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Angela Lansbury?!?


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Well, I'd much rather see someone like Lansbury who has never been SOTM showcased than another go round of Lana Turner or someone else who has been SOTM several times over. There is a whole class of actor/actresses who never quite fit the bill as "stars" (Joan Blondell etc.) or like Mary Astor who did play leads but rarely had to carry a film who could be showcased. Or people like Warren William who got stuck mostly in B movies in leading roles. And there are still quite a few stars who still havent been featured as SOTM (How about Charles Boyer? Joan Fontaine? Or more recent stars like Peter O'Toole?)..........

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I also would rather see someone new be SOTM than have someone repeat. As you note there are many stars available; Boyer, Fontaine, Leslie Howard, Joel McCrea, etc.. (note; all of these 4 would have more star billing movies for TCM to show than Lansbury).


To me Joan Blondell was a first rate star; she was the lead female actress in many, many movies. Yea, typically the movies revolved around the male star but hey, that is what generally happened to actresses working for Warner Bros (well except for Davis) during the 30s and early 40s.


My point again, is that saying someone isn't a big enough star can be a logical POV, and that case against Lansbury has merit. Saying Lanbury isn't a good actress based on all that she has done as an actor, doesn't have merit.






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I agree Lansbury wasnt a big star during her Hollywood period, but I dont think that should disqualify her or anyone else for a SOTM slot if they had talent and a good slate of films they could show. I think TCM is rethinking it's SOTM criteria and I think that's a good thing..........

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What makes you think TCM is rethinking the criteria for SOTM? Do you know who the other stars are for the year? I would have to look at this list to see if TCM appears to be changing direction.


As other have explained Lansbury is one of the view renaming actors of the studio era and she has a relationship with TCM. That might have more to do with her being SOTM than TCM changing direction.


I would be A-OK with showcasing supporting actors but that would be a change in direction.



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I have no insider knowledge but it seems they are reaching out to showcase more people who aren't the typical Hollywood stars that they used to showcase constantly. This may be due to having to recycle the same stars over and over again. I've noticed more "specialty" months the past 5 years or so too where the focus is not on one particular star but a theme or a group.......


I know Karl Malden is SOTM for March..............

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Karl Malden is a great example of what you are getting at. Yea, he isn't a star in the mode of Bogie, Steward, etc..., but he was a great actor that was in many great movies, typically as a second leading man. So no question he makes a great SOTM.


I also notice more speciality months. So what you said is likely the case; TCM needed to mix things up as time marches on. Otherwise they end up just repeating the same group of stars.





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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}That is, anyone who was in a lot of great movies would make a great SOTM, even if they weren't generally the lead, because we then get to see a lot of great movies.


Perfect reason why "character" and supporting actors should be SOTM.


A perfect example as a supporting actor would be Edmond O'Brien - we'd get a lot of great films from him as both supporting actor and lead if he were SOTM.

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I have to say, I completely disagree with the idea that someone should/could earn SOTM by just being in a lot of great movies. Then why have SOTM at all? Just show great movies! I think you can see why this month's choice is questionable: Angie just doesn't have a filmography worth highlighting. Whether she was the lead or not, Angela Lansbury didn't make the good films she was in good or the bad films she was in bad... and the truth is the vast majority of the movies she was in fall somewhere in the middle. Joel McCrea is overlooked... can you really say the same about Lansbury?


I'd rather see The Three Stooges get SOTM than her. Their enduring comedy shorts get zero respect while someone like Angela Lansbury gets featured because she's "respectable" and inoffensive. It smacks of pretension and hypocrisy to me. I'm not a pretentious guy... I could care less what awards and trophies have been laid at someone's feet. If a movie's bad I call it bad. Hollywood creates their own Awards to hand out to one another and it's as hollow as a balloon. Remember Alvy Singer? "Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler."


Whatever... the only possible reason I can think of for Lansbury earning January is that she personally went to see Robert Osborne... you know... on the set, after hours... and asked him pretty pretty please. ;) If that's the case I can't blame Bob... the man's flesh and blood!




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> {quote:title=jamesjazzguitar wrote:}{quote}

> As I noted in my post she is a fine actress and she has criteria to back this up as you mention " she’s won 6 Golden Globes and was nominated for an Emmy every single year of the 12 years “Murder She Wrote” was on CBS".


> But how many movies does TCM have the rights to where she is the lead female star? Very few. Thus the arguements that she shouldn't be SOTM based on the her classic movies has merit. Again, I have no problem with her being SOTM since I enjoy the movies TCM will be showing.


> Gloden Globes and Tonys help back up her acting creed but not, per se, that she should be SOTM. As it relates to studio era movies she clearly isn't one of the top stars of the era. Not even close. So to me it is fair to assume TCM has her as SOTM for reasons other than her studio era movies.The awards were cited only to quell spurious slurs on her talent.


I agree that -- just like some of the other excellent suggestions for SOTM on this thread -- Lansbury wasn't one of the top stars.


But among the joys of the SOTM format are the opportunity to see the scope of an actor's body of work and discovering unsung or forgotten "gems" and, for me anyway, it seems like most of the A-list stars have been "mined out" on both points.


So, as long as their careers have scope and maybe a pleasant surprise or two, a few worthy non-A-Listers getting the SOTM treatment sounds like a welcome change -- not all the time, just once in a while.


And while I tried a quick search, I couldn't find a list of past SOTMs. If anybody's got a link to one, it'd be interesting to see who has been chosen SOTM, how long ago, who hasn't, who's been chosen more than once, etc. Checking that list against the films TCM has broadcast rights to could explain why some of our favorite stars haven't made it -- and why some never will.


From a strictly programming/marketing standpoint, Lansbury may be a way for TCM to put some extra promotional "oomph" behind a few lesser-known films. Whether or not one was a fan of "Murder She Wrote" (I wasn't), its popularity could very well lure an extra viewer or two.


It also doesn't hurt that her films can be supplemented with a "Private Screenings" appearance and even a bit of her stage career with the 1982 adaptation of "Sweeney Todd."


Maybe Lansbury's SOTM will be a total snoozer ... who knows ?


We'll see starting tonight ...



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I'll not argue the fact that Lansbury was in some forgettable movies, particularly late in her MGM career. As a contract player there wasnt a lot she could do about that. But how can you say she her performance did not add to the good in Gaslight or The Picture of Dorian Grey would be the same without her memorable turn as Sybil Vane? And her performance in Manchurian Candidate was superb. Unforgettable.

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And while I tried a quick search, I couldn't find a list of past SOTMs. If anybody's got a link to one, it'd be interesting to see who has been chosen SOTM, how long ago, who hasn't, who's been chosen more than once, etc.


*Complete list of SOTM from the beginning up through 2011, plus the first two lists of SUTS:*





May 1994: Greta Garbo

June 1994: Glenn Ford

July 1994: Greer Garson

Aug.1994: Edward G. Robinson

Sept.1994: Barbara Stanwyck

Oct.1994: Angela Lansbury

Nov.1994 John Garfield

Dec.1994: Best of ‘94



Jan.1995: Esther Williams

Feb.1995: Ronald Reagan

Mar.1995: TCM Salutes the Oscars

Apr.1995: Doris Day

May 1995: Myrna Loy

June 1995: Errol Flynn

July 1995: Gene Kelly

Aug.1995: Paul Muni

Sept.1995: Jane Powell

Oct.1995: Clark Gable

Nov.1995: Barrymores

Dec.1995: Best of ‘95



Jan.1996: Deborah Kerr

Feb.1996: Robert Young

Mar.1996: 31 Days of Oscar

April 1996: Irene Dunne

May 1996: James Stewart

June 1996: Rosalind Russell

July 1996: Fred Astaire

Aug.1996: Ann Sheridan

Sept.1996: Van Johnson

Oct.1996: Kathryn Grayson

Nov.1996: Robert Mitchum

Dec.1996: Best of ‘96



Jan.97: Humphrey Bogart

Feb.97: Eleanor Parker

Mar.97: 31 Days of Oscar

Apr.97: Ava Gardner

May 97: George Brent

June 97: June Allyson

July 97: John and Walter Huston (also Director of the Month)

Aug.97: Cary Grant

Sept.97: Ida Lupino

Oct.97: Walter Pidgeon

Nov.97: Katharine Hepburn

Dec.97: Best of ‘97



Jan.1998: Lana Turner

Feb.1998: Charlton Heston

Mar.1998:31 Days of Oscar

April 1998: Red Skelton

May 1998: Olivia de Havilland

June 1998: James Cagney

July 1998: Lucille Ball

August 1998: Joan Crawford

Sept.1998: John Wayne

Oct.1998: Cyd Charisse

Nov.1998: Claude Rains

Dec.1998: Best of ‘98



Jan.1999: Elizabeth Taylor

Feb.1999: William Powell

March 1999: 31 Days of Oscar (probably)

April 1999: Dennis Morgan

May 1999: Bette Davis

June 1999: Mickey Rooney

July1999: Natalie Wood

August 1999: Peter Sellers

Sept.1999: Norma Shearer

Oct. 1999: Gregory Peck

Nov. 1999: Ginger Rogers

Dec. 1999: Burt Lancaster



Jan. 2000: Debbie Reynolds

Feb. 2000: Robert Ryan

March 2000: 31 Days of Oscars (probably)

April 2000: Spencer Tracy

May 2000: Alexis Smith

June 2000:Wallace Beery

July 2000: Judy Garland

August 2000: film debuts

Sept 2000: Jane Wyman

October 2000: Dick Powell

Nov 2000: Frank Sinatra

Dec. 2000: Lauren Bacall



Jan. 2001: Elvis Presley

Feb.2001: Jean Hagen

March 2001: 31 Days of Oscar (probably)

Apr.2001: Knighted Actors

May 2001: Jean Harlow

June 2001: W.C. Fields

July 2001: Ann Sothern

Aug.2001: James Garner

Sept. 2001: Robert Taylor

Oct. 2001: Lana Turner

Nov.2001: Glenn Ford

Dec.2001: The Marx Brothers



Jan. 2002: Marlene Dietrich

Feb. 2002: Kirk Douglas

March 2002: 31 Days of Oscar

April 2002: Barbara Stanwyck

May 2002: Edward G. Robinson

June 2002: Greta Garbo

July 2002: Sidney Poitier

Aug. 2002: Joan Crawford

Sept. 2002: Van Heflin

Oct. 2002: Final films

Nov. 2002: Shelly Winters

Dec. 2002: Montgomery Clift



Jan. 2003: Doris Day

Feb. 2003: John Garfield

Mar. 2003: 31 Days of Oscar

Apr. 2003: Harold Lloyd

May 2003: Olivia de Havilland

June 2003: TV Actors in Films

July 2003: Lee Marvin

Aug. 2003: 1st Summer Under the Stars



James Stewart, Clint Eastwood, Peter O'Toole, Joan Crawford, Fred Astaire, Robert Mitchum, James Cagney, Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, Jack Lemmon, Frank Sinatra, Greta Garbo, Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston, Katherine Hepburn, Steve McQueen, Gene Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Myrna Loy, Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Bette Davis, Spencer Tracy, Paul Newman, Doris Day, William Holden.

Sept. 2003: James Mason

Oct. 2003: Boris Karloff

Nov. 2003: Shirley MacLaine

Dec. 2003: David Niven



Jan. 2004: Katherine Hepburn

Feb.2004: 31 Days of Oscar

Mar.2004: Charles Chaplin

Apr. 2004: Judy Garland

May 2004: Greer Garson

June 2004: Cary Grant

July 2004: Stars That Died Before Their Time

Aug.2004: 2nd Summer Under the Stars



John Wayne, Barbara Stanwyck, Bob Hope, Debbie Reynolds, Sidney Poitier, Lucille Ball, Katherine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, Ava Gardner, Henry Fonda, Jean Harlow, Laurence Olivier, Doris Day, Humphrey Bogart, Burt Lancaster, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, Peter Sellers, James Stewart, Olivia de Havilland, Ginger Rogers, Charles Chaplin, Shirley MacLaine, Claudette Colbert, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck, Esther Williams, Kirk Douglas.

Sept.2004: Myrna Loy

Oct. 2004: Peter Lorre

Nov.2004: Clark Gable

Dec. 2004: James Stewart



Jan.2005: Canadian Actors

Feb. 2005: 31 Days of Oscar

Mar. 2005: Claudette Colbert

Apr. 2005: Errol Flynn

May 2005: Orson Welles

June 2005: Ingrid Bergman

July 2005: Audrey Hepburn

Aug. 2005: 3rd Summer Under the Stars

Sept.2005: Greta Garbo

Oct.2005: Robert Mitchum

Nov.2005: Joan Fontaine

Dec. 2005: Bing Crosby



Jan. 2006: Robert Montgomery

Feb.2006: 31 Days of Oscar

Mar.2006: Nelson Eddy & Jeanette MacDonald

Apr.2006: Deborah Kerr

May 2006: Bette Davis

June 2006: Anthony Quinn

July 2006: Elizabeth Taylor

Aug.2006: 4th Summer Under the Stars

Sept.2006: William Holden

Oct.2006: Child Stars

Nov.2006: Lucille Ball

Dec. 2006: Gary Cooper



Jan.2007: Jean Arthur

Feb.2007: 31 Days of Oscar

Mar.2007: Gene Kelly

Apr.2007: Rita Hayworth

May 2007: John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn

June 2007: Ida Lupino

July 2007: Randolph Scott

Aug.2007: 5th Summer Under the Stars

Sept.2007: A Star is Born (starmaking/breakthrough performances)

Oct.2007: Henry Fonda

Nov.2007: Guest Programmer Month

Dec.2007: Irene Dunne

Jan.2008: James Cagney

Feb.2008: 31 Days of Oscar

Mar.2008: Acting Dynasties

Apr.2008: Hedy Lamarr

May 2008: Frank Sinatra

June 2008: Sophia Loren

July 2008: Rosalind Russell

Aug.2008: 6th annual Summer Under the Stars

Sept.2008: Kay Francis

Oct.2008: Carole Lombard

Nov.2008: Charles Laughton

Dec. 2008: Joseph Cotton



Jan. 2009: Jack Lemmon

Feb. 2009: 31 Days of Oscar

Mar. 2009: Ronald Reagan

April 2009: Funny Ladies and 15th Anniversary

May 2009: Sean Connery

June 2009: Great Directors

July 2009: Stewart Granger

August 2009: Summer Under the Stars

Sept. 2009: Claude Rains

Oct. 2009: Leslie Caron

Nov. 2009: Grace Kelly

Dec. 2009: Humphrey Bogart



Jan. 2010: “The Method”

Feb. 2010: 31 Days of Oscar

March 2010: Ginger Rogers

April 2010: Robert Taylor

May 2010: Donna Reed

June 2010: Natalie Wood

July 2010: Gregory Peck

August 2010: Summer Under The Stars



September 2010: Vivien Leigh

Oct. 2010: Fredric March

Nov. 2010: Ava Gardner

Dec. 2010: Mickey Rooney


Jan. 2011: Peter Sellers

Feb. 2011: 31 Days of Oscar

March 2011: Jean Harlow

April 2011: Ray Milland

May 2011: Esther Williams

June 2011: Jean Simmons

July 2011: Singing Cowboys

August 2011: Summer Under The Stars

Sept. 2011: Kirk Douglas

Oct. 2011: Buster Keaton

Nov. 2011: Battle of the Blonds

Dec. 2011: William Powell


Now if anyone can tell me where to find pre-2009 issues of Now Playing , I'd be extremely grateful.

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Bolesroor wrote: (amongst other things):


"... Angela Lansbury played the Aunt, the Mother, the Other Woman, the Chorus Girl, the Maid, the Teacup, the Countess, the Schoolteacher, the Mystery Writer, etc...."


Now, Bolesroor, give full credit - Angela Lansury played a tea POT, much more distinguished than a teaCUP. And a very good teapot she was, too.

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I can't believe all the nasty negativity in this thread about Angela. Her incredibly body of work that I've enjoyed includes Gaslight, Picture of Dorian Gray, Manchurian Candidate (an absolutely evil mother), Something For Everyone (another twisted character), Bedknobs And Broomsticks (great musical performance), Death On The Nile (great comedic turn), even her voice-only work in Disney's Beauty and The Beast, etc... Not to mention her body of stage work (Mame, Sweeney Todd, etc...). Just looking at her most notable roles and her diversity, and then for some to call her "mediocre" is mind-boggling. Also many of her Murder She Wrote episodes where she gave some incredibly heartbreaking and/or dramatic turns, such as one episode where she finds a former flame of hers has murdered someone....her character becomes wonderfully teary-eyed. It's one of the most heartbreaking moments in the entire series.

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Vera Ralston?? Vera RALston?? Who the hell is she? Come on, TopBilled, I would never argue against the fact that you've seen far more movies than I have, and in many ways know much more about film than I do. That said, I will blushingly state that I'm a pretty hard-core movie fan - both old and new - I've seen a lot of classic films, I've read a lot about movies, and I've never heard of this chick. I looked her up on Imb and she's "known for" all of 3 movies, none of which I've seen ( therefore, they can't be any good. :| .)


I mean, I wouldn't be going on like this, except for your earlier post that earnestly tries to declare that somebody called Vera Ralston was a movie star. I don't care either way, and I'm a moderate fan of Angela Lansbury, but like LoveFilmNoir, I would not have selected her as Star of the Month for January. But it's just silly to say that "Vera Ralston" was a bigger "star" than Miss L.

( JOEL McCREA is the most worthy candidate for SOTM status, as everyone who appreciates poetry knows.)


What am I trying to say? Just this: I think we're all getting a little overly earnest, a little too poe-faced, about who is and isn't a star. As I suggested in an earlier post on this very thread, my guess is that when the powers that be at Turner Classic Movies were figuring out their special features for the channel, etc., they came up with "Star of the Month" because it scans well. "Star" of the Month - one syllable, sounds good. I seriously doubt they stayed up til 2 in the morning, hashing out their definition of "star" and ordering in tacos and stale coffee ( although I kind of like that idea) until they'd reached a unanimous decision on what a "star" was.

Nope, I figure they just wanted to highlight a different person in the movie industry each month.



Actually, the only one-syllable word I can think of that scans as well as "star", and that has the added benefit of offering alliteration as well ( with the word Month) , is "mensch".

Yes, how about " *M*ensch of the Month"? It could apply to so many different people in the film industry, it scans very nicely, and it has 2 "M"s in it. Problem solved.



Edited by: misswonderly on Jan 4, 2012 4:08 PM

ok, maybe I have heard, just barely, of Vera Ralston. But I'd be at a loss to tell you exactly who she was and what she'd "starred" in.

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