Welcome to week 3 of Turner Classic Movies’ Summer Under the Stars! I got to fit in two Christmas movies and a horror movie, so I’m a happy camper.
Day 15 – Nina Foch
My Name is Julia Ross (1945)
The titular Julia Ross (Nina Foch) is hired as a live-in secretary to a wealthy widow. Instead, she is locked away and insistently told she is the wife of the widow’s son. They’re so easily able to get away with it because they declare her mentally unwell to anyone with the slightest suspicion, and no one is concerned enough to even consider Julia’s side. While this is mainly a noir, it contains elements of horror from both the gothic design and the terror illustrating what little agency women had at the time it was made.
Day 16 – Cary Grant
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Hitchcock has told many a tale of the average man being accused of something he didn’t do. So what happens when he’s accused of something he used to do? Cary Grant plays a retired cat burglar who did his time, only to accused of the new jewel robberies occurring. I really wanted to like this more. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. At least everything, from the stars to the scenery, is nice to look at. .
Day 17 – Maureen O’Hara
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Thank you TCM for giving me any excuse to watch a Christmas movie in august. I’ve been shamed before for only seeing the remake of “Miracle on 34th Street.” Now I see why. O’Hara plays a single mom working for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade who wants to be as honest as possible with her daughter (baby Natalie Wood!!!) about Santa Claus. This becomes an issue when she hires a man who could be the real deal to close off the parade and become the store’s Santa for the season. Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) captures the hearts of both children and parents, but his insistence on being the actual Santa leads him to prove his sanity in court. I know it sounds kind of dark near the end there, but this film never loses its whimsical tone and holiday spirit. Plus, the United States Postal Service ends up saving the day in an extremely relevant fashion! Show this movie to your senators!!
Day 18 – Warren Beatty
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
This was one of those movies that is so iconic in the zeitgeist and influential to its genre that one can’t help but enter without preconceived expectations. I came in expecting super cool, super hot bank robbing couple. Which is partially the case. It turns out they are honestly just vivacious youths who thought they were cool and were in way over their heads, which honestly is more interesting. There’s still plenty of excitement too. The fake bullet budget for this must have been insane.Day 19 – Dolores Del Rio
Journey into Fear (1942)
One year after “Citizen Kane” Joseph Cotton wrote and starred in this spy thriller, with his pal Orson Welles in a supporting role. There are various speculations that Welles also co-wrote and co-directed this, but he apparently went on record denying both. Cotton plays an American engineer hiding out on a boat from Nazis who want him dead. Del Rio is a nightclub dancer in what’s an unfortunately pretty thankless role for our star of the day. I’d love to seek out some bigger roles of hers. All in all, this movie is 68 minutes so it already has my respect.
Day 20 – William Powell
The Thin Man (1934)
Another Christmas movie on the list! Well, depending on who you ask. I would certainly consider it. In the first of what would become a series, Powell plays a retired private detective caught up in a murder of a former client. His wife (Myrna Loy) wants in on the action, and the two have an absolutely delightful dynamic. Plus, a doggie! I definitely want to check out the other films.
Day 21 – Diana Dors
From Beyond The Grave (1974)
This one is a horror anthology from the British Amicus Productions. Its four parts are tied together via Peter Cushing’s antique shop owner. Every customer who steals from him or tries to rip him off ends up paying for it in one horrific way or another. Dors is in the second vignette with Ian Bannen and my dude Donald Pleasence. This portion may have been my favorite of the bunch just for him, but all four were delightfully spooky and strange in their own merit.