TCM has a terrific schedule ahead in December, including lots of wonderful Christmas movies.
Christmas movies will be playing on Friday evenings as well as on other dates throughout the month. A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938), for instance, plays on three different dates, as does HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949). THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947) and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944) are aired twice each, and so on. Check the TCM schedule for alternate air dates not listed below.
...Friday, December 3rd, the first batch of Christmas movies is comprised of FITZWILLY (1967), IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE (1947), and SUSAN SLEPT HERE (1954). My children love FITZWILLY, which I haven't seen yet. I've also never seen IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE and hope to catch up with it this year. I liked SUSAN SLEPT HERE when I saw it for the first time last December; it just came out in a remastered DVD-R from Warner Archive. It's got gorgeous 1950s set design -- check out the white Christmas tree in Dick Powell's apartment.
...The classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938) has its first air date of the month on Saturday, December 4th. I'm especially partial to this short, sweet MGM version starring Reginald Owen, Ann Rutherford, and the Lockhart family.
...HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949), a lovely film starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh, first airs in December on Sunday the 5th. The same date there's a rare Paramount treat, THE GILDED LILY (1935), with Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, and Ray Milland. THE GILDED LILY will be part of the Colbert-MacMurray Romantic Comedy Collection, which just had its release date pushed back to December 10th.
...December 7th there's a six-film tribute to Dorothy Malone, including WARLOCK (1959), THE LAST VOYAGE (1960), THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (1954), CONVICTED (1950), TENSION AT TABLE ROCK (1956), and PUSHOVER (1954).
...On Friday the 10th, the Christmas movies are A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938), SCROOGE (1970), and THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1942).
...December 11th Samuel Fuller's THE BARON OF ARIZONA (1950) will be shown, starring Vincent Price and Ellen Drew. I've never seen it, and it looks quite interesting. MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944) is also on that day, as part of a lineup devoted to Garland/Minnelli films.
...I'm looking forward to MR. BELVEDERE GOES TO COLLEGE (1949) and MR. BELVEDERE RINGS THE BELL (1951) on December 12th, starring Clifton Webb in the title role. COLLEGE costars Shirley Temple and Tom Drake, and it was filmed at the University of Nevada at Reno, the scenic location for APARTMENT FOR PEGGY (1948) and several other films of the '40s and '50s. RINGS THE BELL also stars Joanne Dru and Hugh Marlowe.
...Friday, December 17th, the Christmas movies are HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949), IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949), and LITTLE WOMEN (1949). Despite its title, IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME is set almost entirely in the winter, and it features Judy Garland singing a song called "Merry Christmas."
...There's a tribute to Gary Cooper on December 18th, with MEET JOHN DOE (1941), MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936), FRIENDLY PERSUASION (1956), ALONG CAME JONES (1945), and TASK FORCE (1949).
...Another Christmas movie classic, THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), will be on Monday, December 20th.
...I really enjoyed SUNDAY IN NEW YORK (1963), starring Rod Taylor, Jane Fonda, and Cliff Robertson. It will air December 21st. PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT (1962), another Jane Fonda film airing that day, is set at Christmastime. Later that night there's Astaire and Rogers in SWING TIME (1936) airing back to back with THE THIN MAN (1934). That's entertainment!
...A John Wayne marathon will be held on Monday, December 22nd, including some of his greatest films; my favorites airing that day are SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949), RIO GRANDE (1950), THE SEARCHERS (1956), and RIO BRAVO (1959). Among the other Wayne titles airing that date is 3 GODFATHERS (1948), which has a Christmas theme.
...On Christmas Eve the Christmas movies start early in the morning with BEYOND TOMORROW (1940), culminating in Robert Osborne's Christmas Eve picks: THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947), MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (1937), REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940), MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944), and BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE (1959). I'm a bit perplexed by the inclusion of MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW, which could make for a rather depressing Christmas Eve! You just can't go wrong, though, with Cary Grant in THE BISHOP'S WIFE, a perfect Christmas film if ever there was one.
...The Christmas movies continue on Christmas Day starting with the Hepburn version of LITTLE WOMEN (1933), an exquisitely made film. In the afternoon the programming will switch to Biblical epics and then, in an odd twist, movies about highly dysfunctional families!
...Boxing Day (that's December 26th here in the States) is devoted to live-action Disney films, including classics OLD YELLER (1958), POLLYANNA (1960), SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1960), and THE PARENT TRAP (1961). When the Disney festival comes to an end, it's time for THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939).
...I love ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959), a marvelous James Stewart film airing on the 27th. And VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964), with Elvis and Ann-Margret, is a lot of fun. It's got some great numbers including the poolside "The Lady Loves Me" and Ann-Margret's impressive solo "My Rival," filmed in one continuous take.
...On December 28th there are half a dozen Dr. Kildare films on the schedule.
...Animal movies are the theme of the day on December 29th, including BORN FREE (1966), THE YEARLING (1946), and INTERNATIONAL VELVET (1978). I've found that a lot of people my age count Dick Van Dyke hosting a TV screening of BORN FREE as one of their earliest TV viewing memories. I first saw INTERNATIONAL VELVET on TV when I was a college student visiting London, and I've been partial to it ever since... Later that night a string of British films includes James Mason in the London Blitz movie THE BELLS GO DOWN (1943), which is only available on DVD in a Region 2 edition.
...Finally, New Year's Eve will be rung in with seven Cary Grant films, followed by a Marx Brothers marathon. Happy New Year!
The December Star of the Month is Mickey Rooney. I'll be taking a closer look at the Rooney films on the schedule in the next day or two, and I also plan to do a separate post on a few of the interesting titles coming to Fox Movie Channel in December.
Update: Here is my post TCM Star of the Month: Mickey Rooney.