Shadowy and Satiny Picks: What to Watch on TCM for May 2022

Now that I’m starting to come down off the high that was the TCM film festival, I’m excited to recommend my Shadowy and Satiny TCM picks for May. They are a pair of don’t-miss gems!

SATINY PICK: She Had to Say Yes (1933)

I’m going to admit, up front, that my initial Satiny pick was Shanghai Express (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich and TCM’s Star of the Month, the awesome Anna May Wong. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my copy of the film, and it would have taken hours to sift through my pile of unmarked VHS tapes. I’m determined to do it soon, though, so I hope to be writing about this first-rate pre-Code in the coming months. My second choice was an easy one: She Had to Say Yes, starring Loretta Young. It’s a must-see, for so many reasons!

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Young plays department store stenographer Florence Denny, whose salesman boyfriend Tommy (Regis Toomey) cunningly arranges for her to entertain an out-of-town buyer, Danny Drew (Lyle Talbot). What the young and innocent Flo doesn’t know is that (1) Tommy is two-timing her with one of her fellow stenographers and (2) Danny is a lech in nice guy’s clothing. Still, Flo spends the bulk of the film in a series of push-me, pull-you shenanigans involving these two jerks – loving one while pushing the other one away, and then turning around and doing the reverse. I wrote at length about this film a few years ago, but suffice it say that you’ve simply got to see it to believe it.

WHO ELSE?

Winnie Lightner, as Flo’s best friend, is on hand to deliver wisecracks, give the smackdown to catty co-workers, and put handsy customers in their place. The cast also includes pre-Code vet Hugh Herbert, as a particularly oily buyer, and, in one scene, prolific actor Charles Lane (who was in more than 30 films during the pre-Code era alone!).

Flo and Jerk #1.

TRIVIA TIDBITS:

Famed choreographer Busby Berkeley co-directed the film – it was his first directing credit. It was also the directing debut for his collaborator, George Amy, who was better known for editing such features as Golddiggers of 1933, Captain Blood, The Old Maid, and Yankee Doodle Dandy.

The screenplay was written by Don Mullaly, who also wrote The Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) and wrote, directed, or produced several Broadway plays, including a 1931 comedy starring Shirley Booth. Sadly, he entered a tuberculosis sanitarium and died there in April 1933, a few months before She Had to Say Yes was released. He was just 46 years old.

Flo and Jerk #2.

Danny gives Flo a $1,000 bonus for using her wiles to convince another buyer to join a business merger. In 2022 dollars, this equals a little more than $17,000. (And that’s a lot o’ cabbage!)

MEMORABLE QUOTE:

“I’m not gonna get out. My money is just as good as theirs – now, you just close your eyes and pretend I’m a buyer.” Tommy Nelson (Regis Toomey)

SHADOWY PICK: No Man of Her Own (1950)

Before preparing for this month’s Shadowy pick, I’d only seen No Man of Her Own once, many years ago. I knew that it starred Barbara Stanwyck and John Lund, but I only remembered a few points about the plot. Still, it stuck in my memory bank as a first-rate feature and, after revisiting it, I found that I wasn’t wrong.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

As the film opens, we meet Helen Ferguson (Stanwyck), her husband, (Bill Lund), and their bouncing baby boy, who all live together in a lovely, quiet neighborhood, in a lovely, enviable home – but all is not as it appears. In a voiceover, Helen hints at a murder, and when a phone call announces an upcoming visit from the police, Helen apprehensively wonders if they are coming for her or for Bill. As Helen and Bill await the authorities, we learn – in an extensive flashback – the reasons behind her apprehension. They involve a pregnancy, a train crash, mistaken identity, blackmail – and, of course, the previously referenced murder.

WHO ELSE?

Awkward . . .

Phyllis Thaxter and Richard Denning play Patrice and Hugh Harkness, an ill-fated couple Helen meets aboard a train from New York to San Francisco. A waiter on the train is played by Dooley Wilson, best known for his role as Sam in Casablanca. Milburn Stone, who you may know as “Doc” on TV’s Gunsmoke, appears at the end as a detective (and credited, to my endless delight, as “Plain-Clothes-Man”). And playing a role identified in the end credits simply as “Blonde,” is Carole Matthews, who I know from one of my favorite westerns, Massacre River (1949), and Swamp Diamonds (1956), which was hilariously skewered by the Joel Hodgson and the bots from Mystery Science Theater 3000.

TRIVIA TIDBITS:

This is Lyle Bettger. This is his first film. His character was not a nice guy.

Don’t confuse this film with a 1932 feature of the same name starring Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. It was the only film in which the famed couple appeared together. They met on set, and married seven years later.

The movie marks the film debut of Lyle Bettger, who plays a, shall we say, less than stellar character.

No Man of Her Own was remade in 1996 as Mrs. Winterbourne, with Ricki Lake in the part played by Barbara Stanwyck, and Brendan Frasier in the John Lund role.

MEMORABLE QUOTE:

“Let me clear up one thing for you. I don’t want you. I just want what eventually comes with you. I’m dumping you on the steps of your loving family as soon as this is over, but you’re gonna marry me and it’s gonna be a marriage that sticks. It’s gonna stick to the bitter end.” – Steve Morley (Lyle Bettger)

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No Man of Her Own airs on TCM on May 8th and She Had to Say Yes airs on May 23rd. Check ‘em out!

You only owe it to yourself.

~ by shadowsandsatin on April 30, 2022.

4 Responses to “Shadowy and Satiny Picks: What to Watch on TCM for May 2022”

  1. Hi,

    No Man of Her Own is being presented on TCM, which shows noirs on Noir Alley most Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. Great stuff@

  2. Whoa! That’s a cruel line: “I don’t want you. I want what comes with you.” However, you can’t say you weren’t warned…

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