Stardust: The Bette Davis Story
Turner Classic Movies Wednesday, May 3 (8 p.m. ET/PT)
For its latest original documentary, Turner Classic Movies takes on one of Hollywood’s most legendary stars and comes up with 90 minutes of clips, interviews and Tinseltown dish certain to reel in TCM’s audience of classic film buffs.
Narrated by actress Susan Sarandon, Stardust: The Bette Davis Story benefits immensely from the fact that Emmy-winning writer-director Peter Jones was given access to Davis’ personal archives. As a result, alongside the requisite interviews with fellow actors, film historians and family members, the special draws on actual letters and scrapbooks that the Academy Award-winning actress collected.
Tracing the actress’ life from her New England childhood through her tumultuous but prolific years at Warner Bros. and beyond, Stardust doesn’t stint on the dirt that celebrity bios usually trade in: her distant father and stage mother, the unhappy marriages and her daughter’s blistering tell-all.
Overall, the portrait of Davis that emerges is one of a strong-willed, independent and monumentally talented movie star more than worthy of her spot in Hollywood history.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Disney Channel Friday, May 5 (7:30 p.m. ET/PT)
The Clubhouse in Disney Channel’s new series is a gadget-filled hangout where the Magic Kingdom’s mascot mouse and his friends solve problems with the help of young viewers.
While grown-ups may find the show’s computer renderings lack the charm of Disney’s hand-drawn characters, target preschool audiences will no doubt be attracted by the proceedings’ vibrant colors and three-dimensional feel. Younger audiences will also respond to the show’s play-along interactivity, with Mickey talking directly to viewers and recruiting their services to find and count things (such as Daisy Bo Peep’s missing sheep) on the screen.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is a worthy addition to the “Playhouse Disney” block of programming for preschoolers, with genuine entertainment and educational value.