Instant Classics: August

Here are the movies coming to and expiring from Netflix Watch Instantly in August.

New This Month

The Mummy (1932) August 1
When British archaeologists uncover the ancient sarcophagus of a mummified Egyptian priest (Boris Karloff), they foolishly ignore its warning not to open the box, and the mummy is brought back to life. Taking the form of a modern Egyptian, he quickly begins his quest to resurrect the soul of his love, which he believes has been reincarnated in a modern woman (Zita Johann). Noted German cinematographer Karl Freund makes his directing debut.

Dead End (1937) August 1
This classic Hollywood drama set in a Manhattan slum in the 1930s stars Humphrey Bogart as gangster Baby Face Martin, who returns to his old neighborhood, is spurned by his mother (Marjorie Main) and becomes a bad influence on the neighborhood kids. Working from a script penned by Lillian Hellman, William Wyler directs this adaptation of Sidney Kingsley’s hit Broadway play. Claire Trevor, Sylvia Sidney and Joel McCrea co-star.

Monkey Business (1952) August 1
Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers make a delicious screwball comedy team in this caper directed by Howard Hawks. Grant’s a middle-aged fuddy-duddy who may have invented a fountain of youth serum in his laboratory. But when a rampaging chimp mixes it into the water cooler, Grant and wife Rogers regress to their childhood. Marilyn Monroe is also a scream as the dim-bulb secretary to Charles Coburn.

We’re Not Married (1952) August 1
Five couples find out they’re not legally married. Annabel (Marilyn Monroe) hurries to end her marriage to Jeff (David Wayne); the Gladwyns (Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers) host a radio show and use their marriage for ratings; Eve (Zsa Zsa Gabor) is out for her husband’s (Louis Calhern) cash; the Woodruffs (Eve Arden and Paul Douglas) are bored with their union; and Willie (Eddie Bracken) must remarry pregnant Patsy (Mitzi Gaynor).

The Dirty Dozen (1967) August 1
In this Academy Award-winning World War II action flick from director Robert Aldrich (The Longest Yard), a U.S. Army major (Lee Marvin) is handed a near-impossible assignment: Turn a group of conscripted convicts into a crack fighting unit and then send them on a mission to destroy a villa filled with Nazi brass. The “volunteers” include Archer J. Maggott (Telly Savalas), Victor Franko (John Cassavetes) and Vernon L. Pinkley (Donald Sutherland).

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) August 1
Director Billy Wilder uses incidents from his own life in exploring the mystery of Sherlock Holmes’s sexual preference and past romances. Holmes (Robert Stephens) shoots cocaine to combat the boredom that plagues him between cases. But his ennui evaporates when he attends a Russian ballet performance where the prima ballerina asks Holmes to become the father of her child. The film portrays Holmes as a very complicated and flawed individual.

Airport 1975 (1974) August 1
When a Boeing 747 loses its pilots in a midair collision, lead flight attendant Nancy (Karen Black) is forced to take over its controls. As passengers grow frantic, flight instructor Alan (Charlton Heston) coaches Nancy by radio, helping her avoid the grave dangers looming ahead. Co-starring George Kennedy, Gloria Swanson and Linda Blair, this over-the-top disaster movie inspired the hilarious spoof Airplane!

The World’s Greatest Lover (1977) August 1
After winning a national talent search launched by a studio mogul (Dom DeLuise) to find the next Rudolph Valentino, Wisconsin baker Rudy Valentine (Gene Wilder) and his wife, Annie (Carol Kane), find themselves in the Hollywood spotlight. But when the out-of-towners cross paths with the real Latin Lover, who promptly falls for Annie’s charms, Rudy aims to win back his better half by donning a disguise and seducing her.

The Electric Horseman (1979) August 1
Former rodeo champion (and current alcoholic) Sonny Steele (Robert Redford) feels he’s hit rock bottom when he starts shilling for a breakfast-cereal company. That’s why, during an advertising stunt at a Las Vegas hotel, Steele rides off the stage and into the desert on a valuable but mistreated horse. Intrigued by the story, TV reporter Hallie Martin (Jane Fonda) goes after him in this Oscar-nominated comedic drama directed by Sydney Pollack.

Author! Author! (1982) August 1
A playwright’s work is never done, especially when it’s Ivan Travalian (Al Pacino), a down-on-his-luck scribe who desperately needs a hit. But before he can attend to his flailing career, he must deal with the unraveling threads of his life. His wife (Tuesday Weld) has deserted their home, leaving her children and his son from a previous marriage. And though love may be in the offing in the form of an actress (Dyan Cannon), nothing comes easy.

Expiring This Month

Where the Red Fern Grows (1974) August 3
Set in the Ozarks during the Depression era, this film adaptation of Wilson Rawls’s heartwarming novel tells of Billy Coleman (Stewart Peterson), a poor but inspired boy who works tirelessly to buy and train two competitive hunting dogs. Together with his coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Ann, Billy faces adventure, triumph and tragedy — and ultimately learns about love, loyalty and friendship — as he strives to realize his dream.

A Woman Under the Influence (1974) August 3
Gena Rowlands delivers an emotionally wrenching, Oscar-nominated performance as Mabel, an anxious housewife whose life revolves around waiting for her children to return from school and her husband, Nick (Peter Falk), to return from work. Mabel’s isolation eventually leads to a nervous breakdown that lands her in a mental hospital, while Nick struggles to keep their family intact, in this award-winning drama from director John Cassavetes.

Opening Night (1977) August 3
In one of John Cassavetes’s most acclaimed films, the director’s favorite leading lady, Gena Rowlands, plays a stage star heading for a breakdown just as her latest show is about to open. When a fan she dismissed is killed in a car accident, the actress begins to lose her grip — on both her stage persona and her real one. Ben Gazzara, another regular, plays the theatrical director, and Cassavetes cast himself as the male lead in the play.

The Battle of Midway (1942) August 6
Acclaimed director John Ford shot this 1943 Oscar-winning documentary while serving in World War II. Narrated by actors including Henry Fonda, Ford’s film captures Japanese fighter planes attacking the U.S. outpost. Ford keeps the film rolling during the intense battle, even as he’s injured (he was later awarded the Purple Heart). A dramatic scene captures marines raising the American flag in victory — an historic moment in U.S. history.

The Sugarland Express (1974) August 11
Steven Spielberg’s debut film stars Goldie Hawn and William Atherton as Lou-Jean and Clovis Poplin, a down-on-their-luck couple who lose their child to the state of Texas and decide to pull out all stops to get him back. Lou-Jean pops Clovis out of jail and the two make off with their son, taking him away from his foster parents. But the long arm of the law isn’t too far behind, especially since the couple’s holding a cop hostage.

Black Christmas (1975) August 14
Terror reigns inside a sorority house a few days before Christmas break as a series of menacing phone calls — and the discovery of a dead girl’s body — transform yuletide cheer into fear. Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey and Andrea Martin (“SCTV”) co-star as just a few of the petrified sisters at the mercy of an unseen stalker in this 1970s horror gem from director Robert Clark, who told a much happier holiday tale with his 1983 classic A Christmas Story.

Reaching for the Moon (1931) August 21
Following the advice of his helpful valet (Edward Everett Horton), a socially awkward businessman (Douglas Fairbanks) strives to hone his romantic skills as he follows a beautiful aviator (Bebe Daniels) aboard a luxurious ocean liner. This classic art deco musical boasts elaborate sets and costumes and includes a memorable rendition of Irving Berlin’s “When the Folks High Up, Do the Mean Low Down?” sung by a not-yet-discovered Bing Crosby.

Angel on My Shoulder (1946) August 21
A cold-hearted gangster named Eddie (Paul Muni) is betrayed by his comrades and gets sent straight to hell, where he strikes a deal with “Nick” the Devil (Claude Rains). If he returns to Earth to impersonate an honorable judge, he’ll also get to take revenge on his enemies. But once he’s there, Eddie finds that making good decisions — and making love to the judge’s fiancée (Anne Baxter) — comes all too easily.

Scarface (1932) August 30
Mobster Tony Camonte (Paul Muni) seizes control of Chicago’s bootlegging racket in this classic crime drama, which also stars George Raft, Boris Karloff and Osgood Perkins (Anthony Perkins’ father). From director Howard Hawks and producer Howard Hughes, Scarface sets the benchmark for future gangster films. Karen Morley portrays Camonte’s love interest and Ann Dvorak the gangster’s beloved sister.

The Hot Rock (1972) August 30
Robert Redford stars as jewel thief and ex-con John Dortmunder, who’s hired to pinch a priceless African sparkler from a New York City museum in this Oscar-nominated caper comedy. To help pull off the elaborate heist, Dortmunder drafts a safecracker (George Segal), a wheelman (Rob Leibman) and an explosives expert (Paul Sand), but the job snowballs after a string of missteps and mishaps. Zero Mostel shines in a supporting role as a slimy lawyer.

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