LawrenceA

December 2018 Schedule is up

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Looks like Christmas Holiday has been uploaded on You Tube.  I only watched the beginning of it to confirm that it was the correct movie--the quality looks okay.  At least it's on You Tube so I could stream it on my TV.  I better watch it before it gets yanked off.

I went on Amazon to look at prices in case I got desperate, but the only version available is a region 4 Australia DVD.  You Tube may be my only choice.

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One of DICK POWELL's overlooked films is CHRISTMAS IN JULY,  which is probably PRESTON STURGES' first directorial endeavors will play on December 20th. Here is  underrated treasure from Paramount. It is nice film that Leonard Maltin gave it a 3 1/2 rating. it is a charming film with ELLEN DREW as his love interest. Ms. Drew was a Paramount starlet.image.jpeg.667e7995566412b29b886b7acc39a3a0.jpegimage.jpeg.55c4a35f5ebae8ff9aa775a3ed0e092a.jpegImage result for christmas in july dick powell

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Archive for the ‘Christmas in July (1940)’ Category

Since I’ve been busy for the past few days (not to mention that my brain feels like it’s completely fried out from work), I’ve become semi-obsessed with movies that run from about 60-75 minutes in length. I think they’re what the studios used to call “programmers”: b-movies that were the second feature on the bill, usually made in a short amount of time and with stock members of the studio’s acting stable. I’ve seen quite a few in the last couple of days–I find they fill in the space quite nicely between eating dinner and getting caught up on the latest Governor sex scandal.

One of my favorites is 1932’s Union Depot, a Warner Brothers’ effort that stars Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Joan Blondell. Since it’s a depression era pre-code, you get all the trimmings: there’s Ruth (Blondell), a chorus girl who’s down on her luck, bums (Fairbanks and Guy Kibbee), a drunk (the lovable Frank McHugh), a counterfeiter on the lam (Alan Hale) and not one, but two sleazy sub-plots! Hurray!

 

Fairbanks and McHughThe beautiful Joan Blondellkibbee.jpg
Fairbanks and McHugh, Blondell and Kibbee. The latter three are standard in any early 30’s WB movie.

Union Depot is reminiscent of 1932’s Grand Hotel, except that it’s set in a train station and we’re treated to the exploits of the poor, instead of the rich. What I particularly enjoyed were the many subplots that managed to weave together by the end of the film. Since it’s a pre-code, the amount of sex is fairly shocking: when Ruth needs money, she’s willing to prostitute herself out to Chick (Fairbanks), a bum who’s posing as a rich guy thanks to the contents of a suitcase that the drunken McHugh left behind. However, Ruth can’t bring herself to do it and after having a change of heart, Chick decides to play “Sant-y Claus” and help her out. Ruth also has a deliciously twisted back story, which involves a perverted old man that she used to read dirty books too. She thought he was blind–he wasn’t, and when he whipped off his glasses and revealed a pair of evil eyes, Ruth ran for her life. Now, the pervert is hot on her trail and unbeknownst to Ruth, has followed her to Union Depot.

One of the scenes I got the biggest kick out of was in the diner where Chick orders a meal. When he places an order for “a nice tomato salad, a thick sirloin steak smothered in onions, some browned potatoes in creamed gravy, a flock(?) of hot biscuits and some honey, coffee and raisin pie a la mode”, you can only imagine what a meal that sumptuous would cost in 1932. Ready to find out? Here it is:

 

The grand total of $1.75!

Using this calculator, that meal would now cost a person $26.56. So back in those days, $2 was equivalent to $30 today. Talk about inflation! I’m always fascinated by the price of food in classic movies. It’s shocking to see a grocery store sign touting that a loaf of bread costs ten cents, while in today’s world, a loaf of bread is fifteen to twenty times that much! It insane.

Ellen Drew and Dick Powell on the rooftopMoney is also a huge factor in Preston Sturges little known comedy, Christmas in July (1940). Like Union Depot, it’s also another “programmer”, this time starring Dick Powell and Ellen Drew, as well as Franklin Pangborn and Sturges’ favorites, William Demarest and Frank Moran. Jimmy (Powell) and Betty (Drew) are a working class couple who spend their evenings sitting on the rooftop of their tenement, listening to the radio. Jimmy is obsessed with winning a coffee slogan contest that he entered, and while Betty doesn’t exactly get his entry (“If You Can’t Sleep at Night, it isn’t the Coffee–It’s the Bunk!”), they both dream about the $25,000 prize money that would change their lives. When Jimmy’s co-workers trick him into thinking he’s won the contest via fake telegram, he and Betty go on a huge shopping spree where Jimmy finally buys Betty an engagement ring, as well as gifts for all their neighbors and a state-of-the-art davenport for his mother.

 

The self airing davenola!
Push button technology that includes a reading lamp, a radio and a self-fluffing mattress–
all for the low, low price of $198.50! Try getting a couch for that now.

Out of all the Sturges films I’ve seen, I have to say that Christmas in Julyhas become one of my favorites. Clocking in at under 67 minutes, it’s not only funny and witty, but Sturges shows how the sudden accumulation of money changes the opinions of others who would have treated the couple like a bunch of nobodies beforehand. In that respect, Christmas in July is pretty depressing: money changes you in the eyes of others. It’s a sad, but true realization. Jimmy and Betty are the same people, only richer and yet, everyone fawns over them as though they’re newfound royalty. That is–until it’s revealed that Jimmy’s winning was a joke and suddenly, Jimmy is a “criminal” to those that had just fawned over him. It’s quite hypocritical.

 

Like Christmas in July…
Living the Good Life: Ellen Drew and Dick Powell in Christmas in July

I didn’t realize it until the other day, but Union Depot and Christmas in Julyare quite similar in tone. What makes them work is the ability for the audiences to identify with their characters: Ruth and Chick or Jimmy and Betty. Both stories are representative of their eras. With Ruth and Chick, they’re just struggling to make it through the depression like everyone else. And with Jimmy and Betty, they’re both working just to make ends meet, in hopes that one day they’ll be able to afford a better life. When both couples come into money, the first thing they do is splurge: a big meal for Chick and some new clothes for Ruth, while Jimmy and Betty run down to the local department store and buy an engagement ring. But despite their wealth, the one thing that really draws you into both stories is love. You get the feeling that each couple could wind up poor and still find a way to make it. Love is stronger than money and the tense situations that test each couple afterwards, prove it.

And that’s the beauty of the one hour movie: a big plot and good acting packed into half the time that a regular movie would take. Sure there are some clunkers, but there are hidden gems as well. The studios cranked these movies out like clockwork out only to fill out double bill features and to meet quotas that theaters set. But what the studios didn’t realize is that in some of these little films, such as Union Depot and Christmas in July, were just as uplifting and entertaining as an top-billed movie, maybe even more so. By the time the 60’s rolled around, the “programmer” was pretty much obsolete and that’s a shame. Thank goodness they’re still around for us to watch today. Although times have changed, good films haven’t and sometimes, you just need a little cinematic pick-me-up that only a well-crafted b-movie programmer can provide.

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Here is a review of CHRISTMAS IN JULY.  It is reviewed after a rare Warner Brothers film UNION DEPOT.

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Wait, what, how did I miss this? Feels like this was about four days after the November schedule was finally posted. We're on Page Two already before I was even aware this thread existed. I will have to look at the films and then post later with some reactions.

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Sleep is calling me, so I'm stopping after just looking at the schedule for the first two weeks. Here, listed in chronological order of release, are the films I'm most likely to watch during that time. At some point, I'll post a Part Two covering the second half of the month:

Blessed Event (Warner Bros., 1932)
The Kennel Muder Case (Warner Bros., 1933) 
It's a Gift (Paramount, 1934)
Colleen (Warner Bros., 1936)
Boys Town (MGM, 1938)
Beyond Tomorrow (RKO, 1940)
The Shop Around the Corner (MGM, 1940)
The Monster and the Girl (Paramount, 1941)
Holiday Inn (Paramount, 1942)
It Happened on Fifth Avenue (Allied Artists, 1947)
Blackboard Jungle (MGM, 1955)
Marriage - Italian Style (Embassy, 1964)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? (Warner Bros., 1966)
The Graduate (Embassy, 1967)
Norma Rae (20th Century Fox, 1979)

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7 hours ago, TopBilled said:

All of these folks have been honored the most often:

THREE TIMES

listed alphabetically

Joan Crawford: 1998, 2002, 2014
Doris Day: 1995, 2003, 2012

Olivia De Havilland: 1998, 2003, 2016
Clark Gable: 1995, 2004, 2017
Greta Garbo: 1994, 2002, 2005
Greer Garson: 1994, 2004, 2013
Cary Grant: 1997, 2004, 2014
Katharine Hepburn: 1997, 2004, 2007

Myrna Loy: 1995, 2004, 2016
Frank Sinatra: 2000, 2008, 2015
Barbara Stanwyck: 1994, 2002, 2012

James Stewart: 1996, 2004, 2017
Elizabeth Taylor: 1999, 2006, 2018
Lana Turner: 1998, 2001, 2017
John Wayne: 1998, 2007, 2014
Natalie Wood: 1999, 2010, 2016

Day, Garson, Turner, Wood and Sinatra are the oddest choices.  It's not that Sinatra's movies are bad, but him getting three before Chaplin, Bogart, Cagney, Astaire, Keaton, Olivier, Lancaster, Mason among others?  The four women (instead of Garland, Bergman or Bette Davis) are also eccentric choices.  Wood and Turner appeared in some admired movies, but they were not particularly well respected actresses for most of their career.  Day seems a partisan choice, while Garson's particular forte doesn't seem to have dated well in the seven decades since her heyday.

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5 hours ago, skimpole said:

Day, Garson, Turner, Wood and Sinatra are the oddest choices.  It's not that Sinatra's movies are bad, but him getting three before Chaplin, Bogart, Cagney, Astaire, Keaton, Olivier, Lancaster, Mason among others?  The four women (instead of Garland, Bergman or Bette Davis) are also eccentric choices.  Wood and Turner appeared in some admired movies, but they were not particularly well respected actresses for most of their career.  Day seems a partisan choice, while Garson's particular forte doesn't seem to have dated well in the seven decades since her heyday.

There are a lot of ways to analyze that list. First, Robert Osborne was a big fan of Natalie Wood's so I think he pushed her films. He was probably why she was Star of the Month so often and had several Summer Under the Stars tributes. 

I'm glad Bette Davis has only been honored twice so far and is not yet in the top group. Her films are in constant rotation year round every year, so her output is already quite exposed to viewers. Greer Garson seems to be a darling of the TCM programmers, maybe it's all that class she exudes on screen. But really her career is built around one huge film (MRS. MINIVER) and maybe one other strong film (RANDOM HARVEST). Aside from those two titles you have to find a Garson completist to come across anyone who knows much about her other output.

I think the pattern is that most of the household names get chosen (recycled) at least once per decade. So I expect Greer Garson to get a fourth turn in the 2020s. Barbara Stanwyck will also get a fourth turn. So will Doris Day, most likely on her 100th birthday.

Some stars fall out of favor. When TCM began, CITIZEN KANE had just turned 50 and Orson Welles was still very popular. He became Star of the Month once in 2005. But he's never been chosen again. Even on his 100th birthday, they didn't pick him. They did a spotlight on him as a director, but I think they realized he's not as popular as an actor.

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For anyone who's interested in seeing how often people have been chosen as Star of the Month, check out this thread I created:

 

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RE: Christmas selections. HOLIDAY INN seems to have matriculated into something of a programmers' favorite. It has popped up six or seven times in the past year - but seemed to have been in the grip of AMC for a time before that. I don't mind ... Very glad to see THE HOLLY AND THE IVY scheduled. It will be a TCM premiere, I think ... Glad too that THE BISHOP'S WIFE is back (having been left off last year) ... Truly puzzled by the programmers' attraction to A CAROL FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS. First, it's a TV movie. Worse, it'll make you want to drink bleach.

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5 minutes ago, Brrrcold said:

RE: Christmas selections. HOLIDAY INN seems to have matriculated into something of a programmers' favorite. It has popped up six or seven times in the past year - but seemed to have been in the grip of AMC for a time before that. I don't mind ... Very glad to see THE HOLLY AND THE IVY scheduled. It will be a TCM premiere, I think ... Glad too that THE BISHOP'S WIFE is back (having been left off last year) ... Truly puzzled by the programmers' attraction to A CAROL FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS. First, it's a TV movie. Worse, it'll make you want to drink bleach.

Another odd one they like is ALL MINE TO GIVE. It's hardly a feel good holiday movie. The ending is very bleak.

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10 hours ago, TopBilled said:

My guess is they decided to use the budget they had allocated for that to pay for the Burt Reynolds tribute which required renting films from Universal. Again this is just my guess.

But yeah, it's a shame CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY was bumped. Maybe it'll be back on the schedule next year.

Re: the bumping of CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY (Universal) and PICK-UP ON SOUTH STREET (20th Century Fox), I would agree that this is likely out of necessity so TCM could rent SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (Universal) and THE LONGEST YARD (20th Century Fox). Just speculation, but it certainly makes sense.

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15 hours ago, lydecker said:

Totally agree.  There are Dick Powell films constantly!!  However, I figured Powell would get picked over Warren William since Warren William is less well known (which is why he should have been selected!)

Yes.

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28 minutes ago, Barton_Keyes said:

Re: the bumping of CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY (Universal) and PICK-UP ON SOUTH STREET (20th Century Fox), I would agree that this is likely out of necessity so TCM could rent SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (Universal) and THE LONGEST YARD (20th Century Fox). Just speculation, but it certainly makes sense.

Now, that is just AWFUL. I hope it was for other reasons. I was really looking forward to seeing Christmas Holiday. Why not bump something else??? Arent they getting enough money from Backlot membership dues????

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17 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Now, that is just AWFUL. I hope it was for other reasons. I was really looking forward to seeing Christmas Holiday. Why not bump something else??? Arent they getting enough money from Backlot membership dues????

Not everyone pays to be part of the Backlot. Some memberships are free for employees of certain organizations that TCM does business with...but that's another topic.

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42 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Now, that is just AWFUL. I hope it was for other reasons. I was really looking forward to seeing Christmas Holiday. Why not bump something else??? Arent they getting enough money from Backlot membership dues????

I was looking forward to Christmas Holiday too.  I did see it was on YouTube, but I didn't get too far into the video to determine the quality.  If what Barton says is correct re: funding needed for Burt Reynolds, I respect that, but on a personal level, Smokey and the Bandit is easy to see--Christmas Holiday seems more rare.  That's why I'm disappointed.

Eddie Muller, I imagine, pre-tapes his Noir Alley introductions.  I would not doubt that he's already at work planning and taping his 2019 introductions, as presumably the series is going to continue for another season.  I would wonder if 1) Will the two substituted films have Eddie Muller introductions, if so, I would imagine that maybe these were entries filmed for the 2019 season; and 2) If he'd already taped his introductions for Pick-Up on South Street and Christmas Holiday, maybe they'll air in 2019??

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Who knows why this stuff happens. Holiday would have been a premiere. Pick Up has been shown a few times on TCM.

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19 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I was looking forward to Christmas Holiday too.  I did see it was on YouTube, but I didn't get too far into the video to determine the quality.  If what Barton says is correct re: funding needed for Burt Reynolds, I respect that, but on a personal level, Smokey and the Bandit is easy to see--Christmas Holiday seems more rare.  That's why I'm disappointed.

Why are you disappointed if CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY is easy to see on YouTube? Doesn't make sense. Unless you are disappointed that you won't get Eddie M's commentary, then I can understand your disappointment. 

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28 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Who knows why this stuff happens. Holiday would have been a premiere. Pick Up has been shown a few times on TCM.

I am disappointed because I don't want to have to stream things all the time, I just want to DVR it and watch it on TV.  I hate watching movies on my computer, or phone, or tablet.  I just want to watch on TV. Some of the other films scheduled are easy to see.

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4 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I am disappointed because I don't want to have to stream things all the time, I just want to DVR it and watch it on TV.  I hate watching movies on my computer, or phone, or tablet.  I just want to watch on TV. Some of the other films scheduled are easy to see.

Well streaming is the wave of the future. You're going to be in a real quandary as the years go by.

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20 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I am disappointed because I don't want to have to stream things all the time, I just want to DVR it and watch it on TV.  I hate watching movies on my computer, or phone, or tablet.  I just want to watch on TV. Some of the other films scheduled are easy to see.

I think you are directing this to the wrong person. I wasnt questioning why you were disappointed about youtube. I never watch stuff on there (movies, anyway). I too, want it on tv, either live or via recording.......

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15 minutes ago, Hibi said:

I think you are directing this to the wrong person. I wasnt questioning why you were disappointed about youtube. I never watch stuff on there (movies, anyway). I too, want it on tv, either live or via recording.......

Thanks Hibi. I didn't understand why he was quoting you either.

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Last year I created a thread highlighting the Christmas holiday films. I've added the info for 2018:

 

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14 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

12/14

Thank God It's Friday.  Jeff Goldblum in a disco musical? That's all I need to know about this film!

 

A young Debra Winger is in it, too! 

Image result for debra winger thank god it's friday

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Using the magic formula from another thread, one I can't find now, I was able to change the first weekly link to read monthly instead of weekly. I got the December Guide in the monthly format, except for the SOTM image at the top, which is current. Printing from the TCM page will result in the current guide. I used the print feature in my browser. MS Windows 10 lets me print to PDF, in part as I do not have a real printer perhaps.

With that in mind, I looked at the guide in month view. No details regarding themes. Looking at it twice now, there are a number of movies playing twice in the same month. More than just holiday movies. Can't help but wonder why that must be.

I have to agree with the idea of a rare film being deleted in order to afford another one. Hope that does not become a trend.

I won't go into detail yet, but if anyone is interested, there are members, including myself, who know how to get YouTube videos to the TV.

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14 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

-

Thank God It's Friday.  Jeff Goldblum in a disco musical? That's all I need to know about this film!

 

I think Leonard Maltin said this is or may be the worst movie ever to win an Oscar (for best song as it happens).  Whatever one thinks of Maltin's other opinions, I'm not seeing other nominees for this dubious honor.

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