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Wed Feb 20, 2013, 09:55 PM

TCM Schedule for Thursday, February 21 -- 31 Days of Oscar -- Paramount Pictures

Today we are celebrating two different studios. For the first half of the day, we get Walter Wanger Productions, established in 1934 by the American production executive who worked at most of the major studios, beginning with Paramount. The studio was known for provocative "message" films and glamourous romantic melodramas, inclusing sevral with Susan Harward. Their final production work cam in 1956, under the alternate company name of Walter Wanger Pictures, Inc.

In the evening, we've got Part 3 of the salute to Paramount Studios. Enjoy!

8:00 AM -- Blockade (1938)
A Spanish peasant caught up in the Civil War falls for a Russian spy's daughter.
Dir: William Dieterle
Cast: Madeleine Carroll, Henry Fonda, Leo Carrillo
BW-84 mins, TV-PG,

Nominated for Oscars for Best Music, Original Score -- Werner Janssen, and Best Writing, Original Story -- John Howard Lawson

The original title of this film was "The River is Blue" and the original director was Lewis Milestone. Kurt Weill even wrote music for the original project that was never used (lyrics by Ann Ronell). The title was changed to "Castles in Spain," then to "Blockade." The topic of the Spanish Civil War was politically sensitive and there is some hint that the upheavals of the original project were due to the political content of the film.

9:45 AM -- Vogues Of 1938 (1937)
A penniless heiress takes a modeling job to get her family back on its feet.
Dir: Irving Cummings
Cast: Warner Baxter, Joan Bennett, Helen Vinson
BW-104 mins, TV-G,

Nominated for Oscars for Best Art Direction -- Alexander Toluboff, and Best Music, Original Song -- Sammy Fain (music) and Lew Brown (lyrics) for the song "That Old Feeling"

Walter Wanger wanted to make a Vogues movie since 1934 (he signed Frances Langford for it in December 1934), but waited till the Technicolor process reached a higher state of development. Langford was listed as member of the cast till 1937 and it is unknown if there were any scenes with her shot, but she does not appear in the final version.

12:00 PM -- Tulsa (1949)
A cattle owner's daughter risks everything to drill for oil.
Dir: Stuart Heisler
Cast: Susan Hayward, Robert Preston, Pedro Armendariz
C-88 mins, TV-G, CC,

Nominated for an Oscar for Best Effects, Special Effects -- Walter Wanger Pictures

Actually filmed on location in Tulsa, OK.

1:45 PM -- Stagecoach (1939)
A group of disparate passengers battle personal demons and each other while racing through Indian country.
Dir: John Ford
Cast: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine
BW-96 mins, TV-G, CC,

Won Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role -- Thomas Mitchell, and Best Music, Scoring -- Richard Hageman, W. Franke Harling, John Leipold and Leo Shuken

Nominated for Oscars for Best Art Direction -- Alexander Toluboff, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White -- Bert Glennon, Best Director -- John Ford, Best Film Editing -- Otho Lovering and Dorothy Spencer, and Best Picture

In 1939 there was no paved road through Monument Valley, hence the reason why it hadn't been used as a movie location before (it wasn't paved until the 1950s). Harry Goulding, who ran a trading post there, had heard that John Ford was planning a big-budget Western so he traveled to Hollywood, armed with over 100 photographs, and threatened to camp out on Ford's doorstep until the director saw him. Ford saw him almost immediately and was instantly sold on the location, particularly when he realized that its remoteness would free him from studio interference.

3:45 PM -- The Long Voyage Home (1940)
A merchant ship's crew tries to survive the loneliness of the sea and the coming of war.
Dir: John Ford
Cast: John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter
BW-106 mins, TV-G, CC,

Nominated for Oscars for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White -- Gregg Toland, Best Effects, Special Effects -- R.T. Layton (photographic), Ray Binger (photographic) and Thomas T. Moulton (sound), Best Film Editing -- Sherman Todd, Best Music, Original Score -- Richard Hageman, Best Writing, Screenplay -- Dudley Nichols, and Best Picture

Barry Fitzgerald, who plays the character of Cocky, and Arthur Shields, who played Donkeyman, were brothers in real life. They also appeared together in director John Ford's The Quiet Man.

5:45 PM -- Foreign Correspondent (1940)
An American reporter covering the war in Europe gets mixed up in the assassination of a Dutch diplomat.
Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall
BW-120 mins, TV-PG, CC,

Nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role -- Albert Bassermann, Best Art Direction, Black-and-White -- Alexander Golitzen, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White -- Rudolph Maté, Best Effects, Special Effects -- Paul Eagler (photographic) and Thomas T. Moulton (sound), Best Writing, Original Screenplay -- Charles Bennett and Joan Harrison, and Best Picture

In a 1972 interview with Dick Cavett, Alfred Hitchcock revealed that the plane crash scene was filmed by using footage shot from a stunt plane diving on the ocean, rear projected on rice paper in front of a cockpit set. Also behind the rice paper were two chutes aimed at the cockpit's windshield connected to large tanks of water. With the press of a button at the right moment, water came crashing through the rice paper, into the plane simulating the plane crashing into the sea from the cockpit view.


8:00 PM -- Double Indemnity (1944)
An insurance salesman gets seduced into plotting a client's death.
Dir: Billy Wilder
Cast: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
BW-108 mins, TV-PG, CC,

Nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role -- Barbara Stanwyck, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White -- John F. Seitz, Best Director -- Billy Wilder, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture -- Miklós Rózsa, Best Sound, Recording -- Loren L. Ryder (Paramount SSD), Best Writing, Screenplay -- Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder, and Best Picture

The blonde wig that Barbara Stanwyck is wearing throughout the movie was the idea of Billy Wilder. A month into shooting Wilder suddenly realized how bad it looked, but by then it was too late to re-shoot the earlier scenes. To rationalize this mistake, in later interviews Wilder claimed that the bad-looking wig was intentional.

10:00 PM -- A Place in the Sun (1951)
An ambitious young man wins an heiress's heart but has to cope with his former girlfriend's pregnancy.
Dir: George Stevens
Cast: Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters
BW-122 mins, TV-PG, CC,

Won Oscars for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White -- William C. Mellor, Best Costume Design, Black-and-White -- Edith Head, Best Director -- George Stevens, Best Film Editing -- William Hornbeck, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture -- Franz Waxman, and Best Writing, Screenplay - Michael Wilson and Harry Brown

Nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role -- Montgomery Clift, Best Actress in a Leading Role -- Shelley Winters, and Best Picture

Shelley Winters was determined to be tested for the part of Alice. At the time she was being cultivated as a sex symbol, so the night before she was due to see George Stevens, she dyed her hair brown and bought some especially dowdy clothes, the kind she had seen when she had visited a factory to see how the girls who worked there dressed. She deliberately arrived at the meeting place early and sat in a corner. When Stevens came in, he didn't even notice her until he was about to leave, when he suddenly realized that the mousy girl in the corner was actually Shelley Winters.

12:15 AM -- Alfie (1966)
A British womanizer refuses to grow up until tragedy strikes.
Dir: Lewis Gilbert
Cast: Michael Caine, Shelley Winters, Millicent Martin
C-114 mins, TV-14, CC, Letterbox Format

Nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role -- Michael Caine, Best Actress in a Supporting Role -- Vivien Merchant, Best Music, Original Song -- Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (lyrics) for the song "Alfie", Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium -- Bill Naughton, and Best Picture

Several well-known actors (including Richard Harris, Laurence Harvey, James Booth and Anthony Newley) turned down the title role due to the then taboo subject matter of abortion. Despite having played "Alfie" on Broadway, Terence Stamp categorically declined to reprise the role on film, thus giving his good friend and then roommate Michael Caine the breakthrough role of his career.

2:15 AM -- Seven Days In May (1964)
An American military officer discovers his superiors are planning a military coup.
Dir: John Frankenheimer
Cast: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March
BW-118 mins, TV-14, CC, Letterbox Format

Nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role -- Edmond O'Brien, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White -- Cary Odell and Edward G. Boyle

For security reasons, the Pentagon forbids camera crews near the entrances to the complex. John Frankenheimer wanted a shot of Kirk Douglas entering the building. So they rigged up a station wagon with a camera to film Douglas, in a full Marine colonel's uniform, walking up the steps of the Pentagon. The salutes Douglas received in that scene were real, as the guards had no reason to believe it was for a movie!

4:30 AM -- The Perils Of Pauline (1947)
The world's worst actress rises to stardom as serial queen Pearl White.
Dir: George Marshall
Cast: Betty Hutton, John Lund, Billy De Wolfe
C-93 mins, TV-G, CC,

Nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song -- Frank Loesser for the song "I Wish I Didn't Love You So".

There never was any scene with the heroine tied to railroad tracks in the original The Perils of Pauline. The scene like that in this film is actually a recreation of a scene in a Keystone comedy called Teddy at the Throttle. A similar scene also occurred in an earlier Keystone comedy called Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life.

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