Friday, April 16, 2010

For the Weekend: TCM All the Way

Yay!  It's finally the weekend again, and as always, I have a new bundle of films for you to enjoy on your days off.  And this time, all of them are on TCM for your viewing pleasure.  (Woohoo, TCM!)

First up, at 12pm EST on Saturday (4/17), is Disney's "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes."  Released on the final day of 1969, it stars a young Kurt Russell as Dexter Riley, a college student who gets an electric shock while working on a computer, causing his brain to become the computer. "Tennis Shoes" is the first of a trilogy of Dexter Riley movies, the other two being "Now You See Him, Now You Don't" and "The Strongest Man in the World."  All three take place at fictitious Medfield College, as well as "The Absent-Minded Professor" movies.  It was named after Medfield, Massachusetts where Walt Disney had some friends whom he visited often.  "Tennis Shoes" is your standard, light-hearted, Disney fun, sure to be fun for everyone. 

Next, at 2pm EST on Saturday, is the family drama "The Yearling" (1946).  Based on the 1938 book by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, it tells the story of young boy in the late 1800s who finds a fawn and keeps it as a pet.  As the fawn grows, though, the boy must learn harsh realities about the world.  Originally, this film started shooting in 1941 with Spencer Tracy and Anne Revere starring and Victor Fleming directing but because a number of continuous problems (like mosquitoes, a young lead growing too fast, and a director and producer not getting along at all), the project was finally cancelled (at a $500,000 loss) when the US entered World War II.  With a new cast, Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman, and new director Clarence Brown, the film was finally shot on location in Florida.  By the end of the production, though, Peck had to travel back and forth between Florida and Texas, where he started shooting his next film, "Duel in the Sun."  "Yearling" is a heart-breaking story, but an enjoyable classic anyway.

Now on Sunday, at 2:15pm EST, check out "The Palm Beach Story" (1942).  This Preston Sturges classic stars Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, and Rudy Vallee.  Written and directed by Sturges, it's one of those great, crazy, screwball comedies of the days.  Colbert and McCrea play an unhappily married couple (due to their accidental marriage, which you'll just have to watch to understand), and Colbert decides one day to run away to Palm Beach to set up residency for a divorce, and hopefully find a new rich husband in the process.  Along the way, she meets Vallee, the wealthiest man in the world, and his sister (Astor), and becomes their house guest.  McCrea, however, follows her down to Florida hoping to change her mind.  But when Colbert introduces McCrea to her new friends as her brother instead of her husband, things get hilariously complicated.  A Shakespearean-type comedy that you're sure to get a kick out of.

Finally, end your weekend on a pure-fun note, with "Blue Hawaii" (1961) at 6pm EST, truly the most famous of Elvis Presley movies (and one of his bestselling albums too).  Presley plays a young man recently out of the Army who goes to work as a tour guide back home in Hawaii, with Angela Lansbury and Joan Blackman costarring.  Filmed entirely on location, it was the first of three films Elvis shot in Hawaii.  (The other two were "Girls! Girls! Girls!" and "Paradise, Hawaiian Style.")  Lansbury plays Elvis' mother, even though she was only ten years older than him (much like in "The Manchurian Candidate").  She actually considers this the worst performance of her career, because, let's face it, Elvis' movies never required that much skill.  But it is still so much fun to watch!

So, sit back, flip on TCM, relax and enjoy.  And have a wonderful weekend!  Be back Monday with more great movie trivia.  :)  Oh, and by the way, all the films are on DVD as well in case you miss it on TCM.

(Post-tidbit:  After seeing "The Yearling" for the first time, Jane Wyman's young daughter refused to speak to her for two weeks.)

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