Wednesday, October 31, 2012

TCM in November: Highlights

There's a great month ahead on Turner Classic Movies, with an interesting schedule which includes a wonderful series focusing on films adapted from novels, "Great Adaptations."

Constance Bennett is the Star of the Month beginning Tuesday evening, November 6th. I'll have more information on those films in the near future. (Update: My post is now up; please visit TCM Star of the Month: Constance Bennett.)

Here are just a few of the wonderful films airing on Turner Classic Movies this month:

...November 1st starts off with the Western TENSION AT TABLE ROCK (1956) -- check out this poster for it at 50 Westerns From the 50s. It stars Richard Egan, Dorothy Malone, Angie Dickinson, and Cameron Mitchell.

...As regular viewers know, TCM typically shows "B" series films on Saturday mornings, and in this month of "Great Adaptations" it's therefore fitting that the current Saturday morning series will be the FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS films, based on the books by Margaret Sidney. The series kicks off on Saturday, November 3rd, with THE FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS AND HOW THEY GREW (1939). Edith Fellows stars as Polly Pepper.

...Also on the 3rd, THE COWBOY AND THE LADY (1938) is a very cute romantic comedy starring Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon. They're adorable together. Recommended. This is one of a half dozen films celebrating Merle Oberon in the prime time and late evening hours that day.

...THE DEVIL MAKES THREE (1952) is one of Gene Kelly's lesser-known films, a drama set in postwar Europe. It airs in the early morning hours on November 5th.

...The "Great Adaptations" series on November 7th includes Clark Gable and Loretta Young in CALL OF THE WILD (1935) and John Barrymore and Joan Bennett in MOBY DICK (1930).

...Frank Capra's classic LOST HORIZON (1937), based on the novel by James Hilton, airs in the early morning hours on November 8th. I've had the good fortune to see this in theaters multiple times -- the last time, I believe in the mid '80s, was a restoration screening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art featuring recovered scenes with dialogue but no film to match. It was fascinating.  And I liked the book!  (It's too bad TCM isn't showing RANDOM HARVEST, also based on a Hilton book, this month.)

...After LOST HORIZON, hang around for yet another great movie based on a book, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935), with Clark Gable, Charles Laughton, and Franchot Tone. I saw this in a theater when I was about 11 and it made such an impression that I immediately read the entire Nordhoff-Hall trilogy and became particularly fascinated with the history of Pitcairn Island.

...Hedy Lamarr was born 99 years ago on November 9, 1913. Her birthday will be celebrated by TCM with seven films. H.M. PULHAM, ESQ. (1941), which I haven't seen yet, has been recommended to me as one of her finest performances. Other titles include ZIEGFELD GIRL (1941) with Lana Turner and Judy Garland, CROSSROADS (1941) with William Powell, and THE CONSPIRATORS (1944) with some of the cast of CASABLANCA costarring. I'm especially fond of EXPERIMENT PERILOUS (1944) a Gothic noir with George Brent; Lamarr proves once more that she was not just a beauty, but a real acting talent.

...One of the films which intrigues me this month is THE SWORDSMAN (1948), airing on November 9th. It stars Larry Parks and Ellen Drew and was directed by Joseph H. Lewis.

...The family classic NATIONAL VELVET (1944) is very much worth seeing, with Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Angela Lansbury, Anne Revere, Butch Jenkins, and Donald Crisp. It's on Sunday afternoon, November 11th.

...I just reviewed THE LEOPARD MAN (1943) for today's Val Lewton Blogathon. I really enjoyed this spooky movie.  Check it out on November 12th. It stars Dennis O'Keefe, Jean Brooks, and Margo.

...It's been far too long since I last saw ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959), a terrific courtroom drama with James Stewart, Lee Remick, George C. Scott, Eve Arden, and Ben Gazzara. It was directed by Otto Preminger. The air date is November 13th.

...I really enjoyed FOG OVER FRISCO (1934), a murder mystery with Margaret Lindsay, Bette Davis, and Lyle Talbot. (Be sure to read about the new book on Lyle Talbot here.) It's on November 14th.

...November 15th I plan to record WICKED AS THEY COME (1957), starring Arlene Dahl, Phil Carey, and Herbert Marshall. It's one of "Robert Osborne's Picks" this month, part of an eclectic lineup which includes the MGM musicals BABES IN ARMS (1939) and THREE LITTLE WORDS (1950).

...When I saw Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott's RIDE LONESOME (1959) at UCLA last summer, I thought it was one of the best Westerns I'd ever seen, and regular readers know I watch a lot of them! It has a wonderful cast including Pernell Roberts, James Coburn, Lee Van Cleef, and Karen Steele, and a terrific, compact script by Burt Kennedy. Be sure to catch it on Friday, November 16th.

...I've always been a huge fan of MGM musicals, and THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946) is a particular favorite. It has a great cast including Judy Garland, Angela Lansbury, John Hodiak, Virginia O'Brien, and Cyd Charisse, among others, and the Oscar-winning "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," which is a mind-blowing giant production number filmed on MGM's fabled backlot. It's a wonderful film to share with the family as Thanksgiving approaches. It's on late on November 17th, or early on the 18th for those of you in the Eastern time zone, so be sure to set your DVR. (P.S. Since this is a book-themed month on TCM, it's worth mentioning that there's an excellent book on the real-life Harvey Girls, sent to me a few years ago by a thoughtful friend.)

...November 18th: Jean Arthur and Charles Boyer in Frank Borzage's HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT (1937). A must-see.

...I love the cast of QUANTRILL'S RAIDERS (1958), airing on November 19th: Steve Cochran, Diane Brewster, and Leo Gordon. Brewster and Gordon were semi-regulars on my favorite TV series, MAVERICK; Gordon also wrote for MAVERICK, along with many other shows, and he also cowrote a little Victor Mature Western I liked a lot, ESCORT WEST (1958).  A very talented man.

...Later on the 19th there are two more Westerns from 1958: favorite Frank Lovejoy stars as COLE YOUNGER, GUNFIGHTER, and Rory Calhoun, Barbara Bates, and John Dehner star in APACHE TERRITORY, which runs again on the 29th.

...November 21st is devoted to the wonderful dancer Eleanor Powell. When I met her son, Peter Ford, last year, he told me she was "an angel," and her sweet personality comes across on screen along with her tremendous dancing talent. Have a peek for yourself at Powell in films such as BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936 (1935), ROSALIE (1937), and LADY BE GOOD (1941). BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940 contains Powell's sublime dance with Fred Astaire, "Begin the Beguine," familiar to many from THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! (1974).

...Thanksgiving Eve the Great Adaptations series includes two of the best examples of novel to film, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962) and GONE WITH THE WIND (1939).

...On Thanksgiving Day, the 22nd, the Great Adaptations series continues with wonderful family films based on books, including ANNE OF GREEN GABLES (1934), LASSIE COME HOME (1943), THE YEARLING (1946), THE SECRET GARDEN (1949), LITTLE WOMEN (1949), CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (1950), SITTING PRETTY (1948), ROOM FOR ONE MORE (1952), PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES (1960), and LIFE WITH FATHER (1947). It's fun to note I've read all the original books for the Thanksgiving lineup, except for LASSIE and SITTING PRETTY.

...There are great movies all weekend following Thanksgiving. THE LEMON DROP KID (1951) with Bob Hope and Lloyd Nolan might start to put viewers in the Christmas spirit on Sunday, November 25th. Truth to tell I wasn't that impressed with it -- but I am forever grateful to this film for producing my favorite Christmas song, "Silver Bells," by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

...November 26th is one of those days where I could sit in front of TCM all day long if I had the time. Titles include Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor in the "train noir" THE NARROW MARGIN (1952), Robert Mitchum and Ann Blyth in a Korean War film, ONE MINUTE TO ZERO (1952), Hope, Crosby & Lamour in ROAD TO BALI (1952), Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan in BEWARE, MY LOVELY (1952), Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright in Andrew Stone's THE STEEL TRAP (1952), the MGM PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940) with Garson and Olivier, as well as Ann Rutherford and Marsha Hunt, and JANE EYRE (1944) with Orson Welles, Joan Fontaine, Margaret O'Brien and a fantastic cast. No wonder I love TCM!

...A birthday tribute to Gloria Grahame on November 28th includes ROUGHSHOD (1949), a relatively little-known but excellent Western costarring Robert Sterling and Claude Jarman Jr. Sterling was right at home in this and makes one wish he'd made more Westerns than he did over the course of his career.

...(UPDATE) Lou Lumenick of the New York Post reminded me via Twitter that THE IRON PETTICOAT (1956), starring Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn, has its U.S. premiere on November 29th! You can read more about Lou and his involvement in bringing this film to light in his column from last April.

...(UPDATE) I was obviously fading away as I came to the end of TCM's schedule late last night -- how could I have completely forgotten to mention that dear Moira of The Skeins and TCM's Movie Morlocks will be a Guest Programmer on November 30th?! Moira chose TOUCHEZ POS AU GRISBI (1954). Three fellow Morlocks will also be Guest Programmers that evening. Congratulations to Moira and the entire group!

Please consult the complete schedule for more information on TCM in November.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Viewing!

November 1st Update: I'm going to skip a Fox Movie Channel schedule update for this month, as the movies in rotation continue to be pretty much the same titles which have played in October and other recent months.

However, it's worth noting that the very good Michael Shayne mystery SLEEPERS WEST (1941) turns up on the Fox schedule November 18th.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loads of goodies for you lucky US TCM viewers again... I'm especially jealous about the showing of that incredibly rare 'Moby Dick' with John Barrymore - I've seen the silent version he starred in, 'The Sea Beast', but only in a terrible print. Both versions add in a love story which detracts from Ahab's obsession with the whale, but Barrymore is amazing in the silent and I'm sure he is in the talkie too. Fingers crossed that it turns up on Warner Archive in the future - the ideal would be to have a double set of both versions! Judy

2:16 AM  
Blogger Vienna said...

Hope you enjoy WICKED AS THEY COME,Laura.
I have just watched it and I think it will invoke a lot of comment. I always like Arlene Dahl.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

Oh, that Great Adaptations series sounds wonderful! I've seen a lot of the movies (and read a lot of the books) from the 22nd. I've read Five Little Peppers, but haven't been able to find the movie.

The Secret Garden has always been a favorite book—I saw the movie version once years ago and would like to revisit it some day.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Crocheted Lace said...

I used to read the Bounty Trilogy over and over when I was a kid. I liked "Men Against the Sea" best. Unfortunately, the "Bounty" replica sank of Cape Hatteras during hurricane Sandy. The USCG is investigating too.
I have never seen any film versions of of the Bounty mutiny because the N&H books and the history books are so fixed in my mind that I couldn't watch the movies for more than a few minutes.
Sadly, Pitcairn Island is a very sordid place now. (Maybe it always was.) Check out the book "Lost Paradise" by Kathy Marks.

3:14 PM  

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