Thursday, July 18, 2013

Coming distractions: August 2013 on TCM (Summer Under the Stars)

As we are nearing August, it is time once again for the event that fans of The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ anxiously anticipate: TCM’s thirty-one day hat doff to silver screen legends that they collectively call Summer Under the Stars.  In the past, I personally have always approached this annual wingding with unbridled ennui (like the 31 Days of Oscar, I’ve either seen most of the movies and the ones I haven’t don’t interest me much) but I’m not going to make such a big deal about it this year because…well, I’d be hard pressed to tell you the last time I tuned into Tee Cee Em.  Actually—that’s not entirely true; for reasons that are still unexplained my Mom managed to wrest the remote from Dad’s vise-like grip about a week ago and switched over to Bobby Osbo’s showing of The Reckless Moment (1949) at 8pm.  It’s one of my favorites, and Mom enjoyed it as well…as for Dad—I believe his exact words (as the end credits rolled) “Can I switch over now?”  (Adopted.  There can be no other explanation.)

So the chances of me seeing any of the SUTS content is fairly remote—but I don’t want that to rain on the parade because one of the things that makes the whole thing palatable is the news that Jill at Sittin’ On a Backyard Fence and Michael of Scribe Hard on Film will host for the second year…the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon!

(Crowd goes wild)  Here are the “deets,” as the kids say:

Pick a movie … pick a star … pick a whole day … pick five … pick ten … whatever! This is a month-long blogathon and we want to showcase as many bloggers as many times as we can. And because your picks will coincide with their respective SUTS days, you can plan as far in advance as you need to.

Whether your medium is the long form written word, stories in pictures, poetry, or video tributes, we want you to make the great Summer Under the Stars event even greater.

The process is crazy simple:

• Make your pick (did we mention you can pick as many as you want?)

• Send us an email to ( as far in advance of your pick’s SUTS day (or days!) as possible. Include your picks and the name of your blog (with the url)

• We will send you a banner to add to your blog (if you would be so kind)

• The day before your particular SUTS day (or sooner if you have it), send us the link to your post. On your SUTS day, we will add your link to our sites, as well as promote your blog via our Twitter feed and Facebook page. (While you’re at it, follow us like us!)

• Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I’ve already RSVP’d to Jill regarding Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s participation in the blogathon—I will talk about (at indeterminable length) about one of my favorite westerns, Ride the High Country (1962), on August 19, Randolph Scott Day.  (I’m anticipating things to start getting hectic here at Castle Yesteryear beginning next week, so I’ll probably have time for just the one contribution.  “Busy, busy…BUSY!” as Billy De Wolfe would say.)  In the meantime, here’s a quick rundown on who’ll be featured this August, with relevant recommendations and snark when needed.

August 1, Thursday – Bogie.  There’s a good chance I might catch a few of these, since mi madre is quite the Humphrey Bogart fan herself.  Can’t go wrong with The Maltese Falcon (1941; 9am), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948; 12:30pm), In a Lonely Place (1950; 6pm) and The Harder They Fall (1956; 4am), just to name a few.

August 2, Friday – It would have been great if the channel could have coordinated this on a Monday (hint, hint) but a slew of Doris Day movies will be on the schedule.  I know I tout this every year, but you really need to check out It’s a Great Feeling (1949) at 9:30am—the third and funniest of the Jack Carson-Dennis Morgan Crosby-Hope-like vehicles.  Also entertaining are The Glass Bottom Boat (1966; 12mid) and Love Me or Leave Me (1955; 3:45am).

August 3, Saturday – Alec Guinness.  There really isn’t a bad one in the bunch here but I highly recommend The Lavender Hill Mob (1951; 10:15am), The Ladykillers (1955; 12noon) and Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949; 12mid)

August 4, Sunday – TCM pulls out the first wild card with a tribute to character great Mary Boland—nice to see her get a dinner, as Red Buttons might say.  If you’ve nothing to do that Sunday you should pop some popcorn and settle in for some interesting turns by Mary B—my personal recommendations are Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) at 8pm and the movie many consider the first screwball comedy, Three Cornered Moon (1933) afterward.  (She’s also great in The Women [1939], which follows at 11:30pm.)

August 5, Monday – Charlton Heston.  I had the craziest dream one night where I was trapped in an elevator with Heston, whereupon I made merciless fun of the fact that he was a terrible actor.  (I kept mocking him with “Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”)  Then I softened and told him that I did like him in Will Penny (1968)—but since that’s not scheduled you really ought to consider this a free day; go outside for a walk and enjoy the fresh air.

August 6, Tuesday – It’s Joan Fontaine Day, and they’ll run two of my favorites with the Oscar-winning actress in the morning: Born to Be Bad (1950; 9:15am) and The Bigamist (1953; 11am).  Later on the schedule, the movie that Fontaine should have won the Oscar for, Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948; 10:30pm)…and if I’m up and about at that hour, The Constant Nymph (1943) at 2:15am.

August 7, Wednesday – Fred MacMurray.  Without question you should watch Double Indemnity (1944) at 10pm…but two of my favorites with the My Three Sons dad are A Millionaire for Christy (1951; 2:45am) and the classic black comedy Murder, He Says (1945; 8pm).

August 8, Thursday – Ramon Novarro.  Page at My Love of Old Hollywood has asked that we hold her calls.

August 9, Friday – It’s The King of Cool—Steve McQueen.  My favorite of his films will be shown at 10pm. The Reivers (1969)…but you might also want to check out the novelty of Soldier in the Rain (1963; 2:45am) where Steve channels his inner Gomer Pyle.  (Jackie Gleason and Tuesday Weld are also in this one, so it’s worth a looksee.)

August 10, Saturday – Lana Turner.  I might be up in time for They Won’t Forget (1937; 6am).  I’ll definitely be awake for my favorite Turner film, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) at 1pm.

August 11, Sunday – It’s Henry Fonda Time.  My chances of watching The Wrong Man (1956) at 3:15pm will be threatened because it will cut into my parents’ ballgame (they’re not playing baseball—just watching it)…and as for The Grapes of Wrath (1940) at 8pm…well, I tried to get them interested when it was on TCM On Demand a while back and got nothing but blank stares.

August 12, Monday – Another wild card in Catherine Deneuve.  I’ll bet Repulsion (1965; 7:45am) would really freak Mom out that early in the morning.  Also scheduled are two of my favorites: Tristana (1970; 10pm) and Belle du Jour (1967; 2:15am).  If you’re curious, TCM has The Hunger (1983) scheduled at 4:15am…and I can honestly say I never expected to see this one on the channel’s schedule…ever.  (Saw it on a free pass at a theater while in college.  Wow.)

August 13, Tuesday – Mickey Rooney.  You know, today would be a really nice day for a picnic…in fact, let’s make a day of it!

August 14, Wednesday – Bette Davis Day.  Not a bad movie in the bunch, and I think my BBFF Stacia will back me up on this.

August 15, Thursday – I’m not even going to ask how TCM managed to get hold of The Macomber Affair (1947; 8pm) for a Gregory Peck salute…but let me tell you this: the last time I saw this movie it was on TBS’ Morning Movie.  (I’ll pause to let that sink in.)

August 16, Friday – It’s cheating a little to want to watch Ann Blyth in Brute Force (1947; 3pm) because she’s only in it for, like, a minute.  But I definitely will watch her signature performance as the world’s worst daughter (okay, second worst) in Mildred Pierce (1945) at 8.

August 17, Saturday – I know Cultureshark’s Rick Brooks will rejoice that today has been set aside for Wallace Beery movies.  Beery’s best film is scheduled at 7:30am (1930’s The Big House) but I might make time for A Date with Judy (1948) at 6 because a) I’ve never seen it, and 2) of its old-time radio pedigree.

August 18, Sunday – Natalie Wood.  I’ll acknowledge that Natalie is splendiferous in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969; 1:30am) but I’m not as sold on it as some.  I’ll stick with Splendor in the Grass (1961; 3:45pm).

August 19, Monday – Raaaaaandollllph Scott!  Ride the High Country (1962) is on at 9:30pm, so I’ll definitely have my essay up by then (knock wood).  Also of interest, the Boetticher-Scott classics Ride Lonesome (1959; 5pm) and The Tall T (1957; 8pm).

August 20, Tuesday – Hey, hey!  A day set aside for Oscar-winning character great Hattie McDaniel.  The only movie I’d probably skip on today’s schedule is that tedious little Civil War flick which will be shown at 8pm; you can’t go wrong with any of the others but if you really want to see Hattie cut loose in singing and dancing mode (Ice Cold Katie) check out Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) at 6am.

August 21, Wednesday – William Holden.  Check out the offbeat western Wild Rovers (1971) at 3:30am, which follows The Wild Bunch (1969; 1am) (my Dad watched this one last night—and he liked it).

August 22, Thursday – In addition to Maggie Smith’s Oscar-winning performance in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969; 9:45pm), there’s a few other Mags films on the schedule worth peeping: The Pumpkin Eater (1964; 8:15pm), Nowhere to Go (1958; 8pm) and Love and Pain and the Whole Damned Thing (1973; 12mid)

August 23, Friday – A while back, I had Father of the Bride (1950; 1pm) on TCM and every time I watch that movie I can’t help but marvel at how doggone good Spencer Tracy is in that classic comedy…and this from someone who’s not a huge fan.  I just wish the channel had scheduled my favorite Liz film, A Place in the Sun (1951).

August 24, Saturday – Savannah’s own Charles Coburn.  The TCM showing of Heaven Can Wait (1943; 6pm) will no doubt interfere with local/network news so I may have to hunt for my recorded copy of this one ‘cause I’m in the mood to see it again.

August 25, Sunday – Clark Gable.  Looks like another picnic in the works.

August 26, Monday – I definitely want to see The Model and the Marriage Broker (1951) at 4:30pm…though I’ll come clean and admit it’s not just because Jeanne Crain is in it.

August 27, Tuesday – Many eons ago on the blog (okay, it was during the Shatnerthon in 2010) I made a statement that I never saw Martin Balsam give a bad performance in a movie.  Well, I need to amend that statement.  He’s in Death Wish 3: Assignment Miami Beach (1985), and he took the money and ran.  How do I know this?  My parents watch this damn movie every time it’s on AMC.  (I’m telling you, I…was…adopted.)  Stick with Seven Days in May (1964; 6pm), The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974; 10pm) and Little Big Man (1970; 1:45am)

August 28, Wednesday – Shirley Jones.  Can’t go wrong with The Music Man (1962; 8pm).

August 29, Thursday – Now we’re talkin’—Glenda Farrell!  Several of the Torchy Blane films on tap, along with I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932; 10:45pm) and The Talk of the Town (1942; 4am), among other goodies.

August 30, Friday – Kirk Douglas movies today, though most of my favorites like Out of the Past (1947; 6am) and Paths of Glory (1957; 8pm) are on various states of DVDdom around Rancho Yesteryear.  (I might check out The Hook [1963] at 3:30pm, though.)

August 31, Saturday – Finally, TCM closes out the month with a daylong tribute to Rex Harrison…and they’ve got Escape (1948) scheduled at 10:30pm, so I’ll definitely have to make time for that (I’ve not seen it).  Looks like a fun month for cinephiles, and don’t forget to stop by Jill’s or Michael’s if you want to participate in the Summer Under the Stars blogathon!

1 comment:

The Metzinger Sisters said...

Are you positively sure you're not tuning into "The Model and the Marriage Broker" because Jeanne Crain is in it? ;-) I just vowed I was not going to do any more blogathons until autumn, but this one sounds too good to pass up. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Doris Day films, Clark Gable, AND Mary Boland. Wowee kazam!!