The Ultimate Guide to TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar Begins Here

From this Sunday, February 1 through Tuesday, March 3 Turner Classic Movies (TCM) begins their annual 31 Days of Oscar, which brings you night after night of Oscar winning and nominated films uncut and commercial free on TCM and I have put together for you a mini guide for films to look for each day so you can either sit down and enjoy them as they play or set your DVR to record them for later. Either way, this is a great way to knock off so many of those classic films from your must see list.

First, how about the TCM video montage preview. Can you name the films?

Now, for the full schedule you can click here to download the PDF or you can browse TCM’s online calendar at the 31 Days of Oscar official site. Because one thing is for sure, even though I list films for every single day below I skipped a TON of titles. Titles such as Network, Sabrina, Ben-Hur, Hannah and Her Sisters, 2001, Dr. Strangelove, The Great Escape, The Birds, Psycho, Moonstruck, Mildred Pierce and The King and I. And that is just to name a few.

So, check out the preview I put together with a few words from your’s truly and get your DVR ready to record. It’s gonna be a long month of great films even though the theaters have nothing but crap.

Sunday, February 1

  • Ace in the Hole (1951): Billy Wilder directs Kirk Douglas as a journalist who conspires with a local Albuquerque sheriff to keep a man trapped in an Indian cave until the story reaches national proportions.

Monday, February 2

  • You Can’t Take It With You (1938): Winner of Oscar’s Best Picture in 1939 this Frank Capra classic stars Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore and James Stewart. This one sells itself.

Tuesday, February 3

  • Julius Caesar (1953): Marlon Brando as Mark Antony and John Gielgud as Cassius in a film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. I know this isn’t a film that is remembered throughout the ages, but it is one I have not yet seen and fully intend to.

Wednesday, February 4

  • Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942): This is a day for musicals and I am not exactly well versed in the genre as much as I would like to be so I am defaulting to the 1943 Michael Curtiz Oscar-winner starring James Cagney and Joan Leslie.

Thursday, February 5

  • Carnal Knowledge (1971): I don’t know anything about this Mike Nichols directed film starring Jack Nicholson and Ann-Margret other than this clip right here, but that is more than enough to get me interested.

Friday, February 6

  • Forbidden Planet (1956): They are preparing a remake of this sci-fi classic so why not see what all the fuss is about before the ruin it with CGI and needless explosions? Don’t worry, the original is actually quite good. Remember, before they had tons of special effects they actually told good stories, and this is an example.

Saturday, February 7

  • Cleopatra (1963), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Casablanca (1942): Cleopatra starring Liz Taylor is a silly little film for so many reasons but I also think it is a film everyone should see at least once. Lawrence of Arabia is superb, but I don’t think I will fully appreciate it until I see it in Cinerama. Casablanca needs no introduction.

Sunday, February 8

  • Roman Holiday (1953), Marty (1955): Roman Holiday was Audrey Hepburn’s first major Hollywood feature and it earned her a Best Actress Oscar. Marty is a cute little film starring Ernest Borgnine as a down-on-his-luck butcher that finds love. Both are great little romance features.

Monday, February 9

  • The Apartment (1960), Citizen Kane (1941): The Apartment is tough film to gauge at first, it stars Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine with Billy Wilder directing. It’s a weird little film for sure and takes a bit to get into, but once it’s over you will be smiling. As for Citizen Kane, if you haven’t seen it now is your chance to finally be able to answer that one question with, “Yes, I have seen the film everyone considers the greatest American film of all-time.” Won’t that be sweet!?!?!

Tuesday, February 10

  • Henry V (1944), Richard III (1955), Rebecca (1940): Start the day with two classic Shakespeare adaptations with Laurence Olivier and end the day with Olivier teaming with Alfred Hitchcock for one of his most well regarded mysteries.

Wednesday, February 11

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Mon Oncle (1956): While this is not the 1916 original adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea it does star Kirk Douglas and won a couple Oscars… give it a go. As for Mon Oncle I have never seen it, but Roger Ebert has it on his list of greatest films and I can’t think of a better recommendation.

Thursday, February 12

  • The Guns of Navarone (1961), Easy Rider (1969): The Guns of Navarone is a film I haven’t seen, but ever since I heard it mentioned on the special edition release of Inglorious Bastards I have wanted to give it a watch. Easy Rider, on the other hand, is flat out a great film starring Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda, and a film everyone should see at least once.

Friday, February 13

  • Sophie’s Choice (1982): Sophie’s Choice won Meryl Streep her second Oscar in 1983 as she played a Nazi concentration camp survivor. This is not one to pass up.

Saturday, February 14

  • A Place in the Sun (1951), Annie Hall (1977): A Place in the Sun was nominated for Best Picture and stars Montgomery Clift and Liz Taylor. Based on those three facts alone cinephiles, females and males should now all be interested. As for Annie Hall, well if you have ever heard the name Woody Allen now’s the time to see what is probably thought of as his best film (although I prefer Manhattan).

Sunday, February 15

  • Moulin Rouge (1952), Blow-Up (1966): I love Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge and now is the chance to see the John Huston version. I’m down with that. As for Blow-Up, I have heard a lot, but know very little about it. The fact it was directed by Michelangelo Antonioni is enough for me to be interested.

Monday, February 16

  • Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), Double Indemnity (1944): Angels with Dirty Faces is one of James Cagney’s most well known gangster features and Double Indemnity is a Best Picture nominee that serves as a perfect chaser.

Tuesday, February 17

  • The Red Shoes (1948): The Seattle Times critic, Moira Macdonald, told me this was one of her favorite films of all-time, that’s enough for me to want to check it out.

Wednesday, February 18

  • Witness for the Prosecution (1957), The Life of Emile Zola (1937): I actually just watched Witness for the Prosecution and loved every minute of it. It has snark and plenty of mystery behind it with a killer ending you are sure to enjoy. The Life of Emile Zola I saw back in 2005 and it to is a great film as Paul Muni plays the titular activist French author.

Thursday, February 19

  • Singin’ in the Rain (1952): I may not know a TON about musicals, but I know this is one everyone should see even though I am not a huge fan of the massive final musical piece. It is an amazing piece that went on a bit too long despite being a marvelous spectacle. See the film and decide for yourself.

Friday, February 20

  • The Battle of Algiers (1967), The Conversation (1974): The Battle of Algiers was actually banned in France at one point as it tells the story of the Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. It is a great, great, great film and one you should definitely remember to watch. The Conversation is a film for people that realize Francis Ford Coppola made more films than just The Godfather trilogy. Gene Hackman gives a great performance and the voyeur aspect of the whole thing is quite creepy and honestly, a bit ahead of its time.

Saturday, February 21

  • Gone with the Wind (1939), Glory (1989), From Here to Eternity (1953), They Were Expendable (1945): Any doubts this is American History day? None of these films need any kind of introduction, but I will say I am anxiously awaiting Glory‘s Blu-ray release so I can watch that head explode in high-definition, frame-by-frame slow motion. It will be glorious!

Sunday, February 22

  • Sunset Boulevard (1950): They should have had a William Holden day in this little 31 day series, but we have to settle for what we get and this is one you should definitely not miss. On top of Holden you get Gloria Swanson and the classic lines: “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small,” and “All right, Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.”

Monday, February 23

  • East of Eden (1955): James Dean’s first major feature was Elia Kazan’s East of Eden and it won him a Best Actor nomination. It was the first posthumous acting nomination in Academy Awards history. Come see what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday, February 24

  • The 400 Blows (1959), Rashomon (1950), Seven Samurai (1954): The 400 Blows hits Criterion Blu-ray in March, come see if you want to add it to your collection. Other than that you get a pair of classic Akira Kurosawa flicks. Could this day be any better?

Wednesday, February 25

  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958): My infatuation with young Liz Taylor continues with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof where she stars alongside Paul Newman in the adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play. On top of all the name recognition this is also a good film. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 26

  • The African Queen (1951), Chinatown (1974): The African Queen may be the most sought after film not to be released on DVD ever and while you can’t buy this title you can watch Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn tear up the screen in John Huston’s Oscar-winning feature right here on TCM. Save it on your DVR, no telling when it will be available again. Oh, and Chinatown is playing the same day, gotta watch that one.

Friday, February 27

  • Notorious (1946), North by Northwest (1959), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), All the King’s Men (1949), The Manchurian Candidate (1962): I don’t really know where to start here. Notorious and North by Northwest are two of Hitchcock’s most revered films. Doctor Zhivago is one of David Lean’s best. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a little corny, but fun nonetheless. I have never seen All the King’s Men but this Best Picture winner has got to make up for that awful remake in 2006. And the original The Manchurian Candidate is a must not miss as it embarrasses the 2004 remake.

Saturday, February 28

  • Heaven Can Wait (1978): I didn’t know what to chose from for this night so I went with the Warren Beatty feature that was nominated for nine Oscars and won one. The film is a comedy centering on a Los Angeles Rams quarterback, accidentally taken away from his body by an over-anxious angel before he was supposed to die, comes back to life in the body of a recently-murdered millionaire. Sounds good to me.

Sunday, March 1

  • Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958): The debate continues, I still am not a big fan of Vertigo and absolutely LOVE Rear Window. I know I am in the minority, but on March 1 you can decide for yourself if you haven’t seen these two Hitchcock classics. If for no other reason than to watch Grace Kelly and Kim Novak, two of Hollywood’s all-time beauties.

Monday, March 2

  • It Happened One Night (1934): For anyone that only knows Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind do yourself a favor and watch him and Claudette Colbert in Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night. You’ll love it.

Tuesday, March 3

  • Oklahoma! (1955): I have only seen two of the closing day films (Mutiny on the Bounty and Cimarron) and both of them are awful in my opinion. I have not seen Oklahoma! yet despite owning it so I will go with that 1955 Oscar winner from Fred Zinnemann, but this one appears to be a crap shoot.

So there you have it. 31 Days of Oscar and more than 31 recommendations. Remember, you can click here for the PDF version of the schedule or you can browse TCM’s online calendar at the 31 Days of Oscar right here. Enjoy!

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