January Movies to Watch For

jansched02-350Are we dead? Did the Mayan spaceship blow us up on the winter solstice? No? Then sit your big butts back down on those couches and start watching movies like God and Greyhound intended!

Here are some films on Fox Movie Channel, Sundance and TCM for the month of January that you might be interested in. Remember, these movies may be edited, time compressed, in the wrong aspect ratio, have commercial interruptions, or contain subliminal messages compelling you to toss articulated bodies off cliffs as part of a series of elaborate insurance scams. You know how it goes.

All times Eastern.



Night Train to Paris (1964)
January 1, 4:50 AM (early morning)
Leslie Nielsen as a retired secret agent on one last mission in Paris. This gets horrible reviews, so beware!


Leave Her to Heaven (1945) at 6:00 AM
Daisy Kenyon (1947) at 8:00 AM
Laura (1947) at 10:00 AM
Fox Movie Channel rarely has more than two films in a row worth watching, but this is a terrific line up that you might want to marathon on the 2nd. If you’re not still hung over from the 31st, that is.


The Driver (1978)
January 10, 1:15 PM
Director Walter Hill’s cult fave about an obsessed cop (Bruce Dern) after a getaway driver (Ryan O’Neal).


Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence (1939)
January 10, 4:50 AM (early morning the 11th)
A New Yorker’s adventure on the way to Arizona to settle on his newly-bought land. Directed by Ricardo Cortez and starring Glenn Ford in his first featured role, and Jean Rogers, Raymond Walburn, Marjorie Rambeau, Richard Conte, Eddie Collins, Ward Bond and Dalton Trumbo. (It’s also on YouTube here, for those of us who don’t get FMC.)



what-the-shit-is-this-300Mommie Dearest (1981)
January 1, 10:00 PM (again on the 2nd, twice on the 13th, twice on the 19th)
The first film in a two-way tie for this month’s What The Shit Is This? sweepstakes! If you haven’t seen Mommie Dearest, you are in for a treat, and by “treat” I mean “terrifying hour and a half of cinematic cheese.” Faye Dunaway plays mid- and late-career Joan Crawford in this flick based on the tell-all book by adopted daughter Christine. Now, I’ve read the book, and it didn’t read as campy as the film turned out, because the book elaborates some points that I’m reasonably sure the screenplay deliberately left unexplained. Vague is funnier, as you know. Dunaway is completely out of control in this performance, intentional emotional instability in an attempt to mimic how Crawford allegedly acted. Stars some great character actors, like Steve Forrest, brother of Dana Andrews and permanent fixture on TV from 1950 through 1999 inclusive. Contains hilarious lines and horrifying child abuse and is probably about as truthful as a version of the Titanic disaster where everyone is saved by an adorable, anthropomorphic super otter.


Amreeka (2009)
January 6, 6:00 AM (also twice the 14th)
The troubles of a Palestinian woman and her son who move to the U.S. to live with her sister and family in Illinois. Sundance shows this quite a bit, and I finally got to watch it last month, and I recommend it. Low-key but delightful and surprising.


The Border (1982)
January 17, 10:00 PM and again at midnight
Tony Richardson’s tale of a corrupt U.S. border guard who decides to go straight to help a Mexican woman about to lose her child. Starring Jack Nicholson, Valerie Perrine, Warren Oates, Harvey Keitel, Elpidia Carrillo.


Buena Vista Social Club (1999)
January 21, 11:00 PM and again at 4:00 AM
Documentary chronicling Ry Cooder’s assembling of older musicians from Cuba, to record an album and tour the world. Nominated for an Oscar.



jansched08-250 January 2 through January 3: Loretta Young silents and pre-codes
8:00 PM Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928)
9:30 PM Platinum Blonde (1931)
11:15 PM Taxi! (1932)
12:30 AM Life Begins (1932)
1:45 AM The Squall (1929)
3:45 AM Show Of Shows (1929)
6:00 AM Loose Ankles (1930)
7:15 AM I Like Your Nerve (1931)
8:30 AM Road To Paradise (1930)
10:00 AM The Truth About Youth (1930)

January 3: Marion Davies films
11:15 AM The Bachelor Father (1931)
1:00 PM Polly Of The Circus (1932)
2:15 PM Page Miss Glory (1935)
4:00 PM Ever Since Eve (1937)


jansched01-bomb Forty Naughty Girls (1938)
January 3, 5:30 PM
The final Hildegard Withers mystery, with Withers played by ZaSu Pitts. Check out the review Leonard Maltin gave it: It received on of his infamous (and hilarious) bombs!


Tarantula (1955)
January 4, 9:30 PM
BBFF Ivan at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear wrote up a terrific article on Tarantula for the 50s Monster Mash Blogathon last year. This B-movie creature feature comes in the middle of a whole night of ’em on TCM, starting with Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), then Tarantula, followed by The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) and finally It Came From Outer Space (1953). I note Tarantula here only because of the hilarious TCM description: “A scientist’s experiments to cure hunger create a giant tarantula.” Well, yeah, you try to cure world hunger, that’s gonna happen.


jansched04-300The Cheat (1915)
January 6, midnight
Cecil B. DeMille’s overwrought silent about a society woman who makes a deal with a sinister man to cover her debts. Starring Sessue Hayakawa. Remade in the 1920s with Pola Negri, and as an early talkie with Tallulah Bankhead.


The Dragon Painter (1919)
January 6, 1:00 AM (early morning the 7th)
The second flick in our Sessue Hayakawa double feature about an artist who believes a beautiful woman has been turned into a dragon.


The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
January 7, 10:30 PM
Two girls see Frankenstein, then decide to search for the monster, believing it to be real; similar to a significant plot point in Heavenly Creatures.


January 8: Elvis’s Birthday
6:15 AM Speedway (1968)
8:00 AM Kissin’ Cousins (1964)
9:45 AM Tickle Me (1965)
11:30 AM Live A Little, Love A Little (1968)
1:15 PM Viva Las Vegas (1964)
2:45 PM Jailhouse Rock (1957)
4:30 PM It Happened At The World’s Fair (1963)
6:30 PM Love Me Tender (1956)


jansched05-400January 9 and 10: More Loretta Young
There are several pre-codes tonight that you do not want to miss!

8:00 PM Employees’ Entrance (1933) – Very similar to Skyscraper Souls, but still very much its own movie. If you like pre-codes, you will want to see this.

9:30 PM Heroes For Sale (1933) – Highly acclaimed William Wellman film about a WWI veteran struggling against drug addiction.

11:00 PM Born to Be Bad (1934) – Scandalous!

12:15 AM Midnight Mary (1933) – Features one of the most pre-code pre-code scenes ever. You’ll know it when you see it. Whew. The rest of the Loretta Young pre-codes are:

1:45 AM They Call It Sin (1932)
3:00 AM The Hatchet Man (1932)
4:30 AM Play Girl (1932)
5:45 AM The Ruling Voice (1931)
7:00 AM She Had To Say Yes (1933)


bette-and-miriamOld Acquaintance (1943)
January 10, midnight
Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins loathe each other for 110 minutes, and it is a delight.


Each Dawn I Die (1939)
January 11, 7:15 AM
My favorite Cagney movie in one of the best acting performances ever captured on film, and I will argue this point strenuously if I have to. Cagney is a hard-hitting investigative journalist who turns bitter when framed and sent up the river. Co-stars a terrific George Raft. Turns into violent melodrama toward the finale, but not many movies in 1939 didn’t. The first of several films with George Raft this morning; in order: They Drive by Night (1940), Manpower (1941), Background To Danger (1943), Johnny Angel (1946), Nocturne (1946), Race Street (1948), and A Dangerous Profession (1950).


Les Miserables (1935)
January 13, 10:00 AM
TCM has shown this version of Les Miz several times over the last year, but if you haven’t had a chance to catch it yet, definitely try to. It’s a bit thinned down, as one would expect given the shortish length and year it was made, but March is terrific and Charles Laughton is sublime.


jansched06-350January 13: Silent Shorts on Silent Sunday Night
12:00 AM midnight: Bumping Into Broadway (1919) (Harold Lloyd)
12:30 AM: The Scarecrow (1920) (Buster Keaton)
1:00 AM: The Pilgrim (1923) (Charles Chaplin)


January 14/Early Morning January 15: Jack Nicholson Marathon
12:45 AM Carnal Knowledge (1971)
2:30 AM Five Easy Pieces (1970)
4:15 AM Easy Rider (1969)


Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966)
January 15, 10:00 PM
Terrific caper flick starring James Coburn, Camilla Sparv, Aldo Ray, and one of my best pretend boyfriends, Severn Darden. Makes a great double feature with The President’s Analyst (1967).


January 16: Alec Guinness Marathon
10:15 AM Oliver Twist (1948)
12:15 PM Malta Story (1953)
2:00 PM The Detective (1954)
3:45 PM The Prisoner (1955)
5:30 PM Cromwell (1970)


January 18: Laurel & Hardy
Several L&H shorts followed by their foreign language counterparts. Note that TCM is not allowing anyone to sign up for reminders for these shorts, which could be a technical error, or could mean the schedule is going to change any minute now.
8:00 PM Chickens Come Home (1931)
8:45 PM Politiquerias (“Chickens Come Home”, Spanish) (1931)
9:45 PM Blotto (1930)
10:15 PM La Vida Nocturna (“Blotto”, Spanish) (1930)
11:30 PM Be Big! (1931)
12:00 AM Laughing Gravy (1931)
12:45 AM Les Carottiers (“Be Big!” & “Laughing Gravy”, French) (1931)


The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
January 24, 2:45 PM
Melodramatic in that alluring The High and the Mighty way, this is a ridiculously entertaining yarn about the survivors of a plane crash racing against time to get their plane repaired. Contains tons of great actors, lots of Lawrence of Arabia-esque music and one hell of a plot twist — no one spoil it in the comments! It’s also co-starring Ian Bannen, an actor I’m just now realizing had a pretty huge career, though one rarely hears about him nowadays.


what-the-shit-is-this-negativeUnder the Yum Yum Tree (1963)
January 24 (early morning the 2th), 4:45 AM
This month’s co-winner for the coveted What The Shit Is This? award. Misogyny was a big fad in the 1960s, and no one personified the ugly, sexist, proto-rapist bachelor more than Jack Lemmon, who managed to helm a champion trifecta of revolting films in the mid 1960s: Under the Yum Yum Tree (1963), Good Neighbor Sam (1964) and How to Murder Your Wife (1965). Yum Yum Tree is probably the worst, though it’s a toss up, really. People often say “it was a different time” when it comes to the sociopolitical context of films like these, and to that I say, “Bullshit, my good chum.” Men who acted similarly to Lemmon’s characters in pre-codes — Ricardo Cortez, anyone? Warren William? — were portrayed as vile and often died at the end of the film. Just because that sort of behavior became more accepted in the 1960s doesn’t mean it was no longer vile. It was, but the social context changed, and there was a brief period of time where men thought The Pill meant liberation for them rather than for women, and by “liberation” I mean “it’s safe to get women drunk and take advantage of them when they can’t consent because now they can’t get pregnant, yay.” So anyway, long story short, Under the Yum Yum Tree is on TCM this month. Even Jack Lemmon didn’t like the film. Enjoy.




The Corpse Came C.O.D. (1947)
January 25, 11:30 AM
The idea of George Brent starring in a movie with a title parodying Bette Davis’ The Bride Came C.O.D. by changing “Bride” to “Corpse” amuses the hell out of me. Even better, it’s basically the same plot as the George Brent-Bette Davis vehicle Front Page Woman (1935). I haven’t seen of (or even heard of) this film before, but I am watching the hell outta this one. This is part of a whole day of George Brent movies: The Rains Came (1939), The Corpse Came C.O.D. (1947), Silver Queen (1942), You Can’t Escape Forever (1942), The Gay Sisters (1942), Submarine D-1 (1937).


January 27: Hitchcock mini-marathon
8:00 PM The 39 Steps (1935)
9:30 PM The Lady Vanishes (1938)
11:15 PM Sabotage (1936)


The Penalty (1920)
January 27 (early morning the 28th), 12:45 AM
Lon Chaney silent about a criminal mastermind wanting revenge against a doctor who amputated both his legs. Even though I’m in the middle of a two-year-long Chaney burnout, I urge you to see this flick if you haven’t yet. It’s the same-ol’ same-ol’ from Lon and his ugly-on-the-inside-equals-disabled-on-the-outside shtick, but it’s still a good film.


jansched07-300January 28: Early Talkies and Pre-Codes
6:15 AM After Tonight (1933)
7:30 AM Hat, Coat and Glove (1934)
8:45 AM Let’s Try Again (1934)
10:00 AM Dance Hall (1929)
11:30 AM She’s My Weakness (1930)
12:45 PM Lovin’ the Ladies (1930)
2:00 PM The Public Defender (1931)
3:15 PM The Royal Bed (1931)
4:30 PM Secret Service (1931)
5:45 PM No Marriage Ties (1933)
7:00 PM No Other Woman (1933)


Point Blank (1967)
January 31 (early morning the 1st), 2:45 AM
Terrific John Boorman flick about a criminal bent on revenge after being left for dead in the abandoned Alcatraz.


If there are any films coming up in January — any genre, any channel — that you want to mention, please feel free to do so in the comments!

Have a great 2013, everyone!



  1. The Spirit of the Beehive has one of the all-time great child performances by Ana Torrent–great movie.

    It is immediately followed on the TCM schedule (12:30am ET, January 8) by what I think is a TCM premier, Robert Altman’s California Split (1974), a real favorite of mine. 1974 was one of the greatest years in Hollywood history, a bonus of riches. I mean, Frances Ford Coppola released Godfather II AND The Conversation that year. Mel Brooks released Blazing Saddles AND Young Frankenstein that year. Who does that kind of doubling down in one year any more?

    Well, speaking of doubling down, there were two seminal films about gambling, and gamblers, released in 1974: The Gambler, with James Caan (somehow–idiotically–omitted from TCM’s recent star of the day schedule for Caan) and California Split, starring Elliot Gould (who else?) and George Segal. Of the two I love CS the most (by quite a bit)–Altman himself was a degenerate gambler (a status I once skirted around), and he captures that spirit quite well here. When I first saw this film, maybe a dozen years ago, I literally had a contact buzz, as watching one of the gambling “rushes” shown here was almost like being there–in a time machine, as this is also one of Altman’s most ’70s-est films (this is a compliment in my vocabulary). If the world of gambling is alien to you, I don’t know how this film would strike you–but it is one of my very favorite Altmans, up there with The Long Goodbye.

    As a side note, this film is currently OOP on DVD. The previous DVD version (which I have) had about 3 minutes cut do to music rights issues. Cable/satellite versions I have seen elsewhere have not had these cuts, so I hope TCM gets a righteous print!

    By the way, this film is immediately followed by The Last Detail, which has one of Jack Nicholson’s greatest performances (along with Five Easy Pieces–also on this month, as you mention–and Chinatown, also from 1974). Nicholson’s performance in Carnal Knowledge, also on TCM as you listed, is no slouch either, as it is enlisted in a display of emotional brutality that was shocking in 1971 (my FAVORITE film year) and is still quite powerful after more than 40 years.

    1. I didn’t realize TCM hadn’t shown California Split before. Since I’ve seen it and I’m reasonably sure I didn’t rent it, I wonder what channel it was on? Knowing it has had cuts, I DO hope TCM has a good print. I was very excited for Crumb last week, only to see they had the iffy pan & scan version, probably the same one Encore/Starz used to show ad infinitum. Underground is TERRIBLE about that.

      I used to read the online journal of a person who worked on Underground, and their comments about only getting the pan & scan of Skidoo a few years ago make me think Underground has a teeny tiny budget. That said, the crap prints have gotten worse lately. It’s almost as bad as the early days of TCM, like when The Mummy they showed had bleed-through sound from another film, when Rich & Famous had some profanity dubbed out but not others, or when Victor/Victoria was the edited-for-network-TV print.

      The Last Detail is a film Netflix shows me constantly to get me to rent it, and I admit the DVD cover has turned me off for many years, but I still decided to put it on my reminders to catch it on TCM.

      1. I am pretty sure CS has not been on TCM before–but it has been on other channels, including very recently (past 3 or 4 months)–Sony Movie Channel? Retroplex? I can’t remember which.

        The Last Detail–my favorite Hal Ashby’s film. Love Nicholson here, he rings very true. Randy Quaid is actually quite good, as is Carol Kane in a small roll. Gilda Radner has a tiny, tiny role–easily missed. When you hear the line “What the hell is an Indiana dog?” she’s close.

        Underground really has been an enormous disappointment. Let me program the damned thing, it would be 1000x better. I’m not kidding.

        1. Underground was great at first, though it was obvious that Zombie wasn’t going to last long as host. And back when Skidoo was pan & scan, that was rare enough that people were talking about it quite a bit, and an explanation was in order. Nowadays so much is in pan & scan that no one says anything. Just tonight, a Stanwyck movie called The Maverick Queen was in pan & scan, and its original AR was 2.35:1! Come ON, TCM, don’t show it if you can’t do better than that. I sometimes think they show them in bad prints to get people to buy them on DVD, but this one isn’t available, so who knows.

          I’m going to go crazy wondering where I saw California Split.

          1. Hey, I could be wrong–perhaps it was on TCM before, but I really don’t recall it.

            Underground–I’d mix up classic “roughies” from the 70s (say the original The Last House on the Left), high quality but relatively unknown spaghetti westerns (Django, The Great Silence, etc.), former midnight movie classic films (Jodorowsky, etc.) and films just otherwise MIA, which doesn’t necessarily mean obscure–how Looking For Mr. Goodbar is not yet released is beyond me. And then some genuinely lost “turkeys”, many of which I’ve never seen. Here’s one: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088134/ .

        2. Gasp! I’ve never heard of Slapstick! I… I can’t… it just… it has Orson Welles and Madeline Kahn! AND SAM FULLER. And written by Kurt Vonnegut OMG HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?

  2. Thursday, January 17 @ 11:00 PM (ET) – Tomorrow Is Another Day, from 1951 – Steve Cochran and Ruth Roman, a nifty noirish tale, little shown on TV, or anywhere else.

      1. Thanks for the recommendation! You and KG have gotten me to add even more flicks to my reminder list.

  3. Why Stacy, Under the Yum Yum Tree sounds like the perfect representation of how women should be treated!……Yeah, I am of course SO kiddng! I’ve never seen any of that trifecta, and I’m comfortable with letting How to Murder Your Wife stay to me as just a joke on Fawlty Towers.

    Each Dawn I Die sounds interesting! I’ll have to find it and give it a watch!

    Ugh, Leonard Maltin! Ugh! He’s probably the only person who can summarise, review, and spoil a movie in a single sentence!

    1. Ha! Oh, be nice to Leonard. He (and his assistants) do a nice little review for reference, something to remind you whether you’ve seen the flick or not. That’s handy. I think the biggest problem is TCM using the little snippet reviews for their website. I know it’s easy and nice to pair with the entries, but as I discovered last month, they sometimes use the wrong review. Also, as you said, spoilers, which they sometimes include in Bob Osborne’s intros too.

  4. “I note Tarantula here only because of the hilarious TCM description: “A scientist’s experiments to cure hunger create a giant tarantula.” Well, yeah, you try to cure world hunger, that’s gonna happen.”

    C’mon, now. That’s eight drumsticks. Eight. Professor Deemer’s a genius in my book.

  5. I finally remembered to check out California Split on the cable guide, and it doesn’t show as being letterbox. The Last Detail and Spirit of the Beehive both DO, though. They’re on tonight the 7th starting at 7:00 PM Central.

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