Groundhog Day! Yes, it's February already!
I'm a day behind owing to a busy schedule this week, and it's time to check out the offerings in the 31 Days of Oscar Festival which began yesterday on Turner Classic Movies. Since it's Leap Year, the festival ends this year on March 2nd.
The February schedule can be found here, and be sure to check out TCM's special microsite celebrating the month's "travel" theme.
Here's a few of the month's highlights:
...Tomorrow, February 3rd, Virginia Bruce stars with John Barrymore in Universal's THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (1940), one of 27 films making its TCM premiere in February.
...Tomorrow evening, February 3rd, the 20th Century-Fox film THE RAINS CAME (1939) will be shown. Fox's Tyrone Power stars with two actors typically associated with other studios in that era, Myrna Loy (MGM) and George Brent (Warner Bros.). The movie won the Oscar for Best Special Effects.
...The evening of February 4th the focus is Britain in WWII, with Tyrone Power and Betty Grable in A YANK IN THE R.A.F. (1941), Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon in MRS. MINIVER (1942), and Irene Dunne in THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER (1944).
...THE V.I.P.S (1963), showing in the wee hours early on February 6th, has an interesting cast: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rod Taylor, Louis Jourdan, Maggie Smith, Margaret Rutherford, and Orson Welles.
...Later February 6th I'll be recording the Powell-Pressburger film ONE OF OUR AIRCRAFT IS MISSING (1942), starring Eric Portman (MILLIONS LIKE US). It's about a British bomber shot down behind enemy lines and how the crew was aided by members of the Dutch underground.
...February 7th I'm interested in John Farrow's THE COMMANDOS STRIKE AT DAWN (1942), starring Paul Muni, Anna Lee, and Lillian Gish.
...I'm quite excited that the original STATE FAIR (1933) will be shown on February 8th. This Fox film stars Will Rogers, Janet Gaynor, Lew Ayres, and Norman Foster.
...There are a significant number of 20th Century-Fox films on TCM this month. One is SECOND FIDDLE (1939), a lovely piece of escapism starring Tyrone Power and Sonja Henie, with a score by Irving Berlin. It airs on the 9th.
...John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan, and Coleen Gray star in RED RIVER (1948), also on the 9th. The great supporting cast of this Howard Hawks film includes Harry Carey Sr., Harry Carey Jr., Noah Beery Jr., John Ireland, and Paul Fix.
...The engrossing Douglas Sirk soaper WRITTEN ON THE WIND (1956), with its vivid colors and memorable title sequence, airs later on the 9th. It stars Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, and Oscar winner Dorothy Malone, who turned 87 last Monday.
...Zachary Scott gave a highly regarded performance in Jean Renoir's THE SOUTHERNER (1945), about a poor sharecropping family. Betty Field plays his wife. It will be shown February 10th.
...Another TCM premiere is THE BEST OF EVERYTHING (1959) on February 11th. This story of three secretaries, played by Hope Lange, Suzy Parker, and Diane Baker, sounds as though it might be reminiscent of director Jean Negulesco's THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN (1954).
...Those who've not caught John Ford's THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945) on a previous showing have another chance on February 15th. One of the finest WWII films ever made, it stars John Wayne, Donna Reed, and Robert Montgomery, who assisted Ford with directing duties.
...Gene Tierney, George Sanders, Bruce Cabot, Harry Carey and Joseph Calleia star in SUNDOWN (1941), directed by Henry Hathaway, on February 16th.
...An all-star cast stars in Edmund Goulding's THE RAZOR'S EDGE (1946), which is on my list of 10 classics to see this year. It stars Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne, Anne Baxter, Herbert Marshall, and Clifton Webb. The air date is February 19th.
...Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins, and Maurice Chevalier star in the Ernst Lubitsch film THE SMILING LIEUTENANT (1931) on February 20th. I've heard good things about this film, and in fact own it on DVD, but it's one film among many I still need to catch up with!
...I'm very fond of the bright, colorful DOWN ARGENTINE WAY (1940), starring Don Ameche and Betty Grable. It features a great dance by the Nicholas Brothers. It's shown February 21st.
...THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943) is one of my very favorite comedies. It stars Joel McCrea, Jean Arthur, and Charles Coburn. Don't miss it on February 22nd!
...George Folsey was Oscar-nominated for his Technicolor cinematography of ALL THE BROTHERS WERE VALIANT (1953), a seafaring tale starring three favorites, Robert Taylor, Ann Blyth, and Stewart Granger. It also has an excellent score by Miklos Rozsa. It will be shown February 23rd.
...I've become a fan of Brian Aherne, who stars with Victor McLaglen and Paul Lukas in CAPTAIN FURY (1938) on February 24th.
...Also showing on the 24th: ARIZONA (1940) with Jean Arthur, William Holden, and Warren William.
...February 27th is one of my favorite days on the schedule. It includes BOOMERANG! (1947), the excellent "procedural" film noir starring Dana Andrews; George Sanders and Vincent Price in THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES (1940), a Universal film making its debut on TCM; Rene Clair's I MARRIED A WITCH (1942), which is overdue for a release on DVD; and another Fox premiere, COME TO THE STABLE (1949), the story of nuns struggling to build a hospital, which is charming but not cloying. Loretta Young and Celeste Holm star in COME TO THE STABLE, with a great supporting cast including Elsa Lanchester, Basil Ruysdael, Dorothy Patrick, Hugh Marlowe, Regis Toomey, Dooley Wilson, and Thomas Gomez. It was nominated for seven Oscars.
...Another TCM premiere is BLOCKADE (1938), airing February 28th and starring Henry Fonda and Madeleine Carroll.
...One of my favorite films of the '80s is THE RIGHT STUFF (1983), the terrific film about the early days of the U.S. space program, with a great cast including Dennis Quaid, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, and Sam Shepard. Mary Jo Deschanel, who plays Annie Glenn, is the mother of Emily (BONES) and Zooey (NEW GIRL); Mary Jo's husband Caleb Deschanel was Oscar-nominated for his RIGHT STUFF cinematography. It's on the festival's closing night, March 2nd.
There are definitely a number of nice premieres this month, though I miss the "B" movies and smaller discoveries which make TCM so special. Those who share my feeling that February is the least interesting month on the TCM schedule will enjoy the conversation on this topic at Immortal Ephemera.
For more tips on what to watch on TCM this month, visit Shadows and Satin, where Karen recommends THE GUARDSMAN (1931), airing on February 21st, and Caftan Woman, who recommends John Ford's THE LONG VOYAGE HOME (1940) on February 7th.