December TV Films With a "Rand Connection"
Each month, cable and satellite TV channels broadcast movies and documentaries that have some association with Ayn Rand. Here's are some December films "with a Rand connection."
This month's special treat is a screening of the rare 1926 silent film version of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter starring the immortal Lillian Gish. This film classic is a double "Rand connection," because she greatly admired both Hawthorne's novel and Gish as an actress. See it on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on December 9th.
Rand enjoyed Ian Fleming's novels, and the early Sean Connery films, about fictional secret agent James Bond. Her favorites included Dr. No and From Russia, With Love. These air on The National Network (TNN), along with the third in the series, Goldfinger, on December 24, 26, and 30. Goldfinger can also be seen on the 3rd.
Other writers whom Rand appreciated included Victor Hugo, Nevil Shute, and Oscar Wilde. A fine 1988 version of Hugo's masterwork, Les Miserables, starring Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush, will appear on the BRAVO network on the 22nd. Shute's novel On the Beach became a haunting 1959 film about the aftermath of a nuclear war, starring Gregory Peck. SHOWTIME broadcasts it on the 5th and 17th. Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest was first filmed in 1952, starring Michael Redgrave. The FLIX channel will carry it on the 7th, 18th, 27th and 31st.
Rand liked director Alfred Hitchcock, whose great suspense classics are staples of cable TV. This month you can see on the Oxygen (OXGN) network: Marnie (on the 21st and 22nd), The Man Who Knew Too Much (Hitch's 1956 remake, on the15th), Rear Window (7th and 8th), and Psycho (1st).
Hitchcock chillers appearing on other networks during December include Strangers on a Train (TCM, 27th), Rebecca (TCM, 1st), Suspicion (PAX TV on the14th, and TCM on the 22nd); To Catch a Thief (AMC -- American Movie Classics, the 9th, 10th, 29th, and 30th); and Spellbound (A&E;, 14th), Lifeboat (MYST, the Mystery Channel, on the 2nd, 8th, 13th, 18th, and 22nd), Dial M for Murder (MYST, 5th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 24th, and 25th), and last but not least, my favorite from the Master of Suspense: North By Northwest (HBO Signature Channel, on the 6th, 15th, and 23rd).
Ayn Rand's favorite actress was Greta Garbo. TCM airs three of her immortal performances this month: Anna Christie and Flesh and the Devil (both on the 2nd), and Anna Karenina (the 17th).
The elegant Walter Pidgeon was cast, at Rand's suggestion, in the role of "Guts" Regan in her stage drama, Night of January 16th. Pidgeon played a charming larger-than-life 19th-century "robber baron" in Mrs. Parkington, airing on CINEMAX on the 12th. This film co-stars Greer Garson in the unforgettable title role.
Rand's favorite dancer, Fred Astaire, taps his way into our living rooms this month on TCM in Royal Wedding (the 22nd), and Shall We Dance (the 1st). In addition, AMC carries his delightful Funny Face (5th, 25th, and 26th).
Katherine Hepburn -- Rand's image of heroine Dagny Taggart for film versions of her novel Atlas Shrugged -- teamed with real-life companion Spencer Tracy in many wonderful films, including Adam's Rib and State of the Union (both on TCM the 13th), Pat and Mike (TCM, 28th), and Desk Set (AMC, 16th and 26th). She paired with Robert Taylor in Undercurrent (TCM, 7th); with Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby (AMC, 16th and 26th) and Holiday (TCM, 15th); with Peter O'Toole in the brilliant A Lion In Winter (TCM, 6th); and with Henry Fonda in his final screen role in On Golden Pond (the LOVE network on the 5th, and on the various SHOWTIME channels throughout the month). That latter film represented Kate in her mature years; to see her in her dazzling youth, don't miss 1933's Little Women (TCM, 23rd).
As always, check your local listings for broadcast times in your area.