Henry Fonda shines on TCM throughout February

Henry Fonda shines on TCM throughout February

“12 Angry Men” is among many Henry Fonda films being shown by Turner Classic Movies in February.

Henry Fonda is Turner Classic Movies’ “Star of the Month” for February, but he’s also a star for all time.

The Oscar, Tony and Grammy-winning performer — and the patriarch of an acting dynasty, also including his children Peter and Jane — established his typically dependable image early in his career, yielding a bounty of classics that stretched across six decades and virtually every genre. With TCM celebrating him each Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning during the month starting Feb. 1, here’s a look at some of the featured highlights.

“Young Mr. Lincoln” (1939; Feb. 1): One of Fonda’s earliest triumphs was this John Ford-directed portrait of the pre-presidential Abraham Lincoln, detailing how he decided to pursue law — and how a murder case involving brothers helped make his career.

“Fort Apache” (1948; Feb. 2): Easily among the best of the many Westerns that Fonda made, director John Ford’s saga casts him and John Wayne as officers who run into conflict at a cavalry outpost.

“Mister Roberts” (1955; Feb. 8): Fonda reprised his stage role as a well-liked but dissatisfied Navy officer in this comedy, a hit despite its famously troubled production that saw director John Ford replaced; co-star Jack Lemmon won an Oscar, and William Powell made his last movie appearance here.

“12 Angry Men” (1957; Feb. 8): In the only movie that he also produced, Fonda was part of a superb acting ensemble and also gave celebrated director Sidney Lumet his film debut with this drama (originally done as a television play) about a jury deliberating the fate of a teen accused of killing his father.

“The Best Man” (1964; Feb. 9): A political convention is the setting of this excellent adaptation of Gore Vidal’s play about the battle between an ethical candidate (Fonda) and a scheming rival (Cliff Robertson) to secure their party’s presidential nomination.

“The Lady Eve” (1941; Feb. 15): Filmmaker Preston Sturges’ “screwball” comedy makes Fonda the target of a con artist (Barbara Stanwyck) and her father (Charles Coburn).

“Yours, Mine and Ours” (1968; Feb. 15): One of Fonda’s most popular movies (shown frequently by TCM) teams him with Lucille Ball in a fact-inspired comedy about single parents who marry and bring their large broods of children together … and none too comfortably. Notable among the kids are Tim Matheson and later “Dallas” co-star Morgan Brittany, billed here by her birth name, Suzanne Cupito.

“On Golden Pond” (1981; Feb. 22): A year after he received an honorary Oscar, and not long before he passed, Fonda earned a competitive Academy Award by teaming with his daughter Jane (who also produced the film) and Katharine Hepburn in the tale of a deeply meaningful family reunion.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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