Thursday, February 01, 2018

TCM in February: 31 Days of Oscar Highlights

It's February 1st, and time for the annual 31 Days of Oscar festival on Turner Classic Movies!

31 Days of Oscar runs through March 3rd. TCM has posted a special microsite, and the schedule may also be found here.

I keep hoping that one year TCM will try a change of pace in February -- perhaps classic films which were ignored by the Oscars? -- but there's no denying there are many outstanding, worthwhile films on TCM this month.

This year the films are grouped by type of nomination, with winners in the featured categories shown in prime time hours. Here's a look at a few favorites! Click any hyperlinked title for my corresponding review.

...The series kicks off today, February 1st, with Best Song nominees. There are several good options, particularly in prime time, which features SWING TIME (1936) and "The Way You Look Tonight," THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946) with "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," and LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING (1955) with its memorable title song.

...This weekend focuses on Best Cinematography nominees and winners, including such excellent films as SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) on the 3rd and THE NAKED CITY (1948) on the 4th.

...THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) is among the Best Editing nominees shown in prime time on the 6th. For those who don't live close enough to L.A. to enjoy the current retrospective on director Michael Curtiz, this film is one of several opportunities to enjoy his work on TCM this month.

...A day focused on Best Sound, February 8th, includes MGM's classic SAN FRANCISCO (1936), starring Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, and Spencer Tracy, plus marvelous special effects. It's a wonderful film which is highly entertaining.

...Art Direction is the focus of February 10th, with diverse titles including the dance film THE RED SHOES (1948) and MGM's colorful 1949 version of LITTLE WOMEN.

...Films with Best Director nominees include THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937), starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, directed by Leo McCarey, shown on February 11th. I really enjoyed revisiting this one for the first time in years at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival.

...A real must-see is the gorgeous THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964), shown with Best Foreign Language Film nominees on February 13th. I first saw this movie a little over a year ago and really loved it.

...Screenplay nominees on the 14th and 15th are a diverse group of classics including RANDOM HARVEST (1942), BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1945), and HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (1941) on the 14th and THE NAKED SPUR (1953), THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947), and PILLOW TALK (1959) on the 15th.

...The story of childhood friends who part ways, one being a criminal and one going into law enforcement, has been told many times over the years, but the concept was fresh when MANHATTAN MELODRAMA (1934) received a Best Original Story Oscar. Shown on the 16th, MANHATTAN MELODRAMA stars Clark Gable, William Powell, and Myrna Loy.

...Thomas Mitchell won Best Supporting Actor for STAGECOACH (1939), but could easily have been nominated for other films he made that year, including GONE WITH THE WIND (1939). STAGECOACH airs on February 18th.

...It's debatable whether Gloria Grahame should have won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her small role in THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952), but there's no question it's a fine film. It will be shown on February 19th.

...On February 20th TCM will show BROKEN ARROW (1950), which netted a Supporting Actor nomination for Jeff Chandler. I greatly enjoyed this film when I returned to it for the first time in years last May.

...Another Irene Dunne film I loved seeing at last year's TCM Classic Film Festival was THEODORA GOES WILD (1936), for which Irene Dunne received one of her many Best Actress nominations. It airs February 21st.

...Spencer Tracy was nominated as Best Actor for BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (1955). The film was interesting in that in addition to Tracy, the cast featured several other past or future Oscar winners: Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, Ernest Borgnine, and Lee Marvin. It's also rather amazing that while star Robert Ryan had a Supporting Actor nomination in his career, he never received an Oscar. He'd be a perfect person to spotlight in an "Ignored by the Oscars Festival"! BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK is shown the 24th.

...The final week of the series, from February 25th through March 3rd, focuses solely on Best Picture nominees and winners. Favorite films shown that week include THE THIN MAN (1934) and SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954) on the 25th, LIBELED LADY (1936) on the 26thIT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) on the 27th, and AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951) on the 1st.

Finally, last weekend Saturday daytime host Tiffany Vasquez announced that her contract was not renewed and last weekend's intros were the end of her run. She said of TCM, "Our relationship isn’t over; there are always other opportunities." Tiffany was first announced as Saturday daytime host approximately 18 months ago. To my knowledge, no announcements have been made yet about whether there will be a replacement. I wish her the best and hope she will be appearing at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival.

For more on TCM in February, please visit the microsite or the schedule.


Blogger Brittaney said...

I too wish TCM would do something a bit different for the February Oscar theme. I like your idea of featuring films that should have been nominated.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I'm sorry to hear the news about Tiffany. You get used to folks being there, and she really came along during her tenure. What next, I wonder?

Many fantastic and worthy films in the line-up for the annual Oscar tribute. Almost makes me feel guilty about not watching the ceremony. Almost.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Terence Towles Canote said...

I have to confess I have never been too fond of 31 Days of Oscar. It seems to be the time of year when TCM is most likely to show movies I don't really care too much about watching. And, on top of that, it pre-empts everything else (no Noir Alley this month)! I really wish they would do something a bit different with it, as well as keep their regular programming in place during the month!

I will really miss seeing Tiffany on Saturday afternoons. I thought she did a very good job as a host.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Lee R said...

Well, looks like I won't be watching TCM for another February. Every year it's always odd to not watch TCM for a month. Every movie in Feb. is one they've shown 100 times before. There are so many Paramount Bing movies that they've never shown not to mention loads of classic Paramount movies from the '30's and '40's that they've never shown, do we really need to see Robin Hood again for the 1100th time?

7:36 PM  

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