It’s August, and that can only mean one thing: Summer Under the Stars! Like 31 Days of Oscar, Summer Under the Stars never disappoints and I’m definitely excited for this year’s schedule. There are plenty of days dedicated to showcasing some SUTS mainstays like Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Henry Fonda. But this year they’re really mixing things up and spending nearly half the month focusing on people who have never been part of SUTS before, including John Gilbert, Ethel Barrymore, and Gene Tierney. Not only are there lots of stars who are new to SUTS, there are also tons of movies being premiered this month. I counted a grand total of 54 TCM premieres in August, 19 of which are on Thelma Todd day alone.
Here is a complete list of the stars featured this month. To get the complete schedule, you can download a copy here.
- Basil Rathbone
- Julie Christie
- Steve McQueen
- Ethel Barrymore
- Woody Strode
- Ingrid Bergman
- Errol Flynn
- Bob Hope
- Warren Beatty
- Kathryn Grayson
- Walter Matthau
- Norma Shearer
- Robert Ryan
- Gene Tierney
- Margaret O’Brien
- Robert Stack
- Maureen O’Hara
- Ann Sheridan
- Walter Pidgeon
- Katharine Hepburn
- Paul Newman
- John Mills
- Elizabeth Taylor
- John Gilbert
- Lauren Bacall
- Lee Remick
- Olivia de Havilland
- Peter O’Toole
- Henry Fonda
- Thelma Todd
- Clint Eastwood
For me, the two biggest gold star days are Norma Shearer on the 12th and John Gilbert on the 24th. Between those two days, it’s a jackpot of silents and pre-codes. I love Norma Shearer in general, but I’m especially fond of her pre-code era stuff so I’m happy about any day that includes The Divorcee, Their Own Desire, and Riptide (which I’m dying to see). They’re also playing some of her silents like Lady of the Night, A Lady of Chance, and The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg. I’ve only seen one of her silents, Lady of the Night, so it’ll be interesting to see more of those. Plus there’s some of her production code era classics like Marie Antoinette, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, and Idiot’s Delight. My DVD recorder is going to be busy that day! Norma overlaps onto John Gilbert day a little bit with He Who Gets Slapped, which is one I’ve been wanting to see for a long time now. Otherwise, on John Gilbert day, there are silents in the morning, talkies in the afternoon, then back to silents in prime time with The Big Parade, Bardleys the Magnificent, and Flesh and the Devil. After Flesh and the Devil is his final pairing with Greta Garbo, Queen Christina. If you haven’t already seen Downstairs, The Big Parade, Flesh and the Devil, or Queen Christina, I highly recommend any of those.
I’m also really looking forward to Thelma Todd day on the 30th. Now that’s someone I don’t hear talked about very often! I haven’t seen very much of her stuff, but I’m interested in seeing some of the shorts she did with Charley Chase and ZaSu Pitts. In prime time they’re playing two movies she made with The Marx Brothers, Monkey Business and Horse Feathers. Then late at night is the original version of The Maltese Falcon, followed by Mary Stevens, M.D. The only other movie I know on this day is Hips, Hips, Hooray, which I remember getting a kick out of.
Other days I’m looking forward to:
Ingrid Bergman day (August 6): They’ve got Intermezzo: A Love Story, Casablanca, and Notorious all in a row. It just doesn’t get much better than that!
Bob Hope day (August 8): If you’ve never seen a Bob Hope/Bing Crosby/Dorothy Lamour “Road” movie before, here’s your chance because they’re playing lots of them today.
Warren Beatty day (August 9): I can definitely dig any day with Bonnie and Clyde, Splendor in the Grass, and Reds all in a row.
Walter Matthau day (August 11): I always like movies like The Fortune Cookie, The Bad News Bears, and The Odd Couple. The Sunshine Boys is good too, but I can only take so much of Walter Matthau yelling.
Gene Tierney day (August 14): Be sure to check out the TCM premiere of Leave her to Heaven. I never realized they hadn’t played that one before.
Robert Stack day (August 16): I want to check this day out just because I haven’t seen very many of his movies. I only really know him from watching Unsolved Mysteries.
Maureen O’Hara day (August 17) also marks her 90th birthday!
Ann Sheridan day (August 18): I’ve never seen Nora Prentiss, but I’d like to. They’ll also be playing The Man Who Came to Dinner, which is typically a Christmas movie, but it’s delightfully witty any time of year.
Katharine Hepburn day (August 20): They’re really pulling out all the stops for prime time: Woman of the Year, Without Love, Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, and Summertime. I’ve never seen Without Love, but I’m always happy to see a Hepburn/Tracy pairing. I’ve seen Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story plenty of times, but those are two that never get old to me.
Paul Newman (August 21): Let’s see, there’s Somebody Up There Likes Me, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Sting, and Cool Hand Luke. I have no complaints here.
Elizabeth Taylor (August 23): They really have a little bit of everything from Liz’s career represented today. There’s young Liz in National Velvet, some of her comedies like Life With Father and Father of the Bride, some of her great dramas like A Place in the Sun and Raintree County. And then there’s older Liz in her no-holds-barred performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Lauren Bacall (August 25): You can’t have a Lauren Bacall day without lots of Bogart, so there’s Dark Passage, Key Largo, To Have and Have Not, and The Big Sleep. Bogie and Bacall movies weren’t exactly all fun and frivolity, but they’re also playing some of her more lighthearted fare like Designing Woman and Sex and the Single Girl. And be sure not to miss her Private Screenings interview, she was quite fabulous in it.
Lee Remick day (August 26): Once again, a stellar prime time line-up with A Face in the Crowd, Anatomy of a Murder, and Days of Wine and Roses.
Olivia de Havilland day (August 27): If you haven’t seen Olivia’s performances in The Heiress and The Snake Pit, you’re really missing out. There’s also To Each His Own, which I still haven’t seen yet. And maybe today I’ll finally get around to seeing The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.
Henry Fonda day (August 28): It’s really, really hard to go wrong with Henry Fonda. 12 Angry Men, How the West Was Won, and The Lady Eve are always good picks. Plus I’ll finally get to see The Wrong Man, which I’ve been really wanting to see.
Clint Eastwood day (August 31): Clint’s another guy who is hard to go wrong with. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the biggest fan of Westerns, but even I can dig stuff like For a Few Dollars More; The Good, The Bad, The Ugly; A Fistful of Dollars, and of course The Outlaw Josey Wales.