Wednesday, January 04, 2012

TCM Star of the Month: Angela Lansbury

The decades-long career of Angela Lansbury will be celebrated this month on Turner Classic Movies.

Over two dozen of Lansbury's films will be shown in January, as well as Lansbury's 2006 PRIVATE SCREENINGS interview with Robert Osborne. TCM is also going to show a PBS production of SWEENEY TODD, in which Lansbury repeated the role she created on Broadway.

Lansbury's movies will be shown on Wednesday evenings, beginning tonight, January 4th.

Lansbury was just 18 when she made her film debut in GASLIGHT (1944), receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. That film leads off an evening focusing on her career at MGM in the '40s.

GASLIGHT was followed by a role as Elizabeth Taylor's older sister in the classic NATIONAL VELVET (1944).

Lansbury then, rather remarkably, received another Best Supporting Actress nomination, this time for THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1945). She was just 19 when it was released.

Lansbury was three years younger than leading lady Judy Garland when she played the imposing saloon gal, Em, in the colorful musical THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946).

The other films shown tonight are THE HOODLUM SAINT (1946) with William Powell, IF WINTER COMES (1947) with Walter Pidgeon, TENTH AVENUE ANGEL (1948) with Margaret O'Brien, and THE RED DANUBE (1949) with a great cast including Walter Pidgeon, Peter Lawford, and Janet Leigh.

More MGM films are mixed with other titles on Wednesday, January 11th, which leads off with Frank Capra's STATE OF THE UNION (1948). This Tracy-Hepburn film also stars Van Johnson.

Lansbury was Queen Anne in MGM's THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1948). The other films shown on the 11th are SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949), TILL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY (1946), KIND LADY (1951), and the Randolph Scott Western A LAWLESS STREET (1955). The 11th wraps up with a Lansbury episode of SCREEN DIRECTORS PLAYHOUSE.

The gem of the evening on January 18th is THE COURT JESTER (1956), in which Lansbury starred with Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, and Basil Rathbone. Lansbury plays the beautiful Princess Gwendolyn in this giddy, delightful film.

One of Lansbury's best-known roles was in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962), also showing on the 18th. Lansbury received her third Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for this film.

The other films that night are THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT (1964), ALL FALL DOWN (1962), SEASON OF PASSION (1959), and a fun supporting role as a gossipy relative in THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE (1958).

The Lansbury series concludes on January 25th with DEATH ON THE NILE (1978), MISTER BUDDWING (1966), DEAR HEART (1964), IN THE COOL OF THE DAY (1963), and THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (1965).


I wish TCM were able to also show THE MIRROR CRACK'D (1980), in which Lansbury played Miss Marple; the film reunited Lansbury with Elizabeth Taylor 36 years after NATIONAL VELVET. Some of the plot of THE MIRROR CRACK'D was apparently inspired by a tragic real-life incident in the life of a famous film actress, which I won't divulge here. Happily the movie is available from Netflix via both DVD and streaming.

Another well-known Lansbury film TCM won't be showing is Disney's BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS (1971), which has been released on DVD multiple times.

For more information on TCM in January, please visit my post TCM in January: Highlights or the complete TCM online schedule.

Happy January viewing!


Blogger mel said...


11:40 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you so much, Mel! I really wish there were a part of the main TV ceremony.

Best wishes,

4:16 PM  

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