Thursday, October 31, 2013

TCM in November: Highlights

Happy November! Thanksgiving is now just weeks away, and fans of classic films can also look forward to a wonderful month on Turner Classic Movies.

I'm especially delighted that this month's schedule includes a Friday Night Spotlight series focusing on screwball comedies. It's a wonderful series, and it's especially nice to be able to enjoy so many happy films at this special time of the year.

Burt Lancaster is the November Star of the Month. Close to 30 Lancaster films will air on Wednesday nights, honoring the centennial of his birth on November 2, 1913.

I'll be incorporating a look at some of the Lancaster films airing this month in the highlights listed below. Here's a preview of some of the great movies showing on TCM in November:

...The month starts off in fine style with THE BROTHERS RICO (1957) on Friday, November 1st. I just saw this film for the first time last June and thought it was excellent. Richard Conte plays a clean-living former mob accountant whose past comes back to haunt him. Directed by Phil Karlson.

...TCM is the place to be on Friday nights in November! The screwball comedy series starts off November 1st with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934), which I had the pleasure of revisiting for the first time in years at last spring's TCM Classic Film Festival. LIBELED LADY (1936), also showing Friday night, is one of my all-time favorite comedies; it stars William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, and Jean Harlow. The other comedies on the first night's schedule are HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940), NOTHING SACRED (1937), THE MAD MISS MANTON (1938), and THE BRIDE CAME C.O.D. (1941).

...Saturday mornings this month will feature Ann Sothern in the MAISIE series, starting with, what else, MAISIE (1939) on November 2nd. Robert Young and Ruth Hussey costar in the initial entry in the series.

...Vivien Leigh's centennial will be honored on November 5th with a 24-hour, 11-film tribute including both of her Oscar-winning movies, GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) and A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951). The celebration kicks off with WATERLOO BRIDGE (1940), costarring Robert Taylor -- a film greatly loved by many. (For those who might be wondering, Leigh was TCM's Star of the Month just three years ago.)

...Joel McCrea was also born on November 5th, and TCM will celebrate the 108th anniversary of his birth one day late, on November 6th. Half a dozen McCrea films are on the schedule, including one of my all-time favorite movies, THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943). I could watch "that scene" on the front porch steps on an endless loop for hours.

...The month-long tribute to Burt Lancaster kicks off on November 6th with an eight-film lineup including his very first movie, the fantastic film noir THE KILLERS (1946). I just saw it for the first time at the Noir City Film Festival earlier this year and loved doesn't get any more noir than Charles McGraw and William Conrad as hired killers in trenchcoats and fedoras! The movies on the 6th also include the classic FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953), which I first saw as a teen at a 'round-the-clock Filmex marathon of Oscar-winning movies.

...FOUR GIRLS IN WHITE (1939) is a favorite little "B" movie which airs on November 7th as part of an evening of films on nurses. The girls in white are Florence Rice, Ann Rutherford, Una Merkel, and Mary Howard.

...Friday, November 8th, brings the second night of screwball comedies, starting with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937), followed by the same pair starring in MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940). (Cary Grant's MY FAVORITE WIFE double take as an elevator door closes is classic.) Next up is LOVE CRAZY (1941) with Powell and Loy, followed by Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery in Hitchcock's MR. AND MRS. SMITH (1941). TOO MANY HUSBANDS (194) and VIVACIOUS LADY (1938) are also on the schedule.

...Saturday, November 9th, there's a three-film tribute to Dick Powell, including GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933), THE REFORMER AND THE REDHEAD (1950), and CORNERED (1945).

...The daytime lineup on Sunday the 10th is really nice, starting out with Kathryn Grayson and Van Heflin in the very enjoyable SEVEN SWEETHEARTS (1942), then moving on to Esther Williams in BATHING BEAUTY (1944) and Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young in the lovely THE ENCHANTED COTTAGE (1945).

...November 11th is another day I could happily watch for hours, a nine-film birthday tribute to Robert Ryan. The day kicks off with Jacques Tourneur's BERLIN EXPRESS (1948), costarring Merle Oberon.

...A series of lesser-known films directed by Busby Berkeley on November 12th includes George Brent in THE GO-GETTER (1937) and FAST AND FURIOUS (1939), with Franchot Tone and Ann Sothern as married sleuths Joel and Garda Sloan. Lee Bowman and Ruth Hussey costar.

...On November 13th the Burt Lancaster tribute continues, with the pick of the night being SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957), a phenomenal film with stunning black and white photography by James Wong Howe. Also good: the thriller SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964), with Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner, and Edmond O'Brien.

...A November 15th tribute to Lizabeth Scott includes a really excellent film set in the world of 1940s professional football, EASY LIVING (1949). The terrific cast includes Victor Mature, Sonny Tufts, Lloyd Nolan, Lucille Ball, Jack Paar, Richard Erdman, and Paul Stewart, directed by Jacques Tourneur, a name many film fans such as myself have come to equate with quality entertainment. Also on the schedule: PITFALL (1948) with Dick Powell and Jane Wyatt, and several other interesting titles.

...TCM is showing two different films titled EASY LIVING on the 15th -- first the football film described immediately above, and then the classic 1937 comedy with Jean Arthur and Ray Milland. Also showing as part of the Friday night screwball comedy lineup: Irene Dunne and Melvyn Douglas in THEODORA GOES WILD (1936), Carole Lombard and John Barrymore in TWENTIETH CENTURY (1934), Claudette Colbert and James Stewart in IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD (1939), Constance Bennett and Brian Aherne in MERRILY WE LIVE (1938), and another wonderful Jean Arthur film, IF YOU COULD ONLY COOK (1935), costarring Herbert Marshall.

...I'm hoping to see the marvelous STAGE DOOR (1937) at UCLA in early November, but if you're not in driving distance of Westwood, TCM is showing this marvelous comedy-drama on Saturday, November 16th. The cast just doesn't come any better: Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, Eve Arden, Ann Miller, Gail Patrick, and Lucille Ball.

...EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE (1949) is a very entertaining glossy MGM drama/crime movie with an all-star cast: Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason, Ava Gardner, Van Heflin, Cyd Charisse, William Conrad, and Nancy Davis (Reagan). It's on November 17th.

...There's more Burt Lancaster on November 20th, including THE TRAIN (1964), a suspense film I've not yet seen which was strongly recommended to me by Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation.

...The comedies on November 22nd start out with one of the best, the zany MY MAN GODFREY (1936), costarring Carole Lombard and William Powell. The craziness then continues with Grant and Hepburn in BRINGING UP BABY (1938), Stanwyck and Cooper in BALL OF FIRE (1941), Stewart and Arthur in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938), and Dunne and Fairbanks Jr. in JOY OF LIVING (1938).

...PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE (1952), MGM's story of the Pilgrims, will air on Sunday, November 24th. It stars Spencer Tracy, Gene Tierney, and Van Johnson.

...I love Ricardo Montalban, and TCM is celebrating his birthday on Monday, November 25th. The movies include THE KISSING BANDIT (1948) and ON AN ISLAND WITH YOU (1948), in which he did some terrific dancing with Cyd Charisse; William Wellman's classic war film BATTLEGROUND (1949); noir titles BORDER INCIDENT (1949) and one of my faves, MYSTERY STREET (1950); and John Ford's CHEYENNE AUTUMN (1964).

...THE MATING OF MILLIE (1948), on November 26th, is an old favorite starring Glenn Ford and Evelyn Keyes.

...TCM has an unusual theme for the day before Thanksgiving, November 27th: heist movies! Titles include THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950), SIDE STREET (1950), and GUN CRAZY (1950).

...The final night of Burt Lancaster films on November 27th very appropriately includes one of his final performances, a beautiful and touching turn in FIELD OF DREAMS (1989). The wealth of film history he brought to the part gave resonance to his role as the kindly doctor with a mysterious past.

...Thanksgiving Day is focused on family entertainment, including Margaret O'Brien in THE SECRET GARDEN (1949) and Elizabeth Taylor in LASSIE COME HOME (1943) and NATIONAL VELVET (1944), followed by somewhat more recent films, THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN (1984), CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (1968), and BORN FREE (1966). The last two films certainly take me back to my childhood, going to see Dick Van Dyke in CCBB and also watching the well-remembered TV broadcast he hosted of BORN FREE.

...The month's last night of screwball comedies on November 29th starts out with a Preston Sturges theme: THE LADY EVE (1941), CHRISTMAS IN JULY (1940), and THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942). The final three movies of the night are FOUR'S A CROWD (1938), TOPPER (1937), and TURNABOUT (1940).

For more details on TCM in November, please consult the complete schedule.

As a side note, Fox Movie Channel has stopped posting its schedule on line, and the movies in the rotation seem to be an endless cycle of the same titles. I watch the listings in my DVR Guide, and if anything especially interesting turns up I'll try to note it here or on Twitter. For now, the channel's future does not seem bright.

As for TCM, the future is bright indeed. December is just around the corner, filled with Christmas movies and Fred Astaire as Star of the Month!


Blogger Kristina said...

Looking forward to EASY LIVING and FOUR GIRLS IN WHITE, CHRISTMAS IN JULY, PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE among others. Like you I love MYSTERY STREET, and THE TRAIN, I'm going to second Eddie's recommendation, love that and hope you enjoy it. Thanks

9:07 AM  
Blogger redcon1 said...

Laura, if you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend "Stars In My Crown" with McCrea on November 6.
I watched it when it was last aired just a couple of months ago on TCM and I'm already eager to view it again, this time with my whole family.
Easily one of my favorites of this year!

11:12 AM  
Blogger Silver Screenings said...

Yup, November looks like a great month indeed. I'd better make sure the DVR is in good working order -- ha ha!

3:18 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Kristina! That's a great list of movies just right there in your comment! :)

Redcon1, thanks so much for the recommendation of STARS IN MY CROWN. I'm going to try to catch this one sooner rather than later -- if not on IMDb than via the Warner Archive DVD. Thank you!

Silver Screenings, I'm working hard to empty out my DVR and make room! :)

Best wishes,

3:40 PM  

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