Tuesday, December 31, 2013

TCM in January: Highlights

Happy New Year, and best wishes for 2014!

The holiday season always passes too quickly, but we can look forward to an exciting January schedule on Turner Classic Movies.

Joan Crawford will be the January Star of the Month, with over five dozen Crawford films shown on Thursday evenings and the Friday daytime hours throughout the month. I plan to share more about this month's Crawford films on Thursday. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Joan Crawford.)

Here are just a few of the other interesting titles airing on TCM in January:

...Spend New Year's Day with Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson in Douglas Sirk's MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954). I haven't seen that one in years, I'm due to rewatch it.

...The Friday Night Spotlight theme this month is "Science in the Movies," and the series kicks off on Friday, January 3rd, with Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon starring in the classic MADAME CURIE (1943).

...I love the Lane Sisters and "B" movies, so I'll be recording the 59-minute ALWAYS A BRIDE (1940) on January 5th. Rosemary Lane costars with George Reeves.

...Another fun "B" movie on the 5th is TEAR GAS SQUAD (1940). Gotta love the title! Dennis Morgan and John Payne star.

...Primetime on the 5th features two Betty Grable films. The musical MOON OVER MIAMI (1941) is a big favorite at my house. Betty and Carole Landis chase Don Ameche and Bob Cummings in glorious Fox Technicolor. Sheer delight.

...The day after Rosemary Lane is on in ALWAYS A BRIDE, her sister Priscilla can be seen in BLUES IN THE NIGHT (1941). This is a strange film -- starting with the name of Priscilla's character, she's called "Character"! -- but I have a soft spot for it, especially due to the memorable title song.  January 6th.

...There's a new PRIVATE SCREENINGS on January 6th; in honor of TCM's 20th anniversary this year, Robert Osborne is the interviewee rather than the interviewer. I find the choice of Alec Baldwin as the interviewer awkward; the perennially immature Baldwin and a classy network like TCM don't seem to go together. That said, I'm looking forward to hearing Robert Osborne's thoughts on his life, career, and TCM.

...Also on January 6th: the priceless comedy LIBELED LADY (1936), starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, and Jean Harlow. Anyone who loves screwball comedies and hasn't yet caught up with this one should make it a point to catch it.

...TCM celebrates the 90th anniversary of Columbia Pictures with an 11-film festival beginning on January 7th. The titles include IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934), HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940), COVER GIRL (1944), GILDA (1946), FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953), and ON THE WATERFRONT (1954).

...On January 8th TCM will devote a six-film tribute to actor Dane Clark. I highly recommend EMBRACEABLE YOU (1948), costarring Geraldine Brooks; it's one of those wonderful relatively unknown treasures I happened across a few years ago. I was deeply impressed by Clark's performance. I suspect it's better not to say anything about the plot but just let it unfold for new viewers; it may be farfetched at times, but the cast carries it off. You can read more about the film by Moira at Skeins of Thought.

...Actress Anita Louise received a nine-film birthday tribute on January 9th. There are many interesting titles to explore; the only one I've seen is THESE GLAMOUR GIRLS (1939), an entertaining MGM "B" film with a terrific cast, including Lana Turner, Marsha Hunt, Richard Carlson, and Ann Rutherford.

...I've always been partial to VALLEY OF THE KINGS (1954), an Egyptian treasure hunt film starring Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker. Not a great movie, yet I find it a lot of fun to watch. It's on January 11th.

...It's Kay Francis Day when TCM celebrates her birthday on January 13th. Kay receives a huge 10-film tribute, ranging from pre-Codes to Deanna Durbin's IT'S A DATE (1940) to late career films such as ALLOTMENT WIVES (1945) and DIVORCE (1945). It looks like a very enjoyable schedule.

...Loretta Young stars in the pre-Code PLAY-GIRL (1932) on January 14th. It's a bit silly, yet Loretta is magnetic. It's part of a morning of pre-Codes which also includes Kay Francis in the very entertaining MAN WANTED (1932).

...The annual birthday tribute to Margaret O'Brien will take place on Wednesday, January 15th. I particularly recommend OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES (1945), which is classic MGM Americana. Edward G. Robinson and Agnes Moorehead play O'Brien's farmer parents. The excellent supporting cast includes James Craig, Frances Gifford, Jackie "Butch" Jenkins, Dorothy Morris, and Arthur Space.

...Ward Bond, Frances Dee, and Donna Corcoran star in GYPSY COLT (1954) on January 16th. This was the lovely Dee's last feature film; she had a "surprise" baby in 1955, two decades after the birth of her second child, and devoted herself to her family from that point on.

...I receive a great deal of email from professors and college students about THE BEGINNING OR THE END (1947), wanting to know if this MGM film about the creation of the atomic bomb is out on DVD. This is one the Warner Archive should put out ASAP! It's airing on January 17th as part of the Friday Night "Science in the Movies" series.

...PORTRAIT OF JENNIE (1948), airing on Sunday, January 19th, is a memorable fantasy starring Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones. I have a great memory of seeing a revival screening of this in the late '70s or early '80s, when it switched to "widescreen" and tinted colors for the ending disaster sequence.

...I really enjoyed NOBODY LIVES FOREVER (1946) at the 2012 Noir City Film Festival, starring John Garfield and Geraldine Fitzgerald. It's shown on the 22nd.

...The MGM musical LUXURY LINER (1948) has gorgeous Technicolor. George Brent is the ship's captain and Jane Powell is his daughter. Interesting trivia: George Brent liked Jane Powell so much that he and his wife named their daughter Suzanne, which was Jane's real name. Even more interesting trivia: Decades later, after his wife had died, George proposed to Jane. Jane loved George as a friend but turned him down. It will be airing on the 26th.

...The low-budget CAUSE FOR ALARM! (1951) shows how much can be done with a little, as Loretta Young's ill husband reveals a previously unknown dark side. Very dark side! It airs on the 27th.

...Laraine Day stars in the very cute BRIDE BY MISTAKE (1944), a remake of THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD (1934) which starred Miriam Hopkins. The screenplay was written by Henry and Phoebe Ephron, parents of the late Nora Ephron. BRIDE BY MISTAKE airs January 29th.

...The last day of January includes BACHELOR IN PARADISE (1961), a Bob Hope film with a stunning rainbow-hued early '60s look. It's also on the 12th.

Please visit the online schedule for the complete list of all the movies playing on TCM this month.

And again, Happy New Year!


Blogger Unknown said...

You missed tonight theme:LOST WORLDS

8:00 PM Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) Pat Boone in a pair of home made Daisy Dukes.

10:15 PM Lost World, The (1960) Irwin Allen's plastic monster mess.

12:00 AM Valley of Gwangi, The (1969) Cowboys and monsters

2:00 AM She (1965) Ursula Andress, 'nef sed

4:00 AM Lost Continent, The (1968) Classic Hammer. Solid film making - solid leading ladies.

8:57 AM  

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