From a "Mad Monster Party" to a celebration of Mom, Turner Classic Movies is the "in" place to be if you have to stay in. Here are some TCM highlights for the merry month of May.
THE ASIAN CONNECTION There would have been no "Crazy Rich Asians" if it hadn't been for the Asian American actors who had paved the way and paid their dues in Hollywood. TCM salutes those performers Wednesdays in May with a lineup ranging from the provocative silents "The Dragon Painter" and "Picadiily" (May 6 at 8 and 9 p.m., respectively) to the 1961 Rodgers and Hammerstein tunefest "Flower Drum Song" (8 p.m. May 20).
HAIL, 'CAESAR' Edward G. Robinson is TCM's Star of the Month with 28 of the tough guy's movies showing Thursdays in May beginning with his star-making role in "Little Caesar" at 8 p.m. on May 7. Even more enjoyable is the May 14 lineup of Robinson's gangster comedies, with the topper being the riotous "A Slight Case of Murder" at 9:45 p.m.
HORNE OF PLENTY "Stormy Weather" (9:15 p.m. May 11) was a rarity for 1943 Hollywood in that the cast is made up of all-black talent. And what talent it is: tapper Bill Robinson, larger-than-life Fats Waller, cool cat Cab Calloway, and best of all, Lena Horne with the definitive rendition of the title tune.
'ACE' HIGH Kirk Douglas was never better than when he tapped into his dark side, which he does with gusto as a muckracking reporter in Billy Wilder's crackling "Ace in the Hole." Still, it's co-star Jan Sterling who has the film's best line: "I met a lot of hard-boiled eggs in my life," she tells Douglas, "but you, you're 20 minutes."
MAMA MIA TCM honors Mom on May 10 with nine cinematic variations of maternal love. They run the gamut from Joan Crawford literally spoiling daughter Ann Blyth rotten in "Mildred Pierce" (10 a.m.) to Barbara Stanwyck's self-sacrificing "Stella Dallas" (10:30 p.m.). And at 8 p.m., Irene Dunne stars as the mother of all mothers in the heartwarming "I Remember Mama."
OH, DANNY BOY TCM salutes veteran actor Danny Aiello, who died in December, with two of his best films on May 17. At 8 p.m., he plays Mia Farrow's brutal husband in Woody Allen's Depression-era fantasy "The Purple Rose of Cairo." Then at 9:45, Aiello shines as the fiancee of an Italian widow (Cher) who falls for his younger brother (Nicolas Cage) in the charmer "Moonstruck."
MONSTER BASH Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr., the animators behind "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," had their big screen moment with the weird and wacky "Mad Monster Party" (8 p.m. May 22). The animation is cheesier than a wheel of Gouda, but that's half the fun. The other half is from the voices provided by Boris Karloff as Baron Boris von Frankenstein and Phyllis Diller as the Monster's Mate. Her mate, not surprisingly, is named Fang.