TCM is airing 24 hours of Cary Grant films this week.
TCM's August lineup is devoted to its annual Summer Under the Stars film festival, which offers 24 hours of films from a different actor for 31 days. This week's lineup kicks off with thespian Vanessa Redgrave on Monday followed by Latino star Ricardo Montalban on Tuesday. The rest of the week features king of rock 'n' roll Elvis Presley on Wednesday; leading lady Rosalind Russell on Thursday; Aussie import Rod Taylor on Friday, living legend Angela Lansbury on Saturday, and all-time great Cary Grant on Sunday.
Note: All of the highlighted titles have links to full length articles.
Monday, Aug. 14
Vanessa Redgrave: This daughter of an English theatrical family has carved out an unique career on stage and screen.
The Lineup: Young Catherine (1991) at 6 a.m.; The Sea Gull (1968) at 9:15 a.m.; Orpheus Descending (1990) at noon.; Agatha (1979) at 2 p.m.; The Seven Per-Cent Solution (1976) at 4 p.m.; Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966) at 6 p.m.; Julia (1977) at 8 p.m.; Orpheus Descending (1990) at 10:15 p.m.; Blow Up (1966) at 12:30 a.m.; and Camelot (1967) at 2:45 a.m.
Bio: Born Jan. 30, 1937, in Greenwich, England, Redgrave is the daughter of famed thespians Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. After working with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on the London stage, Redgrave began appearing in British films like the comedy Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment in which she plays the upper-crust wife of a failed artist.
Redgrave's breakout role came as a London swinger in director Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up. During this time period she also appeared in director Sidney Lumet's adaptation of The Sea Gull and as Queen Guenevere in the musical Camelot.
During the 1970s, Redgrave won an Academy Award for playing an anti-Nazi activist in Julia and she also appeared as the famed mystery writer Agatha Christie in the biopic Agatha and in a small role in the Sherlock Holmes film The Seven Per-Cent Solution.
Redgrave's more recent work includes playing the Russian Empress Elizabeth in the costume drama Young Catherine and reprising her acclaimed stage work in Orpheus Descending.
Tuesday, Aug. 15
Ricardo Montalban: This pioneering Mexican star was a top matinee idol and a great character actor.
The Lineup: Fiesta (1947) at 6 a.m.; On an Island with You (1948) at 8 a.m.; Two Weeks with Love (1950) at 10 a.m.; Sombrero (1953) at noon; My Man and I (1952) at 1:45 p.m.; Border Incident (1949) at 3:30 p.m.; Sayonara (1957) at 5:30 p.m.; Latin Lovers (1953) at 8 p.m.; The Reluctant Saint (1962) at 10 p.m.; Mystery Street (1950) at midnight.; Battleground (1949) at 2 a.m., and Across the Wide Missouri (1951) at 4:15 a.m.
Bio: Born Nov. 25, 1920, in Mexico City, Montalban was already a star of Mexican films when MGM talent scouts spotted the handsome, deep-voiced actor in a Broadway play and signed him to a contract. Montalban found stardom opposite swimming sensation Esther Williams in Fiesta and On an Island with You, but Montalban also appeared with virtually all of MGM's leading ladies, including Jane Powell in Two Weeks with Love, Pier Angeli in Sombrero, and Lana Turner in Latin Lovers.
MGM did occasionally allow Montalban to take on character parts such as his roles as a kind-hearted soldier in Battleground and as a kind-hearted immigrant in My Man and I. He also gave stellar performances in the noirs Border Incident and Mystery Street and the Western Across the Wide Missouri. As his career progressed, Montalban took on more offbeat character roles such as his performance as a Japanese actor in Sayonara. Another interesting later role was as a villainous priest in the biopic The Reluctant Saint about a slow-witted man who becomes a monk.
Bio: Born Jan. 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Miss., Presley captivated the nation with his live TV appearances in the late 1950s. Hollywood soon came calling, and Presley got off to a good start in films like Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas, which combined his natural charisma and musical talents with good production values and top-notch costars like Ann-Margret. However, Presley's rapacious manager Colonel Tom Parker put profits before anything else, which meant that Presley was soon mired in a series of forgettable movies that saw him play everything from a race car driver (Spinout) to a girlie magazine photographer (Live a Little, Love a Little). Other roles the King took on in this period were playboy turned water-ski instructor (was that ever a viable career option, even in the 1960s?) in Clambake; a soldier and his hillbilly doppelganger in Kissin' Cousins; a rock star in Girl Happy; a boxer in Kid Galahad, and a pilot in It Happened at the World's Fair.
Presley's return to live performing in the 1970s led to two documentaries: Elvis on Tour and Elvis: That's the Way It Is. Forty years after his death, Presley continues to be a pop culture icon and the subject of documentaries like This Is Elvis.
Thursday, Aug. 17
Rosalind Russell: One of old Hollywood's great leading ladies, Russell was adept at drama, comedy, and musicals.
The Lineup: Craig's Wife (1936) at 6 a.m.; Trouble for Two (1936) at 7:30 a.m.; The Women (1939) at 9:15 a.m.; No Time for Comedy (1940) at 11:30 a.m.; They Met in Bombay (1941) at 1:30 p.m.; Sister Kenny (1946) at 3:30 p.m.; Auntie Mame (1958) at 5:30 p.m.; What a Woman! (1943) at 8 p.m.; My Sister Eileen (1942) at 10 p.m.; His Girl Friday (1940) at midnight; The Feminine Touch (1941) at 2 a.m., and Rendevous (1935) at 4 a.m.
Bio: Born Catherine Rosalind Russell on June 4, 1907, in Waterbury, Conn., Russell was a former model and opera singer, who headed to Hollywood in the 1930s, where she started getting supporting parts in films like the World War I spy thriller Rendevous and the black comedy Trouble for Two. Russell's first gained widespread attention as an avaricious woman in the drama Craig's Wife (this was later remade as the Joan Crawford-vehicle Harriet Craig), but The Women, which showcased Russell's flair for comedy, was her real Hollywood breakthrough.
Her landmark role as ace reporter Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday led to a string of successful comedies in which Russell played either fast-talking, independent career women (What a Woman!, My Sister Eileen) or fast-talking, independent married women (No Time for Comedy, The Feminine Touch).
Russell began to take on more serious fare in her later career. She plays a lady jewel thief who teams up with rival Clark Gable in They Met in Bombay, and she earned critical acclaim for playing a pioneering nurse in the biopic Sister Kenny. Of course, no tribute to Russell would be complete without her role as Auntie Mame.
Friday, Aug. 18
Rod Taylor: This Australian actor's rugged good looks and sizable talent led to work with top directors like Alfred Hitchcock.
The Lineup: 36 Hours (1964) at 6 a.m.; The Liquidator (1966) at 8 a.m.; The Glass Bottom Boat (1966) at 10 a.m.; The Time Machine (1960) at noon; Seven Seas to Calais (1962) at 2 p.m.; Hotel (1967) at 3:45 p.m.; Sunday in New York (1963) at 6 p.m.; The Birds (1963) at 8 p.m.; Dark of the Sun (1968) at 10:15 p.m.; The Man Who Had Power Over Women (1970) at 12:15 a.m.; Young Cassidy (1965) at 2 a.m., and The Deadly Trackers (1973) at 4 a.m.
Bio: Born Rodney Taylor on Jan. 11, 1930, in Lidcombe, Australia, this son of a contractor and artist decided to become an actor after seeing Laurence Olivier perform in Richard III. He parlayed a career in Australian films into a trip to Hollywood, where, after TV work, he got his big break in producer George Pal's H.G. Wells' adaptation The Time Machine and the swashbuckler Seven Seas to Calais.
During the early 1960s, Taylor was in-demand for all kinds of movies, including Hitchcock thrillers (The Birds), World War II films (36 Hours) and romantic comedies (Sunday in New York with Jane Fonda and The Glass Bottom Boat with Doris Day). During this time period, Taylor also made the biopic Young Cassidy about Irish writer Sean O'Casey, which most critics believe is his best screen work. Taylor continued his successful collaboration with Young Cassidy director Jack Cardiff in the spy thriller The Liquidator and the adventure film Dark of the Sun.
Taylor became a highly sought-after character actor in his later career in films like the all-star drama Hotel, the dark comedy The Man Who Has Power Over Women, and the revenge Western The Deadly Trackers.
Saturday, Aug. 19
Angela Lansbury: Best known today for her role as super-sleuth Jessica Fletcher on the beloved TV series Murder, She Wrote, this living legend has an impressive body of work throughout seven decades in Hollywood.
The Lineup: If Winter Comes (1948) at 6 a.m.; The Hoodlum Saint (1946) at 8 a.m.; All Fall Down (1962) at 10 a.m.; The World of Henry Orient (1964) at noon; Kind Lady (1951) at 2 p.m.; State of the Union (1948) at 4 p.m.; The Harvey Girls (1946) at 6 p.m.; The Manchurian Candidate (1962) at 8 p.m.; Gaslight (1944) at 10:30 p.m.; The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947) at 12:30 a.m.; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982) at 2:30 a.m., and Claire (1956) at 5 a.m.
Bio: Born Oct. 16, 1925, in London, to a member of Parliament and his actress wife, Lansbury's family emigrated to the U.S. at the start of World War II. Lansbury was working as a department store clerk when she got the plum role of the devious Cockney maid Nancy in director George Cukor's Victorian thriller Gaslight.
Lansbury earned a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for Gaslight. She spent much of the rest of the 1940s and early 1950s playing variations on her Gaslight character in films like the musical The Harvey Girls, the uplifting drama The Hoodlum Saint, and the caper movie Kind Lady. Lansbury was also often cast as middle-aged women while she was still in her twenties. She plays Walter Pidgeon's 30-something wife in the melodrama If Winter Comes and a 45-year-old millionairess in the political thriller State of the Union. Lansbury had a rare sympathetic and age-appropriate role as one of George Sanders' amours in The Private Affairs of Bel Ami.
Lansbury earned critical acclaim for her TV work in the 1950s (TCM is airing the Screen Directors Playhouse episode Claire), and she had a triumphant return to the big screen in 1962, giving two bravura performances as domineering mothers in the films All Fall Down and The Manchurian Candidate. Lansbury played another cold matriach in the comedy The World of Henry Orient.
After her children were grown, Lansbury embarked on an award-winning theatrical career. TCM is airing the TV movie version of her Tony Award-winning performance in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Sunday, Aug. 20
|Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in Holiday (1938).|
Cary Grant: This all-time great is still the movie's most sophisticated leading man.
The Lineup: Penny Serenade (1941) at 6 a.m.; In Name Only (1939) at 8:15 a.m.; None But the Lonely Heart (1944) at 10 a.m.; Mr. Lucky (1943) at noon; Suspicion (1941) at 2 p.m.; I Was a Male War Bride (1949) at 4 p.m.; The Philadelphia Story (1940) at 6 p.m.; Holiday (1938) at 8 p.m.; An Affair to Remember (1957) at 9:45 p.m.; The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) at midnight; People Will Talk (1951) at 2 a.m., and Walk, Don't Run (1966) at 4 a.m.
Bio: Born Archibald Leach on Jan. 18, 1904, in Horfield, England, Grant emigrated to the U.S. in the 1920s. After making a name for himself in vaudeville, Grant began to get plum parts in Hollywood opposite top female stars like Katharine Hepburn (Holiday and The Philadelphia Story), Irene Dunne (Penny Serenade), and Carole Lombard (In Name Only). Grant's forte was screwball comedies like The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer and I Was a Male War Bride and lightweight romances like Mr. Lucky, but he did take on more serious roles in the Hitchcock thriller Suspicion and in an Oscar-nominated performance in None But the Lonely Heart.
Grant temporarily retired in the mid-1950s after a few box-office disappointments like the offbeat comedy-drama People Will Talk, but he returned to top form as the witty, tuxedo-clad Nickie Ferrante in the all-time great romance An Affair to Remember.
Grant retired to raise his beloved daughter, Jennifer, after making his final film, Walk, Don't Run.