I seem to have taken a break with my Summertime Movietime Picks, frankly because I forgot to do it last week, but I am back. And on Turner Classic Movies we are into one of my favorite things they do every year, Summer Under the Stars. Each day TCM takes a star and for 24 hours they run nothing but that star's movies. Now you will get some bad mixed in with the good, but if there is a certain star you love, then you will get 24 hours to enjoy them. So let’s snort it!
On Friday August 3rd it is Joan Crawford day and I am not a huge fan of hers, so I will skip ahead to Saturday the 4th which is William Holden day. There are plenty of great Holden movies for you to check out. If you have never seen the great Stalag 17, you have another chance at 5:45 PM EASTERN. This is a must see and if it weren’t for The Great Escape it would be the best German Prison Camp movie ever. Then at 8 PM EASTERN you can check out The Bridge On the River Kwai. This is another war movie that also stars Alec Guinness as an English commander of a captured command who is made to build a bridge for the enemy on the river Kwai. Holden is also prisoner who…well, you can see that for yourself.
On Sunday August 5th we have James Stewart day and you can watch any movie that is offered and you will enjoy it and be entertained. Stewart is one of the all time greats. If you want a couple of picks then watch The Shop Around the Corner at 8 AM EASTERN. This movie is a rom-com that is about secret pen pals who love each other, but don’t know they are co workers. It was later remade into You’ve Got Mail, but not even close to the original. Then at 8 PM EASTERN you can watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. This is the classic Stewart as naïve but smart character who in this movie becomes a replacement senator and finds himself battling corruption. This movie gives you hope that there are some in Washington who are actually fighting for the people and not themselves.
On Monday August 6 it is Robert Mitchum day. Mitchum is the quintessential hard arse and is no less in one of the great film noirs, Out of the Past at 11:45 AM EASTERN. Mitchum plays a private eye who is hired by old pal Kirk Douglas to find a woman with whom they are both very familiar. Twists and turns abound in this dark classic. Then at 11:30 PM EASTERN you can see El Dorado also starring John Wayne and a young James Caan. This movie interlaces great humor with good Western action.
On Tuesday August 7 it is Jane Russell day and if you know one thing about Ms. Russell, then you know two things about her. Jane Russell is just hot, hot hot, and the movie you need to see is called The Outlaw at 8 PM EASTERN. This film was directed by the crazy Howard Hughes and it caused a huge controversy and was banned for a time because of Russell's cleavage. If you have seen The Aviator you might remember a scene in which Hughes is trying to convince the ratings board that Russell’s cleavage is no greater than other starlets in other movies. Not a great film but it has Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday and Russell’s cleavage. Yum! Also at 12:30 AM EASTERN you can check out a B movie classic The Born Losers. This movie was banned in countries for violence and is a movie that makes rape victims unsympathetic. It is weird and not to be missed and Billy Jack will kick you in the face.
On August 8 we have Dana Andrews day and at 8 PM EASTERN you can watch a movie I haven’t seen myself called The Best Years of Our Lives. This movie is number 37 on both AFI 100 Films list. This movie deals with returning servicemen form WWII who come home and adjust to life after the war. Also at 4:15 AM EASTERN there is a B movie called Hot Rods to Hell that I haven’t seen but will check out because the title sounds awesome.
On August 9 it is Myrna Loy day and you have to check out The Thin Man at 9:30 AM EASTERN. This movie is so smart and charming it will make you sick when you think about movies that are made today. This movie is about a husband and wife team who investigate the disappearance of an inventor. William Powell is the husband and Myrna Loy is the wife and they are hilarious and drunk throughout. They made about 1000 Thin Man movies and they are shown throughout the day and I plan on watching two or three of them that I haven’t seen. If you are a James Stewart fan check out After the Thin Man at 11:15 AM and get a very young Stewart in a smart and funny film.
On August 10 we have Vincent Price day and if you know Vincent Price you know that his movies were generally horror movies and usually low budget horror movies. I have seen a few Price movies and one of my favorites is The Last Man on Earth. In this movie, Price is the last man on earth, or so he thinks. This movie is being remade with Will Smith in Price’s role and is being called I Am Legend. At 2:30 AM you can watch The Abominable Dr. Phibes and this movie is about a madman, Price of course, who uses the plagues of ancient Egypt to avenge his wife’s death. This is low budget but very inventive and Price is great as a madman, as per usual.
There you go, that ought to hold you. Those are some great stars to watch and some great ones to get into if you have never seen some of their movies. So until next time, keep your hand in the popcorn and your feet on the ground.