Friday, December 07, 2007

TCM Director of the Month William Wellman

Turner Classic Movies' December schedule salutes prolific director William Wellman, whose career spanned over 80 films from the '20s to the late '50s. Wellman was equally at home with romance and screwball comedy as he was with adventure and western films. His contributions to the Pre-Code era are particularly memorable for their frank and at times raw material (which actually may have led to the crackdown on enforcement of the code). But he also dealt openly with social issues in many of his early talkies at Warner Brothers.

Wednesday 12/12 (all times eastern)

8:00pm Night Nurse - This racy feature (coming out on DVD in '08) stars Wellman favorite Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell, and Clark Gable in a rare villainous role.

9:15pm The Purchase Price - Stanwyck and Wellman team again for a bad girl story involving mail-order brides!

10:30pm Safe in Hell- Gritty pre-code drama featuring nearly forgotten silent star Dorothy Mackaill.

12:00am Lilly Turner - Woman's picture featuring the great Ruth Chatterton as a single expectant mother working at a carnival.

1:15am Midnight Mary - Not a personal favorite, but there is no denying star Loretta Young's beauty in this MGM film from 1933.

2:30am Frisco Jenny - Wellman tries his hand at restaging the San Francisco earthquakei in this Chatterton vehicle from Warner Brothers.

3:45am Other Men's Women - Early Jimmy Cagney along with pre-code favorites Regis Toomey, Joan Blondell, and Mary Astor.

5:00am Love is a Racket - Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as a New York reporter in this lesser known Wellman flick.

December 20

6:00am The Hatchet Man- Edward G. Robinson as an Chinese hit man (!) in a pre-code drama with drugs, violence, and adultery references that were shocking for the time.

Wellman's better known films are also being featured this month ("A Star in Born," "Nothing Sacred", "The High and the Mighty"), along with an expanded version of the 1970's documentary "The Men Who Made the Movies: William Wellman." Wellman's son William Wellman, Jr., will be joining Robert Osborne to introduce many of the films.