I can’t believe we’re already halfway through William Holden’s Star of the Month! I have loved every minute of it so far. The films curated for his celebration are really diverse that give us a great deep dive into his body of work. The best part has been connecting with so many fans during livetweets of the films. Holden is so beloved and it’s nice to hear from fans and what they pick up while watching his films.
Tonight’s lineup is a blend that showcases Holden as a leading man and his strengths with his leading ladies. The block of films features romantic comedies and dramas.
The film leading primetime is The Moon is Blue, a saucy sex comedy costarring Maggie McNamara and David Niven. The film is notable as being the first post-Hayes Code feature to use the word…virgin. GASP! This was apparently so controversial it led to a lengthy battle with the censors, even the city of Boston, Massachusetts banned the film. The funny thing about the film is that it is very tame when you look at it today but that’s the case with so many classic films. Holden is charming as an architect named Don who tries to seduce McNamara’s character, Patty, but she plans to keep her virginity and the back and forth between the two is great fun. The standout of the film is David Niven who plays another aging playboy and is the father of a woman Holden just broke up with. Niven tries to seduce Patty as well and the battle for her affections between him and Holden is hilarious in its 50s way.
The Moon is Blue airs tonight at 8 PM on TCM.
After The Moon is Blue, TCM is airing a double feature of two films Holden made on location in Hong Kong: The World of Suzie Wong and Love is a Many-Splendored Thing. These two films are notable because it helped spark Holden’s interest in travel and making more films on location. “I find that I’m terribly curious about the world, and about the people in it. I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to satisfy that curiosity by traveling both for the production of motion pictures and then after their finished, selling them,” he told Edward R. Murrow on the CBS program Person to Person in the 1950s.
The World of Suzie Wong is Nancy Kwan’s film debut. Holden plays a struggling artist who finds a muse in Kwan, a sex worker in Hong Kong. The two fall in love but like any love story, it’s not smooth sailing. Kwan shines in this film with so much promise, it’s easy to see why she became one of China’s biggest mainstream stars in America. Holden gives a sincere performance in this film, never looking down at Suzie and her lifestyle but instead has empathy for her and her background. It’s a sweet film that’s not often shown so you definitely want to make it a point to catch it.
The World of Suzie Wong airs at 10 PM tonight on TCM.
After that film, is Love is a Many-Splendored Thing. This romantic drama costarring Jennifer Jones has received a lot of airplay on the network lately and no complaints from here. I love the scenery captured in this film and it’s one I wish I could see in Cinemascope. The sweeping views of Hong Kong blended with the title song make it an irresistible romance even if Jones is playing a half Chinese/half European doctor. I like this Holden performance because even though his character is a bit of a cad, he’s so romantic that it’s easy to see why audiences and women all over the world fell for him. It’s not a perfect film but it has lovely moments and if you’re not in some way moved at the end of it, they check your doctor because you may not have a heart.
Love is a Many-Splendored Thing airs at 12:15 AM on TCM.
The last film I recommend tonight is Apartment for Peggy. Unfortunately, this little drama is in the overnight timeslot at 2:15 AM. Holden was loaned out to 20th Century Fox for this film. Apartment for Peggy is a light hearted film that deals with the heavy post-WWII themes such as returning veterans struggling to find work and a home, parents recovering after losing their children to war, and suicide. The strength in this film is Jeanne Crain’s performance as a lovable and determined young woman trying her best to make a life for her husband (Holden) and their child who’s on the way. This is one of the first films Holden made when he returned from war that showed his strengths as a leading man and the Technicolor also showed his fully featured face.
Apartment for Peggy airs at 2:15 AM on TCM.
I’ll be livetweeting the films tonight on Twitter with the hashtag #Holden100. I hope you’ll join the conversation!
For more of Holden100, click here.