A Flickchart Guide to TCM in November
Looking for some good stuff to watch? Got a cable subscription? You’re all set! Here’s what TCM has in store for you this month.
TCM Spotlight: Southern Writers
This month on Wednesdays, TCM will be shining a spotlight on Southern American writers and the films adapted from their work. The programming is solid, with films based on Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Truman Capote, and even into more modern work like Cormac McCarthy and John Grisham. The atmospheric, larger than life stories these writers tell translate well to film, so as usual, everything here is well worth watching. That said, this programming isn’t as bold or as groundbreaking as the past couple of months of Spotlight programming, so we’ll just highlight the Top Five according to Flickchart.
The Night of the Hunter (1955; ranked #42 by 3224 users) – Perhaps the most Southern Gothic film ever made, with a sense of poetry permeating its noirish crime story and elevating it to the status of folk myth. Robert Mitchum is great as the phony minister sporting “love” and “hate” tattoos on his knuckles, but he’s matched 100% by screen icon Lillian Gish, the mother figure who protects her surrogate children with the word of God and a rifle. Plays on November 11 at 8pm.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962; ranked #137 by 28837 users) – It doesn’t get more quintessentially Southern than Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel about prejudice, racism, and justice set in a harshly segregated town in Alabama. The film captures the warmth and heart of the novel, thanks to Gregory Peck‘s wonderful performance as the upright Atticus Finch, and also keeps the innocent perspective of his young daughter Scout. Plays on November 11 at 11:45pm, and repeats on November 28 at 8pm.
No Country for Old Men (2007; ranked #196 by 62553 users) – TCM pulls in a rare recent film thanks to the spotlight theme, with the Coen Brothers‘ spectacular adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel. 2007 was an undeniably great year for film, and it’s my personal opinion that this is the best film from that year. If TCM is going to play newer films, this is a great choice. Plays on November 25 (really the 26th) at 1am.
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951; ranked #267 by 5418 users) – You can’t have a spotlight on Southern writers and not include Tennessee Williams (don’t worry, Faulkner’s in here, too, just not in the Top Five). This was the film that brought Marlon Brando into movie stardom, and he’s electrifying as the uncontrollable force of nature that is Stanley Kowalski. Vivien Leigh matches him beat for beat as the past-her-prime Blanche DuBois. Playing November 18 (really the 19th) at 12:30am.
Gone with the Wind (1939; ranked #448 by 29552 users) – And you can’t talk about the South without Gone with the Wind, the epitome of romanticizing the South. It’s definitely harder to watch today from a social perspective, but the epic scale and sheer audacity of the filmmaking is pretty hard to beat. And it marks our second film from Vivien Leigh in this Top Five – who would’ve guessed that the British beauty would find her two most iconic roles among Southern belles? Playing November 4 at 9:45pm.
And here are all the other films playing in the Spotlight throughout the month, order of when they’ll air:
11/4 8:00pm – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939; ranked #11301 by 29 users)
11/4 2:00am – The Sound and the Fury (1959; ranked #20079 by 6 users)
11/4 4:15am – In This Our Life (1942; ranked #8379 by 34 users)
11/11 9:45pm – Wise Blood (1979; ranked #5172 by 115 users)
11/11 2:00am – Claudelle Inglish (1961; ranked #22228 by 3 users)
11/11 3:45am – God’s Little Acre (1958; ranked #11256 by 18 users)
11/18 8:00pm – Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967; ranked #5967 by 115 users)
11/18 10:00pm – In Cold Blood (1967; ranked #607 by 892 users)
11/25 8:00pm – A Time to Kill (1992; ranked #1954 by 10303 users)
11/25 10:30pm – The Prince of Tides (1991; ranked #5050 by 573 users)
Star of the Month: Norma Shearer
Tuesdays in November are dedicated to actress Norma Shearer, featuring a substantial portion of her filmography throughout the month. Shearer was one of the top stars at MGM through the end of the silent era until the end of the 1930s. She became a star playing spunky ingenues in silent films, then transitioned to strong and sexually liberated roles in the Pre-Code era, and finally into more noble and self-sacrificial roles toward the end of her career.
In 1927, she married MGM wunderkind producer Irving G. Thalberg, which certainly didn’t hurt her career, though it did make her co-stars at MGM a little jealous – Joan Crawford is said to have complained “how can I compete when she’s sleeping with the boss?” Indeed, Norma was known as The First Lady of MGM, and her power was pretty uncontested throughout the 1930s. Even when Thalberg died suddenly in 1936 at the age of 37, Norma maintained control of his estate, ensuring that his percentages from the films he produced remained in her hands, rather than reverting to MGM.
Her reign as major MGM star was on the wane, though, following Thalberg’s death, and though she had roles both prestigious (Marie Antoinette in 1938) and memorable (The Women in 1939), she retired from the screen in 1942, never to return. For many years, her reputation hinged on her later “noble” roles, which are admittedly somewhat tedious at times. Only in the 1990s were her silent and Pre-Code films rediscovered, prompting a reevaluation of her career, and now Shearer is considered an exemplar of sophisticated, liberated 1930s womanhood.
The Women (1939; ranked #1911 by 204 users) – It’s something of a gimmick that there are no men on screen at all in this movie, but it barely matters, as the film is bitingly funny and quite nuanced in the breadth of portrayals. Shearer plays the noble role here to some degree, with Joan Crawford’s perfume counter salesgirl stealing Shearer’s husband, but even she comes out wearing jungle red by the end. Playing November 24 at 10:45pm.
He Who Gets Slapped (1924; ranked #3594 by 70 users) – As well as being a star-making vehicle for Shearer, this was also one of Lon Chaney‘s first major films (he plays a clown who…gets…slapped), and the first film produced by the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Playing November 3 at 12:45am.
Romeo and Juliet (1936; ranked #5713 by 125 users) – When you want to do a major Shakespeare play like Romeo and Juliet you get your biggest stars to do it, right? What about when your biggest stars in their thirties? OH WELL, do it anyway! Yeah, Shearer and Leslie Howard are really too old for these roles, which gets a little admittedly ridiculous at times, but the film is worth watching for one reason: John Barrymore as Mercutio. He’s also older than ideal, but he brings his A-game to the role, and the Queen Mab speech, in particular, is quite memorable. Playing November 17 at 5am.
The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927; ranked #6398 by 48 users) – Another silent, in this one heartthrob Ramon Novarro plays a prince who goes to university incognito and falls in love with barmaid Shearer. Things get tricky when the King dies, necessitating the prince’s return to his royal life. The film is directed by Ernst Lubitsch, which is only a good thing, and it though the conflict of love and duty is hardly original, he balances it with a great amount of wit, making for a very lovely film. Playing November 3 at 10:45pm.
The Divorcee (1930; ranked #7211 by 70 users) Shearer won an Oscar for this one, setting the stage for a series of Pre-Code women who lived life on their own terms, society be damned. This film particularly exposes double standards, with Shearer’s husband laughing off an affair he had, but then becoming outraged when she tells him she “settled the account” with an unnamed man. Playing November 10 (really the 9th) at 12:45am.
11/3 8:00pm – Lady of the Night (1925; ranked #9564 by 24 users)
11/3 9:15am – A Lady of Chance (1928; ranked #9219 by 29 users)
11/10 8:00pm – Private Lives (1931; ranked #9342 by 16 users)
11/10 9:30pm – A Free Soul (1931; ranked #8912 by 45 users)
11/10 11:15pm – Let Us Be Gay (1930; ranked #12234 by 14 users)
11/10 2:15am – Their Own Desire (1929; ranked #11433 by 22 users)
11/10 3:30am – The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1929; ranked #10178 by 24 users)
11/17 8pm – Strangers May Kiss (1931; ranked #17069 by 1 user)
11/17 9:30pm – Smilin’ Through (1932; ranked #10400 by 25 users)
11/17 11:15pm – Strange Interlude (1932; ranked #14401 by 11 users)
11/17 1:15am – The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934; ranked #10166 by 36 users)
11/17 3:15am – Riptide (1934; ranked #14080 by 6 users)
11/24 8:00pm – Marie Antoinette (1938; ranked #12585 by 14 users)
11/24 1:00am – Idiots Delight (1939; ranked #19292 by 18 users)
11/24 3:00am – Escape (1940; ranked #16888 by 4 users)
11/24 4:45am – Her Cardboard Lover (1942; unranked)
11/25 6:30am – We Were Dancing (1942; ranked #17363 by 1 user)
Director and Star Tributes
Satyajit Ray – November 30
This is mostly the Apu trilogy, the set of coming of age films about a young boy in an Indian village that are Satyajit Ray‘s best-known contribution to cinema. The films have recently been restored and re-released on DVD/Blu-ray by Criterion, and I think these are those restorations? Not totally sure. TCM is also following the trilogy with another highly acclaimed film (also on Criterion disc), The Music Room.
Pather Panchali (1955; ranked #1116 by 209 users) 11/30 8pm
Aparajito (1956; ranked #2543 by 116 users) 11/30 10:30pm
World of Apu (1959; ranked #2741 by 99 users) 11/30 12:30M
The Music Room (1958; ranked #3051 by 105 users) 11/30 5am
William Powell and Myrna Loy – November 10
One of the silver screen’s most charismatic couples, William Powell and Myrna Loy, made no fewer than fourteen films together from 1934 through 1947. TCM is playing seven of them. I figured I’d try something a little different and highlight their top-ranked film on Flickchart, their most obscure film on Flickchart, and a personal recommendation.
Top Ranked: The Thin Man (1934; ranked #151 by 1525 users) – Married detectives Nick and Nora Charles make their screen debut, and it’s a great one, with lots of murder, laughs, and cocktails. One of the wittiest films ever, mixing high society sophistication with underworld charm, and one of the most solid and wonderful marriages on screen. Playing November 10 at 12:30pm.
Truly Obscure: Evelyn Prentice (1934; ranked #9058 by 27 users) – Powell and Loy made three films together in 1934, and this may be the least well-known; I haven’t seen it myself, but I’m intrigued by its story of adultery, murder, and false accusations. Also notable for being Rosalind Russell‘s film debut. Playing November 10 at 6pm.
Hidden Gem: After the Thin Man (1936; ranked #1313 by 362 users) – The sequel to The Thin Man is very nearly as good as the original, and has the bonus of a young James Stewart in the cast. Unfortunately, after this the series started going downhill. Playing November 10 at 2:15pm.
11/10 7:45am – Double Wedding (1938; ranked #6855 by 42 users)
11/10 9:15am – The Great Ziegfeld (1936; ranked #4828 by 220 users)
11/10 6am – I Love You Again (1940; ranked #6076 by 49 users)
11/10 4:15pm – Manhattan Melodrama (1934; ranked #5657 by 81 users)
Douglas Fairbanks – November 19
Douglas Fairbanks was basically king of Hollywood in the 1920s, half of the hottest power couple (along with Mary Pickford), one of the four founders of United Artists, the first president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – all because of a string of fantastically popular swashbuckling silent action films. TCM is playing a five-film series, with a good mix of well-known and obscure.
Top Ranked: The Thief of Bagdad (1924; ranked #1486 by 382 users) – Fairbanks is the title street urchin in this film, who falls in love with the sultan’s daughter and goes on a quest to secure her hand. It’s massive in scale, especially for 1924, filled with spectacle, and a perfect fit for Fairbanks’ brash style. Playing November 19 at 12M.
Truly Obscure: The Good Bad Man (1916; unranked) and The Half-Breed (1916; unranked) These two are so obscure I had to add them to the Flickchart database – two very early westerns (before Fairbanks turned to swashbuckling). These are definitely some gems for the Fairbanks fan to check out. Playing November 19 starting at 8pm.
Hidden Gem: The Mark of Zorro (1920; ranked #4349 by 119 users) – This film marks Fairbanks’ transition from westerns and comedies to action films (which were still quite lighthearted and funny) – he’d barely look back for the rest of the decade. Playing November 19 at 10pm.
Also Playing: The Private Life of Don Juan (1934; ranked #12410 by 16 users) – The fourth film playing during the fest is still pretty obscure, one of only a few talkies Fairbanks made, and in fact, his very last film. Playing November 19 at 4:15am.
Maureen O’Hara – November 20
The Quiet Man (1952; ranked #486 by 1454 users) – The most beloved of several films O’Hara made with John Ford and John Wayne, with Wayne a retired boxer who returns to his ancestral home in Ireland, only to find his heart captured by a red-haired spitfire. Playing November 20 at 10:15pm.
McLintock! (1963; ranked #1966 by 456 users) – This one stars Wayne and O’Hara, but isn’t directed by Ford – still, the pairing is as explosive as always, playing a cattle baron and his estranged wife, brought together by their headstrong daughter (like mother like daughter?). Playing November 20 at 11:30am.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939; ranked #2152 by 281 users) – One of O’Hara’s first films, and one of two she made with actor Charles Laughton (who “discovered” her), she plays the mesmerizing gypsy, Esmerelda. Playing November 20 at 8pm.
Big Jake (1971; ranked #2438 by 310 users) – O’Hara’s final film with John Ford, and her last theatrical film before retiring in 1973 (she’d return in the ’90s). In the film, Wayne must recover their grandson, held for ransom by outlaws. Playing November 20 at 3:45pm.
The Wings of Eagles (1957; ranked #7692 by 64 users) – Most of the Wayne/O’Hara collaborations were westerns, but this film with John Ford is a biopic of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank “Spig” Weed (a personal friend of Ford’s). Playing November 20 at 5:45pm.
11/20 6am – Jamaica Inn (1939; ranked #8995 by 192 users)
11/20 7:45am – The Deadly Companions (1961; ranked #16278 by 26 users)
11/20 9:30am – Spencer’s Mountain (1963; ranked #9928 by 41 users)
11/20 12:30am – At Sword’s Point (1952; ranked #13517 by 11 users)
11/20 2am – Sinbad the Sailor (1947; ranked #15672 by 15 users)
11/20 4am – The Spanish Main (1945; ranked #12473 by 17 users)
Shirley MacLaine – November 23
Shirley MacLaine made her debut in the quirky Hitchcock film The Trouble with Harry in 1955, and she’s probably one of the proto-Manic Pixie Dream Girls of the 1950s and ’60s – often sunny and bright, but just as often masking a deep melancholy.
Top Ranked: Being There (1979; ranked #258 by 3189 users) – Peter Sellers is a simple-minded gardener on a wealthy estate whose only knowledge of the world comes from TV, but becomes nationally known thanks to basically mistaken identity on Shirley MacLaine’s part. Playing November 23 at 8pm.
Truly Obscure: The Sheepman (1958; ranked #9185 by 36 users) – A lighthearted western with Glenn Ford as a man who herds sheep instead of cows mostly because he’s ornery, and MacLaine as the girl he inevitably falls for. Playing November 2 at 3am.
Hidden Gem: Some Came Running (1958; ranked #3160 by 155 users) – MacLaine really came into her own with this film after a series of lighter comedies and genre pieces; the film stars Frank Sinatra as a cynical ex-Army guy coming home. MacLaine got her first Oscar nomination for her role as the lower class woman whose love might redeem him, as well as herself. Playing November 23 at 10:15pm.
Also Playing: What a Way to Go! (1964; ranked #8778 by 55 users) – Back to farce, with MacLaine as a woman telling the tragic ends of her several husbands – in a neat gimmick, each flashback is told with a different cinematic style. Slight but really interesting black comedy. Playing November 23 at 1am.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy – November 26
Tracy and Hepburn are another of the screen’s great couples – they appeared in nine movies together and also had a long-term relationship off the screen. His laid-back charm softened her brashness, and while their on-screen personas could be combative, their tenderness for each other always shone through.
Top Ranked: Adam’s Rib (1949; ranked #765 by 832 users) – Easily their best known and probably their best collaboration is this Battle of the Sexes comedy literally played out in a courtroom between two married lawyers – Tracy takes the part of a man shot by his wife after he’d been stepping out, and Hepburn defends the wife. The script is uproarious at times and caustic at times, but always wonderful, and Hepburn and Tracy’s easy chemistry (as well as a great supporting cast) just makes it work. Playing on November 26 at 4am.
Truly Obscure: State of the Union (1948; ranked #4594 by 76 users) – Frank Capra is well-known for films dealing with politics like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but this film about a Republican newspaper magnate (Angela Lansbury) supporting her lover (Tracy) for President seems to have been largely forgotten. Hepburn plays Tracy’s estranged wife. Playing on November 26 at 12M.
Hidden Gem: Desk Set (1957; ranked #2995 by 188 users) – Unusually, I’m choosing a film for Hidden Gem that I actually haven’t seen myself, but definitely plan to as soon as possible. This was Tracy and Hepburn’s last film together before 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and it’s a workplace comedy about the advent of computers in offices, which should be extra-fun from a 21st-century vantage point. Playing on November 26 at 8pm.
Woman of the Year (1942; ranked #2036 by 274 users) – Tracy and Hepburn’s first film together, starting a relationship on and off-screen that would last for two and a half decades. Playing November 26 at 10pm.
Pat and Mike (1952; ranked #5022 by 110 users) – A sports comedy, with Hepburn as a star athlete and Tracy as a promoter. Tracy and Hepburn are always worth watching, but this one’s toward the bottom of their collaborations for me. Playing November 26 at 2:15pm.
Cary Grant – November 27
Cary Grant needs little introduction, as one of the most effervescently charming stars ever on screen. His career lasted from the early 1930s until the mid-1960s, when he retired from the screen. Equally at home playing sophisticated men about town or goofballs, he always lit up a screen whenever he appeared. TCM is showing seven of his films, so I’ll just detail three and list the rest in the order they’ll air.
Top Ranked: North by Northwest (1959; ranked #22 by 25168 users) – Quite possibly the most downright entertaining Hitchcock film, Grant suffers from a case of mistaken identity and becomes embroiled in an espionage plot, complete with cropduster chases and hanging off Mount Rushmore. Playing November 27 at 5:30pm.
Truly Obscure: Room for One More (1952; ranked #10022 by 28 users) – This one’s so obscure I haven’t even heard of it, and I consider myself pretty familiar with Grant’s filmography; it’s a comedy about a couple who take in a pair of troubled children. Grant stars with his third wife Betsy Drake. Playing November 27 at 1:30pm.
Hidden Gem: Topper (1937; ranked #2016 by 247 users) – An unjustly overlooked screwball comedy, with Grant and Constance Bennett playing new ghosts who decide to help Grant’s former coworker Roland Young learn how to have a little fun. It sounds silly and it is, but it’s a whole lot of fun. Playing November 27 at 6am.
11/6 8pm AND 11/27 3:30pm – Charade (1963; ranked #159 by 2577 users)
11/27 8am – Bringing Up Baby (1938; ranked #120 by 3450 users)
11/27 10am – My Favorite Wife (1940; ranked #2346 by 181 users)
11/27 11:30am – Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948; ranked #2291 by 291 users)
If You’re a Fan Of…
This is a new section, meant to point you toward specific subgenres or types of films playing throughout the month, not just as programming blocks set by TCM. It’s certainly not exhaustive, just built around specific types of films that TCM plays a lot throughout the month and that tend to draw niche fans.
There are only a few noir films playing this month, so I’ve just listed them all. I heartily recommend the first three; Out of the Past is generally considered one of the quintessential noir films, To Have and Have Not features the first pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and Leave Her to Heaven is a rare color noir with Gene Tierney in an incredibly ruthless role.
11/5 12:15am – Out of the Past (1947; ranked #152 by 1311 users)
11/6 7:45am AND 11/17 at 12am – To Have and Have Not (1944; ranked #554 by 589 users)
11/15 1:30pm – Leave Her to Heaven (1945; ranked #1569 by 244 users)
11/15 10am – The Glass Key (1942; ranked #2727 by 168 users)
11/22 8pm – Lady in the Lake (1946; ranked #5063 by 114 users)
11/25 2:30pm – Border Incident (1948; ranked #8059 by 67 users)
In contrast to noir, there are a couple of dozen Pre-Code films playing this month – I’m listing out the Top Five, but beyond that I suggest you visit Pre-Code.com, an amazing site that has the full line-up listed with links to reviews – much more knowledge and info that I’m able (at this point!) to provide. These five will likely already be known to fans of Pre-Code, but are great intros into the world of Pre-Code for newbies, especially Red Dust, a wonderfully steamy film featuring a Clark Gable–Jean Harlow–Mary Astor love triangle in the tropics.
Duck Soup (1933; ranked #119 by 5082 users) 11/2 11:30pm
Red Dust (1932; ranked #5252 by 65 users) 11/14 8:30am
The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932; ranked #6718 by 96 users) 11/23 6am
The Front Page (1931; ranked #7131 by 64 users) 11/11 6am
Cimarron (1931; ranked #7856 by 198 users) 11/16 6am
TCM plays a silent every Sunday night, but this month silent fans get a bonus because a lot of Star of the Month Norma Shearer’s films are silents. Here’s all the silents playing for easy reference. Top-ranked The Circus is an easy way in if you’re just getting into silents – it’s not usually placed among Charlie Chaplin‘s best, but it’s charming and enjoyable. These are in order of ranking, so you can easily pick out the best if you’re unfamiliar with these titles.
The Circus (1928; ranked #554 by 454 users) 11/3 3:45am
He Who Gets Slapped (1924; ranked #3594 by 70 users) 11/3 12:45am
Traffic in Souls (1913; ranked #6193 by 37 users) 11/15 12M
The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927; ranked #6398 by 48 users) 11/3 10:45pm
Lady of the Night (1925; ranked #9564 by 24 users) 11/3 8pm
A Lady of Chance (1928; ranked #9219 by 29 users) 11/3 9:15am
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928; ranked #7276 by 53 users) 11/3 2:15am
The Blackbird (1926; ranked #10735 by 26 users) 11/8 2am
The Flying Fleet (1929; ranked #10744 by 22 users) 11/29 12:15am
Laila (1929; unranked by 0 users) 11/22 12:45am
There’s no shortage of great musicals this month, including one of the best ones ever made, Singin’ in the Rain, one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful ever made, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and one of the funniest ever made, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Lots of variety. I’ll pull out Flickchart’s top five for you, and the rest are in order of when they’ll air.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952; ranked #197 by 17234 users) 11/5 6:15pm
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964; ranked #527 by 497 users) 11/13 1:30pm
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953; ranked #930 by 899 users) 11/9 1am
Guys and Dolls (1955; ranked #1091 by 1216 users) 11/13 3:30pm
Gypsy (1962; ranked #5542 by 133 users) 11/9 8pm
11/8 6am – The Student Prince (1954; ranked #9987 by 35 users)
11/8 8am – The Desert Song (1953; ranked #20538 by 2 users)
11/9 4:30pm – The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939; ranked #6181 by 80 users)
11/15 6am – The West Point Story (1950; #18063 by 20 users)
11/15 5:30pm – Funny Lady (1975; ranked #6486 by 188 users)
11/16 2:30am – Million Dollar Mermaid (1953; ranked #17279 by 10 users)
11/22 6am – By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953; ranked #11848 by 22 users)
11/25 9:15am – Two Weeks with Love (1950; ranked #14931 by 10 users)
11/25 4:15pm – On an Island with You (1948; ranked #20216 by 9 users)
11/25 6:15pm – Neptune’s Daughter (1949; ranked #14770 by 5 users)
11/22 2pm – The Pirate (1948; ranked #3377 by 207 users)
In the wee hours of every Sunday night TCM programs a foreign film or two, and this month they’re focusing on Italian cinema – mostly films by Federico Fellini, but with a couple of others thrown in for good measure.
Top Ranked: Nights of Cabiria (1957; ranked #340 by 572 users) – The incomparable Giulietta Masina (Fellini’s wife for a number of years) is the title character, basically the quintessential prostitute with a heart of gold. Probably my personal favorite Fellini film, and highly ranked on Flickchart. Playing November 15 at 2am.
Truly Obscure: The White Sheik (1952; ranked #6864 by 65 users) – Fellini didn’t really hit it big until 1954’s La Strada (see below), but this film co-scripted by Michelangelo Antonioni looks like an interesting beast – a newlywed wife sneaks off to seek her romantic ideal (obviously not her husband…), leaving her new husband to make painful excuses to his family as he tries to locate her. Playing November 29 at 4:15am.
Hidden Gem: La Strada (1954; (ranked #351 / 801 users) – Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch to call this one “hidden,” as it’s right below Nights of Cabiria among Fellini’s films on Flickchart. But it’s easily my other favorite of the ones I’ve seen from TCM’s lineup, with Masina wonderful again as a somewhat slow but good-hearted girl who becomes assistant to a cruel sideshow performer. Playing November 8 at 2am.
11/15 4:15am – Flowers of St. Francis (ranked #4444 by 76 users)
11/22 3:30am – Juliet of the Spirits (1965; ranked #2343 by 196 users)
11/29 2am – Fellini Satyricon (1969; ranked #2829 by 356 users)
If You Have Kids
Classic movies are great for watching with kids – you don’t have to worry about inappropriate sex or language or things getting too gory and violent, plus they generally have strong narratives and their style can give kids a perspective on their own time and place. Here are some movies playing this month that are particularly appropriate to watch with kids. Some are more fitting for older kids, like the adventure stories of Jason and the Argonauts, The Time Machine, and The Thief of Bagdad (which is silent, and thus also requires a little bit of reading and understanding about this history of film), but there are some great dog and horse stories this month, too, that are pretty appropriate for any age, including classics like National Velvet and Lassie Come Home. I’ll just list these in the order they’ll air.
11/15 11:30am – Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1965; ranked #10734 by 69 users)
11/18 7:15am AND 11/27 2:15am – The Thief of Bagdad (1940; ranked #1428 by 365 users)
11/18 2:15pm – Mighty Joe Young (1949; ranked #3852 by 295 users)
11/18 6pm – The Time Machine (1960; ranked #1277 by 1075 users)
11/18 2:15am – Tom Thumb (1957; ranked #12624 by 72 users)
11/22 4pm – The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964; ranked #6006 by 448 users)
11/26 8:45am – The Yearling (1946; ranked #5490 by 132 users)
11/26 11am – The Secret Garden (1949; ranked #8717 by 29 users)
11/26 2:45pm – National Velvet (1944; ranked #4065 by 252 users)
11/26 5pm – Lassie Come Home (1943; ranked #7295 by 111 users)
11/26 6:30pm – The Phantom Tollbooth (1970; ranked #4141 by 287 users)
11/27 8pm – Jason and the Argonauts (1963; ranked #1222 by 1234 users)
11/27 10pm – The Land That Time Forgot (1975; ranked #6130 by 310 users)
Flickchart Top Five-ish
All right, here we go – these are the five top-ranked films on Flickchart that are playing this month on TCM, regardless of what programming block or series they’re part of. If you haven’t seen any of them, you really should prioritize them. Hawk-eyed readers will note some of the films in the Top 1000 section below are ranked higher than some of these; editorial license, since some of those films were featured in the Top Five in previous months and we want to share the love.
North by Northwest (1959; ranked #22 by 25168 users) Detailed under the Cary Grant section above. Playing November 27 at 5:30pm.
The Night of the Hunter (1955; ranked #42 by 3224 users) Detailed under TCM Spotlight: Southern Writers above. Playing November 11 at 8pm.
Badlands (1973; ranked #100 by 2537 users) – Terrence Malick‘s debut film puts a poetic spin on a Bonnie & Clyde-type crime story, with Sissy Spacek tagging along with Martin Sheen‘s increasingly violent disaffected criminal on an odyssey through the western US. Playing November 28 at 2:15pm.
Grand Illusion (1937; ranked #123 by 962 users) – A classic French take on WWI from director Jean Renoir, with frequent Renoir actor Jean Gabin as a French POW planning an escape. The fascinating subplot involves aristocratic German commander Erich von Stroheim bonding with a French aristocrat POW – WWI slashed ruthlessly across class lines, but not everyone had caught up to the modern world. Playing November 5 at 8pm.
The Great Dictator (1940; ranked #126 by 3144) – Charlie Chaplin’s first full sound film adds talking but removes none of his charm. He does take on Hitler rather more directly than most people were willing to in 1940 – giving himself the double role of a fascist dictator and a look-alike Jewish barber and ending the film with a global call to stand against tyranny. Playing November 2 at 1:00am.
More Movies to See Before You Die
We have a series on the Flickchart Blog called “Movies to See Before You Die,” and it’s basically anything that ranks in the Global Top 1000. All the films below fit that criteria, so this is a great little checklist if you’re working your way through the Flickchart Top 1000.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968; ranked #83 by 54765 users) – Playing November 9 at 2:45am.
Bringing Up Baby (1938; ranked #120 by 3450 users) – Playing November 27 at 8am.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962; ranked #137 by 28837) – Playing November 11 at 11:45pm AND November 28 at 8pm.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975; ranked #147 by 12871 users) – Playing November 5 at 2am.
The Thin Man (1934; ranked #151 by 1525 users) – Playing November 10 at 12:30pm.
Out of the Past (1947; ranked #152 by 1311 users) – Playing November 5 at 12:15am.
Charade (1963; ranked #159 by 2576 users) – by November 6 at 8pm AND November 27 at 3:30pm.
No Country for Old Men (2007; ranked #196 by 62553 users) – Playing on November 25 at 1am.
Singin’ in the Rain 11/5 6:15pm AND 11/20 10am 197 / 17234
Being There (1979; ranked #258 by 3189 users) – Playing November 23 at 8pm.
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951; ranked #267 by 5418 users) – Playing November 18 at 12:30am.
White Heat (1949; ranked #303 by 800 users) – Playing November 18 at 10am.
Gone with the Wind (1939; ranked #448 by 29552 users) – Playing November 4 at 9:45pm.
Bullitt (1968; ranked #461 by 3209 users) – Playing November 4 at 8pm.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964; ranked #527 by 497 users) – Playing November 13 at 1:30pm.
To Have and Have Not (1944; ranked #554 by 589 users) – Playing November 6 at 7:45am AND November 17 at 12am.
In Cold Blood (1967; ranked #607 by 892 users) – Playing November 18 at 10pm.
My Darling Clementine (1946; ranked #639 by 666 users) – Playing November 16 at 8pm.
Point Blank (1967; ranked #728 by 640 users) – Playing November 21 at 10pm.
An American in Paris (1951; ranked #762 by 1126 users) – Playing November 20 at 8am.
Adam’s Rib (1949; ranked #765 by 832 users) – Playing November 26 at 4am.
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963; ranked #785 by 2419 users) – Playing November 13 at 8pm.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953; ranked #930 by 899 users) – Playing November 9 at 1am.
Private Lives (1931; ranked #9342 by 16 users) – One of my favorite “Battle of the Sexes” comedies, with Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery as a battling couple who finally decide to divorce. However, they find themselves in adjoining suites on their honeymoons with new respective partners, and decide they actually can’t live without each other. It’s non-stop verbal sparring (and some physical sparring!) and unexpectedly delightful. Playing November 10 at 8pm.
Dodge City (1939; ranked #4941 by 97 users) – Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland made a whole bunch of films together, and this is not generally mentioned as one of the best, but it’s definitely one of my personal favorites, a western that includes one of the best barroom brawl scenes, bar none. Playing November 16 at 6pm.
Ride the High Country (1962; ranked #1663 by 243 users) – Oops, two westerns. Oh, well. This one is by the great Sam Peckinpah, a wonderful look at the sunset of the Western era along with a pair of cowboys who are aging out of their jobs. Playing November 25 at 3:15am.
Lassie Come Home (1943; ranked #7295 by 111 users) – I have this ranked in my Top 100, I love it so much – just an unbeatable boy-and-his-dog story focusing on the dog’s attempts to get home after she’s sold because her family needs the money so badly. Several of the vignettes have me in tears even today. Playing November 26 at 5pm.
Libeled Lady (1936; ranked #1734 by 155 users) – In this delightful screwball comedy, journalist Spencer Tracy accuses heiress Myrna Loy of homewrecking, and she sues the paper; to make sure his story is true, Tracy gets his suave friend William Powell to seduce Loy so she’ll wreck his marriage. Except he isn’t married, so Tracy volunteers his long-time fiancee Jean Harlow to play Powell’s wife. Confused yet? It doesn’t matter, because this is an amazing cast at the top of their game, and it’s great from the word go. Playing November 3 at 11pm.