Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Different Star Every Day in August...

Every year in August, Turner Classic Movies presents its popular month-long salute to 31 stars, each honored with a full 24 hours devoted exclusively to their films. August 2012 marks the movie channel’s 10th annual Summer Under the Stars celebration and among those being showcased for the first time this year are Marilyn Monroe, Tyrone Power, Anthony Quinn, Eva Marie Saint, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Kay Francis and Warren William.

In addition, Jill of Sittin' on a Backyard Fence and Michael of ScribeHard on Film  will be celebrating with a month-long blogathon to complement TCM's August event. Click here for more information...and check back here on August 4...

And now, a glimpse, with a little commentary, of what this year's Summer Under the Stars has in store. 

Aug. 1 - John Wayne - Three iconic Ford Westerns, Stagecoach (1939), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and The Searchers (1956); two great Hawks Westerns, Red River (1948) and Rio Bravo (1959) - plus  seven more.

Aug. 2 - Myrna Loy - 14 of Loy's films will be presented including several from the Pre-Code era as well as some of her best known films - like The Thin Man (1934), Libeled Lady (1936), Wife vs. Secretary (1936) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).

Aug. 3 - Johnny Weissmuller - TCM's first nod to this Summer Under the Stars honoree will spotlight 13 Tarzan adventures and three Jungle Jim features. 

Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder's The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Aug. 4 - Marilyn Monroe - She received credit in only 26 films and had only bit parts in several of them. TCM will air 12 of her best-know films, including every film she made from 1953 forward except her last (1961's The Misfits).

Aug. 5 - Claude Rains will be honored with 13 films, from 1933's The Invisible Man to his final film, Twilight of Honor from 1963. Included is the “four” series: Four Daughters (1938), Four Wives (1939) and Four Mothers (1941).

Aug. 6 - Van Heflin is being recognized for the first time with 13 films including Act of Violence (1949), Battle Cry (1955) and 3:10 to Yuma (1957).

Aug. 7 - Sidney Poitier - A twenty year span of Poitier's career will be covered, from 1952 (Cry the Beloved Country) to 1972 (Buck and the Preacher, also directed by Poitier), with 12 films.

Aug. 8 - Rita Hayworth - Cary Grant called her "Judy" in Only Angels have Wings (1939), but everyone remembers her as Gilda (1946). These are just two of the 13 Hayworth films scheduled on her day.

Aug. 9 - Toshiro Mifune, one of Japan's preeminent actors, receives his first nod from TCM with six of his best-known Kurosawa films. Also featured Samuarai I (1955), II (1955) and III (1956) from Hiroshi Inagaki, Samurai Rebellion (1967) and Inagaki's Muhomatsu, The Rickshaw Man (1958).

Aug. 10 - Lionel Barrymore - 14 films will commemorate Barrymore, from the silent West of Zanzibar (1928) with Lon Chaney, to one of his very last onscreen appearances: Lone Star in 1953 with Clark Gable and Ava Gardner.

James Mason as Field Marshall Rommell in The Desert Fox (1951)
Aug. 11 - James Mason, the handsome actor with the incomparable voice, will be honored with 10 films, among them The Desert Fox (1951), A Star is Born (1954), Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), Kubrick's Lolita (1962) and Lord Jim (1965). If only 5 Fingers (1952) was part of the schedule!

Aug. 12 - Ginger Rogers - Four of her films with Astaire - Swing Time (1936), Shall We Dance? (1937), Carefree (1938) and The Barkleys of Broadway (1949) - are among the 13 films that will celebrate her career.

Aug. 13 - Deborah Kerr will be honored with 12 films, including her own favorite among them, Jack Clayton's The Innocents (1961), and one of Powell and Pressburger's (The Archers) legendary masterpieces, Black Narcissus (1947).

Joan Blondell and James Cagney in Footlight Parade (1933)
Aug. 14 - James Cagney - 13 Cagney films, from Pre-Code Hollywood to his late career, plus the 1992 documentary James Cagney: Top of the World, hosted by Michael J. Fox.

Aug. 15 - Lillian Gish - This is Gish's first year as a Summer Under the Stars honoree. D.W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916) will be featured as well as his Broken Blossoms (1919) and Orphans of the Storm (1921). 12 films in all, including two from Victor Sjostrom, The Scarlet Letter (1926) and The Wind (1928), plus Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955) and The Comedians (1967), with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Aug. 16 - Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock (1957) and Elvis on Tour (1972) are the highlights. 12 more are also on the schedule.

Aug. 17 - Katharine Hepburn - Four films co-starring Spencer Tracy are on tap - Woman of the Year (1942), Adam's Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952) and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) - plus the ever-popular Bringing Up Baby (1938) and seven others.

Aug. 18 - Freddie Bartholomew - This is the one-time child star's first turn on Summer Under the Stars. His signature pictures - David Copperfield (1935), Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936), Captains Courageous (1937) and Kidnapped (1938) - are among his 13 films set to air.

Aug. 19 - Eva Marie Saint is also in the August spotlight for the first time. 10 films, including North by Northwest (1959) will be shown, along with the documentary, Destination Hitchcock: The Making of North by Northwest (2000), which she hosted. Also screening: On the Waterfront (1954), A Hatful of Rain (1957) and All Fall Down (1962).

Aug. 20 - Anthony Quinn - Another SUTS first-timer, Quinn will be honored with 11 films, including The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), Lust for Life (1956), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) and Zorba the Greek (1964).

William Powell and Kay Francis in One Way Passage (1932)
Aug. 21 - Kay Francis, the one-time Warner Bros. leading lady is yet another first-time SUTS honoree. 17 Francis films are on the bill and the majority are Pre-Code, including two with William Powell, Jewel Robbery and One Way Passage, both from 1932.

Aug. 22 - Jack Lemmon - 11 of his dozens of films will be shown, beginning with the delightful Phffft! (1954) co-starring Judy Holliday and ending with the last film Billy Wilder directed, Buddy, Buddy (1981) with Walter Matthau. Two of his best, The Apartment (1960) and Days of Wine and Roses (1962) are part of the mix. 

Aug. 23 - Gene Kelly is being honored on his centenary this year. In conjunction with that anniversary, the Classic Movie Blog Association is sponsoring a blogathon in his honor...I’ll be blogging on one of his lesser films, the Marilyn Monroe vehicle (see August 4) Let’s Make Love (1960), in which he made a cameo, but other bloggers will take a look at many of the films TCM will screen on the 23rd, including: An American in Paris (1951), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), On the Town (1949), Invitation to the Dance (1956)

Aug. 24 - Irene Dunne - 13 of Dunne's films, from the obscure to her best known and loved, will screen - including my all-time favorite screwball, The Awful Truth (1937).

Tyrone Power in Jesse James (1939)
Aug. 25 - Tyrone Power - Was he the handsomest man ever to grace the silver screen? I thought so the first time I saw his dark, striking face. Robert Osborne has written that Power was often described as “illegally handsome” and TCM will feature some of the films in which he stopped my young heart: Jesse James (1939), Johnny Apollo (1940) and A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941). All that’s missing from this handsome-a-thon are The Rains Came (1939), Blood and Sand (1941) and one or two others. TCM will also present some of the films in which Tyrone Power was given the opportunity to display his ability as an actor: The Razor’s Edge (1946) and Witness for the Prosecution (1957).

Aug. 26 - Gary Cooper - 11 films and one documentary will honor the actor on his day. One of the two films for which he won a Best Actor Oscar, Sergeant York (1941), will be shown, as well as one for which he was nominated, The Pride of the Yankees (1942). And there's even one I'd never heard of, One Sunday Afternoon (1933) with Fay Wray...

Aug. 27 - Jeanette MacDonald is best known for her partnership with Nelson Eddy, and seven of their films are among the 12 of hers set to air. Also on the schedule: Ernst Lubitsch's The Merry Widow (1934), San Francisco (1936) with Clark Gable and Smilin' Through (1941) with Gene Raymond.

Aug. 28 - Ava Gardner is one of very few who qualify as a true “Film Goddess.” She will be featured in pictures from her early days in Hollywood - Hitler’s Madman (1943) and Maisie Goes to Reno (1944) - along with some of her most interesting films – Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) and Seven Days in May (1964) – and the one containing her best performance - The Night of the Iguana (1964). Also interesting is The Bribe (1949), a glossy MGM noir. One I haven’t seen and will be recording is My Forbidden Past (1951) with Melvyn Douglas and Robert Mitchum.

Aug. 29 - Ingrid Bergman - An interesting mix of Ingrid's films this year -  Hitchcock's misfire, Under Capricorn (1949) is followed by the two films she made next with future husband Roberto Rossellini, Stromboli (1950) and Europa '51 (1952). Also, Ingmar Bergman's Autumn Sonata (1978). Of course, Gaslight (1944) and Casablanca (1942) are among the 12 Bergman films on the bill.

Loretta Young and Warren William in Employee's Entrance (1933)
Aug. 30 - Warren William - Cliff Aliperti of must be in seventh heaven! Some of William’s best known pictures will screen - Skyscraper Souls (1932), Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Lady for a Day (1933) and Cleopatra (1934) - along with many less known. Thursday, Aug. 30, will be a day to find out a whole lot more about the film work of "Pre-Code cad" Warren William. Click here for Cliff Aliperti's SUTS preview at his Immortal Ephemera website.

Aug. 31 - James Caan receives his first SUTS nod this year. Missing is the film that made him a star, The Godfather (1972), but Michael Mann's debut film, Thief (1981), is well worth watching. Also among the 12 Caan films on the schedule is The Rain People (1969), the last film Francis Coppola made before The Godfather; it co-stars Robert Duvall.


  1. I'm glad to see that TCM is including James Caan - especially that they are featuring "Thief", which has my favorite performance by this fine actor. I loved that film when it first came out and just recently watched it once again after seeing Ryan Gosling in "Drive", which had a "Thief" influence written all over it (not half the film, though, in my opinion). After 30 years "Thief" more than holds up. A good and a surprisingly edgy choice on the part of TCM.

    1. MCB - Aside from "The Godfather," "Thief" is my favorite film of James Caan's. Would have been nice if "Misery" were part of the TCM tribute, it was his "comeback" and one of his best known films.

  2. I can not wait! It is my favorite time of year on TCM...

    1. Dawn - It's always interesting to see who will be honored for the first time. Last year I especially enjoyed the Jean Gabin and Conrad Veidt tributes.

  3. I love this idea for a blogathon. Can't wait to read the entries. This is going to be terrific!

    1. SS - Jill and Michael have come up with a great way to take part in one of TCM's most popular month-long events. I imagine by the time "31 Days of Oscar" returns to TCM next Feb., there may be another blogathon in the works...

  4. They have a great lineup this year, then again, they have a great lineup every year. The James Caan day is a pleasant surprise. THIEF is execellent. THE RAIN PEOPLE is worth seeing. I agree about MISERY not being included. CINDERELLA LIBERTY and THE GAMBLER are also very good abd should have been included.

    1. John - I know it wasn't a theatrical release, but I wouldn't mind if "Brian's Song" were shown, too - that was my introduction to James Caan - and Billy Dee Williams. Yes, "Thief" is superb & deserves more appreciation.

  5. Seventh Heaven indeed, it's about as good a Warren William schedule as can be put together, especially considering that TCM already aired his earliest pre-code work last December 2 on his birthday. The August 30 marathon kicks in when he achieved stardom with "The Mouthpiece" and includes several of his most classic pre-code performances. Plus they throw in a couple of his biggest early 30's titles and a few of his detectives. I can't imagine a better way to introduce Warren to audiences than this schedule!

    PS: Also looking forward to Kay Francis and Freddie Bartholomew here!

    1. Cliff - SUTS is something of a "voyage of discovery" each year because of the new honorees - there are always films I haven't seen and stars whose films I'm less familiar with. I'll be watching and recording on Warren William's day. Will you be throwing a party?

  6. Looks like the DVR is going to be working overtime in August ...
    This is going to be great !!!

    1. Dave - It's a month in which our DVRs will runneth over...

  7. Thanks so much for the shout-out, Eve. Can't wait to read your piece on MM.


    1. Hi Jill - Looking forward to SUTS and the SUTS blogathon. Working hard to finish my piece on time...

  8. "If only 5 Fingers (1952) was part of the schedule!" - the most accurate statement posted on the Internet in the last week. A marvelous film.

    1. Kevin - Well, thank you! I thought Robert Osborne's reference to Tyrone Power as "illegally handsome" was the best description ever of the actor's looks...

  9. Eve, TWILIGHT OF HONOR (on Claude Rains day) is one of those pictures I've always wanted to see and never have. I'm looking forward to it. Nice preview of this starry month!

    1. Rick - I haven't seen "Twilight of Honor" either - just the clips that are part of the TCM featurette in which Richard Chamberlain talks about Claude Rains and working with him. A full day of Claude Rains - what a treat...