By Charlene Giannetti
Reality shows make overnight celebrities of normal (or next to normal) people. In a time when Snooki becomes a media sensation without having any notable talents, it’s perhaps fitting to remember a time when real stars ruled. That’s what we love about Turner Classic Movies. Each day during August, TCM has been celebrating an individual actor or actress by filling an entire day with that person’s best films. So far this month we have been treated to outstanding performances by Basil Rathbone, Julie Christie, Errol Flynn, Warren Beatty, Kathryn Grayson, Bob Hope, Ingrid Bergman, Walter Matthau, Gene Tierney, Margaret O’Brien, Norma Shearer, Robert Stack, Steve McQueen, Robert Ryan, and Ethel Barrymore.
If you have missed the first two weeks of this film festival, you still have some wonderful viewing in store. In fact, we can even say that TCM has saved the best for last. (Or maybe they just know our favorite stars!) And if you can’t watch the shows when they air, set that DVR. Whenever you plan to view, pop that corn, gather the family, put up your feet, and get ready for classic entertainment.
Friday, August 20—Katharine Hepburn
Start your TCM festival off with one of the best. While the lineup includes some of Hepburn’s best known films—The Philadelphia Story and Bringing Up Baby—there are also some lesser know entries, like Spitfire and Mary of Scotland.
Saturday, August 21—Paul Newman
They sure don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Newman was one of our brightest stars and this lineup—Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, and The Sting—serve as a delicious reminder.
Sunday, August 22—John Mills
Often overshadowed by other Brits of his generation, John Mills still amassed an impressive body of work, including Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Dunkirk, and Ryan’s Daughter.
Monday, August 23—Elizabeth Taylor
She embodies the description of “Movie Star.” She was a child star who grew up in the limelight dominated the media before there was a People magazine, and still draws headlines. Included in this lineup are her early films–-Lassie, National Velvet-–as well as her later films where she really displayed her acting chops and won the Academy Award for Best Actress—Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
This is one for the ages. Gilbert reached his peak in the 1920s, starring opposite Greta Garbo in several features. Included here are The Merry Widow and Way for a Sailor.
Wednesday, August 25—Lauren Bacall
She has uttered some of the most famous lines in movie lore: “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow.” That line from To Have and Have Not will be heard in prime time, 8 p.m. Although The Big Sleep is included, How to Marry a Millionaire, with Marilyn Monroe, is not. Maybe next time around.
Thursday, August 26—Lee Remick
How many gave up drinking after seeing Remick’s searing performance in Days of Wine and Roses. A treat here is seeing Remick’s film debut as a baton twirling teen opposite Andy Griffith in Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd.
Friday, August 27—Olivia De Havilland
When most people think of this actress, they recall her performance as the goody-two-shoes Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in Gone with the Wind. But this lineup shows off her talents and versatility with The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Light in the Piazza, The Male Animal, and the Snake Pit.
Saturday, August 28—Peter O’Toole
What a lineup this is! How can you miss with Lawrence of Arabia, Lord Jim, The Last Emperor, and My Favorite Year? Surprisingly, O’Toole never won an Academy Award losing out to fellow actors Gregory Peck (To Kill a Mockingbird), Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady), and Cliff Robertson (Charly). The competition was stiff. In the looks department, the young O’Toole had few peers. In Lawrence of Arabia, those blue eyes never fail to charm.
Sunday, August 29—Henry Fonda
The standout in this series is Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men where Fonda shared the screen with a stellar lineup of stars, including Martin Balsam, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, and Jack Warden. Fonda, a Hollywood icon, weighs in here with Midway, How the West Was Won, and Young Mr. Lincoln.
Monday, August 30—Thelma Todd
Thelma Todd’s career spanned the years from silent films to talkies. Although the silent films spotlighted her beauty, the talkies finally gave her the chance to strut her stuff. She was recognized as a gifted comedienne and appeared in many slapstick comedies with Laurel and Hardy and ZaSu Pitts. This lineup includes Broadminded (with Joe E. Brown) and the Cockeyed Cavaliers, considered a neglected gem.
How do you finish a film festival? With Dirty Harry, of course. Clint Eastwood’s acting range is on full display–-Paint Your Wagon (a musical Eastwood), Hang ‘Em High and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (the take no prisoners Eastwood), and The Bridges of Madison County (the sensitive Eastwood). The good news? He’s still making films. On your own, continue the Eastwood marathon with Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino.
For more information and complete listings of films and times, go to www.tcm.com