Sunday, December 01, 2019

TCM in December: Highlights

It's hard to believe that 2019 will soon be drawing to a close, so it's time for a look at the December schedule for Turner Classic Movies!

Joan Blondell will be the December Star of the Month. Blondell beat out Joan Bennett in voting held by members of TCM Backlot. I love both Joans and am hoping Bennett will also have her own special month before long!

29 of Blondell's films will be shown this month, spread across Thursday evenings. I'll have a closer look at this month's lineup of Blondell films posted here ahead of the first day's lineup on Thursday, December 5th. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Joan Blondell.)

The November Noir Alley titles will be BERLIN EXPRESS (1948) on December 7th and 8th, CRISS CROSS (1949) on the 14th and 15th, CASH ON DEMAND (1961) on December 21st and 22nd, and REPEAT PERFORMANCE (1947) airing December 28th and 29th.

While CRISS CROSS is a big favorite of mine, I love REPEAT PERFORMANCE even more. I've been fortunate to see it in 35mm at various festivals in recent years, and I'm thrilled that it will be shown on TCM. It's the perfect movie for New Year's week.

The TCM Spotlight will focus on "Remakes" every Monday and Saturday, showing multiple versions of the same story. There's also a special "Pets on Sets" theme on Wednesdays, featuring movies about animals.

As always, TCM has many Christmas films on this month's schedule. I've shared the complete Christmas movie lineup in a separate post, TCM in December: Christmas Movies.

Here's a look at some additional highlights airing on TCM this month. Please click any hyperlinked title to read my full-length review.

...Stewart Granger, Eleanor Parker, and Janet Leigh star in the wonderful swashbuckler SCARAMOUCHE (1952) on Monday, December 2nd. It's preceded by the 1923 silent version.

...Prime time on December 3rd will be devoted to Michael Feinstein hosting a tribute to actor-pianist Oscar Levant. That's the kind of great programming one can only find on TCM. The films shown that night will be HUMORESQUE (1946), THE BAND WAGON (1953), THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY (1949), THE I DON'T CARE GIRL (1953), and ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS (1948). A short 1958 interview with Levant will also be shown. This is a terrific lineup, with THE BAND WAGON (seen at left) and ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS particularly recommended; the former is one of the greatest of all MGM musicals, starring Fred Astaire, and the latter is the film which made Doris Day a star.

...The "Pets on Sets" series begins December 4th. One of the lesser-known titles that evening is MY PAL, WOLF (1944), a well-done family film starring the fine child actress Sharyn Moffett.

...SHOW BOAT (1951), airing on Friday, December 6th, is a very fine, colorful rendition of the classic Jerome Kern musical; I'd go so far as to say it's underrated. The top cast includes Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Marge & Gower Champion, and Ava Gardner. It will also be shown as part of the "remakes" series on December 30th, along with the 1929 and 1936 versions!

...CAREFREE (1938) is one of my favorite Astaire-Rogers films. It's perhaps a little more screwball comedy than musical, but it's good fun and has held up to many repeat viewings over the years. It's shown early on December 8th.

...The lineup of remakes on Monday, December 9th, includes THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) and HIGH SOCIETY (1956). I revisited HIGH SOCIETY at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival for the first time in a number of years, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, truth to tell, I may like that version just a little more than THE PHILADELPHIA STORY.

...UNEXPECTED UNCLE (1941) is a short (67 minutes!) and cute RKO romantic comedy starring Anne Shirley, James Craig, and Charles Coburn, whose role is somewhat of a test run for his Oscar-winning part in THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943) just a couple of years later. It's the kind of movie which is cheery viewing in keeping with this festive time of year. It may be seen on December 10th.

...It's a good month for MGM musicals on TCM! The lineup on Frank Sinatra's December 12th birthday includes ANCHORS AWEIGH (1945) in which he starred with Gene Kelly and Kathryn Grayson.

...On December 13th TCM will celebrate the 80th anniversary of GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), which premiered in Atlanta on December 15th, 1939. In addition to showing the film, TCM will also show the documentary THE MAKING OF A LEGEND: GONE WITH THE WIND (1988). GONE WITH THE WIND will be shown a second time on December 14th.

...Marion Davies stars in the silent film BEAUTY'S WORTH (1922) on December 15th. The movie is shown as part of "Silent Sunday Nights," hosted by Jacqueline Stewart. A DVD of this one is in my "watch" stack!

...December 17th features a night of films paying tribute to performers who died this year and did not receive individual TCM tributes at the time of their passing. The evening begins honoring Julie Adams with a showing of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954). Also honored: David Hedison, Carol Channing, Tim Conway, Rutger Hauer, and Bibi Andersson.

...The "Pets on Sets" lineup on December 18th includes Clint Eastwood in EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (1978), which I just reviewed a few days ago. It's included as the cast includes an orangutan named Clyde. I likened the movie to a "Beach Party" film; see what you think!

...Yet another MGM musical will be shown on December 21st, when Judy Garland and Gene Kelly star in Vincente Minnelli's THE PIRATE (1948).

...THIS COULD BE THE NIGHT (1957) will be shown on December 26th. It's a quirky feel-good film about a teacher (Jean Simmons) who takes a second job as secretary at a nightclub, where she becomes involved in the lives of various employees. Robert Wise directed. The movie is part of the Joan Blondell lineup but I'm also mentioning it here as I found this film something of a hidden gem when I saw it last year, and it's another good title for upbeat viewing during the holidays.

...A birthday tribute to Sydney Greenstreet on December 27th includes the terrific Joan Crawford melodrama FLAMINGO ROAD (1949) and then a completely different type of film, the very enjoyable Ida Lupino WWII comedy, PILLOW TO POST (1945).

...William Lundigan and Dorothy Patrick star in Richard Fleischer's enjoyable hour-long crime film FOLLOW ME QUIETLY (1949) on December 28th. Karen just wrote a very nice tribute to Patrick at her blog Shadows and Satin. (While you're there, also check out her piece on another favorite Dorothy, Dorothy Hart.)

...There's more MGM musical goodness on the 29th, BELLS ARE RINGING (1960) with Judy Holliday and Dean Martin (at right).

Here's TCM's short promo video showing some of the good things coming to the network in December.

For more on TCM in December, please visit my posts TCM in December: Christmas Movies, TCM Star of the Month: Joan Blondell, and Quick Preview of TCM in December, along with TCM's online schedule and "Highlights" page.

Merry Christmas and early best wishes for a very happy 2020!


Blogger Jonathan said...

Thank you for your wonderful "Highlights" posts. You help me discover movies that I otherwise might pass by, and I truly appreciate it.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Jonathan, kind comments such as yours certainly make doing these posts worthwhile. I'm truly delighted to know it's enjoyed and that you have found some things to watch which are "off the beaten path." Happy viewing!!

Best wishes,

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So happy to read that "Repeat Performance" will be on this month. I remember you wrote about this movie several years ago & that you enjoyed it. I haven't seen it in years. Richard Basehart's performance is so touching.

Looking forward to seeing your Joan Blondell movie list.

Thank you for your blog.


1:44 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Ellen, I'm so glad you're looking forward to REPEAT PERFORMANCE as well! I hope you enjoy the Blondell list. :) Thank you so much for your kind comments, I appreciate it very much.

Best wishes,

9:46 PM  

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