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FLICK PICKS: Lombard & cable
October 13, 2008  | By Diane Werts
lombard godfrey.jpg[UPDATED for Monday, Oct. 13:]

The lady is a scamp. And a sex bomb. And a sophisticate. And a screwball queen.

Carole Lombard was the whole package, which not enough movie fans realize today, since Lombard died at the age of 33 -- at the height of her Hollywood fame, yes, but before she could cement the eternal name recognition of a Davis or Crawford.

And Lombard is likely more incomparable than those golden-age icons, as this month's Monday Star of the Month screenings on Turner Classic Movies make sparklingly clear. She was less a personality than a stunningly flexible actress, who could ace dizzy satire, romantic comedy, hearttugging drama and more. She could even land Clark Gable as a husband in real life. Imagine what might have been, had Lombard not died in a plane crash during a 1942 war bonds tour.

TCM's 18-film stash also spotlights how modern Lombard plays in comparison with many of Hollywood's studio-era divas. Maybe that's because she wasn't so much selling herself -- as a "star," bigger than life -- as she was selling what her films wanted to say. And that's plenty.

Here's a look at TCM's Lombard lineup for Monday, Oct. 13:

My Man Godfrey (8 p.m. ET) -- One of Lombard's most widely seen comedies (thanks to public domain video), this 1936 gem casts her as a screwball heiress who turns a hobo (former husband William Powell) into the family butler. (Photo above. Clip/trailer preview here.)

No Man of Her Own
(10 p.m. ET) -- Made in 1933, Lombard's sole film with husband(-to-be) Clark Gable follows the strange romance of a gambler (him) and a librarian (her).

Fools for Scandal
(11:30 p.m. ET) -- Another odd romance, from 1938, between an American movie star and a slumming French lord.

Swing High, Swing Low
(1 a.m. ET) -- Lombard and Fred MacMurray reteam in 1937 as a cruise passenger and a would-be musician who cross paths in Panama.

Here's a look at TCM's Lombard lineup for Monday, Oct. 6:

lombardTwentieth.jpgTwentieth Century(8 p.m. ET) -- John Barrymore gets top billing in Howard Hawks' 1934 gem as a volatile Broadway director, but Lombard steals the show as the leading lady he tries to win back during a cross-country train trip. (Photo at left.)

Hands Across the Table
(9:45 p.m. ET) -- Long before "My Three Sons," Fred MacMurray was a swell movie star, as seen in this warm 1935 romantic comedy from Mitchell Leisen.

Nothing Sacred (11:15 p.m. ET) -- William Wellman savages celebrity in 1937's screwballer about hoaxing reporter Fredric March turning the "dying" Lombard into a national sensation. (See photo at top.)

Also 1934's Lady by Choice (12:45 a.m. ET) and The Gay Bride (2:15 a.m. ET), sandwiching a 1935 Warner Bros. Goof Reel (2:05 a.m. ET).

lombard mrs smith.jpgTune back in on Mondays Oct. 13 (titles include My Man Godfrey with William Powell and No Man of Her Own, a pre-marriage pairing with Gable), Oct. 20 (early offerings like 1929's talkie The Racketeer), and Oct. 27, when TCM's tribute wraps with a don't-miss double feature -- Ernst Lubitsch's immortal Nazi farce To Be or Not to Be with Jack Benny, and Alfred Hitchcock's comedy (yes, comedy) Mr. and Mrs. Smithwith Robert Montgomery (photo at right).

TCM's entire Lombard tribute is detailed here.


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