Wednesday, May 3, 2017

James Whitmore night on TCM

TCM is taking the time to show some of James Whitmore's movies tonight on TCM. Whitmore was one of those actors who showed up in a lot of stuff from the 1950s on, but never became a big star; and, with the advent of television, didn't get to do quite the meaty film work that earlier stars got to do. He was also at MGM, which means some of those B programmers the studio was churning out in order to subsidize the big budgets for the Freed Unit musicals. I'd like to mention a couple of the movies on tonight that I don't think I've mentioned in these parts before. Unfortunately, my Internet connection is a bit wonky right now so I've only got the time for brief one-paragraph synopses rather than full-length posts.

Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. Malone, at 11:30 PM. Marjorie Main plays Mrs. O'Malley, a feisty woman from Montana ranching country who, for reasons I don't quite recall and which I don't think really matter for the point of the plot, is taking the train east to New York. (It's probably been since the last TCM showing some years back that I watched this one.) Whitmore plays Malone if memory serves. He's a lawyer trying to get paid by his previous client (Ann Dvorak). O'Malley is convinced she's seen a murder committed on the train, and dammit, she's going to prove it and prove who did it. You can imagine trying to deal with Marjorie Main, detective.

Shadow in the Sky, at 3:00 AM tomorrow. Whitmore plays a World War II veteran living with his wife (Nancy Davis before she became Reagan) and two young children trying to move into the middle class like a lot of returning veterans. However, his wife's brother (Ralph Meeker) suffered shell-shock in the war (as they called it then; now it would be PTSD) and has spent his time since the war in a military hospital trying to recover. They've determined that he can live outside the hospital, but it's going to take the support of somebody like his sister and her husband to help him recover fully. And the poor soldier still has a terrible fear of thunderstorms. You can probably guess where all this is heading. It's actually a pretty good little movie for one of those early 1950s MGM B movies, even if it does get a bit heavy-handed at times.

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