Note: This is a regular monthly feature, highlighting, well, the highlights on Turner Classics' schedule. Why? Simple. Because Turner Classics remains a veritible college education in film.
This month, Turner turns over a bulk of its programming to celebrities who pick their very favorite titles from Turner's vast film library. But in addition to the likes of Alec Baldwin, Cybill Shepherd, Martha Stewart, Donald Trump and Whoopi Goldberg, there is Paul Aguirre, a film fan who won among the 350 submissions to be a guest programmer.
Small world: I know Paul. In fact, I voted for him. I thought of vying myself for the slot, if only to meet Robert Osborne, who remains TV's best host, hands-down.
Anyway, Paul's selections, to be aired on Thanksgiving night, include Cecil B. DeMille's "The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952), Richard Fleischer's "The Happy Time" (1952), King Vidor's "The Crowd" (1928) and William A. Wellman's "Westward the Women" (1951).
Here's how the rest of the month goes:
Nov. 3: Lee Marvin in John Boorman's “Point Blank” and Alec Guinness, Noel Coward, Ernie Kovacs, Burl Ives and Maureen O'Hara, a gloriously eclectic cast, in Sir Carol Reed's “Our Man in Havana.” Also, GWTW.
Nov. 4: Strong line-up - Welles' “Citizen Kane” and "The Magnificent Ambersons” and Hitchcock's “Rebecca.”
Nov. 5: “The Whistler” and “The Power of the Whistler,” both with Richard Dix, and Charles Laughton's gleefully evil “Night of the Hunter”
Nov. 7: Wilder's “Ace in a Hole.” Say no more.
Nov. 8: Truffaut's influential “400 Blows” and the engaging "Penrod" series, based on Booth Tarkington's stories.
Nov. 9: Crawford in “A Women’s Face” and a trio of Red Skelton flicks - "Whistling in the Dark," "Whistling in Dixie" and "Whistling in Brooklyn."
Nov. 10: Gillo Pontecorvo's great “Battle of Algiers,” programmed by Danny DeVito.
Nov. 11: Tod Browning's terrific “The Devil Doll,” with a game Lionel Barrymore. (Drew should remake this already.) Also: “My Favorite Wife” and “Swing Time,” a fantastic back-to-back double-bill.
Nov. 12: – Hemmings and Redgrave in Antonioni's still trendy “Blow Up.” Anne Baxter in Fritz Lang's “The Blue Gardenia.”
Nov. 13: James Elroy's programming picks are enticing - Irvin Kershner's "Stakeout on Dope Street," Irving Lerner's "Murder by Contract," Don Siegel's "The Lineup" and three by Richard Fleischer, “Kiss Me Deadly,” "Follow Me Quietly" and "Armored Car Robbery."
Nov, 14: – Four titles in Charles Barton's "Peppers" series, and Priscilla Lane in Anatol Litvak's “Blues in the Night.”
Nov. 15: – Cary Grant in "Notorious," "Houseboat," "His Girl Friday" and "Bringing Up Baby," most of these selected by Cybill Shepherd.
Nov. 17: – Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney and Julie Harris, all at the top of their game, in Ralph Nelson's “Requiem for a Heavyweight. Plus Ken Loach's affecting “Kes,” picked by Tracy Ullman.
Nov. 18: Richard E. Grant chewing up the scenery in the memorable “Withnail and I,” plus Mickey Spillaine and Clyde Beatty in “Ring of Far,” Fritz Lang's “Clash by Night” and “Flower Drum Song,” Rodgers and Hammerstein's most contemporary, livliest musical
Nov. 19: Hitchcock's compulsively watchable “North by Northwest.”
Nov. 20: Eleanor Parker and Glenn Ford in the superior soap opera/biopic, "Interrupted Melody,” about ill-fated singer Marjorie Lawrence
Nov. 21: John Frankenheimer's excellent "Birdman of Alcatraz,” with an unstoppable Burt Lancaster, and “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Bandwagon,” two of Metro's better (and more tolerable) musicals.
Nov. 24: “The Ox-Bow Incident,” William Wellman's astute examination of American's lynch-mob mentality; Richard Brooks' highly entertaining “Elmer Gantry,” starring the mesmerizing Lancaster, and Woody Allen's “Take the Money and Run," his first and, arguably, best movie.
Nov. 25: “Movers and Shakers,” a very funny Walter Matthau-Charles Grodin comedy (picked by programmer Grodin), directed by William Asher of "I Love Lucy" fame, plus the surefire '60s comedies, “How to Murder Your Wife” and “That Touch of Mink,” both dripping with sexism.
Nov. 26: Most of the day is devoted to Ann Sothern's delightful "Maisie" series, created in 1938 and popular into the '40s. The unsinkable Sothern played a Brooklyn showgirl who goes through a series of jobs, adventures and men. It kicks off with the original "Maisie" and continues with "Congo Maisie," "Gold Rush Maisie," "Maisie Was a Lady," "Ringside Maisie," "Maisie Gets Her Man," "Swing Shift Maisie" and "Up Goes Maisie."
Also: Helen Mirren's first film, "Age of Consent," directed by Michael Powell and co-starring James Mason.
Nov. 28: “The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane,” an enticing little thriller with Jodie Foster, at her jailbait age, and Scott Jacoby, a fine young actor who has seemingly disappeared
Nov. 29: Karel Reisz's “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning," the best of Britian's "kitchen sink" movies, starring Albert Finney.
Nov. 30: – "Hot Rods to Hell," in which Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain (young lovers in "State Fair") and family are terrorized by teen hoods during a car trip. The sublime Mimsy Farmer co-stars.
(Artwork: Guest programmer Paul Aguirre with host Robert Osborne; poster art for "Elmer Gantry," poster for "Maisie," the first in a series of popular, companionable B movies, and the unsinkable Ann Sothern as Maisie)
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