Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Warren William Day

TCM is putting the spotlight on Warren William tomorrow for his day in Summer Under the Stars. One movie that looks interesting is The Mouthpiece, at 9:45 AM. I haven't seen it before, but it's apparently the original version of Illegal, a movie that I did see when it showed on TCM a couple of years back and one I thought I blogged about. In the latter film, Edward G. Robinson plays a ruthless prosecutor who changes his tune when he discovers that one of the people he sent to the electric chair (DeForrest Kelley in an early role) was in fact innocent. Robinson then decides to use his ruthless talents as a defense attorney (well, it's more that this is what pays the bills). The original sounds interesting in that it's a pre-Code: it doesn't have to have an ending that will please the moral prudes.

Skyscraper Souls, at 11:15 AM, is an interesting movie about William as a man trying to take control of a massive skyscraper in New York, and having to juggle a love life around it. I think I saw it back when TCM had it's month of movie critics selecting films. If memory serves, Leonard Maltin selected this movie, which I suppose says something about whether Maltin has "common" tastes.

Another movie that I saw many years back is The Mind Reader (3:45 PM), which I first saw when Stephen Sondheim selected it for his turn as Guest Programmer back in March 2005. William plays a carnival mindreader; like almost everything else at those old traveling carnivals, this one is a racket. In fact, William is being aided by Allen Jenkins. Unfortunately, one of the people he's trying to scam, Constance Cummings, falls in love with him (and he with her), until she discovers that the mind reading is utterly phony. She insists that he give it up and live honestly, and he tries for her sake, but when he finds himself unable to make an honest living, he goes back to the psychic racket, only this time to a more upscale urban clientele.

One William movie I've blogged about before is Three On a Match, at 1:00 PM.

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