Saturday, December 31, 2011

TCM in January: Highlights

Happy New Year, and Best Wishes for 2012!

It's hard to believe that it's time to look at the January schedule for Turner Classic Movies. Didn't December get underway only yesterday? On we go!

As I previewed a couple of months ago, TCM's January schedule has some real treats in store. Let's take a look:

...I'm intrigued by THE BEGINNING OR THE END (1947), a film about the Manhattan Project starring Brian Donlevy, Tom Drake, and Robert Walker. The excellent cast also includes Audrey Totter, Beverly Tyler, Joseph Calleia, Hume Cronyn, John Litel, and Henry O'Neill. A must-see for me on January 2nd.

...Later on the 2nd I'm curious about THE STEEL TRAP (1952), with Joseph Cotten as an embezzler who has a change of heart. Teresa Wright, Cotten's SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943) costar, plays his wife. It's part of a five-film tribute to Cotten which features some excellent films including PORTRAIT OF JENNIE (1948) with Jennifer Jones, the Oscar-winning THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER (1947) with Loretta Young, the colorful suspense film NIAGARA (1953), and LYDIA (1941), costarring Merle Oberon.

...A six-film lineup celebrating "Women of the West" includes my favorite Robert Taylor film, WESTWARD THE WOMEN (1951), directed by William Wellman. I try not to miss any opportunity to recommend this tough, gritty, and unusual Western; I'd love to see more film fans discover it. It airs January 3rd.

...Jane Wyman's birthday will be celebrated on January 5th with half a dozen films, some of them fairly obscure, such as PRIVATE DETECTIVE (1939) with Dick Foran and GAMBLING ON THE HIGH SEAS (1940) with Wayne Morris. THE DOUGHGIRLS (1944) is a diverting bit of silliness about the Washington, D.C. housing shortage, and CHEYENNE (1947) is a Raoul Walsh Western with Dennis Morgan that I enjoyed very much.

...I love that TCM pays tribute to Loretta Young every year on her January 6th birthday. This year seven films will be shown: HEROES FOR SALE (1933), the must-see pre-Code SHE HAD TO SAY YES (1933), THE UNGUARDED HOUR (1936), THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947), the excellent thriller THE STRANGER (1946), RACHEL AND THE STRANGER (1948), and KEY TO THE CITY (1950). I've seen all but one of these films, and it's an excellent lineup.

...A tribute to Betty Grable on January 6th features two 20th Century-Fox films making their TCM premieres, PIGSKIN PARADE (1936) and A YANK IN THE R.A.F. (1941), followed by MY BLUE HEAVEN (1950).

...Western fans will love the lineup on January 9th. It starts off with George Montgomery in BADMAN'S COUNTRY (1958) and is followed by a Gordon Douglas film I'm curious about, GOLD OF THE SEVEN SAINTS (1961), starring then-Warner Bros. TV stars Roger Moore and Clint Walker. That's followed by Walker and Virginia Mayo in another Douglas film, FORT DOBBS (1958); Alan Ladd in Delmer Daves' DRUM BEAT (1954); and Dane Clark and Ruth Roman in BARRICADE (1950). Two films I'll definitely be recording are Sterling Hayden and Coleen Gray in ARROW IN THE DUST (1954) and Eddie Albert and Gale Storm in THE DUDE GOES WEST (1948). I've enjoyed Storm in a couple recent films, and this is another opportunity to see her work. The day is capped by Gary Cooper in SPRINGFIELD RIFLE (1952).

...June Haver doesn't turn up on TCM very often, as so many of her films were for 20th Century-Fox, but she can be seen with Gordon MacRae in the Warner Bros. musical LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING (1949) on January 10th.

...It's coincidentally odd timing given his recent health scare, but THE LIQUIDATOR (1966), about a plot of assassinate Britain's Prince Philip, sounds interesting. It was directed by Jack Cardiff and stars Rod Taylor and Trevor Howard. It airs January 11th.

...Robert Osborne's picks on January 17th include a couple of particularly interesting titles, Merle Oberon in A NIGHT IN PARADISE (1946) and Paulette Goddard in Jean Renoir's THE DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID (1946). I'll have my DVR running! Goddard's onetime husband, Burgess Meredith, is also in THE DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID, and that film is followed by two more Goddard-Meredith titles, SECOND CHORUS (1940), which stars Fred Astaire, and ON OUR MERRY WAY (1948), starring James Stewart.

...There's another great day of 10, count 'em, 10 Westerns on January 23rd. I'll be recording Sterling Hayden and Karin Booth in TOP GUN (1955). The other films have stars including William Holden, Glenn Ford, Randolph Scott, Bob Steele, Rock Hudson, and George Montgomery. It's great to see multiple Montgomery Westerns turn up on TCM this month.

...Later on January 23rd there's a great evening of films titled "Max Ophuls in Hollywood." The superb Joan Bennett-James Mason film THE RECKLESS MOMENT (1949) leads off the evening; it's only available on Region 2 DVD, and this story of a Balboa Island housewife caught up in a blackmail plot is "must" viewing. That's followed by more excellent films: CAUGHT (1949) with Mason, Robert Ryan, and Barbara Bel Geddes; LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN (1948) starring Joan Fontaine; and THE EXILE (1947) which stars Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and sounds very interesting. Two of Ophuls' European films, LA RONDE (195) and THE EARRINGS OF MADAME DE... (1954) will air in the wee hours.

...Betty Grable and Dan Dailey star in the 20th Century-Fox film MOTHER WORE TIGHTS (1947) on Sunday morning, January 29th.

...Later on the 29th there's a Jack Webb double feature, THE D.I. (1957) and -30-. I just bought the latter film, about a day in the life of a newspaper, in a pre-Christmas sale from the Warner Archive.

...TALK ABOUT A STRANGER (1952) is one of those little movies I love to discover. This 65-minute film stars George Murphy, Nancy Davis (Reagan), and Lewis Stone and runs just 65 minutes. It's on January 30th.

...THE CONSTANT NYMPH (1943) will have its second airing on TCM on January 30th. This film was long unavailable due to legal issues, so for those who missed it when TCM showed it several weeks ago, this is a great opportunity to see it.

...THE CONSTANT NYMPH is part of a five-film tribute to Joan Fontaine on the evening of the 30th. The other films showing that night include the TCM premiere of the excellent 20th Century-Fox film JANE EYRE (1944), also starring Orson Welles and a trio of exceptionally fine child actresses, Peggy Ann Garner, Elizabeth Taylor, and Margaret O'Brien. The delightfully soapy Nicholas Ray film BORN TO BE BAD (1950), Hitchcock's SUSPICION (1941), and IVANHOE (1952) with Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor round out the list.

...The month ends with a birthday tribute to Jean Simmons on January 31st. On the schedule are ELMER GANTRY (1960), BLACK NARCISSUS (1947), and YOUNG BESS (1953).

...Mario Lanza and Peggie Castle in the same movie? What an unusual pairing. The film is SEVEN HILLS OF ROME (1958) and it's on January 31st.

TCM's January Star of the Month is Angela Lansbury. I'll be taking a look at the Lansbury films on the schedule in a future post. (Update: Please visit my post TCM Star of the Month: Angela Lansbury.)

Visit the online schedule for a complete listing of all the films showing on Turner Classic Movies in January.

Again, sincere good wishes to all for a very happy New Year!


Blogger DKoren said...

Oh my gosh, I used to love "The Liquidator"!! I haven't seen it since high school, but I remember quite a bit of it, and I remember laughing most of the way through that one. Some very funny scenes in that one.

Besides that, wow, January looks like it has quite the line up!

8:16 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for the feedback on THE LIQUIDATOR, Deb! I'll look forward to checking it out. I've come to like Rod Taylor over the last couple of years.

Best wishes,

11:47 PM  

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