After the jackpot of Christian-themed movies found on Turner Classic Movies network last month, it’s slim pickings in June. Nonetheless, some gems are to be found that will appeal to Catholic parents seeking good movies to enjoy with the kids.June 7 3:30 p.m.: The Old Man and the Sea (1958). The Job-like Hemingway novella is a beautifully photographed tour de force for the great Spencer Tracy. He’s a poor Cuban fisherman who catches a gigantic swordfish — then prays he can get it home.Note for classic mystery buffs: At 5 and 11:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., TCM is playing all three filmed versions of Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon,” along with Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) in “After the Thin Man” at 8 p.m.June 84:30 a.m.: Heaven Only Knows (aka Montana Mike, 1947). This nearly unknown comedy stars Bob Cummings as an angel sent to earth to save a gunfighter (Brian Donlevy). The angel is not a clichéd bumbler nor is he working to win his wings. The plot takes some intriguing turns and it’s worthwhile to check it out.June 911 a.m.: Talk of the Town (1942). This astounding film takes a serious look at graft corrupting a town, a topic every Christian should work to end, served up as an almost screwball comedy. Deftly directed by George Stevens and nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, this film delightfully blends Cary Grant, as the town malcontent, with Ronald Colman, a by-the-book law professor on vacation, stirring in a dash of Jean Arthur’s patented daffiness. Don’t miss this one.June 13TCM spends the day with the incomparable Basil Rathbone (b. 1892) on his 121st birthday. Two of his later Sherlock Holmes films, featuring the loveably ever-bumbling Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson, begin the day-long celebration.—3:45 a.m.: Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942). Doyle’s original story, “The Dancing Men,” is updated to pit Holmes against Professor Moriarty, skillfully played by Lionel Atwill, treacherously working to sell military secrets to the Nazis. —5 a.m.: Terror by Night (1946). Holmes, Watson and Inspector Lestrade board a train to protect the Star of Rhodesia. Fast-paced and fun, see if you can catch Rathbone actually palming the diamond to prevent its theft.—6:15 a.m.: Confession (1937). Basil is a suave pianist preying on beautiful women. The title has nothing to do with the sacrament. It’s Kay Francis’ admission in court explaining why shot him dead. Have a hanky handy.—7:45 a.m.: A Tale of Two Cities (1935). Dickens’ novel becomes one of the 1930’s most renowned films. Produced by David O. Selznick, with Ronald Colman portraying the reluctantly heroic Sidney Carton, the story rings throughout with Christ’s call for the greatest love a man can show a friend. As the disdainful Marquis de St. Evremonde Rathbone seems to bring on the French Revolution all by himself. Blanche Yurka gives an iconic performance knitting beside the guillotine as Madame Defarge.—10 a.m.: The Garden of Allah (1936). Robert Hichens’ novel gets the Selznick touch, the second feature ever filmed in 3-strip Technicolor. Charles Boyer, a Trappist monk who abandoned his monastery, finds Marlene Dietrich wandering the Sahara seeking spirituality. They marry. Basil, as Dietrich’s true friend — one of his few sympathetic roles in the 1930s — convinces Boyer to return to the Trappists. Have a hanky handy.—11:30 a.m.: The Last Days of Pompeii (1935). Marcus, a kindly blacksmith (Preston Foster) loses his wife and son in ancient Pompeii. Angered, he becomes a gladiator who adopts the little son of one of the men he slays. When, on a mission to Judaea the boy is trampled, an itinerant Preacher from Galilee cures him. Rathbone’s subtle portrayal of Pontius Pilate remains the benchmark against which all others must be compared. Early in his career Basil starred in a play as Judas Iscariot. In a 1964 film about Pilate, the elderly Rathbone portrayed Caiphas. A Christian of some depth, Rathbone, in his autobiography, pondered the reason why his career kept bringing him back to the Passion.—1:30 p.m. The Magic Sword (1962). To save Princess Helene from death by dragon, young George, aided by six knights, fights Lodac the Wizard. Originally titled “St. George and the Seven Curses” it’s noteworthy that the knights who aid George are named for saints. The story may be based on a 1606 book by Richard Johnson, Seven Champions of Christendom. Rathbone, as Lodac, is perfectly at home in this purely escapist fare.—3 p.m.: The Mark of Zorro (1940). After the huge success The Adventures of Robin Hood brought Warner’s in 1938, 20th Century-Fox went after the same audience. The Curse of Capistrano written in 1919 by Johnston McCulley had come to the silent screen as Douglas Fairbanks’ first swashbuckler in 1920, retitled The Mark of Zorro. Fox chose to remake it casting Tyrone Power as the masked avenger of Los Angeles. Eugene Palette, so memorable as Friar Tuck, is again a fiery Franciscan, Padre Felipe, who taught the young Diego Vega “to hold a firm wrist behind a true point” when fencing.Rathbone, as Captain Esteban Pasquale, demonstrates his profound fencing skill in the climactic swordfight with Power. As opposed to the wide-ranging final duel Basil shared with Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, this one, confined to a single room, more intimate, more nuanced and without music, is just as effective.Note: Beginning at 5 p.m., the rest of the evening is devoted to inheritance-themed comedies featuring the enjoyable “Brewster’s Millions” starring Dennis O’Keefe. “Laughter is Paradise,” a sidesplitting 1951 British comedy, shows there is no bad Alistair Sim film. And the uproarious “Seven Chances,” a 1927 silent movie, proves that Buster Keaton was truly a comic genius. Sean M. Wright, a parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Santa Clarita, presents workshops and enrichment courses throughout the archdiocese. He replies to comments sent him at [email protected]. {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0607/tcmmovies/{/gallery}