Veterans Day - 11/11, 11/12 (Daytime)
In honor of the service of the brave individuals who have fought for our country, we are dedicating the weekend of Veterans Day to a group of films chosen by servicemen and women. Beginning at 9 a.m. ET on November 11 and continuing on November 12, TCM host Ben Mankiewicz will sit with eight veterans to discuss a particular film that has been meaningful to them.
The chosen movies cover three decades and a wide range of genres and subject matter, including four films made during the World War II era. Casablanca (1942), everybody's favorite bittersweet wartime romance, features the unforgettable chemistry shared by Humphrey Bogart as Rick, an American nightclub owner in Morocco, and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa, the beautiful refugee he still loves even though she is married to another man (Paul Henreid).
In a story that takes place in the British countryside far from the concerns of war, National Velvet (1944) stars a young and radiant Elizabeth Taylor in her star-making role as Velvet Brown, a girl determined to ride her beloved horse in England's Grand National. Also from 1944 is Lost in a Harem, a Bud Abbott/Lou Costello romp about a pair of vaudevillians involved in palace intrigue in the Middle East.
On the American home front, The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) offers a touching look at the problems of veterans readjusting to civilian life after the war. The outstanding cast includes Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright and Harold Russell, a real-life veteran and a double amputee due to injuries suffered in the war.
From the days of the Cold War comes Strategic Air Command (1955), a salute to the United States Air Force starring James Stewart, a real-life bomber pilot and command-level officer during WWII and later a brigadier general in the Air Force Reserves. Costarring in the film as Stewart's loyal wife is June Allyson.
Moving ahead to the 1960s, the vet-chosen films include Bullitt (1968), a thriller set in San Francisco that stars Steve McQueen and features one of the movies' most exciting car chases. The Green Berets (1968), set in South Vietnam and starring/co-directed by John Wayne, is the Duke's tribute to the U.S. Army Special Forces. He plays a colonel who picks two teams of Green Berets for missions to control a camp under assault by the enemy and to kidnap a North Vietnamese general.
Where Eagles Dare (1968) looks back at WWII, with Richard Burton as a British major of the Grenadier Guards and Clint Eastwood as a U.S. Army Ranger lieutenant. Together, they lead a rescue mission to recover a U.S. Army brigadier general (Robert Beatty) held by the Germans in southern Bavaria.
By Roger Fristoe