It’s time for your weekly dose of what to watch in the summertime, my Summertime Movietime Picks. All of these can be found on Turner Classic Movies or you can Netflix them if you don’t have TCM.
We begin on June 15 at 5 PM EASTERN and we have the great comedy It Happened One Night starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. In this film Colbert is an heiress who basically wants to escape her life and Gable is reporter who stumbles across her and sees a great story as they travel across the country. I am generally not a rom-com type guy, but this is a funny movie. It is number 35 on the AFI top 100 movies list.
Now we come to June 16 at 8 PM Eastern as a part of TCM’s Essentials series, Harvey starring James Stewart. This is a hard movie to explain. Jimmy Stewart is a wealthy man who loves spending time with his friend Harvey, who happens to be a six foot rabbit. This movie is weird and great. For the first half hour or so, you have no idea exactly what the deal is, but stick with it and you will have an all time favorite on your hands. Just ask merlin.
On June 17 at 10 PM Eastern we have a movie called The Kentuckian directed by and starring Burt Lancaster. Now I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge Burt Lancaster fan, except for his performances in The Killers and Brute Force, but parts of this movie was filmed in Ohio County and the majority of it was filmed in Owensboro, Kentucky and Rockport, Indiana. And for those of you who do not know, that is pretty much hometown USA for the Gunrunners. My Dad says that there are pictures of Mr. Lancaster walking down Main Street in Beaver Dam. I have never seen this movie so I don’t know if it is any good, but for those still living here and those who used to live here, it ought to be interesting to see what the area looked like in 1950. By the way, co-starring in this movie is a young Walter Matthau and yes, this is his movie debut.
On June 18 we begin fright night on TCM starting at 8 PM Eastern with The Uninvited. This movie stars the great Ray Milland and is a story about a brother and sister who buy a house with a ghostly secret. I must say that for a film made in 1944 I thought it was very, very creepy. There are ghostly weeping and moaning, Ouija boards, bumps in the night, and disembodied voices. This is a great scary movie. Turn out all the lights and turn up the sound and get creeped out.
Speaking of getting creeped out on June 19 at 1:30 AM Eastern you can check out The Haunting. This movie was remade and it sucked, but the original is creepy and has an undercurrent of lesbianism deftly placed throughout. The movie is about a team of investigators that moves into a house to see why it seems to destroy all who live there. Just like with The Uninvited, lights out, sound up and you will get a good creeping.
Skipping ahead to June 21 at 2:30 AM Eastern you can check out the original movie version of The Producers. It stars Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder as a Broadway producer who enlists an accountant into a scheme to create the biggest flop of his career. This was written and directed by Mel Brooks and is a very funny movie. Gene Wilder is amazing and Zero Mostel is the epitome of sliminess. A must see for Brooks fans and comedy fans in general.
Also on June 21 at 10 AM Eastern we have a movie called The Outlaw. This movie is about Billie the Kid and Doc Holliday but none of that matters. This movie was made simply to show off Jane Russell and her two big amazing…well, you will understand when you see it. Russell is amazingly beautiful and sexy in this film and she is the only reason to watch. This movie was produced and directed by Howard Hughes, you know, the crazy millionaire guy who looked like Leo DiCaprio. Another reason to see this film is that Hughes had all kinds of fights with censor boards over the overtly sexual content of the film. You can see a hilarious recreation of some of those battles in the great movie The Aviator. This movie may seem tame by today’s standards but in 1943 I think I can see why there would have been a problem.
Finally we have Adam’s Rib starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn on June 21 at 12 PM Eastern. If you have never seen a Tracy and Hepburn movie, then this one is the one to see. It is about husband-and-wife lawyers who take opposite sides in a women's rights case. It is funny and infuriating and just great. You can see the chemistry between these two and they look so natural together. Their chemistry wasn’t too hard to achieve considering they had a decades long affair while Tracy was married. A must see.
So there you go another week, another great slate of films to check out. You can also check out the new AFI special on the 100 greatest American movies on Wednesday June 20 at 8 PM Eastern on CBS. You can see clips from every top movie and hear stars talk about what these films mean to them. It is hosted by Morgan Freeman. It should be interesting to see how the list has or has not changed in ten years. Until next week, keep your hands in the popcorn and your feet stuck to the floor.