July has flown by way too fast, but there's a silver lining to my favorite month of the year coming to a close: it's time for Summer Under the Stars on Turner Classic Movies! For a classic film fan, nothing says summer quite like the annual Summer Under the Stars Festival.
TCM has a special SUTS microsite which will go live on Wednesday, August 1st. They've also made this month's schedule available in .pdf format.
For a quick overview of the stars being celebrated this month, please visit the complete list I posted in May.
Here are just some of this month's TCM highlights:
...The celebration gets underway on August 1st with a day of John Wayne films. They're all good, but this time around I'll recommend a relatively lesser-known Wayne film, TALL IN THE SADDLE (1944). It's got a good script and a terrific leading lady in Ella Raines.
...On Myrna Loy's day, August 2nd, I'll be recording two Loy films I've never seen, THE GREAT DIVIDE (1929) and THE BARBARIAN (1933). I've seen the majority of the day's films and recommend them all. I was fortunate to see one of my favorite Loy comedies, LIBELED LADY (1936), at UCLA last January.
...Claude Rains Day on August 5th includes all three films in the FOUR DAUGHTERS (1938) series, perfect viewing for a Sunday. These films are not to be missed. Priscilla, Rosemary, and Lola Lane, Gale Page, Jeffrey Lynn, John Garfield, Frank McHugh, Eddie Albert, Dick Foran, and May Robson costar in the movies.
...I'm really looking forward to THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT (1937), which has an appealing cast including Preston Foster, Jean Muir, Virginia Weidler, and Star of the Month honoree Van Heflin. The air date is August 6th.
...I've always loved Rita Hayworth, and my two favorite Hayworth films air on August 8th: TONIGHT AND EVERY NIGHT (1945), a Technicolor musical set during the London Blitz, and YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (1942), a black and white fairytale costarring Fred Astaire and a gorgeous Jerome Kern score.
...There's an appealing cross-section of movies being shown on Lionel Barrymore Day on August 10th, everything from GRAND HOTEL (1932) to A YANK AT OXFORD (1938) to YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938) to KEY LARGO (1948). And of course a Dr. Kildare movie!
...Ginger Rogers is one of my favorite actresses, and I've seen all but two of the films airing on August 12th, PRIMROSE PATH (1940) and WEEKEND AT THE WALDORF (1945). Given that the first film costars Joel McCrea and the latter film has an all-star MGM cast, I really need to catch up with those! Several of my very favorite Ginger movies air on this date, including BACHELOR MOTHER (1939), CAREFREE (1938), and STAGE DOOR (1937). I can easily say, however, that all 13 of the films shown that day are worth watching.
VACATION FROM MARRIAGE (1945), an interesting, rather different film in which Kerr and Robert Donat play a couple who are radically changed by their wartime service. I also like THE HUCKSTERS (1947), costarring Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Sydney Greenstreet, Edward Arnold, and more.
...When I recently saw Billy Wilder's THE APARTMENT (1960), it didn't do anything for me, but I feel quite differently about a film Wilder made the following year, ONE, TWO, THREE (1961). I always remember my daughter telling me that one of her college roommates walked in when the movie was on, and after a couple minutes she gasped "This is brilliant!" and sat down to watch the rest. It's on James Cagney Day, August 14th.
...LITTLE WOMEN (1933) is pretty much a perfect movie, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it. It's beautifully filmed with a cast including Frances Dee, Joan Bennett, Jean Parker, and the day's Star, Katharine Hepburn; it airs August 17th.
...August 20th is Anthony Quinn Day. I'm intrigued by BLACK GOLD (1947), in which Quinn costars with his wife, Katherine DeMille. I hadn't realized Quinn was Cecil B. DeMille's son-in-law until a couple of years ago.
...As far as I'm concerned, one of the best days on the August schedule is August 21st, Kay Francis Day, which starts in fine style with one of my favorite pre-Codes, DR. MONICA (1934). The next film, MARY STEVENS, M.D. (1933), is fun too. And there are 15 more Francis films lined up after that!
...August 23rd is the centennial of the birth of Gene Kelly, and TCM will be showing a dozen Kelly films. I've seen all of them but BLACK HAND (1950), which I really need to catch up with! Although it's not as highly regarded as some of his other films, I'm especially partial to ANCHORS AWEIGH (1945) which is overlong but set in a Technicolor fantasy Los Angeles which I fell in love with as a child...and I still love it. Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Dean Stockwell, and Jose Iturbi costar.
...Irene Dunne, like Ginger Rogers, is one of my all-time favorites; like Ginger, she was a musical performer equally adept at comedy and drama. This is a wonderful lineup including the superb comedy MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940) -- costarring Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, and Gail Patrick -- and the musical SHOW BOAT (1936), in which she sings the role of Magnolia. You can't go wrong recording any and everything on August 24th.
ALONG CAME JONES (1945) and DALLAS (1950), very appealing. The Oscar-winning SERGEANT YORK (1941) is in the lineup too.
...Jeanette MacDonald was a great talent, a wonderful singer, a beauty, and a very good actress especially adept at comedy. Among her movies with Nelson Eddy, I'm partial to NEW MOON (1940), with a score including "Lover, Come Back to Me." The date is August 27th.
...And then there's Ava Gardner Day on August 28th. I really like the film noir THE BRIBE (1949), costarring Robert Taylor, Charles Laughton, Vincent Price, and John Hodiak, plus a wonderfully shot fireworks finale which might have been done by Vincente Minnelli.
...ADAM HAD FOUR SONS (1941) has a plot that's a bit syrupy at times, but it also has a great cast which makes it extremely watchable: Warner Baxter, Susan Hayward, Fay Wray, June Lockhart, and Ingrid Bergman, whose films are being celebrated August 29th.
...I suspect many in the classic film blogging community would name August 30th as their favorite day on the August schedule, as it celebrates Warren William, a pre-Code star who also played movie detectives Philo Vance, Perry Mason, and the Lone Wolf. I'm looking forward to recording new-to-me William films such as BEDSIDE (1934) and THE MOUTHPIECE (1932). There are a whopping 16 William films being shown, including classics such as one of the best Busby Berkeley musicals, GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933); Frank Capra's LADY FOR A DAY (1933); and DeMille's CLEOPATRA (1934). Pre-Code classics airing that day include THREE ON A MATCH (1932), SKYSCRAPER SOULS (1932), and the infamous EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE (1933), in which his character is so amoral and predatory I found it difficult to watch!
This is a good-sized list, yet it's just a glimpse of the many interesting titles airing on TCM this month. Be sure to visit Immortal Ephemera and Thrilling Days of Yesteryear for additional tips from Cliff and Ivan!
Happy movie viewing!