Alfred Hitchcock, Audrey Hepburn are in good company with 31 other legendary Hollywood personalities on whom the spotlight will shine this Summer thanks to TCM's #LetsMovie Summer lineup.
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) invites its fans to beat the summertime heat by staying home and tuning-in for a slate of cool classic movies (see what they did there?). The classic film network offers a little bit of everything this season in hopes of providing something for everyone. Of course, the annual Summer Under the Stars programming is likely to fulfill that order, focusing every day in August on a single star. But in addition to the familiar, TCM has planned much more, including the Ball State online class #Hitchcock50, a TCM Spotlight on Gay Hollywood, and June Star of the Month Audrey Hepburn. Supporting all this is an immersive, multi-platform social-media campaign built around the network's latest slogan, #LetsMovie (I'm particularly fond of a new promo
featuring the voice of legendary talk-show host Dick Cavett).
TCM kicks off the summer with the always culturally relevant Audrey Hepburn as the network's Star of the Month, showcasing some of her most iconic films every Monday night in June. There's really nothing I can say about the actress that hasn't already been said. But I will say this, if you
haven't seen the luminescent charm of Audrey in films beyond her Academy Award winning performance in Roman Holiday (1953), Breakfast at Tiffany's, or My Fair Lady (1964) then I'd say you're missing out on a unique career that made the most of a beloved ingenue. Fans are encouraged to share why they “Love Audrey” through photos and videos on social media. Although, I don't think Hepburn fans really needed any encouragement to do that.
TCM Spotlight: Gay Hollywood will be hosted by entertainment journalist Dave Karger and historian William Mann. Much in the style of previous TCM programming focussing on Black Images in Film, or Asian Images in Film, Gay Hollywood is designed to bring viewers into the celluloid closet every Thursday in June, with a highlight on known (and unknown) closeted Hollywood entities who have had a tremendous impact on the LGBT community in cinematic history. To make the experience as immersive as possible, the network will be live tweeting throughout the programming utilizing the hashtag #LetsMovie.
Then there's TCM’s ultimate movie star showcase, Summer Under the Stars, returns to pay tribute to 31 different stars in 31 days (because that's how many days there are in August). Highlights from this year’s programming include Robert Mitchum’s 100th Birthday celebration, programming dedicated to Elvis on the 40th anniversary of his death and 11 new stars receiving their first salute through this programming, including Vanessa Redgrave, Sandra Dee and Leslie Caron. Fans can interact with the programming via an interactive calendar of the stars, online quizzes and live tweeting events. Obviously, TCM is trying to reach out to social media mavens, and include a younger generation of fans on a level on which they can
relate. I know it's worked with my students, crossing generation lines to great success.
Additionally in July, there is TCM Spotlight: Alfred Hitchcock, features TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and his co-host, director Alexandre O. Philippe director of 78/52, a film that takes an unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, and the "man behind the curtain", and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema). The two will pay tribute to the “master of suspense” with more than 40 Hitchcock films being shown every Wednesday and Friday evening. The programming salute to the prolific filmmaker is comprehensive
ranging from such early works as The Ring (1927) and The Farmer’s Wife (1928) to his final two films, Frenzy (1972) and Family Plot (1976).
And lastly, fans can participate in the network’s third free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), in partnership with Canvas Network and Ball State University, which will be exploring Hitchcock’s long lasting career. The class runs from June 26 to August 7, concurrent to the on-air programming. The free, flexible and fun online initiative will explore Hitchcock from his first movie during the silent era to his final film five decades later. Participants will experience innovative multimedia course materials, including video elements beyond traditional lecture-based videos, daily messaging with movie clips, and character personality quizzes all centered around Hitchcock characters. And there's ongoing social media interaction with fellow film fans during live-tweet sessions with the course’s Professor Richard Edwards. I've taken this course the past two years (one on Noir and the other on Slap Stick comedy) and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to the same experience this year. Enrollment is currently open and film aficionados can sign up for the course at Hitchcock50.canvas.net.
With so much to do and see, it looks like TCM will be keeping me busy during my summer vacation. Quite frankly, it's a great way to spend the summer. I may not have a tan when I get back to teaching in the fall, but I'll have a great understanding of a multitude of facets on cinema. Best summer ever!