August TV Films With A "Rand Connection"
Each month, cable and satellite TV networks air films that have some connection to Ayn Rand.
Let's start this month's listings with films featuring some of Rand's favorite actors and actresses.
Greta Garbo was Rand's first choice for the role of Dominique in the film of The Fountainhead. Turner Classic Movies (TCM) pays her tribute in The Divine Greta Garbo, a documentary airing on the 18th. In addition, see the Great Garbo in two of her best films: Ninotchka, a hilarious satire of Soviet life, also on the 18th, and Grand Hotel, airing on the 9th.
Similarly, Katherine Hepburn was Rand's first choice for heroine Dagny Taggart in any prospective film version of Atlas Shrugged. Excellent Hepburn vehicles airing on TCM this month include Stage Door (the 6th), Quality Street (the 13th), Alice Adams (the 14th and 30th), and the magnificent classic, The Lion In Winter, co-starring Peter O'Toole (the 3rd). This last is truly not to be missed. In addition, Kate teamed with real-life companion Spencer Tracy in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner; watch this light comedy about relationships and racism on August 11th. Tracy and Hepburn also paired in a funny sports comedy, Pat and Mike, which TCM broadcasts on the 14th.
At Rand's own recommendation, Walter Pidgeon played the role of "Guts" Regan in her stage drama, Night of January 16th. Pidgeon co-starred with Greer Garson in the unforgettable 1942 WW II drama, Mrs. Miniver, shown on the Cinemax network August 16th. The elegant actor also appears in How Green Was My Valley, broadcast on the American Movie Classics (AMC) network on the 12th.
For a total (and literal) change of pace, sample the terpsichorean talents of Fred Astaire, whom Rand ranked among the finest of dancers. TMC features him in Shall We Dance on the 5th, Finian's Rainbow on the 5th and 13th, and Top Hat on the 10th. You can also enjoy Fred's grace and charm on the Fox Movie Channel (FMC) August 10th and 11th, when that network airs Daddy Long Legs.
Moving from actors to directors, regular readers of this feature know that Rand thought highly of Alfred Hitchcock's work. This month's sampler from the Master of Suspense features some of Hollywood's greatest stars.
On the OXYGEN (OXGN) network: The Birds (31st), Family Plot (3rd and 4th), Marnie (10th) Torn Curtain (17th) and Psycho (24th and 25th).
On the MYSTERY (MYST) network: Dial M for Murder (9th, 13th, 24th, 28th, and 29th), Lifeboat (10th, 13th, 18th, and 26th), Notorious (2nd, 13th, 22nd, and 31st), Rebecca (8th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 24th, and 28th), Spellbound (1st, 13th, 17th, and 21st), and The Wrong Man (4th and 13th). Incidentally, Lifeboat also airs on the Fox Movie Channel (FMC) on the 5th.
On the TCM network: On the 1st, Foreign Correspondent, and on the 13th, Strangers on a Train, and Suspicion.
On HBO's Signature network: North By Northwest (14th and 27th).
Two cable films this month celebrate Man's greatest achievements in air and space. Ayn Rand considered the young Charles Lindbergh an American hero, and the story of his daring solo flight across the Atlantic is wonderfully re-enacted by actor James Stewart in The Spirit of St. Louis, on TCM August 29th. Likewise, the Apollo space program that so inspired Rand is honored in the gripping 1995 docudrama, Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks and Ed Harris. It will be shown on the various ENCORE cable networks all month; check your TV listings.
For movies based on literature that Rand enjoyed, see the 1952 film version of Oscar Wilde's delightful stage comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, airing on the FLIX channel August 9th, 21st, 25th, and 29th. Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), starring Jose Ferrer in an Oscar-winning performance, remains the definitive English film version of Edmund Rostand's inspiring romantic play (which was also Ayn Rand's favorite). The Biography Channel broadcasts it on the 4th and 5th.
Rostand considered himself the literary heir to Victor Hugo, whom Rand regarded as the greatest of novelists. The 1939 film rendition of Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame features memorable performances by Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara; see it on AMC the 6th. And Terence Rattigan's moving play, The Winslow Boy, received a fine screen translation recently; catch it on the BRAVO network on the 10th or 29th this month.
Finally, I've actually met Rand fans who've never seen the stunning film version of Margaret Mitchell's novel, Gone With the Wind. Starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, plus a dazzling supporting cast, this Rand favorite is arguably the best movieand certainly the best adaptation of a novelever filmed. See this immortal classic when TMC broadcasts it the evening of August 5th.
As ever, check your local listings for broadcast times in your area.