of aspiring actresses played by screen greats Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rodgers, Lucille Ball with the story circling around the Oscar nominated here Andrea Leeds as Kay whose expectations are not fulfilled—catch the scene when Kay silently walks up a staircase with such a look of despair –it is one of those special movie moments.
A TCM perennial – Phantom Lady (1944) -Another creative NOIR filmed in German Expressionistic style directed by the great Robert Siodmark where in a plot to clear her boss of a murder charge secretary Carol “Kansas” Richman (played by the beautiful Ella Raines) entices shady drummer Cliff (played to perfection by movies most prolific murder victim: Elisha Cook Jr.). Catch Franchot Tone here like you never seen him before.
A TCM perennial- Photo of Oscar winning here cinematographer Burnett Guffey (a believer in simple source and fill lighting) on the set of Fred Zinnemann’s masterpiece From Here to Eternity (1953) taking a light meter reading- Look at how successfully the results catch the passion and chemistry radiating between screen greats Burt Lancaster/Deborah Kerr and Montgomery Clift/Donna Reed.
In Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)-Feb 2 birthday boy S.Z. Sakall “Cuddles” as Schwab, a theatrical backer, knew how to wisely invest his wife’s money in the play of Sam Harris (Richard Whorf) and George M Cohan (James Cagney) before the two aspiring playwrights became the rage of Broadway.
A TCM perennial shown recently to honor star of the month Jane Wyman– So Big (1953)-“She is like the woman who came over on The Mayflower and crossed America on a covered wagon.” Master director Robert Wise with great artistry and perfect casting in tune with a great Max Steiner score adapted Edna Ferber’s Pulitzer Prize winning story of Selina DeJong (Jane Wyman), an influential teacher in a turn-of-the-century farming community near Chicago. Great performances here by: Sterling Hayden (as Selina’s Dutch farmer husband), Steve Forrest (real life brother of Dana Andrews) as their son Dirk and Tommy Rettig as Dirk, age 8; Richard Beymer as Selina’s devoted student Roelf Pool and Walter Coy (Recognize him as John Wayne’s brother Aaron Edwards in The Searchers?) as the very successful adult Roelf and Nancy Olsen as great artist Dallas O’ Mara— When Selina years later is attending a Roelf Pool concert, we are treated to a touching tour de force in direction and film editing (remember Mr. Wise edited Citizen Kane) and Jane Wyman acting via a superimposed flashback recalling when Selina gave the young Roelf a piano lesson!
To celebrate the 104th birthday of screen great Victor Mature –Catch here where the master John Ford with his usual brilliance cast Victor in My Darling Clementine (1946) as an educated Doc Holiday who knows his Hamlet well enough to complete the lines of Alan Mowbray as actor Granville Thorndyke doing a Tombstone saloon Shakespearean gig-featuring here other greats Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp and Walter Brennan as Old Man Clanton. Who else other than pappy Ford would bring Hamlet into the movie western?