Sunday, July 31, 2016

TCM in August: Summer Under the Stars Highlights

It's time to reluctantly say farewell to my favorite month, July, but there's still plenty of summer ahead on TCM! The annual Summer Under the Stars Festival begins on Monday, August 1st.

For a quick chronological overview of the stars being celebrated in this year's festival, please visit my May preview post.

As usual, TCM has a special Summer Under the Stars microsite with the schedule and lots of information on the stars and their movies. (Thanks to Raquel and Joel for pointing me in the right direction!) The usual schedule may also be found on the TCM site.

There are a number of days where I could happily watch TCM around the clock. (A Constance Cummings Day? How great is that?! She's seen here with Robert Montgomery and Sir Seymour Hicks in HAUNTED HONEYMOON, showing on August 24th.) Here's a quick look at just a few of the August highlights on Turner Classic Movies. Click any hyperlinked title for my review.

...The festival begins with a tribute to Edward G. Robinson on August 1st. A wide variety of Robinson films are being shown, including titles where he's a gangster or a more admirable investigator, but I particularly recommend the unique OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES (1945). Robinson plays a Norwegian farmer thoughtfully raising a little girl (Margaret O'Brien) along with his wife (Agnes Moorehead). It's classic MGM Americana.

...There are many good films showing on Lucille Ball Day on August 2nd; I particularly suggest BEST FOOT FORWARD (1943) in honor of one of its other stars, Gloria DeHaven, who just passed away.

...Bing Crosby's films are shown on the 3rd, and I have a definite soft spot for HIGH SOCIETY (1956). It may be a remake of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1956) but it has a great cast and a terrific Cole Porter score. I have the LP, seen here.

...Fay Wray will be celebrated August 4th. Again, there are a number of interesting films; I suggest the pre-Code legal drama ANN CARVER'S PROFESSION (1933), in which she plays an attorney.

...I've seen most of the Jean Harlow films showing on August 7th. BOMBHSHELL (1933) has some fun "insider" jokes, such as the fact that Harlow's character is starring in RED DUST (1932).

...One of the best days on the calendar is the celebration of Esther Williams' birthday on August 8th. You can't go wrong with NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER (1949) or EASY TO LOVE (1953).

...Esther Williams Day is back to back with Tim Holt movies on August 9th! It's a great assortment of his B Westerns -- I'm particularly fond of the postwar Westerns costarring Richard Martin -- and classics like THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948) and THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (1942). I particularly like the comedy FIFTH AVENUE GIRL (1939) with Ginger Rogers, and I'm excited TCM is showing a Holt film I've never seen, THE ROOKIE COP (1939).

...I highly recommend spending August 10th with the wonderful Hedy Lamarr, who in recent years has received overdue recognition for her scientific breakthroughs along with her film career. There's only one Lamarr film showing this month which I haven't seen, and ironically it's considered one of her best roles, in H.M. PULHAM, ESQ. (1941). I also especially like EXPERIMENT PERILOUS (1944) and COME LIVE WITH ME (1941).

...Almost exactly a year ago I discovered LUCKY STAR (1929) at UCLA, starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. It will be shown on August 12th.

...Sunday, August 14th, is yet another day to sit down in front of the TV and stay there for the duration. It's Cyd Charisse Day! I've seen all but one of the movies showing. Cyd is a great, great favorite of mine, seen here in a publicity photo perfect for August. What can I say but "Watch them all!" For those who might not be familiar with her work, it's an especially great introduction.

...HOLIDAY IN MEXICO (1946) isn't a top tier MGM musical, but Technicolor fans will want to watch it for the movie's amazing look alone. It stars Jane Powell, Walter Pidgeon, and Roddy McDowall, who is being celebrated on August 15th.

...I rarely miss an opportunity to plug one of my favorite Westerns, RIO BRAVO (1959); one of these days I'm going to review it here! It's showing on August 18th, which is a day of Angie Dickinson films. Dickinson stars with John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Walter Brennan.

...There are lots of great Ruby Keeler movies on August 19th, including Busby Berkeley classics like FOOTLIGHT PARADE (1933) -- seen here with Joan Blondell and James Cagnet -- and 42ND STREET (1933), to name just two films in a great lineup.

...I had never seen NOW, VOYAGER (1942) until a little over a year ago. Great stuff, as advertised. August 21st is the perfect day for anyone else who hasn't seen it to catch it! Bette Davis and Paul Henreid star.

...Once again I've seen all but one of the films showing on Robert Montgomery Day, August 22nd. Again, watch them all...but if you must choose, my favorites include the hilarious pre-Code THE MAN IN POSSESSION (1931), the touching romance HIDE-OUT (1934), and the great war film THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945).

...Seattle-born Constance Cummings spent much of her career living and working in England, to the point many think of her as a British actress. 15 Cummings films will be shown on August 24th, including MOVIE CRAZY (1932) with Harold Lloyd. That's a Lloyd film I need to see!

...I'd wondered why one of my favorite Esther Williams films, DUCHESS OF IDAHO (1950), wasn't being shown on her day on August 8th. Turns out it's showing on August 25th, the day honoring her costar Van Johnson. Also be on the lookout for another film starring Gloria DeHaven, the delightful TWO GIRLS AND A SAILOR (1944).

...James Garner's funniest movie is SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! (1969), written by William Bowers and directed by Burt Kennedy, showing on August 27th.

...I've seen all but one of the Jean Arthur movies showing on August 28th. Since that's the case on several days I'm thinking I should pick out the "last one" unseen on each of those dates and catch up with them! So many great Jean Arthur films...don't miss EASY LIVING (1937) -- seen here with Ray Milland -- THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943), or SHANE (1953).

...Anyone who has missed HOLD BACK THE DAWN (1941) in previous airings on TCM has another chance on Charles Boyer Day on August 29th. Olivia de Havilland costars.

...I have fond memories of seeing Dean Martin and Judy Holliday in BELLS ARE RINGING (1960) at the Tiffany Theater in Hollywood as a teen, and I especially loved Dean singing "Just in Time." It's showing on his special day on August 31st.

Enjoy Summer Under the Stars!


Blogger Blake Lucas said...

Based on the fact it's not in blue type, I'm assuming you haven't seen "The Treasure of Sierra Madre." Of course, it's easy to find but this might be a good opportunity on Tim Holt day, and as a Holt fan, you really should make a point of it sometime. It's arguably his best performance ever (and I always like him) and for me it's really Holt and Walter Huston who carry the movie (Humphrey Bogart gets to be just a little over the top before it's over). I'm saying this as someone who is not quite as swept away by this official classic as many other people, but it is an excellent movie, one of the relative few of John Huston I'd say that about. Forceful if not very nuanced, its style serves it well and it's very effective drama.

Nice to see a mention here of the ultra charming "Bells Are Ringing"--one of my favorite movies ever.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Blake!

It's true, I haven't seen that one yet! But I do have a DVD thanks to a big Warner Bros. set. The plot hasn't been of great interest, but I'll definitely be watching it at some point because of Tim! Really appreciate your feedback on it, as always.

And we're in complete agreement on BELLS ARE RINGING. Seeing it on a big screen years ago is such a happy memory for me.

Best wishes,

4:33 PM  

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