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More 4th of July Escapism: Small-Town Iowa and Declaration of Independence Musicals

More 4th of July Escapism: Small-Town Iowa and Declaration of Independence Musicals
(See previous post: Fourth of July Movies: Escapism During a Weird Year.) On the evening of the Fourth of July, besides fireworks, fire hazards, and Yankee Doodle Dandy, if you're watching TCM in the U.S. and Canada, there's the following: Peter H. Hunt's 1776 (1972), a largely forgotten film musical based on the Broadway hit with music by Sherman Edwards. William Daniels, who was recently on TCM talking about 1776 and a couple of other movies (A Thousand Clowns, Dodsworth), has one of the key roles as John Adams. Howard Da Silva, blacklisted for over a decade after being named a communist during the House Un-American Committee hearings of the early 1950s (Robert Taylor was one who mentioned him in his testimony), plays Benjamin Franklin. Ken Howard is Thomas Jefferson, a role he would reprise in John Huston's 1976 short Independence. (In the short, Pat Hingle was cast as John Adams; Eli Wallach was Benjamin Franklin.) Warner
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Marjorie Morningstar

The most-read book since Gone with the Wind looked at the coming of age struggle of an ambitious, upwardly mobile Jewish girl in the 1930s. This glossy film version gives Natalie Wood an ‘adult’ role and provides Gene Kelly with the seemingly optimal character of a troubled theatrical artiste. Good intentions aside, the show lacks guidance — and may have harmed Kelly’s acting career.

Marjorie Morningstar

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1958 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 128 min. / Street Date May 9, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring: Natalie Wood, Gene Kelly, Claire Trevor, Everett Sloane, Martin Milner, Carolyn Jones, Martin Balsam, Edd Byrnes, George Tobias, Jesse White, Paul Picerni, Ruta Lee, Shelley Fabares, Lana Wood.

Cinematography: Harry Stradling

Film Editor: Folmar Blangsted

Original Music: Max Steiner

Written by Everett Freeman from the novel by Herman Wouk

Produced by Milton Sperling

Directed by Irving Rapper

When doing interviews for West Side Story we found out that
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Nyff Sets World Premiere of Ang Lee’s ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’

The already-incredible line-up for the 2016 New York Film Festival just got even more promising. Ang Lee‘s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk will hold its world premiere at the festival on October 14th, the NY Times confirmed today. The adaptation of Ben Fountain‘s Iraq War novel, with a script by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), follows a teenage soldier who survives a battle in Iraq and then is brought home for a victory lap before returning.

Lee has shot the film at 120 frames per second in 4K and native 3D, giving it unprecedented clarity for a feature film, which also means the screening will be held in a relatively small 300-seat theater at AMC Lincoln Square, one of the few with the technology to present it that way. While it’s expected that this Lincoln Square theater will play the film when it arrives in theaters, it may be
See full article at The Film Stage »

Silk Stockings

It's in glorious Technicolor Metrocolor, CinemaScope and StereoPhonic Sound! Fred Astaire's final MGM musical gives him Cyd Charisse and a Cole Porter score, plus some nice Hermes Pan choreography. The script and Rouben Mamoulian's direction aren't the best, but the combined magic of the musical and dancing talent saves the day. Silk Stockings Blu-ray Warner Archive Collection 1957 / Color / 2:40 widescreen / 117 min. / Street Date July 12, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Janis Paige, Peter Lorre, George Tobias, Jules Munshin, Joseph Buloff, Wim Sonneveld Cinematography Robert Bronner Art Direction Randall Duell, William A. Horning Film Editor Harold F. Kress Original Music Cole Porter Written by Abe Burrows, Leonard Gershe, George S. Kaufman, Leueen MacGrath, and Leonard Spigelgass Produced by Arthur Freed Directed by Rouben Mamoulian

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

On the Town?  The Pajama Game?  Damn Yankees?   The Warner Archive Collection's next musical up for the
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Oberon Later Years: From Empress to Duchess, Shah of Iran Mexican House Connection

Merle Oberon films: From empress to duchess in 'Hotel.' Merle Oberon films: From starring to supporting roles Turner Classic Movies' Merle Oberon month comes to an end tonight, March 25, '16, with six movies: Désirée, Hotel, Deep in My Heart, Affectionately Yours, Berlin Express, and Night Song. Oberon's presence alone would have sufficed to make them all worth a look, but they have other qualities to recommend them as well. 'Désirée': First supporting role in two decades Directed by Henry Koster, best remembered for his Deanna Durbin musicals and the 1947 fantasy comedy The Bishop's Wife, Désirée (1954) is a sumptuous production that, thanks to its big-name cast, became a major box office hit upon its release. Marlon Brando is laughably miscast as Napoleon Bonaparte, while Jean Simmons plays the title role, the Corsican Conqueror's one-time fiancée Désirée Clary (later Queen of Sweden and Norway). In a supporting role – her
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Best Actress Academy Award Winner Crawford Shines as Businesswoman/Mom with Evil Daughter

Joan Crawford in 'Mildred Pierce.' 'Mildred Pierce' review: Very entertaining soap opera Time has a way of making some films seem grander than they really are. A good example is Mildred Pierce, the 1945 black-and-white melodrama directed by Casablanca's Michael Curtiz, and that won star Joan Crawford a Best Actress Oscar. Mildred Pierce is in no way, shape, or form great art, even though it's certainly not a bad film. In fact, as a soap opera it's quite entertaining – no, make that very entertaining; and entertainment is a quality that can stand on its own. (The problem in recent decades is that cinema has become nothing but entertainment.) In the case of Mildred Pierce, the entertainment is formulaic and rather predictable – but in an enjoyable, campy sort of way. Unbridled Hollywood melodrama Now, what makes Mildred Pierce a melodrama is something known as the Dumbest Possible Action – Dpa for short.
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‘The Set-Up’ stands tall in both Robert Ryan’s and Robert Wise’s oeuvres

  • SoundOnSight
The Set-Up

Written by Art Cohn

Directed by Robert Wise

U.S.A., 1949

A boxer’s career is a strange beast. Keeping in mind that all professional athletes eventually feel the strain caused by years of exertion on their body, boxing is a different matter altogether. The objective is, literally, to beat the other fellow up before he or she strikes one too many hits on one’s noggin first. Small wonder, then, that boxers in their early to mid 30s are considered old, past their prime. One good punch however, one great right or left hook can shoot a career into the stratosphere. The problem is that for so many unfortunate fighters, they either lack the skill or the luck to land said potent strike. Of all the sports analogies that can relate to the proverbial boulevard of broken dreams, few can compare to that of the boxer, a
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Passage to Marseille

Michael Curtiz's wartime tale of Devil's Island convict Humphrey Bogart fighting to get back and defend France has a still-controversial scene of violence. The convoluted storyline nests enough flashbacks-within-flashbacks to confuse any viewer, and packs the screen with every actor on the Warner lot who can handle a foreign accent. With Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, George Tobias, and Michèle Morgan. Passage to Marseille Blu-ray Warner Archive Collection 1944 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 109 min. / Street Date November 10, 2015 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Michèle Morgan, Philip Dorn, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, George Tobias, Helmut Dantine, John Loder, Victor Francen, Vladimir Sokoloff, Eduardo Ciannelli. Cinematography James Wong Howe Art Direction Carl Julius Weyl Film Editor Owen Marks Original Music Max Steiner Written by Casey Robinson, Jock Moffitt from a novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall Produced by Jack L. Warner Directed by Michael Curtiz
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Two-Time Oscar Winner Cooper on TCM: Pro-War 'York' and Eastwood-Narrated Doc

Gary Cooper movies on TCM: Cooper at his best and at his weakest Gary Cooper is Turner Classic Movies' “Summer Under the Stars” star today, Aug. 30, '15. Unfortunately, TCM isn't showing any Cooper movie premiere – despite the fact that most of his Paramount movies of the '20s and '30s remain unavailable. This evening's features are Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Sergeant York (1941), and Love in the Afternoon (1957). Mr. Deeds Goes to Town solidified Gary Cooper's stardom and helped to make Jean Arthur Columbia's top female star. The film is a tad overlong and, like every Frank Capra movie, it's also highly sentimental. What saves it from the Hell of Good Intentions is the acting of the two leads – Cooper and Arthur are both excellent – and of several supporting players. Directed by Howard Hawks, the jingoistic, pro-war Sergeant York was a huge box office hit, eventually earning Academy Award nominations in several categories,
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Astaire Dances Everywhere Today on TCM

Fred Astaire ca. 1935. Fred Astaire movies: Dancing in the dark, on the ceiling on TCM Aug. 5, '15, is Fred Astaire Day on Turner Classic Movies, as TCM continues with its “Summer Under the Stars” series. Just don't expect any rare Astaire movies, as the actor-singer-dancer's star vehicles – mostly Rko or MGM productions – have been TCM staples since the early days of the cable channel in the mid-'90s. True, Fred Astaire was also featured in smaller, lesser-known fare like Byron Chudnow's The Amazing Dobermans (1976) and Yves Boisset's The Purple Taxi / Un taxi mauve (1977), but neither one can be found on the TCM schedule. (See TCM's Fred Astaire movie schedule further below.) Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals Some fans never tire of watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing together. With these particular fans in mind, TCM is showing – for the nth time – nine Astaire-Rogers musicals of the '30s,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Not a Standard Shot Man: Howard Hawks' "Air Force"

  • MUBI
Air Force screens on October 19 at the Museum of the Moving Image's retrospective, The Complete Howard Hawks. For more of Dan Sallitt's writing on Hawks, go here and here.

Air Force occupies an unusual place in Howard Hawks' filmography. As a war propaganda film, its subject matter is necessarily tendentious, with an overt message that is not only coercive but also repetitive. Hawks, whose control over his choice of material was quite unusual by Hollywood standards of the time, shows no sign of resisting the project's wartime agenda, and willingly accepts the character stereotyping and up-front ideology that comes with the package: the eager young recruits, the cynic to be converted, the proud parent set up for loss. In addition, Hawks' streak of dark humor combines with the project's built-in tone of righteous vengeance against the Japanese in a way that can strike peacetime audiences as callous.

On the other hand,
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McDaniel TCM Schedule Includes Her Biggest Personal Hits

Hattie McDaniel as Mammy in ‘Gone with the Wind’: TCM schedule on August 20, 2013 (photo: Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel in ‘Gone with the Wind’) See previous post: “Hattie McDaniel: Oscar Winner Makes History.” 3:00 Am Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943). Director: David Butler. Cast: Joan Leslie, Dennis Morgan, Eddie Cantor, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn, John Garfield, Ida Lupino, Ann Sheridan, Dinah Shore, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson, Alan Hale, George Tobias, Edward Everett Horton, S.Z. Sakall, Hattie McDaniel, Ruth Donnelly, Don Wilson, Spike Jones, Henry Armetta, Leah Baird, Willie Best, Monte Blue, James Burke, David Butler, Stanley Clements, William Desmond, Ralph Dunn, Frank Faylen, James Flavin, Creighton Hale, Sam Harris, Paul Harvey, Mark Hellinger, Brandon Hurst, Charles Irwin, Noble Johnson, Mike Mazurki, Fred Kelsey, Frank Mayo, Joyce Reynolds, Mary Treen, Doodles Weaver. Bw-127 mins. 5:15 Am Janie (1944). Director: Michael Curtiz. Cast: Joyce Reynolds, Robert Hutton,
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Henreid Tonight: From the Afterlife to the Apocalypse

Paul Henreid: From Eleanor Parker to ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ (photo: Paul Henreid and Eleanor Parker in ‘Between Two Worlds’) Paul Henreid returns this evening, as Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month of July 2013. In Of Human Bondage (1946), he stars in the old Leslie Howard role: a clubfooted medical student who falls for a ruthless waitress (Eleanor Parker, in the old Bette Davis role). Next on TCM, Henreid and Eleanor Parker are reunited in Between Two Worlds (1944), in which passengers aboard an ocean liner wonder where they are and where the hell (or heaven or purgatory) they’re going. Hollywood Canteen (1944) is a near-plotless, all-star showcase for Warner Bros.’ talent, a World War II morale-boosting follow-up to that studio’s Thank Your Lucky Stars, released the previous year. Last of the Buccaneers (1950) and Pirates of Tripoli (1955) are B pirate movies. The former is an uninspired affair,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Yankee Doodle Dandy at The Hi-Pointe This Weekend – Classic Film Series

“My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you”

Yankee Doodle Dandy is a movie anyone can see and enjoy. No sex, violence or profanity - just lively entertainment. It is good enough to watch on any day, not just the Fourth of July.

As Yankee Doodle Dandy was beginning production, the Japs attack on Pearl Harbor took place, so it would go without saying that the film came along at a much needed time and gave our country, as well as our fighting men a very much needed boost. Though it is a clear representative of times that no longer exist, it has a patriotism that is needed just as much today as it was then, if not more so. The music is great but the film’s highlight in the vibrant, Oscar-winning performance of James Cagney as the hoofer, singer, dancer,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

This Month TCM Pays Homage to Beautiful, Talented, and Unjustly Forgotten Oscar Nominee

Eleanor Parker Now on TCM Palms Springs area resident Eleanor Parker, who turns 91 next June 26, is Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month of June. One of the best actresses of Hollywood’s studio era, Parker isn’t nearly as well-remembered today as she should be despite three Best Actress Academy Award nominations (Caged, 1950; Detective Story, 1951; Interrupted Melody, 1955), a number of box-office and/or critical hits, and a key role in one of the biggest blockbusters of all time (The Sound of Music). Hopefully, the 34 Eleanor Parker movies TCM will be showing each Monday this month — beginning tonight — will help to introduce the actress to a broader 21st-century audience. Eleanor Parker movies "When I am spotted somewhere it means that my characterizations haven’t covered up Eleanor Parker the person. I prefer it the other way around," Parker once said. In fact, the title of Doug McClelland’s 1989 Eleanor Parker bio,
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Wac's 4th-Year Anniversary Releases Include Star Vehicles for Reynolds, Garfield, Barthelmess

Warner Archive Collection 4th anniversary DVD / Blu-ray releases The Warner Archive Collection (aka Wac), which currently has a DVD / Blu-ray library consisting of approximately 1,500 titles, has just turned four. In celebration of its fourth anniversary, Wac is releasing with movies featuring the likes of Jane Powell, Eleanor Parker, and many more stars and filmmakers of yesteryear. (Pictured above: Greer Garson, Debbie Reynolds, Ricardo Montalban in the sentimental 1966 comedy / drama with music The Singing Nun.) For starters, Jane Powell and Debbie Reynolds play siblings in Richard Thorpe's Athena (1954), whose supporting cast includes Edmund Purdom, Vic Damone, frequent Jerry Lewis foil Kathleen Freeman, Citizen Kane's Ray Collins, Tyrone Power's then-wife Linda Christian, former Mr. Universe and future Hercules Steve Reeves, veteran Louis Calhern, not to mention numerology, astrology, and vegetarianism. As per Wac's newsletter, the score by Hugh Martin and Martin Blane "gets a first ever Stereophonic Sound remix for this disc,
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Hal Kanter obituary

Director and comedy writer known for his Elvis films and the hit TV series Julia

The director and writer Hal Kanter, who has died aged 92, was one of the great wits of Hollywood. He made his reputation as one of Bob Hope's principal writers, and for many years scripted the annual Oscar ceremonies (he shared Emmy awards in 1991 and 1992 for his work on the shows). He was also a huge influence on writers who followed him. He ended his 1999 autobiography, So Far, So Funny, with this: "If any of my work over the past 60 years has inspired, encouraged or motivated any young person to write comedy for radio, motion pictures or television, I apologise."

He wrote or co-wrote films including Once Upon a Horse ... (1958) for Rowan and Martin; The Road to Bali (1952) for Hope and Bing Crosby; Move Over, Darling (1963), starring Doris Day; and Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Hal Kanter obituary

Director and comedy writer known for his Elvis films and the hit TV series Julia

The director and writer Hal Kanter, who has died aged 92, was one of the great wits of Hollywood. He made his reputation as one of Bob Hope's principal writers, and for many years scripted the annual Oscar ceremonies (he shared Emmy awards in 1991 and 1992 for his work on the shows). He was also a huge influence on writers who followed him. He ended his 1999 autobiography, So Far, So Funny, with this: "If any of my work over the past 60 years has inspired, encouraged or motivated any young person to write comedy for radio, motion pictures or television, I apologise."

He wrote or co-wrote films including Once Upon a Horse ... (1958) for Rowan and Martin; The Road to Bali (1952) for Hope and Bing Crosby; Move Over, Darling (1963), starring Doris Day; and Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Reyes 'Set-Up' for RKO remake

Reyes 'Set-Up' for RKO remake
Franc Reyes, who helmed Empire, the highest-grossing film to come out of the Sundance Film Festival in 2002, has signed on to rewrite and direct a remake of RKO's boxing drama The Set-Up. Robert Wise directed the 1949 original with a cast that included Robert Ryan as over-the-hill boxer Stoker Thompson along with Audrey Totter and George Tobias. The story revolves around Thompson's battle to get back into the ring and winning form despite complaints from his wife, played by Totter. The redo has been in the works for some time, with a series of writers -- from Sidney Lumet and Tony Lee to Mardik Martin -- turning in drafts during the past several years. In fall 2002, Lumet also was set to direct James Gandolfini, Halle Berry and Benjamin Bratt in the pic, but that package fell apart.

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