Family Fun - 11/22
Whether you're spending time with family, friends, pets or your friends at TCM, celebrate the love of company this Thanksgiving with our Family Classics/Family Fun programming, featuring a selection of movies from five decades that appeal equally to children and adults.
Our choices range from the high-seas adventure of the Rudyard Kipling tale Captains Courageous (1937), starring Spencer Tracy and Freddie Bartholomew; to the imaginative fantasy of The Phantom Toolbooth (1970), an adaptation of the children's book by Norton Juster that blends live action and animation.
As it happens, four of our classics star a radiant young Elizabeth Taylor. She was 12 years old when cast in her breakthrough role in National Velvet (1944) as a girl determined to race her beloved horse in the males-only Grand National race. In Courage of Lassie (1946), Taylor costarred with the famous collie in the story of a dog who suffers trauma during service in World War II. Taylor was the lovely ingénue of the heartwarming family story Life with Father (1947) and the vainglorious Amy in MGM's version of Louisa Mae Alcott's Little Women (1949), in which she stole the movie from her costars.
Comedies in this series include Frank Capra's You Can't Take It With You (1938) , with James Stewart as a conventional young man coping with the eccentricities of his fiancée's (Jean Arthur) family; Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), with the deliciously cast Cary Grant and Myrna Loy as a couple whose dream of constructing a new home leads to hilarious complications; Ma and Pa Kettle (1949), with Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride as a lovable country couple; and Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960), in which Doris Day shines as the wife of a drama critic (David Niven) and the mother of four obstreperous boys.
Children's stories include The Secret Garden (1949), one of many dramatized versions of the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel about a young girl (in this case Margaret O'Brien) whose discovery of a hidden garden changes the lives of those around her. Much like The Phantom Tollbooth, Tom Thumb (1958) explores a world of fantasy through live action and animation. This musicalized version of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale stars a miniaturized Russ Tamblyn as a thumb-sized boy who brightens the lives of a childless couple.
by Roger Fristoe