On "No Down Payment": Anne said...This is what makes me wonder if Jeffrey Hunter and Patricia Owens'scharacters had even consumated thier marriageThe kid's got a broken radio, Jeff pulls out a screw driver and sets to work.Tony Randall gets smarmy with Jeff's wife and he's a frozen bystander...if Tony was mashing a radio, I think Jeff's character would have sprun into action. March 9, 2013
On "Trooper Hook": Vienna said...Wonderful review ! I haven't seen TROOPER HOOK for a long time but hope it becomes available on DVD. You describe Joel and Barbara's characters so well. An unusual role for Barbara. I guess she chose to do it for that reason. March 11, 2013
Anne said...Thank you for writing about this little gemOne can see this film on the encore west channel now and then and it's astonishingly good. With a budget not enough for a modern office pastry cart, it shows what can be done with excellent writing and acting....and directing. I love how we see the tiny stage from afar, then we see it though Nanches legs, we are right behind him, and we now know he's on their trail...it makes him almost a gonzilla of a threatChildren: let Mr. McCrea and Ms Stanwyck show you how it's done.They are hotter across a dusty feed store than many buck necked couples in love scenes today.March 7, 2013
On "Any Number Can Play": Vienna said...I love this film. Great cast, though I hate seeing Audrey Totter so totally wasted. All Audrey seemed to do was stand around with a glass in one hand and cigarette in the other.I thought Alexis Smith did well ,playing a woman whom I 'm sure was meant to be older than Alexis who was probably about 30 at the time.Great to see Mary Astor though,again, what a small role. And Marjorie Rambeau is always a joy.It could have been a play, with the only sets the gambling club and Gable's house.An unusual role for Gable and he was convincing.March 1, 2013
On Anita Sharp-Bolster: Vienna said...I've just see Anita in THE LONDON BLACKOUT MURDERS and she is so good as another battle-axe character , but with a touch of comedy . Nice tribute. Thanks.http//:dancing lady39.wordpress.com February 2, 2013
On Victor Jory - On Stage and Screen: Vienna said...Thanks for great tribute to Victor Jory whom I like, especially in a couple of films where he isn't the villain! In FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS, Victor does his best to help Randolph Scott and becomes a good friend to Scott's character. Such a contrast to Victor's usual roles. I also liked him in a little B, THE UNKNOWN GUEST where he is the leading manI had no idea Victor and Alexis Smith did two plays together - thanks for the information. Oh to have seen them!January 24, 2013
On And Then There Were None: Ryan said...I bought this years ago on DVD, and it's still my favorite movie version of this story. The cast was perfect, and to tell you the truth, though I love the book, I almost prefer this ending. I think it's the hopeless romantic in me.February 19, 2013
Another week, another contest for all fans of free stuff everywhere.
As mentioned on this post of May 3rd, we’re giving away a copy of director David Lean’s classic “Doctor Zhivago”, in your choice of either DVD or Blu-ray. A new restoration has been released for the 45th anniversary of the film, and this package has a lot of extra goodies.
First, to enter the contest, between now and Thursday noon, Eastern Time, when we pick the winner, just leave a comment below stating you want the movie. That’s all you have to do. The name is drawn out of a hat. Come back Thursday to see if you’ve won, and if you did, email me at:
...with the address to which you’d like your DVD or Blu-ray to be sent. Neither the address nor your name will be published. I’ll contact the folks who are donating the prize, and they’ll ship it to you directly.
This new release of the film by Warner Home Video is stunning. Of course, you’ll probably remember the film was stunning to begin with, and there are so many images from it we may recall long after we have digested the love story, the political angles, and the tempestuous backdrop of the Russian Revolution.
My gosh, the color. The time spent on images in this film is luxury to enjoy. Today we seem to be rushed by the director to hustle the plot along, like an irritable waiter who keeps showing up at your table to move you out of the restaurant as quickly as possible. This film is like an eight-course meal with servants standing silently in the background refilling your wine glass so discreetly that you barely notice. Despite the enormity of the events in the film, there is something relaxing about it.
Oh, yes, we have an Overture. We have an “Entr’acte”, with that haunting, lovely, refrain of “Lara’s Theme”, theme. The snowflakes on the windowpane, the distant snow-capped Ural Mountains burst upon us as we emerge from a dark train tunnel. The delight in observation (which in turn makes us observe) of the lead character, Dr. Zhivago, played soulfully by Omar Sharif. That eyes-filling-with-tears as he watches the street massacre below, and the horror is reflected in his face, but we are barely subjected to any graphic images of violence, only the meaning of it. His horror, and his joys, both are wordless. And the balalaika that follows him like a conscience.
A shaft of sunlight glowing through a dark forest, and a vase of immense sunflowers that drop their petals. A field of yellow daffodils. This is a beautiful, beautiful film.
And how interesting that something so ethereal about a bloody revolution whose consequences were felt by the entire world for decades afterwards could be filmed with such empathy during the Cold War. It wasn’t until the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, that “Doctor Zhivago” was shown in Russia, and the novel by Boris Pasternak, who was awarded a Nobel Prize, was published there in 1988, just before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The special features of this 45th anniversary release alone are worth it. There is a documentary, “Doctor Zhivago: A Celebration Part 1 & 2” (all-new production). Also: commentary by Omar Sharif, Rod Steiger and Lady Sandra Lean, and “Doctor Zhivago: The Making of a Russian Epic” which has candid reminiscences by Omar Sharif, Rod Steiger and Geraldine Chaplin. This is the sort of nuts-and-bolts behind the scenes stuff I love, and it is fascinating. They even explain how they achieved the sunflowers dropping their petals moment.
Eleven vintage featurettes are included, among them New York press interviews with Omar Sharif and with Julie Christie, and Geraldine Chaplin’s screen test. This is really quite a comprehensive package on this film, and provides such terrific background and context for your viewing of a beautifully restored “Doctor Zhivago.”
Let the contest begin.
FTC Disclosure: a review copy of the CD, and the contest prize, are provided by Warner Home Video.
Meet Me in Nuthatch - A publicity stunt to attract tourists to a small dying town results in the entire community turning the clock back to 1904. It is local Christmas tree farmer Everett Campbell’s idea, after watching the film “Meet Me in St. Louis,” his young daughter’s new favorite movie. What begins as half practical joke and half desperate ploy initiates the rebirth of Nuthatch, Massachusetts. Tourists do come, along with the media. To Everett’s dismay, his campaign to save their community results in also attracting representatives of a chain of theme parks who want to buy Nuthatch 1904. Everett now stands to lose his town in a way he never imagined, and the community is divided on which alternate future to choose. A local drug dealer, the longtime enemy of Everett, may hold their future in his hands unless Everett can pull off his most spectacular, and dangerous, practical joke.
“…a comforting, pleasant read that stays with you even after the last page is turned. After finishing the book, I found myself still musing about the relationships and how they'd changed and progressed. This book was a nice, hot chocolate sort of read.” Grace Krispy, "MotherLode" blog book review.
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