We’re a bit late with the Top 12 this month, already missing one movie, but November is already jammed packed so there’s plenty to keep you on your toes if this is a day late. Let’s look at the twelve movies and TCM trio you need to be sitting down for this month!
**As always, TCM can change their schedule at any time. All times are Pacific.**
Nothing Sacred is being played several times this month, and is available on various sites due to its public domain status, so don’t feel bad because you missed it yesterday (or because this wasn’t posted on-time). The story follows a sickly woman (played by Carole Lombard) whose illness is glamorized by a scheming newspaperman (Fredric March). I’m a fan of March when he plays opposite screwball ladies, and Lombard is growing on me after To Be or Not to Be. It was hard to stop myself from filling this entire twelve with screwball comedies – this month’s Friday Night Spotlight – and this was one worthy of contention. Nothing Sacred did air November 1st at 1:30am (technically November 2nd), but will be repeated throughout the month.
The story of Sadie Thompson has been adapted several times, and I originally had the Rita Hayworth version in this column (that one airs 2 hours before if you want to catch it), but I decided to stick with the 1932 pre-Code original. Joan Crawford plays the wanton Thompson whose being reformed by a missionary. Crawford is always dynamite and pre-Codes, particularly ones set in exotic locales, yield the sauciest results. Rain airs November 3rd at 10pm.
I swear I covered The More the Merrier in a previous column, but according to my list that’s untrue. The More the Merrier is a WWII housing shortage movie akin to Apartment for Peggy; at least I hope it’s like the latter because I enjoyed Apartment for Peggy a lot. In this case, you have three people (played by Joel McCrea, Jean Arthur, and Charles Coburn) all forced to live together, and romance ensues. Generally, movies with regards to housing crisis after the war revolve around the same plot (the previously mentioned Peggy, Love Nest, etc.), but it’s a plot that works! You can watch The More the Merrier on November 6th at 2:15pm.
A little Clark Gable love this month with The Hucksters. The plot involves a war veteran (Gable) struggling to assert himself in an advertising firm filled with yes-men. The movie’s claim to fame is giving Deborah Kerr her first American role. Gable is usually fun in comedies, but I chose it due to the presence of Jack Conway as director. Conway directed Libeled Lady, a fantastic screwball comedy in its own regard! The Hucksters airs November 8th at noon.
The Set-Up made this month’s list because of author Robert James’ Who Won series. In volume 2, he mentioned, several times, The Set-Up as an awards worthy movie. The plot follows a boxer (Robert Ryan) irritating some gangsters who want him to throw a fight. Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter are two film noir figures I’ve grown to enjoy seeing, and the premise sounds tense. Also, if James says it’s a must-see, I’m taking his advice. You should plan to watch The Set-Up when it’s on, November 11th at 10:30am.
TCM’s guide calls My Name is Julia Ross “a model B-movie” and that’s good enough for me! The plot centers around a young woman (Nina Foch) imprisoned by a crazy family whose ad for a job she answers. A premise like that has to yield suspense and thrills! Foch is an actress I haven’t responded to in the past, but I was told this was a movie showcasing her talents. My Name is Julia Ross airs November 14th at 8pm during a night devoted to Bob’s Picks.
Deception was another movie I swore already made the Top 12, but it could be because the poster looks familiar. You can’t ignore the trio of talent within this movie, and that alone put me in the mood to include it. Bette Davis plays a woman torn between her true love, played by Paul Henreid, and the made musician obsessed with her. Claude Rains plays the obsessed lover, and if you’ve watched him in Notorious then you know how frightening he can be. It should be an engrossing story! Deception is on November 16th at 8:15am.
I actually purchased Under the Yum-Yum Tree on a whim because of the Jack Lemmon and Carol Lynley’s name on the box. The movie tells of a lecherous landlord and the girl he attempts to woo, and I had to do a double-take when I read the lecher is Jack Lemmon! Lemmon never lets me down, and I find Carol Lynley to be cute as a button. The supporting cast includes Dean Jones and Paul Lynde. You can sit down Under the Yum-Yum Tree when it airs November 17th at 4pm.
Our documentary choice of the month is Four Days in November, airing as part of TCM’s tribute to the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. This is airing as a series of documentaries focused on JFK, and maybe I’m morbid, but this drew me in compared to the ones focused on his presidency. The documentary, nominated for an Academy Award, explores JFK’s death as well as the aftermath and the ripple effect created by it. A somber occasion, but one where the documentation is necessary. Four Days in November airs November 21st at midnight (technically November 22nd).
Okay, call me biased for putting PT 109 as part of my twelve, especially because most readers are aware of my avoidance of war movies. The movie is a biopic account of JFK’s time on a boat which sinks in the Pacific, and who better to play JFK than Mr. Cliff Robertson. Again, you may consider it a biased choice, but this is my list! PT 109 is on right after Four Days in November at 2:15am.
The Collector is part of my unofficially coined “Weird 1960s Horror Movie” feature of the Top 12. Oddly enough, it’s directed by the legendary William Wyler – I’m assuming one of his later features when the bloom was off the rose. It tells of a man who kidnaps a woman and I’m already a little concerned about the subject matter. I mean look at the poster’s tagline: “Almost a love story.” Um, if he’s an obsessed man illegally holding a woman against her will what kind of love story will we get? I hope I won’t be angry by Wyler’s choice in material, but I’ll give it a go. The Collector airs November 23rd at 4am (technically November 24th).
Finally, we’ll end with a romantic comedy starring the wily Errol Flynn and the demure Olivia De Havilland. Four’s a Crowd tells of a publicist who falls for his client’s daughter, and it’s safe to assume hijinks ensure. I haven’t watched Flynn in a romance yet and I’m curious to see if his rascally demeanor works with the genre. De Havilland is always a solid bet, and sometimes you just need a sweet film to balance everything out. Four’s a Crowd airs November 29th at 12:45am (technically November 30th).
THE TCM Trio
This week’s TCM Trio will make you laugh until you cry! On November 8th stay in with Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, William Powell and Myrna Loy. The evening starts at 8pm when Grant and Dunne play a divorced couple who can’t stay away from each other in The Awful Truth. Then, at 9:45pm, Grant and Dunne reunite after she’s been shipwrecked in My Favorite Wife. Finally, at 11:30pm, William Powell is desperate to prevent Myrna Loy from divorcing him in Love Crazy.
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.