Sunday, December 04, 2016

Tonight's Movie: On Dangerous Ground (1951) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1951), which is probably my all-time favorite Robert Ryan film, is now available on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive.

ON DANGEROUS GROUND was released on DVD a decade ago. Those who love the film, and those meeting it for the first time, will appreciate seeing the snowy vistas photographed by George E. Diskant on this excellent new disc.

I first saw ON DANGEROUS GROUND back in 2006 and revisited it last year at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival. It grew even higher in my estimation on the second viewing, a starkly beautiful and emotional experience, and I was glad to watch it yet again thanks to the new Blu-ray release.

Nicholas Ray directed this tale of an anguished, angry police detective, Jim Wilson (Ryan), who is banished to solve a case in snowy climes, in hopes the change of scenery will cool him off. He meets Mary Malden (Ida Lupino), a blind woman living an isolated country life with her troubled brother (Sumner Williams). Eventually Jim and Mary change each other's lives.

To say more would perhaps be saying too much; it's one of those movies which is best met without knowing what to expect, letting its power gradually wash over the viewer. Although initially very dark and "noir," the film is ultimately about hope and redemption; the theme is underscored by the change from the initial dark city backgrounds to backdrops of almost blinding white snow.

Ryan and Lupino are such moving actors that my eyes mist frequently watching this film. Nicholas Ray didn't care for the ending insisted upon by the studio, so it was instead directed by Ida Lupino, and in my estimation it's perfect.

ON DANGEROUS GROUND was scored by Bernard Herrmann. Listen closely and you'll hear strains of music which later appeared in NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959). The jolting theme music during the opening credits, as a car races past neon signs, is pure Herrmann at his best, and pure noir.

The movie runs 82 minutes. The supporting cast includes Ward Bond, Anthony Ross, Olive Carey, Ed Begley (Sr.), Ian Wolfe, Cleo Moore, Pat Prest, Frank Ferguson, and Gus Schilling. Hazel, the striking young woman working in the drugstore, is played by Joan Taylor (EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS).

Particular kudos go to the wonderful Charles Kemper, a superb character actor who sadly died before this was released. His line "I live with other people" is one of my favorite moments.

The Blu-ray is a very good-looking print. The disc includes the Glenn Erickson commentary and trailer which were on the original DVD release.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the WBShop.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Tonight's Movie: One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942) - An Olive Films DVD Review

ONE OF OUR AIRCRAFT IS MISSING (1942) is a very fine patriotic WWII adventure film. It's newly available on DVD and Blu-ray from Olive Films.

ONE OF OUR AIRCRAFT IS MISSING is an early film from "The Archers," the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Powell and Pressburger wrote, directed, and produced the film; their later works would include I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! (1945) and THE RED SHOES (1948), to name just two titles.

Other behind-the-scenes personnel on ONE OF OUR AIRCRAFT IS MISSING were equally impressive, with future director Ronald Neame serving as cinematographer and future director David Lean editing.

The movie begins in exciting fashion, with an empty RAF plane flying until it inevitably crashes. We then go back in time and learn that the plane had been hit during an attack over Germany. The crew of six are forced to bail out over Holland. Five of the men (Eric Portman, Hugh Williams, Godfrey Tearle, Bernard Miles and Hugh Burden) reunite once on the ground, but a sixth (Emrys Jones) is missing.

The men meet up with some Dutch children, and despite only one of the British men speaking the language in halting fashion, they are able to establish friendship. The children take the men to their village, where the English-speaking teacher (Pamela Brown) quizzes the crew to ascertain they're not Nazi spies. Once satisfied, the villagers start the flyers on a remarkable "underground railroad" leading the men through the Nazi-occupied country to the North Sea and home.

Some of the cast faces are familiar, including a very young Peter Ustinov, in one of his first roles as the village priest, and Googie Withers as a most resourceful underground leader. Beyond the best-known actors, every cast member, to the smallest role, memorably inhabits his or her part.

The movie is filled with great moments and set pieces, whether it's the Nazis entering the church service where the flyers have blended into the congregation, the villagers' clever means of protest when the crowd at a soccer (football) game is ordered to disperse, or a moment as simple as Frank (Williams) listening raptly to his actress wife when they catch a few minutes of a British radio broadcast.

ONE OF OUR AIRCRAFT IS MISSING was released during the heart of the war, in mid 1942. It smoothly blends a crackerjack adventure story with morale-boosting patriotism, and its 102 minutes fly by. Highly recommended.

ONE OF OUR AIRCRAFT IS MISSING was Oscar-nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Special Effects.

The Olive Films DVD is a fine print with excellent sound. I also checked out the subtitles for a while and am pleased to report that, with a few exceptions, the caption quality was greatly improved over the subtitles for Olive's APPOINTMENT WITH CRIME (1946) and THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF BEL AMI (1947).

Thanks to Olive Films for providing a review copy of this DVD.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

TCM Star of the Month: Myrna Loy

The December Star of the Month on Turner Classic Movies is Myrna Loy.

Over 60 Myrna Loy films will be shown on Fridays this month, begin on Friday morning, December 2nd.

11 early Loy movies are showing on the 2nd, along with the documentary MYRNA LOY: SO NICE TO COME HOME TO (1991). Loy's roles in these films are of varying sizes, providing a good look at the bit roles and "exotic" parts she played at the outset of her career.

Titles on the 2nd include ARROWSMITH (1931) with Ronald Colman and A CONNECTICUT YANKEE (1931) with Will Rogers. Of particular interest is NOAH'S ARK (1928), a part talkie, part silent movie starring George O'Brien and Dolores Costello, directed by Michael Curtiz.

December 9th features 14 films from the heart of Loy's pre-Code work, including the superb musical LOVE ME TONIGHT (1932), directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Loy appears in a supporting role, but her giddy countess nearly steals the show; when she's asked "Could you go for a doctor?" her response is "Certainly, bring him right in!"

The other gem of the evening is the witty crime drama PENTHOUSE (1933), which led to her casting in THE THIN MAN (1934) the following year. Loy plays a high-class call girl (this is a pre-Code) who helps a society lawyer (Warner Baxter) solve a mystery.

Also on the schedule are NIGHT FLIGHT (1933), THIRTEEN WOMEN (1932), NEW MORALS FOR OLD (1932), and many more.

December 16th there are a baker's dozen of Loy's films from 1934 on, featuring a who's who of great MGM leading men: TEST PILOT (1938) with Clark Gable, MAN-PROOF (1938) (also here) with Franchot Tone, PETTICOAT FEVER (1936) with Robert Montgomery, MEN IN WHITE (1934) with Gable, LUCKY NIGHT (1939) with Robert Taylor, TOO HOT TO HANDLE (1938) with Gable again; and THIRD FINGER, LEFT HAND (1940) with Melvyn Douglas. Plus a primetime showing of the multi Oscar winner THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)!

Every one of the 13 films shown on December 23rd costars Loy's good friend William Powell, including their first film, MANHATTAN MELODRAMA (1934); DOUBLE WEDDING (1937); and my favorite of their costarring films, the hilarious LIBELED LADY (1936), costarring Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow. Half a dozen THIN MAN films are also included on the schedule. Perfect holiday weekend viewing!

The series wraps up on December 30th with a variety of titles including the pre-Code WHEN LADIES MEET (1933); THE RAINS CAME (1939) with Tyrone Power; a pair of Cary Grant classics, MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE (1948) and THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947); and the Fox film CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (1950), costarring Clifton Webb and Jeanne Crain.

It's a wonderful month which will delight Loy's countless fans and provide a wonderful introduction for those just getting to know her work.

For more on TCM in December, please visit TCM in December: Highlights and TCM in December: Christmas Movies, along with the complete online schedule.

TCM in December: Christmas Movies

It's time for the annual guide to Christmas movies playing in December on Turner Classic Movies!

TCM will be featuring several evenings of Christmas classics, along with holiday films on Sundays and Christmas Eve. There are also several films on the schedule which aren't Christmas movies, per se, but have notable Christmas scenes.

Many of the Christmas favorites listed here are playing two or three times, while some only show up once. A thorough overview is below, and please also consult the online schedule.

Click any hyperlinked title below for the corresponding review; reviews are only linked at the first mention.

The Christmas movie festivities begin on Thursday, December 1st, with THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1942), IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE (1947), O. HENRY'S FULL HOUSE (1952), MEET JOHN DOE (1941), and FITZWILLY (1967).

IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE, pictured here with Don DeFore and Gale Storm, is a charming Christmas film which has been rediscovered by viewers in recent years thanks to Turner Classic Movies.

On Sunday, December 4th, the titles start off with Glenn Ford and Evelyn Keyes in MR. SOFT TOUCH (1949), followed by Errol Flynn and Eleanor Parker in NEVER SAY GOODBYE (1946). MR. SOFT TOUCH is a crime film which takes place in a settlement house at Christmastime, while the climax of NEVER SAY GOODBYE finds Flynn and Gig Young chasing each other around in Santa Claus suits!

Also showing on the 4th are the TV-movie A CAROL FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS (1964), the Katharine Hepburn version of LITTLE WOMEN (1933), and the documentary A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: MERRY CHRISTMAS! (2011).

On Tuesday, December 6th, the schedule includes the MGM films OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES (1945) and MRS. PARKINGTON (1944). There's a lovely scene in OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES, pictured at the left, when Margaret O'Brien is thrilled to receive a new coat for Christmas.

The schedule on Sunday, December 11th, kicks off with ALIAS BOSTON BLACKIE (1942), set in a jail on Christmas Eve. The Aussie film BUSH CHRISTMAS (1947) is followed by a British version of SCROOGE (1935). Then, for a complete change of pace, there's John Ford's 3 GODFATHERS (1948).

The 11th also includes HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949) with Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh, CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945) with Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan, and WINTERTIME (1943) with Sonia Henie and Cesar Romero.

Monday, December 12th begins with the all-time classic MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944). It's followed by another Judy Garland musical, IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949), which is a remake of THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940).

Also airing on the 12th: A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: MERRY CHRISTMAS! (2011); Ginger Rogers in the comedy classic BACHELOR MOTHER (1939); the BACHELOR MOTHER remake BUNDLE OF JOY (1956) with Debbie Reynolds; and Reynolds and Dick Powell in SUSAN SLEPT HERE (1954), which features eye-popping 1950s Christmas decor.

Thursday, December 15th features James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), followed by CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945), LOVE FINDS ANDY HARDY (1938), DESK SET (1958), and PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT (1962). DESK SET is one of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn's most enjoyable films, with some nice Christmasy moments.

Fitting in with Christmas movies, a trio of films with religious themes are featured on Saturday, December 17th, with Jennifer Jones in the Oscar-winning THE SONG OF BERNADETTE (1943); Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald in another Oscar winner, GOING MY WAY (1944); and Susan Hayward and William Lundigan in lovely Americana about a rural preacher and his wife, I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN (1951), seen at right. It's great to see some Fox and Paramount films make the TCM lineup!

Sunday, December 18th, leads off with the film noir BACKFIRE (1950), which opens at Christmastime. Next up is THE GREAT RUPERT (1950), plus A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938), ALL MINE TO GIVE (1957), IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949), and SCROOGE (1970).

Thursday, December 22nd features a rerun of HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949), followed by the month's only showing of the beautiful REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940) with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. I was fortunate to see that in a special screening at the Academy last year.

Then it's time for the Alastair Sim A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951), Laurel and Hardy's BABES IN TOYLAND (1934), the MGM LITTLE WOMEN (1949) with June Allyson, Janet Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, and Margaret O'Brien, and one more showing of NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: MERRY CHRISTMAS! (2011).

THE THIN MAN (1934) will be shown on Friday, December 23rd, as part of the Myrna Loy Star of the Month lineup. Who can forget Nick Charles shooting the ornaments off the Christmas tree with his new air gun?!

Christmas movies play all day on Christmas Eve, including Margaret O'Brien in TENTH AVENUE ANGEL (1948), seen at the right with George Murphy and Angela Lansbury. Also on Christmas Eve: MEET JOHN DOE (1941), SCROOGE (1970), IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE (1947), HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949), THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944).

That evening, Robert Osborne's Christmas Eve Picks are CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945), THE DOLLY SISTERS (1945), IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949), and THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1941). Mr. Osborne often picks a 20th Century-Fox musical to show on Christmas Eve, hence THE DOLLY SISTERS, which is not a Christmas movie.

The evening concludes with BELL BOOK AND CANDLE (1958), with Kim Novak, Elsa Lanchester, and Jack Lemmon seen at left, and another showing of GOING MY WAY (1944) overnight.

Christmas Day features BOYS TOWN (1938), with Spencer Tracy as Father Flanagan, followed by a series of religious films, THE ROBE (1953), BEN-HUR (1959), and KING OF KINGS (1961).

Christmas Night will alternate comedies from Frank Capra and Preston Sturges.

For more on TCM in December, please consult the schedule along with my posts TCM in December: Highlights and TCM Star of the Month: Myrna Loy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

TCM in December: Highlights

December has rolled 'round again, and there's a wonderful schedule ahead this month on Turner Classic Movies!

Myrna Loy is the December Star of the Month. Over 60 Loy films will be shown in December, spanning 1927 to 1960. I'll have a closer look at that aspect of the schedule later this week. (Update: See TCM Star of the Month: Myrna Loy.)

As I do every December, I'll also have a separate post up focusing on all the Christmas movies being shown on TCM this month. Be looking for that post early on December 1st! (Update: Please visit TCM in December: Christmas Movies.)

Here's a look at a few of the other great titles on this month's schedule. Click on any hyperlinked title to read the corresponding review.

...I've got to catch up with the Warren William Perry Mason movies soon! He stars with Mary Astor and Allen Jenkins in THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG (1934) on Saturday morning, December 2nd.

...TCM features a primetime lineup of early films directed by Douglas Sirk on December 3rd. Titles include HITLER'S MADMAN (1943) with Patricia Morison and Alan Curtis (seen at right), and LURED (1947) with George Sanders and Lucille Ball.

...The 90th Anniversary of Vitaphone will be celebrated on December 5th. This is one of those great "only on TCM" events, featuring numerous shorts, along with feature films such as the delightful WHY BE GOOD? (1929) starring Colleen Moore.

...The 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day will be marked on TCM with a 24-hour marathon of World War II films. There are several excellent titles on the schedule, including FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953), which depicts the attack. Raoul Walsh's THE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER (1956), a 20th Century-Fox film starring Jane Russell, Richard Egan, and Joan Leslie, is a TCM premiere.

...A day of dance movies on the 8th includes the delightful GIVE A GIRL A BREAK (1953) with Debbie Reynolds, Bob Fosse, and Marge and Gower Champion. The Champions are also featured that day in EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS (1952), costarring Dennis O'Keefe.

...Another "only on TCM" event is an Alice White triple feature on December 9th. I'd especially like to see PLAYING AROUND (1930), also starring Chester Morris.

...Noel Coward's BLITHE SPIRIT (1945) airs on December 10th, with Rex Harrison visited by the ghost of his late first wife (Kay Hammond) -- to the dismay of Wife No. 2 (Constance Cummings)!

..The classic Fox film A LETTER TO THREE WIVES (1948) airs on Sunday, December 11th. The all-star cast includes Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Paul Douglas, Jeffrey Lynn, and Kirk Douglas.

...I've been meaning to revisit HAVING WONDERFUL TIME (1938). When I saw it a few years ago I found the script weak, but what a cast: Ginger Rogers, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, Red Skelton, Lee Bowman, Jack Carson, Dean Jagger, Frances Gifford, and more! I figure it's worth taking another look, with that cast. TCM will show it on the 12th.

...There's a wonderful lineup of Van Heflin movies to celebrate his birthday on December 13th. The titles include THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS (1946), which I saw at UCLA in September. Barbara Stanwyck, Kirk Douglas, and Lizabeth Scott costar.

...There's a great lineup of "B" films costarring Dick Purcell on December 14th, including titles such as ALCATRAZ ISLAND (1937) with Ann Sheridan and ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN (1938) with Ronald Reagan. Looks like a fun day for "B" movie fans.

...December 15th honors director William Keighley, with titles including KANSAS CITY PRINCESS (1934) with Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell, SECRETS OF AN ACTRESS (1938) with Kay Francis and George Brent, and YES, MY DARLING DAUGHTER (1939) with Priscilla Lane and Jeffrey Lynn.

...I've heard good things about LOVE LETTERS (1945), costarring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten, but I haven't seen it yet! It's on December 17th. William Dieterle directed.

...You can't do better than THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) on Sunday afternoon, December 18th. One of my all-time favorite films.

...There's a great day of crime and film noir on December 19th. CONFLICT (1945) is a really interesting movie in which Humphrey Bogart bumps off his wife in hopes of having a relationship with her oblivious younger sister (Alexis Smith). Sydney Greenstreet is the psychologist who figures out what's going on.

...TCM honors Irene Dunne with an eight-film birthday tribute on December 20th, including SHOW BOAT (1936).

...Treasures From the Disney Vault has been a great quarterly addition to the TCM schedule since its debut in December 2015. The series returns on Wednesday, December 21st. Leonard Maltin will host PERRI (1957), OLD YELLER (1958), THE LITTLEST OUTLAW (1955), SAMMY, THE WAY-OUT SEAL (1962), and more. (Click the photo of the Treasures schedule to enlarge it for a closer look.) I saw OLD YELLER at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival and liked it a lot more than I expected, being a dog lover. Recommended.

...A day of films paying tribute to Ruth Roman on December 22nd includes the very entertaining DALLAS (1950), also starring Gary Cooper.

...PLEASURE CRUISE (1933), starring Genevieve Tobin and Roland Young, was a popular film at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival. It's showing on December 28th.

...On December 29th TCM pays tribute to several performers who have passed on in the last year, including Gloria DeHaven (TWO GIRLS AND A SAILOR, at right with Tom Drake) and dubber extraordinaire Marni Nixon (WEST SIDE STORY).

...Spend New Year's Eve with THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! (1974) and all three sequels!

For more on TCM in December, please visit the complete online schedule.

Tonight's Movie: Love Me or Leave Me (1955) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

Doris Day stars as singer Ruth Etting in LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (1955), recently released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

It's been many years since the only time I previously saw LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (1955), at the Vagabond Theater in Los Angeles, circa late '70s or early '80s.

Although I'm a huge Doris Day fan, this is a title I hadn't gone back to simply because the plot is pretty dark; I prefer Day's sunnier musicals. That said, both her performance and singing are phenomenal. It's worth seeing the movie just to hear her sing so many great standards; her performance of "Ten Cents a Dance" in particular, with perfect staging and costuming, is unforgettable. In the end it must be said the movie is essential Day viewing.

In this biopic Day plays singer Ruth Etting. Ruth's career is promoted by gangster Martin Snyder (James Cagney), and she becomes dependent on him, despite her very real talent.

The contrasting dynamic between Day's quiet, somewhat uptight Ruth and Cagney's bluster as the obnoxious Snyder is a big part of what makes the movie interesting. As the film goes along, however, and Ruth turns to drink, their relationship becomes increasingly difficult to watch.

Day rather bravely plays a woman who is, frankly, selfish; it took two people to have a bad relationship. Cagney is always compelling and was Oscar-nominated for his performance as the abusive Snyder, but here again, given the choice I'd much rather watch him in FOOTLIGHT PARADE (1933)!

The supporting cast includes Cameron Mitchell as a pianist who's the other man in Ruth's life. Robert Keith, Tom Tully, and Richard Gaines round out the cast.

LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME was directed by Charles Vidor. It was filmed in CinemaScope and Eastman Color by Arthur E. Arling. Day's memorable costumes are by the great Helen Rose. The running time is 122 minutes.

Besides Cagney's nomination, the film received five additional Oscar nominations, with Daniel Fuchs winning for Best Story. He cowrote the script with Isobel Lennart.

The Warner Archive Blu-ray is lovely. Extras carried over from the previous DVD release include the trailer and three shorts, including Ruth Etting in A MODERN CINDERELLA (1932) and ROSELAND (1930).

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the WBShop.

A Birthday Tribute to Virginia Mayo

Beautiful, multitalented Virginia Mayo was born on this date in 1920.

She was born November 30th in St. Louis, Missouri.

As a film star Virginia Mayo could do it all: comedy, drama, and also an accomplished dancer in musicals.

The more I see of Mayo's work, the more I appreciate her; indeed, she was my most seen actress of 2014. I'm not sure whether I like her best in musicals or crime dramas! She's a delightful dancer, seen here with Gene Nelson in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY (1953).

She was Danny Kaye's leading lady in several colorful films, and they wouldn't have been the same without her. This is publicity for WONDER MAN (1945):

She also makes noirish dramas such as SMART GIRLS DON'T TALK (1948)...

...and FLAXY MARTIN (1949) great fun...

...and when I saw WHITE HEAT (1949) I was surprised she didn't receive an Oscar nomination.

Beyond the musicals and crime dramas, the Western FORT DOBBS (1959), costarring Clint Walker, became an instant favorite when I saw it a few years ago:

The same year she made WHITE HEAT she was superb opposite Joel McCrea in the Western COLORADO TERRITORY (1949):

I sometimes think Mayo hasn't received enough recognition for her talent and the breadth of her fine filmography. She was a beauty who made it all look easy!

Mayo was married to actor Michael O'Shea from 1947 until his passing in 1973. They had one child, a daughter.

Mayo wrote an interesting memoir, THE BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE. While the book could have used some editing help, her disarmingly frank assessments of countless costars and her career make for fascinating "must" reading.

Virginia Mayo passed away in Thousand Oaks, California, on January 17, 2005.

Virginia Mayo movies previously reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: UP IN ARMS (1944), WONDER MAN (1945), THE KID FROM BROOKLYN (1946), SMART GIRLS DON'T TALK (1948) (also here), A SONG IS BORN (1948), FLAXY MARTIN (1949) (also here), THE GIRL FROM JONES BEACH (1949) (also here), WHITE HEAT (1949), COLORADO TERRITORY (1949), RED LIGHT (1949), THE WEST POINT STORY (1950), BACKFIRE (1950), PAINTING THE CLOUDS WITH SUNSHINE (1951), SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY (1953), THE PROUD ONES (1956), THE TALL STRANGER (1957), THE BIG LAND (1957), FORT DOBBS (1958), and WESTBOUND (1959) (also here).


Five Underrated Films of 1956

My latest contribution to Rupert Pupkin Speaks is a list of Five Underrated Films of 1956.

I always appreciate the invitation to share a list of favorite films with that site's readers!

I'm in great company; be sure to check out other posts by Kristina, Jerry, John, and our host, Brian, plus many more.

Please note that full-length reviews of each film mentioned in my guest post can be found by searching here at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings; just use the search box in the upper left corner.

Additional guest posts at Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Five Underrated Comedies, Five Underrated Westerns, Five Underrated Mystery/Detective Films, Five Underrated Action/Adventure Films, Five Underrated Thrillers, Five Underrated Films of 1955, Five Underrated Films of 1945, Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013, Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014, and Favorite Film Discoveries of 2015.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the internet...

...There's terrific DVD news this week: The "L.A." film noir ABANDONED (1949), starring Dennis O'Keefe, Gale Storm, Raymond Burr, and Jeff Chandler, is now available on DVD in the Universal Vault Collection. I reviewed this film last year -- in fact, I saw it twice in 2015! -- and loved it. Thanks to reader John Knight for the tip.

...Big thanks as well to reader Ashley for sending me links to many more interesting new Universal Vault DVD releases, including THE SLEEPING CITY (1950) with Richard Conte and Coleen Gray, SO EVIL MY LOVE (1948) with Ray Milland, Ann Todd, and Geraldine Fitzgerald, A WOMAN'S VENGEANCE (1948) with Charles Boyer and Ann Blyth, ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST (1948) with Blyth, Dan Duryea, Edmond O'Brien, and Fredric March, SMOOTH AS SILK (1946) with Virginia Grey and Kent Taylor, BLACK HORSE CANYON (1954) with Joel McCrea and Mari Blanchard, and THE LEECH WOMAN (1960) with Coleen Gray, plus more. I'm very much looking forward to trying some of these; if only Universal Vault DVDs would go on sale more than once in a blue moon! I was able to see THE SLEEPING CITY in 2012 and particularly enjoyed it. I saw SO EVIL MY LOVE at the Noir City Film Festival in 2010; it was well done but very, very dark.

...An interesting new TV release from the Warner Archive: SAM BENEDICT, a 1962-63 legal series starring Edmond O'Brien. I'm hoping to pick that one up before too long.

...Coming to DVD and Blu-ray at long last, thanks to Kino Lorber: LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER (1963) starring Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen, which I reviewed in 2010 thanks to a showing on TCM. It will be out in early 2017.

...Here's a nice post on John Garfield and Geraldine Fitzgerald in NOBODY LIVES FOREVER (1946) at Phyllis Loves Classic Movies, including some nice screen captures of the film's location shooting at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

...Available for preorder: AVA: A LIFE IN MOVIES by Kendra Bean and Anthony Uzarowski. It's due out in April 2017. Kendra wrote the excellent VIVIEN LEIGH: AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT, which I reviewed in 2014. Based on the high quality of the Leigh book, I anticipate the Ava Gardner book will be a "must buy."

...Over at The Frame, my friend Jandy invited me to participate in her 2016 Movie Challenge and recommend two films she'd never before seen to watch this year. I chose a pair of favorite William Wellman films, the Loretta Young pre-Code MIDNIGHT MARY (1932) and the Robert Taylor Western WESTWARD THE WOMEN (1951). I'm happy to say Jandy liked them both! Her post on MIDNIGHT MARY is here and WESTWARD THE WOMEN is here.

...A reminder that the recent Broadway stage production of SHE LOVES ME can be seen in movie theaters nationwide this Thursday evening, December 1st. It stars Zachary Levi, Laura Benanti, and Jane Krakowski.

...Jessica writes about one of my favorite musicals, Rita Hayworth's TONIGHT AND EVERY NIGHT (1946), at Comet Over Hollywood.

...Raquel's 2016 Classic Film Holiday Gift Guide is now up at Out of the Past!

...I'm even more excited to see LA LA LAND (2016) next month after reading this New York Times article.

...Like so many others, our family spent part of Thanksgiving weekend watching the entire six hours of GILMORE GIRLS: A YEAR IN THE LIFE on Netflix. Nine years after going off the air, the new show continues to serve up dysfunctional characters living in a charming, cozy small town setting surrounded by a recurring cast of eccentrics. Unlike some "years later" revivals -- THE WALTONS, I'm looking at you! -- GILMORE GIRLS stayed completely true to its history and brought back pretty much everyone except for Chad Michael Murray as Tristan -- in which case they pretended he was there, with another actor standing in in the distance! Happily none of the appearances felt rushed or shoehorned in, even Melissa McCarthy's cameo as Sookie, though I do suspect one of the final scenes was filmed as it was due to not being able to gather the entire cast at once! I have a few criticisms, such as the Stars Hollow musical sequences running far too long, and when exactly is Rory planning to grow up?! -- but for the most part the show proved you can go home again, and it feels great. And Lauren Graham knocks her key phone call scene in the final "Fall" episode out of the park.

...Notable Passing: Farewell to TV and musical star Florence Henderson, who by all accounts was an exceptionally nice and loyal woman in addition to being a multitalented performer. My earliest memory of Florence Henderson isn't THE BRADY BUNCH, but listening to her sing the role of Laurey on a studio recording of OKLAHOMA! with John Raitt. In fact, other than Julie Andrews movies, OKLAHOMA! might be the first musical score I was exposed to, from earliest memory, and I listened to that LP countless times over the years.

...For even more classic film links, please visit my most recent link roundup.

Have a great week!