Lobby card for "The Dark Corner"

Films to watch: TCM Thrillers (March 2 – 8)

This week:
— Gregory Peck gets the vapors
— Joel McCrea gets bombed
— Ronald Reagan battles smugglers, counterfeiters, gamblers, loan sharks, murderers, and some guy who doesn’t like airships
— Nancy Drew detects, reports, trouble shoots, and goes up the down staircase
— and William Bendix proves that man was not meant to fly.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

March 2nd—Monday

12:00 AM—Spellbound (1945)
A psychiatrist tries to help the man she loves solve a murder buried in his subconscious.
Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Leo G. Carroll
Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
BW-118 mins, TV-PG

(Repeat: April 11th.)

4:00 AM—Night Must Fall (1937)
A charming young man worms his way into a wealthy woman’s household, then reveals a deadly secret.
Cast: Merle Tottenham, Kathleen Harrison, Dame May Whitty, Rosalind Russell
Dir: Richard Thorpe
BW-116 mins, TV-PG

(Repeat: March 19th.)

8:15 AM—Foreign Correspondent (1940)
An American reporter covering the war in Europe gets mixed up in the assassination of a Dutch diplomat.
Cast: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders
Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
BW-120 mins, TV-PG

(Repeat: April 11th.)

12:30 PM—Five Star Final (1931)
An unscrupulous newspaper editor searches for headlines at any cost.
Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Marian Marsh, H. B. Warner, Anthony Bushell
Dir: Mervyn LeRoy
BW-89 mins, TV-PG


March 3rd—Tuesday


March 4th—Wednesday

12:15 AM—Key Largo (1948)
A returning veteran tangles with a ruthless gangster during a hurricane.
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore
Dir: John Huston
BW-101 mins, TV-G

"One Rocco more or less isn’t worth dying for."

8:30 AM—He Ran All the Way (1951)
A crook on the run hides out in an innocent girl’s apartment.
Cast: John Garfield, Shelley Winters, Wallace Ford, Selena Royle
Dir: John Berry
BW-78 mins, TV-PG

10:00 AM—The Captive City (1952)
A small-town newspaper editor defies threats to expose the mob.
Cast: John Forsythe, Joan Camden, Harold J. Kennedy, Marjorie Crossland
Dir: Robert Wise
BW-91 mins

"The Captive City effectively skirts the line between film noir and documentary, making it a difficult movie to categorize. Certainly the visual mood created by lurking shadows and murky street lamps lends a noir-ish feel to the flick …"
[Source: Eleanor Quin on TCM Movie Database]

8:00 PM—Secret Service of the Air (1939)
A government agent battles smugglers.
Cast: Ronald Reagan, John Litel, Ila Rhodes, James Stephenson
Dir: Noel Smith
BW-61 mins, TV-PG

"What they ended up with was the story of former Army Air Corps Lieutenant ‘Brass’ Bancroft, who leaves his job as a commercial pilot to go to work for the Secret Service. His first assignment is to stop a smuggling ring bringing illegal aliens into the U.S. by air—and callously dumping their doomed human cargo through a trap door in the plane whenever the operation is threatened with being busted by the feds."
[Source: Rob Nixon on TCM Movie Database]

9:15 PM—Code of the Secret Service (1939)
Secret Service agents try to solve the theft of treasury banknote plates.
Cast: Ronald Reagan, Rosella Towne, Eddie Foy Jr., Moroni Olsen
Dir: Noel Smith
BW-58 mins, TV-G

"… Reagan disliked the picture so much that he urged the studio not to release it—and he was not the only one who felt that way. Producer Foy, known for saving many a film in the cutting room, deemed Code of the Secret Service beyond repair. Even when director Smith approached him with an idea to fix the movie ($30,000 worth of reshoots), Foy decided it was not worth the expense. As Reagan would later relate, it was often necessary for the main actors and director to rewrite the quickly churned out Secret Service scripts on the set, ‘plugging [their] more glaring holes.’ But in this case, producer Foy had urged them to shoot the script as written. The results left Reagan to comment, ‘never has an egg of such dimensions been laid.’"
[Source: Stephanie Thames on TCM Movie Database]

10:30 PM—Smashing the Money Ring (1939)
The Secret Service investigates a fleet of gambling ships.
Cast: Ronald Reagan, Margot Stevenson, Eddie Foy Jr., Joe Downing
Dir: Terry Morse
BW-57 mins, TV-G

11:30 PM—Murder in the Air (1940)
A secret service agent fights to keep enemy spies away from top secret government plans.
Cast: Ronald Reagan, John Litel, Lya Lys, James Stephenson
Dir: Lewis Seiler
BW-55 mins, TV-PG

"What do you want me to do?"
"Destroy this dirigible."

3:15 AM—Nine Lives are Not Enough (1941)
A reporter tries to solve a series of boardinghouse murders.
Cast: Ronald Reagan, Joan Perry, James Gleason, Howard Da Silva
Dir: A. Edward Sutherland
BW-63 mins, TV-PG


March 5th—Thursday

4:30 AM—Accidents Will Happen (1938)
An insurance man tangles with a fraud ring.
Cast: Ronald Reagan, Gloria Blondell, Dick Purcell, Sheila Bromley
Dir: William Clemens
BW-62 mins, TV-G

"Whatever the story’s inspiration, for censors, it was a little too realistic. Since the Production Code Administration (PCA) believed that illegal activity in a film would likely be mimicked by real-life criminals, restrictions about what type of crimes could be shown and how the criminals themselves could be represented were severe; for example, criminals could never be depicted as role models in a film. Arson … was considered too dangerous to ever be the main theme of a film. As a result, Jack Warner was warned to clearly distinguish between racketeers and legal loan companies to limit objections from the latter."
[Source: Emily Soares in TCM Movie Database]

7:45 AM—Hell’s Kitchen (1939)
An ex-con tries to help a group of hardened juvenile delinquents.
Cast: Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan, Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall
Dir: E. A. Dupont
BW-81 mins, TV-PG

12:15 PM—Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)
A teen-aged sleuth investigates a wealthy woman’s disa
Cast: Bonita Granville, John Litel, James Stephenson, Frankie Thomas
Dir: William Clemens
BW-66 mins, TV-G

"You tackle him and I’ll hit him over the head with this wrench."
"Okay—but hit HIM."

1:30 PM—Nancy Drew—Reporter (1939)
A teen-aged sleuth sets out to prove a young girl innocent of murder charges.
Cast: Bonita Granville, John Litel, Frank Thomas, Jr., Mary Lee
Dir: William Clemens
BW-68 mins, TV-G

2:45 PM—Nancy Drew, Trouble Shooter (1939)
A teen-aged sleuth tries to clear one of her father’s friends of a murder charge.
Cast: Bonita Granville, Frankie Thomas, John Litel, Aldrich Bowker
Dir: William Clemens
BW-68 mins, TV-G

4:00 PM—Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (1939)
A teen-aged sleuth helps two old ladies deal with the "haunting" of their mansion.
Cast: Bonita Granville, Frankie Thomas, John Litel, Frank Orth
Dir: William Clemens
BW-60 mins, TV-G

5:15 PM—Man in the Vault (1956)
Bank robbers force a locksmith to help them with a big heist.
Cast: William Campbell, Karen Sharpe, Anita Ekberg, Berry Kroeger
Dir: Andrew V. McLaglen
BW-73 mins, TV-G

(Repeat: April 10th.)

6:30 PM—The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
A British family gets mixed up with spies and an assassination plot while vacationing in Switzerland.
Cast: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Nova Pilbeam, Peter Lorre
Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
BW-75 mins, TV-PG

"You know, to a man with a heart as soft as mine, there’s nothing sweeter than a touching scene."
"Such as?"
"Such as a father saying goodbye to his child. Yeah, goodbye for the last time. What could be more touching than that?"

(Repeat: March 24th.)


March 6th—Friday

11:15 PM—Ice Station Zebra (1968)
A sub commander on a perilous mission must ferret out a Soviet agent on his ship.
Cast: Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan, Jim Brown
Dir: John Sturges
C-152 mins, TV-PG

"All right, sir, I’m impressed. Not enlightened — but impressed."

Trivia for Ice Station Zebra (1968):
* Patrick McGoohan was filming his famous TV series The Prisoner (1967) at the time he appeared in this movie. In order to allow him to take time off from his series, the episode "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling" was written in which McGoohan’s character, Number Six, has his mind transferred into the body of another man.
* This film was originally shown in Cinerama venues. In order to put it into these theatres, MGM pulled 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) while it was still having a successful run.
* In the era before VCRs, Howard Hughes would call the Las Vegas TV station he owned and order them to run a particular movie. Hughes so loved Ice Station Zebra that it aired in Las Vegas over a hundred times.
[Source: TCM Movie Database]

(Repeat: April 18th.)


March 7th—Saturday

10:15 AM—The Dark Corner (1946)
A secretary helps her private eye boss when he’s framed for murder.
Cast: Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix, Mark Stevens
Dir: Henry Hathaway
BW-99 mins

"I hate the dawn. The grass always looks as though it’s been left out all night."
"There goes my last lead. I feel all dead inside. I’m backed up in a dark corner, and I don’t know who’s hitting me."

(Repeat: April 27th.)

Mike Gray