TCM will be featuring several evenings of Christmas classics, along with holiday films on Sundays and Christmas Eve. There are also several films on the schedule which aren't Christmas movies, per se, but have notable Christmas scenes.
Many of the Christmas favorites listed here are playing two or three times, while some only show up once. A thorough overview is below, and please also consult the online schedule.
Click any hyperlinked title below for the corresponding review; reviews are only linked at the first mention.
The Christmas movie festivities begin on Thursday, December 1st, with THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1942), IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE (1947), O. HENRY'S FULL HOUSE (1952), MEET JOHN DOE (1941), and FITZWILLY (1967).
IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE, pictured here with Don DeFore and Gale Storm, is a charming Christmas film which has been rediscovered by viewers in recent years thanks to Turner Classic Movies.
On Sunday, December 4th, the titles start off with Glenn Ford and Evelyn Keyes in MR. SOFT TOUCH (1949), followed by Errol Flynn and Eleanor Parker in NEVER SAY GOODBYE (1946). MR. SOFT TOUCH is a crime film which takes place in a settlement house at Christmastime, while the climax of NEVER SAY GOODBYE finds Flynn and Gig Young chasing each other around in Santa Claus suits!
Also showing on the 4th are the TV-movie A CAROL FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS (1964), the Katharine Hepburn version of LITTLE WOMEN (1933), and the documentary A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: MERRY CHRISTMAS! (2011).
On Tuesday, December 6th, the schedule includes the MGM films OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES (1945) and MRS. PARKINGTON (1944). There's a lovely scene in OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES, pictured at the left, when Margaret O'Brien is thrilled to receive a new coat for Christmas.
The schedule on Sunday, December 11th, kicks off with ALIAS BOSTON BLACKIE (1942), set in a jail on Christmas Eve. The Aussie film BUSH CHRISTMAS (1947) is followed by a British version of SCROOGE (1935). Then, for a complete change of pace, there's John Ford's 3 GODFATHERS (1948).
The 11th also includes HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949) with Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh, CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945) with Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan, and WINTERTIME (1943) with Sonia Henie and Cesar Romero.
Monday, December 12th begins with the all-time classic MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944). It's followed by another Judy Garland musical, IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949), which is a remake of THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940).
Also airing on the 12th: A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: MERRY CHRISTMAS! (2011); Ginger Rogers in the comedy classic BACHELOR MOTHER (1939); the BACHELOR MOTHER remake BUNDLE OF JOY (1956) with Debbie Reynolds; and Reynolds and Dick Powell in SUSAN SLEPT HERE (1954), which features eye-popping 1950s Christmas decor.
Thursday, December 15th features James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), followed by CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945), LOVE FINDS ANDY HARDY (1938), DESK SET (1958), and PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT (1962). DESK SET is one of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn's most enjoyable films, with some nice Christmasy moments.
Fitting in with Christmas movies, a trio of films with religious themes are featured on Saturday, December 17th, with Jennifer Jones in the Oscar-winning THE SONG OF BERNADETTE (1943); Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald in another Oscar winner, GOING MY WAY (1944); and Susan Hayward and William Lundigan in lovely Americana about a rural preacher and his wife, I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN (1951), seen at right. It's great to see some Fox and Paramount films make the TCM lineup!
Sunday, December 18th, leads off with the film noir BACKFIRE (1950), which opens at Christmastime. Next up is THE GREAT RUPERT (1950), plus A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938), ALL MINE TO GIVE (1957), IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949), and SCROOGE (1970).
Thursday, December 22nd features a rerun of HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949), followed by the month's only showing of the beautiful REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940) with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. I was fortunate to see that in a special screening at the Academy last year.
Then it's time for the Alastair Sim A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951), Laurel and Hardy's BABES IN TOYLAND (1934), the MGM LITTLE WOMEN (1949) with June Allyson, Janet Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, and Margaret O'Brien, and one more showing of NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: MERRY CHRISTMAS! (2011).
THE THIN MAN (1934) will be shown on Friday, December 23rd, as part of the Myrna Loy Star of the Month lineup. Who can forget Nick Charles shooting the ornaments off the Christmas tree with his new air gun?!
That evening, Robert Osborne's Christmas Eve Picks are CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945), THE DOLLY SISTERS (1945), IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949), and THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1941). Mr. Osborne often picks a 20th Century-Fox musical to show on Christmas Eve, hence THE DOLLY SISTERS, which is not a Christmas movie.
The evening concludes with BELL BOOK AND CANDLE (1958), with Kim Novak, Elsa Lanchester, and Jack Lemmon seen at left, and another showing of GOING MY WAY (1944) overnight.
Christmas Day features BOYS TOWN (1938), with Spencer Tracy as Father Flanagan, followed by a series of religious films, THE ROBE (1953), BEN-HUR (1959), and KING OF KINGS (1961).
Christmas Night will alternate comedies from Frank Capra and Preston Sturges.
For more on TCM in December, please consult the schedule along with my posts TCM in December: Highlights and TCM Star of the Month: Myrna Loy.