Wednesday, July 31, 2019

TCM in August: Summer Under the Stars Highlights

It's time for the annual Summer Under the Stars festival on Turner Classic Movies!

I find this year's Summer Under the Stars schedule especially exciting as there are a significant number of TCM premieres, including films from Paramount, Universal, 20th Century-Fox, and Columbia.

For a quick peek at the list of the 31 actors and actresses being celebrated on TCM this month, please click over to my May preview.

As usual, there is also a special microsite created by TCM, along with the online schedule.

Please note that TCM's usual features, including Noir Alley and Saturday morning "B" movies and serials, are not shown during August but will return in September.

I'm recommending one film for a majority of the days on the schedule. Click any hyperlinked title for my past review.

...Summer Under the Stars begins on August 1st with 24 hours of Henry Fonda films. I've seen a significant number of the day's titles and my favorite is unquestionably John Ford's YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (1939), a marvelous film which I feel has one of Fonda's best performances. There's a wonderful supporting cast, including future MAVERICK star Jack Kelly playing Richard Cromwell as a boy when he was about 12 years old. Kelly's older sister Nancy was a 20th Century-Fox star at the time and young Jack picked up roles in this film and THE STORY OF ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL (1939), then left the screen for a decade, returning in young adult roles. Some fun trivia to go along with your Summer Under the Stars recommendations!

...Ruth Hussey beat out Ruth Roman in a TCM Backlot vote and thus will be honored on August 2nd. Again, I've seen a majority of films airing that day. It would be very easy to pick the superb THE UNINVITED (1944), but instead I'll recommend a film which is probably unfamiliar to many viewers, RICH MAN, POOR GIRL (1938). It's a straightforward, enjoyable 72-minute MGM programmer with a wonderful cast including Robert Young, Lana Turner, and Lew Ayres. Hussey is seen at her loveliest in this one.

...August 4th is Shirley Temple Day, with a wonderful lineup. While it's not the best film that day, I recommend SUSANNAH OF THE MOUNTIES (1939) because it's a 20th Century-Fox film which is a TCM premiere! Randolph Scott and the wonderful British actress Margaret Lockwood star with Shirley.

...There are three TCM premieres of Melvyn Douglas films on August 5th! One of the premieres is Paramount's I MET HIM IN PARIS (1937), a fun film costarring Claudette Colbert and Robert Young (seen at left). The other premieres are Paramount's MARY BURNS, FUGITIVE (1935) and THERE'S THAT WOMAN AGAIN (1938) from Columbia Pictures.

...It's Lena Horne Day on August 6th. The schedule is filled with MGM musicals including Vincente Minnelli's wonderful CABIN IN THE SKY (1943), costarring Ethel Waters and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson.

...August 7th is a day for one of the greatest movie stars of all time, James Stewart. There are many excellent titles on the schedule, so I'll recommend one I just saw for the first time earlier this year, THE MORTAL STORM (1940). Margaret Sullavan and Robert Young costar.

...August 8th is filled with the films of Ava Gardner. I'm quite partial to THE BRIBE (1949), which has a dazzling cast including Robert Taylor, John Hodiak, Vincent Price, and Charles Laughton. Watch for the fireworks finale!

...On August 9th, my pick from the day's Red Skelton films is NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER (1949), an MGM film which is "movie comfort food" at its best; indeed, it's such a favorite that several years ago it was the first film I watched when recovering from some surgery. Esther Williams, Ricardo Montalban, and Betty Garrett also star, along with the Oscar-winning song "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

...Natalie Wood Day on August 10th focuses mainly on the "adult" phase of her career. One of the best of those titles is LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER (1963), in which she and one-night stand date Steve McQueen deal with unexpected pregnancy. (Important Update: At some point after the initial version of the schedule appeared online the lineup was changed from Natalie Wood to Rita Moreno for this date. So I will instead recommend a film starring both actresses being shown on this date, WEST SIDE STORY!)

...I really enjoyed Humphrey Bogart and Raymond Massey in ACTION IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC (1943) earlier this year. It's showing as part of a day of Humphrey Bogart films on August 11th.

...Ann Sothern's films on August 12th include a little-known gem, WALKING ON AIR (1936), which I highly recommend. It's a charming romantic comedy/musical costarring Gene Raymond -- and fabulous Art Deco sets. This is definitely one to seek out.

...Only on TCM will viewers find programming such as 24 hours of Brian Donlevy films! A wonderful lineup on August 13th includes some excellent films, including his famous Oscar-nominated villain in BEAU GESTE (1939), but on this date I particularly recommend the crime film IMPACT (1949). Ella Raines, Helen Walker, and Charles Coburn also star, and there are some marvelous San Francisco locations.

...Another of the very best days on the schedule is August 16th, featuring the films of Irene Dunne. The movies showcase every aspect of her talent, including musicals, dramas, and comedies. There are two TCM premieres, Universal's HIGH, WIDE AND HANDSOME (1937) and WHEN TOMORROW COMES (1939). I've seen most of the films on the schedule, and this would be a great day to take off and watch TCM 'round the clock! A lesser-known film on the schedule which is quite good is the WWII comedy OVER 21 (1945), in which Dunne copes with her newspaper editor husband serving in the military during WWWII.

...It's Errol Flynn Day on August 17th, and I will pretty much always recommend THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938), because I don't think it's possible to ever see this gem too many times! Classic era filmmaking at its very finest, utter perfection.

...Buster Keaton is celebrated on the 19th. I was blown away by his physicality when I finally caught up with THE GENERAL (1926) a couple years ago! There are some amazingly well-crafted set pieces.

...On August 20th TCM premieres the 20th Century-Fox film MOTHER DIDN'T TELL ME (1950) as part of a day of Dorothy McGuire films. This story of a doctor and his bride has its weaknesses, but it's a pleasure to spend time with McGuire and William Lundigan as her husband, and I want to be sure to point out some of the films which are new to TCM this month.

...It's Joel McCrea Day on August 21st! He beat out another wonderful actor, Robert Ryan, in TCM Backlot voting. The day is filled with gems, and I recommend WICHITA (1955), a Western which might be less familiar than some of his better-known movies. He's wonderful as Wyatt Earp. I wrote a little more about the movie for Classic Movie Hub last year.

...A day of films featuring Leila Hyams on August 22nd includes the very "pre-Code" RED-HEADED WOMAN (1932), with Jean Harlow and Chester Morris top billed.

...It's Fred Astaire Day on August 23rd. I've seen every film many times and you can't go wrong with any of them, but if pressed I would choose YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (1942) as my recommendation, because this film costarring Rita Hayworth is one of my all-time favorite films.

...August 26th is Mary Astor Day, featuring a variety of films. I especially enjoyed her in the pre-Code SMART WOMAN (1932), as she copes with her husband falling for a gold-digger. She cleverly manages to win him back by pretending not to care and playing hard to get.

...TCM usually sets a day or two of Summer Under the Stars month aside for character actors, and so Walter Brennan's films will be featured on the 27th. There are many great films, including RIO BRAVO (1959), one of my favorite Westerns; I'll make not one but two recommendations of lesser-known films. The first is the 20th Century-Fox film HOME IN INDIANA (1944), charming Americana which also stars Lon McCallister, Jeanne Crain, June Haver, Charlotte Greenwood, and Ward Bond. The second film is the marvelous "noirish Western" BLOOD ON THE MOON (1948), which isn't nearly as well known as it ought to be -- and why isn't this terrific film, directed by Robert Wise, available from the Warner Archive, yet it's out on DVD in Europe? Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, and Robert Preston also star. Brennan has a fantastic line, "I always wanted to shoot one of you, and he was the handiest."

...Again, I've seen most of the titles on June Allyson's special day on August 28th, and it's a marvelous day of MGM entertainment. You can never go wrong with GOOD NEWS (1947), a delightful musical costarring Peter Lawford. (Side note, TCM is showing Allyson's 1949 version of LITTLE WOMEN on this date, with the 1933 version of the movie the next day as part of the films of Paul Lukas.)

...Paul Lukas Day on August 29th includes Jacques Tourneur's marvelous "gothic noir" EXPERIMENT PERILOUS (1944), also starring Hedy Lamarr and George Brent. It's a richly detailed, stylish film which I very much recommend.

...Another fantastic TCM premiere on August 30th is HOUSE OF STRANGERS (1949) from 20th Century-Fox. It's shown as part of Susan Hayward's day on the schedule. Richard Conte, Edward G. Robinson, and Debra Paget costar.

...The month comes to an end on the 31st with a day of films starring Kirk Douglas, including THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS (1946), also starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, and Lizabeth Scott.

For more on TCM in August 2019, please check out the complete schedule, the TCM microsite, and my Quick Preview of TCM in August: Summer Under the Stars. Additionally, check out TCM's promotional video.

Happy Summer Under the Stars Month!


Blogger Ashley said...

Susannah of the Mounties must be a TCM HD premiere. It was shown years ago.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Interesting! They have it labeled on the online calendar with TCM Presents which they use for premieres. Thanks for the info!

Best wishes,

9:04 PM  
Blogger Lady American said...

Hi Laura. Love the post!!! I just want to make one clarification that August 10th is not Natalie Wood day but Rita Moreno!! It is on the calender. See below:

Personally, I think there are things that might be watching during her day!!! Anyway, enjoy August!!!

4:29 AM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I am so looking forward to never seen by me High, Wide and Handsome. Thanks for the heads-up. I don't think it twigged when I glanced over the lineup.

Thrilled for Donlevy Day. Earlier this year I posted about Beau Geste and Impact one after the other. Also, Heaven Only Knows which is a quirky western-fantasy that I hope will gain some more fans.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Lady American! You were probably looking at an unrefreshed page here -- I updated the post last night with the news that TCM changed Natalie Wood to Rita Moreno after their initial draft of the schedule. Very much appreciate you making sure I knew, I like to have the most accurate info here possible!

Caftan Woman, the scene with "The Folks Who Live on the Hill" in HIGH, WIDE AND HANDSOME is one of my favorite movie memories from my teenage years. Honestly the rest of the film doesn't all hold up but it's definitely worth seeing!

I have opened up your Donlevy posts, I think I missed the one on IMPACT and will reread BEAU GESTE in honor of Donlevy Day! Thanks much for the recommendation of HEAVEN ONLY KNOWS which I've not seen. Love the cast!

Best wishes,

7:46 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older