Friday, December 01, 2017

TCM in December: Highlights

It hardly seems possible, but December is here, and it's time for a look at this month's Turner Classic Movies schedule!

Lana Turner is the December Star of the Month. Over 40 Turner films will be shown spread over Tuesday evenings, running into Wednesday. I'll have a look at the Turner films posted here prior to Tuesday. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Lana Turner.)

December highlights include Treasures From the Disney Vault on December 20th (more on that below) and the TCM Spotlight focusing on the Great American Songbook every Thursday, hosted by Michael Feinstein.

This month's Noir Alley titles are PUSHOVER (1954) on December 3rd, THE BREAKING POINT (1950) on December 10th, and THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1946) on December 17th. The Garfield films may be better known but I really like PUSHOVER, with crooked cop Fred MacMurray, good cop Phil Carey, femme fatale Kim Novak, and plucky nurse Dorothy Malone. Noir Alley goes on hiatus for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve but returns January 7th!

As always, December features a great lineup of Christmas movies. I have a complete rundown of every Christmas film showing this month in TCM in December: Christmas Movies.

Here's a look at a few of the other great titles on this month's schedule. Click on any hyperlinked title to read the corresponding review.

...Before starring in the Christmas classic THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan starred in another film with "shop" in the title, THE SHOPWORN ANGEL (1938), costarring Walter Pidgeon. It's being shown December 3rd.

...TCM honors producer Alan Ladd Jr. on December 6th with a showing of IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT THE STORY: CONVERSATIONS WITH ALAN LADD JR. (2016). That will be followed by two of the best films Ladd produced, CHARIOTS OF FIRE (1981) and THE RIGHT STUFF (1983). I consider the latter film, which includes the late Sam Shepard's iconic performance as test pilot Chuck Yeager, to be one of the truly great films of the last few decades.

...The Great American Songbook series kicks off December 7th with MGM's Rodgers and Hart biopic WORDS AND MUSIC (1948). Other titles airing that evening are I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS (1951), FOR ME AND MY GAL (1942), and HOLLYWOOD HOTEL (1937).

...James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan turn up in another film, the highly regarded THE MORTAL STORM (1940), on December 8th. It's part of a lineup of WWII dramas.

...Actress Anne Shirley, who as a child actress had previously been known as Dawn O'Day, took her stage name from her film ANNE OF GREEN GABLES (1934), which is shown on December 10th.

...The classic Warner Bros. production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (1935) will be shown on December 11th. If I remember my Hollywood lore correctly, Hal Mohr's shimmering cinematography is the only write-in candidate to ever win an Oscar. The all-star cast includes Olivia de Havilland, Dick Powell, James Cagney, Anita Louise, and Mickey Rooney.

...A December 12th birthday tribute to Edward G. Robinson includes the interesting film BLACKMAIL (939), which I reviewed last year. Ruth Hussey costars as Robinson's loyal wife.

...More musicals from the Great American Songbook on December 14th: GIRL CRAZY (1943), ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND (1938), HIGH SOCIETY (1956), and THREE LITTLE WORDS (1950). That's entertainment!

...Speaking of the Great American Songbook, one of my favorite lesser-known MGM musicals is LOVELY TO LOOK AT (1952), a remake of ROBERTA (1935). It has a great cast including Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson, Ann Miller, and Red Skelton, a lilting Jerome Kern score, and fantastic dancing by Marge and Gower Champion. It's being shown December 16th.

...CAREFREE (1938) is one of my very favorite Fred and Ginger movies. Perhaps it's more screwball comedy than musical, but wonderful all the same. Catch it on December 17th.

...A Rex Harrison tribute on December 18th includes a pair of his best-known roles, as DOCTOR DOOLITTLE (1967) and in MY FAIR LADY (1967), plus BLITHE SPIRIT (1945) and ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM (1946).

...It's George Sanders Day on December 19th, with a number of good movies showing. I really enjoyed RAGE IN HEAVEN (1941), with Sanders and Robert Montgomery cast against type as hero (Sanders) and villain (Montgomery). Ingrid Bergman costars.

...This month's Treasures from the Disney Vault lineup, airing on December 20th, is particularly good, including two relatively little-seen films, THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD AND HIS MERRIE MEN (1952), starring Richard Todd, and TOBY TYLER (1960) starring Kevin Corcoran. Hopefully ROBIN HOOD being shown means there is hope that TCM will show the other two films in Todd's "Disney Trilogy" in the future, THE SWORD AND THE ROSE (1953) and ROB ROY: THE HIGHLAND ROGUE (1953).

...On December 21st the Great American Songbook series features SWING TIME (1936), 42ND STREET (1933), YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942), and DEEP IN MY HEART (1954).

...December is really a great month for musicals! Several more air on December 22nd, including the Esther Williams favorite DUCHESS OF IDAHO (1950), Fred Astaire and Jane Powell in ROYAL WEDDING (1950), and Leslie Caron in LILI (1953) to name just a few. ROYAL WEDDING is very appropriate as it was set during the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who just celebrated their 70th anniversary!

...Another lovely musical is BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON (1953), showing on December 23rd. This Doris Day-Gordon MacRae film is a sequel to ON MOONLIGHT BAY (1951), which is part of the Christmas movie lineup on December 15th.

...Because nothing says Christmas joy like Alfred Hitchcock (???), you can watch 24 hours of films from the Master of Suspense beginning Christmas Night. The marathon kicks off with Jimmy Stewart in REAR WINDOW (1954), costarring Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Wendell Corey, and Raymond Burr.

...The Great American Songbook series ends on December 28th with THE DOLLY SISTERS (1945), ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (1950), ON THE TOWN (1949), and THE BAND WAGON (1953). You just don't get any better than THE BAND WAGON, which I highly recommend. Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse star.

...On December 29th there's an In Memoriam tribute to actors who passed away in the past year and did not receive individual TCM tributes. The honorees and films include JULES AND JIM (1962) in memory of Jeanne Moreau, APOLLO 13 (1995) in honor of Bill Paxton, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (1967) in tribute to Mary Tyler Moore, and KELLY'S HEROES (1970) to honor Don Rickles.

...The next morning, on the 30th, additional In Memoriam titles include GOLD OF THE SEVEN SAINTS (1961) with the late Roger Moore, the animated film THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH (1970) in memory of voice actress June Foray, and THE WINDOW (1949) for Barbara Hale.

...A primetime December 30th tribute to Frank Sinatra includes one of my favorite Sinatra films, THE TENDER TRAP (1955). The good feelings it engenders make the film seem perfect for this time of year. It also happens to air just a couple days over a year since we lost the film's leading lady, Debbie Reynolds.

For more on TCM in December, please visit the online schedule.

Additionally, here's TCM's December promo video montage as well as a nice Christmas movie video.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older