Carole Lombard was one of the many Golden Age actresses who benefited from having Una Merkel as a cinematic "best friend"-- and she'll be saluted all day Monday by Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. And while "True Confession," Lombard's lone film with Merkel, isn't among the 10, count 'em, 10 films featured, those that are prove Una was among the great character actresses of the '30s, excelling in a variety of genres.
The Merkel tentet (all times Eastern):
* 6 a.m. -- "Whistling In The Dark" (1933). A mystery writer's plan for the perfect murder greatly interests a mobster. With Ernest Truex and Edward Arnold.
* 7:30 a.m. -- "They Call It Sin" (1932). Not as well known as the 1933 Una-Loretta Young teaming "Midnight Mary," but lots of pre-Code fun. Loretta's a church organist turned pop songwriter, while Una's a clever chorus girl. With George Brent and David Manners.
* 8:45 a.m. -- "Man Wanted" (1932). Merkel and Manners support Kay Francis in this story where Kay's an executive and David her male secretary. Directed by William Dieterle.
* 10 a.m. -- "Day Of Reckoning" (1933). Richard Dix and Madge Evans are the leads as a man's nagging wife drives him to crime. Also with Conway Tearle.
* 11:15 a.m. -- "Beauty For Sale" (1933). Una and Madge again -- this time with Alice Brady and Otto Kruger -- in a tale about an innocent young hairdresser who snares herself a rich husband...but he's already married.
* 12:45 p.m. -- "Private Lives" (1931). The adaptation of a Noel Coward story casts Una as the new wife of Elyot (Robert Montgomery) who discovers he's rekindled the spark with his now-remarried ex Norma Shearer, who's in the adjacent honeymoon suite. Also with Reginald Denny.
* 2:15 p.m. -- "Murder In The Private Car" (1934). TCM ran this railroad mystery last month as part of its Mary Carlisle tribute. Charles Ruggles is the lead as an unorthodox detective.
* 3:30 p.m. -- "The Women In His Life" (1933). Kruger plays a hard-living lawyer who defends the chief subject (Ben Lyon) in a murder case, with Merkel providing support.
* 4:45 p.m. -- "Born To Dance" (1936). Stewart aids newcomers Eleanor Powell and James Stewart in this musical, where Stewart introduces the Cole Porter standard "Easy To Love." Also with Virginia Bruce./ A sailor on leave helps a young dancer make it to the top on Broadway.
* 6:45 p.m. -- "Four Girls In White" (1939). Student nurses cope with life's problems. With Florence Rice and Ann Rutherford.
Two years ago, Una finally became the subject of a biography, entitled "Una Merkel: The Actress With Sassy Wit And Southern Charm" (she was a native of northern Kentucky). Written by Larry Sean Kinder, it can be ordered via amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/Una-Merkel-Actress-Sassy-Southern/dp/1593939027.