Oscar month is finally here! This entire month for 31 days, Turner Classic Movies will be celebrating Oscar winning films from every major film studio. TCM will be taking a close look at the films that set the standards and made history. Modern films of today still emulate those of yesteryear. Many of these films paved the way for future films and should always be enjoyed and remembered.
The first televised Academy Awards (1953)
The line-up for the first two days of TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar
Friday, February 1
Warner Brothers Pictures
6:00 AM The Jazz Singer (’27)
7:30 AM Disraeli (’29)
9:00 AM Little Caesar (’30)
10:30 AM The Public Enemy (’31)
12:00 PM 42nd Street (’33)
1:30 PM Gold Diggers of 1933 (’33)
3:15 PM The Story of Louis Pasteur (’35)
4:45 PM Black Legion (’36)
6:15 PM The Adventures of Robin Hood (’38)
8:00 PM Captain Blood (’35)
10:15 PM I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (’32)
12:15 AM Four Daughters (’38)
2:00 AM The Life of Emile Zola (“37)
4:00 AM Jezebel (’38)
5:45 AM Sergeant York (’41)
Saturday, February 2
Warner Brothers Pictures
8:15 AM Kings Row (’42)
10:30 AM This is the Army (’43)
12:45 PM Destination Tokyo (’43)
3:15 PM Key Largo (’48)
5:00 PM White Heat (’49)
7:00 PM Tales from the Warner Brothers Lot (’13)
8:00 PM Casablanca (’42)
10:00 PM The Maltese Falcon (’41)
12:00 AM Mildred Pierce (’45)
2:00 AM Watch on the Rhine (’43)
4:00 AM The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (’48)
For more information about TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar, please click here.
With a career spanning for more than 60 years, Barbara Stanwyck has become a household name among generations of fans. She was nominated for four Academy Awards, won three Emmy awards and a Golden Globe. Her roles are a prime example of how versatile and consummate she was.
Born “Ruby Catherine Stevens” in Brooklyn, New York. Stanwyck was the youngest and fifth child of Catherine and Byron Stevens. Her mother was killed in a streetcar accident. Two weeks later her father abandoned the family and Stanwyck was then raised by her older sister. She was influenced by watching the films of Pearl White. At the age of 14, she dropped out of school and took a job wrapping packages at a department store in Brooklyn. She never attended high school. Stanwyck had several jobs that allowed her to be financially independent.
In 1923, a few months prior to her 16th birthday, Stanwyck auditioned for a chorus part at the Strand Roof, a nightclub located at Times Square. A few months later, she got a job as a dancer in the 1922 and 1923 seasons of the Ziegfeld Follies. In 1926, Stanwyck was cast in a play named The Noose. The play was not successful and was reworked. Stanwyck’s role was expanded and when the play re-opened, it became one of the most successful plays of the season. It was during this time that Stanwyck changed her name officially to Barbara Stanwyck.
She became a Broadway star after appearing in her first leading role in the production of Burlesque (1927). It was a huge hit and she received rave reviews. While playing in Burlesque, Stanwyck was introduced to her future husband, actor Frank Ray by Oscar Levant. Stanwyck and Fay were married on August 26, 1928. They moved to Hollywood shortly afterwards.
In 1929, Stanwyck broke into sound films, her first being The Locked Door (1929). Her roles included the self-sacrificing title character in Stella Dallas (1937), playing opposite Henry Fonda in the romantic comedy, The Lady Eve (1941), a nightclub performer who gives a professor (Gary Cooper) an understanding of “modern English” in the comedy Ball of Fire (1941) and the woman who talks an infatuated insurance salesman (Fred McMurray) into killing her husband in Double Indemnity (1944).
Popular among the Hollywood social circles, Stanwyck was very good friends with William Holden. He often credited her with saving his career when she insisted that he be cast as the lead in Golden Boy (1939). Together she and her husband Ray adopted a son. The marriage was often troubled and they divorced in 1935.
While filming His Brother’s Wife (1936), Stanwyck was paired with Robert Taylor. Following a whirlwind romance, the couple began living together. Although Stanwyck was hesitant after her first failed marriage, the pair married in 1939. The marriage was rumored to have been arranged with the help of Taylor’s studio MGM. She and Taylor enjoyed time together outdoors during the early years of their marriage, and were the owners of acres of prime West Los Angeles property. The ranch and home in the Mandeville Canyon section of Brentwood, Los Angeles is still referred to by the locals as the old “Robert Taylor ranch”. Stanwyck and Robert Taylor went their separate ways and divorced in 1950. Stanwyck continued to act in several films over the years. She was very involved in charity work. Stanwyck died on January 20, 1990 of congestive heart failure at the age of 82.
A hilarious scene from one of Stanwyck’s most well known films The Lady Eve (1941).
For the full lineup of Barbara Stanwyck films this month, please click here.
Jack Warner of Warner Bros.
Jack Warner is perhaps one of the most famous studio moguls in movie history. His career spanned for 45 years, surpassing that of any other film mogul. Warner hailed from Ontario, Canada. He first formed Warner Bros. Studios in 1918 with his three brothers. After his brother Sam’s death, Warner had clashing opinions with his two other brothers. It was during the 1950’s that he assumed exclusive control when he secretly purchased his brothers’ shares after convincing them to joint sale their stocks. It was his shrewdness and tough mindedness that helped him rise to success. He personally sought out and recruited many of Warner Bros. top stars and pushed for the film dramas that Warner Bros. is still known for today. Although he was a Republican, Warner was a supporter of film projects and promoted FDR’s New Deal. Some of most well known projects include My Fair Lady (1964), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Warner officially retired from Warner Bros. in 1969.
Louis B. Mayer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Louis B. Mayer was a Belarusian Jewish film producer. He is perhaps most famous for founding Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and is often credited as the creator of the “star system”. He was a big promoter of wholesome films and pushed for MGM to have more stars than in the heavens. Serving as MGM’s studio boss, Mayer helped build MGM into the most successful movie studio in the world. During the Great Depression, MGM was the only studio that could pay dividends. Mayer became the first person in the United States to earn a million-dollar salary. When it came to the salaries of MGM’s stars, Mayer was ruthless. He once used blackmail against Clark Gable in order to pay him below salary. Some stars referred to Mayer as a “monster” while others would recall him as a father figure. Towards the end of the 1940’s with the introduction of television, MGM suffered a drop in success. Musicals did not have the holding power they once did, much to Mayer’s dismay. By the mid 1950’s Mayer had officially retired from MGM.
Darryl F. Zanuck of 20th Century Fox
Zanuck got his first start in the film industry doing management for Warner Bros. in 1929 and two years later became the head of management. In 1933, Zanuck left Warner Bros. and went on to found 20th Century Films along with Joseph Schenck and William Goetz. Two years later, they bought out Fox Studios and the new studio was name 20th Century Fox. Zanuck worked closely with editing and producing films. Besides working as the studio executive, Zanuck worked as a writer, director and producer. During the 1950’s he withdrew from the studio in order to produce films in Europe. He returned to control Fox in 1962. During the 1960’s he made his son Richard D. Zanuck head of production. Over the next few years a power struggle wagged with the board and his son. In 1971 he was forced to walk away from “his” own studio. Over the course of his career Zanuck won three Thalberg Oscars.
TCM Classic Film Festival
Turner Classic Films has announced the fourth annual festival which will be taking place in Hollywood, California. The opening film will be a brand new restoration of the classic musical Funny Girl (1968). TCM host Robert Osbourne will serve as the official festival host and kick off the four-day event. The film festival will take place on Thursday April 25th- Sunday April 28th. In addition to showcasing Funny Girl, the festival will be premiering restorations of The General (1926), Giant (1956) and The Great Escape (1963).
TCM Classic Film Festival passes will go on sale to the public on Thursday Nov. 15th. Passes can be purchased online.
For the fourth consecutive year, Vanity Fair will be returning as the official partner of the TCM Classic Film Festival. Vanity Fair will be co-presenting the after-party which will take place after the screening of Funny Girl.
Next year marks the 45th anniversary of Funny Girl, which stars Barbra Streisand in her Oscar winning performance as Ziegfeld Follies comedienne Fanny Brice. Omar Sharif stars as Brice’s husband Nicky Arnstein. Streisand became a household name after the release of the film and became known for memorable songs such as “People” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade” that are featured in the film.
Three restored films will be screened for the first time ever in restored editions, along with several other films that will be featured.
The General (1926)
One of Buster Keaton’s most famous silent comedy films. This Civil War comedy has been restored and will be presented with a live score written and performed by the Alloy Orchestra.
This George Stevens directed Texas epic film was based on novel by Edna Ferber. The saga film stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. A few weeks after shooting completed, Dean was killed in a car crash ending his short lived film career. The film has been restored from the original camera negative.
The Great Escape (1963)
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of this iconic film. Steve Mcqueen appears in this film with a star studded cast. The film takes place during World War II and depicts actual events.
Additional screenings, events and star appearances will be announced over the next few months. Be sure to check back with the TCM Classic Film Festival website.
Road to Hollywood
TCM will once again go on a nationwide tour of local film screenings called Road to Hollywood. At various venues across the country, selected films will be shown on the big screen. A star from every film will be present and partake in a Q & A with TCM weekend host Ben Mankiewicz prior to the screening. This is a must for any classic film fan! The tour begins on Oct. 13th with the screening of Forbidden Planet (1956). The film will be shown at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida and be transmitted to the International Space Center so astronauts can view it.
For more information about upcoming Road to Hollywood screening across the nation, please visit the website.
Both events provide a one of a kind experience for film lovers alike.
She was the eldest of the famous Bennett sisters. Constance Bennett was the oldest child of Richard Bennett and Adrienne Morrison and born in New York City. Acting was in her blood as she was from a theatrical family. Both of her parents were actors as were her two younger sisters. Bennett was educated at private schools in New York City and Paris. When she was younger, she aspired to be a nun. She quickly changed paths and decided to join the family film business. She was the first Bennett sister to join the motion picture industry. Her sister Joan Bennett became a well known actress in her own right as well as her youngest sister Barbara Bennett who was an actress and dancer.
She first acting role was at the age of 12, in one of her father’s silent films The Valley of Decision (1916). Her first Hollywood appearance was in the silent film Cytherea (1924). She “retired” acting due to a short lived marriage in 1925 and resumed her career in 1929. Her comeback film was the romantic comedy This Thing Called Love (1929). Well known for her blonde features and glamorous fashion sense, she became a household name.
Under contract with MGM for a short period, Bennett signed with RKO the following year. Under the direction of George Cukor, Bennett gave her finest acting performance in What Price Hollywood? (1932). The film is a tragic look at the old Hollywood studio system and is a version of A Star Is Born.
Bennett later appeared in such films like Our Betters (1933), Bed of Roses (1933), After Tonight (1933) and The Affairs of Cellini (1934). One of her most famous films is the romantic comedy Topper (1937) in which she acted alongside Cary Grant. She appeared without Grant in the sequel, Topper Takes a Trip (1938).
During the 1940’s Bennett’s film career slowed down, and she found plenty of work in radio and theatre. Her next major film role was in Warner Bro’s The Unsuspected (1947) opposite Claude Rains. The only two films she made during the 1950’s were As Young As You Feel (1951) and It Should Happen To You (1954).
Bennett was married a total of five times. She made headlines when she married Henri de la Falaise, who was the former husband of Gloria Swanson. Her next marriage was to fellow actor Gilbert Roland for five years, with whom she had two daughters.
Her final film was Madame X (1966), in which she played the mother-in-law of Lana Turner. Shortly after filming completed, Bennett died from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1965. She is survived by a son and two daughters. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to films.
This month, Turner Classic Movies will be showcasing films of Constance Bennett every Tuesday during the month of November. Here is a sneak peek of some titles that will be shown. Enjoy!
What Price Hollywood? (1932)
Our Betters (1933)
For a complete list of the Constance Bennett film line-up please click here.
Halloween is right around the corner! What better way to celebrate Halloween than to indulge in suspense and thriller films? The man who became an icon in his own right for bringing mystery and suspense to the big screen is none other than Alfred Hitchcock. His films continue to stand the test of time. All of these films are a must-see for any Hitchcock or Halloween fan. Expect to be sitting on the edge of your seat!
The Best of Hitchcock
This film was Hitchcock’s first American film, after arriving to Hollywood from England. It was based on the novel of the same title by Daphne du Maurier. It is a beautifully depicted tale of the title character who was the deceased first wife of Maximilian de Winter and how she continues to haunt de Winter and his new wife. Hitchcock made a cameo appearance which became a signature element in all of his films. The film won two Academy Awards (Best Picture and Best Cinematography) at the 1941 Oscar’s ceremony.
Suspicion reunited Joan Fontaine and Alfred Hitchcock who had worked previously on Rebecca the year prior. The film was based on the novel Before the Fact by Francis Iles. It is a romantic physiological thriller in which a wealthy woman marries a charming gambler. She soon starts to believe that her husband is plotting to killer for her life insurance. The film includes a famous scene in which Cary Grant brings Joan Fontaine a glass of milk. It was Hitchcock’s idea to place a lightbulb inside the glass of milk to emphasize the suspense and enhance the audience’s fear that the milk is poisoned. Joan Fontaine won the Best Actress Oscar for this film and she is the only actor to win an Oscar under the direction of Hitchcock.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Shadow of a Doubt was Hitchcock’s personal favorite out of all of his films. The film was shot on location in Santa Rosa, California. It is a story about a young women and her uncle whom she idolizes and was named after. Her uncle unexpectedly visits her family. Soon while after two detective men show up and announce that they are on the hunt for a murderer who has been dubbed the “Merry Widow Murderer”. They express their suspicions about her uncle. She refutes it at first, but soon begins to witness several suspicions things about her uncle.
Rear Window (1954)
This film is regarded by many as to be one of Hitchcock’s best films. The film explores voyeurism and filming from one central spot. The storyline is about a professional photographer who is confined to a wheelchair after breaking his leg on a photo assignment. He spends his days staring out of a large window that overlooks his apartment complex. He begins to memorize the schedules and habits of all of his neighbors. There is one neighbor that sparks his interest after the neighbor’s bedridden wife disappears suddenly. He begins to suspect that his neighbor murdered the bedridden wife. Did he or didn’t he?
This film was a career turning point for Hitchcock, as it was the beginning of the 1960’s in which films were more bold and daring. This film’s storyline and plot had the most sinister and graphic scenes Hitchcock had ever shot before. He still maintained his classic touch in that he refused to be completely graphic and only flirted with it. The story is based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. Although the film garnered mixed reviews, it had an outstanding box office return. The film is about a secretary who is on the run after she embezzled money from her boss. She stays at a secluded motel and encounters the motel’s disturbing owner and manager. A famous scene from the film is the “shower scene”. It was filmed using 77 different camera angles which depict the murder of the secretary. Instead of filming it in graphic long shots, Hitchcock used extreme close-ups that flashed one after another. This effect along with a score by Bernard Herrmann playing in the background created one of the most iconic scenes in film history.
Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection is available on Amazon.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise. More than 20 films have brought the iconic spy to life. The first film was Dr. No and was released in 1962. Next month, the 23rd Bond film Skyfall starring Daniel Craig will be premiering. Events across the world will be taking place to honor the anniversary of James Bond.
The Man Behind Bond
Who is the man behind the creation of James Bond? Ian Fleming was born in Mayfair, London in 1908. After graduating from Eton College, he worked at the Reuters news agency. He later worked as a stockbroker. It was during World War II that he worked as an assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence in London, privy to many secrets. It was his experience in this position that inspired his characters and incidents that he wrote about later in the Bond books.
Following the war he became a foreign manager of Kemsley newspapers, owners of the Sunday Times and other papers. His creative imagination remained under wraps until 1952. At the age of 43, he settled down in his house in Jamaica, and produced in less than two months his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, the first adventure of James Bond. He published thirteen more James Bond titles and lived to witness their enormous success, and was able to see his character played by Sean Connery in the first two films, Dr No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1964).
Fleming married Anne Rothermere in 1952. Together they had one son, named Caspar. While recovering from his first heart attack in 1962, he wrote a short story about a flying car for Caspar. This novel would later be made into the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). A heavy drinker and smoker for most of his life, Fleming died at the age of 56 in August of 1964 in Canterbury, England.
The Men Who Have Portrayed Bond
Several actors have portrayed the famous 007 agent. Scottish actor, Sean Connery is most known his films as James Bond and was the first in Dr. No (1962). Connery once said “I care about Bond and what happens to him. You cannot be connected with a character for this long and not have an interest. All the Bond films had their good points.” After Dr. No (1962), Connery would go on to make From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983). Sean Connery and Roger Moore have both portrayed Bond the most times, both have been in seven films.
The second actor who played Bond was Australian actor, George Lazenby. The casting of Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and the final product was criticized by critics. Lazenby has said that he did not enjoy playing Bond and as a result only did one Bond film.
The next actor who took over as James Bond, was English actor Roger Moore. Moore’s version of Bond was positive with many fans. Connery even referred to Moore as “the ideal Bond”. His seven Bond films were Live and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983) and A View to a Kill (1985).
After Roger Moore, a fellow English actor Timothy Dalton took on the role of Bond. His acting style was more serious and darker than previous James Bond actors. It has been said this was the way Fleming had intended in his novels. The two films that feature Dalton as Bond are The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence To Kill (1989).
The 1990’s brought a fresh face to play Bond. Irish actor Pierce Brosnan had been voted as the “Sexiest Man Alive” several times and was perfect for the role. He would end up playing Bond for four times. His first Bond film was Goldeneye (1995), followed by Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002).
The final and most current actor who is portraying Bond is English actor Daniel Craig. He has signed to make five Bond films and had completed three thus far. His first Bond film Casino Royale (2006), was based on Fleming’s first James Bond novel. That film was followed by Quantum of Solace (2008) and finally Skyfall (2012) which will be released next month.
You can purchase the entire Bond Film Collection on Amazon.
Bogie fans will have a treat in store next year. The first ever Humphrey Bogart Film Festival will take place May 2013 in Key Largo, Florida. The theme for the inaugural Humphrey Bogart Film Festival will be “film noir”. Several of Bogie’s most famous films will be shown. Next year will mark the 65th anniversary of the film Key Largo which features the real-life couple: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The actual boat from Bogart’s Oscar winning film The African Queen (1951) will be on hand in Key Largo for all fans to tour. Bogart’s wife Lauren Bacall and son Stephen Bogart are expected to make an appearance at the festival. This festival is a dream come true for any Bogart fan as well as any future fans. One will be to see Bogie’s best film work up close and visit with fellow fans from around the world. The goal of this festival put forth by the Humphrey Bogart Estate, is to honor Bogie’s legacy.
Bogart’s career spanned for more than 80 films. He was known for never arriving late on set and always had his lines prepared. He was born Humphrey DeForest Bogart in 1899, the son of a doctor and portrait artist. The family lived in a prominent section of New York City. It was during the summers that Dr. Bogart would teach his son how to sail and play chess. These two activities became Bogart’s favorite for the rest of his life.
In May 1918, Bogart enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the Leviathan. It was during his stint in the Navy that he gained his famous scar that marked the right corner of his upper lip. It was in 1920, when a friend of his suggested that he work in the theatre. Bogart eventually became a theatre company manager. He soon finally wet his feet and appeared on stage. Shortly after that, Bogart decided he wanted to be an actor.
The next few years Bogart appeared in numerous plays and had some minor film roles. His breakthrough role was in the 1934 play The Petrified Forest. His acting garnered him superb reviews and in light of the success, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to the play. Instead of having Bogart reprise his role, they had Edward G. Robinson in mind. It was Bogart’s friend Leslie Howard who refused to act in the film unless Bogart kept his role. Warner Bros. caved and signed on Bogart who proved how powerful he could be on the screen as well as the stage. Bogart would later name his own daughter Leslie, after his close friend.
Bogart worked under his Warner Bros. contract making several films the next few years. He mostly played gangsters and criminals. He soon started to look for more diverse roles. In 1940, he readily accepted the leading role in the screen adaption of the novel The Maltese Falcon. Bogart was in his element and Hollywood took notice.
His next film after The Maltese Falcon, was the romantic war drama Casablanca. His role as Rick Blaine is perhaps his most famous film role. This film was just one of the many films that Warner Bros. cranked out every year. They had no idea how iconic and timeless it would become. It is still argued today that Casablanca is the best film ever made. Bogart received an Oscar nomination for his performance in the film.
It was in 1944, when Bogart was teamed up with a 19 year old Lauren Bacall for his next film To Have and Have Not. When he first met her he told her “I saw your test. We’re going to have a lot of fun together.” He was right on the money. The chemistry between them in the film is evident from the beginning. They were both dedicated, hard working and complimented each other perfectly. They married a year later. It was Bogart’s fouth marriage and Bacall’s first. Together they had two children, Stephen and Leslie Bogart.
In 1952, Bogart won his first Oscar for Best Actor for The African Queen, beating out Marlon Brando’s performance in A Streetcar Named Desire. Bogart never let his success go to his go to his head. He once said “The best way to survive an Oscar is to never try to win another one, some Oscar winners spend the rest of their lives turning down scripts while searching for the great role to win another one. Hell, I hope I’m never even nominated again. It’s meat-and-potato roles for me from now on.”
Bogart continued to act in films such as Sabrina, Beat the Devil and The Caine Mutiny. He received his third nomination for The Caine Mutuny (1954). It was in 1957 when Bogart’s life took a turn for the worse. He was diagnosed with a cancerous growth around his esophagus. Despite undergoing a radical surgery, the disease continued to spread. Bogart lost his battle with cancer in January of 1957. His memory continues to live on through his films and the upcoming festival will showcase his work to the fullest.
For more information about the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival please visit the official festival website.
We all remember the many diverse film roles of Oscar winner Spencer Tracy. His acting was so natural that it almost seemed he was not even acting. He won his two Oscars for 1938’s Captain Courageous and 1939’s Boys Town.
Tracy’s acting career first began on the stage and he was quickly signed with Fox. He was cast in several unpopular films. Tracy caught the critics attention when he starred in The Power and the Glory (1933). His performance as a railroad tycoon garnered him rave reviews. After years of alcohol abuse, Tracy and Fox parted ways.
In 1935, he was signed a 7 year contract with MGM. Tracy soon became one of MGM’s most valuable stars. He starred alongside Clark Gable in the highest grossing picture of 1936, San Francisco. His reputation continued to rise after that his next film was the screwball comedy, Libeled Lady. 1937’s Captains Courageous garnered Tracy his first Oscar. His performance as a Portuguese fisherman was not a personal favorite of his as he had to don an accent and curl his hair for the film. Tracy was ranked 6th in a poll for the “King and Queen of Hollywood” in 1938. He was later reunited with Myrna Loy in Test Pilot. That same year, MGM cast Tracy in Boys Town. In the film, he portrayed Edward J Flanagan, a Catholic priest and founder of Boys Town. Tracy took on the role very seriously and received rave reviews. The film ended of grossing $4 million worldwide. Boys Town earned Tracy his second consecutive Oscar.
During the early 40’s Tracy starred in several pictures. It was 1942’s Woman of the Year when he first paired with the legendary Katherine Hepburn. Their onscreen chemistry existed off the screen as well. Tracy and Hepburn made nine films together from 1941 until 1967, including Without Love (1945), Adam’s Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). Tracy was nominated for an Oscar for the first time in 12 years for Father of the Bride (1950). After that film, Tracy was ranked as one of the nation’s top stars.
In 1955, Tracy’s contract with MGM ended and he chose to go independent. During this time he appeared in The Mountain (1956), Desk Set (1957) and The Old Man and the Sea (1958). He did not appear on the screen again until the release of Inherit the Wind (1960), directed by Stanley Kramer. The film was based on the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial” and he portrayed lawyer Clarence Darrow. Tracy received some of the strongest reviews in his career for Inherit the Wind and he was nominated for an Oscar. Tracy and Kramer collaborated again the following year in the film Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). The film was a courtroom trial of Nazi judges for their roles in the Holocaust. Tracy delivered a 13 minute speech at the end of the film in only one take. Tracy later said that it was the best script he had ever read. The film brought Tracy his eight Oscar nomination. While his health had began to deteriorate, Tracy continued to act in several more films.
Tracy’s last film appearance was in Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). It was also his final film opposite Katherine Hepburn who had persuaded Tracy to take on the film despite his failing health. The film dealt with racial barriers and was socially controversial at that time. It is a must see for any Tracy or Hepburn fan. This month TCM will be showing over 50 Tracy films every Monday this month. Enjoy!
October 8th will be showcasing:
Fury (1936) Starring Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel
Libeled Lady (1936) Starring Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy
Test Pilot (1938) Starring Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy
Edison, The Man (1940) Starring Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson, Lynne Overman
I Take This Woman (1940) Starring Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, Verree Teasdale
Boom Town (1940) Starring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert
For more information about the TCM October schedule please visit the online schedule.