Yeah, so I'm late again. Big deal. This weekend is turning into a bit of a nightmare even as it's actually supposed to be fun. In just a couple hours I'm getting on a "party bus" for a bachelor party, and apparently I'm not being allowed to get home until 6 AM tomorrow. Oy. There's just not enough time in the day.
Obviously that also means I'm not allowed to enjoy Jimmy Stewart day (which becomes Stewart-Hitchcock night) on Turner Classic Movies, not that I really should be watching movies right now anyway with all I suddenly have to do, but that's another story.
Aug. 20 -- James Stewart: Known by James in all the credits, but loved as Jimmy to all his fans, Stewart perfected the American "every man" even more than Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck or Henry Fonda thanks to a warmth and humanity that, as great as they all were, nobody else could never quite match. His most famous performances (justifiably) primarily come from his earlier three collaborations with Frank Capra or his later four with Alfred Hitchcock. TCM will show five of those as part of Stewart-day. However, the filmmaker with whom Stewart worked the most was neither Capra nor Hitchcock (nor John Ford who directed him four times), but rather Anthony Mann with whom he made eight films including the 1955 Western classic The Man From Laramie (2:15 PM). But really, you actually can't go wrong with anything TCM shows for Stewart-day, so feel free to throw the blindfolded dart at the schedule, sit back, and enjoy watching Stewart at work.
Aug. 21 -- Maureen O'Hara: I haven't actually seen much starring O'Hara, so I'll definitely be catching a few of these myself, including what's probably her second most famous film (after Miracle on 34th Street), the 1939 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (10 PM). I can suggest catching This Land Is Mine (2 AM), however -- a 1943 World War II drama I caught some time ago on TCM. The film stars O'Hara's Hunchback co-star Charles Laughton and was made by French master Jean Renoir. It focuses on a European (read: French) schoolteacher played by Laughton (O'Hara is another teacher and his perpetual crush) who struggles to overcome his fears and find his courage in his German-occupied town. The film is very preachy as Renoir was specifically trying to get his point across to Americans -- that France's occupation was neither a joy for the French citizenry nor something that they underwent by choice because it was the easy way out.
Aug. 22 -- Joan Crawford: She doesn't scream "No wire hangers" in any of her films, but over a nearly 1/2-century long career as one of the biggest Hollywood names of them all, she played every type of character imaginable. She was one of the few in Hollywood who was a major star of the silent era and then went on to even greater success after the arrival of talkies. And you can learn all about it during TCM's original documentary Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star (6:30 PM). Greta Garbo may have been one of the few stars of the era who could match Crawford: see them both in the same place in 1932 Best Picture winner Grand Hotel (2 AM).