This Week on TCM: Wonderful Holiday Gifts
December 16, 2011

As we lead up to Christmas, TCM is gifting us with some of my favorite movies.

Tonight starts the festivities with two of the very best Christmas films and one I just don’t get the appeal of. That one, The Bishop’s Wife (8 PM, all times Eastern), I’m trying to watch yet again, in the hopes that this time, I don’t wind up feeling that Loretta Young should leave her pastor husband (David Niven) and run off with the angel (Cary Grant). I suspect it’s not going to work, though, since the casting gets in the way of the story for me. Still, it has a nice message about avoiding obsessing about money (as Niven’s character is doing, fundraising for church) in favor of family.

After that comes my favorite Christmas movie, Christmas in Connecticut (10 PM), which I’ve talked about several times before here, so I shan’t go into detail again. It’s followed by The Shop Around the Corner (Midnight), a Lubitsch film in which Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart fight at work but fall in love through letters. (Letters! Can you believe it? If you must have email, then you want the remake, You’ve Got Mail, the Blu-ray of which comes with a DVD of The Shop Around the Corner, but it’s not nearly as Christmassy.) All three movies tonight are heart-warming and romantic in various ways, just right for a cozy holiday evening. Take a break and recharge among the shopping and decorating and expectations.

If heart-warming doesn’t work for you for relieving the seasonal stress, how about outstanding comedy? Tomorrow, Saturday, the evening brings four Katharine Hepburn classics, pairing her in each case with Cary Grant. Beyond the well-known and deservedly praised Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story, there’s the underrated (and preferred by me) Holiday and the cross-dressing Sylvia Scarlett.

Sunday opens with another holiday-ish family film, the 1933 version of Little Women (6 AM), again with Hepburn as our favorite Jo. If you’d rather have more Cary Grant, then Monday’s your day, with seven films, from the gangsterish Mr. Lucky (10 AM) to the moody Hitchcock Suspicion (6 PM) to Grant’s last film, Walk Don’t Run (Noon).

Tuesday night is all about holiday movies that deal with shopping and department stores. Neat idea, but not what I’m looking for right now. Thursday night is more my speed, with a marathon of all six Thin Man movies. That’s a week early, though, since Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) are much better suited for the drinking parties of the New Year.

4 Responses  
Grant writes:  

I think that Thin Man box set has the pilot for the Thin Man television series that had Peter Lawford as Nick Charles. Pretty cool for those who haven’t seen it.

I don’t care for Bishops Wife. There’s something creepy about it being a christmas movie about a preacher who ignores his wife who in turn wants to cheat with a creepy angel who leads her on. I don’t really care for any of the characters. Not a fan of the remake with Denzel either.

It’s also worth mentioning to Dr. Who fans that on December 27, TCM is showing the 1966 Dr. Who movie “Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD”, with Peter Cushing as the good Doctor.

I’m pretty surprised that TCM isn’t going to show an encore of the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol. They showed it last monday. The treat here was that it was a restored print that’s getting released on Blue Ray. It looked terrific. For those that haven’t seen the Sim version, it’s considered by most film buffs as being hands down the best filmed version of the story. Much grittier, much scarrier, more literal. Sim gives a brilliant performance. Much better than the more cartoonish Scrooge in the Reginald Owen version.

Speaking of restoration, TCM aired a fascinating marathon of films this week that had all been restored by George Eastman House. Most of them were television premiers shown on TCM for the first time. It was a greaty opportunity to find out more about film preservation, how films are chosen for restoration, the costs, which films are priorities, etc. Very entertaining.

caleb writes:  

I love William Powell. I love Myrna Loy. And I love that little dog. Asta? Asta.

Johanna writes:  

Grant, I like the Powell and Loy documentaries that were included in the box set, too. So much great information! And thank you for the heads up on the Doctor Who airing. I hadn’t looked ahead that far yet, and I’ll be sure to watch.

Grant writes:  

Have you seen it before? Here’s a site with a write up and links to trailers…http://mentorscamper.blogspot.com/2011/12/tv-in-camper-daleks-invade-earth_25.html


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