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Classic Movies—and Me—On TCM

Classic Movies—and Me—On TCM

I’m happy to
be back on Turner Classic Movies this Monday, hosting an evening of rare films
with Ben Mankiewicz beginning at 8pm EST/5pm PST. The lineup consists of titles
I’ve just added to the 3rd edition of my Classic Movie Guide, which comes out Tuesday and bears the official
title TCM presents Leonard Maltin’s
Classic Movie Guide
. (More about that later.) Ben and I introduce the first
four films on the calendar; three more follow, into the wee hours of the

I wouldn’t
necessarily rate these films as bona fide classics, but they are all
interesting and worth seeing, for a variety of reasons. Several are making
their TCM debuts.

Why Be Good? (1928) lay dormant, unseen
for more than eighty years, until a tip from film historian Joe Yranski led
Warner Bros. to a 35mm copy in Italy, while Ron Hutchinson and the Vitaphone
Project provided the original soundtrack discs for a full restoration by Warner
Bros. It’s one of Colleen Moore’s most provocative films, as Carey Wilson’s
screenplay explores that 1920s prototype the flapper—in this case, a party girl
who’s also a “good” girl.

Among the Missing (1934) was recently
resurrected by the folks at Sony and while it’s a simple, straightforward
programmer from Columbia Pictures, it’s marked by interesting location work in
Los Angeles and unusually creative camerawork (by Joseph August). Stage actress
Henrietta Crosman brings sincerity to her leading role as an older woman who
falls in with a gang of crooks. I wrote about this film in an earlier column
which you can read HERE.

(1953) is an interesting little thriller filmed on the same
darkened streets of Vienna where The
Third Man
was shot just four years earlier. Francis Lederer heads the cast
in the only film produced by actor Turhan Bey.

and Ten
(1931) is a Marion Davies Production costarring young Leslie Howard
in a romantic drama adapted from a novel by the queen of soap opera authors,
Fannie Hurst (Imitation of Life, Back
). It also features a fine, understated performance by the great
stage actor Richard Bennett—father of Constance and Joan.

The three
films that follow are A Very Honorable
(1934), a Damon Runyon story starring Joe E. Brown, Three Faces East (1930), a sophisticated
spy yarn with Constance Bennett and a suave Erich von Stroheim, and Reducing (1931), an entertaining
slapstick comedy starring the popular duo of Marie Dressler and Polly Moran.

These are
among the more than 300 titles we’ve added to this edition of the Classic Movie Guide. How can there be
“new” old movies worth including? I’ll tackle that subject in my next column.




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