6 movies/ June 21 at 8pm
There’s nothing like movies to get you in the mood for the season. In this case, it’s the summertime – three months of fun in the sun with beaches, barbecues, county fairs, baseball and fireworks. So much of what we know and love about the summer has been captured on film, whether that’s hanging out with Frankie and Annette in a Beach Party movie, wandering through Venice with Katharine Hepburn in Summertime (1955) or taking the great American road trip with Clark Griswold and family.
In crafting my new book, Summer Movies: 30 Sun-Drenched Classics, I started with a list of over 300 films ranging from Charlie Chaplin’s 1915 short By the Sea (“a classic of girls, the seashore and the good old summer time”) to the recent superhero movie Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019). There is a wide range of experiences, settings and themes in summer films, and this night of programming exhibits a nice sampling from the book, which I’ll discuss with TCM host Dave Karger.
Moon Over Miami (1941)
“It’s always June in Miami Beach!” So proclaimed billboards to lure frostbitten Northerners to the sunny shores of South Florida in the early 20th century. Here, star Betty Grable travels with her sister and aunt to find a millionaire husband and ends up finding herself in a tuneful love triangle with Don Ameche and Robert Cummings.
You can divide the history of surfing into pre-Gidget and post-Gidget eras. The story of a budding California teenager (Sandra Dee) who ingratiates herself with the local beach bums brought the sport into mainstream consciousness and led to a new film genre: the beach movie.
Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953)
French comedian Jacques Tati put his mark on the summer movie with this breezy depiction of a week at a seaside resort. Here, his iconic character Hulot makes his debut as a hapless but nonchalant tourist who gets himself into all sorts of leisurely hijinks.
Key Largo (1948)
A look at the dark side of summer, John Huston’s crime film features the muggy Florida Keys, a violent hurricane and a pack of gangsters intent on offloading a batch of counterfeit currency. This was the last movie to pair Bogie and Bacall, and it also features memorable turns by Edward G. Robinson and an Oscar-winning Claire Trevor.
You’re Only Young Once (1937)
This early entry in the Andy Hardy series follows the Hardy family to Catalina Island for a much-needed summer vacation. Mickey Rooney stars as one of cinema’s most iconic teenagers who gains a new perspective on love while soaking up some California rays.
Summer Stock (1950)
“Get Happy” with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly in this inspiring MGM musical set on a Connecticut farm. When a group of Broadway performers stage a show in her family’s barn, Garland’s character finds herself drawn to the spotlight (and Kelly).