Celebrated actress and TCM friend Dana Delany joins TCM Noir Alley host Eddie Muller on this evening for a double feature of films she enjoys watching and discussing. New York City-born Delany had her breakthrough role and won two primetime Emmy Awards for ABC-TV’s China Beach (1988-91). She is also well-remembered for such films as Tombstone (1993), The Margaret Sanger Story (1995) and Fly Away Home (1996).
Delany has played major roles in several television series including ABC’s Desperate Housewives and Amazon’s Hand of God. She has also done some high-profile voice work, notably for the DC Animated Universe, where her roles have included Lois Lane in Superman.
Delany has been a special guest at several TCM Classic Film Festivals and served as guest host introducing films on the network. Interviewed at the 2019 Festival, she said, “I love TCM. It’s my go-to-channel and I have it on all day. Of course, I get nothing done because I get sucked in by the movies. But it makes me happy!”
“Obviously I like dark, sad movies,” Delany has said of her film picks in the past. She remains true to that motif with her choices here, both filmed in black-and-white with a noir flavor.
Once a Thief (1965), Delany’s first selection, stars Alain Delon as an Italian immigrant with a checkered past who struggles to go straight in San Francisco. The strong cast also includes Ann-Margret as Delon’s wife, Van Heflin as a police inspector determined to find him guilty of robbery and murder and Jack Palance as Delon’s scheming brother. Ralph Nelson directs from a script by Zekial Marko.
Man on a Tightrope (1953), Delany’s next choice, is one of director Elia Kazan’s lesser-seen films – an atmospheric drama about a circus manager (Fredric March) in Czechoslovakia who plans to lead his troupe in an escape from behind the Iron Curtain. Also starring are Gloria Grahame as March’s wife and Terry Moore as his daughter. The screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood is based on Neil Paterson’s novel, which in turn was inspired by the real-life exploits of the Circus Brumbach, a troupe that escaped from East Germany in 1950.