The TCM Top Ten for December 2014
We’re rapidly approaching the end of another year with TCM and the amount of quality entertainment I’ve documented in that time represents some true gems! What does the network have in store for the conclusion of 2014? Check out the ten movies I’ll be concluding the year with!
All times are Eastern. TCM can change the schedule at their discretion.
How about we start the month with a musical? One starring Judy Garland, no less. I’ve never watched Easter Parade but due to a random viewing of Gilmore Girls I’ve been singing the movie’s theme song for the last three days. I’m assuming that’s a sign I should check out the original source. The premise of the film sounds like A Star is Born in an earlier time and without the drunkenness; Fred Astaire trains an ingenue played by Garland. I’m not big on Astaire, but Garland always surprises me. Easter Parade airs December 5th at 9:45pm.
When I do my weekly rounds of what’s on TCM I always end up pausing on Make Way for Tomorrow. Maybe I find the title intriguing but I always seem to stop and assume it’s another movie. Like with Easter Parade I’m assuming I’m stopping because it’s a sign. The film follows an elderly couple forced to separate for the first time in their marriage. It’s been cited by author Jeanine Basinger in her book on marriage as a must-see. Make Way for Tomorrow airs December 8th at 8:15am.
Who knew Jimmy Stewart was in a gangster picture? I sure didn’t. The Last Gangster stars Edward G. Robinson as the eponymous gangster who vows revenge on the wife who left him. Sorry, Eddie, but if it’s between you and James Stewart I’d go James too. You can join the debate when The Last Gangster airs December 12th at 6pm.
School is coming to a close for me but I can’t pass up a good literary adaptation. The 1946 version of Great Expectations is considered the best, as well as being one of the best classics of all time. Considering the film’s directed by Lawrence of Arabia’s David Lean, the critics must be right! Great Expectations is part of a night of Dickens’ adaptations, December 14th at 8pm.
Apartment dramas are a subgenre I enjoy (see Apartment for Peggy). Add Ginger Rogers to the mix and you have the makings of a fun romantic comedy from what I’m reading. Rafter Romance follows a shopgirl who falls in love with a guy whom she doesn’t realize shares the same apartment building as her. I’m not sure why I’m detecting shades of Bachelor Mother but that can only be good, right? Rafter Romance airs at 1pm at December 16th.
Mystery Street sounds like a rather dark, depressing film noir: “Criminal pathologists try to crack a case with nothing but the victim’s bones to go on.” All we have are the bones? How exactly does that play out? And what can 1950s technology do with those bones? I haven’t been wowed or disappointed by Ricardo Montalban as an actor, but really, I’m going into this for the plot. You can make a stop at Mystery Street, December 17th at 1pm.
You know I’d be remiss if I didn’t close out the year with another outrageous horror movie? To the Devil, A Daughter stars Richard Widmark, another entry into the “you’re getting old so why not make a horror movie” canon. And since it’s 1976 it has to deal with the cause du jour of all horror films: Satanic cults. Most of these movies are stupid, but they’re interesting diversions from the more serious “Classics” TCM offers. You can stay up late and watch To the Devil, A Daughter on December 18th at 4:15am.
After watching Sunday in New York I’ve become determined to watch more of Jane Fonda’s work in the 1960s before she became “Oscar Winning Actress” Jane Fonda. Period of Adjustment follows a newlywed couple struggling to deal with their friends’ marital problems. I’m not big on Tony Franciosa, but Fonda was so good in Sunday. Period of Adjustment is the early morning movie December 19th at 7am.
Another 1950s crime drama makes the list this month, Ruth Roman’s Lightning Strikes Twice. The story follows Roman’s character as she tries to prove a man accused of murdering his wife is innocent. It’s directed by King Vidor and the premise sounds intriguing. You can see whether Lightning Strikes Twice on December 22nd at 10:15am.
I have no idea how a movie like Undercurrent has slipped past me! It’s a drama directed by Vincente Minnelli, starring Kathrine Hepburn and Robert Mitchum where Hepburn’s character believes her husband or his brother is a psychopath?! Again, how has this movie eluded me? There’s really no other reasons for me to justify why I’ll be checking this out. Undercurrent airs December 29th at 6pm.
THE TCM TRIO
The holiday season gets romantic with three yuletide romances on December 21st. First, Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten are lovers with problem in I’ll Be Seeing You at 12:30pm. Then, Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan spend Christmas in Connecticut at 2pm. Afterwards, Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum engage in a Holiday Affair at 4pm.
Kristen Lopez View All
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.
Oh, you’ll like Rafter Romance. Watch for Robert Benchley as Rogers’ slightly pervy boss — she’s a telemarketer, or at least the 1930s version of it. And Rogers has one scene where she puts on an outfit that appears to be nearly backless and sideless!
I don’t think I’ve seen Rogers in any pre-Code (although this straddles the line). I’m excited for it!
You’ve never seen EASTER PARADE? Oh man, you’re going to LOVE it!
Astaire really doesn’t do it for me, but I love Judy!
Thank you for picking UNDERCURRENT…I would not otherwise have known of its existence. HOW did I not know
I know! I’m shocked I have never heard of it.