Friday, July 30, 2021

TCM in August: Summer Under the Stars Highlights

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

For a quick overview of this month's stars, please check out my preview. The complete schedule may be found at the TCM Summer Under the Stars microsite.

As I noted in the preview, the August schedule kicks off with a day of Bette Davis films. Davis was bumped from the 2020 schedule to make way for a 24-hour tribute to Olivia de Havilland after she passed away, so it's a nice touch having her day first on the schedule this year.

As regular TCM viewers will be aware, all of TCM's usual features, including Noir Alley, Silent Sunday nights, and Saturday morning cartoons and "B" films, are suspended for the month of August. Normal programming will resume in September!

Below are just a few recommendations from a very interesting schedule. Please click on any hyperlinked movie title to read my corresponding review.

...Bette Davis Day on August 1st includes the actress as identical twins in A STOLEN LIFE (1946), costarring Glenn Ford.

...I enjoy PUSHOVER (1954), a crime film being shown as part of a day of Kim Novak films on August 3rd. She's a bank robber's girlfriend who leads a cop (Fred MacMurray) astray. Dorothy Malone and Phil Carey costar.

...August 4th is one of the most interesting days on the schedule, celebrating Louis Armstrong. He provides the entertainment in a roadhouse in the very enjoyable romantic comedy PILLOW TO POST (1945), starring Ida Lupino.

...Four Miss Marple movies starring Margaret Rutherford will be shown in prime time on Rutherford's Summer Under the Stars day on August 5th. Eddie Muller will be hosting the Marple films, which sounds like a fun evening.

...August 6th is one of those days where a classic film fan could happily stay parked in front of TCM the entire day: Robert Mitchum Day! I've seen all but two of the films, and you really can't go wrong with any of them. I'll point out a lesser-known movie I enjoyed, ONE MINUTE TO ZERO (1952), a Korean War film costarring Ann Blyth.

...August 8th is the centennial of the birth of the late Esther Williams, who was a TCM Star of the Month a decade ago. TCM celebrates her birthday with 24 hours of Williams films. I think I've seen them all, and it's another day of highly enjoyable viewing! I'll particularly point out EASY TO LOVE (1953), costarring Van Johnson and Tony Martin, with a great water-ski routine choreographed by Busby Berkeley.

...I've also seen the vast majority of Kay Francis films being shown on August 9th! Once again, it's a highly entertaining lineup. One of my favorites is the romantic comedy THE GOOSE AND THE GANDER (1935), costarring George Brent and Genevieve Tobin.

...Another marvelous day comes on August 11th with a tribute to Kathryn Grayson. Be sure to record or watch THE VANISHING VIRGINIAN (1942), which is one of her very best yet least-known films. She plays the daughter of a district attorney (Frank Morgan) in 1914 Virginia. It's wonderful MGM Americana and deserves to be much better known.

...The fine William Wyler Western THE BIG COUNTRY (1958) is showing as part of Gregory Peck Day on August 14th. Jean Simmons and Charlton Heston top a deep cast. The musical score by Jerome Moross is surely one of the greatest ever composed for films.

...August 15th is Judy Garland Day. You can't go wrong with almost any of the movies! I really enjoyed revisiting GIRL CRAZY (1943) last year. Mickey Rooney costars, and there's a Gershwin score.

...I think August 16th is one of the most interesting days on the schedule, highlighting the career of Robert Young. When I have the opportunity I like to call attention to JOURNEY FOR MARGARET (1943), a powerful film showing the impact of World War II on young British children. Margaret O'Brien and Laraine Day costar.

...Gloria Grahame Day on August 17th includes the underrated Western ROUGHSHOD (1949), costarring Robert Sterling and Claude Jarman Jr. It has beautiful location photography, filmed in the Sierras.

...Another exciting day on the schedule is August 19th, celebrating Japanese actress Setsuko Hara. Of her films which I've seen, I especially love EARLY SUMMER (1951) and highly recommend it; I've been thinking recently that I'm due for a rewatch! (August 19th Update: EARLY SUMMER is not on the current schedule; I'm not sure if it was pulled or I didn't notice its omission.)  I'll be recording two of her films which aren't in my collection, HERE'S TO THE YOUNG LADY (1949) and REPAST (1951).

...It's Van Heflin Day on August 20th! I'd like to recommend an excellent film I just reviewed, GREEN DOLPHIN STREET (1947). I think it's one of Heflin's best performances. Lana Turner costars.

...August 22nd celebrates my favorite actor, Tyrone Power. Power's films aren't shown that frequently on TCM as so many were made for 20th Century-Fox, which are more expensive for TCM to license. It's a marvelous day which includes one of my favorite films ever made, THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940), costarring Linda Darnell.

...Eve Arden Day on August 23rd presents a diverse lineup including her memorable supporting turn in STAGE DOOR (1937). It's hard to forget her since she spends much of the movie holding a cat, which is sometimes even draped around her neck! Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn top the excellent cast.

...The lineup on Maurice Chevalier Day on August 24th includes some of his wonderful Jeanette MacDonald musicals, including THE MERRY WIDOW (1934). You can't go wrong with any of their films!

...The Jane Wyman schedule on August 25th includes a Raoul Walsh Western I liked, CHEYENNE (1947), costarring Dennis Morgan and Janis Paige.

...I'm fond of the romantic comedy THE COWBOY AND THE LADY (1938). The cowboy is Gary Cooper, and the leading lady is Merle Oberon, who will have a day of films screened on August 27th.

...You can't ever go wrong with CASABLANCA (1942), which is among the Ingrid Bergman films being shown on August 29th. Like most film fans, I've seen it many times, but seeing it in nitrate in 2016 is an especially treasured memory. I wrote about it here.

...The terrific James Cagney lineup on August 30th includes the pre-Code drama TAXI! (1932), costarring Loretta Young.

...The month wraps up with Fredric March Day on August 31st. Along with his better-known films, I enjoy the romantic comedy THERE GOES MY HEART (1938), costarring Virginia Bruce.

For more on TCM in August 2021, please check out my Quick Preview of TCM in August and TCM's complete schedule.

TCM has also posted a Summer Under the Stars promotional video.

Enjoy Summer Under the Stars!


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