Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Five Underrated Action/Adventure Films

I'm excited to share my list of five favorite Underrated Action/Adventure Films at the film blog Rupert Pupkin Speaks.

I'm always happy to have the opportunity to share lists of favorites at Rupert Pupkin Speaks. Each new series at that site results in such interesting reading and recommendations!

Brian kicked off the series with this post.

There are many other interesting lists, including contributions from friends of this blog, John Knight and Jerry Entract.

Please click over to Rupert Pupkin Speaks to check out my list!

Note that more detailed reviews of each of the films mentioned in my guest post can be found by searching here at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings.

Previous guest posts at Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Five Underrated Comedies, Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013, Five Underrated Westerns, and Five Underrated Mystery/Detective Films.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tonight's Movie: Shockproof (1949)

SHOCKPROOF (1949) is a good minor noir starring the husband and wife team of Cornel Wilde and Patricia Knight. It was directed by Douglas Sirk and is distinguished by terrific Los Angeles location shooting.

Jenny Marsh (Knight) is a hard-bitten ex-con who reports to her parole officer, Griff Marat (Wilde), at his office in the Bradbury Building in Downtown Los Angeles.

Jenny has finished serving a five-year prison sentence and has been ordered to stay away from her bad news boyfriend Harry (John Baragrey). However, Jenny has no intention of complying with that condition of parole, and she intends to get out from under the watchful eye of her parole officer as soon as possible.

Jenny gradually starts to change when Griff has her to dinner at his home on Bunker Hill, where he lives with his blind mother (Esther Minciotti) and kid brother (Charles Bates). She accepts a job as companion to Griff's mother. Griff falls for Jenny, which she initially intends to use to her benefit, but then Jenny falls for Griff too.

There's just one problem, Harry won't leave Jenny alone. An incident with Harry, Jenny, and a gun results in Jenny and Griff going on the run.

It's a nice little movie mixing crime and romance, and a couple on the road together always makes for interesting viewing. The film takes a surprisingly easy out at the end, which raises all sorts of unanswered questions; it would have been nice to arrive at the same result with more believable means. (At least one online article, incidentally, indicates that Sirk did not direct the final scene, which was not how the movie was originally intended to end.) Overall, despite the poorly written ending, it was a good film and I enjoyed it.

The last part of this Columbia movie, incidentally, seems to have inspired the Warner Bros. film TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY (1951) in no small measure: A couple including an ex-con go on the run, the woman dyes her hair dark and her behavior is softened by love, the couple live in a rough shack, and it's possible their identity will be disclosed to the neighbors via a magazine or newspaper. I had a distinct feeling of deja vu in those shack scenes!

One of the most enjoyable aspects of SHOCKPROOF is its location photography, shot by Charles Lawton Jr. The film makes outstanding use of both the Bradbury Building (there's an impressive fall over a railing!) and Bunker Hill. I think the airport exterior where Griff parks was probably Long Beach Airport.

Patricia Knight was excellent as Jenny, lovely but quite a tough cookie. I was impressed by Knight and wondered why I hadn't seen her in more films; she's a great noir dame. She was married to Cornel Wilde from 1937 to 1951; they had a daughter, Wendy, and given Knight's looks and talent I assume she didn't work much by choice. (I'd love to see her in ROSES ARE RED with Don Castle, Joe Sawyer, Jeff Chandler, Charles McGraw, and James Arness. What a cast!) After her marriage to Wilde ended, Knight would marry twice more and was widowed both times. Wendy Wilde herself became an actress.

Cornel Wilde later married Jean Wallace, a union which would last for three decades; Wallace appeared with him in THE BIG COMBO (1955) and STORM FEAR (1955). Wallace and Wilde had a son, Cornel Jr. Cornel Wilde (Sr.) died in 1989 and is buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, which I visited last April. Click on the photograph to enlarge his gravestone for a closer look.

I've mentioned in the past that Charles Bates, who plays Wilde's brother, was the uncle of a childhood next-door neighbor; I never met him but have always remembered that little factlet!

The cast also includes Howard St. John, Russell Collins, Virginia Farmer, Frank Ferguson, and Arthur Space.

There are stills from the film, including the cast on location, in the recent book LOS ANGELES'S BUNKER HILL: PULP FICTION'S MEAN STREETS AND FILM NOIR'S GROUND ZERO by Jim Dawson.

SHOCKPROOF runs 79 minutes. It was written by Samuel Fuller and Helen Deutsch. It's part of The Samuel Fuller Collection, a beautifully presented set which I've just started exploring; I've heard great things about it and it looks terrific.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tonight's Movie: The Girl in White (1952) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

June Allyson stars as THE GIRL IN WHITE (1952), an interesting new release from the Warner Archive.

THE GIRL IN WHITE is a fact-based story inspired by a memoir by Emily Dunning Barringer, BOWERY TO BELLEVUE: THE STORY OF NEW YORK'S FIRST WOMAN AMBULANCE SURGEON.

Emily Dunning (Allyson) is inspired by Dr. Marie Yeomans (Mildred Dunnock), who tends to Emily's pregnant mother when she collapses. Emily is determined to follow in Dr. Yeomans' footsteps and succeeds in graduating medical school at a time with a woman doctor was a rarity.

Emily must then battle to become the first woman intern at a New York City hospital, and once she lands the position, she must cope with the prejudices of her male colleagues, particularly hospital head Dr. Seth Pawling (Gary Merrill).

Emily also struggles to balance her deep desire for a medical career with her love for fellow doctor Ben Barringer (Arthur Kennedy).

It's interesting to note that this is the Warner Archive's second release of recent weeks about a pioneering woman doctor, following Greer Garson's STRANGE LADY IN TOWN (1955). THE GIRL IN WHITE is an absorbing drama which held my interest for all of its 92 minutes.

One of the things I liked about the movie was its low-key attitude. (Leonard Maltin termed it "humdrum" in a shortsighted review.) There are no huge, earth-shattering medical sequences or sudden revelations; it's simply about people putting their heads down and working hard, then having quiet realizations, whether it's Dr. Pawling admitting the woman doctor has unexpected gifts or Dr. Dunning realizing there is more to her life than medicine. The film thus has a naturalness and believability that it might have lacked had it gone for the big dramatic moments.

June Allyson does a fine job as an intelligent and determined woman who won't let jerks like senior intern Dr. Graham (Gar Moore) stand in the way of her medical career. She succeeds not by battling him but by simply working hard and demonstrating she has what it takes, living out "nothing succeeds like success"! That includes not giving up on a patient when Dr. Graham can't be bothered.

Arthur Kennedy is appealing as the doctor with an interest in research as well as in his lovely colleague. I particularly liked Gary Merrill who makes a potential jerk multi-dimensional; he plays the role with a persuasive authority. Mildred Dunnock is also fine as Dr. Yeomans, a rather frail-looking lady of great inner strength, whose worked helped pave the way for women such as Dr. Dunning.

Herbert Anderson (DENNIS THE MENACE) is one of the interns, with Jesse White (the Maytag Man) a sympathetic ambulance driver. James Arness is particularly notable as one of Dr. Dunning's grateful patients. Look for Ned Glass in a small role as an anatomy professor.

THE GIRL IN WHITE was directed by John Sturges. I've enjoyed numerous films directed by Sturges, a very fine director; he had previously directed June Allyson in RIGHT CROSS (1950).

The movie was shot in black and white by Paul Vogel. The score was by David Raksin.

There are no extras on the DVD. THE GIRL IN WHITE is a well-made, entertaining film which is recommended.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.

Around the Blogosphere This Week

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

...Ten Cinemark theaters around the country, including my local Cinemark in Huntington Beach, will be presenting "My Favorite Musicals," a mini-film fest, on Saturday, July 26th and Tuesday, July 29th. The three films screened will be OKLAHOMA! (1955), HELLO, DOLLY! (1969), and the relatively recent MOULIN ROUGE (2001). The price to see all three films is $15. Further details are here.

...For those who haven't already noticed, as of June Netflix stopped mailing out DVDs on Saturdays.

...A new book from the University Press of Mississippi: THE PRESIDENT'S LADIES: JANE WYMAN AND NANCY DAVIS. Author Bernard Dick wrote HOLLYWOOD MADONNA: LORETTA YOUNG and other film biographies for the same publisher.

...TCM is selling vintage milk bottles from Ginger Rogers' Rogue River Ranch. If only they weren't so pricey! I seem to recall a vintage good catalogue selling some of these bottles a number of years ago.

...Fans of THE WALTONS might like to know that an ornament featuring the Walton house will be on sale from Hallmark this October.

...Will McKinley analyzes how a merger of Fox and Time Warner could potentially impact classic film fans.

...Here's a 2013 book I just learned about which I'd love to read: JOCK MAHONEY: THE LIFE AND FILMS OF A HOLLYWOOD STUNTMAN. It's by Gene Freese for McFarland.

...I'd like to invite my readers to click over to ClassicFlix and check out my latest article for that site, on Carole Lombard.

...Loved this story on the friendship of Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully and stadium chef Dave Pearson.

...Lindsay takes a look at HOSTILE WITNESS (1968), starring and directed by Ray Milland, at Lindsay's Movie Musings.

...The classic BATMAN TV series comes out on Blu-ray on November 11, 2014.

...Coming soon from the Warner Archive: Ty Hardin in BRONCO: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.

...Rick of the Classic Film & TV Cafe visited the 37th annual Western Film Fair in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Among others, he met Piper Laurie and Johnny Crawford.

...Here's an interview with Bruce Boxleitner, who talks about the influence James Arness had on his career and his professional attitudes. The article includes a quote from Joel McCrea's grandson Wyatt; Boxleitner narrates the informational video at the McCrea Ranch.

...Coming from the Criterion Collection in October: MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946) on Blu-ray and DVD.

...I came across a Leo Gordon Facebook page maintained by his daughter. Western fans who admire the actor-writer will want to check it out. There are many unique photos.

...My friend Jerry Entract has posted his list of 5 Underrated Action/Adventure Films at Rupert Pupkin Speaks. I'd love to see CORVETTE K-225 (1943) which has a great cast headed by Randolph Scott.

...Royalty Watch: Charming new photos as Prince George of Cambridge turns one year old on Tuesday, July 22nd.

...Notable Passing: Skye McCole Bartusiak, who as a child actress was so moving as Mel Gibson's silent daughter Susan in THE PATRIOT (2000), has died at 21. Her mother says she had a history of epileptic seizures. Her older brother in the film was played by Heath Ledger, who died in 2008.

Have a great week!

TCM Remembers James Garner

Here's the video tribute to James Garner from Turner Classic Movies:

TCM has announced a 12-film tribute to James Garner to take place next Monday, July 28th.

Among the dozen titles are SHOOT-OUT AT MEDICINE BEND (1957) and THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY (1964), both reviewed here in the past.

One of my very favorite Garner titles is being shown that day, THE THRILL OF IT ALL (1963) with Doris Day.

Among many fine tributes to James Garner, I have especially enjoyed posts by Toby at 50 Westerns From the 50s and Millie at Classic Forever.

Previously posted here: James Garner, 1928-2014 and James Garner Memorabilia.

Hollywood Exiles in Europe Opens Friday at UCLA

A new film series, Hollywood Exiles in Europe, opens at UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater this Friday evening, July 25th.

The series features work by filmmakers who left Hollywood due to the blacklist, including Cy Endfield, Joseph Losey, and Jules Dassin.

The series was co-curated by Rebecca Prime, author of the recent book HOLLYWOOD EXILES IN EUROPE: THE BLACKLIST AND COLD WAR FILM CULTURE. The book was published by Rutgers University Press.

I am planning to be there on Saturday, July 26th, to see two films directed by Jules Dassin, a double bill of RIFIFI (1955), also known as DU RIFIFI CHEZ LES HOMMES, starring Jean Servais, and NIGHT AND THE CITY (1955), with Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney.

I might also return on August 1st when the Film Noir Foundation's Alan K. Rode introduces a pair of Cy Endfield films, the fantastic HELL DRIVERS (1957) plus Arthur Kennedy I've never seen, IMPULSE (1954).

The series continues through August 17th. Visit the UCLA website for the complete schedule.

A related series, Exile Noir, opens at UCLA in late August with an absolutely fantastic lineup. I'll share more about that series next month.

Finally, I want to call attention to a film noir double feature this Saturday night at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. Alan K. Rode of the Film Noir Foundation will be presenting GUN CRAZY (1950) and THE LINEUP (1958).

I enjoyed attending the Loretta Young Centennial Tribute at the Alex Theatre earlier this year. This Saturday night's double feature should be a very enjoyable event. We're fortunate to have so many options to see classic films on the big screen in the Greater Los Angeles area!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tonight's Movie: The Long Summer of George Adams (1982) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

By sheer coincidence, one of the films in my current review stack was James Garner's TV-movie THE LONG SUMMER OF GEORGE ADAMS (1982), just released this month by the Warner Archive.

Needless to say, given today's sad news of his passing, it was the perfect time to enjoy this special film, which I don't think I'd seen since the '80s. I remembered liking it but few details, other than it reunited him with Joan Hackett, his costar from my favorite Garner film, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! (1969).

Garner's George Adams is a railroad man in the small town of Cushing, Oklahoma, in the early '50s. As steam-powered engines are being phased out and diesel trains pass through Cushing without stopping, George knows he's in danger of losing his job.

He's also dealing with an elderly parent (Joe Satterwhite) in a nursing home, worrying over the future of the young sister-in-law (Marla Maddoux) he and his wife (Hackett) have raised, and trying to find time alone with his wife when the kids aren't around. He's also considering trying to build a home on family land -- maybe with indoor plumbing!

It's a lovely film which I think I related to much more at this stage of my life than I could have back in the early '80s. Many of the moments with George relating to his wife and family are incredibly realistic, as are the concerns of a family man with a lot on his plate and his job on the line.

The only false note for me was the brief fling George has with hotel owner Venida (Anjanette Comer) when his family goes out of town to visit a relative. It didn't ring true for me that George would be unfaithful to the wife he loves, especially as Venida is a shallow woman -- though that might have made it easier for him.

Incidentally, Venida's husband Woody, who appears in one early scene in the film, was played by Garner's late brother, Jack. Curiously, my 2011 post on Jack's passing has received hundreds of hits today.

I particularly enjoy George's friendship with Ernie (Alex Harvey), a young Korean War vet with a crush on George's sister-in-law. A scene where they sing a duet is one of my favorites in the film.

Sadly, this was one of Hackett's last performances, as she died of cancer the year after this film aired. She was 49 years old. Juanin Clay, who plays the newspaper reporter who pays a couple of visits to Cushing, also died young, passing away in 1995 at the age of 45.

The movie was directed by Garner's friend Stuart Margolin, who played Angel on THE ROCKFORD FILES. It was filmed by Andrew Jackson, who was also a longtime member of the ROCKFORD FILES crew.

The screenplay by John Gay based on a book by Weldon Hill. It runs 93 minutes.

I was curious that the movie playing in the small town theater was GOLDEN EARRINGS (1947) with Marlene Dietrich and Ray Milland. It came out half a decade before the movie takes place, but perhaps it took a very long time to reach a small-town theater, or it was a rerelease?

Parental advisory: Some of the subject matter is fairly adult, though tastefully handled. Not intended for younger viewers.

Thanks to the Warner Archive and their wonderful release of this film I suppose I can finally discard the Beta recording of the movie I've been hanging on to for all these years! There are no extras on the DVD.

Highly recommended, especially for fans of James Garner -- and aren't we all?

Garner fans take note: I'll be reviewing the Warner Archive's Complete Third Season of MAVERICK in the near future.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.

James Garner Memorabilia

Over the years I've become accustomed to favorite actors passing on. It's always sad, but it's an inevitable fact of life, and I try to focus instead on the wonderful things a performer has left behind for us to enjoy forever.

That said, I feel the loss of James Garner particularly acutely. He and his work are like a thread woven through my life, responsible for so many happy times and pleasant memories. Coming home from school to MAVERICK reruns, Friday nights with Jim Rockford, laughing over SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! (1969), and so much more.

He's even responsible for a dear friendship which began in the late '70s, as two young teen girls were amazed to discover we weren't each the "only one" obsessed with an "old" show, MAVERICK, and that friendship continues to this day. We now live several hours apart but just had dinner together a week ago, and there was a text from her on my phone early this morning sharing gratitude that James Garner had led to our friendship.

For many, many years I was a member of James Garner's Official Fan Club, which began in 1957. He was exceptionally good to his fans. Every year a new personalized autographed photo and personally signed Christmas card arrived. I must have a couple dozen such photos and cards, and I treasure them.

For the club's 25th and 30th anniversaries he gave us several hours of his time at celebratory luncheons. (I got to sit next to him to eat at the first one...!) Everyone who came had one-on-one time for photographs, autographs, and questions. I'm sure he might rather have been with his family or on the golf course but he was grateful to his fans, many of whom had followed his career for decades, and he treated us all with graciousness and class. I'll never forget that.

A napkin from the 30th anniversary luncheon:

And let's not forget his delightful Polaroid commercials with Mariette Hartley! They were such day-brighteners. I wrote to Polaroid and they sent me this cardboard ad which has been smiling at me from a bookshelf for over 30 years now. The color has faded a bit over the years but it still makes me happy to see it so I've kept it out where I can enjoy it all this time:

Here's a program from a neat event I attended at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1993, paying tribute to MAVERICK and ROCKFORD FILES creator Roy Huggins. Jim was there to honor Roy; I'm not sure if I talked to him that night, but Stephen J. Cannell and Efrem Zimbalist Jr., who are both also gone now, signed my program:

I hope my readers will enjoy remembering James Garner and the special person he was via this peek at a small part of my collection.

Mary McNamara wrote a very nice piece paying tribute to James Garner at the Los Angeles Times ("Actor Changed What a Hero Could Be Like"). The Times obituary is here.

Incidentally, I can't help noting that MAVERICK's Bret Maverick, Dandy Jim Buckley, and Modesty Blaine have all passed on within just weeks of each other.

In closing, I think we all need a little of this today. Best opening credits sequence ever?

James Garner's daughter Gigi is active on Twitter at @mavrocksgirl if anyone would like to send condolences to the Garner family.

Jim's Official Facebook Page has been updated constantly throughout the day today with photos and remembrances, most recently by Tom Selleck and Sally Field. Drop in often.

Previously: James Garner, 1928-2014.

Update: TCM Remembers James Garner.

James Garner, 1928-2014

I don't think I'll ever be able to adequately express just how much happiness this man has brought to my life and how sad I am that he has left us.

God bless you, James Garner, and thanks from the bottom of my heart for everything.

Update: There's more on James Garner in my post James Garner Memorabilia.

Update: TCM Remembers James Garner.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tonight's Movie: The Warriors (1955) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

THE WARRIOR (1955), also known as THE DARK AVENGER, was a nice surprise from the Warner Archive -- a late career Errol Flynn swashbuckler with Flynn in fine form as Prince Edward of Wales.

It's 1359 and Prince Edward is made Duke of Aquitaine by his father, King Edward (Michael Hordern), and charged with defending the territory for England. It's not an easy task when there are French noblemen, led by the Comte De Ville (Peter Finch), in open revolt against England.

Prince Edward's job grows even more difficult when the lovely widow Lady Joan Holland (Joanne Dru) and her little brothers are imprisoned by De Ville. Prince Edward must find a way to rescue Lady Joan and then meet the French in a climactic battle for Aquitaine.

This was my second Errol Flynn film of the week, following the Western MONTANA (1950), and I enjoyed it quite well. I must have read about the film years ago, but anything I read then didn't make an impression -- in fact I discovered tonight that one '70s book in my library which reviewed the film negatively didn't even get the plot right! (A love triangle with Flynn, Dru, and Finch?!) I'm afraid like so many reviews in books of that era, the writer didn't have access to the film and was relying on memory or even rumors and reputation.

This Allied Artists film made in England was thus a pleasant discovery. There's nothing particularly unique about the film, but it's a solid entry in the medieval swashbuckler genre.

Flynn is compelling as the fearless Prince Edward, and his somewhat older appearance lends the role a certain gravitas. Edward and his father are weary of war and would like to live in peace, but if he must saddle up and go off to fight the French and rescue Lady Joan, then he won't hesitate.

Dru's role is relatively small, but she's lovely and appropriately feisty. There's also an eye-catching role for Yvonne Furneaux as a tavern wench who aids Edward.

The story and screenplay of this 85-minute film were by Daniel B. Ullman, who wrote a number of good Westerns in this era including WICHITA (1955), CANYON RIVER (1956), and THE OKLAHOMAN (1957).

THE WARRIORS was directed by Henry Levin and filmed in CinemaScope and Eastmancolor by Guy Green (ROB ROY: THE HIGHLAND ROGUE).

The supporting cast includes Patrick Holt and Rupert Davies. Be on the lookout for Patrick McGoohan as an English soldier and Christopher Lee battling on the French side.

Some fun trivia: Michael Hordern, who plays the king, was actually younger than his movie "son"! It seems as though Hordern played elderly men for decades.

This widescreen DVD is a bit dark and grainy in spots but otherwise looks good, and it's certainly wonderful having this relatively little-known Flynn film available on DVD. There are no extras.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.

Tonight's Movie: Nocturne (1946) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

NOCTURNE (1946) is an engaging whodunit available in the Warner Archive's Film Noir Collection.

A composer (Edward Ashley) is shot dead while he plays piano, but when the police arrive it's been staged to appear as a suicide. Police detective Joe Warne (George Raft) isn't convinced the man did himself in and doggedly pursues the case; his unorthodox, brusque methods lead to him being asked to turn in his badge, but he won't quit until the case is solved.

The murder victim was quite the love 'em and leave 'em ladies' man, and one of the suspects is beautiful Frances Ransom (Lynn Bari), who works as a Hollywood extra. The cast of characters also includes Frances's sister Carol (Virginia Huston of Out of the Past), a nightclub singer; nightclub pianist "Fingers" (future director Joseph Pevney); and the murder victim's maid (Myrna Dell).

This entertaining film was produced by Hitchcock associate Joan Harrison and RKO's Jack Gross, who both had great track records, and they have another winner here.

The Jonathan Latimer screenplay has some great lines, particularly those delivered by Lynn Bari, who has a terrific role as the beautiful suspect to whom Joe is attracted. (At one point he asks his mother, delightfully played by Mabel Paige, if she'd mind if he married a murderer and she offhandedly replies "No, not if she's a nice girl.") Raft's appeal often escapes me but he unbends quite nicely in this one, exchanging zingy dialogue with a succession of lovely ladies, not to mention his mother. (While Raft is fine I couldn't help thinking that this type of role was tailor made for Dick Powell!)

Myrna Dell is also excellent as the sarcastic maid, although I lost the plot thread explaining why she was beaten up.

One of the film's best aspects is its great Los Angeles atmosphere, from Hollywood locations such as the Pantages Theatre and the Brown Derby to wonderfully creepy use of Santa Ana winds to, best of all, a visit to the set of RKO's SINBAD THE SAILOR (1947), where Bari's character works as an extra. I'd love to know where her swimming pool scenes were shot.

The music for the NOCTURNE theme was written by Leigh Harline, composer of the classic scores for SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) and PINOCCHIO (1940).

Virginia Huston's singing was dubbed by Martha Mears, whose many vocal jobs included dubbing Marjorie Reynolds to debut "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby in HOLIDAY INN (1942). She also dubbed Veronica Lake and Rita Hayworth, among others.

NOCTURNE was directed by Edwin L. Marin and shot in black and white by Harry J. Wild. It runs 87 minutes.

This good-looking Warner Archive DVD has no extras. Recommended viewing.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.

Friday, July 18, 2014

In Disney News...

As Disneyland celebrates its 59th anniversary and begins Year 60, it's time for a Disney News roundup!

...Disneyland unveiled its 60th Anniversary logo yesterday in a birthday ceremony at the park. The park's Diamond Celebration will begin in Spring 2015. (And let's hope the MousePlanet rumor that Magic Bands might come to Disneyland for the 60th anniversary never, ever comes to pass!)

...Sure wish I could attend the presentation at the Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco tomorrow on Walt Disney and the 1964 World's Fair. Disney Legends Marty Sklar and Bob Gurr will be there in person, with video appearances by other Imagineering talents.

...Loved the new Disney art by Shag, seen here -- it features two fondly remembered attractions from Disneyland's past, the Pirate Ship Restaurant and the Skyway. I picked up the mug at the WonderGround Gallery on a recent visit.

...And in the park I purchased the It's a Small World travel mug featuring the Tower of the Four Winds from the World's Fair.

...A Disney book from last December which I just recently learned about: DISNEY'S GRAND TOUR: WALT AND ROY'S EUROPEAN VACATION, SUMMER 1935. It's by Didier Ghez, author of the exquisite coffee table book on DISNEYLAND PARIS.

...The history of Disneyland tickets.

...Dateline Disneyland has photos of the exterior changes to Club 33 and the former Court des Anges area in New Orleans Square, and they're not pretty. The closure of the beautiful Court des Anges to the general public is a very sad thing. And have they really changed the famous French lift in Club 33 into a booth? That's ghastly.

...More on the Club 33 changes from the L.A. Times and the Orange County Register.

...In Orlando, the Polynesian Resort is returning to its original 1971 name, the Polynesian Village Resort.

...Here's the Wall Street Journal on the ongoing success of the FROZEN soundtrack. Speaking of which, I covet the beautiful blue LP special edition...I love they released it on vinyl!

...Leonard Maltin recently wrote about the Walt Disney Family Museum's Mary Blair exhibit, which runs through September 7th, and he also discusses animation historian John Canemaker's two books on Blair. I've owned Canemaker's THE ART AND FLAIR OF MARY BLAIR for years and just recently purchased his companion book for the exhibit, MAGIC COLOR FLAIR: THE WORLD OF MARY BLAIR.

...The teaser trailer for next year's live-action CINDERELLA (2015) movie is pretty but that's all there is to it:

CINDERELLA is directed by Kenneth Branagh, with Lily James as Cinderella, Cate Blanchett as the Wicked Stepmother, Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother, Richard Madden as Prince Charming, and Derek Jacobi as the King.

...On August 12th Disney releases a "double feature" Blu-ray/DVD combo with THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD (1949) and FUN AND FANCY FREE (1947). Although I have ICHABOD on DVD, I only have FUN AND FANCY FREE on VHS so it might be time for an upgrade.

...SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959) comes out in a Blu-ray/DVD combo Diamond Edition on October 7, 2014. It's said to feature previously unseen deleted scenes.

...The D23 site lists some top Disney sports movies. Speaking of Disney sports movies, Kevin Costner has completed McFARLAND (2014), about a small-town track coach, due out this fall. A 2012 article at First Showing provides more information on the plot.

...Some of my favorite things on California Adventure's Buena Vista Street...and check out recent Disney Parks blog entries in their Windows on Main Street series.

...Coming in early August: THE ART OF DISNEY: THE GOLDEN AGE 1928-1961, a box of postcards.

...I didn't know that the Apollo 11 moon landing was shown live in Tomorrowland on July 20, 1969.

...Visit A Pinch of Pixie Dust for Miss Emma's delightful coverage of a recent visit to Disneyland, including Cupcakes of Disneyland, The Motorama Girls of Carsland, Jolly Holiday Bakery, and Fireworks from the Tea Cups: Disneyland Epicosity. Emma has wonderful photos and a charming narrative voice. Disneyland fans will enjoy the visit!

...Actress Amy Adams, the star of Disney's ENCHANTED (2007) and THE MUPPETS (2011), recently gave her first class airplane seat to a soldier. Loved hearing that.

...Actor Dick Jones, who as child actor Dickie Jones was the voice of PINOCCHIO (1940), has passed on at the age of 87. Leonard Maltin shares a remembrance.

...Attention Southern Californians: The next "Throwback Thursday" screening at Disney's El Capitan Theatre will be HERCULES (1983) on August 21, 2014. The discounted general admission tickets include popcorn and soda along with the movie. I've not yet seen HERCULES and hope to attend!

...Earlier this month the Los Angeles Times wrote about the success of the El Capitan Throwback Thursday screenings, which are often sellouts.

...The El Capitan will also be hosting FROZEN Sing-a-Longs from August 22nd through September 7th.

For more Disney links, please visit the Disney News posts for April and February.