Monday, August 7, 2017

TCM Celebrates Franchot Tone on August 8th!

TCM is featuring Franchot during their Summer of the Stars schedule! Tuesday, August 8th (tomorrow!) will be all Franchot, all day. Can you think of anything better? Although sadly I don't have TCM at the moment (I cut cable earlier this year to save a bit of money and promptly spent all that money on Franchot memorabilia), I am still out-of-this-world grateful that they are giving Franchot the recognition he deserves, introducing his films to new and old fans alike, and including some fantastic rarities in the line-up.

Obviously, if you have a DVR or are at home, watch them all! It's an uncommon treat to have Franchot playing on television an entire day. But if you must be choosy with which ones you watch, I thought a guide from one Franchot fan to another might be useful. Below you'll see the times (all Eastern times) each film is playing, plus a little info about each film and the links to summaries and posts I've posted in the last 2 years (links may contain movie spoilers.).

Due to DVD availability and infrequent television showings (which I note below), there are several that you absolutely don't want to miss.

Today We Live
6:00 a.m.: Today We Live (1933)
Watch it if...you want to see one of Franchot's earliest films and his first pairing with future wife Joan Crawford. This is a romantic drama set in World War I. However, don't expect to see Franchot and Joan's first onscreen kiss—they're brother and sister in this picture!
On DVD? Yes, thanks to Warner Archive.

Dangerous

8:00 a.m.: Dangerous (1935)
Watch it if...you're looking for romantic drama (and Bette Davis' character certainly brings the drama!) with palpable onscreen chemistry between its stars. Bette won an Academy Award for her performance in this film and it's one I find myself watching over and over. I've written about this film twice before: my summary with screencaps can be found here and my entry on Dangerous (with gifs!) for the Bette Davis blogathon can be found here.
On DVD? Yes, thanks to Warner Archive.

Exclusive Story

9:30 a.m.: Exclusive Story (1936)
Watch it if...you like seeing good guys (in this film, newspapermen and an attorney) battle the bad guys (racketeers) to protect their community. Exclusive Story may be the weakest film in the lineup, but it's still a worthwhile watch. It's a film that I quite enjoy. I've written a summary with screencaps on this blog: my post is here
On DVD? Yes, thanks to Warner Archive.

Fast and Furious

10:45 a.m.: Fast and Furious (1939)
Watch it if...you want to laugh your face off! Franchot and Ann Sothern are hilarious in this one. It's a little detective story in the vein of The Thin Man series and a lot of fun to watch. It was one of the first films I highlighted on this blog: that full summary is here
On DVD? Yes, again thanks to Warner Archive.

The Wife Takes a Flyer

12:15 p.m.: The Wife Takes a Flyer (1942)
Watch it if...you don't want to miss your chance to see this rarely shown film. This one never plays on television and has not been commercially released on DVD. It is a funny movie set in World War II starring Franchot and Joan Bennett as love interests. It's a bit of a goofy comedy, but you absolutely need to watch it. This one doesn't come around that often and Franchot has some very funny bits in it. A couple of his scenes make me laugh so hard I have to rewind them to watch again.
On DVD? This one has not been commercially released on DVD. Take advantage of this opportunity to watch it on tv if you can!
Uncle Vanya

1:45 p.m.: Uncle Vanya (1958)
Watch it if...you want to see the closest thing to Franchot performing on stage as you can. This is one of my favorite Franchot performances. Uncle Vanya was a labor of love for Franchot. He produced it and distributed it with his own money and spent sleepless days and nights filming the film version while at the same time starring in the theater production. This is Franchot the actor. This is a production he was proud of. This is a must see. I have written about my love for this film and Franchot's performance in it before: that post is here.
On DVD? Yes, thanks to VCI Entertainment.
Five Graves to Cairo

3:30 p.m.: Five Graves to Cairo (1943)
Watch it if...you are a Billy Wilder fan who wants to see what Franchot can do with an espionage thriller set in the war. This is a very well-written script and well-produced film. I highly recommend this one for Franchot's performance. It is a top quality film that he was given among a sea of B films in the 1940's.
On DVD? Yes, thanks to TCM.

Mutiny on the Bounty

5:30 p.m.: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Watch it if...you want to see the performance that earned Franchot a Best Actor Oscar nomination and an incredible action adventure film. This part truly showcases Franchot's strengths as an actor and it's no wonder his performance was recognized.
On DVD? Yes, thanks to Warner Brothers.
The King Steps Out

8:00 p.m.: The King Steps Out (1936)
Watch it if...you've never seen Franchot with curly hair, ha! I don't consider this the strongest film on the bill, but it's an interesting part for Franchot and he looks wonderful in his royal garb. This is mostly a vehicle for operatic soprano Grace Moore so expect many songs. I wrote about this movie for the Royalty on Film Blogathon. My post is here.
On DVD? No, this one has not been commercially released, so take advantage of this opportunity to see it.
The Unguarded Hour

9:45 p.m.: The Unguarded Hour (1936)
Watch it if...you're into sophisticated dramas with witty dialogue. I love The Unguarded Hour! I've heard from some people that they feel this film is too talky and too dry, but I feel the opposite. I find it mysterious and engrossing and glamorous with a nice twist at the end. Anyone who knows me knows that Franchot and Loretta Young are my favorites and so this film (and Midnight Mary, of course) are treasures to me. I've written about The Unguarded Hour once before: you can read that
here.
On DVD? Yes, thanks to Warner Archive.

Gentlemen Are Born

11:30 p.m.: Gentlemen Are Born (1934)
Watch it if...you want to see Franchot as part of an ensemble cast, each character trying to make the hard transition from optimistic college students to facing the bleak world that presents itself post-graduation. I first saw this on TCM a while back and it is unbelievably undervalued. What a film! This is an absolute must see, in my opinion. I wrote about it last year: that post is here.
On DVD? No, do not miss your chance to see this!
Quality Street

1:00 a.m.: Quality Street (1937)
Watch it if...you enjoy period pieces, understated romances, and Katharine Hepburn. I really like this one. I don't know that it is for everybody, because it can feel a little slow-paced—but I find I enjoy it more and discover new moments that I missed with each viewing. Plus, Franchot is quite handsome here (that's sort of always the case though, isn't it?) I've not written about this one before, but I will be for an upcoming Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn Blogathon this fall.
On DVD? Yes, thanks to Warner Archive.
The Girl from Missouri

2:45 a.m.: The Girl from Missouri (1934)
Watch it if...you enjoy the Tone-Harlow pairings and like to see a wealthy playboy defying his father for a poor girl he loves. This one is my favorite of the Tone-Harlow films and I adore Lionel Barrymore in the part of Franchot's father.
On DVD? Yes, thanks to Warner Archive.
Between Two Women

4:15 a.m.: Between Two Women (1937)
Watch it if...you are a fan of a tried-and-true romance and because it is a unique opportunity to see this film. This is a predicable romantic triangle, but it's also dreamy and passionate and one of my favorite films. Franchot plays an honest, hardworking doctor who is torn between a society glamour girl and an already-married, sweet nurse. I truly love this one and feel it's a must-see.
On DVD? No, watch it! You must!

I hope everyone who is able will enjoy Franchot day! For those of us without access to TCM, it may be a good day to pull out our favorite Franchot DVD in celebration. Again, I'm so happy TCM is highlighting this much deserved actor who never seems to get his due.

If anyone has newly discovered Franchot and this blog, welcome! Hope you check back for more!