Early next week Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will show three films that have a World War I theme contained in them, so we’re going to mention the remaining four WWI movies this month on TCM.  Always a good start to a film festival . . .

The first is next Monday, December 19th.  The Roaring Twenties (1939) is not a WWI film per se, but starts with three buddies who met in the trenches returning home to adjust to living and working in Prohibition-era America.  It’s a bit of a film classic, starring James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, and a collection of character actors familiar to film buffs.  It is directed by Raoul Walsh.  It can be seen at 7:00 p.m. CT.

Next up is in the early morning hours of Tuesday, December 20th.  The British film The Spy in Black (1939) is about a German sub that sets out to sink ships in the British fleet in 1917.  It includes a little spying, and of course, a little romance.  Directed by Michael Powell, it has a cast that includes Conrad Veidt (Major Strasser from Casablanca); Valerie Hobson (Great Expectations, Kind Hearts and Coronets); and Sebastian Shaw (known to Star Wars fans as the unmasked Darth Vader and spirit of Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi.)  It will air at 3:00 a.m. CT

Later that afternoon TCM will show The White Cliffs of Dover (1944).  An  American woman married to a British husband lives through both world wars trying to keep her family intact.  It stars Irene Dunne, Van Johnson, and young actors (at the time) Roddy McDowall and Peter Lawford.  It airs at 2:45 p.m. CT

Finally, the last WWI film of December is Lawrence of Arabia (1962), which airs at 11:00 a.m. Satruday, December 31st.  Do we really have to say much about this classic?

As we keep pushing, a World War I film festival can be a great way to start discussions about the First World War.

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.