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4 items from 2017


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

4 July 2017 11:58 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

(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 »

- Andre Soares

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The Forgotten: George Archainbaud's "Hotel Haywire" (1937)

11 May 2017 2:42 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Really, I mean Preston Sturges' Hotel Haywire, because nobody's too interested in George Archainbaud, a Paramount contract director who had been directing for 20 years without helming a really memorable film (Thirteen Women, an uncomfortably racist pre-Code with Myrna Loy, is as exciting as it gets, and even that one is remembered chiefly for featuring the girl who threw herself off the Hollywood sign), He would continue for another 20, moving from B-westerns into TV westerns, without making anything else of particular note.Sturges wrote the script as part of his plan to get a long-term contract at Paramount. To particularly appeal to the suits there, he filled the story with roles for Paramount stars such as Mary Boland, Charles Ruggles, Fred MacMurray and Burns & Allen, none of whom were necessarily famous enough to carry a movie, but whose combined star-power might make an attractive investment for studio or future ticket-buyers. »

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Kiss of Death

28 February 2017 2:45 PM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

This is the ultimate in screen sadism circa 1947, and it’s all in the debut film performance of Richard Widmark as a too-nasty-for-words hood who likes to shoot people in the stomach. Actually, Victor Mature is not bad in a grim story of a stool pigeon that tries to square himself with the law, and finds himself a target for mob murder.

Kiss of Death

Blu-ray

Twilight Time

1947 / B&W / 1:37 flat full frame / 98 min. / Street Date February 7, 2017 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95

Starring: Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray, Richard Widmark, Taylor Holmes, Karl Malden, Mildred Dunnock

Cinematography: Norbert Brodine

Art Direction: Leland Fuller, Lyle Wheeler

Film Editor: J. Watson Webb Jr.

Original Music: David Buttolph

Written by Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer, Eleazar Lipsky

Produced by Fred Kohlmar

Directed by Henry Hathaway

The older they get, the better they look. Henry Hathaway’s Kiss of Death is »

- Glenn Erickson

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The Double Bill Brilliance of Jack Hill: Close-Up on "Spider Baby" and "Pit Stop"

26 January 2017 5:59 PM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Jack Hill's Spider Baby (1967) will be showing January 24 - February 23 and Pit Stop (1967) will be showing January 25 - February 24, 2017 in the United States.Quentin Tarantino, unsurprisingly a gushing fan of Jack Hill, once famously compared the exploitation specialist to venerable Hollywood icon Howard Hawks, presumably on the basis of his distinctly personal preferences and his unassuming, across-the-board genre dabbling. Of course, those genres explored by Hawks—from westerns to screwball comedies—were considerably different than those in which Hill excels, but the point is well taken: within his respective niches, Hill does it as well as anyone, with skill and without pretense. This includes quintessential Blaxploitation classics like Coffy (1973) and Foxy Brown (1974), and some of the finest women-in-prison films ever made—yes, there are some very fine women-in-prison films—namely The Big Doll House (1971) and The Big Bird Cage »

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4 items from 2017


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