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Mary Astor is TCM Star of the Month for March

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With 55 movies featuring the actress, Turner Classic Movies dedicates itself to celebrating Mary Astor as the Star of the Month for March 2014. Most of the Astor films will air on Wednesday evenings throughout the month, beginning on March 5, although the programming runs through the late night hours and into Thursday mornings, as well. The schedule includes Astor's Oscar-winning turn as Best Supporting Actress in "The Great Lie" (1941), as well as her signature performances in "The Maltese Falcon" (1941), "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944), and "The Palm Beach Story" (1942). Here are some of the highlights of the month's programming.

On Wednesday, March 5, the Mary Astor lineup kicks off at 8 pm Eastern with "Dodsworth" (1936), which also stars Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton. Other Astor films for the evening include "The Great Lie" (1941) at 10 pm and the silent "Don Juan" (1926) at midnight.

Film noir fans can appreciate Astor's iconic performance in "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) at 8 pm Eastern on Wednesday, March 12. At 10 pm, Astor also stars with Humphrey Bogart in "Across the Pacific" (1942), and at midnight she appears with Dorothy Lamour in "The Hurricane" (1937). The schedule continues into the late night hours and Thursday morning, and at 12:30 pm on Thursday, March 13, Astor stars with Kathryn Grayson and Gene Kelly in "Thousands Cheer" (1943).

Astor plays a madcap heiress in Preston Sturges' classic comedy, "The Palm Beach Story" (1942), which airs on TCM at 8 pm Eastern on Wednesday, March 19. Joel McCrea, Claudette Colbert, and Rudy Vallee also star. At 9:45 pm, Astor stars with Richard Dix and Robert Armstrong in "The Lost Squadron" (1932), and at 11:15 pm she joins William Powell for the Philo Vance mystery, "The Kennel Case Murder" (1933).

On Wednesday, March 26, Louisa May Alcott fans can see Astor as Marmee in the 1949 adaptation of "Little Women," which begins at 8 pm Eastern. Astor tackles another memorable maternal role in "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944) at 10:15 pm.

Other movies included in the month's lineup are "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1937), "Red Dust" (1932), and "Act of Violence" (1948). For a complete listing of the Mary Astor films being shown this month, visit the official TCM website. Additional TCM highlights for March include a Shirley Temple tribute on March 9 and a Friday Night Spotlight series on food in the movies.

Jennifer Garlen writes as the Huntsville and National Classic Movies Examiner. Her book, "Beyond Casablanca: 100 Classic Movies Worth Watching," is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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