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Recommendations for TCM’s 2021 Summer Under the Stars in August …. Part 2

On to the balance of the TCM’s Summer Under the Stars with my suggestions for each “star” being celebrated with a 24 hour salute.

August 16th …. Robert Young

I guess early on he was always Marcus Welby M.D. to me before I discovered movies he’d made years before I was but a thought. I’ve seen but a few of his films and of those I’ve watched I’d like to recommend Fritz Lang’s Western Union that sees our star of the day scoring top billing over cowboy legend Randolph Scott.

August 17th …. Gloria Grahame

One of the Queens of Noir cinema. Perhaps Bad Girl might be a better title. The obvious choice is certainly The Big Heat where she meets the brutality of Lee Marvin but if you haven’t yet seen The Bad and The Beautiful where she tangles with Hollywood and Kirk Douglas, give that one a go. It’s the film for which she won an Oscar.

August 18th …. Robert Redford

A leading man now fifty plus years, one can nominate any number of his films for a viewing including Butch and Sundance which is being played or the frequently referenced The Natural. I’d like to steer you to a later film he made called The Last Castle. It’s a military prison movie that I have an affection for presenting a battle of wills between inmate Redford and Warden James Gandolfini.

August 19th …. Setsuko Hara

I’m going to have to plead the fifth on this one. This leading lady who passed away at the age of 95 in 2015 is not an actress I’m familiar with so please forward your recommendations to me. I did notice that a Kurosawa film is playing I have yet to see where she stars with the legendary Toshiro Mifune titled Hakuchi (1951) which has been added to my dance card.

August 20th …. Van Heflin

Underrated in my books, I’ve always tried to seek out Van Heflin’s films and he’s appeared in some genuine classics starting with Shane. I see 1958’s Gunman’s Walk is being shown so I’ll try to steer you to this western where he plays the father to two sons, one good and one turning bad. Not into westerns? Then give his Oscar winning turn in Johnny Eager a shot.

August 21st …. Katharine Hepburn

Screen royalty. Plenty to choose from including some of her pairings with that other legend of classic Hollywood, Spencer Tracy. But it’s hard to resist Bringing Up Baby, arguably the greatest of all screwball comedies that teamed her with Cary Grant. Yup, that’s my recommendation.

August 22nd …. Tyrone Power

I’ve yet to see 1957’s Abandon Ship and will be giving this one a look but if I’m to try and win Tyrone some new fans it’s hard not to suggest they watch him entering his prime years on screen in the lavishly produced Blood and Sand. A film that paired him with two screen sirens, Rita Hayworth and Linda Darnell. When it ends don’t change the channel but rather watch him once again opposite Miss Darnell in The Mark of Zorro.

August 23rd …. Eve Arden

Comical sidekick to the leading players, Eve Arden, always seems to bring a smile when she appears on screen often tossing out wisecracks to those around her. Having watched Anatomy of a Murder recently, I was reminded of just how great this film is and can’t help myself but suggest you add it to your dance card if you’ve yet to see it or have gone far too long between viewings as I had.

August 24th …. Maurice Chevalier

I’m more familiar with the later films Mr. Chevalier appeared in like Can-Can or A Breath of Scandal. I see that the movie The Smiling Lieutenant made in 1931 is going to be featured and as it costars him with Claudette Colbert, one of my favorites of the era, I’m going to be giving this one a look.

August 25th …. Jane Wyman

Hard not respect a career that began in 1932 and stretched to the 1990’s. Not to mention an Oscar for 1948’s Johnny Belinda. Along with her Oscar winning film, are a bunch of light hearted comedies playing on this day and I’ve always been a fan of the movie Larceny Inc. A 1942 comedic turn for tough guy Eddie G. Robinson. Give it a shot.

August 26th …. Tony Randall

A long time fan favorite and TV star of my early years thanks to The Odd Couple, Randall did well on the big screen and is often forgotten for his superior work alongside Doris and Rock in the three films the duo headlined. Assuming you’ve seen those, how about tuning into Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter where Randall meets blonde bombshell, Jayne Mansfield.

August 27th …. Merle Oberon

There are a few films playing on this day that I’ve yet to see that this classic beauty graced. I’ll be looking forward to seeing a few of them including Lydia and That Uncertain Feeling. Among those I can recommend is the screwball comedy, The Cowboy and the Lady where Merle meets up with Gary Cooper in his “aw shucks Mam” persona.

August 28th …. Lee Marvin

What can I say. One of my screen heroes growing up thanks to The Dirty Dozen and a number of other tough guy roles he took on. If you’ve never seen the vastly underrated The Professionals, then I can’t push you enough to finally see it. Amazing cast, superbly written dialogue and a rollercoaster ride of adventure. I’ve always felt this western deserves to make someone’s top list of westerns besides mine.

August 29th …. Ingrid Bergman

Who wouldn’t want to fall in love with Ingrid Bergman? I know I have each and every time I watch Casablanca and For Who the Bell Tolls. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, I can’t refuse the opportunity to rewatch her mingle at Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca with a cast one can only dream about and tear the heart out of Bogie. Yes it’s a trip once again to Casablanca for me.

August 30th …. James Cagney

Like my previous selection, how can I possibly avoid seeing Cagney as Cody Jarrett in White Heat. The 1949 hit that saw our man Jimmy “make it to the top of the world.” Violent, savage and unmistakably Cagney at his best. Easily my all time favorite Cagney film is my go to choice but if you can, watch him play both sadistic as Jarrett and then family man in his Oscar winning role, Yankee Doodle Dandy. To see them back to back is to witness just how great of an actor he could be when not going to war against Jack Warner.

August 31st …. Frederic March

And again I’m faced with a movie I’ve got a great love for, The Best Years of Our Lives. Even my own Dad still watches this one every chance he gets. Melts the tough guy in us all. March won his second Oscar playing opposite Myrna Loy as the everyman who has returned home from the war trying to make peace within himself while reconnecting with those he loves. Again, a great cast and a MUST SEE to end the month. One quick thought, if you’ve seen this far too many times and are looking to discover something else with March, give One Foot In Heaven a shot. Wonderful film.

Until next August.

8 Comments »

  1. I’ve read a lot about Setsuko Hara over the years. I know she was Yasujiro Ozu’s favorite and frequently cast leading lady, usually as a stoic young woman fighting the waning traditions of her parents or grandparents. There was a long standing rumor, that I firmly believe is true, is that she held an unrequited love for Ozu, but nothing ever occurred there as he was homosexual, and that when he passed away the fire for performing died out within her, and she retired and became a recluse until her passing 6 years ago. The IMDb and Wikipedia have good details about her. Any of her films with Ozu is worth checking out I know, and the Kurosawa film you mentioned is his adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, the only time Toshiro Mifune played a supporting role for Kurosawa and not the lead. The film has its own complicated history as Kurosawa was forced to cut much of the film against his wishes.

  2. As usual I’m madly jealous of TCM viewers. Wish we could get it in the U.K. ( and don’t mention the pitiful excuse we have for TCM). So many great films you highlight. I’m reminded how much I like The Last Castle. May have to put the dvd on today.

  3. Tyrone Power must-see’s: THE RAZOR’S EDGE and NIGHTMARE ALLEY.

    Re THE PROFESSIONALS: if I recall coreectly, he only made 3 western and all 3 are simply SUPERB. I have always admired this director, he has not made any boring or uninteresting movie, not one!

    Yes, every movie directed by the magnificent M. OZU is a poem in motion, but it needs patience, you can’t appreciate his work unrelaxed. For western viewers it’s an aquired taste. Setsuko Hara stars in many of his best, just take any one of them, you can not go wrong, eg EARLY SUMMER, LATE SPRING, LATE AUTUMN, THE END OF SUMMER, etc

  4. Last but not least Setsuko Hara starred – according to the IMDb, which is almost certainly incomplete – in 112 (!) movies in 28 year, of which I have seen maybe 2 dozen and none of them was a let-down.

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