Friday, July 31, 2020

TCM in August: Summer Under the Stars Highlights

It's August, and that means it's time for the annual Summer Under the Stars festival on Turner Classic Movies! 

For an "at a glance" look at this month's stars, check out the preview posted here a few weeks ago, or head on over to the TCM festival microsite.

A couple notes of interest: This year's schedule includes Natalie Wood, who was bumped from last year's schedule in order to honor Rita Moreno.

The schedule includes a 24-hour tribute to the late Olivia de Havilland, who passed away last weekend.  The actress will be honored on August 23rd, replacing her good friend Bette Davis on the schedule.  I like to think that Miss Davis would approve.

As I suspect most TCM viewers are well aware, TCM's usual features, including Noir Alley, Silent Sunday Nights, and Saturday morning "B" movies and cartoons, take a vacation during August but will return in September.

Below are a few recommendations from a schedule packed with appealing titles.  Please click any hyperlinked title for my past review.

...The month kicks off with a day of Barbara Stanwyck films on August 1st.  I'm particularly fond of EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE (1948), which has a superlative cast including James Mason, Van Heflin, Cyd Charisse, Ava Gardner, Nancy Davis (Reagan), and William Conrad.

...I've enjoyed many of the Rock Hudson films showing on the 2nd, but I'd like to call attention to a film I've not yet seen which looks particularly fun: THE GOLDEN BLADE (1953), an adventure film costarring Piper Laurie.

...Rita Hayworth is a star especially dear to me, as her musicals were part of my falling in love with classic movies.  I never miss a chance to recommend one of my all-time favorite films, YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (1942), in which she costarred with Fred Astaire.  It's pure escapism, set to the music of Jerome Kern, and it's especially welcome viewing this particular year.  Rita's day is August 3rd.

...The days featuring character actors are always a good opportunity to show an interesting cross-section of films.  S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall will be featured on August 4th, and I particularly recommend EMBRACEABLE YOU (1948), which is shown on TCM relatively infrequently.  Dane Clark and Geraldine Brooks star, and there's a nice supporting role for Lina Romay, who sings with Xavier Cugat's orchestra in YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER the preceding day.

...One of my favorite days on the schedule is August 5th, celebrating Ann Miller.  There are some wonderful musicals being shown that day, and I'm looking forward to REVEILLE WITH BEVERLY (1943), which I've been meaning to catch up with for years now.

...I'm delighted that TCM is showing the wonderful romantic comedy THIRTY DAY PRINCESS (1934) as part of an August 7th tribute to Sylvia Sidney.  This film, which is something of a forerunner to PRINCESS O'ROURKE (1943) and ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953), also stars Cary Grant.

...Norma Shearer Day on August 10th includes the classic pre-Code melodrama THE DIVORCEE (1930), costarring Chester Morris and Robert Montgomery.

...Lana Turner is celebrated on August 12th.  I'd like to recommend one of her lesser-known films, LATIN LOVERS (1953), because it's such fun, colorful escapism.  Ricardo Montalban and John Lund costar, along with some spectacular set designs and gowns designed by Helen Rose.

...THE HONEYMOON MACHINE (1961) is an amusing romantic comedy being shown as part of Steve McQueen's August 14th day on the schedule.  Paula Prentiss and Jim Hutton costar.

...August 15th is one of my favorite days on the schedule, honoring Nina Foch.  Her roles weren't always large, but she made the most of them, notably in EXECUTIVE SUITE (1954), for which she nabbed a Best Supporting Actress nomination.  One of her best roles came in the short but quite memorable thriller MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945).

...As he does many years, fan favorite Cary Grant has a day on the schedule, on August 16th.  The lineup is terrific; I'd particularly like to point out a lesser-known Grant film, CRISIS (1950), in which he plays a brain surgeon whose services are demanded by a dictator (Jose Ferrer) with a brain tumor.

...Maureen O'Hara is the honoree on August 17th.  I've enjoyed most of the films on the schedule, and a relatively unsung film of interest that day is THE FALLEN SPARROW (1943), which costars John Garfield, Patricia Morison, and Martha O'Driscoll.

...The wonderful August 20th schedule celebrating William Powell includes one of my all-time favorite comedies, LIBELED LADY (1936), also starring Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, and Spencer Tracy.

...I love the day of Diana Dors films on August 21st!  MAN BAIT (1952) is a fun film starring George Brent and Marguerite Chapman which I included in a past list of enjoyable Lesser-Known Westerns and Noir films.  I also want to mention her film with Victor Mature, THE LONG HAUL (1957), which I saw at this year's Noir City Film Festival -- and as a matter of fact, that was the last film I saw in a theater this year.

...Natalie Wood's day on August 22nd includes one of my favorites from her "adult" performances, LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER (1963), costarring Steve McQueen.

...There are many wonderful films being shown as part of the Olivia de Havilland tribute on August 23rd, including PRINCESS O'ROURKE, mentioned previously in this post; it's an underrated, charming romantic comedy costarring Robert Cummings, Jack Carson, and Jane Wyman.  I'd also like to particularly mention one of my more recent discoveries from her filmography, LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA (1962), in which her mentally challenged daughter (Yvette Mimieux) finds love with a young man (George Hamilton) as they vacation in Italy.

...NOCTURNE (1946) is an engaging whodunit starring George Raft and Lynn Bari, with a good script and L.A. locations.  It was produced by Joan Harrison, subject of the recent biography PHANTOM LADY: HOLLYWOOD PRODUCER JOAN HARRISON, THE WOMAN BEHIND HITCHCOCK by Christina Lane.  It will be shown as part of George Raft's day on August 24th.

...August 25th is one of my favorite days on the schedule, honoring actress Anne Shirley.  I would happily watch the entire schedule!  Two films I particularly enjoy are SORORITY HOUSE (1939) and UNEXPECTED UNCLE (1941).

...August 27th is another favorite day, filled with the films of Claudette Colbert.  I'd call it a "stay home from work and watch movies all day" day, except so many of us are already at home this year!  WITHOUT RESERVATIONS (1946) is an underrated romantic comedy with John Wayne, but you really can't go wrong with anything on the schedule.

...I haven't seen THE CONSPIRATORS (1944) in a decade.  It's being shown on Paul Henreid's day on August 28th.  He stars in this stylish film with Hedy Lamarr, Sydney Greenstreet, and Joseph Calleia.

...Eva Marie Saint turned 96 on Independence Day!  I feel fortunate to have seen her in person on multiple occasions.  She'll be honored by TCM on August 29th with a lineup that includes ON THE WATERFRONT (1954).

...Charlton Heston Day on August 30th includes the highly diverting SKYJACKED (1972).  It's great fun, with a terrific supporting cast including Yvette Mimieux, Jeanne Crain, and Walter Pidgeon.  Some of the onscreen behavior, including Heston smoking a pipe while piloting the plane during takeoff, is fascinating from the perspective of nearly half a century later.

For more on TCM in August 2020, please check out the complete schedule, the TCM Summer Under the Stars site, and my Quick Preview of TCM in August: Summer Under the Stars

TCM's promotional video for August is here, and a Twitter thread of TCM employee recommendations for the month starts here.
Happy Summer Under the Stars Month!


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I am disappointed that I Cover the Waterfront and Remember the Day were not scheduled for the Claudette Colbert salute. After all, Parrish gets a regular outing on the network.

I'm looking forward to The Golden Blade. Thanks for pointing out Man Bait and The Conspirators. I'd be kicking myself if I missed them.

Thirty Day Princess looks charming. I would like to put in my prime recommendation on Sylvia Sidney Day. You and Me is not to be missed:

4:28 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Many thanks for the recommendation of YOU AND ME, Caftan Woman! I haven't seen it yet and really enjoyed your review. Checking my inventory, I see I've had it on my shelf in a TCM Crime collection and have watched every film in the set but that one!

I think you'd like THIRTY DAY PRINCESS!

It would definitely be nice to have some less frequently seen titles pop up. REMEMBER THE DAY has been on Fox Movie Channel in the past but that's another I need to see for the first time.

Thanks, as always, for your thoughts!

Best wishes,

9:39 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

REVEILLE WITH BEVERLY was a hit with me long before I ever saw it. Johnny Carson told the story a couple of times about his navy career during World War II when that Ann Miller movie was the only film aboard his ship for a long long time. He said he saw the movie day after day after day till he had it memorized.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's wonderful, Rick! I recorded BEVERLY today and hope to see it very soon. The cast list is something else!!

Best wishes,

4:52 PM  
Blogger dfordoom said...

...NOCTURNE (1946) is an engaging whodunit starring George Raft and Lynn Bari, with a good script and L.A. locations.

I'm a huge George Raft fan and Nocturne is one of his best.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for adding your endorsement! I really enjoyed that one.

Best wishes,

11:38 PM  

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