Rare Musicals on TCM – March 2015

Lots of great, rare stuff on TCM this month, thanks to Sunday night spotlight on roadshow musicals, and a salute to the musicals of Star-of-the-Month Ann Sothern.

Friday March 6
6:00am / Flying High (1931)
Oddball inventor Bert Lahr comes up with a new aerocopter flying machine… now he just has to figure out how to land it. From a Broadway musical.

Margaret O'Brien and Jimmy Durante in MUSIC FOR MILLIONS
Margaret O’Brien and Jimmy Durante in MUSIC FOR MILLIONS

Monday March 9
10:45am / Music For Millions (1944)
Wartime musical about June Allyson as a pregnant bassist (in Jose Iturbi’s band, natch) patiently awaiting her husband’s return from the war. But her orchestra mates may know more than they let on. Margaret O’Brien plays her kid sister, and won a special Academy Award for Outstanding Child Actress in 1944.

Sunday March 15
6:00am / The Firefly (1937)
Jeannette MacDonald plays singer, dancer, and spy! But she meets her match with Don Diego, who’s actually a French spy assigned to follow her. Featuring the melodic hoofbeats of “The Donkey Serenade.”

Tuesday March 17
6:00am / My Wild Irish Rose (1947)
Just in time for St. Patrick’s day, catch tenor Dennis Morgan portraying Irish songwriter Chauncey Olcott. The score was nominated for an Oscar. [Please note this film contains black face.]

10:45am / Irene (1940)
Irish shop girl Anna Neagle falls for wealthy society gent Ray Milland in this holiday-appropriate musical.

1:45pm / The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady (1950)
Well, really three daughters: Marsha Jones, Debbie Reynolds (in her first major film role), and June Haver—who aims to follow her late mother’s vaudevillian footsteps, despite her father’s objections. Dad’s played by real-life vaudeville star James Barton.

Catch Carmen Miranda in NANCY GOES TO RIO

Wednesday March 18
8:00pm / Nancy Goes To Rio (1950)
Ann Sothern and Jane Powell play mother and daughter singers, competing for the same roles—and the same guys. Almost unbelievably, this… odd premise was actually lifted from an earlier film, It’s a Date, starring Deanna Durbin and Kay Francis.

9:45pm / April Showers (1948)
Ann Sothern and Jack Carson play Joe and June Tyme, a family vaudeville act torn apart and drawn together in this backstage musical.

11:30pm / Panama Hattie (1942)
Ann Sothern again (it’s her month, after all), this time as a nightclub singer in love with proper officer Dan Dailey. Red Skelton, Ben Blue, and Rags Ragland provide comedic support as Ann’s bumbling sailor pals. Also features the on screen debut of Lena Horne—singing Cole Porter, no less.

1:00am / Lady Be Good (1941)
Ann Sothern and Robert Young pair in this one as married songwriters, testing the limits of their marriage while working on a show together. Eleanor Powell and Red Skelton round out the cast, plus the Oscar-winning song “Last Time I Saw Paris.”

4:15am / Hooray for Love (1935)
Playboy college kid Gene Raymond gets cajoled into financing a new Broadway musical, convenient enough for the object of his affection, singer Ann Sothern. But it turns out he may not have the funds after all… I hope there are no hijinks involved!

B - E - D - A - Z - Z - L - E - D S - P - A - N - D - E - X guys I'm really serious about THOUSANDS CHEER
B – E – D – A – Z – Z – L – E – D S – P – A – N – D – E – X guys I’m really serious about THOUSANDS CHEER

5:30am / Thousands Cheer (1943)
Gene Kelly plays an army officer SLASH trapeze artist. He wears a lot of tights. This is one of those classic MGM excuses for a 20-minute variety show towards the end of the movie, including Miss Ann Sothern, Mickey Rooney, Lucille Ball, and Eleanor Powell!

Friday March 20
8:00 PM / Darling Lili (1970)
Unsuccessful as a roadshow, but preserved here for us nonetheless—this one stars Julie Andrews with Rock Hudson in a World War I era musical tale.

10:30pm / Star! (1968)
One more Julie Andrews roadshow, starring here as actress Gertrude Lawrence, who rises to fame… but at what cost?

Sunday March 22
2:30pm / Lovely To Look At (1952)
A remake of Roberta, with an all-star musical cast: Kathryn Grayson, Ann Miller, and Marge Champion; the boys are Red Skelton, Howard Kell, and, of course, Gower Champion. Plus, music by Jerome Kern and a finale directed by Vincente Minnelli. More stars than there are in heaven, inDEED!

Tuesday March 24
6:45am / Panama Hattie (1942)
In case you missed the earlier showing!

Eleanor Powell in a great, casual, everyday look in BORN TO DANCE
Eleanor Powell in a great, casual, everyday look in BORN TO DANCE

10:15am / Born To Dance (1936) [my review] James Stewart as a sailor on leave, determined to use his time off to make Eleanor Powell a star. Truly, the most valuable use of one’s time conceivable.

Friday March 27
7:30am / Spring Is Here (1930)
Early musical comedy film adapted from the stage show, with music by Rodgers and Hart. Bernice Claire loves bad boy Lawrence Gray, but her father would rather she go with nice guy Alexander Gray. What’s a girl to do?

4:30am / Lost Horizon (1973)
A group of plane crash survivors happen upon an island where nobody grows old. The original version was made in 1937 by Frank Capra; this remake adds songs to it!

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