Saturday, November 01, 2014

TCM in November: Highlights

With Halloween now behind us, it's time to look at the November schedule on Turner Classic Movies!

Instead of focusing on a single Star of the Month, the November theme is Silent Stars. Every Monday evening will be devoted to silent films with many of the era's greatest stars.

I've only just begun exploring silent films, mostly thanks to Harold Lloyd, so the movies I watch this month -- or record to watch in the future! -- will certainly expand my knowledge in that regard.

The Friday Night Spotlight theme is Road Movies, hosted by TCM's Essentials Jr. host Bill Hader.

November on TCM is filled with good things, and here's a preview of just some of them:

...Relaxing Sundays and MGM musicals just seem to go together for me, and there are several airing on TCM on November 2nd. I highly recommend the bubbly, colorful GOOD NEWS (1947), directed by Charles Walters. Walters will be the focus of the Friday Night Spotlight on TCM in December.

...BULLETS FOR O'HARA (1941), which I just reviewed today, is part of a day of crime films on Monday, November 3rd. It stars Anthony Quinn, Joan Perry (Mrs. Harry Cohn), and the previously unknown-to-me Roger Pryor.

...The first evening of "Silent Stars" on November 3rd includes titles with Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Lililan Gish, Marion Davies, and Greta Garbo.

...There's a six-film tribute to Bob Hope on Tuesday evening, November 4th, which includes THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1939) with Paulette Goddard and THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE (1944) with Virginia Mayo. The tribute coincides with that day's release of the new biography HOPE: ENTERTAINER OF THE CENTURY by Richard Zoglin. I'll be reviewing that book in the next few weeks thanks to TCM and Simon & Schuster; it just arrived and is going to take a while to read as it clocks in at a hefty 576 pages!

...There's a 10-film birthday tribute to Joel McCrea on November 5th; it mostly consists of pre-Codes, capped by Joel starring in my favorite Hitchcock film, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940).

...November 6th: Vivien Leigh is incredibly gorgeous in THAT HAMILTON WOMAN (1941), costarring Laurence Olivier.

...The month's first set of Friday Night Spotlight "road" movies on November 7th has a noirish bent, including DETOUR (1945), which I hope to see at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art the very same night! Other titles including Ida Lupino's scary THE HITCH-HIKER (1953), starring Frank Lovejoy, Edmond O'Brien, and William Talman, who gives a creepy performance for the ages. And later that night there's Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain in HOT RODS TO HELL (1967). I really need to check that one out sometime.

...November 8th is a fantastic, varied Saturday on TCM, including Van Johnson, Tom Drake, and John McIntire in the very enjoyable cop film SCENE OF THE CRIME (1949) and Zachary Scott in Jean Renoir's THE SOUTHERNER (1945). Later in the day it's Hitchcock's SABOTEUR (1942); I recently visited the site of that film's "Soda City."

...For colorful MGM escapism I recommend LATIN LOVERS (1953) starring Lana Turner, Ricardo Montalban, and John Lund. It's a ball of fluff, but oh so gorgeous, with striking art direction and beautiful gowns by Helen Rose. It airs November 9th.

...The Silent Stars series on November 10th, running until early on November 11th, focuses on male stars including Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., John Gilbert, and Ronald Colman. Colman will be seen in THE WINNING OF BARBARA WORTH (1926), a film which enchanted me when I saw it for the first time this summer. BARBARA WORTH costars Vilma Banky and the young, gorgeous Gary Cooper.

...Robert Osborne's picks for the month, airing November 12th, include the enjoyably melodramatic IN THIS OUR LIFE (1942), with a great cast including Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, George Brent, Dennis Morgan, and Charles Coburn, directed by John Huston. Later in the night there are two Hedy Lamarr films, TORTILLA FLAT (1942) and H.M. PULHAM, ESQ. (1941), followed by Deborah Kerr in VACATION FROM MARRIAGE (1945) and I SEE A DARK STRANGER (1946).

...A tribute to talented child actress Virginia Weidler on November 13th includes BAD LITTLE ANGEL (1939) and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940).

...This is a great month for birthday tributes! Dick Powell receives an eight-film salute on November 14th. The final film in the lineup is SUSAN SLEPT HERE (1954), costarring Debbie Reynolds; its Christmastime setting is perfect for mid-November, with the holidays just weeks away.

...Airing the morning of November 15th, Errol Flynn and Ann Sheridan play resistance fighters battling the Nazis in EDGE OF DARKNESS (1943), directed by Lewis Milestone.

...On November 17th the Silent Stars series includes films with Janet Gaynor, George O'Brien, Baby Peggy, and Constance and Norma Talmadge.

...November 19th it's Allison Hayes day. Never heard of her? Me neither! She was in several obscure '50s films I'm looking forward to checking out, starring with Gene Barry and Beverly Tyler in HONG KONG CONFIDENTIAL (1958), Cameron Mitchell in PIER 5, HAVANA (1959), and Forrest Tucker in COUNTERPLOT (1959).

...As Thanksgiving approaches it's a great time to watch MY REPUTATION (1946), which is partly set during the holiday season. Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, and Eve Arden are marvelous in this absorbing film, airing November 20th.

...Spend the day celebrating Eleanor Powell's birthday on November 21st, with titles including BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936 (1936), costarring Robert Taylor, and BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940 (1940) with the one and only Fred Astaire.

...An evening of boxing films on November 22nd includes Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Steve Cochran, and Vera-Ellen in the very enjoyable THE KID FROM BROOKLYN (1946), which I just reviewed in September.

...November wouldn't be complete without TCM airing PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE (1952), screening the Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 23rd. It stars Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, and Gene Tierney.

...The final evening of Silent Stars, on November 24th, focuses on comedians, including Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. Lloyd's classic THE FRESHMAN (1925), which I saw last July, is part of the lineup.

...November 25th, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, features a marathon of THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! (1974), THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, PART II (1976), THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! III (1994), and THAT'S DANCING! (1985). THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! came out when I was a child and was just getting excited about MGM musicals; it's one of the things which helped make me the film fan I am today. I've seen it countless times and it never gets old. I happened to see a preview of THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, PART II on the MGM lot two years later, which was quite a thrill!

...Later on the 25th the THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! films are followed by a new TCM PRESENTS A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES special, GEORGE LUCAS AND THE WORLD OF FANTASY CINEMA (2014). The special is followed by a 12-film marathon, continuing throughout November 26th, which includes Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo in THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (1947), an all-star Warner Bros. cast in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (1935), the lovely Cinderella film THE GLASS SLIPPER (1955) with Leslie Caron, Margaret O'Brien in THE SECRET GARDEN (1949), and Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten in PORTRAIT OF JENNIE (1948).

...Thanksgiving Day features family favorites including Shirley Temple in A LITTLE PRINCESS (1939), an all-star cast in the MGM version of LITTLE WOMEN (1949), and Glenn Ford, Shirley Jones, and Ronny Howard in Vincente Minnelli's THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER (1963).

...The day after Thanksgiving is devoted to Alfred Hitchcock, with seven films including SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943) and MARNIE (1964).

...I'm most excited about the new "Fan Favorites" feature during the day on Saturday, November 29th, featuring four wonderful people from the online classic film community who will help Ben Mankiewicz introduce some of their favorite films via video chats. Aurora, my partner in exploring L.A. cemeteries, will introduce a film beloved to both of us, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944). She's followed by Paula, the cofounder of Twitter's #TCMParty, introducing Bob Hope in THE LEMON DROP KID (1951). Both movies are perfect for the long Thanksgiving weekend! Next up will be monster aficionado Miguel, who helps to intro THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951). The evening concludes with my pal Joel introducing BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969). I'm so looking forward to seeing these familiar faces I've enjoyed spending time with at the TCM Classic Film Festival on TCM!

For more details on TCM in November, please consult the complete schedule. Happy November, and early wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving.


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