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If there’s going to be good weather where you live this holiday weekend, get out and enjoy it.
But if it’s going to rain or you don’t have something planned every minute, Turner Classic Movies is showing three days of Memorial Day-based movies. This post deals with a few of my favorites that are being shown Saturday, May 23. I will have another post Saturday regarding the movies being shown Sunday, May 24 and Monday, May 25.


5:00 a.m. CDT — “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” — With the early time, you might want to catch this later if you have the TCM app for your tablet or smartphone. This 1944 film starring Van Johnson and Spencer Tracy tells the story of the bomber crews that hit Tokyo just a few months after Pearl Harbor and their struggle after having to bail out over or crash land near China, some of which was occupied by the Japanese. There’s no hype in this movie, just a story of a lot of brave men.

4:30 p.m. — “Twelve O’Clock High” — What impressed me most about this 1949 film was that most of it was filmed on the ground. There’s some aerial footage, but not a lot. Director Henry King, screenwriters Sy Bartlett and Berine Lay Jr. and a cast led by Gregory Peck show the tension and the cost of being in the U.S. Army Eighth Air Force as it conducted daylight bombing raids over Germany and occupied France during World War II. And again, most of the scenes take place on the ground. Peck received an Oscar nomination for his performance as General Frank Savage whose hard-nosed leadership comes at a cost to him. Dean Jagger earned a well-deserved best supporting actor Oscar for his role as Major Stovall, Savage’s adjutant. It’s a quiet yet powerful performance of a man who fought in World War I and is horrified that the world is at war again.

7 p.m. — “Friendly Persuasion” — This 1956 film, directed by William Wyler, was a staple of my family’s movie viewing whenever it was on TV when I was growing up. It’s the story of a Quaker family that wrestles with its conscience as the Civil War draws closer to its southern Indiana farm. It’s a beatifully photographed film. Gary Cooper was the perfect choice to play the father. It also stars Dorothy McGuire and Anthony Perkins.