Here are our recommendations for TCM’s final week+ of 31 Days of Oscar. Happy viewing!
Tuesday, February 22nd
=8:00PM EST: The Defiant Ones (1958)
Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier star as a pair of chained-together fugitives who must put aside their mutual hatred and work together in order to secure their freedom. In my mind, this is the movie that first proved Curtis was more than just a pretty face. And Poitier is, as always, virtually unmatched in one of his most powerful performances. You won’t soon forget this movie. Nominated for eight Academy Awards and won two: Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay/Story.
Wednesday, February 23rd
12:30PM EST: You Were Never Lovelier (1942)
Fred Astaire once said that of all of his on-screen dancing partners, Rita Hayworth was his favorite. It’s easy to see why in this charming movie, the second of the stars’ two films together. As Fred and Rita while away the steamy nights in Argentina, you’ll be asking, “Ginger who?” Also features a great turn by Adolph Menjou as Hayworth’s meddlesome father. Nominated for three Oscars including Best Score, Best Song (“Dearly Beloved”), and Best Sound.
Thursday, February 24th
6:00AM EST: 8 1/2 (1963)
If you’ve never seen a Federico Fellini film, now is the time to fix that. This is the one I recommend as a great introduction to the director’s work. Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido, an Italian film director–and not-so-subtle stand-in for Fellini himself–dealing with the cinematic equivalent of writer’s block. A little funny, a little freaky, and more than a little entertaining. Do yourself a favor: skip Rob Marshall’s 2009 seriously flawed musical adaptation, Nine. Winner of two Academy Awards including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Costume Design.
Friday, February 25th
9:00AM EST: To Each His Own (1946)
Olivia de Havilland is magnificent in the first of her two Oscar-winning performances. She plays Jody Norris, a young woman whose secret affair with a soon-deceased war hero leaves her pregnant and alone. After her baby is adopted by another woman, Jody fights to remain involved in her son’s life, even though he has no idea who she really is. A heartbreaking, lovely story that never delves too deeply into the maudlin. In addition to de Havilland’s award, the film was also nominated for the Oscar for Best Screenplay.
Saturday, February 26th
8:00PM EST: It Happened One Night (1934)
The movie recognized as the originator of the ”screwball” sub-genre of comedy, this laugh-fest also was the first film to win the “big five” Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actress (Claudette Colbert), Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Director (Frank Capra), and Best Screenplay. Funnily enough, despite its ultimate success, neither star initially wanted to even make the film. Yet they are nonetheless amazing in it, and the madcap antics never cease. [By the by, TCM is also showing the other "big five" winners--1975's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and 1991's The Silence of the Lambs--after this movie.]
Sunday, February 27th
10:00PM EST: Annie Hall (1977)
I’ll admit it–this is the only Woody Allen movie I can stand. What can I say? His shtick gets old, fast. But I love this one for Diane Keaton–she is simply amazing as the title character, who matches Allen nervous tic for nervous tic (but somehow comes off more endearing than tiresome). A great, witty examination of the sometimes hilarious, sometimes insane relationships between men and women. Winner of four Oscars including Best Picture (the last comedy to win this award), Best Actress (Keaton), Best Screenplay (Allen), and Best Director (also Allen).
Monday, February 28th
8:00PM EST: Arthur (1981)
I know Carrie will join me in this recommendation–after all, she’s the one who introduced me to this movie two years ago. Dudley Moore shines in his signature role as the titular booze-soaked millionaire. Add Liza Minnelli as his tentative love interest and Sir John Gielgud as the fantastically sarcastic butler, Hobson, and you have one of the most hilarious comedies to come out of the 1980s. And I’ll confess to having a serious soft spot for Christopher Cross’ Oscar-winning “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do).” Also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Gielgud).
Tuesday, March 1st
10:00PM EST: All About Eve (1950)
Fasten your seatbelts. I HAVE to choose this movie–it would be a crime not to. Bette Davis is Margo Channing, the aging grande dame of the theater whose position is slowly being usurped by the younger, hungrier Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). Both actresses are stunning, but George Sanders’ acerbic theater critic, Addison DeWitt, walks away with the movie (and noted character actress Thelma Ritter is wonderful, too). A fabulous film all around–I can’t recommend it enough. Nominated for a whopping 14 Academy Awards, winning six: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Sanders), Best Costume Design (Edith Head), Best Sound, Best Screenplay, and Best Director (Joseph L. Mankiewicz).
Wednesday, March 2nd
3:45PM EST: Kings Row (1942)
Boasting a veritable “Who’s Who” cast of Golden Age scene-stealers–Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Ronald Reagan, Claude Rains, Judith Anderson, and Charles Coburn–this melodrama takes a look at the seediness bubbling underneath the surface of a seemingly benign small town (and that doesn’t include all the material they had to censor from the original, seedier novel!). Reagan is particularly notable in what was arguably the best film of his career. Nominated for three Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director (Sam Wood), and Best Cinematography.
Thursday, March 3rd
12:30PM EST: North by Northwest (1959)
One of my very favorite Hitchcock films of all time, starring Cary Grant as the debonair Roger O. Thornhill, who winds up embroiled in the most insane case of mistaken identity the world has ever seen. From the United Nations to Lincoln’s mountainous nose, Grant crosses the country, dodging bullets and romancing Eva Marie Saint. Also features great performances by James Mason, Hitch regular Leo G. Carroll, Jessie Royce Landis, and a particularly creepy Martin Landau. Nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Art Direction, Best Editing, and Best Screenplay.
Have you enjoyed this year’s “31 Days” celebration? I know we have! This is always a great time to find some truly excellent movies that you may never have been able to see before. What new movies have you been introduced to this month on TCM?