Wednesday, July 31, 2013

TCM in August: Summer Under the Stars Highlights

Summer is flying by far too quickly, but the good news is that August means it's time for Summer Under the Stars on Turner Classic Movies!

As usual, TCM has prepared a fun Summer Under the Stars microsite. The August schedule is also available in a nice printable PDF format.

For a quick overview of the stars being celebrated on TCM this month, please check out the complete list of names I posted in May.

...The month starts off with Humphrey Bogart Day on Thursday, August 1st. There are lots of great films on tap, including three he made with Lauren Bacall. I recently saw the widely admired IN A LONELY PLACE (1950) and confess to having been somewhat underwhelmed. It's an interesting film, though, and I encourage those who've not yet seen it to check it out. I especially appreciated the movie for its supporting actors, Frank Lovejoy and Jeff Donnell, as the "average" couple opposite Bogart and Gloria Grahame.

...I love Doris Day, and I believe I've seen all but three of her films which are showing on August 2nd. (I'd better get to work seeing the rest!) I especially recommend ON MOONLIGHT BAY (1951) and its sequel, BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON (1953), which both costar Gordon MacRae. They're delightful family stories with Leon Ames and Rosemary DeCamp as Day's parents, Billy Gray as her little brother, and Mary Wickes as the maid.

...I thoroughly enjoyed IN OUR TIME (1944), a WWII film starring Paul Henreid and Ida Lupino, when I saw it in early July. It airs on TCM on August 4th, Mary Boland Day. Boland plays Lupino's obnoxious yet sympathetic employer in the first part of the film.

...On Charlton Heston Day, August 5th, I'm interested in checking out DIAMOND HEAD (1963), costarring Yvette Mimieux, George Chakiris, and France Nuyen. Those four actors on location in beautiful Hawaii should be fun to look at, if nothing else!

...Tuesday, August 6th, is Joan Fontaine Day. I'm looking forward to seeing an early Fontaine film I've not previously come across, MUSIC FOR MADAME (1937). The entire lineup is simply terrific, including her film with Fred Astaire, A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS (1937); Nicholas Ray's immensely entertaining BORN TO BE BAD (1950), costarring Robert Ryan, Joan Leslie, Zachary Scott, and Mel Ferrer; the evergreen Hitchcock films SUSPICION (1941) and REBECCA (1940); LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN (1948), which is on my list of 10 Classics to see for the first time this year; and THE CONSTANT NYMPH (1943), with one of Fontaine's greatest performances.

...I also love Fred MacMurray Day on August 7th! There are lots of entertaining titles on the day's agenda. I've previously reviewed a number of the films being shown, including TOO MANY HUSBANDS (1940), ABOVE SUSPICION (1943), NEVER A DULL MOMENT (1940), A MILLIONAIRE FOR CHRISTY (1951), DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944), and PUSHOVER (1954). If you've seen DOUBLE INDEMNITY a million times, give PUSHOVER a try -- it's very interesting watching Fred fall for a femme fatale in a film made a decade later.

...THE HONEYMOON MACHINE (1961) is a cute comedy airing on Steve McQueen Day, August 9th. It costars Jim Hutton and Paula Prentiss. I got a kick out of this one.

...It's fun seeing the very young Lana Turner in RICH MAN, POOR GIRL (1938), airing on August 10th. Robert Young and Ruth Hussey play the title characters. Lots of other good movies air that day, including THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952).

...There are many good movies on Mickey Rooney Day, August 13th, but if I were to recommend just one it's THE HUMAN COMEDY (1943), MGM WWII Americana at its finest. The cast: James Craig, Marsha Hunt, Frank Morgan, Fay Bainter, Van Johnson, Donna Reed, Jackie "Butch" Jenkins, Dorothy Morris, Ray Collins, Henry O'Neill, and Katharine Alexander. They don't come any better than this one. Directed by Clarence Brown.

...It's Bette Davis Day on April 14th. Some Davis titles airing that day which I've just seen within the past year or so: DARK VICTORY (1939), WATCH ON THE RHINE (1943), and PAYMENT ON DEMAND (1951). All are worth seeing, especially DARK VICTORY.

...The highlight of Gregory Peck Day on August 15th is a rarely seen TCM premiere, THE MACOMBER AFFAIR (1947). Joan Bennett and Robert Preston also star in this compelling Hemingway tale. Take advantage of the chance to see this film at long last.

...One of my favorite days on the schedule is August 16th, Ann Blyth Day. Beautiful Ann will turn 85 on that date, and I send her my happiest birthday wishes! I had the chance to see Ann at KISMET (1955) at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival; both Ann and the movie were a treat. I also got to see her at a screening of MILDRED PIERCE (1945). The entire schedule looks good; I've got a soft spot for ALL THE BROTHERS WERE VALIANT (1955), a seafaring tale costarring Robert Taylor and Stewart Granger, plus a terrific Rozsa score, and OUR VERY OWN (1950), an adoption tale with Farley Granger which was on TV a lot when I was a kid.

...I'll never understand the appeal of Wallace Beery, but he certainly worked with a lot of good costars. He was in one of my favorite early Jane Powell movies, A DATE WITH JUDY (1948), which airs on his day on August 17th. The young Elizabeth Taylor's in it too, and she's a knockout. Plus Carmen Miranda and Cugie! I love the finale, "It's a Most Unusual Day."

...One of the interesting films airing on Natalie Wood Day, August 18th, is A CRY IN THE NIGHT (1956), a crime film costarring Brian Donlevy, Edmond O'Brien, Raymond Burr, and Richard Anderson. It was produced by Alan Ladd's Jaguar Productions, and Ladd is the film's opening narrator. It's by no means a perfect film, but I found it quite watchable and interesting. It's not on DVD or VHS so this is a great chance to catch it.

...Randolph Scott Day, August 19th, would be a great day to call in sick. Along with fantastic must-see Westerns such as RIDE LONESOME (1959) and COMANCHE STATION (1960), you can see him in a really fun comedy, MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940), costarring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, and Gail Patrick.

...The lineup on Hattie McDaniel Day, August 20th, includes IN THIS OUR LIFE (1942), a wonderful melodrama starring Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, George Brent, and Dennis Morgan.

...Elizabeth Taylor day, August 23rd, includes CONSPIRATOR (1949), a thriller in which she starred opposite Robert Taylor -- who plays a villain! That's one I've been wanting to check out.

...Charles Coburn Day is another day I could happily watch nonstop. And it's a Saturday, too! Among the many good movies airing on the 24th: VIVACIOUS LADY (1938), H.M. PULHAM, ESQ. (1941), PRINCESS O'ROURKE (1943), TOGETHER AGAIN (1944), BACHELOR MOTHER (1939), LURED (1947), THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943), HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1942), and even more! A truly fantastic day.

...I could watch all day on Sunday, August 25th, too -- Clark Gable Day! I've seen a majority of the films airing that day. I really appreciated revisiting IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) at the TCM Classic Film Festival and highly recommend giving it a fresh look.

...My favorite Summer Under the Stars day this year is August 26th -- Jeanne Crain Day! I'm looking forward to catching two of the relatively few Crain films I haven't seen, GUNS OF THE TIMBERLAND (1960) with Alan Lady and THE MODEL AND THE MARRIAGE BROKER (1951) with Scott Brady. Jeanne Crain films airing on this date which I've previously reviewed: THE FASTEST GUN ALIVE (1956) with Glenn Ford, MARGIE (1946), YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME (1948), APARTMENT FOR PEGGY (1948), DANGEROUS CROSSING (1953), TAKE CARE OF MY LITTLE GIRL (1951), and SKYJACKED (1972). As is probably apparently from that list, Crain is one of my favorite actresses! I highly recommend MARGIE and APARTMENT FOR PEGGY.

...On Shirley Jones Day, August 28th, I particularly recommend CAROUSEL (1956) -- especially for those folks not fortunate enough to see Jones in person at a screening of the film at the Aero in Santa Monica this Friday night.

...Glenda Farrell Day is another of my favorite days, on August 29th. I'm especially looking forward to seeing a couple more of the films she made with Joan Blondell, I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER (1934) and KANSAS CITY PRINCESS (1934), plus SNOWED UNDER (1936) with George Brent.

...In the past year or so I've very much enjoyed Peggy Cummins in GUN CRAZY (1950) and HELL DRIVERS (1957), so I'm looking forward to seeing her in ESCAPE (1948). It will be shown as part of Rex Harrison Day on August 31st.

For more on the August schedule, Cliff has a wonderfully detailed post with his personal top picks at Immortal Ephemera.

Happy Summer Under the Stars!


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I don't want to complain, but it seems to me they had a better line-up for Mr. MacMurray a couple of summers ago. It could be there were more westerns.

On the other hand, the idea of Randolph Scott Day makes me giggle.

3:45 PM  
Blogger DorianTB said...

Heck, Laura, even with this cavalcade of entertainment, I could watch Barbara Stanwyck all summer! Still, Randolph Scott is always to mosey down to our TV anytime! :-D

5:12 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

You & I seem to have the same special days marked down, I haven't seen a lot of those Jeanne Crain movies and really want to, plus a couple of Randolph's and I love Glenda Farrell. I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, which I really liked.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to you all for your comments! It's another great month on TCM.

Caftan Woman, I do agree it wasn't the cream of the crop on MacMurray's films, several of my favorites were left out, but I'm glad they're spotlighting him!

Jeanne Crain, Randolph Scott, Glenda Farrell -- great stuff ahead!

Best wishes,

10:36 PM  
Blogger Crocheted Lace said...

CONSPIRATOR is very interesting! I love Robert Taylor as the villain. A really interesting point of the character seems to be that he loves the excitement of being a conspirator, more than an ideology. It just happens to be communism, but it could have been anything.
The movie is an excellent adaptation of the short novel by Humphrey Slater

2:28 PM  

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