FEBRUARY ON TCM
This month starts the 31 Days of Oscar on TCM so each day has a different theme and will feature movies that have won an Oscar. So, February 1 starts with Literary Adaptations into movies and also features Janet Gaynor's Oscar win for multiple movies - Sunrise and Street Angel.
Here are my pics for a short month of great movies to enjoy on TV's best movie channel:
2/1 THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER Based on the Carson McCuller novel, this gem stars Alan Arkin as a deaf-mute who tries to find his way in an indifferent world. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie.
2/2 STRANGERS ON A TRAIN Hitchcock at his best. Two men meet by chance on a train and one has an ingenuous scheme to solve each's problems - crisscross: you kill the person I want to get rid of and I'll do the same for you.
2/3 FUNNY GIRL Barbra Streisand's debut as Fanny Brice, directed by William Wyler (his only musical) with a great score and cast.
2/4 THE CHILDREN'S HOUR Another Wyler gem, based on Lillian Hellman's play (Wyler also directed her Little Foxes in 1941). Not as well known as it should be, this features remarkable performances by Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine - yes, she can act with the best of them.
2/5 I VITELLONI Early Fellini flick about bored young men in a boring little town - hey, somehow Fellini makes you care and laugh - yes, laugh.
2/6 THE LONGEST DAY Legendary producer Darryl Zanuck made this episodic movie about the invasion of France by the Allies. Great cast - watch for a chilling performance by Richard Burton.
2/7 CAGED Eleanor Parker stars as innocent who gets sent to prison and comes out a hardened gangster's moll.
2/8 THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING! One of the funniest films ever made with an incredible performance by Alan Arkin as a Russian sailor trying to find a boat to tow his submarine off a shoal in New England.
2/9 IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT From the opening credits with Ray Charles singing the title song while the camera pans over workers in a cotton field, you know this movie is different. Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger are the unlikeliest buddys in this classic take on that genre.
2/10 A PASSAGE TO INDIA David Lean's last and one of his greatest movies. I had read the E.M. Forster novel and when I heard that it was to be made into a movie, I thought it couldn't be done - the novel is too subtle, to complex. I was wrong.
2/11 MY FAVORITE YEAR Story of the high jinks in early TV will leave you rolling on the floor.
2/12 TO BE OR NOT TO BE This is the original and you will discover what is meant by the Lubitsch touch. Just perfect.
2/13 THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI David Lean visits a Japanese slave labor camp for prisoners in WWII. Sessue Hayakawa is incredible as the conflicted Colonel in charge of the camp.
2/14 FATHER OF THE BRIDE Vincente Minnelli's gem about the joys and sorrows of being the guy stuck with the tab. Tracey, Taylor and a great su[[orting cast.
2/15 THE BAD SEED If you think that you were a bad kid, take a look and see what a really bad kid looks like.
2/16 THE GREAT RACE For unknown reasons, this delightful farce has never found an audience, but let's change that. Blake Edwards directs a great cast: Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk (yes, another movie in which Falk steals every scene he is in)
2/17 NETWORK They made a play out of this iconic Paddy Chayefsky but nothing can match the movie for sheer chutzpah. Among all the great performances, William Holden's can get lost, but he is the key to the movie.
2/18 HIGH NOON The 'politicians' have let out of jail the notorious killer, Frank Miller who has sworn vengeance on those who put him in jail. Sheriff Gary Cooper is just about to leave town on his wedding day (with Grace Kelly) when he is forced to stay and fight - alone. This movie touches on so many American myths that it could be called, High Icon.
2/19 CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS This is the kind of gem the studios use to produce. Not a great movie, but a very good one with entertainment to keep you stuck to your seat - and oh yea, Spencer Tracy as a Portuguese fisherman.
2/20 THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY A variation on the 'disaster' flicks, this time a plane full of people who are some of the best character actors in Hollywood. John Wayne toughs it out while whistling a great Dimitri Tiomkin score.
2/21 LA STRADA Fellini brings to life a traveling circus act with Tony Quinn and the strong mans and Fellini's wife, Giulietta Masina, as his much abused assistant. This is the movie that made everyone sit up and watch Fellini.
2/23 BORN FREE Africa in the 60s where a married couple run a farm and adopt a baby cub lion. When the lion grows up, there's a problem. This a delightful movie that you can share with your children.
2/24 A HARD DAY'S NIGHT The Beatles make their first movie under the direction of Richard Lester. The lads play themselves and along the way are all these great songs. The title song, penned by John, who got the idea when the lads were leaving Abbey Road after a long recording session and, as Ringo was walking out the door, he said, "It's been a hard day - (then seeing it was nighttime) night."
2/25 IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT This is the first movie to win all big-4 Oscars, Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert), Best director (Frank Capra) and Best Picture. As opposed to many head-scratching choices made by the Academy over the years, these Oscars were well deserved.
2/26 ANASTASIA When the Czar and his family were killed by the Bolsheviks, the youngest daughter survived and went into hiding (look, it's a movie so forget the facts). Ingrid Bergman makes her grand comeback, winning her second Oscar. Yul Brynner and Akim Tamiroff do their usual outstanding job.
2/27 JOHNNY EAGER Robert Taylor was tired of playing the pretty boy and he gets to play the heel in this crime thriller beside Lana Turner and Van Heflin (who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his let it all hand out performance).
2/28 THE GREAT WHITE HOPE This is the movie that made James Earl Jones a star, playing the first Black heavyweight fighter, Jack Johnson (they change his name to Jefferson, I assume to claim it's all made up). Jane Alexander plays Jones' white mistress in the early 20th century when interracial marriage was forbidden by law.