A TCM Viewer's Guide for the week of Dec. 11, 2017

The classic Christmas movie The Bishop's Wife (1947), starring Cary Grant and Loretta Young, is airing Sunday on TCM.

TCM is airing a weekend filled with holiday classics, including TCM fan favorite The Bishop's Wife (1947). There's also a great lineup of Debbie Reynolds' movies and two days of films from star of the month Lana Turner.

I'll go in-depth a little further down in the article, but first here's a quick rundown of what else is on the schedule. Note: All program times are EST.

Birthday tributes: Edward G. Robinson on Tuesday.

Noir Alley: Adulterous couple John Garfield and Lana Turner plot to kill her schlubby husband (Cecil Kellaway) in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1950) at 10 a.m. Sunday. The Postman is actually airing twice this week; it's also on at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

TCM Essentials: Debbie Reynolds plays a struggling actor who catches matinee idol Gene Kelly's eye in the classic musical  Singin' in the Rain (1952) at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Silent Sunday Nights: Director F. W. Murnau's masterpiece Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) at midnight. This film about love, betrayal, and redemption is still one of the most beautiful movies ever made. 

TCM Imports: Two biopics from Italian director Roberto Rossellini starting with his lovely film about the life of St. Francis of Assisi, The Flowers of St. Francis (1950) at 2 a.m. A biopic about the 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal (1972) is airing at 3:45 a.m.

Christmas movies: The ancient epic Ben-Hur (1959), which opens with a Nativity scene, is airing at 6 a.m. Thursday; The Debbie Reynolds' films Bundle of Joy (1956) at 10 p.m. Saturday and Susan Slept Here at midnight Saturday are both set during the holidays.
 Friday evening has a full lineup of holiday movies and there are Christmas classics airing on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. See the Best Day to DVR section and/or each day's entry for more details.

Best Day to DVR: Friday prime time and late night. TCM is airing a lineup of holiday movies starting with director Ernst Lubitsch's wistful romance starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, The Shop Around the Corner (1940) at 8 p.m. War widow Janet Leigh meets handsome drifter Robert Mitchum over the Yuletide season in Holiday Affair (1949) at 10 p.m. A cross-section of Postwar America crams into a shuttered New York City mansion for Christmas in It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947) at 11:45 p.m. Wrap up your evening with flamboyant radio personality Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley) crashing an Ohio family's festivities in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) at 2 a.m.

Monday, Dec. 11

A vintage poster for A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935).
Three daytime picks: The theme is double features starring real-life sisters. Pre-code star Constance Bennett plays a waitress turned Hollywood star in What Price Hollywood? (1932) at 6 a.m., while her sister, Joan Bennett, was a great femme fatale in the noir Scarlet Street (1945) at 7:45 a.m. Zsa Zsa Gabor appeared with her ex-husband George Sanders in Death of a Scoundrel (1956) at 9:45 a.m. while her sister, Eva Gabor, has a memorable role as a multiple divorcee in the romance The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954) at noon. Living legend Olivia de Havilland made her screen debut in the Shakespeare adaptation A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) at 2:15 p.m. Her sister Joan Fontaine plays the muse of composer Charles Boyer in The Constant Nymph (1943) at 4:45 p.m.
Prime time lineup: TCM's guest programmer for December is actor and comedian Matt Walsh (Veep). He is a self-described comedy nerd and that is reflected in his prime time choices. The satire Being There (1979) at 8 p.m. stars Walsh's childhood idol Peter Sellers. Walsh also enjoys Peter O'Toole's bravura performance as a washed-up actor in My Favorite Year (1982) at 10:30 p.m.
Late night pick: One of Walsh's late-night picks is the Marx Brothers comedy Horse Feathers (1932) at 2:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 12

Edward G. Robinson
Three daytime picks: A birthday tribute to actor Edward G. Robinson who was born Emanuel Goldenberg on Dec. 12, 1893, in Bucharest, Romania. Robinson's only film with Warner Bros. other great gangster star James Cagney is the snappy pre-code drama Smart Money (1931) at 6:30 a.m., which stars Robinson as a barber turned big-time gambler (Cagney's his assistant). Two Seconds (1932) at 11 a.m., which is about a death-row inmate's final moments, is one of Warner's most fascinating prison films. Finally, Robinson shows off his considerable comedic chops as a gangster who goes straight in the Damon Runyon adaptation A Slight Case of Murder (1938) at 3 p.m.
Prime time lineup: TCM will be airing movies from star of the month Lana Turner every Tuesday in December. This week's lineup features Turner's forties movies starting with the aforementioned The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) at 8 p.m. Turner plays the seductive Countess de Winter in the lavish swashbuckler The Three Musketeers (1948) at 10:15 p.m.
Late night pick: Gambling syndicate operator Robert Taylor falls for district attorney's daughter Turner in the MGM noir Johnny Eager (1942) at 12:30 a.m., while Turner got good notices for playing Spencer Tracy's naive fiancee in the horror film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) at 2:30 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 13

Lana Turner
Three Daytime Picks: The Turner movies continue with the actor and frequent costar Clark Gable playing war correspondents who fall for each other in Somewhere I'll Find You (1942) at 8:30 a.m. Turner, Laraine Day, and Susan Peters join the military in the lightweight comedy Keep Your Powder Dry (1945) at 1:30 p.m., while bored soda fountain attendant Turner does a disappearing act in the rom-com Slightly Dangerous (1943) at 3:15 p.m.
Prime time lineup: The prime time and late night lineup for Wednesday is listed as "to be announced."

Thursday, Dec. 14

Louis Armstrong and Grace Kelly on the set of High Society (1956).
Three daytime picks: Charlton Heston plays a Jewish prince in the time of Christ in the ancient epic Ben-Hur (1959) at 6 a.m., while Norma Shearer plays the doomed French queen in the lavish biopic Marie Antoinette (1938) at 2 p.m. Finally, David Niven and Cantinflas embark on the ultimate road (or more accurately balloon) trip in Around the World in 80 Days (1956) at 4:45 p.m.
Prime time lineup: TCM is putting the spotlight on The Great American Songbook each Thursday in  December. Host Michael Feinstein will bring his wealth of knowledge about America's mid-20th century popular music, which is such a wonderful part of many old Hollywood films. The prime time lineup starts with the Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland musical Girl Crazy (1943), which features some of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin's best songs, including "Embraceable You" and "I Got Rhythym." The Tyrone Power vehicle Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938) at 10 p.m. has a great Irving Berlin score, including the title tune and "Blue Skies."
Late night pick: The Cole Porter score for High Society (1956) at midnight includes the Oscar-nominated song "True Love."

Friday, Dec. 15

Judy Garland in A Star is Born (1954).
Three daytime picks: The theme is movies starring Judy Garland starting with she and frequent costar Mickey Rooney's first film together, Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937) at 6 a.m. Next, Mickey and Judy put on a show to benefit an orphanage in Babes on Broadway (1941) at 11 a.m. After having her contract  with MGM terminated in 1950, Garland made her Hollywood comeback with a bravura performance in the Warner Bros. musical A Star Is Born (1954) at 3:15 p.m.
Prime time lineup: See the Best Day to DVR section
Late night pick: See the Best Day to DVR section

Saturday, Dec. 16

There's two Christmas movies airing on Saturday afternoon. The 1938 version of A Christmas Carol starring Reginald Owen is on at 12:15 p.m. Gary Cooper plays a hobo turned media sensation who threatens to commit suicide on Christmas Eve in director Frank Capra's Meet John Doe (1941) at 1:45 p.m.
This week's The Essentials film is the all-time great musical Singin' in the Rain (1952) at 8 p.m. followed by two more films starring Debbie Reynolds: The Bachelor Mother remake Bundle of Joy (1956) at 10 p.m. and the rom-com Susan Slept Here (1954) at midnight.

Sunday, Dec. 17

The Sunday afternoon lineup features the Barbara Stanwyck-Dennis Morgan rom-com Christmas in Connecticut (1945) at 12:15 p.m. followed by TCM fan favorite The Bishop's Wife (1947) at 2:15 p.m.
 The prime time lineup features two movies directed and starring Albert Brooks. Brooks plays a version of himself (he's a documentary filmmaker who is making a series about an ordinary American family) in Real Life (1979) at 8 p.m. Brooks and Kathryn Harrold embark on a Modern Romance (1981) at 10 p.m.


  1. Thanks!! Just copied and pasted a few of the above into my calendar so I don't forget.


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