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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Movies at Sea with TCM

I have a stateroom for the October sailing of the Turner Classic Movies Classic Cruise. The reservations are for myself and the twins, Carrie and Cece (aka classic film professor Carrie Specht and actor Cecelia Specht). I made the reservation the very first day they were available, excited at the idea of days of movies a short walk down a hall and an elevator’s ride away. I was/am also excited by the idea of sailing out (and back into) New York ‘s harbor past the Statue of Liberty. What a perfect setting. How much more classic can you get than that?

I like cruises. The hotel moves and every day, all day and evening you are free to enjoy the scenery, the new location, and in this instance, the movies. Which movie to see is, of course, always the next thought. I have in other years lined out my perfect TCM Classic Film Festival play list, and I don't think the change of venue effects my ability to do the same all that much. As always, I still would like a little Rogers and Astaire. How about The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, where they reenact the performances of the notable dancing couple. And some John Wayne – young, and in dress whites with Marlene Dietrich. Or a slightly more mature Duke In Harm’s Way, or even better, how about him as a deck hand with his shirt off – in a movie whose name I can't remember, but I do remember how he looked. The Long Voyage Home, that was it! For some real drama with John Wayne there is Reap The Wild Wind, which also has Ray Milland and Paulette Godard.

And there's the thought of a pirate movie or two. That would be nice. Perhaps Captain Blood with Errol Flynn (be still my heart), The Crimson Pirate with Burt Lancaster riding a knife down the sail - WOW! Judy Garland and Gene Kelly in The Pirate (Walter Slezak makes such a wonderfully creepy bad guy). Let's see... a little Tyrone Power would be nice. Perhaps The Black Swan? Or Abandon Ship (aka Seven Days From Now)? I suppose Titanic (in any one of its multitude of versions) would be a bad idea under the circumstances. How about Gilbert Roland and Jane Russell in The French Line, or Doris Day and Jack Carson in, Romance on the High Seas? Captains Courageous has been popular a lot in the last couple of years, and of course, Moby Dick would be good choice. Even Mrs. Minver (is always a delight), would fit in nicely with the inspirational Dunkirk scenes.

If you throw in Shirley Temple singing the Good Ship Lollipop (yes, I know she sang it on an airplane), or in Stowaway with Robert Young, and add The Swiss Family Robinson, or Bob Hope on the high seas in The Princess and The Pirate or Give Me A Sailor with Martha Raye. Perhaps include Mitzy Gaynor, Bing Crosby and Donald O’Connor in Anything Goes and we have a fine basis for a sea going classic film festival.

On the truly dark side how about On the Waterfront or any of a handful of spies and ships and intrigue from the forties. Mind you we still need a western or two, a bit or noir, and maybe a movie or three with no sight of the sea to be seen. I shall be delighted, as usual, with whatever TCM chooses to present, it's just that I can’t help doing a little "what if". After all, if things don't go my way, I can always line up my list for rainy day viewing when I get home... after a few great days at sea with TCM.

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