Classic Movies—and Me—On TCM

TCM presents Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie GuideI’m happy to
be back on Turner Classic Movies this Monday, hosting an evening of rare films
with Ben Mankiewicz beginning at 8pm EST/5pm PST. The lineup consists of titles
I’ve just added to the 3rd edition of my Classic Movie Guide, which comes out Tuesday and bears the official
title TCM presents Leonard Maltin’s
Classic Movie Guide
. (More about that later.) Ben and I introduce the first
four films on the calendar; three more follow, into the wee hours of the

I wouldn’t
necessarily rate these films as bona fide classics, but they are all
interesting and worth seeing, for a variety of reasons. Several are making
their TCM debuts.

Newspaper Ad-Why Be Good

Why Be Good? (1928) lay dormant, unseen
for more than eighty years, until a tip from film historian Joe Yranski led
Warner Bros. to a 35mm copy in Italy, while Ron Hutchinson and the Vitaphone
Project provided the original soundtrack discs for a full restoration by Warner
Bros. It’s one of Colleen Moore’s most provocative films, as Carey Wilson’s
screenplay explores that 1920s prototype the flapper—in this case, a party girl
who’s also a “good” girl.

Among the Missing (1934) was recently
resurrected by the folks at Sony and while it’s a simple, straightforward
programmer from Columbia Pictures, it’s marked by interesting location work in
Los Angeles and unusually creative camerawork (by Joseph August). Stage actress
Henrietta Crosman brings sincerity to her leading role as an older woman who
falls in with a gang of crooks. I wrote about this film in an earlier column
which you can read HERE.

(1953) is an interesting little thriller filmed on the same
darkened streets of Vienna where The
Third Man
was shot just four years earlier. Francis Lederer heads the cast
in the only film produced by actor Turhan Bey.

Marion Davies-Five and Ten Poster

and Ten
(1931) is a Marion Davies Production costarring young Leslie Howard
in a romantic drama adapted from a novel by the queen of soap opera authors,
Fannie Hurst (Imitation of Life, Back
). It also features a fine, understated performance by the great
stage actor Richard Bennett—father of Constance and Joan.

The three
films that follow are A Very Honorable
(1934), a Damon Runyon story starring Joe E. Brown, Three Faces East (1930), a sophisticated
spy yarn with Constance Bennett and a suave Erich von Stroheim, and Reducing (1931), an entertaining
slapstick comedy starring the popular duo of Marie Dressler and Polly Moran.

These are
among the more than 300 titles we’ve added to this edition of the Classic Movie Guide. How can there be
“new” old movies worth including? I’ll tackle that subject in my next column.





  1. arhaan shaikh says:

    Lovely fantastic erotic movies

  2. Jim Reinecke says:

    Well said, John! Leonard, you are a "National Treasure". . .certainly for those of us in the film buff community. Already have my copy of the Classic Guide reserved at Barnes and Noble and I eagerly anticipate holding it in my hands. Some people at some of the Facebook movie sites which I frequently visit are afraid that TCM is going to stop showing old movies due to some recent changes. In presenting the bill of fare that you describe above, I think that we can all rest easy.

  3. Norm says:

    And the hits just keep on coming…LM is EVERYWHERE…Really, a Marion Davies Production, I knew she was talented, but her OWN production company…hhhmmmm…

  4. John says:

    Rarities like this are just one of the thing that makes TCM a National Treasure. Nice to see them introduced by another National Treasure too!

  5. Jim says:

    It may be worth noting that Stolen Identity’s producer, the "exotic" 1940s actor, often in villainous roles and characterized not unusually as an "East Indian", was a Viennese native, who was, I believe, born there and died there, and was a successful photographer in Vienna after his Hollywood career faded.

    By the way, Mr. Maltin, I’ll be ordering the third edition of your Classic Films this afternoon (I teach a film class and this book has been quite a valuable reference), together with the three-film Criterion collection of Sabu films and, perhaps oddly, Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You.

    In an additional by the way, I saw Petzold’s "Phoenix" the day before I read your review. Both are gems.

  6. Vanessa Buttino says:

    I cannot wait! This is going to be epic! I’ve wanted to see Why Be Good? for the longest time now.

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