December can only mean one thing: Christmas movies galore! Up this month are plenty of traditional Christmas classics along with a few off-beat ones that will certainly please fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000. In addition to that, every Thursday in December, TCM will be saluting living legend Mickey Rooney by playing 24 hours of his movies, including every Andy Hardy movie and all his pairings with Judy Garland. Speaking of living legends, a new episode of Private Screenings will be premiering this month featuring Liza Minnelli. To celebrate, TCM will be taking two nights to showcase some of the best movies by Liza, Judy, and Vincente. This month’s guest programmer is Eli Wallach, who has made some very stellar choices. Fans of John Wayne will be glad to hear that on December 22, there will be 24 hours of nothing but John Wayne. When New Year’s Eve rolls around, why not bid 2010 adieu with Cary Grant movies all day and Marx Brothers movies all night? And to top it all off, the final two installments of the Moguls and Movie Stars series air this month on the first two Mondays and Wednesdays.
Tom Chambers (Fredric March) and George Curtis (Gary Cooper) are a couple of artistic best friends. Tom is a playwright and George is a painter. They may not be rich, but they’re happy living together in their dingy apartment. But all that changes when they meet Gilda Farrell (Miriam Hopkins), an artist working for an advertising agency, on a train trip. She immediately hits it off with both of them and the duo becomes a trio. However, Tom and George both fall in love with Gilda and Gilda loves both of them back. When Tom and George realize this, they agree to try to forget about Gilda, but that doesn’t last long. The thing is, Gilda can’t decide who she loves more so she suggests that she move in with both of them so she can make up her mind.
When Gilda moves in, she helps the guys out by criticizing their work and inspiring them to be more creative. She takes one of Tom’s plays and gives it to a producer, who agrees to produce it in London. While in London, just as Tom is dictating a letter to Gilda and George about how much he’s looking forward to seeing them again, he gets word that Gilda has chosen George over him. Even though Tom is heartbroken, his play goes on to become a huge success. One night, he runs into Gilda’s former employer and wannabe lover Max Plunkett (Edward Everett Horton), who tells Tom that George has become a successful painter. Tom goes to Paris to see George, only to find he has moved to a swanky penthouse and that George is out-of-town working on a portrait. He’s told he can talk to George’s secretary, who turns out to be Gilda. Gilda and Tom quickly rekindle their romance and he spends the night at their place. They are quite surprised when George returns a few days earlier than expected and immediately figures out what happened and throws both of them out. But before Tom and Gilda can leave, she writes each of them a farewell letter and runs off to marry Max.
With Gilda out of the picture, Tom and George become good friends again. However, once Gilda is married, she loathes having to entertain Max’s clients and playing inane party games. The night Max is having a very important party for his clients, Tom and George decide to crash the party and hide up in Gilda’s bedroom. When she escapes from the party and finds them there, the three of them have a great time telling stories and laughing. After Max comes in and finds them, he throws them out, but they just go downstairs and start a big fight with the guests. Gilda decides to leave Max and heads out with Tom and George to resume their old lifestyle.
I adored Design for Living! Fredric March, Gary Cooper, and Miriam Hopkins had real chemistry together, they were absolutely delightful to watch. With Gary Cooper and Fredric March both at their most handsome, who can blame Miriam Hopkins for having a hard time choosing between the two? The writing is smart, witty, and sophisticated, even if it was drastically rewritten from the original Noel Coward play. Only one line from the original play made its way into the movie. And with Ernst Lubitsch in the director’s chair, it’s got that infamous sleek, stylish touch. I loved everything about it. If you’ve never seen it before, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
A while back, I was talking with Colin from Pick ‘n’ Mix Flix Movie Reviews, and we got to discussing movie lists. Over at his site, he did a list of his 101 favorite movies and he challenged me to make my own top 100 list. And since everyone seems to love movie lists, I thought it’d be a fun project. So, here’s the deal: Every Friday, I’ll be counting down my top 100 favorite movies, ten at a time. I really didn’t set any rules for myself, so every kind of movie was fair game. Classic, modern, American, foreign, there’s a little bit of everything in there. Without further ado, let’s get to the first ten.
May looks like it’s going to be all about Donna Reed, Native Americans, war movies, and birthday tributes. Donna Reed is the star of the month, but I guess she doesn’t excite me very much. Every year in May, TCM spends the month spotlighting how minorities have been portrayed on film over time. This year they are focusing on Native Americans every Tuesday and Thursday night. I’m always a little conflicted about this month because one thing I don’t have much patience for is really bad racial stereotypes, but at the same time, I’m interested in how those images have evolved over the years. In past years, they have gone in chronological order, starting with the silent era and working their way up to the modern day. This year is a little different and each night has a theme such as “non-Indians in Indian roles,” “Indians as noble savages,” and “Indians as actors and filmmakers.” Starting on May 28th and running through May 30th is the Memorial Day weekend movie marathon with nothing but war-related movies. With no further ado, let’s get to my picks for May.