While Turner Classic Movies is playing a few items of interest in November, the month feels a little light overall. It seems like a good month to try out a new format on my preview post. Hopefully this zeroes in a little better on the actual highlights.The Star of the Month for November isn’t a single star at all, but a celebration of several Silent Stars. While I’d embrace this as a Friday Night Spotlight type feature, I do like my Star of the Month to actually be a single star. The fun part about Star of the Month is the opportunity to drill a little deeper into that particular star’s catalog of work. That’s also why I like Summer Under the Stars so much. I would love to see Silent Stars go over big and win many new converts to silent films, but dedicating a special month to them also further marginalizes them as something special. Beyond Sundays at midnight and the occasional odd duck here and there every month, silent movies are more or less relegated to curiosity status, even on TCM.
Still, my DVR pick o’ the month is part of that Silent Stars schedule!
The buzz on social media this month is about TCM’s guest programmers on November 29. The four fan favorites who were selected by TCM are all regular faces from Twitter, Facebook, the blogosphere, and beyond, who you may have even already chatted classic movies with online. Any time I log into Twitter there’s a good chance I may wind up talking to Joel Williams, Aurora Bugallo, and Paula Guthat, with apologies to Miguel Rodriguez, who I just found and followed tonight. They pick the movies, Friday night, November 29. Congratulations, gang!
Aurora takes us behind the scenes of TCMs fan favorites at the top of her November TCM preview at Once upon a screen ... - Read it HERE.
What else is going on in November? Instead of breaking it down day-by-day, let’s split the month up and view the highlights in a different way this month. I’ll be honest, there’d be a lot of gaps if I ran my usual type of preview: This is a weak month.
Themes of Interest:
Multiple offerings of these stars and themes of interest. Daytime refers to any titles falling between 6:00 am—8:00 pm Eastern, while evening takes care of the rest.
- November 4, daytime: Susan Hayward
- November 4, evening: Bob Hope
- November 5, daytime: Joel McCrea birthday tribute
- November 10, daytime: Claude Rains
- November 13, evening: Virginia Weidler
- November 14, daytime: Dick Powell
- November 17, daytime: Rock Hudson birthday tribute
- November 18, daytime: Lloyd Bacon / Jack Oakie
- November 19, daytime: Allison Hayes
- November 19, evening: The Whistler
- November 20, daytime: Directed by Curtis Bernhardt
- November 21, daytime: Eleanor Powell birthday tribute
- November 24, daytime: Joe E. Brown
- November 28, daytime: Hitchcock-A-Thon
Reviews and Related:
Linking to movies that I’ve written about, or around, that are playing on TCM in November. All times Eastern. Days begin at 6:00 am and run until the following morning. (For example, Dodsworth is listed at 2:15 am Thursday, late Thursday night on the East Coast, but technically early Friday morning.)
Monday, November 3, 2:00 pm - Bullets for O’Hara (1941) with Roger Pryor, Anthony Quinn, and Joan Perry. Directed by William K. Howard. Remake of Public Enemy's Wife (1936), which it is compared to in the linked post.
Wednesday, November 5, 3:15 pm - Woman Wanted (1935) with Maureen O’Sullivan and Joel McCrea. Directed by George B. Seitz.
Thursday, November 6, 2:15 am - Dodsworth (1936) with Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, and Mary Astor. Directed by William Wyler. I hesitate to link to my old post, because this title only continues to grow in my estimation as time passes. Then again, every time I read that old post over, it's not too bad.
Monday, November 10, 8:30 am - They Won’t Forget (1937) with Claude Rains, Gloria Dickson, and Allyn Joslyn. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Yes, the one that made Lana Turner's sweater famous, but gee, it really should have made Gloria Dickson a well-respected actress too.
Monday, November 10, 12:15 am - The Big Parade (1925) with John Gilbert and Renee Adoree. Directed by King Vidor.
Friday, November 15, 12:30 pm - Stage Struck (1936) with Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, and Warren William. Directed by Busby Berkeley. The Yacht Club Boys come along and make things weird, still not sure exactly what I think of them! More about this one at my Warren William site.
Sunday, November 16, 9:00 am - China Seas (1935) with Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, plus Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, Rosalind Russell, Dudley Digges, C. Aubrey Smith, plus Edward Brophy, Lillian Bond, and not a sober moment from Robert Benchley. Directed by Tay Garnett. Great action.
Wednesday, November 19, 8:00 pm-1:00 am - The Whistler (1944), The Power of the Whistler (1945), Voice of the Whistler (1945), and The Mysterious Intruder (1946), each starring Richard Dix in a different role with three of the entries directed by William Castle and one (Power of) from Lew Landers. Has become my favorite of Columbia’s sparkling 1940s mystery series.
Saturday, November 22, 4:00 pm - Them! (1954) with a slew of giant ants! Edmund Gwenn is great here. Also starring James Arness and James Whitmore. Directed by Gordon Douglas.
Monday, November 24, 6:00 am - Eleven Men and A Girl (1930) with Joe E. Brown and a super-youthful Joan Bennett. Directed by William Wellman, but not nearly his best stuff.
Thursday, November 27, 10:00 pm - Bright Eyes (1934) with James Dunn and Judith Allen, but making Shirley Temple a major star. The culmination of my post tracking the rise of Shirley. Directed by David Butler. A Fox title, so make sure you catch it while TCM is offering it.
Friday, November 28, 11:30 pm - It Happened One Night (1934). Okay, I didn’t so much write about the movie as I tracked Clark Gable’s effect on the undershirt industry. Fact or myth? I lean towards the latter.
If you generally like my tastes in movies, then I think these are going to be winners for you. Same notes as above, Eastern time, with days beginning at 6 am.
Wednesday, November 5, 11:30 am - Bed of Roses (1933). Part of the Joel McCrea lineup, but you’re tuning in for Constance Bennett. Connie and Pert Kelton are fresh out of jail for solicitation, cracking wise all the way. While Connie seems more apt to pick your pocket then set a meter running in the bedroom, Pert Kelton is an eager earner, seemingly ready to use her body to pay anybody for anything possible. Joel McCrea gets under Bennett’s skin after a brief first encounter, but she’s not ready to go straight quite yet. She blackmails John Halliday out of an apartment and more, provided Halliday is allowed regular visits. Complications arise after Bennett’s tough woman of the streets realizes she’s falling for small fry McCrea and his fishing boat. Directed by Gregory La Cava, a pre-Code essential from RKO.
It means about what I expected it would mean, but the best third party definition that I could find came from Eric Partridge’s A Dictionary of Catch Phrases, where the following is included under the I’ll take vanilla entry:
"In 1975, Col. Moe wrote: The phrase is usually intended to convey an attitude of indifference or to exhibit a lack of concern … The meaning=it makes no difference."
How perfectly carefree for the pre-Code era!
A few related definitions and uses of the phrase are also included, but this is what both Helen Chandler and Pert Kelton meant. Wonder when I’ll bump into the expression next?
Wednesday, November 5, 5:00 am - Secrets of the French Police (1932) Bizarre pre-Code mystery with some interesting visuals. A nice introduction to Gwili Andre with Frank Morgan as the detective. Directed by Edward Sutherland.
Thursday, November 6, 4:15 am - Ann Vickers (1933). Irene Dunne overcomes Bruce Cabot to fall in love with married judge Walter Huston. Directed by John Cromwell. From the novel by Sinclair Lewis.
Tuesday, November 11, 2:15 pm - The Pride of the Yankees (1942). Still the best baseball movie ever made. Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig with Teresa Wright as Mrs. Gehrig. Babe Ruth as himself. Directed by Sam Wood.
Wednesday, November 12, 9:00 am - Happiness Ahead (1934). Kind of silly story of heiress Josephine Hutchinson falling for Dick Powell, but includes some strong scenes with Hutchinson, who gets a decent showcase here. Especially love her wandering solo to the New Year’s Eve party where she meets Powell. Directed by Mervyn Leroy.
Wednesday, November 12, 12:00 am - H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941). Might seem slow. I remember wanting more to happen the first few times I caught it, but I keep coming back! Excellent performances all around by Robert Young, Ruth Hussey, and Hedy Lamarr with Young playing suddenly discontented middle-aged businessman married to Hussey. Memories of being in love with Lamarr are recalled in flashback when Young is tasked with helping to organize a class reunion. Solid drama made for grown-ups by King Vidor.
Friday, November 14, 1:45 am - Wild Boys of the Road (1933). The best movie about the plight of disadvantaged youth during the Depression. Frankie Darro showcase with Edwin Phillips and Dorothy Coonan, who’d soon marry the film’s director, William Wellman, and retire.
Monday, November 17, 12:15 pm - Giant (1956). Three hours-plus that get better every time I watch. Starring Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor, plus James Dean in the only movie I ever liked him in. When I hear the word epic this is now the first movie that pops to mind. From the novel by Edna Ferber, directed by George Stevens.
Pick of the month. Monday, November 17, 8:00 pm - The Last Command (1928). Within a day of acquiring the von Sternberg box set, this became my all-time favorite silent movie. William Powell and Evelyn Brent suffer through the revolution in Russia, with Powell emerging as a Hollywood film director in present day. Emil Jannings plays the former Russian general who oppressed them, now just another Hollywood extra. Most of the movie told in flashback sees Brent especially shine. The anticipation of wondering whether Powell and Jannings will recognize each other in present day sets up a lot of tension as we move into a climax where Emil Jannings will simply blow you away. Amazing movie and performances! Directed by Josef von Sternberg.
Saturday, November 22, 12:00 pm - King Kong (1933). ‘Nuff said.
Saturday, November 22, 4:00 am - Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954). The movie is okay, but I included it in case you enjoyed my recent post about the 1932 adaptation of Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue and wanted to compare. I felt this one stayed a bit closer to the story, though it still had to include a traditional villain to have any hope of getting over. Unfortunately, they didn’t call Bela Lugosi. Starring Steve Forrest and Patricia Medina, with Claude Dauphin and Karl Malden. Directed by Roy Del Ruth.
Wednesday, November 26, 8:00 pm - Arsene Lupin (1932). I have a review copy on hand from Warner Archive, so I’ll reserve comment for now with plans to post about this title prior to the evening of the 26th. Starring the brothers Barrymore with Karen Morley. Directed by Jack Conway. If you’re considering picking up the Warner Archive double feature, I have already written a bit about 1938s Arsene Lupin Returns with Melvyn Douglas, Virginia Bruce, and Warren William.
Friday, November 28, 9:30 am - Shadow of a Doubt (1943). My favorite of the Hitchcock movies that TCM is playing the day after Thanksgiving, and always in my top 3 or 4 of all Hitch. Starring Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright, and MacDonald Carey.
Sunday, November 30, 6:15 pm - Lassie Come Home (1943). No, I’m not messing with you, I love these old Lassie movies, and this first one is the best of the bunch. Great escape during World War II, still works today. Featuring Roddy MacDowall and Elizabeth Taylor, this original entry sees Lassie bob her way through a bunch of great character actors. Good action with several harrowing escapes. Directed by Fred M. Wilcox. Shocked this only scores a 7.2 on the IMDb.
And that's all for November. Hopefully some other bloggers are more excited about this month than I am. Check Kristina's Classic Film on TV round-up for November to see if that's the case.
Star of the Month in December will be Cary Grant. Plus TCMs usual run of various Scrooges and other Christmas classics.