November 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 November films "with a Rand connection."

Rand loved Ian Fleming's novels (and the early Sean Connery films) featuring fictional secret agent James Bond. Her favorites included Dr. No, which will air on The National Network (TNN) on November 27, and From Russia, With Love, on TNN the following day.

Other writers whom Rand held in high esteem included Victor Hugo, Nevil Shute, Terence Rattigan, and Oscar Wilde. Hugo's masterwork, Les Miserables, has been often filmed, and a notable 1998 version starred Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, and Geoffrey Rush as Inspector Javert. The Bravo network will broadcast it on the 6th and 7th. Nevil Shute's most famous novel, On the Beach, became a haunting film about the aftermath of a nuclear war, with a brilliant cast headed by Gregory Peck. It will appear on The Movie Channel (TMC) on the 11th. Rattigan's inspiring play, The Winslow Boy, became a fine 1999 movie. The Independent Film Channel (IFC) will run it on the 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 15th, 16th, and 29th, so you have no excuse not to check it out. Wilde's great stage farce, The Importance of Being Earnest, was first filmed in 1952 and stars Michael Redgrave. The various Showtime networks will carry it on the 7th, 11th, 21st, and 27th.

Those wedded to this monthly feature know that Rand admired director Alfred Hitchcock. The following from the Master of Suspense air this month on the Oxygen (OXGN) network: The Birds (on the 9th and 10th), Family Plot (the 16th), Rear Window (23rd and 24th), Torn Curtain (2nd and 3rd), and Psycho (30th).

Hitchcock chillers appearing on other networks during November include Strangers on a Train (4th) and The Lady Vanishes (the 3rd on Turner Classic Movies, TCM); To Catch a Thief (A&E;, the 16th); and Notorious (BIO, the Biography Channel, on the 1st, and also on TCM the 3rd).

Moving to actors, Gary Cooper, who represented Rand's ideal male physical type, played hero Howard Roark in the film version of her novel, The Fountainhead. But Coop's most memorable role was his Oscar-winning turn as sheriff Will Kane in the 1952 Western classic, High Noon. TCM broadcasts it on the 17th.

Ayn Rand's favorite actress was the divine Greta Garbo. My favorite of her films is screenwriter Billy Wilder's hilarious and devastating satire of Soviet life, Ninotchka, to run on TCM the 15th. Garbo is absolute magic as the steely Soviet investigator slowly succumbing to the "decadent" charms of life in Paris.

At Rand's suggestion, the elegant Walter Pidgeon was cast in the role of "Guts" Regan in her stage drama, Night of January 16th. Pidgeon was never better than when playing a larger-than-life 19th-century "robber baron" in Mrs. Parkington, airing on Cinemax's "More Max" Channel (MMAX) on the 11th. This charmer co-stars the great Greer Garson in the unforgettable title role.

This month, the terpsichorean talents of Fred Astaire once again abound on cable television. Ayn Rand's favorite dancer can be appreciated on TCM in Easter Parade (the 8th), Royal Wedding, and Shall We Dance (both on the 18th). In addition, Fox Movie Channel (FMC) airs Astaire's delightful Daddy Long Legs (2nd and 3rd), while American Movie Classics carries Funny Face (1st), and the LOVE Channel runs Holiday Inn (13th and 25th).

Rand's choice for heroine Dagny Taggart in a film version of her novel Atlas Shrugged would have been "the young Katherine Hepburn." See why when Kate commands the screen—and the attentions of Cary Grant and James Stewart—in the romantic masterpiece, The Philadelphia Story, on TCM the 17th. She was never lovelier than in that film—unless it was when she teamed with real-life companion Spencer Tracy in Keeper of the Flame, a gripping noir mystery, which TCM will show on the 20th. She pairs again with Tracy in the very funny Pat and Mike (TCM, the 15th), and in Desk Set (WE, or Women's Entertainment Channel, 14th and 15th). A much older Hepburn co-stars with Henry Fonda in his final screen role in On Golden Pond, on the LOVE network the 4th, 10th, 20th, and 30th, and The Movie Channel on the 2nd.

Finally, the Apollo space program that so inspired Rand is recalled in the heroic 1995 docudrama, Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks and Ed Harris. It will be shown on the True Stories (TRUE) cable channel the 3rd, 4th, 12th, 16th, 17th , and 29th.

As always, check your local listings for broadcast times in your area.

--Robert Bidinotto

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