August is SUMMER UNDER THE STARS month on Turner Classic Movies. This is a clever and entertaining TCM programming gimmick for the summer season. In August, each day from dawn through the prime time hours is devoted to one particular star. I want to give you a quick tip on a movie. It features a star who became a comedy legend. In this drama, the star portrays a character who displays some downright ugly behavior. Later, she'll break your heart. In playing that raw and unappealing side of the character, the actress played the truth and what was sorely human about that woman. The actress found the heartbreak and found the character. It's excellent acting. The star is in peak performance showing her dramatic skills. She's Lucille Ball as a hard-boiled bitch of a nightclub entertainer. This woman is ambitious. She plans to get to the big time and she doesn't care whose feelings she hurts along the way. She's angry at life.
Henry Fonda is Lucy's co-star in THE BIG STREET. He plays "Pinks," the kind and unassuming nightclub busboy who falls falls for the haughty entertainer named Gloria.
If I was a TCM Guest Programmer for a night, one of my selections would be THE BIG STREET. Lucy is exceptional in this drama. She truly gets the soul of that character. She acting strengths were not limited to comedy. And I'll admit it -- her final scene in THE BIG STREET makes me cry every...damn...time.
If you can, spend some time on THE BIG STREET with Lucille Ball. Aug 2nd is her SUMMER UNDER THE STARS day on TCM. At 8p ET, there's another one of my favorite Lucille Ball movie. Again...not a comedy. It's a brisk, well-played Manhattan murder mystery called THE DARK CORNER. Mark Stevens plays the private eye being framed for murder. Lucy plays his smart, devoted secretary. She hits a home-run in that role. Clifton Webb co-stars in this 1946 film from 20th Century Fox. After that comes YOURS, MINE AND OURS, a 1960s comedy that reunites Lucy with Henry Fonda.