by Brett Leveridge
August marks Turner Classic Movies' annual Summer Under the Stars festival, during which each day 24-hours of programming is devoted to films of a particular actor or actress. We’ve picked out some of our favorite offerings for your entertainment.
Saturday, August 1, at 8 p.m. ET
Barbara Stanwyck plays a nightclub singer on the lam who is taken in by a group of less-than-worldly professors in this very funny Howard Hawks comedy. Gary Cooper and Dana Andrews costar.
Tuesday, August 4, at 11:30 a.m. ET
This musical comedy marked Doris Day's motion picture debut. Day plays a singer hired to impersonate a socialite (Janis Paige) on an ocean cruise, while the detective (Jack Carson) hired by the socialite's husband (Don DeFore) to spy on her ends up falling in love with her (or rather, with the singer who's impersonating her). Got all that?
Friday, August 7, at 9:45 p.m. ET
Sylvia Sidney plays two roles in this charming comedy: a European princess on a goodwill trip to the United States, who comes down with the mumps, and the working-class American girl who just happens to be the princess's lookalike and so is engaged to stand in for the princess. Hijinks, as you might expect, ensue. The great Preston Sturges was one of the screenwriters and Cary Grant and Edward Arnold costar.
Saturday, August 8, at 8:30 a.m. ET
TCM is devoting today to a string of hilarious Charlie Chaplin comedies, and this is our pick for sharing with the children in your life: The Little Tramp fights to keep the young boy (Jackie Coogan) he's caring for.
Late Wednesday, August 12, at 4:45 a.m. ET
Lana Turner isn't generally associated with musicals, but she acquits herself well in this story of two sisters (Joan Blondell is the other sibling), both musical stage performers, who get involved in a love triangle. Who knew Turner was such a good dancer?
Thursday, August 13, at 8 p.m. ET
This acclaimed drama, set in a posh Berlin hotel, explores the troubled private lives of a number of its guests. Grand Hotel boasts a star-studded cast: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone, and Jean Hersholt, among others.
Sunday, August 16, at 6 p.m. ET
In this charming comedy, Cary Grant and Betsy Drake (who were married in real life at the time) play an average American couple with three kids, but Drake likes to take in strays, and soon they have two new additions: A pair of troubled orphans.
Monday, August 17, at 10:15 p.m. ET
If the summer heat has you dreaming of yuletide and a chilly December day, an out-of-season viewing of this holiday classic might be just the thing. This beloved picture stars some very familiar faces: Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood, June Lockhart's father, Gene, and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle.
Thursday, August 20, at 9:45 p.m. ET
William Powell portrays a stern and straitlaced father of four sons in this charming family comedy, set just before the turn of the last century, but it's really his wife, played by Irene Dunne, who runs the show. Elizabeth Taylor also stars.
Friday, August 21, at 7:45 a.m. ET
Charles Dickens' novel comes to life in this acclaimed film adaptation from director David Lean. In this tale of an orphan who runs away to London, only to find himself taken in by a community of pickpockets, Alec Guinness shines as Fagin, Anthony Newley makes for a memorable Artful Dodger and John Howard Davies ably portrays the title character.
Late Sunday, August 23, at 2:15 a.m. ET
Olivia de Havilland won the first of her two Best Actress Oscars for her portrayal of a single mother who, bowing to societal pressure, gives up her son but endeavors to follow from afar his progress through life.
Tuesday, August 25, at 8 p.m. ET
Anne Shirley plays the title character, a teenage orphan who is adopted by an elderly couple in the country, in this film that was inspired by a beloved 1908 novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Fun fact: Shirley's given name was Dawn Evelyn Paris, but as a child actress, she appeared in 33 movies as Dawn O'Day before starring in this film and adopting her character's name as her screen name.
Wednesday, August 26, at 8 p.m. ET
Based on Emily Brontë's 1847 novel of the same name, this beloved drama stars Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier as Catherine and Heathcliff, star-crossed lovers who never stop caring for each other but are kept apart by societal strictures. William Wyler directs and David Niven costars.
Late Thursday, August 27, at midnight ET
Written and directed by the great Preston Sturges, this hilarious film is a classic of the screwball comedy genre. Beset by financial woes, a wife (Claudette Colbert) decides to divorce her husband (Joel McCrea) and marry a millionaire so that she can financially back her husband's fledgling career as an architect. Mary Astor and Rudy Vallée costar.
Friday, August 28, at 8 p.m. ET
In this classic melodrama, Bette Davis portrays a repressed spinster who has been emotionally abused by her domineering mother. With the help of a psychiatrist (Claude Rains) and a doomed love for an unhappily married man (Paul Henreid), she blossoms into a strong and independent woman. Listen for the legendary line of dialogue: "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."
Sunday, August 30, at 4 p.m. ET
William Wyler directed this 3.5-hour epic adaptation of Lew Wallace's best-selling 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The film won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Charlton Heston), who starred as Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur), Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith) and Best Cinematography.
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