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Two bickering shop attendants each find solace in the romantic letters they receive from secret admirers. Of course those unknown admirers are themselves and thereby hangs the plot of Ernst Lubitsch’s gently comic masterpiece starring Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart and Frank Morgan. Movies don’t get more transparently soulful, touching or funny as this 1940 film. It’s practically perfect.
- Charlie Largent
Forgotten amid Robert Aldrich’s more critic-friendly movies is this superb suspense picture, an against-all-odds thriller that pits an old-school pilot against a push-button young engineer with his own kind of male arrogance. Can a dozen oil workers and random passengers ‘invent’ their way out of an almost certain death trap? It’s a late-career triumph for James Stewart, at the head of a sterling ensemble cast. I review a UK disc in the hope of encouraging a new restoration.
Region B Blu-ray
(will not play in domestic U.S. players)
Masters of Cinema / Eureka Entertainment
1965 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 142 min. / Street Date September 12, 2016 / £12.95
Starring: James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Hardy Krüger, Ernest Borgnine, Ian Bannen, Ronald Fraser, Christian Marquand, Dan Duryea, George Kennedy, Gabriele Tinti, Alex Montoya, Peter Bravos, William Aldrich, Barrie Chase.
Cinematography: Joseph Biroc
Stunt Pilot: Paul Mantz
Art Direction: William Glasgow »
- Glenn Erickson
It sure can be uncomfortable when the shoe is on the other foot.
Jimmy Kimmel has gotten a lot of attention for his on-air commentaries on health care this week, and deservedly so. In laying out the stakes very plainly but cogently, and with a dash of folksy humor, his health care segments have actually recalled the work of an American icon, Jimmy Stewart.
In many of his movies, Stewart would go up against powerful forces who were pushing around the little guy — regular citizens just trying to get by. With heartfelt sincerity and plain speech, Stewart’s characters would point out how unfair and ultimately un-American his foes were.
Of course, Stewart was not the only actor to play this kind of character over the years. The “how dare these big shots hurt my fellow Americans” speech is staple of law dramas on TV and many mainstream movies over the years. The »
- Maureen Ryan
This month marks the one-year anniversary of Catalog from the Beyond! I thank those of you who have followed along with my inane babbling for the last twelve months, and to celebrate, I’ve decided to do an extra large edition featuring not one, but two movies that I’ve been circling since I started this column. I’ve said before that I was a latecomer to the Psycho franchise, with my rationale being that the movie was so ingrained in pop culture that I assumed I knew what it had to offer without needing to actually watch it. Now, of course, I know that I was very wrong. But after finally coming to my senses, I subsequently noticed a sizable portion of the horror community that also sings the praises of the two sequels that it spawned in 1983 and 1986.
What intrigued me about these two movies is that although »
- Bryan Christopher
In this instalment of Flickering Myth’s Film Class, Tom Jolliffe looks at intentional use of colours in film…
When it was discovered that film stock could have colour painted onto it, though painstaking and meticulous, it opened up a new dimension in cinema, previously locked into black, white and grey. It allowed a film-maker to create a world that wasn’t so much a clearer representation of our own, but something, at times that relayed certain emotions. It may have been in the case of something like The Wizard Of Oz for example, that those very strong primary and secondary colour palettes, bright and vibrant which were a complete antithesis to the “reality” of the black and white depiction of Kansas, were deliberately heavy in contrast and saturation. Deep colours that were more fantasy than reality. More metaphorical than literal. They had a certain reality for Oz, but furthermore, »
- Tom Jolliffe
8 September 2017 8:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
She won a supporting actress Oscar (for 1952’s The Bad and the Beautiful) and worked with legendary actors (Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, Dorothy Lamour and Robert Mitchum) and directors (Fritz Lang, Elia Kazan, Vincent Minnelli and Nicholas Ray, whom she married). Grahame’s specialty was the film noir femme fatale. Unfortunately, she also made some fatal career moves.
In June 1951, Ray caught her in bed at their Malibu home »
- Bill Higgins
Many of MGM’s productions were scraping bottom in 1958, yet the studio found one more acceptable western vehicle for their last big star still on contract. Only-slightly corrupt marshal Robert Taylor edges toward a showdown with the thoroughly corrupt Richard Widmark in an economy item given impressive locations and the sound direction of John Sturges.
1958 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 86 min. / Street Date September 12, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99
Cinematography: Robert Surtees
Film Editor: Ferris Webster
Produced by William B. Hawks
Directed by John Sturges
- Glenn Erickson
Tom Jolliffe on the power of a top director…
We’ve all seen great directors deliver complex films, perhaps sprawling with ideas and scope. Perhaps an engrossing retelling of an event in history. A director like Christopher Nolan has spent almost his entire career on weaving complex and intricately stranded high concept films. It takes a good director to do the films he does. No question.
By the same token, there’s a big difference between a great director and a functional director. I think that can often be best illustrated in a film with a simple concept. Take a film for example, which in the context of a directors CV is fairly lithe. A lot of great directors have at least one in their filmography. In the case of Steven Spielberg’s Duel, it was the film that first brought him to attention. The film runs on the ruthlessly »
- Amie Cranswick
Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)
A recent article (based on a very unscientific poll) argued that millennials don’t really care about old movies. Maybe that’s true, and maybe it isn’t, but the fact remains that many people disregard classic cinema on principle. These people are missing out, but it only takes one film — the right film — to change their minds and forever alter their viewing habits.
This week’s question: What is one classic film you would recommend to someone who doesn’t watch them?
Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker), Hello Beautiful, /Film, Thrillist, etc
“Rebel Without a Cause.” I’ll out myself by saying that I’ve only recently seen this film »
- David Ehrlich
Aaron is joined by Jeff Smith, Film Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Lady P, host of Flixwise. Dr. Smith has a focus on music within film, and co-hosts FilmStruck’s Observations on Film Art with David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson. As fate has it, Lady P is in the process of beginning a graduate film studies program at University of Wisconsin-Madison. We had an enjoyable discussion about academic living, from both the faculty and student perspective. We also discuss Criterion’s November 2017 announcements, debate Jimmy Stewart versus Cary Grant, and we talk about FilmStruck’s offerings for the week.
Episode Links FilmStruck – Observations on Film Art Film Art – 11th Edition Flixwise 63 – Sunset Blvd Upcoming Arrow Academy Blu-Ray Releases Episode Credits Aaron West: Twitter | Website | Letterboxd Pauline Lampert: Twitter | Facebook | Website Jeff Smith: Bio Criterion Now: Facebook Group Criterion Cast: Facebook | Twitter
Music for the show is from Fatboy Roberts’ Geek Remixed project. »
- Aaron West
November is still a ways away — who knows what the hell will have happened in our collective Twitter feed by the time good ol’ Nov. comes around? In the event that we’re all still here in three month’s time, here’s what to expect from Criterion in the penultimate month of 2017.
For starters, Criterion is releasing a 4K restoration of “The Philadelphia Story,” the 1940 screwball comedy starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart (Stewart ended up winning an Oscar for his performance — the first and last Academy Award of his career).
- Eli Fine
November over at The Criterion Collection may look a smidge slim, offering up just four new titles, but each new addition to the collection is a seminal selection well-deserving of the Criterion treatment. Of most interest, however, is Donna Deitch’s feature debut “Desert Hearts,” a seminal lesbian drama that’s been going through something of a resurgence as of late, thanks to last year’s 30th anniversary and a continued adoration for its forward-thinking subject matter.
As we recently explored, in the early ’80s, Deitch was a film school grad with only docs under her belt, eager to make a different kind of feature about lesbians in love, and “without the help of Kickstarter or industry backing, she launched an unorthodox grassroots campaign that eventually gained the support of Gloria Steinem, Lily Tomlin, and Stockard Channing. The result was a hit at Sundance in 1986 that went on to become »
- Kate Erbland
Revenge films have been around for a very long time; one can look to The Virgin Spring (1960), Straw Dogs (1971), or Death Wish (1974) for their rise from serious drama to movies of a more exploitive nature. Psychic Killer (1975) adds a unique twist to the tale by having astral projection as a means to the violent ends. Quirky and laden with creative deaths, it very much embraces its weirdness, providing a fun carpet ride for the whole family (at least according to its mind-boggling PG rating).
Released stateside in December by Avco Embassy Pictures, Psychic Killer, aka The Kirlian Force, only cost $250,000 and came and went like a phantom in the night. Critics paid it no mind either, and it was relegated to video store shelves and gas station rentals. On the surface, that’s understandable; a B cast with a former actor turned fairly unproven B director (Ray Danton – Deathmaster), and »
- Scott Drebit
Updated: Following a couple of Julie London Westerns*, Turner Classic Movies will return to its July 2017 Star of the Month presentations. On July 27, Ronald Colman can be seen in five films from his later years: A Double Life, Random Harvest (1942), The Talk of the Town (1942), The Late George Apley (1947), and The Story of Mankind (1957). The first three titles are among the most important in Colman's long film career. George Cukor's A Double Life earned him his one and only Best Actor Oscar; Mervyn LeRoy's Random Harvest earned him his second Best Actor Oscar nomination; George Stevens' The Talk of the Town was shortlisted for seven Oscars, including Best Picture. All three feature Ronald Colman at his very best. The early 21st century motto of international trendsetters, from Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro and Turkey's Recep Erdogan to Russia's Vladimir Putin and the United States' Donald Trump, seems to be, The world is reality TV and reality TV »
- Andre Soares
20 July 2017 9:46 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
First Kill marks the third collaboration between director Steven C. Miller and Bruce Willis, but their efforts are not likely to enter the pantheon of such previous cinematic teams as Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart or John Ford and John Wayne. Produced by the aptly named Grindstone Entertainment, the film, much like its Miller/Willis predecessors Extraction and Marauders, is strictly grindhouse level, if grindhouses still existed. Their modern-day equivalent, VOD, will be the natural home for this mediocre thriller receiving a limited theatrical release.
As with most of his recent vehicles, Willis here plays a supporting part. Hayden Christensen plays »
- Frank Scheck
Movies have long been obsessed with summer. It’s not just a time of year to release big, mindless blockbusters featuring Avengers or Transformers. It’s also an opportunity to memorialize beach-going, keg-standing, and first loves — all the central ingredients to a memorable holiday. From thrillers to comedies to slasher flicks, Variety is counting down nine films that will get you in the summer vacation spirit.
Why It’s the Perfect Summer Vacation Movie: The film that launched both the modern studio blockbuster and Steven Spielberg’s career is also the quintessential summer movie. It boasts both a picturesque beach community setting and an unforgettable central character, a really big fish who likes to nibble on tourists. Four decades after it hit theaters, “Jaws” still has a savage bite. John Williams’ propulsive score will leave you on the edge of your seat, and the sequences where the shark hurtles toward its prey have an intensity that »
- Brent Lang
It’s 1930s America as seen in the movies, through music, and the evasions of newsreels. Franklin Delano Roosevelt preaches prosperity while James Cagney slugs out the decade as a smart-tongued everyman — in a dozen different roles. Director Philippe Mora investigates what was then a new kind of revisionist info-tainment formula: applying old film footage to new purposes.
The Sprocket Vault
1975 / B&W / 1:33 flat full frame / 106 min. / Street Date ?, 2017 / available through The Sprocket Vault / 14.99 (also available in Blu-ray)
Film Editor: Jeremy Thomas
Directed by Philippe Mora
Years before he was briefly sidetracked into sequels for The Howling, Philippe Mora was an accomplished artist and documentary filmmaker. Backed by producers Sanford Lieberson and David Puttnam, his 1974 documentary Swastika pulled a controversial switch on the usual historical fare about »
- Glenn Erickson
This season of Doctor Who just isn’t working for me.
This is imho, of course, and Ymmv, but after a great opening episode (The Pilot) I’ve been very disappointed. The stories haven’t excited me, and, more important, the relationship between Pearl Mackie’s Bill Potts and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor doesn’t seem to have moved all that much forward; there isn’t any there there, as Trumpists like to say these days. (Of course I had to get a Trump reference in here. You know me.) It started off great, with hints of something even more brewing.
Why does the Doctor take an interest in the non-matriculated kitchen worker who was attending his lectures? Why did he go out of his way to use the Tardis to go back in the past to take pictures of Bill’s dead mom – of whom she had no memory »
- Mindy Newell
Turner Classic Movies continues with its Gay Hollywood presentations tonight and tomorrow morning, June 8–9. Seven movies will be shown about, featuring, directed, or produced by the following: Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart, Farley Granger, John Dall, Edmund Goulding, W. Somerset Maughan, Clifton Webb, Montgomery Clift, Raymond Burr, Charles Walters, DeWitt Bodeen, and Harriet Parsons. (One assumes that it's a mere coincidence that gay rumor subjects Cary Grant and Tyrone Power are also featured.) Night and Day (1946), which could also be considered part of TCM's homage to birthday girl Alexis Smith, who would have turned 96 today, is a Cole Porter biopic starring Cary Grant as a posh, heterosexualized version of Porter. As the warning goes, any similaries to real-life people and/or events found in Night and Day are a mere coincidence. The same goes for Words and Music (1948), a highly fictionalized version of the Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart musical partnership. »
- Andre Soares
In August 1983, Ronald Reagan was president, “Every Breath You Take” by The Police was in the middle of an eight-week run as the #1 single, Ivanka Trump wasn’t quite two years old, and few people were aware of the Church of Scientology. And “Risky Business,” the first movie to star Tom Cruise, became a surprise hit.
34 years later, Cruise is at a different kind of crossroads at the box office. He’s been charged with rebooting Universal’s Mummy franchise, which will launch the studio’s “Dark Universe” story world. And while “The Mummy” has already opened strongly in its first date (South Korea), projections here are considerably less kind. Reviews have ranged from disappointing to incendiary, and “Wonder Woman” is expected to soundly beat the film in its opening weekend.
While “The Mummy” won’t be a career highlight, »
- Tom Brueggemann
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