It’s hard to believe we’re already down to the final month of 2012, but leave it to TCM to end the year on a high note! There is so much going on that I’m excited for. First and foremost, we get Barbara Stanwyck as Star of the Month! Every Wednesday night in December will kick off a 24-hour block of Stanwyck movies, and since I know a lot of my readers are big Stanwyck fans, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got plenty of room on your DVRs. Every Friday night this month will be a salute to director Ernst Lubitsch, so you know every Friday night is going to be good.
Naturally, you can expect plenty of Christmas movies throughout the month. Also worth noting is Baby Peggy night on December 3rd. Baby Peggy is one of the last surviving stars from the silent era and was recently the subject of the documentary Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room, which will be airing on TCM that night along with some of her movies.
After the death of her husband, Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) spends a year living with her controlling mother-and-sister-in-law. Eventually, Lucy decides it would be best if she found a place of her own to raise her daughter Anna (Natalie Wood as a child, Vanessa Brown as an adult). Her family highly disapproves of this idea, but she’s determined to live on her own. She finds a place that would be perfect for her and the price seems almost too good to be true. When she goes to look at the place, she quickly discovers the place is haunted. Other tenants have been scared off by the ghost, but Lucy is determined to live there.
After she moves in, Lucy realizes the house is haunted by its previous owner, Captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison). Daniel tries to scare her away, but after she stands up to him, the two of them become very fond of each other. Daniel manages to help Lucy out in many ways. He helps her stand up to her controlling family and when she falls into financial trouble, he has her write his life story for him, which becomes a big hit. Eventually,they fall in love with each other, but they know they couldn’t truly be together.
After meeting with her publisher one day, Lucy meets children’s author Miles Fairley (George Sanders) and can’t resist his charms. The two of them begin a relationship, but Daniel is jealous of their relationship and tries to warn her about Miles, but Lucy won’t listen. Daniel decides the best thing he can do is step out of Lucy’s life and lets her carry on her relationship with Miles. Unfortunately, it turns out Daniel was right about Miles and Lucy soon discovers that Miles is already married and has children of his own. Heartbroken, Lucy goes home to live out her life as a single woman. As the years go by, Daniel doesn’t come to visit her, but she never forgets him. One night, as an old woman, Lucy sits down in her room and passes away. Daniel finally appears, waiting to lead her into the afterlife with him where they can finally be together again.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a pretty unique movie. At first, I thought it might be something along the lines of The Uninvited, but then it became more of a fantasy movie than a horror movie, and then it finally turned into a romance movie. It can be hard to make a movie with so many shifts in style, but Joseph L. Mankiewicz totally made it work. I loved Gene Tierney as Lucy and Rex Harrison was spot-on as Captain Daniel Gregg. This was such a charming and sweet movie with an excellent Bernard Hermann score as the icing on the cake. This would be the perfect movie to watch on a cool Fall night while having a cup of hot chocolate.
After the death of his parents, Benjamin Blake (Roddy McDowall as a child, Tyrone Power as an adult) goes to live with his kind grandfather. His father was the Baronet of Breetholm, but Benjamin doesn’t inherit the estate that is rightfully his. Because of some debate over whether or not Benjamin was born in wedlock, it goes to his sadistic uncle Sir Arthur Blake (George Sanders) instead. Arthur takes Benjamin away from his grandfather and forces him to become his bonded servant. Benjamin considers running away with his grandfather, but decides to stay and lets his uncle’s torment fuel his ambition to reclaim his father’s estate.
Ten years pass and Benjamin is still a servant, but has also fallen in love with his cousin Isabel (Frances Farmer). They want to get married, but Benjamin wants to wait until after he has proven the estate is his. Isabel promises to wait for him, but Benjamin soon finds himself on the run from the law after he and Arthur get into a fight. With some help from his grandfather, Benjamin manages to escape on a boat headed for the South Seas, but his grandfather winds up in jail for helping him.
On the ship, Benjamin proves to be quite the sailor and makes friends with fellow sailor Caleb Green (John Carradine). Eventually, the two of them head off for an island where they find a fortune by diving for pearls. Things get even better for Benjamin, who falls in love with a native girl named Eve (Gene Tierney). He couldn’t be happier living on the island with Eve, but knows he must go home to clear his name and get his grandfather out of jail.
I saw Son of Fury for the first time recently after buying it on a whim. I hadn’t even heard anything about it before then, but I just had a feeling about it and I’m so glad I took a chance on it. It’s got adventure, it’s got drama, it’s got romance. Although I do wish Gene Tierney and Frances Farmer had a little more to do, I loved Tyrone Power in it and George Sanders brought pure villainy to Sir Arthur Blake. Roddy McDowall and Elsa Lanchester both make their small roles quite memorable. The cinematography and score were also first-rate. There’s nothing about it I didn’t thoroughly enjoy. It’s a good thing I bought this movie because it’s one I’ll definitely want to watch again.
It’s August, and that can only mean one thing: Summer Under the Stars! Like 31 Days of Oscar, Summer Under the Stars never disappoints and I’m definitely excited for this year’s schedule. There are plenty of days dedicated to showcasing some SUTS mainstays like Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Henry Fonda. But this year they’re really mixing things up and spending nearly half the month focusing on people who have never been part of SUTS before, including John Gilbert, Ethel Barrymore, and Gene Tierney. Not only are there lots of stars who are new to SUTS, there are also tons of movies being premiered this month. I counted a grand total of 54 TCM premieres in August, 19 of which are on Thelma Todd day alone.
Here is a complete list of the stars featured this month. To get the complete schedule, you can download a copy here.
Posted in TCM
Tagged Ann Sheridan, Bob Hope, Clint Eastwood, Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Tierney, Henry Fonda, Ingrid Bergman, John Gilbert, Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Lee Remick, Maureen O'Hara, Norma Shearer, Olivia De Havilland, Paul Newman, Robert Stack, Thelma Todd, Walter Matthau, Warren Beatty