Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TCM Star of the Month: James Stewart

James Stewart is the November Star of the Month on Turner Classic Movies.

56 Stewart films will be shown in 24-hour marathons starting every Wednesday morning in November, running into the wee hours on Thursday.

Also being shown this month are a handful of documentaries, including the biography JAMES STEWART: A WONDERFUL LIFE (1987). An excerpt from a 1976 appearance on THE TONIGHT SHOW is also on the schedule.

Below is a date-by-date rundown of the Stewart films on the schedule. Click any hyperlinked title for the corresponding review.

The series kicks off tomorrow morning, November 1st, with titles ranging from some of Stewart's earliest work to some of his best-known classics. First up during the daytime hours are films made during his ascent to stardom: THE MURDER MAN (1936), THE LAST GANGSTER (1937), WIFE VS. SECRETARY (1936), THE GORGEOUS HUSSY ( 1936), ROSE-MARIE (1936), SPEED (1936), THE ICE FOLLIES OF 1939 (1939), and MADE FOR EACH OTHER (1939) start off the day.

I've seen a majority of these films and found them worthwhile, even if Stewart's part is small. Favorites include WIFE VS. SECRETARY (with Jean Harlow, seen at right), ROSE-MARIE, and MADE FOR EACH OTHER, a soapy marital drama teaming him with Carole Lombard.

Prime time kicks off with the previously mentioned documentary, JAMES STEWART: A WONDERFUL LIFE, followed by MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) and DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939).

The evening wraps up with his supporting role in AFTER THE THIN MAN (1936) and the comedy VIVACIOUS LADY (1938). VIVACIOUS LADY costars Ginger Rogers, who at one point was Stewart's steady date.

On November 8th there are more fun early Stewart films, NAVY BLUE AND GOLD (1937), BORN TO DANCE (1936), SMALL TOWN GIRL (1936), IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD (1939), THE SHOPWORN ANGEL (1938), OF HUMAN HEARTS (1938), and YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938). I'll be reviewing NAVY BLUE AND GOLD here in November! Capra's YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU is the gem of that bunch; it costars Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, and Edward Arnold, seen at left.

Prime time on the 8th features two films with Margaret Sullavan, THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940) and THE MORTAL STORM (1940), followed by his Oscar-winning turn in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940).

That day's films conclude with the "docu-noir" CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (1948) and THE STRATTON STORY (1949), which was the first of three films he made with June Allyson.

November 15th starts off with POT O' GOLD (1941), NO TIME FOR COMEDY (1940), ZIEGFELD GIRL (1941), MALAYA (1949), and Hitchcock's somewhat experimental, absorbing one-room film, ROPE (1948).

Prime time kicks off with Hitchcock's VERTIGO (1958), followed by ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1949), THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS (1957), and NO HIGHWAY IN THE SKY (1951). NO HIGHWAY IN THE SKY, in which Stewart plays an offbeat character helplessly trying to warn that a passenger plane is about to suffer catastrophic failure, is unusual and interesting.

The day before Thanksgiving, November 22nd, you can find CARSON ON TCM: JAMES STEWART (1976) along with a rerun of JAMES STEWART: A WONDERFUL LIFE (1987). Then it's time for THUNDER BAY (1953), THE MOUNTAIN ROAD (1960), THE F.B.I. STORY (1959), CARBINE WILLIAMS (1952), and SHENANDOAH (1965).

Prime time on Thanksgiving Eve will be one of my favorites, THE GLENN MILLER STORY (1954), followed by HARVEY (1950), BELL BOOK AND CANDLE (1958), and two more Hitchcock films, REAR WINDOW (1954) and THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956).

The series wraps up on Wednesday, November 29th, with FOOL'S PARADE (1971), CHEYENNE AUTUMN (1964), FIRECREEK (1968), THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB (1968), and HOW THE WEST WAS WON (1962).

Prime time on the 29th is devoted to some of Stewart's finest Westerns, beginning with John Ford's THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962). That's followed by a quartet of films directed by Anthony Mann, WINCHESTER '73 (1950), BEND OF THE RIVER (1952), THE FAR COUNTRY (1954), and THE NAKED SPUR (1953), all of them gems. The last title of the series is Ford's TWO RODE TOGETHER (1961).

For more information on TCM in November 2017, please visit TCM in November: Highlights or the complete schedule.


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