Monday, December 30, 2019

TCM in January: Highlights

Happy New Year! And very best wishes to all my readers for a happy and healthy 2020.

This month on Turner Classic Movies Patricia Neal will be the January Star of the Month. 16 of Neal's films plus a short are scheduled to screen over the course of Tuesday evenings this month. Please note there will not be a separate Star of the Month post this month.

On Wednesday evenings this month's TCM Spotlight will be focused on the Roaring 20s. Nearly two dozen films will look at gangsters, Prohibition, speakeasies, and flappers over the course of January.

The January Noir Alley titles will be THE BIG SLEEP (1946) on January 4th and 5th, BIG NIGHT (1951) on the 11th and 12th, THE CAPTIVE CITY (1952) on January 18th and 19th, and TRY AND GET ME (1950), also known as THE SOUND OF FURY, on January 25th and 26th.

Here are a few more titles of interest from the January schedule. Please click any hyperlinked title for an extended review.

...New Year's Day features sci-fi films including the entertaining and colorful WORLD WITHOUT END (1956). The cast includes Hugh Marlowe, Rod Taylor, and Nancy Gates.

...I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949) is a very interesting Western written and directed by Samuel Fuller, starring John Ireland, Preston Foster, and Barbara Britton. It's on in the early morning hours of January 3rd. Worth checking out.

...Anthony Mann's excellent "French Revolution noir," THE BLACK BOOK (aka REIGN OF TERROR) (1949) airs later in the day on January 3rd. Robert Cummings and Arlene Dahl lead a terrific cast.

...The superb KISS OF DEATH (1947), starring Victor Mature, Coleen Gray, Richard Widmark, and Brian Donlevy, airs on TCM late on Saturday evening, January 4th. This is a big favorite of mine which I've seen numerous times over the last several years.

...I recently revisited the Billy Wilder comedy THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR (1942) when it was released on Blu-ray by Arrow. For anyone who won't have the chance to see that excellent disc in the near future, the movie is airing on TCM January 5th. Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland star, with a delightful supporting turn by Diana Lynn. Lynn, who was also a gifted pianist, also had a wonderful part in another great comedy a couple years later, THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK (1944).

...I know very little about it, but there's a documentary titled SCANDAL: THE TRIAL OF MARY ASTOR (2018) airing twice on January 6th, along with several films starring Astor. TCM has more details posted at their site.

...The first evening of Patricia Neal's Star of the Month films on January 7th include THE FOUNTAINHEAD (1949) with Gary Cooper and a pair of films with Ronald Reagan, JOHN LOVES MARY (1949) and THE HASTY HEART (1950).

...I love that TCM regularly celebrates the January 9th birthday of actress Anita Louise. Nine of her films will be shown that date. I particularly enjoyed FIRST LADY (1937), also starring Kay Francis and Preston Foster, and PERSONAL MAID'S SECRET (1935), a gem of a "B" film which runs just 58 minutes.

...January 10th is one of those days to sit on the couch in front of the TV and not move! The schedule includes two of my all-time favorite films, ARMORED CAR ROBBERY (1950) and ANGEL AND THE BADMAN (1947); a pair of very enjoyable Warner Bros. films with Zachary Scott, DANGER SIGNAL (1945) and FLAMINGO ROAD (1949), and an evening of Douglas Sirk films including ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1957). Enjoy!

...Marion Davies is delightful in the silent comedy SHOW PEOPLE (1928), a Hollywood tale which I saw with a live orchestra at the 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival. It's on January 13th.

...NOAH'S ARK (1928) is a fascinating mashup of WWI film and Biblical epic; it's also part silent, part talkie. George O'Brien stars, directed by Michael Curtiz. The air date is January 15th.

...I've never seen AFFAIR WITH A STRANGER (1953), but with Victor Mature and Jean Simmons in the leads, I definitely need to give it a look. It will be shown January 16th.

...Another fantastic day on TCM on January 19th includes the great noir BORN TO KILL (1947), the classic comedy ALL ABOUT EVE (1950), and an entire evening of Harold Lloyd's silent shorts!

...There's another great film from Anthony Mann on January 20th, THE TALL TARGET (1951). Dick Powell plays a New York police detective desperately trying to stop the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1861. The action is set on a train, and the lighting, as filmed by Paul Vogel, is superb.

...A day of Conrad Veidt films on January 22nd includes ABOVE SUSPICION (1943), a WWII suspense film with Joan Crawford and Fred MacMurray as newlyweds tasked with a mission from the British Foreign Office while honeymooning in "Southern Germany" (Austria). Based on a novel by Helen MacInnes, it's not a perfect film, but I found it pleasantly entertaining when I watched it nearly a decade ago.

...There are a pair of entertaining Westerns on January 23rd, Tim Holt's STORM OVER WYOMING (1950) and THE PAINTED DESERT (1931) starring William Boyd and a young Clark Gable.

...NIGHT WAITRESS (1936) is one of a large number of "B" films I've watched which were directed by Lew Landers, who knew how to get the most out of his material and make it as entertaining as possible. Margot Grahame and Gordon Jones star on January 25th.

...Deanna Durbin receives a prime time tribute on January 26th, with showings of THREE SMART GIRLS (1936) and IT'S A DATE (1940), along with the short she made with Judy Garland, EVERY SUNDAY (1936).

...A lineup of titles featuring plastic surgery includes HOLLOW TRIUMPH (1948), aka THE SCAR, starring Paul Henreid and Joan Bennett. It's quite entertaining; check it out on the 30th.

For more information on TCM in January 2020, please visit the complete schedule along with my previous post Quick Preview of TCM in January.

Wishing everyone a great year of movie viewing in 2020!


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