Sunday, July 31, 2022

TCM in August: Summer Under the Stars Highlights

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

Please check out my festival preview for a quick glance at the stars to be honored this month. The complete schedule is at TCM's Summer Under the Stars microsite.

As regular TCM viewers will be aware, August is one of two months of the year, along with Oscars month, when all of TCM's regular franchises take a vacation. Noir Alley, Silent Sunday Nights, and Saturday morning cartoons, serials, and "B" movies will resume in September.

Below are a handful of recommendations from an outstanding lineup. Please click on any hyperlinked title to read a complete review.

...Summer Under the Stars kicks off on August 1st with Elvis Presley, and my top Elvis recommendation is always the summery VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964). Ann-Margret, seen here, is delightful in a costarring role. An upbeat way to start the month!

...Jean Arthur, a huge favorite for many of us, has a full day of films on August 2nd. There are many wonderful titles, but I'll highlight THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES (1941), costarring Robert Cummings and Charles Coburn, which I don't think it shown on TCM very frequently.

...It's been a long time since I've seen BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1955) but I vividly recall "Rock Around the Clock" on the soundtrack. It's airing on Sidney Poitier Day August 3rd. Glenn Ford also stars.

...August 4th will be the first time Ruth Roman has been celebrating during Summer Under the Stars. I've enjoyed several of the 14 films showing. I particularly recommend TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY (1951), a "couple on the run" film costarring Steve Cochran.

...I've been meaning to watch THE UNFORGIVEN (1960) for quite a while. What a cast: Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, Lillian Gish, Charles Bickford, Doug McClure -- and Audrey Hepburn, who will be celebrated on August 6th, It was directed by John Huston.

...It's Gene Kelly Day on August 7th. I've seen every single one of the films showing that day! It's hard to pick favorites to recommend, but two of my all-time faves are SUMMER STOCK (1950) with Judy Garland and BRIGADOON (1954) with Cyd Charisse.

...Maureen O'Sullivan is another actress making her Summer Under the Stars debut with a 14-film day. I've seen about two-thirds of the films shown; although perhaps it's not the best part for her, cast as Ray Milland's perennially disappointed wife, my favorite of the day is THE BIG CLOCK (1948) which I've seen several times. I feel as though the more I see it, the more I get out of it, the mark of a really great film. O'Sullivan's day is August 8th.

...The gem on William Holden Day August 9th is DEAR RUTH (1947), a very funny romantic comedy shown infrequently on TCM. SoldierHolden shows up to meet his penpal Ruth (Joan Caulfield), whose letters were actually written by her little sister Miriam (Mona Freeman, in a very funny deadpan performance).

...I've seen all but one of the films on Jane Powell Day August 12th, and it's one of my favorite days on the schedule. It's a great day to take off work and watch the whole lineup, but I'll particularly recommend A DATE WITH JUDY (1948), one of the first films I reached for when California locked down in 2020. "Comfort movie viewing" at its very finest. Elizabeth Taylor leads a fine cast of costars.

...Elizabeth Taylor will be celebrated on August 14th. I've been meaning to revisit CYNTHIA (1947) for quite a while. It was on TV often when I was growing up and I always enjoyed it. Maybe not the world's greatest storyline, with Taylor playing a sickly girl trying to achieve some independence from her hovering parents (Mary Astor and George Murphy), yet it's quite entertaining.

...On August 15th it's time for some Randolph Scott Westerns! Lots of good ones, including one of my all-time favorite films, RIDE LONESOME (1959). Last year I wrote about visiting one of the movie's Alabama Hills locations for Classic Movie Hub.

...Spencer Tracy's films will be shown on August 17th. I recommend THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO (1944), with Tracy as Lt. Col. James Doolittle. The superb cast includes Van Johnson, Robert Walker, Robert Mitchum, Don DeFore, and many more.

...MEET DANNY WILSON (1951) is a Frank Sinatra film which has yet to have a U.S. DVD or Blu-ray release. (In the meantime, I'm hanging on to my VHS copy!) It's on as part of Shelley Winters Day on August 18th.

...The outstanding police procedural HIGH AND LOW (1963) will be among the Toshiro Mifune films shown on August 19th. Akira Kurosawa directed.

...The "must" Joan Crawford film on August 20th is QUEEN BEE (1955), which was shown at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival. Home viewers won't be able to replicate the gasps of a packed audience, but it's a great deal of melodramatic fun. Barry Sullivan and John Ireland lead a top supporting cast.

...A whopping 15 films starring Constance Bennett will be shown on August 22nd. It's a terrific lineup with many entertaining films. I'd like to call attention to the relatively little-known SMART WOMAN (1948), with Bennett playing a successful trial attorney. ; Brian Aherne and Barry Sullivan costar, and there's a fun turn by Michael O'Shea as Bennett's reporter pal who loves to drop by her place to eat.  Aherne and Bennett were teamed a decade before in the delightful comedy MERRILY WE LIVE (1938) which is also being shown that day.

...I revisited NATIONAL VELVET (1944) this spring for the first time in years and was extremely impressed by it. Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor lead a fine cast, directed by Clarence Brown. It's part of Mickey Rooney Day on August 23rd.

...I love that Gilbert Roland has a Summer Under the Stars Day! Such a handsome and charismatic actor. His day on August 24th includes UNDERWATER! (1955), with Roland looking mighty fine in the film's many boat and diving scenes. Jane Russell, Richard Egan, and Lori Nelson costar.

...HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE (1953), with Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, and Lauren Bacall as three women looking for rich husbands, is delightful fun. The men in their lives are played by Rory Calhoun, David Wayne, Cameron Mitchell, and William Powell. It's part of a day of Monroe's films on August 27th.

...You can't go wrong with Cary Grant Day on August 28th! I've seen them all, and it's a great day of entertainment. I'll particularly single out a title here which I wish I'd been able to work into my schedule at this year's TCM Fest, HOUSEBOAT (1958), costarring Sophia Loren and Martha Hyer.  I have a lot of fond memories of this film, another one which aired on TV frequently when I was young.

...The very next day, August 29th, is Myrna Loy Day. I especially recommend PENTHOUSE (1933) a terrific film which was a breakthrough for Loy, reportedly inspiring her casting as Nora in THE THIN MAN (1934). It was directed by THIN MAN director W.S. Van Dyke. Warner Baxter also stars.

...Many more wonderful films air on Jack Carson Day, August 30th. I especially love THE TIME, THE PLACE AND THE GIRL (1946) costarring Dennis Morgan, Martha Vickers, and Janis Paige. It also features the absolutely lovely song "Oh, But I Do." Guaranteed smiles with this one.

Enjoy a wonderful month of Summer Under the Stars movies! Here's a link for TCM's promotional video.

For more on TCM in August 2022, please check out my Quick Preview of TCM in August or TCM's complete online schedule.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate the cary grant line up. I would of picked better movies, even pre-code, topper, the howards of virginia, mr.lucky, the talk of the town, gung din, notorious, father goose, arsenic and old lace.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up on all these great showings in August Laura. I’ll have to check and see if ‘The Walking Hills’ is part of the line up on Randolph Scott day. One of my new favorite films of his, which you’ve done some fine writing about.

4:11 PM  

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