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TCM Top 10: December 2021

It’s beginning to look a lot like… December… holy moly. Well, here we are again, kids. It’s the holiday, festive season and there’s lots of goodness to weed through on the TCM schedule, and believe it or not, there’s much more than just Christmas movies to talk about. Through, who am I to lie… I love me a good Christmas movie.

Without further ado, let’s get to the picks!

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Marathon (1933-1949)

More often than not, when I do a picks piece, Fred and Ginger usually shove their way in at some level. I have a shameless love for a number of these movies and TCM has tapped into this early in the month with not one movie, but all of them! That’s right kids, TCM is doing a Fred and Ginger marathon. Everything. Get ready to settle on in.

The marathon is set to be every film the duo made together from their earliest pairing in Flying Down to Rio to their final effort in The Barkley’s of Broadway. It’s true that some certainly are better than others, but this is a perfect way to dive into the iconic work of these legendary performers. So much of this work is foundational to the history of the Hollywood musical and as such is a great place to jump in for fans of the genre.

TCM is running a marathon of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers filmography between 3:00am and 3:00pm PST on December 1st.

Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)

Dance, Girl, Dance has always been a bit of a deep-cut in the history of Hollywood cinema and I’ve never been sure why. The movie comes from legendary director Dorthy Arzner, one of the best filmmakers you might not have heard of. She was, after all, one of the only (and for a long time, she was the only) women directing motion pictures in Hollywood.

The movie features a cast which includes last month’s ‘Star of the Month’ Lucille Ball and Maureen O’Hara in a truly fierce starring turn in a story about about burlesque dancers. The film is an early example of behind the camera representation and in the handling of O’Hara’s story, it shows percisely how things change when shown through a woman’s camera.

Dance, Girl, Dance airs at 7:00pm on December 4th.

Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955)

This movie was (surprisingly) a first time watch for me during the year 2021. This is a major shocker… especially thanks to my status as not only a longtime Martin Milner fangirl, but an even longer-standing Jack Webb fangirl. Did I mention, this is a period picture?

Pete Kelly’s Blues features a fascinating cast, including: Janet Leigh, Edmond O’Brien, a very young Lee Marvin and a relatively rare on-screen appearance from the iconic Peggy Lee. The story is a captivating one about jazz music, racketeering and gangsters in the 1920s and of course, Jack Webb is always Jack Webb.

The movie is a bit of a relic in the way that early Dragnet episodes are. It’s fun to watch Webb in his early years especially when considering just how iconic he became as Joe Friday in his later years.

Airing December 8th at 6:15 pm PST

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

The theme of this entry… like the last one… is recent first-time watches which I intend to spread the good word about. Full disclosure, I watched Christmas in Connecticut for the first time during the 2020 holiday season and I absolutely fell in love. So, pleeeeaaase don’t make the same mistake I did.

The holiday-themed romantic comedy stars the legend that is Barbara Stanwyck and the utterly adorable Dennis Morgan (a performer who I really need to watch more of). The story is one which I’m surprised Hallmark hasn’t done a flashy remake, following a writer (Stanwyck) who has posed in the media as the perfect housewife, must actually adopt her persona when a returning veteran (Morgan) is invited to her house.

This movie is stinkingly cute. If you’re looking for a fun holiday viewing, make sure to add this one to your list.

Airing December 12th at 4:15pm PST.

Susan Slept Here (1954)

I had to take an opportunity to call this one out… after all, we just devoted an episode of the podcast to it last week. Susan Slept Here is a fascinating, candy colored delight and there’s no way I couldn’t take some

Airing December 18th at 2:15pm PST

Holiday Affair (1949)

Airing at 6:15pm PST on December 18th.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Airing 8:00pm PST on December 21st.

The Apartment (1960)

Airing December 22nd at 1:45am

It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)

Airing December 23rd at 8:00pm

Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

Airing December 24th at 9:45am

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Kimberly Pierce View All

Podcaster, film historian, and general lover of all things classic film and television. Critic for Geek Girl Authority.

Twitter: @kpierce624
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