December Movies to Watch For

Here are a few films on Sundance, Fox Movies and TCM for the month of December that you might be interested in. Remember, films may be edited, time compressed, in the wrong aspect ratio, or have hard-coded Klingon subtitles. You know how it goes.

 

FOX MOVIE CHANNEL

A Royal Scandal (1945)
December 3, 7:40 AM (and again the 7th)
Tallulah Bankhead as Catherine the Great and Charles Coburn as her wily chancellor. Tallu looks marvelous, Coburn is amazing and the supporting cast (Vincent Price, Anne Baxter) are terrific. Give this one a go.

 

The Black Swan (1942)
December 10, 6:00 AM (again on the 20th)
Tyrone Power as a pirate, swashbuckling and making the ladies swoon. With George Sanders and Laird Cregar.

 
Too Good To Be True (1988)
December 12, 9:30 AM
This is a made-for-TV remake of Leave Her to Heaven starring Loni Anderson and Patrick Duffy (and a very young Neil Patrick Harris). Now, I’m not averse to TV movies, but this was absolutely rotten. I saw it in high school and really, really wish I hadn’t. Anderson is in a bikini much of the time, flirting with one of the Baldwin brothers (Daniel), the hunky hired hand. Duffy is her novelist husband, and Harris is the boy, no longer the brother but the son of Duffy’s character. Duffy just kind of stands there until the script says “Yell about something,” which he does. And the change to the plot they made to make it “original” is what makes this our December What The Shit Is This? Official Selection. I won’t tell you the change, but I can assure you, it’s rotten. Oh, and the best part? Fox Movie Channel is showing it immediately after the original Leave Her to Heaven.

 

SUNDANCE

L’Amour Fou (2010)
December 4, 10:15 AM (and later at 4:15, also the 15th and 26th)
Documentary about designer Yves Saint-Laurent and his relationship with Pierre Berge.

Volver (2006)
December 6, 4:00 PM and again on the 25th
I’ve listed this one before, but it’s a fun Almodovar movie and wanted to list it again.

Henry & June (1990)
December 8th (early morning the 9th) at 12:15 PM, again on December 11
Philip Kaufman directs this NC-17 (the first film rated as such) semi-biographical flick about Anais Nin, Henry Miller and his wife. Starring Fred Ward, Maria de Medeiros and Uma Thurman, this is a sexy film, but also quite good. Kevin Spacey and Richard E. Grant also star. This was probably the first film I ever rented simply because I wanted to see something good, not just what was on the New Releases shelf.

 

 

TCM

The star of the month is Barbara Stanwyck and there are several nights featuring Ernst Lubitsch films, so prepare to get the shit entertained out of you.

Cynara (1932)
December 3, 6:00 AM
A lawyer has a fling with a (probable) hooker while his wife is away, and ridiculous complications ensue. With Ronald Colman and Kay Francis.

The Night Court (1927)
December 3, 7:50 PM
Silent short with Joyzelle Joyner and William Demarest. Not a Baby Peggy movie, but worth mentioning. Showing just before the night of Baby Peggy films.

December 3: Baby Peggy shorts and movies
8:00 PM Baby Peggy, The Elephant in the Room (2010) (documentary)
9:00 PM Captain January (1924)
10:06 PM Bubbles (1930)
10:15 PM Carmen Jr. (1923)
10:30 PM Such is Life (1924)
11:00 PM Peg o’ the Mounted (1924)
11:20 PM Baby Rose Marie: The Child Wonder (1929)
11:30 PM Baby Peggy, The Elephant in the Room (2010) (repeat)

This is all followed by the 1932 Winner Take All at 12:30 AM, starring Dickie Moore, and at 1:45 AM the Private Screenings: Child Stars (2006) with both Peggy and Moore.

December 4: Pre-Codes Directed by William Seiter
6:30 AM Back Pay (1930) – Implausible early talkie romance with silent film stars Corinne Griffith, Grant Withers and Montagu Love.

7:30 AM Sunny (1930) – Early creaky musical with Marilyn Miller, Lawrence Gray and Joe Donahue. (Note: The TCM website has the Leonard Maltin review for the 1941 version of this film on the page for the 1930 version.)

9:00 AM Way Back Home (1932) – Drama with Phillips H. Lord, Effie L. Palmer and Frank Albertson.

10:30 AM Young Bride (1932) – Drama starring Helen Twelvetrees as a newlywed who discovers her husband is a louse.

12:00 PM If You Could Only Cook (1935) – A Seiter film, though not a pre-code. Starring Herbert Marshall as an executive who decides to run off and work as a butler, only to fall for the cook (Jean Arthur). Two more Seiter films follow: It’s A Date (1940) at 1:15 PM with Kay Francis and Deanna Durbin, and Belle Of The Yukon (1944) at 3:00 PM with Randolph Scott, Gypsy Rose Lee and Dinah Shore.

 

Ladies of Leisure (1930)
December 5, 8:00 PM
Talkie with Stanwyck as a model (or rather “model”) who falls for a rich man whose parents disapprove of the relationship. One of Marie Prevost’s last good film roles.

 

December 5 and 6: More Stanwyck
The rest of the Stanwyck films go all night and into the next day:
9:45 PM This Is My Affair (1937)
11:45 PM The Other Love (1947)
1:30 AM A Message to Garcia (1936)
3:00 AM Stella Dallas (1937)
5:00 AM The Miracle Woman (1931)
6:45 AM So Big (1932)
8:15 AM The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1932)
9:45 AM Baby Face (1933)
11:15 AM Golden Boy (1939)
1:00 PM Meet John Doe (1941)
3:15 PM Executive Suite (1954)
5:00 PM Walk On The Wild Side (1962)
7:00 PM Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire (1991) (documentary)

 

The Loves of Pharaoh (1922)
December 7, 8:00 PM
Epic Ernst Lubitsch silent about an Ethiopian king who marries off his daughter to a Pharaoh in hopes of peace.

 

December 10: Pre-Codes
6:00 AM Huddle (1932)
8:00 AM Beauty For Sale (1933)
9:30 AM Clear All Wires (1933)
11:00 AM Day Of Reckoning (1933)
12:15 PM Whistling In The Dark (1933)
1:45 PM The Women in His Life (1933)
3:15 PM Paris Interlude (1934)

 

December 12 and 13: Barbara Stanwyck
8:00 PM Banjo On My Knee (1936)
9:45 PM Remember the Night (1940)
11:30 PM The Lady Eve (1941)
1:15 AM Ball Of Fire (1941)
3:15 AM You Belong to Me (1941)
5:00 AM Lady Of Burlesque (1943)
6:45 AM To Please A Lady (1950)
8:30 AM The Bride Walks Out (1936)
10:00 AM Breakfast for Two (1937)
11:15 AM The Mad Miss Manton (1938)
12:45 PM The Woman In Red, The (1935)
2:00 PM The Secret Bride (1935)
3:15 PM Ever In My Heart (1933)
4:30 PM Shopworn (1932)
5:45 PM Illicit (1931)

December 14: Ernst Lubitsch
8:00 PM Trouble In Paradise (1932)
9:30 PM Design For Living (1933)
11:15 PM One Hour With You (1932)
12:45 AM The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927)

December 19 and 20: Barbara Stanwyck
8:00 PM Double Indemnity (1944)
10:00 PM The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers (1946)
12:00 AM Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
1:45 AM Clash By Night (1952)
3:45 AM Jeopardy (1953)
5:00 AM Witness To Murder (1954)
6:30 AM Crime Of Passion (1957)
8:00 AM Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire (1991)
9:00 AM The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947)
10:45 AM Cry Wolf (1947)
12:15 PM The Gay Sisters (1942)
2:15 PM Ladies They Talk About (1933)
3:30 PM The Purchase Price (1932)
4:45 PM Forbidden (1932)
6:15 PM Ten Cents A Dance (1931)

 

December 21: Ernst Lubitsch
8:00 PM The Love Parade (1929)
10:00 PM Monte Carlo (1930)
12:00 AM The Merry Widow (1934)

 

Fitzwilly (1967)
December 23, 6:00 PM
The only Christmas movie I really love. Dick Van Dyke as a third generation butler who robs to keep his elderly philanthropist employer in money. Also starring Barbara Feldon and a million amazing character actors.

 

December 26 and 27: Barbara Stanwyck
8:00 PM Forty Guns (1957)
9:30 PM The Maverick Queen (1956)
11:15 PM The Violent Men (1955)
1:00 AM Trooper Hook (1957)
2:30 AM The Moonlighter (1953)
4:00 AM Annie Oakley (1935)
5:45 AM Night Nurse (1931)
7:00 AM Gambling Lady (1934)
8:30 AM His Brother’s Wife (1936)
10:00 AM My Reputation (1946)
11:45 AM B.F.’s Daughter (1948)
1:45 PM The Man With A Cloak (1951)
3:15 PM These Wilder Years (1956)

 

December 28: Ernst Lubitsch
8:00 PM Ninotchka (1939)
10:00 PM To Be or Not to Be (1942)
11:45 PM That Lady in Ermine (1948)
1:30 AM That Uncertain Feeling (1941)

 

TerrorVision (1986)
December 28, 4:30 AM (early morning the 29th)
Hilarious cult comedy-horror flick about a satellite television attracting an alien invasion.

***

If there are any movies you want to point out — any genre, any channel — feel free to do so in comments!

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10 Comments

  1. I so missed the “What the Shit is This” Award.

  2. I know it’s last month or technically December since it’s after midnight, but, whatever, I can barely contain my gibbering over finally getting a chance to see THE TWONKY tonight on The Underground. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

  3. FITZWILLY!!!!! Possibly the first movie over which we bonded? It was at the top of my list when I kept a notebook wherein I recorded all the movies I would have prints of in my private screening room when I got rich, back in the ancient days before anyone had conceived of a VCR.

    • It was! That is terrific that you kept a list. I was so naive I thought almost every movie had been released on some format, which is why I lost things like the unedited-for-TV version of Lounge People (1992) and the made-for-TV Pueblo (1973) and such. Still kicking myself for that. But it’s not all bad, because Fitzwilly is not only shown on TCM in a really nice print, but it’s on one of those made on demand DVDs now. The VHS of it used to go for $30 on Amazon.

  4. I apologize for sounding a bit academic about this, but you listed the credits for the 1941 version of SUNNY. The 1930 version stars Marilyn Miller, as big a star on Broadway as there ever was, even if her cinema legacy isn’t very strong.

    • I took the info straight from the Maltin review on TCM’s website. Unfortunately, it appears they used the 1941 review for the 1930 film, which is the one they’re showing. I’ll correct.

  5. Babs and Lubitsch, good to go. I, too, saw that crappy LHTH on TV, it’s an excellent argument to leave some things the goddam hell alone.

    • I didn’t know anything about the original when I saw it, of course, and only when I finally got around to the original (just a few months ago!) did I realize. When I saw this made-for-tv tragedy on the Fox Movie schedule, oh it was ON.

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