TCM Picks for the Week of Jan. 14, 2019

It's cold and snowy outside, so why not settle down on the couch with a hot cup of cocoa and old Hollywood favorites on TCM. My picks for this week include an essential noir (photo above of Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past), two eye-popping ancient spectacles, and a (literally) haunting psychological horror film. All times are Eastern and the highlighted text has links to full-length articles.

Here's a link to the complete schedule for the week of Jan. 14-Jan. 20.

Monday Pick of the Day

Out of the Past (1947) at 11:45 pm Monday, Jan. 14: A night of films devoted to old Hollywood icons Robert Mitchum and James Stewart features this seminal noir from director Jacques Tourneur that made Mitchum a star in Postwar America. Mitchum plays a world-weary private eye with a low-key elegance and casual masculinity that would mark so much of his later screen work. 
More Mitchum: The Mitchum-Stewart tribute begins at 8 pm with a 2017 documentary about the lives of the two men followed by Stewart playing aviator Charles Lindbergh in The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) at 9:15 pm. Also airing are the classic rom-com The Philadelphia Story (1940) at 1:45 am and noir Macao (1952) at 3:45 am.

GIF of the Week

The Public Enemy (1931) at 5 pm Monday, Jan. 14: James Cagney walks through the rain in this seminal crime film from director William Wellman

Tuesday Pick of the Day

Kathryn Grayson, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Pamela Britton in Anchors Aweigh (1945).
Anchors Aweigh (1945) at 10:15 pm Tuesday, Jan. 15: This charming MGM musical stars Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as two World War II sailors on shore leave who help a budding singer (star-of-the-month Kathryn Grayson) make it in Hollywood. This film is best known today for Kelly's number with cartoon character Jerry the Mouse, but there's also Sinatra's wonderful rendition of "I Fall in Love Too Easily" and Grayson showing off her impressive pipes in a couple of classical numbers.

Happy 82nd Birthday, Margaret O'Brien

The former child star, who was born Angela O'Brien on Jan. 15, 1937, in San Diego, will receive a birthday tribute on Tuesday, Jan. 15. My pick would be the wonderful nostalgia piece Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945) at 10 am, but O'Brien is also wonderful as a buttoned-up child genius in Lost Angel (1943) at noon, a lonely Victorian girl in The Secret Garden (1949) at 1:45 pm, and March sister Beth in Little Women (1949) at 5:45 pm.

Wednesday Pick of the Day

Julie Harris in The Haunting (1963).
The Haunting (1963) at 6 pm ET Wednesday, Jan. 16: The American writer Shirley Jackson has undergone something of renaissance in recent years. Jackson was the subject of a wonderful 2016 biography by Ruth Franklin, and her life will be featured in an upcoming movie starring Elisabeth Moss. Plus, there's a popular Netflix series based on her novel, The Haunting of Hill House. That book was also the basis of a 1963 psychological horror film from director Robert Wise, who creates a sense of claustrophobic dread through distinctive camera angles and Julie Harris' fragile lead performance.

Photo of the Week

East of Eden (1955) at 8 pm Wednesday, Jan. 16: James Dean in Mendocino, Calif., while filming this adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel about a dysfunctional family in the early 20th century.

Thursday Pick of the Day

Deborah Kerr and Robert Taylor in Quo Vadis (1951)
Quo Vadis (1951) at 8 pm Thursday, Jan. 17: This massive box-office blockbuster about the persecution of Christians in Ancient Rome kicked off the era of sword-and-sandals movies. There's plenty of eye-popping spectacle (Robert Taylor's grand entrance in Rome; the montage of the life of Christ; the burning of Rome), but the film's real strong points are its touching depiction of the faith of the early Christians and Peter Ustinov's camp portrayal of Nero.

Alternative Thursday Pick

Sophia Loren and Stephen Boyd in The Fall  of the Roman Empire (1964)
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) at 11:15 pm Thursday, Jan. 17: If you like your ancient epics a little less reverent than Quo Vadis, check out director Anthony Mann's movie about the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Alec Guinness). Although there are plenty of big-name stars (Sophia Loren, Omar Sharif, James Mason), lots of spectacle, and a propulsive Dimitri Tiomkin score, the film's brooding, melancholy tone really makes it an art film masquerading as an epic.

Set Your DVRs for Thursday Afternoon

Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in An American in Paris (1951)
An afternoon of movies about artists starts with the Academy Award-winning musical An American in Paris (1951) at 12:30 pm Thursday followed by Humphrey Bogart as a mysterious artist and Barbara Stanwyck as his new wife in the thriller The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) at 2:30 pm. Kirk Douglas' wonderful performance as Vincent Van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956) at 4:15 pm is followed by the pre-code mystery Arsene Lupin (1932) at 6:30 pm starring brothers John Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore

Friday Pick of the Day

Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, and Humphrey Bogart in The Petrified Forest (1936)
The Petrified Forest (1936) at 6:15 am Friday, Jan. 18: This taut gangster film about an escaped convict (Humphrey Bogart) who holds a writer (Leslie Howard) hostage at a remote restaurant was the breakthrough movie for Bogart, who had up until that time struggled to find good acting jobs in both Broadway and Hollywood. Bogart went on to make several all-time classics, but he was never more electrifying than as the desperate Duke Mantee in this film. Part of a morning lineup of films based on the work of Robert Sherwood.

Weekend Watch 

The Mark of Zorro (1940) at noon Saturday, Jan. 19: Forget about your weekend chores (at least for a few hours) and settle down on the couch to watch star Tyrone Power (gif above) buckle a fine swash in this action-adventure film.

Saturday Pick of the Day

The Last Hurrah (1958) at 8 pm Saturday, Jan 19: This sentimental Spencer Tracy film about a big-city mayor's  final campaign conjures up nostalgia for both old Hollywood (the deep roster of character actors includes James Gleason, John Carradine, and Donald Crisp) and a more honorable time in American politics. 

Noir Alley, Jan. 19 edition

Murder, My Sweet (1944) at midnight Saturday, Jan. 19 and 10 am Sunday, Jan. 20: Dick Powell (gif above) gives the definitive screen portrayal of detective Philip Marlowe in this caustic adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel, Farewell, My Lovely. Also features Claire Trevor in one of noir's great femme fatale performances (FYI, I found this gif on Pinterest, but I'm not sure who should get the credit for creating it; the other gifs in this article were created by me).

Sunday Pick of the Day

All That Heaven Allows (1955) at 8 pm Sunday, Jan. 20: Well-off widow Jane Wyman falls for her hunky gardener (Rock Hudson) in this premier example of fifties melodrama. Director Douglas Sirk, who specialized in this type of film, combines glossy visuals (the Technicolor cinematography is breathtaking) with a stifling sense of ennui and a critical eye on the suburban conformity of Postwar America.


  1. Quite the lineup this week. I'd almost forgotten what treasures we're getting.

    I'm particularly looking forward to Seance on a Wet Afternoon on Friday and The Last Hurrah on Saturday, two movies I have not seen in years. This may be the time when I get my daughter to sit down and watch All That Heaven Allows!

    My recommendation for "one for the month" echoes your reminder to viewers not to overlook The Petrified Forest. And who can resist Murder, My Sweet?

    Unfortunately, the Mitchum/Stewart documentary is not being aired in Canada. This is disappointing, but not as disappointing as watching The Spirit of St. Louis (a rare diss of Billy Wilder from this quarter).

    1. I always forget that Billy Wilder directed The Spirit of St. Louis because it's such an un-Billy Wilder movie, not to mention boring. Plus, there's all of that unsavory stuff about Lindbergh that came out after his death.

  2. Thanks for sharing the highlights of the week to come! :)

    1. My pleasure! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment

  3. Nous nous détournons de nos rêves, de peur d'échouer, ou pire, de peur de réussir. Les films nous apprennent tout pour les gens...


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