Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Summer Under the Stars 2019: An Introduction

Once again I am throwing myself into the Turner Classic Movies Summer Under the Stars Blogathon sponsored by Journeys in Classic Film.

For those not familiar with either Summer Under the Stars or the SUTS Blogathon, each August on Turner Classic Movies the network has twenty-four hours of films focusing on one particular actor/actress. Some are internationally known, while others are pretty much forgotten by today's audiences. Kristen Lopez, who runs Journeys in Classic Film, invites people to submit articles centered on that day's player in a blogathon.

There is usually for Summer Under the Stars one or two minority performers, at least one silent film star, at least one foreign-language star and a few living performers.

I am surprised at the number of living performers this year: five of the thirty-one players are still with us as of this writing: Rita Moreno, Liv Ullmann, Shirley MacLaine, Dustin Hoffman and Kirk Douglas. Moreno fills in the traditional Hispanic player, Lena Horne fills in the traditional African-American player, Ullmann is our foreign star and Buster Keaton is the silent film player.

In the obscure actors/actresses we have Brian Donlevy and Leila Hyams, though I would argue other names that I do know may qualify as 'obscure': Paul Lukas, Walter Brennan, June Allyson and Susan Hayward among them. That is the great thing about Summer Under the Stars: it gives lesser-known actors their own moment in the sun.

This year I set out to do something I have never done before: review a film or television appearance from every featured player. As part of that plan, I sought out films that I had never seen, since I believe part of SUTS' plan is to get people to see films they have not seen or heard from before.  As such, here are the films in chronological order:

August 1: Henry Fonda: Advise and Consent
August 2: Ruth Hussey: Hill Number One*
August 3: Marlon Brando: One-Eyed Jacks
August 4: Shirley Temple: That Hagen Girl**
August 5: Melvyn Douglas: A Woman's Face**
August 6: Lena Horne: The Wiz
August 7: James Stewart: Anatomy of a Murder** +
August 8: Ava Gardner: The Sentinel
August 9: Red Skelton: Bathing Beauty**
August 10: Rita Moreno: The Golden Girls: Empty Nests*
August 11: Humphrey Bogart: Sabrina***
August 12: Ann Sothern: A Letter to Three Wives**
August 13: Brian Donlevy: Beau Geste** +
August 14: Liv Ullmann: Autumn Sonata**
August 15: Rod Steiger: Marty*
August 16: Irene Dunne: Love Affair**
August 17: Errol Flynn: The Adventures of Errol Flynn*
August 18: Audrey Hepburn: They All Laughed
August 19: Buster Keaton: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
August 20: Dorothy McGuire: Trial**
August 21: Joel McCrae: These Three
August 22: Leila Hyams: Island of Lost Souls**
August 23: Fred Astaire: Easter Parade**
August 24: Shirley MacLaine: The Children's Hour***
August 25: Dustin Hoffman: John and Mary
August 26: Mary Astor: Fiesta
August 27: Walter Brennan: Three Godfathers**
August 28: June Allyson: Executive Suite**
August 29: Paul Lukas: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
August 30: Susan Hayward: The Conqueror
August 31: Kirk Douglas: The Broken Mirror (A Novella) ^

In other years, I have contributed a few articles, but this is the first and probably last year where I will write one for every player. It's a hard endeavor, but I welcome the challenge.

* Ruth Hussey, Rita Moreno and Rod Steiger will have reviews of television work. Flynn will have a television documentary reviewed.

** The reviewed film will be shown as part of the Summer Under the Stars tribute to that particular player.

*** These films will be shown during SUTS but as part of another SUTS featured player. Coincidentally, both will be shown August 18 for Audrey Hepburn.

+ These films will also be shown for the Plaza Classic Film Festival.

^ A book written by Kirk Douglas will be reviewed.

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