Thursday, July 17, 2014

2014 TCM Summer Under the Stars

August is my favorite month of the year. Not only is it still summer here, often times less hot and humid than July, but it’s also that special time when TCM airs their best programming: Summer Under the Stars. They clear their schedule to do day-long tributes to 31 different classic movie stars while TCM fans rejoice! It’s a wonderful way to find a new actor or actress to enjoy, to relish the familiar favorites of a beloved star and to delve into a star’s career. I’m hardly ever disappointed with TCM’s line-ups for Summer Under the Stars and I even will take vacation time during certain parts of August so I can be at home to watch some of the programming!

Here’s what TCM has to say about this year’s Summer Under the Stars

“Turner Classic Movies' (TCM) enormously popular Summer Under the Stars is coming back for its 12th year as the network dedicates each day in August to saluting a different film star. This year, 14 stars will receive their first Summer Under the Stars salutes, including such favorites as Paul Muni (Aug. 6), William Powell (Aug. 9), Faye Dunaway (Aug. 15) and Betty Grable (Aug. 30). They will join such returning favorites as Jane Fonda (Aug. 1), Judy Garland (Aug. 4), Barbara Stanwyck (Aug. 5), James Stewart (Aug. 7), Charles Chaplin (Aug. 14), Claudette Colbert (Aug. 18), Ernest Borgnine (Aug. 23) and Alan Ladd (Aug. 31). TCM's 2014 edition of Summer Under the Stars will include 20 TCM premieres, including the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Jane Fonda on Aug. 1 and How Chaplin Became the Tramp (2014), a new documentary in honor of the 100th anniversary of the "Little Tramp" on film, on Aug. 14. Summer Under the Stars not only includes some of the best-known films by each star, but also some stellar performances from movies that haven’t been easily accessible in recent times, have enjoyed a change in critical evaluation since their original release, or might simply benefit from closer viewing.

Additional newcomers on the Summer Under the Stars lineup include Europe’s eternal femme fatale Jeanne Moreau (Aug. 8); Hitchcock’s rugged discovery in Lifeboat (1944), John Hodiak (Aug. 17); the woman who kept Bogart busy trying to knock off various movie wives, sultry Alexis Smith (Aug. 12); the distinguished Herbert Marshall (Aug. 16); perpetual scene stealer Thelma Ritter (Aug. 20); the fast-talking, scandal-plagued Lee Tracy (Aug. 21); Oscar®-winning character actor Edmond O’Brien (Aug. 27); the brilliant, underappreciated Gladys George (Aug. 24); and actor, crooner, film noir tough guy, director, producer, movie exec Dick Powell (Aug. 25).

"There’s so much great stuff going on in August here on TCM, this is not a good time to even consider being anywhere but within the immediate vicinity of the Turner Classic Movies 'on' button," Osborne wrote in this month's issue of the TCM Now Playing guide."

This year’s line-up includes:
August 1 – Jane Fonda #FondaTCM

August 2 – David Niven #NivenTCM

August 3 – Walter Pidgeon #PidgeonTCM
August 4 – Judy Garland #GarlandTCM
August 5 – Barbara Stanwyck #StanwyckTCM
August 6 – Paul Muni #MuniTCM
August 7 – James Stewart #StewartTCM
August 8 – Jeanne Moreau #MoreauTCM

August 9 – William Powell #WPowellTCM

August 10 – Carole Lombard #LombardTCM
August 11 – Marlon Brando #BrandoTCM
August 12 – Alexis Smith #SmithTCM
August 13 – Cary Grant #GrantTCM
August 14 – Charlie Chaplin #ChaplinTCM
August 15 – Faye Dunaway #DunawayTCM 
August 16 – Herbert Marshall #MarshallTCM
August 17 – John Hodiak #HodiakTCM
August 18 – Claudette Colbert #ColbertTCM
August 19 – Paul Newman #NewmanTCM
August 20 – Thelma Ritter #RitterTCM
August 21 – Lee Tracy #TracyTCM
August 22 – Audrey Hepburn #HepburnTCM
August 23 – Ernest Borgnine #BorgnineTCM
August 24 – Gladys George #GeorgeTCM
August 25 – Dick Powell #DPowellTCM
August 26 – Sophia Loren #LorenTCM
August 27 – Edmond O’Brien #ObrienTCM
August 28 – Arlene Dahl #DahlTCM
August 29 – Joseph Cotten #CottenTCM
August 30 – Betty Grable #GrableTCM
August 31 – Alan Ladd #LaddTCM

I’m particularly interested in watching the days dedicated to Jane Fonda, David Niven, Walter Pidgeon, William Powell, Alexis Smith, Herbert Marshall, Thelma Ritter, Ernest Borgnine and Edmond O’Brien. My only frustration with Summer Under the Stars is not being able to take the whole month off and not having a DVR! What’s really good about this year is the Watch TCM app. I haven’t used it as much as I’d like but I think it’ll come in handy in August when I miss a few key films during Summer Under the Stars.

You can find the full schedule as a PDF download here. Make sure to take a look at the dedicated site for Summer Under the Stars I'm hoping they'll update that page soon because there isn't much on it right now.

Here are some films from the schedule that I personally recommend:

Period of Adjustment (1962) with Jane Fonda – A very funny and very silly film. Stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with plenty of laughs.
Bachelor Mother (1939) with David Niven – It’s my favorite film of all-time. No other film has filled me with more joy than this one and my only hope for other people who see it is that it makes them smile.
How Green Was My Valley (1941) with Walter Pidgeon – I had a wonderful experience watching this at the last TCM Classic Film Festival. It’s an epic family saga that is a must-see, if anything to find out why it got the Oscar for Best Picture the same year Citizen Kane came out.
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) with Judy Garland – A tender-hearted and fun family musical.
Jewel Robbery (1932) with William Powell – It’s a treasured favorite of Pre-Code enthusiasts like myself.
Double Wedding (1937) with William Powell – It is such a funny film and I consider it the best of the Powell-Loy pairings. Lots of Art Deco and lots of hilarious antics.
Three Days of the Condor (1975) with Faye Dunaway – Set aside your no-1970s films rule and give this one a shot. Terrific performances by Dunaway, Robert Redford and Max von Sydow.
The Secret Garden (1949) with Herbert Marshall – Excellent adaptation of the classic children’s novel. The technicolor sequences are dazzling.
Harper (1966) with Paul Newman – A fun film to watch if you like your detectives rogue and damaged.
Marty (1955) with Ernest Borgnine – If you don’t fall in love with Borgnine after watching this film there is something wrong with you!
He Ran All the Way (1951) with Gladys George – Clear your schedule for this one. It’s a fine film, John Garfield’s last, great suspense and cinematography and not available on DVD.
D.O.A. (1950) with Edmond O’Brien – Fantastic and suspenseful noir. It’s what got me hooked on O’Brien who is now one of my favorite actors!
I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) with Joseph Cotten – Charming and melancholy. Wonderful performances by Cotten and Ginger Rogers.

Here are just some of the films I’d love to watch during Summer Under the Stars:

Stella Dallas (1937) with Barbara Stanwyck
The Good Earth (1937) with Paul Muni
The 400 Blows (1959) with Jeanne Moreau
The Wild One (1953) with Marlon Brando
Hot Saturday (1932) with Cary Grant
Riptide (1934) with Herbert Marshall – I haven’t seen this one in a long time!
Cold Hand Luke (1967) with Paul Newman
Perfect Strangers (1950) with Thelma Ritter
The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (1932) with Lee Tracy
The Roarting Twenties (1939) with Gladys George
Quo Vadis (951) with Sophia Loren
The Bigamist (1953) with Edmond O’Brien
The Bride Goes Wild (1948) with Arlene Dahl
Gaslight (1944) with Joseph Cotten
Down Argentine Way (1940) with Betty Grable
The Blue Dahlia (1946) with Alan Ladd

Which stars are you looking forward to watching during Summer Under the Stars?


  1. GAH! I can't believe it's already almost August! You're a smart cookie, taking your vacation days to correspond with TCM's SUTS schedule ;) I should have done the same but I didn't think that far ahead (dammit). I'm really looking forward to William Powell's day - like Robert O said, it's the first time Powell has received his own full day of programming during August. I spent the majority of yesterday afternoon going through TCM"s Now Playing guide, circling and highlighting the films that I'd like to tune in for - one of my week's highlights for sure! So excited!! Eek! xx

  2. Nice list of movies and recommendations! I'm looking forward to Thelma Ritter day. She was in so many great films and her one-liners always crack me up no matter how many times I've seen the movie. =) Just wish I had the day off so I could sit at home watching TCM all day! I am also looking forward to viewing the two Charlie Chaplin documentaries (especially the one that analyzes the similarities between Chaplin and Hitler; it fascinates me how two seemingly different individuals could have so much in common).


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