Saturday, November 30, 2013

TCM in December: Christmas Movies

Here's a look at the many wonderful Christmas films on the TCM schedule in December!

Themes this year include "The Christmas Spirit," "Holiday Romance," and "Christmas Kids," as well as a marathon of five different versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. The TCM special A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: MERRY CHRISTMAS! (2011) also airs this month, on December 15th and 23rd.

...The Christmas films kick off on December 8th with a double bill of two Debbie Reynolds Christmas movies, SUSAN SLEPT HERE (1954) and BUNDLE OF JOY (1956). I just saw SUSAN for the first time a few years ago, and it's become a favorite Christmas film. It's a lot of fun, and most of all I love the '50s decor!

...The Reynolds movies are immediately followed by Cecil B. DeMille's silent film THE KING OF KINGS (1927), about the life of Christ.

...A week later, on December 15th, the day's lineup includes the MGM version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938), plus HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949), THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947), THE THIN MAN (1934) -- which isn't a Christmas movie but has a memorable Christmas scene -- THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1942), and THE LEMON DROP KID (1951). Needless to say, these are all films very much worth checking out. The only one I don't especially care for is THE LEMON DROP KID, yet that film is also important as it produced one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Silver Bells."

...The evening of the 16th features the TCM premiere of the 20th Century-Fox film O. HENRY'S FULL HOUSE (1952), a multi-story film featuring Jeanne Crain and Farley Granger in "The Gift of the Magi." It's followed by MEET JOHN DOE (1941), GOOD SAM (1948), IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE (1947), and MR. SOFT TOUCH (1949). I just saw IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE for the first time in 2011 and really enjoyed it; Don DeFore and Gale Storm lead an excellent cast.

...Romance is in the air on December 17th, starting with another airing of HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949), starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh; their romance feels very "real," and it's a film I highly recommend. It's followed by Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in the excellent REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940). THE HOLIDAY (2006) is a relatively recent film with a classic film sensibility, a nice addition to TCM's holiday films. BACHELOR MOTHER (1939) is an all-time favorite film starring Ginger Rogers and David Niven; it's followed by a remake, BUNDLE OF JOY (1956).

...It's CHRISTMAS CAROL Night on Thursday, December 19th, starting with the musical SCROOGE (1970). That's followed by the highly regarded 1951 Alastair Sim version, a 1935 British version which is completely new to me, and the beloved 1938 MGM version with Reginald Owen and the Lockhart family.  The marathon concludes with the TV production A CAROL FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS (1964).

...There's another TCM premiere on December 21st: CHRISTMAS EVE (1947) starring Randolph Scott, George Brent, George Raft, and Joan Blondell. AUNTIE MAME (1958) and ALL MINE TO GIVE (1957) are also on the schedule.

...ON MOONLIGHT BAY (1951) features Doris Day singing "Merry Christmas, All." It airs on the 22nd.

...THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940) also airs on Sunday, the 22nd, immediately followed by its remake, the improbably titled IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949). In keeping with this month's religious theme for Silent Sunday Nights, the silent version of BEN-HUR (1925) also airs on the 22nd.

...Christmas movies air 'round the clock on December 23rd and 24th. Titles airing on the 23rd not previously mentioned here include LITTLE WOMEN (1933), LOVE FINDS ANDY HARDY (1938), 3 GODFATHERS (1948), MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944), THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S (1945), LITTLE WOMEN (1949), and TENTH AVENUE ANGEL (1948). Those last few titles fall under the theme of "Christmas Kids"; three of the four star Margaret O'Brien, while THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S has O'Brien's MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS sister, Joan Carroll, in the cast. MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS is a holiday "must" in our house.

...The fantasy BEYOND TOMORROW (1940) starts off the lineup on Christmas Eve, a day which also sees the reruns of numerous films previously mentioned.

...For the last few years Robert Osborne has made it a point to feature a 20th Century-Fox film among his annual Christmas Eve picks, showcasing titles such as CHICKEN EVERY SUNDAY (1948), MARGIE (1946), and COME TO THE STABLE (1949). This year his Fox pick is SUN VALLEY SERENADE (1941), which I happened to watch last Christmas Day. It's a marvelous film starring John Payne, Sonja Henie, Lynn Bari, and Glenn Miller. There are so many reasons to watch this film I can't list them all here, so please read my post on the movie and then be sure to watch or record it!

...I'm also glad Mr. Osborne is shining the Christmas Eve spotlight on I'LL BE SEEING YOU (1944), a film which deserves to be much better known. Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten play two troubled people who find each other, and new hope, at Christmastime. There are excellent supporting performances by Tom Tully, Spring Byington, and Shirley Temple.

...Rounding out the Christmas Eve list: CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945), returning to TCM after curiously being missing during Barbara Stanwyck Month last December; one of my top seasonal favorites, THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947) with Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven; and Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in HOLIDAY (1938) which has nothing to do with Christmas, but why not? :) The short STAR IN THE NIGHT (1945) completes the Christmas Eve lineup.

...Religious films will air on Christmas Day: THE MIRACLE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA (1952), THE BIG FISHERMAN (1959), BEN-HUR (1959), THE ROBE (1953), and KING OF KINGS (1961).

For more on TCM this month, please visit TCM in December: Highlights and TCM Star of the Month: Fred Astaire.

Season's Greetings and Merry Christmas!


Blogger barrylane said...

Re It Happened On Fifth Avenue, a film that works well and I like a lot, but billing aside, to mention that title without attaching Charlie Ruggles, and Victor Moore to it, doesn't seem at all right.

10:09 AM  

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