12 items from 2017
Want to call this unit a scrap pile? An R2-D2 unit sold at an auction on Wednesday for $2.76 million. The Associated Press reported that the 43-inch tall unit, which was compiled from parts used on screen throughout the original trilogy, was the most expensive piece of memorabilia at the auction. There is no information on who purchased the item. The event was put together by Profiles in History, which scheduled four days worth of auctions on Hollywood memorabilia, including items from the collection of director Tod Browning, the front entrance doors and other decor from Rick’s Café Américain in “Casablanca, »
- Carli Velocci
When you see home-movie footage from, say, the 1940s, the images look old, but the people in them appear, more or less, to inhabit the same universe that we do. But when you see documentary footage from the late 19th century, it has an entirely different, slightly spooky not-of-this-world quality. Is it because of the primitive scratchy images? The more archaic visual-recording technology? No, it’s because the people in the images lack even a hint of the awareness of image-making technology. They have no media in their souls, and that marks them as pre-modern spirits.
“Dawson City: Frozen Time” is a one-of-a-kind curio of a movie that captures, through a collage of photographs, silent documentary footage, and pre-talkie Hollywood film, the story of a Canadian mining town from the 1890s up through the early decades of the 20th century. But it’s really telling the story of the birth of the modern age, and »
- Owen Gleiberman
'The Doll' with Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig: Early Ernst Lubitsch satirical fantasy starring 'the German Mary Pickford' has similar premise to that of the 1925 Buster Keaton comedy 'Seven Chances.' 'The Doll': San Francisco Silent Film Festival presented fast-paced Ernst Lubitsch comedy starring the German Mary Pickford – Ossi Oswalda Directed by Ernst Lubitsch (So This Is Paris, The Wedding March), the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film Festival presentation The Doll / Die Puppe (1919) has one of the most amusing mise-en-scènes ever recorded. The set is created by cut-out figures that gradually come to life; then even more cleverly, they commence the fast-paced action. It all begins when a shy, confirmed bachelor, Lancelot (Hermann Thimig), is ordered by his rich uncle (Max Kronert), the Baron von Chanterelle, to marry for a large sum of money. As to be expected, mayhem ensues. Lancelot is forced to flee from the hordes of eligible maidens, eventually »
- Danny Fortune
'Amazing Tales from the Archives': Pioneering female documentarian Aloha Wanderwell Baker remembered at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival – along with the largely forgotten sound-on-cylinder technology and the Jean Desmet Collection. 'Amazing Tales from the Archives': San Francisco Silent Film Festival & the 'sound-on-cylinder' system Fans of the earliest sound films would have enjoyed the first presentation at the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, held June 1–4: “Amazing Tales from the Archives,” during which Library of Congress' Nitrate Film Vault Manager George Willeman used a wealth of enjoyable film clips to examine the Thomas Edison Kinetophone process. In the years 1913–1914, long before The Jazz Singer and Warner Bros.' sound-on-disc technology, the sound-on-cylinder system invaded the nascent film industry with a collection of “talkies.” The sound was scratchy and muffled, but “recognizable.” Notably, this system focused on dialogue, rather than music or sound effects. As with the making of other recordings at the time, the »
- Danny Fortune
The 2016 blu ray release of the Frankenstein and Wolf Man Legacy Collections was a moment of celebration for movie and monster lovers everywhere, bringing together all the golden age appearances of Frankenstein’s misbegotten creation and Larry Talbot’s hairy alter-ego. Universal Studios treated those dusty creature features to luminous restorations; from Bride of Frankenstein to She Wolf of London, these essential artifacts never looked less than impeccable and, at times, even ravishing. Colin Clive’s frenzied declaration, “It’s Alive!”, never felt more appropriate.
Now Universal has turned their attention to their other legendary franchise players, Dracula, the sharp-dressed but undead ladies’ man and Im-ho-tep, the cursed Egyptian priest who loved not wisely but too well.
Dracula: Complete Legacy Collection
1931, ’36, ’43, ’44, ’45, ’48 / 449 min. / B&W / 1:33 / Street Date May 16, 2017
Cinematography: Karl Freund, »
- Charlie Largent
The monster movie represents one of the most enduring genres in cinema, a versatile formula for exploring the horrors of the unknown. Whatever it is that scares us, there’s always a monster to represent that fear as a metaphor in the flesh. Most monsters are misunderstood creatures, victims of a terrible fate seeking redemption and, in some cases, vengeance.
Alien: Covenant, now playing in theaters, returns director Ridley Scott to a beloved franchise, following the mixed and controversial reception to Prometheus. The plot follows the crew of a deep-space colony ship, which lands on what appears to be an undiscovered paradise. This new planet holds many secrets for its new inhabitants, including David (Michael Fassbender) the surviving robotic companion of the Prometheus crew. Sadly, the series isn’t always consistent in quality (Alien: Resurrection was a definite low) but movie fans will always welcome a return visit to this classic monster movie territory. »
- Tony Hinds
Jacqueline Bisset’s in a heck of a fix. Her hubby Alan Alda has been seduced by promises of fame and fortune from creepy concert genius Curt Jurgens, and is responding to weird overtures from Curt’s daughter Barbara Parkins. The pianist’s mansion is stuffed with occult books, and he displays an unhealthy interest in Alda’s piano-ready hands. Do you think the innocent young couple could be in a diabolical tight spot? Nah, nothing to worry about here.
Kl Studio Classics
1971 / Color /1:85 widescreen / 115 min. / Street Date April 18, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95
Starring: Alan Alda, Jacqueline Bisset, Barbara Parkins, Brad(ford) Dillman, William Windom, Kathleen Widdoes, Pamelyn Ferdin, Curt Jurgens, Curt Lowens, Kiegh Diegh, Berry Kroeger, Walter Brooke, Frank Campanella.
Cinematography: William W. Spencer
Film Editor: Richard Brockway
Original Music: Jerry Goldsmith
- Glenn Erickson
It’s an art film boom time in New York City. With more and more theaters cropping up than one could try and name off the top of their heads, citizens of The Big Apple have everything from the retrospective-centric programming of The Metrograph to their very own Alamo Drafthouse to give their money to in hopes of making a great cinematic discovery. However, don’t forget the museum scene.
As we make our way through the month of May, The Museum of Modern Art has scheduled two fantastic retrospective series, running back to back, that couldn’t be more different. Looking at the worlds of pre-Code Hollywood and African animation, May at MoMA is one of the most interesting repertory lineups seen yet this year.
Running May 5-16, MoMA follows-up their beloved 2016 series Universal Pictures: Restorations and Rediscoveries, 1928-1937 with a return to the studio, this time looking »
- Joshua Brunsting
The grotesque appeal of carnivals, their inherent and attractive darkness, are long-established motifs of horror. Sideshow acts are full of the lurid and uncanny—humans whose appearances or movements aren’t “normal,” showcased behind heavy curtains or glass as objects of hideous wonder. Few can capture this fascination better than Ray Bradbury, who, along with Tod Browning and Diane Arbus, has solidified these images into our public consciousness. His fiction is shadowy, nebulous and exploitative, like these carnivals, and he evokes their qualities with the highest art.
Many of his plots center around an uncanny or supernatural force wreaking havoc in a mundane environment—an everyman who realizes his skeleton is trying to kill him, the arrival of a strange and deadly circus in Something Wicked This Way Comes, or a fantastic environment that is explored through recognizable, everyday emotions. The Martian Chronicles is otherworldly in setting, but its characters are preoccupied with grief, »
- Ben Larned
Joseph Baxter Feb 23, 2017
Universal Studios’ ambitious shared-universe films featuring classic movie monsters manifests this summer with another reboot of The Mummy. That's set to star Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and Russell Crowe. Now, though, we learn of the planned remake of Van Helsing, that has landed a new writer.
According to The Tracking Board, the script for Universal Monsters entry Van Helsing is now in the hands of writer Dan Mazeau. Mazeau, whose only major credited screenplay was the 2012 Greek myth series sequel Wrath Of The Titans, is in the process of rewriting the Van Helsing script after it was originally drafted by The Mummy writer Jon Spaihts (Passengers) and Eric Heisserer (Arrival).
Mazeau reportedly took on the Van Helsing script duty somewhere around last September after being part of the Universal writer’s room, »
Tony Sokol Feb 13, 2017
The upcoming noir slasher film Carnival is about a knife-throwing artist performing at a traveling circus. But the barnstorming blade buff is not the villain, he is the hunter. In the tradition of Tod Browning’s Freaks, Alejandro Jodorowsky's Santa Sangre, Hammer’s Vampire Circus and Halloween perennial Carnival Of Souls, Carnival will be a three-ringed affair.
Carnival will be directed by Robert Stromberg, the Oscar-winning production designer who made Maleficent (2014) with Angelina Jolie as the sympathetic, malicious witch. Stromberg was the first production designer to ever win back-to- back Oscars, for Avatar and Alice In Wonderland. He turned the lonely journey of astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) from Ridley Scott’s The Martian into The Martian: Vr Experience, which was released at Sundance last year. Stromberg also directed the pilot Dawn for Hulu and MGM. »
1954 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 72 min. / Street Date January 10, 2017 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95
Cinematography: Bert Glennon
Editor: Grant Whytock
Written by: Crane Wilbur
Produced by: Bryan Foy
Directed by John Brahm
Twilight Time, bless ’em, hands us another treat to go with their 3-D discs of Man in the Dark, Miss Sadie Thompson and Harlock Space Pirate 3-D — and this time it’s a fun bit of 1950s horror — with a hot pair of short subject extras.
There have been plenty of theories as to why horror films became scarce after WW2; it’s as if the U.S. film industry took a ten-year break from the supernatural, and partly »
- Glenn Erickson
12 items from 2017
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