Halloween is over, the months are getting colder and shorter, so what better time to stay in and watch TCM? The ten films I’ll be watching below continue to show my love for musicals, honor some big names (one of whom you’ll see an interview with soon), and more. What will you be watching on TCM in November? Any titles unlisted I should make time for?
**Times are listed as Eastern. TCM can change the schedule at their discretion**
Halloween may be over, but there’s never a time to watch Joan Crawford go Berserk (1967)! Crawford’s films at the nadir of her career are fun in how dedicated she is to her performance (look at something like Strait-Jacket). Berserk sees Crawford as a “lady ringmaster,” because we have to specify she’s not a man, capitalizing on a string of murders. Crawford, murders, publicity, sounds about right! Berserk airs November 7th at 1:30am.
This month’s Wild Card is Kaleidoscope (1966), starring Warren Beatty. I say that because Warren Beatty and comedy don’t always mix. The film deals with a woman (played by the lovely Susannah York) who enlists a gambler into a “dangerous poker game.” Sight unseen I’m getting shades of The Cincinnati Kid (1965) without the Steve McQueen and Ann-Margret. Again, this movie could be crap, but I’ll always take a chance on Beatty. Kaleidoscope is the noon movie on November 8th.
Mr. and Mrs. North (1941) has all the makings of being an offshoot of another famous Mr. and Mrs., Nick and Nora Charles. Originally a radio program, Mr. and Mrs. North boasts actress Gracie Allen solo, without her other half, George Burns. The film also spawned a television show. I’m all for wacky murder hijinks involving married couples, and while I doubt this’ll be as memorable as any of the Thin Man’s, I’ll give it a way. Mr. and Mrs. North airs at 8:30am on November 12th.
An actress who’s never received her proper due is Carroll Baker. After her amazing work in Baby Doll (1956) Baker was on a career high which came crashing down. I’ve enjoyed what little of her work I’ve seen, and even if I’ve hated it (um, The Carpetbaggers), she still does good work. Something Wild (1961) looks to give audience something different, with Baker as a rape victim who runs away from home. Rape is always a delicate subject in film, and in 1961…I’m interested in seeing how things turn out. Something Wild is part of a double-feature honoring director Jack Garfein on November 15th at 10pm.
I spent a whole week reviewing Busby Berkeley films during the July Five, but there’s still plenty I haven’t seen. Gold Diggers in Paris (1938) continues the Gold Diggers franchise, albeit in the land of the Eiffel Tower. Instead of stars like Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler, we get lower-tier actors like Rudy Vallee and Rosemary Lane, but, hey, those Busby Berkeley numbers will be plentiful! Get up early to watch Gold Diggers in Paris on November 21st at 6:45am.
I’m a fan of Doris Day dependent on what leading man is her screen partner. Her work with James Garner? Flawless. Starring opposite Clark Gable? Not good. (I’ll confess, I haven’t watched any of her films pairing her with Rock Hudson, yet.) By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953) pairs Day with Gordon MacRae, the singing star of Oklahoma! (1955) fame. I’m just hoping it’s more Oklahoma! and less Carousel (1956). The plot involves Day as a woman whose sweetheart returns form WWII. I’m a fan of post-war dramas/comedies, add a health dose of singing, and this could be a treat. By the Light of the Silvery Moon airs November 22nd at 6am.
I usually avoid doubling up on titles from the same day, but I made an exception for The Pirate (1948) after it was recommended to me as a future addition to my Top 21 Must-See Dance Sequences in Classic Film. Directed by Vincente Minnelli, and starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, The Pirate sounds a bit like my one of my newest favorite comedies, The Court Jester (1955), as it involves someone he isn’t masquerading as a hero (or villain). I’ve never watched Kelly and Garland team up, but Garland’s usually at her best when she’s directed by her then-husband, Minnelli. You can buckle some swash with The Pirate on November 22nd at 2pm.
I went off of past precedent with Two Weeks with Love (1950); I love RIcardo Montalban in musicals. After watching his amazing work with Esther Williams in On an Island With You (1948) I’ve decided I need to watch more Montalban. Two Weeks with Love pairs the actor with cute as a button musical female, Jane Powell, who I haven’t watched in anything prior (although I still have Royal Wedding taped). The film also stars Debbie Reynolds and tells of a young girl (Powell) on vacation trying to prove to her parents she’s grown up. Hmm, do I detect some faint shades of my favorite musical of all time, Dirty Dancing (1987)? Two Weeks with Love starts at 9:15am on November 25th.
Polyester (1981) makes the list for one reason: Tab Hunter. Not to drop a spoiler bomb on everyone, but I recently interviewed Hunter (look for it on the site soon) and figured I owed it to him to watch some of his films. His work with John Waters is probably his most interesting. A man who epitomized the studio era teaming with one of the most off-beat directors out there? Polyester is a take on the melodrama, with Divine as the bored housewife trying to find herself. I’ve enjoyed Waters’ works here and there, and I love Hairspray (1988). Polyester airs at 2am on November 29th.
I’ve stopped on It Should Happen to You (1954) a dozen times. If that’s not a sign this should be on a TCM Top Ten list, I don’t know what is. Directed by George Cukor, the film stars Judy Holliday as a fame obsessed woman who puts her name on a billboard. I’m assuming hilarity ensues? It also stars Jack Lemmon and Peter Lawford, who are always great to see. If this is anything like Holliday’s last foray with Cukor, Adam’s Rib (1949), then this’ll be a new favorite. You can find out why It Should Happen to You on November 29th at 2:15pm.
THE TCM DUO
Get ready to sing along with two very different movie musicals on November 13th. Starting at 1:30pm, Catherine Denueve pines for her lover in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964). Then, at 3:30pm, Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra are a couple of swells in Guys and Dolls (1955).
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.