Saturday, December 01, 2018

TCM in December: Highlights

Somehow we've already arrived at the very last month of the year! It's time for a look at the Turner Classic Movies schedule for December.

Dick Powell will be the December Star of the Month. Over three dozen Powell films will be shown on Thursdays, starting December 6th. I'll have a complete rundown on the Powell tribute in a separate post a few days from now, including review links for a majority of the films. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Dick Powell.)

December will see the return of Treasures From the Disney Vault on December 19th. Leonard Maltin hosts THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR (1961) and several other films and cartoons. Additional info is below.

December's Noir Alley titles: Pat O'Brien and Claire Trevor in CRACK-UP (1946) on December 1st and 2nd, Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea in TOO LATE FOR TEARS (1949) on the 8th and 9th, George Murphy and Nancy Davis (Reagan) in TALK ABOUT A STRANGER (1952) December 15th and 16th, Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan in BEWARE, MY LOVELY (1952) on December 22nd and 23rd, and Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) on the 29th and 30th. The four films I've seen are all worthwhile, but I'm especially partial to the deliriously entertaining TOO LATE FOR TEARS, which I've seen several times. Don DeFore, Kristine Miller, and Arthur Kennedy are wonderful supporting Scott and Duryea.

As always, TCM is showing Christmas movies throughout the month. Full details may be found in my post TCM in December: Christmas Movies.

Here's a look at a handful of other wonderful titles on this month's schedule. Click on any hyperlinked title to read my review.

...African adventures on December 3rd include the wonderful KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1950), with Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, and Richard Carlson -- plus George Montgomery's WATUSI (1959), which liberally lifted footage from KING SOLOMON'S MINES. I'm not sure I've ever seen a film borrow so much footage from another; they even cast two men and a woman in the leads so they could use long shots of Granger, Kerr, and Carlson. WATUSI is something of a curiosity fans of KING SOLOMON'S MINES might enjoy checking out for that reason alone.

...A seven-film tribute to Doris Day on December 4th kicks off with the very enjoyable MY DREAM IS YOURS (1949), costarring Jack Carson. Doris sings the title song and "I'll String Along with You." Plus there's an appearance by Bugs Bunny!

...The TCM Highlights calendar describes the December 5th theme as "Just the Facts, "Ma'am." The lineup of crime films includes A DANGEROUS PROFESSION (1949) with George Raft, Pat O'Brien, and Ella Raines, MYSTERY STREET (1950) with Ricardo Montalban and Bruce Bennett, and CRIME WAVE (1954). The latter is one of my very favorites in the genre, starring Sterling Hayden and Gene Nelson;

...Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th, features some WWII films including THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO (1944), with Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, and quite a cast.

...December 10th features a birthday tribute to Una Merkel, a favorite of many classic film fans. The day's films include THEY CALL IT SIN (1932) with Loretta Young and George Brent, MAN WANTED (1932) with Kay Francis, and the MGM "B" nursing melodrama FOUR GIRLS IN WHITE (1939), costarring Ann Rutherford and Florence Rice. A good time guaranteed!

...The evening of December 11th there's a salute to the National Film Registry, showing five films preserved in the program. Titles include John Ford's wonderful STAGECOACH (1939) and the key Joan Crawford title MILDRED PIERCE (1945).

...A birthday tribute to Van Heflin on December 13th includes the superb ACT OF VIOLENCE (1949) which I just saw for the first time this year. Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, and Mary Astor costar.

...The TCM Spotlight this busy viewing month is "Songs on Screen," featuring well-known songs which originated in films. Many of the films featured are from the '60s and '70s, but December 14th includes THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1954), which opens with "Rock Around the Clock."

...A birthday tribute to director George Stevens on the 18th includes one of the very best -- maybe the best? -- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals, SWING TIME (1936).

...Divorce may be a sad topic but there are some wonderful films centering on that theme during the day on the 19th, including the fun WOMAN AGAINST WOMAN (1938) with Herbert Marshall, Virginia Bruce, and Mary Astor, and the superbly done melodrama IN NAME ONLY (1939) with Cary Grant, Carole Lombard, and Kay Francis.

...On December 19th Leonard Maltin hosts Fred MacMurray and Nancy Olson in THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR and its sequel SON OF FLUBBER (1963). Also showing are some of Disney's live-action films from my childhood: THE WORLD'S GREATEST ATHLETE (1973), THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD (1975), and GUS (1976). I have fond memories of my grandfather taking me to see THE WORLD'S GREATEST ATHLETE along with several other Disney films over the years. (Incidentally, I'm wondering how Disney starting its own streaming service a year from now will impact the Treasures From the Disney Vault deal with TCM, if at all...I hope these wonderful evenings will continue!)

...Winter Solstice is celebrated on December 21st with a fantastic lineup of wintry films, including ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1951) with Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino and the comedy SNOWED UNDER (1936) with George Brent and Genevieve Tobin. Other titles include Bette Davis and Jim Davis in WINTER MEETING (1948), which might be described as an interesting failure of sorts, and Joan Crawford and Jimmy Stewart in THE ICE FOLLIES OF 1939 (1939). I find some of TCM's theming this month particularly fun!

...Boxing Day, December 26th, features seven Cary Grant films, including MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE (1948) with Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas and TOPPER (1937) with Constance Bennett. There's a pair of Hitchcock films as well!

...TCM pays tribute to the late Burt Reynolds on the evening of December 26th, with a six-film lineup including SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (1977) and HOOPER (1978).

...The daytime hours on the 28th feature a lineup of films with "Broadway" in the title, including TWO GIRLS ON BROADWAY (1940) with Lana Turner and Joan Blondell.

...Later on the 28th, the "Songs on Screen" Spotlight features a favorite Esther Williams film, NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER (1949). Williams, Ricardo Montalban, Red Skelton, and Betty Garrett introduced the Oscar-winning "Baby, It's Cold Outside." (Apparently the song has fallen from grace in some quarters but I personally refuse to take every last thing so seriously...and in the context of the film it's delightful, especially Garrett's comedic reprise.)

...The absolutely delightful comedy THE YOUNG IN HEART (1938) airs on December 29th. Janet Gaynor, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Paulette Goddard lead a wonderful cast. Plus the "Flying Wombat," a gorgeous car I was fortunate to see at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada.

...Join all four TCM hosts on New Year's Eve for an evening of MGM musical highlights starting with THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! (1974).

Here's a short TCM promo video for December.

For more on TCM in December, please visit the online schedule along with my posts Quick Preview of TCM in December and TCM in December: Christmas Movies.

Merry Christmas and Happy New 2019!


Blogger Stephen Reginald said...

Great run-down of the December movies on TCM! Looking forward to seeing as many of them as I can. Can't wait to see you in April at TCFF!

12:49 PM  
Blogger Lee R said...

Of VERY special note, for me at least, is TCM's showing of "The Holly & The Ivy" on Dec. 23 at 8 pm!! Here is a film I've never seen shown on TV in 20 years. Ever since I saw this film 25 years ago on a very very snowy and weak UHF channel I have looked forward to seeing it again. I'd sit thru that horrible reception with all the snow and lines to make out and barely hear that excellent movie. That weak station eventually went off the air (it was practically off when it was on) but even more fortunately I found the movie for sale several years back on the internet and I've been able to see a very nice quality DVD version ever since. But I will definitely be there for TCMs showing, I bet their version will be the finest I've seen.

Also of note, is the rarely seen Lady On A Train this year on TCM on Dec. 18th. It was on last year, but I missed it!!! I'm still kicking myself over that one.

As for the oh so sensitive snowflakes finding something else they can feign offense at, I always respond by watching or saying or doing whatever it is they claim I shouldn't do anymore. That's just an invitation to me to smile and offend with impunity. Guess what, I'm offended at them. Do they stop being offensive? No. Who are these jerks anyway to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't do anymore. The absolute arrogance of the left. They are the truly offensive.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Stephen! Many good things to enjoy. Not too long until we can watch movies together in Hollywood! :)

Thanks, Lee! Great to have your feedback on THE HOLLY AND THE IVY. I was glad to catch up with it a few years ago thanks to Amazon UK and my all-region player.

LADY ON A TRAIN is a special favorite! I hope you enjoy it.

Best wishes,

1:32 PM  

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