Tuesday, November 03, 2015

TCM Star of the Month: Norma Shearer

The November Star of the Month on Turner Classic Movies is the "Queen of MGM," Norma Shearer.

This is Shearer's second time as Star of the Month; she was also Star of the Month 16 years ago, in 1999.

22 Norma Shearer movies will be shown on Tuesday evenings this month beginning tonight, November 3rd. Here's a quick rundown on what's ahead this month for Shearer fans; click any hyperlinked title for a review and more information.

The November 3rd theme is silent films, with a lineup consisting of LADY OF THE NIGHT (1924), A LADY OF CHANCE (1928), THE STUDENT PRINCE IN OLD HEIDELBERG (1927), costarring Roman Navarro, and HE WHO GETS SLAPPED (1924) with Lon Chaney.

On November 10th the films move on to "The Dawn of Sound." That evening kicks off with the Noel Coward comedy PRIVATE LIVES (1931), with her frequent costar Robert Montgomery.

Next up: A FREE SOUL (1931), for which she received one of her half-dozen Best Actress nominations; Clark Gable costars. Next is LET US BE GAY (1930), followed by her Oscar-winning role as THE DIVORCEE (1930). Chester Morris and Robert Montgomery costar in THE DIVORCEE.

The evening ends with my favorite Shearer film and one of my very favorite pre-Codes, THEIR OWN DESIRE (1929), for which she received her first Best Actress nomination. Robert Montgomery costars in this short romance, which was partly filmed at the fabled Norconian Resort. The evening concludes with THE LAST OF MRS. CHEYNEY (1929), costarring Basil Rathbone.

The November 17th schedule is titled "The Queen of MGM." It starts off with another film costarring Robert Montgomery, STRANGERS MAY KISS (1931); Neil Hamilton costars. SMILIN' THROUGH (1932) is a weeper with Leslie Howard and Fredric March; it's followed by STRANGE INTERLUDE (1932) with Clark Gable.

The night continues with the excellent THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET (1934), costarring Fredric March and Charles Laughton; it's one of the Shearer performances I have most enjoyed. The evening winds down with RIPTIDE (1934), costarring Robert Montgomery and Herbert Marshall, and ROMEO AND JULIET (1936) with Leslie Howard.

November 24th is titled "Fadeout," starting with her really fine performance as MARIE ANTOINETTE (1938), taking the title character from giddy young princess to a grief-stricken protective mother. That's followed by her role in the classic THE WOMEN (1939).

IDIOT'S DELIGHT (1939) is another of her films with Clark Gable, and she's teamed with Robert Taylor in both the WWII drama ESCAPE (1940) and the farce HER CARDBOARD LOVER (1942). The last film in November's Star of the Month series is WE WERE DANCING (1942), costarring Melvyn Douglas.

In addition to the previously mentioned Best Actress nominations, Shearer was also nominated for THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET, ROMEO AND JULIET, and MARIE ANTOINETTE.

For more information on TCM this month, please visit TCM in November: Highlights or the complete TCM schedule.


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