PZ’s February Movie Picks

A Guide to Paul Zahl’s Top Picks from the Turner Classic Movies Airing in February

Mockingbird / 2.4.21

February is for Mockingbird-themed movies! On this list of the latest Turner Classic Movies you will find films with Grace in unexpected places, Christian themes, and overlooked gems. All times are Eastern, schedule subject to change. Set your DVR’s or find them online.

 February 4th, 9:45 am, Five Million Years to Earth (1968)

A thrilling Hammer Horror film with a weirdly cosmic premise. Subway excavations unearth an evil and deadly force from beyond space and time. The future of mankind is at stake in this battle against what appears to be the Devil himself, all wrapped up with a stirring account of substitutionary atonement! Starring James Donald, Andrew Keir, and Barbara Shelley.

February 4th, 6:30 pm, The Thing From Another World (1951)

The crew of a remote Arctic base discovers a long-buried alien, who springs to life with murderous intent. A stinging rebuke to scientific certainty in the face of evil. Look for an otherworldly James Arness (Gunsmoke) in a key role.

February 7th, 11:30 am, To Be Or Not To Be (1942)

Set in 1939 Poland during the German invasion, a troupe of squabbling actors joins the underground resistance to dupe the Nazis. This is a comedy gem, the first real satire of Nazism — long before The Producers. Starring Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, and Robert Stack.

February 9th, 7:45 am, Crossfire (1947)

A crusading district attorney investigates the murder of a Jewish man. Starring Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, and Robert Ryan.

February 9th, 10:30 am, Act of Violence (1949)

This is a thriller of a movie that well illustrates the truth that you cannot run from the past. Secrets long forgotten will eventually turn up and demand retribution, one way or another. And yet — amends can be made. Starring Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, and Janet Leigh.

February 10th, 7:30 am, Between Two Worlds (1944)

A group of strangers on a luxury liner realize they are en route to the afterlife. This is a thought-provoking film about the final judgment, the “wages of sin,” and sacrificial love. It even features an Anglican minister. Starring John Garfield, Paul Henreid, and Sydney Greenstreet.

February 10th, 8:00 pm, Moonrise (1948)

When a murderer’s son accidentally becomes a murderer himself, he is forced to confront and exorcise his family demons. This moving story about a young man who fears he is fated to become his father is ultimately a tale of redemption and love.

February 13th, 4:30 am, Brief Encounter (1945)

Two married strangers meet in a train station and fall in love — this is NOT the kind of fairytale ending you might expect today, but it is one nevertheless. Starring Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, and Stanley Holloway.

February 13th, 8:00 pm, Roman Holiday (1953)

Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn — what’s not to love? The later won an Academy Award for her performance as a runaway princess in Rome who finds love with a reporter who knows her true identity. Directed by William Wyler.

February 14th, 6:00 am, The Enchanted Cottage (1945)

The perfect film for Valentine’s Day. A scarred veteran and a homely woman are both transformed by love. This is real-life imputation at its best! Starring Dorothy Mcguire, Robert Young, and Herbert Marshall.

February 15th, 2:30 am, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

A young French couple is separated by the war in Algiers. Starring Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, and Anne Vernon.

February 15th, 10:30 pm, Elmer Gantry (1960)

A young drifter finds success as a traveling con-man preacher until his past catches up with him. Tent revivals and flashy moralist sermons give way to genuine forgiveness of a disgraced mega-pastor. Starring Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy, Dean Jagger, and Shirley Jones.

February 17th, 9:45 pm, The Pawnbroker (1965)

A Harlem pawnbroker tries to cope with his changing neighborhood while being haunted by memories of the holocaust concentration camps. The score by Quincey Jones is splendid, but it’s the ending of the film that’s particularly memorable! Starring Rod Steiger. Directed by Sidney Lumet.

February 19th, 5:30 am, Primrose Path (1940)

The youngest child in a family of prostitutes tries to go straight with a working man. This is a fantastic story of love and the power of grace to wipe away shame with one fell swoop! Starring Ginger Rogers and Joel Mccrea.

February 20th, 2:00 am, Piranha (1978)

When flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort’s rivers, the guests become their next meal.

February 20th, 1:15 pm, Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

This is a thriller of a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by none other than Thornton Wilder. Starring Joseph Cotton and Theresa Wright.

February 22nd, 4:45 pm, Father of the Bride (1950)

A doting father faces mountains of bills and endless trials when his daughter marries. Not to be confused with the Steve Martin remake, this is a story of letting go of adult children and the love that abides because of it. Starring Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, and Elizabeth Taylor. Directed by Vincente Minnelli.

February 25th, 9:15 am, Juliet of the Spirits (1965)

An aging housewife seeks direction when she catches her husband in an affair. Directed by Federico Fellini.

February 25th, 6:30 pm, I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

A nurse in the Caribbean resorts to voodoo to cure her patient, even though she’s in love with the woman’s husband. Starring Tom Conway (aka “The Falcon). Directed by Jacques Tourneur.

February 27th, 6:00 am, Gunga Din (1939)

Three British soldiers seek treasure during an uprising in India. Starring Cary Grant. Directed by George Stevens.

February 27th, 3:30 pm, A Man For All Seasons (1966)

For the Reformation lovers: Thomas More refuses to certify Henry VIII’s divorce and opposes Henry’s plan to break with the Catholic Church. While the Protestant Thomas Cromwell is terribly unsympathetic, this is a story of holding fast to your convictions in the face of widespread persecution. Not entirely unlike faith today! Starring Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo Mckern, Robert Shaw, and Orson Welles.