TCM Week: Jan. 23-29

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST. 

Simone Signoret in La Ronde

Monday, January 23
Tonight beginning at 8 p.m., TCM presents six films directed by Max Ophüls in Hollywood. Born in Germany in 1902, Ophüls was a director, creative director and producer in theater, then in films. He fled from the Nazis to France in 1933, and landed in Hollywood via Switzerland and Italy by 1941. He didn’t make a film in the US until five years later, when Robert Siodmak helped him land The Exile (1:00 a.m. Tues.). To me, Ophüls is synonymous with love and destiny, luxurious productions, and the brilliant, saturated color of the tragic Lola Montes. Other films in the block include:
8:00 p.m. The Reckless Moment
9:30 p.m. Caught
11:15 p.m. Letter from an Unknown Woman
1:00 a.m. The Exile
2:45 a.m. La Ronde
4:30 a.m. The Earrings of Madame de…

Tuesday, January 24
11:30 a.m. The Catered Affair (1956)
I’ve always heard, the wedding is for the family and the honeymoon is for the couple, and so it is when a daughter (Debbie Reynolds) gets engaged and her mother (Bette Davis) makes every effort to give the girl a wedding like the mother always wanted.


4:30 p.m. The Dirty Dozen (1967)
If you haven’t yet seen this classic about Aldo Raines Major Reisman (Lee Marvin) and 12 convicts (Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, and George Kennedy, among others) on an impossible mission to blow up a movie theater chateau containing a whole mess of Nazis, set your DVR now. If you don’t have a DVR, call in sick. At least put it in your Netflix queue. I’m serious.

Wednesday, January 25
8:00 p.m. Private Screenings: Angela Lansbury

9:00 p.m. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982)
***TCM Party***
A barber (George Hearn) begins a murderous partnership with the baker downstairs (Angela Lansbury). Find us on Twitter with #TCMParty…watch and tweet along!

Thursday, January 26
Jack Cardiff is best-known as a cinematographer but he was also an Oscar-nominated director (for 1960’s Sons and Lovers). Tonight TCM is showing another five of the 13 films Cardiff directed:
8:00 p.m. Intent to Kill (1958)
9:45 p.m. The Lion (1962)
11:30 p.m. Young Cassidy (1965)
1:30 a.m. The Liquidator (1966)
3:30 a.m. Dark of the Sun (1968)

Friday, January 27
TCM has a block of films directed by James Whale beginning at 8:00 p.m. tonight. I can recommend The Invisible Man and Frankenstein, but I also highly recommend Gods and Monsters, an imagining of the end of Whale’s life. It’s superbly acted by Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser, and it’s nowhere near as depressing as it sounds.
8:00 p.m. The Great Garrick (1937)
9:45 p.m. One More River (1934)
11:15 p.m. The Invisible Man (1933)
12:30 a.m. (Sat.) Frankenstein (1931)

ZsaZsa Gabor in Queen of Outer Space

Saturday, January 28
There’s a lot of famous movies scheduled today…Rocky, King Solomon’s Mines, The Misfits, Soylent Green, Rebel Without A Cause, and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner…but I’m going to try to catch Zsa Zsa Gabor as one of the all-female inhabitants of Venus in a movie that promises to give new meaning to the term “campy,” Queen of Outer Space (7:30 a.m.); and Saratoga (10:15 p.m.), which pairs Clark Gable with Jean Harlow in her last film.

Sunday, January 29
6:00 a.m. The Hard Way (1942)
Yep, it’s early in the morning, but who am I to refuse an Ida Lupino movie?

2:00 a.m. (Mon.) The Vanishing (1988)
“A young man is obsessed with finding the girlfriend who vanished at a rest stop.”


TCM Week – Jan. 16-22

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST. 

Monday, January 16 — Before Spike (Lee)
For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, TCM is featuring a day of films related to how Americans dealt with race and racial issues. My top choice is The Defiant Ones (1958) at 6:15 p.m. Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier play two men—one white, the other black— who escape from prison in the South. They despise each other, but they are literally chained together and have to learn to cooperate if they’re going to survive. At the time, American films hardly ever addressed racial inequity and almost never starred African-Americans. Neither actor was afraid to play against their usual likability; both Curtis and Poitier were nominated for Best Actor Oscars. The film also received nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Theodore Bikel), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Cara Williams), Best Director (Stanley Kramer), Best Film Editing (Frederic Knudtson), and Best Picture. It won Best Black-and-White Cinematography and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen. There’s no question that it’s an old-fashioned movie; Spike Lee felt that Poitier’s character was the prototype of the “Magical Negro.” But it does propose that if we don’t get to know those who are different from us, we’ll never respect or like each other either…something that as a society we still need to work on.

Tuesday, January 17
6:15 p.m. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend…especially Arthur Seaton (Albert Finney), a rebellious young Brit who works in a factory all week and just wants to unwind with a few pints and his best friend’s wife on his days off. Based on Alan Sillitoe’s novel of the same name, both book and film were part of the Angry Young Man movement in literature and cinema trending in Britain from the mid-’50s to the early-’60s. Saturday Night shares the same sensibility as Look Back in Anger, Room at the Top, A Taste of HoneyBilly Liar and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. They’re a bit melodramatic, but these were the first British films to focus on the working class and portray their everyday lives. You might find the mood or some of the dialogue in Saturday Night familiar…this film and its movement have been an enduring influence on British (and thus, eventually, American) popular culture. For example, Morrissey of The Smiths borrowed lines directly from Saturday Night and generally made the AYM attitude a lifestyle; both the Stranglers and the Arctic Monkeys have albums named after this film.

1:30 a.m. (Wed.) Diary of a Chambermaid (1946)
Paulette Goddard plays a maid who records her impressions of the houses where she works. A rare chance to see Jean Renoir’s version of a novel of the same name by French writer Octave Mirbeau. Remade in 1964 by Luis Buñuel.

Wednesday, January 18 — Happy Birthday, Cary Grant
TCM honors the birthday of one of my favorite actors of all time with 12 hours of movies beginning at 6:15 a.m. If you can only watch one or two of these, my personal advice would be to choose from those in which sparks fly between Grant and his female co-stars, all great talents in their own right.
8:15 a.m. Topper (Constance Bennett)
10:00 a.m. Holiday (Katharine Hepburn)
noon In Name Only (Carole Lombard)
1:45 p.m. My Favorite Wife (Irene Dunne)
Happy birthday to all you hardworking, stylish Capricorns out there as well. Take some time for you and watch your knees. Love you guys.

8:00 p.m. The World of Harry Orient
***TCM Party***
Last night I saw a clip on TCM of Star of the Month Angela Lansbury describing her character in this as less than intelligent and not very nice. Sounds like a departure from type for her (although she wasn’t very pleasant in State of the Nation). She also said that she and co-star Peter Sellers improvised most of their dialogue, so this should be pretty interesting. Find us on Twitter with #TCMParty…watch and tweet along!

Thursday, January 19
Though his best-known films were done with Powell & Pressburger, cinematographer-director-genius Jack Cardiff had a lot of career outside of that collaboration. Tonight TCM has four films in which Cardiff worked with other directors, and while they might not be the greatest in terms of direction, acting, or writing, they certainly have effective and beautiful cinematography. If Faber & Faber are reading this, please bring out another edition of Cardiff’s book Magic Hour…the cheapest copy I can find is around $100!
8:00 p.m. Under Capricorn I see what you did there TCM
10:15 p.m. The Master of Ballantrae Roger Livesey Alert
midnight The Prince and the Showgirl The making of this film was apparently fraught with tension between stage-trained Laurence Olivier and Method proponent Marilyn Monroe. It formed the basis for the book and the film My Week with Marilyn.
2:00 a.m. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

Friday, January 20
Bright Leaf (11:15 a.m.) caught my eye. I’ve never seen it but the cast includes Gary Cooper and Lauren Bacall, although she is apparently not the female lead; Patricia Neal is. It was directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca). Also of note is tonight’s Essential, A Letter to Three Wives. Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, Suddenly Last Summer) wrote and directed this soapy look at three different crumbling marriages.


Was it self-defense or…gasp!…murder? Bette Davis and James Stephenson in The Letter

Saturday, January 21
midnight The Letter (1940)
Ms. Bette Davis is at her best as a woman claiming it was self-defense when she shot and killed a man one night in Malaysia. My favorite Bette Davis movie.

Sunday, January 22
8:00 p.m. Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
One of three films tonight starring Bela Lugosi, who along with Boris Karloff, provided many of Universal’s thrills and chills during the early ’30s.

2:00 a.m. (Mon.) Night of Cabiria
I’m not really all that familiar with Federico Fellini’s work, having only seen La Dolce Vita, but I wanted to give those who are a heads up.

So TCM fans…what are you watching this week? Any favorite Cary Grant movies? Leave me a comment!

TCM Week – Jan. 9-15

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST. 

Monday, January 9
I’m not a huge fan of either of the genres represented today — Westerns and Epidemics. Choosing strictly based on TCM summaries and IMDB reviews, I’d pick The Dude Goes West with Eddie Albert and Gale Storm at 4:30 p.m. At 8:00 p.m. the Epidemics begin contamination, led by The Andromeda Strain. Based on a novel by Michael Crichton and directed by Robert Wise (Somebody Up There Likes Me, West Side Story), it seems to be the least chintzy of the lot.

Benjy (Mark Linn-Baker) is in for a wild ride when he babysits Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole) in My Favorite Year.

Tuesday, January 10
Writer-director-producer James L. Brooks (of Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News fame, among many others) is tonight’s Guest Programmer, beginning at 8:00 p.m. with This Is Your Story, which I haven’t seen. I’ve not seen Prince of the City (2:00 a.m.) either. But I love Brooks’ other three choices. My Favorite Year (8:15 p.m.) is about a 1940s radio show writer (Mark Linn-Baker) trying to keep fun-loving actor Alan Swann (Peter O’Toole doing his best Errol Flynn) sober and vertical, at least until Swann can guest star on that week’s broadcast. Dr. Strangelove (10:00 p.m.) and Network (11:45 p.m.) are two of the most prophetic movies ever made — the former foreshadows the increasing dominance of the military-industrial complex, the latter prefigures the rise of reality TV and that medium’s overall “if it bleeds, it leads” ratings-first mentality.

Wednesday, January 11
8:00 p.m. The State of the Union (1948)
***TCM Party***
Frank Capra’s follow-up to the now-beloved flop It’s A Wonderful Life was made as Truman defeated Dewey and the House Un-American Activities Committee investigated Hollywood. It’s about a presidential candidate who gets mixed up in the dirty side of politics. Though Star of the Month Angela Lansbury was in her early twenties when she made this film, she was nonetheless cast as Spencer Tracy’s character’s fortysomething mistress.
Watch and tweet with #TCMParty

Just one frame of the amazingly beautiful Black Narcissus

Thursday, January 12
TCM’s tribute to cinematographer Jack Cardiff continues tonight with my favorite films of his, those he did with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, collectively known as the Archers. Cardiff was the foremost practitioner of Technicolor and an accomplished fine artist who — I can’t think of any other way to say this — painted with light. I don’t think anyone else could have done the beautiful work he did. Put that together with the excellent direction, writing, art direction, acting, etc., and you have some incredibly fascinating and moving films.
8:00 p.m. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
11:00 p.m. Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)
We are lucky to have this excellent documentary as it seems as if Cardiff passed away not long after it was completed. But if you haven’t seen tonight’s films, my advice is to record this or wait until it’s rerun next Thursday…seriously. You want to experience the magic before you see how it was done.
12:30 a.m. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
2:30 a.m. The Red Shoes (1948)
5:00 a.m. Black Narcissus (1947)

Greta Garbo is a Polish aristocrat and Charles Boyer is Napoleon in Conquest

Friday, January 13
8:00 p.m. Conquest (1937)
Director Clarence Brown guided Greta Garbo from the silents into talkies and was a favorite with the star, apparently because, he said, “I had a special way with her. I never gave her direction in anything louder than a whisper.” This was the last film they made together, the story of a Polish countess (Garbo) who gets involved with Napoleon (Charles Boyer).

Saturday, January 14
10:30 p.m. Adam’s Rib (1949)
I’ll be setting the DVR for this one as I’ve never seen it, but with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn starring, and George Cukor directing — he also directed Hepburn in my favorite movie of hers, The Philadelphia Story — it should be good.

Sunday, January 15
Abbott and Costello spoof scary monsters and the horror genre beginning at 8:00 p.m., in a block that includes Abbott and Costello Meet FrankensteinAbbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man, and Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy.


Video: Angela Lansbury on her first film, Gaslight '44

While I’m under the weather I’m taking a little breather but I wanted to share this video I found of Angela Lansbury recalls making her first film, Gaslight (1944). She earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, which is amazing to me, as she was just 17 years old when the movie’s shoot began. Lansbury is TCM”s Star of the Month and this film is tonight’s #TCMParty, beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST. Join the party by watching and tweeting with the hashtag #TCMParty. Hope to see you there!

TCM Week – Jan 2-8

TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered movies on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST.

Monday, January 2
8:00 a.m. A Stolen Life (1946)
Bette Davis is absolutely brilliant at playing twin sisters, one naughty and one nice, in this movie. Both are in love with the same man (Glenn Ford), but the naughty one steals him away from the nice one and the couple marries. When the naughty twin dies accidentally, the nice one takes over her life. Davis relies on attitude and gesture, rather than clothing or hairstyle changes, to differentiate the twins, and later, effectively captures the awkwardness of one twin imitating the other’s completely opposite nature, while avoiding any appearance of acting. To sum up, she is amazing.

Tuesday, January 3
9:45 p.m. Annie Oakley (1935)
Before the musical Annie Get Your Gun, there was this 1935 version of the sharpshooter’s life story, starring one of my favorite movie stars, Barbara Stanwyck, as the title character. It was director George Stevens’ second A-picture, after Alice Adams, and continued his hot streak, one that included Swing Time, Vivacious LadyGunga Din, A Place in the Sun, and Giant, among others.

Ingrid Bergman regards Charles Boyer with some she should.

Wednesday, January 4
8:00 p.m. Gaslight (1944)
***TCM Party***
Though multi-talented Angela Lansbury is TCM’s star of the month, she isn’t the star of this movie — Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman are — but she did earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work. Bergman also earned a nomination, for Best Actress, and won the award, edging Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity. Watch and tweet with #TCMParty.

Thursday, January 5
9:00 a.m. The Red Danube (1949)
This Cold War movie, made while the HUAC hearings were roiling Hollywood, exemplifies the ideological conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union in the story of a Russian ballerina (Janet Leigh) attempting to defect.

Friday, January 6
11:15 a.m. The Unguarded Hour
The rare starring role for Franchot Tone (Five Graves to Cairo) as the prosecutor whose wife (Loretta Young) could save a condemned man, but only if she reveals information that would humiliate her husband.

Saturday, January 7
10:30 a.m. Counter-Espionage (1942)
During the WWII Blitz, a detective known as the Lone Wolf (Warren William) is on the trail of Nazi spies. This movie interests me because it mines similar territory as Powell & Pressburger’s Contraband.

Sunday, January 8
Today’s schedule features two different movie stars. Beginning at 6:00 a.m., Elvis Presley stars in Clambake, followed by It Happened at the World’s Fair at 8:00 a.m., and Spinout at 10:00 a.m. Then TCM celebrates the 100th anniversary of José Ferrer‘s birth with a block that starts at noon with The Caine Mutiny. Other classic movies featuring Ferrer follow: I Accuse (4:00 p.m.), Deep in My Heart (5:45 p.m.), Cyrano de Bergerac ’50 (8:00 p.m.), and Joan of Arc ’48 (10:00 p.m.).

This Week on TCM – Dec. 19-Jan 1

Monday, December 19
Seven movies starring Cary Grant make an awesome block, starting at 6 a.m. with Penny Serenade. I’ll be setting the DVR for Dream Wife at 8:00 a.m., Mr. Lucky at 10:00 a.m., Walk Don’t Run (Grant’s last film) at noon, and Topper at 4 p.m. If you haven’t seen Grant and Joan Fontaine under the direction of Alfred Hitchcock in Suspicion (6:00 p.m.), you really should.

TCM’s celebration of the bicentennial of Charles Dickens’ birth continues at 8 p.m. tonight with A Tale of Two Cities (1958). Scrooge (1970), in which Albert Finney plays the title character, follows at 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 20
9 a.m. Thirteen Women
I’ve never seen this film in which pre-stardom Myrna Loy plays a woman intent on bumping off her boarding-school classmates, one of whom is played by Irene Dunne. Until 7:30 p.m., all of today’s movies feature Dunne, who was equally funny and elegant in screwball comedies like My Favorite Wife (3:30 p.m.) but could also handle serious dramatic roles like Mama in I Remember Mama (5:00 p.m.).

Wednesday, December 21
Films featuring Jane Fonda make up the schedule until 8:00 p.m. tonight. I wish her 1964 film Les felins was among them, but since it’s not, I’m going to check out Spirits of the Dead, which is based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe, at 2:45 p.m., and Private Screenings: Jane Fonda at 7:00 p.m.

Winona Ryder is TCM’s guest host tonight. Beginning at 8:00 p.m., she’ll be introducing four films she’s chosen: The Front, starring Woody Allen as a bookie who serves as a front for blacklisted screenwriters; #TCMParty favorite Ball of Fire, in which Barbara Stanwyck disrupts Gary Cooper’s academic household; Judy Holliday and William Holden in Born Yesterday; and Andy Griffith and Patricia Neal as a singer and the radio exec who makes him a star in A Face in the Crowd.

Thursday, December 22
The Thin Man Marathon
***TCM Party*** & ***Drive-In Mob***
In honor of the December Star of the Month William Powell, TCM is running all six of the films in the Thin Man series tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. Although the quality of the movies became uneven toward the end of the series, the chemistry between the stars and the colorful cast of characters are always a lot of fun. Watch and tweet with #TCMParty or #DriveinMob.

Friday, December 23
Today’s offerings include re-runs of Susan Slept Here at 2:15 p.m., The Man Who Came to Dinner at 4:00 p.m., and Scrooge(1970) at 6:00 p.m., but I’m more interested in the quirkier-sounding pictures and a couple of classic-era noirs.

9:30 a.m. Cover-Up (1949)
Noir fixture Dennis O’Keefe stars as an insurance investigator who discovers a conspiracy to cover up a murder in this Christmas-set noir-lite, which features William Bendix as the local sheriff who knows more than he’s telling.

8:00 p.m. Backfire (1950)
In one of those pictures that hints at malaise in post-WWII America, a veteran (Gordon McRae) tries to clear his buddy of a murder charge at Christmastime.

I can’t really recommend Lady in the Lake (10:00 p.m.), especially for those who have read the Raymond Chandler novel on which the film is based, but I can’t resist writing about it. For the first and only time, Chandler was tapped to write an adaptation of his own work, but his script was rejected and rewritten. He wanted a screen credit until he read the revision and saw how much had been changed — then he wanted nothing to do with the film. And you can’t blame him. In my opinion, the filmmakers made a mess of the source material. This was Robert Montgomery’s official directorial debut (he helped direct They Were Expendable, but didn’t receive screen credit). He used subjective camera and voiceover to re-create the book’s first-person point of view, while the script inexplicably changed the plot and characters in ways that change the themes and message of the story. Chandler’s work is inherently cinematic —while he might not have been the best person to adapt his own work, he wrote more screenplays than novels — and Lady is crying out for a truer movie version.

midnight Murder My Sweet (aka Farewell My Lovely – 1944)
Chandler’s work fares far better in this adaptation, which stars Dick Powell as Marlowe and Claire Trevor as one of the quintessential femme fatales. Playing a hard-boiled noir anti-hero was the departure for Powell, who was mainly known as a crooner in musicals like the Gold Diggers pictures, and he’s surprisingly effective in the role.

Saturday, December 24
12:30 p.m. It Happened on 5th Avenue
If you missed this still-relevant comedy last Sunday, you can catch it now. TCM is also re-playing Holiday AffairIn the Good Old SummertimeMeet Me in St. LouisMiracle on 34th Street, and The Bishop’s Wife.

Sunday, December 25
Religiously themed movies make up most of today’s schedule.
6:00 a.m. The Green Pastures
7:45 a.m. The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima
9:30 a.m. Ben-Hur (1959)
1:30 p.m. The Greatest Story Ever Told
5:00 p.m. King of Kings (1961)
8:00 p.m. Going My Way

I’m taking a break from writing here for the rest of the month. But I can’t stay completely away from classic movies, so I’ll be attending a few #TCMParties. Hope you can watch and tweet with us.

***TCM Parties***
Tuesday, December 27
8:00 p.m. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Wednesday, December 28

8:00 p.m. The Paleface (1948)
10:00 p.m. The In-Laws

Thursday, December 29

The William Powell & Myrna Loy Marathon starts at 8:00 p.m. with The Great Ziegfeld.

Friday, December 30

8:00 p.m. Tootsie

Many to thanks everyone who agreed to be interviewed for, commented on, and/or read, my posts. I really appreciate you all taking some of your time to share the classic movie love. See you all back here on Sunday, January 1, 2012.
What do you think of these picks? Did I miss any of your faves? Who of today’s actors could possibly play Philip Marlowe? Let me know your thoughts in the comments…

This Week on TCM | Dec. 12-18

Christmas is a couple weeks out but there’s some great holiday classics on TCM this week.

Monday, December 12
Today begins with an Edward G. Robinson marathon. I had always thought of Robinson as a bad guy —as in The Little Giant  (10:30 a.m.) — or a representative of law and order—as in A Bullet for Joey (6:15 p.m.), or I am the Law (3:00 p.m.)—but today’s schedule shows he took on a wide variety of roles, particularly during the 1930s.

Tonight is TCM’s celebration of the Bicentennial of Charles Dickens’ birth. While I admit Dickens is not one of my favorite authors, his work pretty much demands to be made into films, and they contain some really good showcases for actors. Alastair Sim as Scrooge and Alec Guinness as Fagin are the ones that stand out to me, I’m sure there are others.

8:00 p.m. A Christmas Carol (1951)
***TCM Party***
Technically Dickens’ bicentennial isn’t until February 7, 2012, but it makes sense to celebrate it now because of A Christmas Carol. I think it is Dickens’ most-read and best-loved work, and the most heartwarming, at least for me.Watch and tweet with #TCMParty.

9:45 p.m. Oliver Twist (1948)
Midnight Nicholas Nickleby (1947)
2:00 a.m. (Tues.) Great Expectations (1946)

Tuesday, December 13
4:00 p.m. B.F.’s Daughter Real-life pals Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin play a conservative financier’s daughter and the college professor she marries, despite her father’s strenuous objections. Also known for the debut of Barbara Stanwyck’s glamorous post-war style.

8:00 p.m. The Lemon Drop Kid
***TCM Party***
Bob Hope is the Kid of the title, who takes advantage of Christmas generosity to raise the money he owes a gangster. Based on a story by Damon Runyon and featuring “Silver Bells.” Watch and tweet with #TCMParty.

Wednesday, December 14
10:00 a.m. The Trespasser (1929)
I am interested in this because it stars Gloria Swanson, who made her name in the silents and continued into the talkies. She is best-known today for Sunset Boulevard.

11:45 a.m. The Moon and Sixpence (1942)
This film is based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham, which was loosely inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin. George Sanders stars as a stockbroker who abandons his job and family to become an artist.

3:00 p.m. A Page of Madness (1926)
A rare Japanese silent film which was declared “the first filmlike film born in Japan.”

William Powell and Kay Francis

Thursday, December 15
TCM concentrates on the late career and dramatic roles of Star of the Month William Powell, beginning at 8:00 p.m. withtonight’s TCM Party, Life with Father (1947), which also stars the brilliant Irene Dunne and a teenaged Elizabeth Taylor. The Powell block continues with The Girl Who Had Everything, where Powell and Taylor again play father and daughter; Mister RobertsPowell’s last film; It’s A Big Country;One Way Passage, which reunites Powell with his Jewel Robbery co-star Kay Francis; The Key (1934); and Road to Singapore (1931).

Friday, December 16
1:00 p.m. In Gay Madrid (1930)
Ramon Navarro is a law student mixed up with at least two different girls.

6:00 p.m. The Wet Parade (1932)
Two families cope with the ill effects of both too much and not enough booze (aka Prohibition). The large cast includes Walter Huston, Myrna Loy and Jimmy Durante.

8:00 p.m. The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
***TCM Party***
Watch another Christmas classic with Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven. Tweet with #TCMParty.

10:00 p.m. Christmas in Connecticut
***TCM Party***
Barbara Stanwyck has been living a lie as the 1940s equivalent of Martha Stewart, a homemaking columnist for a magazine. When her publisher (Sydney Greenstreet) decides she should host a war hero for Christmas, it becomes evident that her stories about an idyllic farm and happy family are just that…stories. Watch and tweet with #TCMParty.

Midnight The Shop Around The Corner (1940)
If you’ve ever watched You’ve Got Mail, you owe it to yourself to check out the original Christmas classic with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan as the feuding co-workers who don’t know they’re in love with each other. Also playing on Sunday, December 18 at 10:00 a.m.

Saturday, December 17
The absolute must-sees for today are the block of movies featuring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn: Bringing Up Baby (8:00 p.m.), The Philadelphia Story (10:00 p.m.), Holiday(midnight), and Sylvia Scarlett (2:00 a.m. Sunday).

Sunday, December 18
12:00 p.m. A Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas!
This TCM original features clips and interviews with some of the stars and filmmakers involved in all-time favorite holiday classics.

8:00 p.m. It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)
***TCM Party***
A couple of homeless men occupy a spacious New York City mansion while the family are wintering in a warmer climate…what happens when the daughter returns unannounced?Watch and tweet with #TCMParty.

OK TCM fans, what are you watching this week? What is your favorite Christmas classic? Let me know in the comments…

This Week on TCM — Nov. 21-27

This Week on TCM spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan viewing or DVR scheduling. All times are EST.

Monday, November 21
6:00 a.m. Hollywood Without Makeup
I love behind-the-scenes stuff like this 1966 feature made up of home movies by actor Ken Murray.

10:00 a.m. Jeopardy
Not a game show…Barbara Stanwyck plays a woman trying to save her husband from certain death.

TCM’s Battle of the Blondes continues tonight with Janet Leigh in My Sister Eileen (8:00 p.m.) and Houdini and Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman (12:00 a.m.) and A Very Private Affair (1:45 a.m. Tues.), plus two bonus blondes, Jean Arthur and Marlene Dietrich, in A Foreign Affair (3:45 a.m. Tues.).

This Week on TCM — November 14-20

This Week on TCM spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan viewing or DVR scheduling. All times are EST.

Monday, November 14
6:30 a.m. Pandora’s Box
To quote the Criterion Collection: “One of the masters of early German cinema, G. W. Pabst had an innate talent for discovering actresses (including Greta Garbo). And perhaps none of his female stars shone brighter than Kansas native and onetime Ziegfeld girl Louise Brooks, whose legendary persona was defined by Pabst’s lurid, controversial melodrama Pandora’s Box. Sensationally modern, the film follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu, whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with. Daring and stylish, Pandora’s Box is one of silent cinema’s great masterworks and a testament to Brooks’s dazzling individuality.”

1:15 p.m. You Can’t Run Away From It
A remake of It Happened One Night starring Jack Lemmon and June Allyson.

3:00 p.m. The Glass Key
Film noir with Alan Ladd as a gangster who falls for the head honcho’s girl (Veronica Lake).

8:00 p.m. The Blue Angel (1930)
A singer (Marlene Dietrich) enchants a professor (Emil Jannings) and heartbreak ensues. This film is representative of both Weimar Germany and the productive partnership between director Josef von Sternberg and his muse/star Dietrich. Watch and tweet along with #TCMParty.

Tuesday, November 15
10:00 a.m. The Story of Mankind
Humanity hangs in the balance as Satan takes on mankind’s soul. With Ronald Colman, Vincent Price, Groucho Marx, and #TCMParty fave Franklin Pangborn; directed by Irwin Allen (The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno).

8:00 p.m. AFI’s Master Class: The Art of Collaboration
Tonight’s episode of this new TCM original features inside info from director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams, who’ve been working together for almost 40 years, from Jaws (1974) to Munich (2005).

Wednesday, November 16
8:00 p.m. Nothing Sacred
In this classic screwball comedy, a journalist (Frederic March) convinces a small-town gal (Carole Lombard) to pretend that she is dying of a deadly disorder…how long can they keep up the act? Lombard wasn’t known as Queen of the Screwball Comedy for nothing. Watch and tweet along with #TCMParty.

12:45 a.m. (Tues.) I’m No Angel
There’s never been a more appropriate title for a movie. Mae West attempts to crash polite society and runs into Cary Grant (in his second picture with West).

Thursday, November 17
1:45 p.m. Rich and Strange (1932)
This was the great director’s third sound film and it is apparently a satire/rom-com.

1:15 a.m. (Fri.) Ship of Fools (1965)
In the early 1930s, a ship’s various passengers (Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, Jose Ferrer, Lee Marvin) cope with each other and the rise of Nazism.

Friday, November 18
8:00 p.m. Chase a Crooked Shadow
Today’s featured actor Richard Todd deceives an heiress (Anne Baxter) into thinking her dead brother is still alive.

2:00 a.m. (Sat.) Equinox (1970)
3:30 a.m. Curse of the Demon (1958)
Two demon-themed pictures. I’m not sure about Equinox but Curse of the Demon is a really interesting movie about a skeptical professor (Dana Andrews) investigating an avowed Satanist (Niall McGinnis). Directed by Jacques Tourneur (Out of the Past, Cat People) and scripted by Charles Bennett (The 39 Steps, Foreign Correspondent).

Saturday, November 19
TCM is celebrating a bunch of 50th anniversaries tonight, beginning with Splendor in the Grass ***TCM PARTY*** at 8:00 p.m. and continuing with The Children’s Hour (10:15 p.m.); One, Two, Three (12:15 a.m. Sunday); The Misfits (2:15 a.m.); and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (4:30 a.m.).

Sunday, November 20
7:30 a.m. Fire Over England
I probably recommend this every time it’s on the schedule, but the acting of Lawrence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Flora Robson, and the soapy reality-challenged plot never disappoint.

2:15 a.m. (Mon.) Stolen Kisses
I’ve never seen François Truffaut’s Oscar-nominated film about a struggling guy (the director’s frequent alter ego Jean-Pierre Léaud) who gets out of the army and can’t find a job. But Truffaut did direct The 400 Blows and The Last Metro, so I figure it’s worth setting the DVR for.

So TCM fans…did I miss any of your picks? What will you be watching this week?

This Week on TCM – November 7-13

Monday, November 7 — Battle of the Blondes

Veronica Lake
8:00 p.m. This Gun for Hire & 9:30 p.m. The Blue Dahlia
Lake and her frequent co-star Alan Ladd had quite the chemistry going and these two films are among the best of both of their careers. In both, Ladd plays a man on the run and Lake his ally against betrayal, bad guys and/or the cops.

Lana Turner
11:15 p.m. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
Turner is at her most seductive and mercurial as a woman who conspires with her lover (John Garfield) to murder her husband. Though this movie is considered by many to be a film noir, I think the photography is too bright and low-contrast for it to really be considered a true noir. That doesn’t make it any less entertaining though.