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114 days until Oscar

This season's Oscar ceremony, the Academy's 90th annual shindig, is on March 4th, 2018. Did you know that only two Oscar ceremonies have ever happened on a March 4th? Late February, Late March, and early April have been the most frequent time frames over the decades.

the acting winners of '42: Van Heflin, Greer Garson, James Cagney, and Teresa Wright

Both of the March 4th ceremonies were very early in Oscar history:The 1936 Oscars honoring The Great Ziegfeld (March 4th, 1937 at the Biltmore Hotel) and the 1942 Oscars honoring Mrs Miniver (March 4th, 1943 at the Cocoanut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel). I was delighted to realize that we've written about a few of the winners from those years in the past: the dance direction in The Great Ziegfeld,  My Gal Sal's Art Direction, Mrs Miniver as Best Picture, The Great Ziegfeld as Best Picture, and Black Swan's Cinematography. 
See full article at FilmExperience »

Battle Cry

Move over James JonesLeon Uris clobbers the big screen with a sprawling adaptation of his WW2 combat novel, loaded down with roles for promising young actors. This is the one where twice as much time is spent on love affairs than fighting. War may be hell, but if Mona Freeman, Nancy Olson, Dorothy Malone and Allyn McLerie are going to be there for comfort, sign me up.

Battle Cry

Blu-ray

Warner Archive Collection

1955 / Color / 2:55 widescreen / 148 min. / Street Date , 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: Van Heflin, Aldo Ray, Mona Freeman, Nancy Olson, James Whitmore, Raymond Massey, Tab Hunter, Dorothy Malone, Anne Francis, William Campbell, Fess Parker, Justus E. McQueen (L.Q. Jones), Perry Lopez, Jonas Applegarth, Tommy Cook, Felix Noriego, Susan Morrow, Carleton Young, Rhys Williams, Allyn Ann McLerie, Gregory Walcott, Frank Ferguson, Sarah Selby, Willis Bouchey, Victor Milian.

Cinematography: Sidney Hickox

Film Editor: William H. Zeigler

Original Music: Max Steiner
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Chilly Scenes of Winter

Joan Micklin Silver applies sensitive direction to Ann Beattie’s novel about a lonely guy trying to win back his girlfriend, and going about it in all the wrong ways. John Heard is excellent as Charles, who can’t understand why Laura (Mary Beth Hurt) has gone back to her husband and child. The whole thing plays out during a snowy winter in Salt Lake City… which is not the place to expect unrealistic romantic dreams to come true.

Chilly Scenes of Winter

Blu-ray

Twilight Time

1979 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 95 min. / Street Date February 7, 2017 / Head Over Heels / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95

Starring: John Heard, Mary Beth Hurt, Peter Riegert, Kenneth McMillan, Gloria Grahame, Nora Heflin, Jerry Hardin, Tarah Nutter, Mark Metcalf, Allen Joseph, Frances Bay, Griffin Dunne, Anne Beattie.

Cinematography: Bobby Byrne

Film Editor: Cynthia Scheider

Original Music: Ken Lauber

From the novel by Ann Beattie

Produced by Griffin Dunne,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Free State of Jones review – Matthew McConaughey rages through civil war

This audacious, visceral, beautifully shot story of a real-life outlaw in Louisiana’s swamps is one to watch out for in awards season

Matthew McConaughey stars in this startling, fiercely violent, superbly photographed and structurally audacious civil war drama, directed by Gary Ross. McConaughey plays the real-life Confederate soldier Newton Knight, who leads a band of deserters and runaway slaves to form a Robin-Hood outlaw group in the Louisiana swamp and attempts to make Jones county secede from Mississippi and the confederacy to form the “free state of Jones”. He allies himself with slave Moses (Mahershala Ali), marries freed woman Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and after the war takes a lead on democratic reform: this legendary figure has already been the subject of a 1948 movie, Tap Roots, with Van Heflin and Susan Hayward.

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Rod Serling’s ‘Patterns’

Is this Rod Serling's best teleplay ever? Van Heflin, Everett Sloane and Ed Begley are at the center of a business power squeeze. Is it all about staying competitive, or is it corporate murder? With terrific early performances from Elizabeth Wilson and Beatrice Straight. Patterns Blu-ray The Film Detective 1956 / B&W / 1:66 widescreen / 83 min. / Street Date September 27, 2016 / 14.99 Starring Van Heflin, Everett Sloane, Ed Begley, Beatrice Straight, Elizabeth Wilson, Joanna Roos, Valerie Cossart, Eleni Kiamos, Ronnie Welsh, Shirley Standlee, Andrew Duggan, Jack Livesy, John Seymour, James Kelly, John Shelly, Victor Harrison, Sally Gracie, Sally Chamberlin, Edward Binns, Lauren Bacall, Ethel Britton, Michael Dreyfuss, Elaine Kaye, Adrienne Moore. Cinematography Boris Kaufman Film Editors Dave Kummis, Carl Lerner Art Direction Richard Sylbert Assistant Director Charles Maguire Written by Rod Serling Produced by Michael Myerberg Directed by Fielder Cook

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Let me roll off the titles of some 'fifties 'organization
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Judy by the Numbers: "Look For The Silver Lining"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

Believe it or not, 1946 actually represented a change of pace in Judy Garland's career. Judy only had three credits to her name that year: one starring role (The Harvey Girls), one cameo delayed by reshoots (Ziegfeld Follies), and one appearance in a biopic (Till The Clouds Roll By). In fact, this change of pace was a conscious choice on the part of Mr. & Mrs. Minnelli. If Judy looks like she's glowing a bit more than usual under those arclights, that's because Judy Garland was pregnant.

 

 

The Movie: Till The Clouds Roll By (1946)

The Songwriter: Jerome Kern (music), Buddy G. DeSylva (lyrics)

The Players: Judy Garland, Robert Walker, Van Heflin, June Allyson, Lucille Bremer, directed by Richard Whorf & Vincente Minnelli 

The Story: Till The Clouds Roll By is a Jerome Kern biopic, which (in the true MGM style) fabricates
See full article at FilmExperience »

Judy by the Numbers: "Caro Nome/When I Look At You"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

With Judy Garland now such an established hit, MGM worked overtime to make the most of its musical star. This meant that while Arthur Freed and the Freed Unit "made" her by crafting her star image (and arguably used her to her best advantage), Judy couldn't work with them exclusively. She was too valuable a commodity for that. So, MGM also put her under the watchful tutelage of another producer well-known for his musical mojo: Joe Pasternak

The Movie: Presenting Lily Mars (1942)

The Songwriters: Walter Jurmann (music) and Paul Francis Webster (lyrics)

The Players: Judy Garland, Van Heflin, Fay Bainter, Spring Byington, directed by Norman Taurog

The Story: Had Judy's fateful short with Deanna Durbin turned out differently only six years previous, she might have met Joe Pasternak earlier. For most of the 1930s, Pasternak was a top producer at Universal Studios,
See full article at FilmExperience »

How Sound Film Technology Evolved in the Last Century: Interview with Former UCLA Film Preservationist Gitt

Hal Roach looks on as technicians install Vitaphone equipment in his studio screening room, ca. 1928. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) 'A Century of Sound': Q&A with former UCLA Preservation Officer Robert Gitt about the evolution of film sound technology Long before multi-track Dolby stereo and digital sound technology, there were the Kinetophone and the Vitaphone systems – not to mention organ and piano players at movie houses. Much of that is discussed in A Century of Sound, which chronicles the evolution of film sound from the late 19th century to the mid-1970s. A Century of Sound has been split into two parts, with a third installment currently in the planning stages. They are: Vol. 1, “The Beginning, 1876-1932,” which came out on DVD in 2007. Vol. 2, “The Sound of Movies: 1933-1975,” which came out on Blu-ray in 2015. The third installment will bring the presentation into the 21st century.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Gunman’s Walk, Land Raiders & A Man Called Sledge

Germany's Explosive Media company has a serious itch for American westerns, and they have a trio of new releases. One is a minor Hollywood classic with major graces, from the late 1950s. A second sees an American producer based in England filming in Italy with a rising international star, and for the third an established American star goes European  to stay in the game. The best thing for Yankee buyers? The discs are Region-free.

Gunman's Walk, Land Raiders, A Man Called Sledge Three Westerns from Explosive Media Blu-ray Separate Releases 1958-1970 / Color Starring Van Heflin, Tab Hunter; George Maharis, Telly Savalas; James Garner

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

The majority of American studios now choose not to market their libraries for digital disc, and license them out instead. Collectors unwilling to settle for whatever's on Netflix or concerned about the permanence of Cloud Cinema, find themselves increasingly tempted by discs from Europe,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Pitfall

This is a Great film noir. A straying husband's 'innocent' dalliance wrecks lives and puts his marriage in jeopardy. Been there, done that?   Dick Powell and Lizabeth Scott are menaced by Raymond Burr, while wife Jane Wyatt is kept in the dark. Andre de Toth's direction puts everyone through the wringer, with a very adult look at the realities of the American marriage contract, circa 1948. Pitfall Blu-ray Kino Lorber Studio Classics 1948 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 86 min. / Street Date November 17, 2015 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott, Jane Wyatt, Raymond Burr, John Litel, Byron Barr, Jimmy Hunt. Cinematography Harry Wild Art Direction Arthur Lonergan Film Editor Walter Thompson Written by Karl Kamb from the novel by Jay Dratler Produced by Samuel Bischoff Directed by André De Toth

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Is 'domestic noir' even a category? I think so. Some of the creepiest late- '40s noir pictures take intrigue,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Alain Delon, The Superstar Who Redefined French Cool, Turns 80

Alain Delon, The Superstar Who Redefined French Cool, Turns 80
Jean-Paul Belmondo defined French cool at the beginning of the New Wave in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 classic “Breathless.” Actor Alain Delon and director Jean-Pierre Melville very consciously redefined it in 1967’s “Le Samourai,” in which Delon played a killer for hire always adjusting his fedora so it was just so. The actor was compared to James Dean.

But it was the hotly charismatic Belmondo who was more like Dean, who had been given to emotional outbursts in his performances. Delon was not only cool, he could also be cold.

Back when Delon was just starting out, he encountered David O. Selznick, perhaps while Selznick was shooting 1957’s “A Farewell to Arms” in Italy, or perhaps at Cannes. The producer offered him a contract provided that the nascent actor learn English, but Delon demurred.

His rejection of Hollywood helps explain why it may be hard for Americans to appreciate the extent
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Top Screenwriting Team from the Golden Age of Hollywood: List of Movies and Academy Award nominations

Billy Wilder directed Sunset Blvd. with Gloria Swanson and William Holden. Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett movies Below is a list of movies on which Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder worked together as screenwriters, including efforts for which they did not receive screen credit. The Wilder-Brackett screenwriting partnership lasted from 1938 to 1949. During that time, they shared two Academy Awards for their work on The Lost Weekend (1945) and, with D.M. Marshman Jr., Sunset Blvd. (1950). More detailed information further below. Post-split years Billy Wilder would later join forces with screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond in movies such as the classic comedy Some Like It Hot (1959), the Best Picture Oscar winner The Apartment (1960), and One Two Three (1961), notable as James Cagney's last film (until a brief comeback in Milos Forman's Ragtime two decades later). Although some of these movies were quite well received, Wilder's later efforts – which also included The Seven Year Itch
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Sex Kitten Turned Two-Time Oscar Nominee on TCM Tonight

Ann-Margret movies: From sex kitten to two-time Oscar nominee. Ann-Margret: 'Carnal Knowledge' and 'Tommy' proved that 'sex symbol' was a remarkable actress Ann-Margret, the '60s star who went from sex kitten to respected actress and two-time Oscar nominee, is Turner Classic Movies' star today, Aug. 13, '15. As part of its “Summer Under the Stars” series, TCM is showing this evening the movies that earned Ann-Margret her Academy Award nods: Mike Nichols' Carnal Knowledge (1971) and Ken Russell's Tommy (1975). Written by Jules Feiffer, and starring Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel, the downbeat – some have found it misogynistic; others have praised it for presenting American men as chauvinistic pigs – Carnal Knowledge is one of the precursors of “adult Hollywood moviemaking,” a rare species that, propelled by the success of disparate arthouse fare such as Vilgot Sjöman's I Am Curious (Yellow) and Costa-Gavras' Z, briefly flourished from
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

MGM's Lioness, the Epitome of Hollywood Superstardom, Has Her Day on TCM

Joan Crawford Movie Star Joan Crawford movies on TCM: Underrated actress, top star in several of her greatest roles If there was ever a professional who was utterly, completely, wholeheartedly dedicated to her work, Joan Crawford was it. Ambitious, driven, talented, smart, obsessive, calculating, she had whatever it took – and more – to reach the top and stay there. Nearly four decades after her death, Crawford, the star to end all stars, remains one of the iconic performers of the 20th century. Deservedly so, once you choose to bypass the Mommie Dearest inanity and focus on her film work. From the get-go, she was a capable actress; look for the hard-to-find silents The Understanding Heart (1927) and The Taxi Dancer (1927), and check her out in the more easily accessible The Unknown (1927) and Our Dancing Daughters (1928). By the early '30s, Joan Crawford had become a first-rate film actress, far more naturalistic than
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Long Before Day-Lewis, Oscar-Nominated Actor Played Lincoln: TCM 'Stars' Series Continues

Raymond Massey ca. 1940. Raymond Massey movies: From Lincoln to Boris Karloff Though hardly remembered today, the Toronto-born Raymond Massey was a top supporting player – and sometime lead – in both British and American movies from the early '30s all the way to the early '60s. During that period, Massey was featured in nearly 50 films. Turner Classic Movies generally selects the same old MGM / Rko / Warner Bros. stars for its annual “Summer Under the Stars” series. For that reason, it's great to see someone like Raymond Massey – who was with Warners in the '40s – be the focus of a whole day: Sat., Aug. 8, '15. (See TCM's Raymond Massey movie schedule further below.) Admittedly, despite his prestige – his stage credits included the title role in the short-lived 1931 Broadway production of Hamlet – the quality of Massey's performances varied wildly. Sometimes he could be quite effective; most of the time, however, he was an unabashed scenery chewer,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Last Surviving Gwtw Star and 2-Time Oscar Winner Has Turned 99: As a Plus, She Made U.S. Labor Law History

Olivia de Havilland picture U.S. labor history-making 'Gone with the Wind' star and two-time Best Actress winner Olivia de Havilland turns 99 (This Olivia de Havilland article is currently being revised and expanded.) Two-time Best Actress Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland, the only surviving major Gone with the Wind cast member and oldest surviving Oscar winner, is turning 99 years old today, July 1.[1] Also known for her widely publicized feud with sister Joan Fontaine and for her eight movies with Errol Flynn, de Havilland should be remembered as well for having made Hollywood labor history. This particular history has nothing to do with de Havilland's films, her two Oscars, Gone with the Wind, Joan Fontaine, or Errol Flynn. Instead, history was made as a result of a legal fight: after winning a lawsuit against Warner Bros. in the mid-'40s, Olivia de Havilland put an end to treacherous
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Do audiences want quality movies? L.A. Earthquake Flick to Pass Domestic $100M Mark Today

'San Andreas' movie with Dwayne Johnson. 'San Andreas' movie box office: $100 million domestic milestone today As the old saying (sort of) goes: If you build it, they will come. Warner Bros. built a gigantic video game, called it San Andreas, and They have come to check out Dwayne Johnson perform miraculous deeds not seen since ... George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road, released two weeks earlier. Embraced by moviegoers, hungry for quality, original storylines and well-delineated characters – and with the assistance of 3D surcharges – the San Andreas movie debuted with $54.58 million from 3,777 theaters on its first weekend out (May 29-31) in North America. Down a perfectly acceptable 52 percent on its second weekend (June 5-7), the special effects-laden actioner collected an extra $25.83 million, trailing only the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Statham comedy Spy, (with $29.08 million) as found at Box Office Mojo.* And that's how this original movie – it's not officially a remake,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Review: "Once A Thief" (1965) Starring Alain Delon, Ann-margret, Van Heflin And Jack Palance; Warner Archive DVD Release

  • CinemaRetro
By Lee Pfeiffer

One of the most rewarding byproducts of reviewing movies for a living is that you will often encounter some prominent gem that somehow managed to escape your attention previously. In certain cases, it's arguable that a film might well be more appreciated many years later than it was during its initial release. Such a case pertains to the 1965 crime drama Once a Thief. Directed by the under-rated Ralph Nelson, the film successfully invokes the mood and atmosphere of the classic black-and-white film noir crime thrillers of the 1940s and 1950s. Although this movie was widely credited as being Alain Delon's first starring role in an English language production, he was among the all-star cast seen the previous year in the big budget Hollywood production of The Yellow Rolls Royce. It is accurate to say, however, that Once a Thief afforded him his first opportunity to be
See full article at CinemaRetro »

The 57 Greatest Westerns Ever, Ranked

It's fitting that Clint Eastwood and John Wayne both have the same birthday week. (Wayne, who died in 1979, was born May 26, 1907, while Eastwood turns 85 on May 31). After all, these two all-American actors' careers span the history of that most American of movie genres, the western.

Both iconic actors were top box office draws for decades, both seldom stretched from their familiar personas, and both played macho, conservative cowboy heroes who let their firearms do most of the talking. Each represented one of two very different strains of western, the traditional and the revisionist.

As a birthday present to Hollywood's biggest heroes of the Wild West, here are the top 57 westerns you need to see.

57. 'Meek's Cutoff' (2010)

Indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt and her frequent leading lady, Michelle Williams, are the talents behind this sparse, docudrama about an 1845 wagon train whose Oregon Trail journey goes horribly awry. It's an intense
See full article at Moviefone »

‘The Strange Love of Martha Ivers’ is a demonstration of why melodrama is not an inherently bad thing

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Written by Robert Rossen, Robert Riskin

Directed by Lewis Milestone

U.S.A., 1946

As a teenager, Martha Ivers (Janis Wilson) was a petulant rebel who regularly struck the ire of her caretaking aunt, a wicked woman prone to sucking the joy out of Martha’s life even though she offers the youngling a home in her plush Pennsylvania estate. One of the teen’s attempts to run away with street smart Sam Masterson (Darryl Hickman) changes the rest of her life in ways she could never have anticipated. Caught by the police once again and sent back home, Martha unleashes her frustrations on her aunt, murdering her in the process. The only witness to the killing is young Walter O’Neil (Mickey Kuhn), son of Martha’s tutor. Martha claims an intruder killed the vile old creature amidst a frantic escape. Flash forward years
See full article at SoundOnSight »
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