James Garner always had that kind of optimistic cynicism that let the audience know he had the score, he felt like there was no point to all this nonsense, but that he was sticking around to see how everything was going to turn out. Such an attitude made viewers want to linger in front of the screen, whether television or silver, just to see what would happen, too.
This article is part of the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon on Journeys in Classic Film: https://journeysinclassicfilm.com/2016/07/14/the-2016-tcm-summer-under-the-stars-blogathon/
Garner first appeared in my orbit in episodes of Maverick on our bulky black and white entertainment center, and the cocky way he would push back his Gambler-style Stetson made me realize that I was as skeptical as his character was, but I was also sticking around to see what would transpire. Garner’s ability to shape shift, beginning on television, switching to film, and going back and forth between the medium for decades reveals his everlasting appeal as a performer and his undeniable versatility for decades. Since I am a cinephile and TCM enthusiast, I feel assured that everyone will find at least a few of their favorite Garner films on TCM today.
What are my favorites? I always enjoy his films with Doris Day, and even Day remarked during her TCM interstitial that since she and Garner appeared so compatible with each other during The Thrill of It All and Move Over, Darling, fan actually thought Day and Garner were married. But my absolute delight over “The Americanization of Emily” always brings me hope that this film will be screened at a TCM Film Festival. Focusing on the D-Day invasion of Normandy, and other initiative in the European Theatre during World War II, the scenario, by ace scribe Paddy Chayefsky, reveals another tour-de-force performance by Melvyn Douglas, grandfather of TCM host Illeana Douglas. The palpable chemistry between Julie Andrews and Garner makes Chayefsky dialogue sizzle in Garner’s most romantic adult collaboration.
If you enjoy James Garner, here’s a viewer’s opportunity to revel in his good looks, his characterizations, and his ability to relate to the absurdities of life. TCM’s Summer Under The Stars Celebration has chosen to honor James Garner on Saturday, August, 27, with a special selection of Garner’s films, both serious, comical, and farcical with selections appearing from the website:
MISTER BUDDWING (1966)
A man suffering from amnesia confronts a series of women in his search for his memory.
Dir: Delbert Mann Cast: James Garner , Jean Simmons , Suzanne Pleshette .
SEARCHERS FOR A SPECIAL CITY (1966)
This short film focuses on how the production team for the movie “Mister Buddwing” (1966) scouted for filming locations in New York City
HOW SWEET IT IS (1968)
A married couple’s working vacation in Paris turns into a battle to stay faithful.
Dir: Jerry Paris Cast: James Garner , Debbie Reynolds , Maurice Ronet .
ACTION ON THE BEACH (1964)
This behind-the-scenes short offers a look at the D-Day special effects created in filming “The Americanization of Emily” (1964).
AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY, THE (1964)
A British war widow falls for an opportunistic American sailor during World War II.
Dir: Arthur Hiller Cast: James Garner , Julie Andrews , Melvyn Douglas .
THRILL OF IT ALL, THE (1963)
A doctor tries to cope with his wife’s newfound stardom as an advertising pitch woman.
Dir: Norman Jewison Cast: Doris Day , James Garner , Arlene Francis .
36 HOURS (1964)
Nazis kidnap a key American intelligence officer and try to convince him that World War II is over.
Dir: George Seaton Cast: James Garner , Rod Taylor , Eva Marie Saint .
HOUR OF THE GUN (1967)
Wyatt Earp tracks down the survivors of the Clanton Gang after the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Dir: John Sturges Cast: James Garner , Jason Robards Jr. , Robert Ryan
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! (1969)
A cowboy drifts into a lawless town and brings things back together.
Dir: Burt Kennedy Cast: James Garner , Joan Hackett , Walter Brennan .
GREAT ESCAPE, THE (1963)
Thrown together by the Germans, a group of captive Allied troublemakers plot a daring escape.
Dir: John Sturges Cast: Robert Graf , Nigel Stock , Angus Lennie .
GRAND PRIX (1966)
Auto racers find danger and romance at the legendary European road race.
Dir: John Frankenheimer Cast: James Garner , Eva Marie Saint , Yves Montand .
SKIN GAME (1971)
Two western con artists team with a lady card shark to take on slavers.
Dir: Paul Bogart Cast: James Garner , Lou Gossett , Susan Clark .
Detective Philip Marlowe probes the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles in search of a woman’s missing sister.
Dir: Paul Bogart Cast: James Garner , Gayle Hunnicutt , Carroll O’Connor .
“Action on the Beach” is an informative interstitial with special effects and creative recreations that highlights the one-of-a-kind D-Day sequences for “The Americanization of Emily.”
If you miss any of these films highlighted today, check out TCM Mobile for a replay. Read James Garner’s autobiography with Jon Winokur, The Garner Files, published in 2011.
More boffo blogosphere background :
A Shroud of Thoughts:
TCM’s Summer Under The Stars biography of that “lovable rogue:”
Classic Film Observations and Obsessions: http://classicfilmobsessions.blogspot.com/2016/08/james-garner-in-hour-of-gun-western.html
Outspoken and Freckled: http://kelleepratt.blogspot.com/2014/03/james-garner-as-maverick-1957-1960.html
A Person in the Dark: