TCM's Summer Under the Stars Begins
As much as I love TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and the abundant diversity of films they have to offer, there are days when I just wish I cold watch my favorite star 24/7. Well, apparently I’m not alone, because TCM figured this out about nine years ago when it turned August into a month where you could do just that - watch the films of just one star a day, all day long.
Now, of course with every wish fulfillment there comes a price. For instance, you’re not necessarily going to get all of the films for which the star of the day is best known, let alone the films that represent their best work. The offerings here are a bit of a hodge-podge, ranging from major signature films to stuff you may never have heard of before. Which is actually a good thing in my book. I just love it when I discover something new by a favorite star. It’s like experiencing a new release. And there have been times when this previously unknown title becomes a new favorite. Granted, there are just as many times when one viewing is enough for you to realize why you had never seen it before. Regardless, there is joy in watching even the most obscure film when it features a beloved star of yesterday.
And the range of actors selected for the year’s line up follows the same emphasis of mixing the familiar with the less obvious choices. You will of course have the expected indisputable luminaries such as Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant and Joan Crawford. But you will also have as many folks who are making their debut to the annual event. This year’s spotlight includes days devoted to Paulette Godard (8/2), Orson Welles (8/8), Ben Johnson (8/11), Charles Laughton (8/14), Lon Chaney (8/15), Joanne Woodward (8/16), Peter Lawford (8/26) , Anne Francis (8/29) and Howard Keel (8/30) among many others.
Undoubtedly, there are bound to be a few stars you wish were include but aren’t (Gary Cooper, Gene Kelly), but then you’re also gonna be extremely pleased to see someone you may have been waiting for (Ronald Colman, Carole Lombard). I don’t remember if TCM has ever featured Ralph Richardson in the past, but I hope they introduce him/bring him back next year. I’ve recently developed a big crush on the well mannered, classically trained character actor and would love to spend the day just watching what he does best.
So pick a day and pick a star. Chances are there’s bond to be something you’ll enjoy watching from everyone in this years Summer Under the Stars. I’ll even bet you that there’ll be someone you discover who you’ll be hoping for an immediate return to the showcase next year.