by Brett Leveridge
August marks Turner Classic Movies' annual Summer Under the Stars festival, during which 24 hours of programming is devoted each day to films starring a particular actor or actress. We've picked a movie we think you'll enjoy for every day in the month.
Monday, August 1, at 8 p.m. ET
Star of the Day Elvis Presley plays a race car driver who hopes to compete in the first Las Vegas Grand Prix. In the meantime, he's working as a waiter to raise the money to pay for his new engine. He's distracted, though, by a beautiful young woman (Ann-Margret) who catches his eye. William Demarest costars.
Tuesday, August 2, at 10:15 p.m. ET
Frank Capra's classic romantic comedy (or is it a drama?) tells the tale of the owner of a small-town tallow works (Gary Cooper)—who also plays the tuba and writes poetry for greeting cards—whose life is turned upside down when he inherits $20 million. Jean Arthur, today's Stay of the Day, costars, along with Douglass Dumbrille and Lionel Stander. This film was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Cooper); Capra took home the statuette for Best Director.
Wednesday, August 3, at 10:15 p.m. ET
Selina, a young white blind woman (Elizabeth Hartman), whose controlling mother (Shelley Winters) has kept her confined at home for years, meets Gordon, a kind office worker (today's Star of the Day Sidney Poitier) who helps her to expand her world. She falls in love with him, not knowing he is Black. When her mother learns of the relationship, she forbids her daughter from continuing to see Gordon. Will true love win out? This film was nominated for five Oscars; Winters took home the Best Supporting Actress statuette.
Late Thursday, August 4, at 4:30 a.m. ET
Glenn Ford plays a Montana lawyer who movies his wife (TCM's Star of the Day Ruth Roman) and three children to Los Angeles. Perhaps not surprising, often-humorous complication ensue, including the fact that Ford, already a well-established attorney in Montana, must study for and take the California bar exam. Nina Foch and Mary Wickes costar.
Friday, August 5, at 2 p.m. ET
In this tense thriller, a small-town schoolteacher (Loretta Young) begins to fear that her new husband may be Franz Kindler (Star of the Day Orson Welles), an escaped Nazi war criminal who has adopted a new identity. Edward G. Robinson plays a man from the War Crimes Commission who is in pursuit of Kindler.
Saturday, August 6, at 8 p.m. ET
This thriller is so reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock (it was directed by Stanley Donen), you may find yourself on the lookout for a cameo from Hitch. Star of the Day Audrey Hepburn plays a newly widowed young woman in Paris who is being pursued by a number of men in pursuit of a fortune they're convinced was stolen by her late husband. A charming American (Cary Grant) is eager to help her, but can he be trusted? This film, which costars Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy, effectively combines suspense, romance and comedy.
Late Monday, August 7, at midnight ET
In this delightful musical, Star of the Day Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra star as turn-of-the-century baseball players who perform in vaudeville in the off-season. Esther Williams is a fan of the national pastime who inherits ownership of the team, but her players aren't sold on the idea of playing for a woman owner. There's also a gambler who is intent on making sure the team doesn't win the pennant. Hijinks and romance ensue. Betty Garrett and Edward Arnold costar and Busby Berkeley directs.
Tuesday, August 8, at 3:30 p.m. ET
Maureen O'Sullivan, the Star of the Day, plays Martha Aldrich, a schoolteacher from Nebraska who, as the only living relative of the newspaper's owner, inherits the New York Globe-Leader when her relative dies. Accompanied by her aunt (Edna May Oliver), Martha moves to NYC where she is inspired to begin working as a reporter, if for no other reason than to spite the managing editor (Walter Pidgeon), who takes a dim view of women in a newsroom.
Wednesday, August 9, at 2:30 p.m. ET
Drifter Johnny Rutledge (Star of the Day William Holden) stumbles upon a cabin in the forest outside a small town where five children are living without adult supervision. Their parents have died but they want to stay together so they've kept it a secret. Holden agrees to pretend he's their uncle, but in order to keep custody of them, he must be married. Might the kids' pretty young schoolteacher (Colleen Gray) be a potential wife for him?
Thursday, August 10, at 4:15 p.m. ET
If you've never seen Greta Garbo, TCM's Star of the Day, giggle, here's your chance. This classic Ernst Lubitsch comedy, cowritten by Billy Wilder, finds her playing a very serious Russian agent who is lightened up by a little by experiencing Paris and the company of Melvyn Douglas. Garbo ends up laughing uproariously, and so will you.
Thursday, August 11, at 1:45 p.m. ET
This fictionalized look at the lives of storytellers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm (Star of the Day Lawrence Harvey and Karl Boehm, respectively) includes enactments of three of their famous stories. The star-studded cast includes Claire Bloom, Walter Slezak, Barbara Eden, Oskar Homolka, Russ Tamblyn, Jim Backus and Beulah Bondi.
Friday, August 12, at 10 p.m. ET
This beloved musical, set in the Oregon frontier in 1850, tells the tale of a man who brings a wife back to his farm, thereby convincing his six brothers (who all live with him) that it's time they got married, too. Star of the Day Jane Powell and Howard Keel headline the cast, and the songs were written by Gene de Paul and Johnny Mercer.
Saturday, August 13, at 1:45 p.m. ET
This musical, based on the works of author Damon Runyon, concerns a New York gambler Sky Masterson (Star of the Day Marlon Brandon) who is challenged to accept a beet with another gambler, Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra), that he can't convince Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons), who runs the Save-a-Soul Mission, to accompany him to Havana. Who will win the bet (and who will fall in love)?
Sunday, August 14, at 11:45 a.m. ET
Spencer Tracy plays the title role in this delightful comedy about an exasperated father trying to navigate the preparations for the wedding of his daughter (Star of the Day Elizabeth Taylor). Joan Bennett plays the mother of the bride. The film, which was popular enough to inspire a sequel, was nominated for three Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor (Tracy) and Best Screenplay.
Monday, August 15, at 8 a.m. ET
Cary Grant plays Nick Arden, whose wife Ellen (Irene Dunne), long thought deceased in a shipwreck, returns after seven years on a desert island. There are two problems: Nick is engaged to marry Bianca (Gail Patrick) and Nick discovers that Ellen wasn't alone on that island; she spent those seven years with hunky Stephen (Star of the Day Randolph Scott). Hilarity ensures in this classic screwball comedy.
Tuesday, August 16, at 4 p.m. ET
Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain and Frank Finlay portray Athos, Aramis, and Porthos, respectively, and Michael York is D'Artagnan in this exciting adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' classic novel. Today's Star of the Day, Raquel Welch, provides the love interest as Constance de Bonacieux in this classic adventure tale, and the stellar cast includes Charlton Heston, Christopher Lee, and Faye Dunaway. The 1975 sequel, The Four Musketeers (which is really just the remainder of Dumas' novel and was filmed at the same time as this film), follows at 6 p.m. ET.
Wednesday, August 17, at 11:45 p.m. ET
In this adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' 1945 novel, Star of the Day Spencer Tracy plays the title role, a respected judge in a small Minnesota town who creates something of a scandal when he marries Ginny, a much younger woman (Lana Turner) who is considered beneath his social station. Ginny soon becomes bored with their settled, respectable life and strays with an attorney who is Cass's longtime friend. Can Cass and Ginny find contentment and happiness together, or is their union damaged beyond saving? Zachary Scott, Mary Astor and Albert Dekker costar.
Thursday, August 18, at 9:30 a.m. ET
Ricardo Montalban plays Chu Chu, a Mexican farm laborer who is a newly minted American citizen who is intent upon bettering himself. Star of the Day Shelley Winters plays Nancy, a waitress who is struggling following the death of her test pilot husband. Their lives are thrown into turmoil when Chu Chu is falsely accused of shooting his racist boss after Chu Chu's paycheck bounced and is at risk of losing his citizenship, the thing he values most. Wendell Corey and Claire Trevor costar.
Late Friday, August 19, at 1:30 a.m. ET
Star of the Day Toshirô Mifune, Japan's great international star, worked frequently with legendary director Akira Kurosawa, most often on period action pictures in which he played samurai warriors. In this intense crime drama, set in modern times, Kurosawa cast Mifune as a wealthy shoe company executive whose son is kidnapped. Tatsuya Nakadai and Kyōko Kagawa costar in this classic film.
Saturday, August 20, at 10 p.m. ET
Star of the Day Joan Crawford is just one of a long list of stars in this Best Picture Oscar-winning drama that tells the overlapping stories of a variety of guests stopping at a luxurious Berlin hotel. Crawford plays a stenographer who dreams of acting in pictures. Other stars in the cast include John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Jean Hersholt, Lewis Stone, Allen Jenkins and Greta Garbo, who in this film utters the line for which she is perhaps most famous: "I want to be alone." (She actually utters variations of the line three different times.)
Sunday, August 21, at 5:30 p.m. ET
In this comedic World War II heist picture, Star of the Day Clint Eastwood is Private Kelly, who learns that the Germans have stashed gold bars in a French bank behind German lines. He teams with Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O'Connor, Donald Sutherland, Harry Dean Stanton, Gavin MacLeod and Stuart Margolin to go behind enemy lines to steal the gold.
Monday, August 22, at 9:45 p.m. ET
There have been four versions (so far) of A Star Is Born, with the first film by that title released in 1937 and starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. But many argue, and with good reason, that this movie was actually the first version of that venerable story. Star of the Day Constance Bennett portrays a waitress who dreams of being an actress; her career takes off with an assist from a drunken film director (Lowell Sherman), even as his own career is heading for the skids. Neil Hamilton, Gregory Ratoff and Louise Beavers costar.
Late Tuesday, August 23, at midnight ET
Spencer Tracy was the Best Picture for his portrayal of Father Edward Flanagan, who founds a home for wayward boys. Star of the Day Mickey Rooney plays Whitey Marsh, a hoodlum and pool shark who becomes one of Boys Town's most challenging residents. This beloved picture was the highest-grossing Hollywood film of 1938.
Wednesday, August 24, at 8 p.m. ET
Fans of French cinema and movies about movie-making won't want to miss this film, dedicated to actresses Lillian and Dorothy Gish, from legendary French director François Truffaut, who also stars as Ferrand, a director who is shooting a picture called May I Introduce Pamela while dealing with crises large and small, personal and professional, among the cast and crew. Star of the Day Jacqueline Bisset is the leading lady of both the movie we're watching and the movie-within-a-movie that we're watching being made. Jean-Pierre Léaud and Valentina Cortese costar.
Thursday, August 25, at 8 p.m. ET
Star of the Day Gilbert Roland, born in Mexico and raised in Texas, enjoyed a lengthy acting career. He was one of several actors to portray the popular character the Cisco Kid, a heroic Mexican caballero—a sort of Robin Hood of the old West—whose adventures were featured in comics, radio, movies and television. In this installment in the film series, Cisco takes money from a stage that has been extorted from the poor with the intention of redistributing it to those it was stolen from, but romantic complications arise. Ramsay Ames costars.
Late Friday, August 26, at midnight ET
Stay of the Month Vivien Leigh plays Myra, a young ballerina who falls in love with Roy (Robert Taylor) a British officer, just before he is sent to the front in the early days of the First World War. She is thrown out of the corps de ballet for breaking curfew—she stayed out too late with Roy the night they met—and her life spirals out of control when she learns he has been killed in action. Years later, Roy, who in fact survived the war, finds Myra. Can they revive the love they shared? Lucille Watson, Virginia Field, Maria Ouspenskaya and C. Aubrey Smith costar.
Saturday, August 27, at 10 p.m. ET
In this entertaining musical-comedy, Jane Russell and Star of the Day Marilyn Monroe star as Dorothy and Lorelei, a pair of showgirls who travel to Paris, followed by a private detective hired by the suspicious father of Lorelei's fiancé and a slew of ardent admirers. Charles Coburn, Elliott Reed and Tommy Noonan costar and the great Howard Hawks directs.
Sunday, August 28, at 5:30 p.m. ET
This classic adventure tells the tale of an advertising man (Cary Grant) who finds himself in seriously hot water when he is mistaken for a spy. Alfred Hitchcock directs, so of course there's a beautiful blonde (Eva Marie Saint) on hand, and if you watch closely, you just might spot a cameo appearance by an issue of Guideposts magazine. (Don't blink!)
Monday, August 29, at 6 p.m. ET
In this comedy, Shirley Temple plays Susan, a teenager who has a crush on Dick (Cary Grant), an artist many years her senior. She sneaks into his apartment and is discovered there by his older sister Margaret (Star of the Day Myrna Loy), who is a judge. Dick, undeservedly in hot water, is offered an out by Margaret: He'll "date" Susan until her crush wanes, doing what he can along the way to convince Susan he's the wrong fellow for her. As you might guess, hilarious hijinks ensue. Rudy Vallée costars.
Tuesday, August 30, at 6:15 p.m. ET
In this musical-comedy, Star of the Day Jack Carson and Dennis Morgan play working actors who agree to help a waitress (Doris Day) at the Warner Bros. commissary to break into pictures. This entertaining film offers the added bonus of amusing cameos by some big stars of the day, including Joan Crawford, Gary Cooper, Sydney Greenstreet, Errol Flynn, Danny Kaye, Jane Wyman and Edward G. Robinson, among others.
Wednesday, August 31, at 10 a.m. ET
This satirical comedy tells the tale of the world's smallest country, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, whose economy nosedives when a California vineyard starts producing the same wine Grand Fenwick is known for. The country's leaders decide to briefly invade the United States and then quickly surrender, taking advantage of the U.S.'s practice of helping countries it defeats get back on their feet. Star of the Day Peter Sellers plays three roles in the film; Jean Seberg costars.
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