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Review: "Who's Minding The Store?" (1963) Starring Jerry Lewis; Olive Films Blu-ray Release

  • CinemaRetro
By Lee Pfeiffer

Olive Films has released the 1963 Jerry Lewis comedy "Who's Minding the Store?" on Blu-ray. The film was made at the peak of Lewis's solo career following the breakup of Martin and Lewis some years before. The movie was directed by Frank Tashlin, who collaborated with Lewis on his best productions. It can be argued that, with the exception of Lewis's inspired "The Nutty Professor" (released the same year as "Store"), his work never reached the heights that he achieved by working with Tashlin, a talented director and screenwriter who never quite got the acclaim he deserved. "Store" is one of Lewis's best movies because it's also one of his funniest. He plays Norman Phiffier, a nerdy manchild who fails at even the most elementary of careers. When we meet him he's trying to make ends meet by running his own dog-walking service, which provides some amusing sight
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Tony Rome / Lady in Cement

It's ring-a-ding time, with producer-star Frank Sinatra and his cooperative director Gordon Douglas doing a variation on the hipster detective saga. The two Tony Rome pictures are lively and fun and chock-ful of borderline offensive content, like smash-zooms into women's rear ends. Tony Rome & Lady in Cement Blu-ray Twilight Time 1967, 1968 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 110 and 93 min. / Street Date September 8, 2016 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store / 29.95 Starring Frank Sinatra, Richard Conte; Tony Rome: Jill St. John, Sue Lyon, Gena Rowlands, Simon Oakland, Lloyd Bochner, Robert J. Wilke, Virginia Vincent, Joan Shawlee, Lloyd Gough, Rocky Graziano, Elisabeth Fraser, Shecky Greene, Jeanne Cooper, Joe E. Ross, Tiffany Bolling, Deanna Lund. Lady in Cement: Raquel Welch, Dan Blocker, Martin Gabel, Lainie Kazan, Paul Mungar, Richard Deacon, Joe E. Lewis, Bunny Yeager. Cinematography Joseph Biroc Original Music Billy May, Hugo Montenegro; song by Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra Written by Richard L. Breen
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Shield for Murder

Dirty cops were a movie vogue in 1954, and Edmond O'Brien scores as a real dastard in this overachieving United Artists thriller. Dreamboat starlet Marla English is the reason O'Brien's detective kills for cash, and then keeps killing to stay ahead of his colleagues. And all to buy a crummy house in the suburbs -- this man needs career counseling. Shield for Murder Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1954 / B&W / 1:75 widescreen / 82 min. / Street Date June 21, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Edmond O'Brien, Marla English, John Agar, Emile Meyer, Carolyn Jones, Claude Akins, Herbert Butterfield, Hugh Sanders, William Schallert, Robert Bray, Richard Deacon, David Hughes, Gregg Martell, Stafford Repp, Vito Scotti. Cinematography Gordon Avil Film Editor John F. Schreyer Original Music Paul Dunlap Written by Richard Alan Simmons, John C. Higgins from the novel by William P. McGivern <Produced by Aubrey Schenck, (Howard W. Koch) Directed by Edmond O'Brien, Howard W. Koch

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Here's the kind of '50s movie we love, an ambitious, modest crime picture that for its time had an edge. In the 1950s our country was as blind to the true extent of police corruption as it was to organized crime. Movies about bad cops adhered to the 'bad apple' concept: it's only crooked individuals that we need to watch out for, never the institutions around them. Thanks to films noir, crooked cops were no longer a film rarity, even though the Production Code made movies like The Asphalt Jungle insert compensatory scenes paying lip service to the status quo: an imperfect police force is better than none. United Artists in the 1950s helped star talent make the jump to independent production, with the prime success stories being Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. But the distribution company also funded proven producers capable of putting out smaller bread 'n' butter movies that could prosper if costs were kept down. Edward Small, Victor Saville, Levy-Gardner-Laven. Aubrey Schenck and Howard C. Koch produced as a team, and for 1954's Shield for Murder Koch co-directed, sharing credit with the film's star, Edmond O'Brien. The show is a smart production all the way, a modestly budgeted 'B' with 'A' ambitions. O'Brien was an industry go-getter trying to channel his considerable talent in new directions. His leading man days were fading but he was in demand for parts in major films like The Barefoot Contessa. The producers took care with their story too. Writers Richard Alan Simmons and John C. Higgins had solid crime movie credits. Author William P. McGivern wrote the novel behind Fritz Lang's The Big Heat as well as Rogue Cop and Odds Against Tomorrow. All of McGivern's stories involve crooked policemen or police corruption. Shield for Murder doesn't tiptoe around its subject matter. Dirty cop Detective Lt. Barney Nolan (O'Brien) kills a hoodlum in an alley to steal $25,000 of mob money. His precinct boss Captain Gunnarson (Emile Meyer) accepts Barney's version of events and the Asst. D.A. (William Schallert) takes the shooting as an open and shut case. Crime reporter Cabot (Herbert Butterfield) has his doubts, and lectures the squad room about the abuse of police power. Barney manages to placate mob boss Packy Reed (Hugh Sanders), but two hoods continue to shadow him. Barney's plan for the money was to buy a new house and escape the rat race with his girlfriend, nightclub cashier Patty Winters (Marla English). But a problem surfaces in the elderly deaf mute Ernst Sternmueller (David Hughes), a witness to the shooting. Barney realizes that his only way forward is to kill the old man before he can tell all to Det. Mark Brewster (John Agar), Barney's closest friend. Once again one of society's Good Guys takes a bite of the forbidden apple and tries to buck the system. Shield for Murder posits an logical but twisted course of action for a weary defender of the law who wants out. Barney long ago gave up trying to do anything about the crooks he can't touch. The fat cat Packy Reed makes the big money, and all Barney wants is his share. Barney's vision of The American Dream is just the middle-class ideal, the desirable Patty Winters and a modest tract home. He's picked it out - it sits partway up a hill in a new Los Angeles development, just finished and already furnished. Then the unexpected witness shows up and everything begins to unravel; Barney loses control one step at a time. He beats a mob thug (Claude Akins) half to death in front of witnesses. When his pal Mark Brewster figures out the truth, Barney has to use a lot of his money to arrange a getaway. More mob trouble leads to a shoot-out in a high school gym. The idea may have been for the star O'Brien to coach actors John Agar and Marla English to better performances. Agar is slightly more natural than usual, but still not very good. The gorgeous Ms. English remains sweet and inexpressive. After several unbilled bits, the woman often compared to Elizabeth Taylor was given "introducing" billing on the Shield for Murder billing block. Her best-known role would be as The She-Creature two years later, after which she dropped out to get married. Co-director O'Brien also allows Emile Meyer to go over the top in a scene or two. But the young Carolyn Jones is a standout as a blonde bargirl, more or less expanding on her small part as a human ashtray in the previous year's The Big Heat. Edmond O'Brien is occasionally a little to hyper, but he's excellent at showing stress as the trap closes around the overreaching Barney Nolan. Other United Artists budget crime pictures seem a little tight with the outdoors action -- Vice Squad, Witness to Murder, Without Warning -- but O'Brien and Koch's camera luxuriates in night shoots on the Los Angeles streets. This is one of those Blu-rays that Los Angelenos will want to freeze frame, to try to read the street signs. There is also little downtime wasted in sidebar plot detours. The gunfight in the school gym, next to an Olympic swimming pool, is an action highlight. The show has one enduring sequence. With the force closing in, Barney rushes back to the unfinished house he plans to buy, to recover the loot he's buried next to its foundation. Anybody who lived in Southern California in the '50s and '60s was aware of the massive suburban sprawl underway, a building boom that went on for decades. In 1953 the La Puente hills were so rural they barely served by roads; the movie The War of the Worlds considered it a good place to use a nuclear bomb against invading Martians. By 1975 the unending suburbs had spread from Los Angeles, almost all the way to Pomona. Barney dashes through a new housing development on terraced plots, boxy little houses separated from each other by only a few feet of dirt. There's no landscaping yet. Even in 1954 $25,000 wasn't that much money, so Barney Nolan has sold himself pretty cheaply. Two more latter-day crime pictures would end with ominous metaphors about the oblivion of The American Dream. In 1964's remake of The Killers the cash Lee Marvin kills for only buys him a patch of green lawn in a choice Hollywood Hills neighborhood. The L.A.P.D. puts Marvin out of his misery, and then closes in on another crooked detective in the aptly titled 1965 thriller The Money Trap. The final scene in that movie is priceless: his dreams smashed, crooked cop Glenn Ford sits by his designer swimming pool and waits to be arrested. Considering how well things worked out for Los Angeles police officers, Edmond O'Brien's Barney Nolan seems especially foolish. If Barney had stuck it out for a couple of years, the new deal for the L.A.P.D. would have been much better than a measly 25 grand. By 1958 he'd have his twenty years in. After a retirement beer bash he'd be out on the road pulling a shiny new boat to the Colorado River, like all the other hardworking cops and firemen enjoying their generous pensions. Policemen also had little trouble getting house loans. The joke was that an L.A.P.D. cop might go bad, but none of them could be bribed. O'Brien directed one more feature, took more TV work and settled into character parts for Jack Webb, Frank Tashlin, John Ford, John Frankenheimer and finally Sam Peckinpah in The Wild Bunch, where he was almost unrecognizable. Howard W. Koch slowed down as a director but became a busy producer, working with Frank Sinatra for several years. He eventually co-produced Airplane! The Kl Studio Classics Blu-ray of Shield for Murder is a good-looking B&W scan, framed at a confirmed-as-correct 1:75 aspect ratio. The picture is sharp and detailed, and the sound is in fine shape. The package art duplicates the film's original no-class sell: "Dame-Hungry Killer-Cop Runs Berserk! The first scene also contains one of the more frequently noticed camera flubs in film noir -- a really big boom shadow on a nighttime alley wall. Kino's presentation comes with trailers for this movie, Hidden Fear and He Ran All the Way. On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor, Shield for Murder Blu-ray rates: Movie: Good Video: Very Good Sound: Excellent Supplements: Trailers for Shield for Murder, Hidden Fear, He Ran All the Way Deaf and Hearing Impaired Friendly? N0; Subtitles: None Packaging: Keep case Reviewed: June 7, 2016 (5115murd)

Visit DVD Savant's Main Column Page Glenn Erickson answers most reader mail: dvdsavant@mindspring.com

Text © Copyright 2016 Glenn Erickson
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Superficial 'News,' Mineo-Dean Bromance-Romance and Davis' fading 'Star': 31 Days of Oscar

'Broadcast News' with Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter: Glib TV news watch. '31 Days of Oscar': 'Broadcast News' slick but superficial critics pleaser (See previous post: “Phony 'A Beautiful Mind,' Unfairly Neglected 'Swing Shift': '31 Days of Oscar'.”) Heralded for its wit and incisiveness, James L. Brooks' multiple Oscar-nominated Broadcast News is everything the largely forgotten Swing Shift isn't: belabored, artificial, superficial. That's very disappointing considering Brooks' highly addictive Mary Tyler Moore television series (and its enjoyable spin-offs, Phyllis and Rhoda), but totally expected considering that three of screenwriter-director Brooks' five other feature films were Terms of Endearment, As Good as It Gets, and Spanglish. (I've yet to check out I'll Do Anything and the box office cataclysm How Do You Know starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson.) Having said that, Albert Brooks (no relation to James L.; or to Mel Brooks
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The High Cost of Loving

José Ferrar stars in his second dramatic feature as director, teamed with newcomer Gena Rowlands as a married working couple. Ferrar's executive assistant isn't on the list of those invited to meet the new corporate bosses, which everyone knows means he's a dead employee walking. Things are looking darkest just as his loving wife is bringing news of a baby on the way. The show builds up a terrific critique of anxiety in the Rat Race, but then... The High Cost of Loving DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1958 / B&W / 2:35 enhanced widescreen / 87 min. / Street Date July 16, 2015 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring José Ferrer, Gena Rowlands, Joanne Gilbert, Jim Backus, Bobby Troup, Philip Ober, Edward Platt, Charles Watts, Werner Klemperer, Malcolm Atterbury, Jeanne Baird, Nick Clooney, Abby Dalton, Richard Deacon, Nancy Kulp, Lucien Littlefield. Cinematography George J. Folsey Film Editor Ferris Webster Original Music Jeff Alexander Written by Rip Van Ronkel,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Fade to Grey

  • CultureCatch
Jasper Johns: Regrets Museum of Modern Art Through September 1, 2014

The image is dead. The icon is dead. The painting is dead. - Patricia Cronin

Keep everything on the surface, even with the knowledge that the surface fades and can't be held together forever -- take advantage before the expiration date appears in the nearing distance. - Bret Easton Ellis, Imperial Bedrooms

Art asks: How do we know anything about other people? The tension between an artist's public and private roles is a constant preoccupation to the audience. The artist is challenged to dwell within this conundrum and elaborate most fully the questions of how to articulate the private in a public forum, and whether the private life will be able to find an image for itself that can stand up in this forum. - Dr. Hope Ardizzone, Anatomy of Art's Murder

During this test you will be shown a series of inkblot images.
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Gregory Peck from ‘Duel in the Sun’ to ‘How the West Was Won’: TCM schedule (Pt) on August 15 (photo: Gregory Peck in ‘Duel in the Sun’) See previous post: “Gregory Peck Movies: Memorable Miscasting Tonight on Turner Classic Movies.” 3:00 Am Days Of Glory (1944). Director: Jacques Tourneur. Cast: Gregory Peck, Lowell Gilmore, Maria Palmer. Bw-86 mins. 4:30 Am Pork Chop Hill (1959). Director: Lewis Milestone. Cast: Gregory Peck, Harry Guardino, Rip Torn. Bw-98 mins. Letterbox Format. 6:15 Am The Valley Of Decision (1945). Director: Tay Garnett. Cast: Greer Garson, Gregory Peck, Donald Crisp. Bw-119 mins. 8:15 Am Spellbound (1945). Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Leo G. Carroll, Rhonda Fleming, Bill Goodwin, Norman Lloyd, Steve Geray, John Emery, Donald Curtis, Art Baker, Wallace Ford, Regis Toomey, Paul Harvey, Jean Acker, Irving Bacon, Jacqueline deWit, Edward Fielding, Matt Moore, Addison Richards, Erskine Sanford, Constance Purdy. Bw-111 mins. 10:15 Am Designing Woman (1957). Director: Vincente Minnelli.
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Greatest TV Pilots: The Dick Van Dyke Show’s “The Sick Boy and the Sitter” remains an effective, entertaining opener

The Dick Van Dyke Show, “The Sick Boy and the Sitter”

Written by Carl Reiner

Directed by Sheldon Leonard

Aired on October 3rd, 1961 on CBS

The Dick Van Dyke Show is one of the most enduring sitcoms of television history. While most series fall from recognition shortly after their finales, it remains a staple of Best Comedy lists to this day. The premise is very straightforward- Dick Van Dyke stars as Rob Petrie, a comedy writer at the fictional The Alan Brady Show. He’s married to Laura, played by Mary Tyler Moore, and the two have a son, Ritchie, and live in New Rochelle. We follow Rob at home and at work, where he often shares scenes with fellow writers Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) and Sally Rogers (Rose Marie) and occasionally with their straight-man producer, Mel Cooley, played by Richard Deacon.

The pilot opens simply. Laura’s in the
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Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. – The DVD Review

Review by Sam Moffitt

Some movies stay with you. People are constantly amazed that I can remember so much about movies but also what theatre I saw them in and under what circumstances. Movies can be like songs in the memory, where you were physically and mentally and emotionally the first time you heard a song and how it takes on much more meaning than the musicians ever intended. The same with books, I recall at what point in my life I read certain books and where I was at the time. And so, it’s the same with movies, for me anyway.

In 1966 my Father entered John Cochran Veteran’s Hospital in St. Louis, on North Grand, for brain surgery. He never walked out of there. We were visiting Dad before the surgery, at eleven years old I was already a die hard Movie Geek. I used to beg my parents,
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Steve Martin DVD unearthes wild and crazy hidden treasures -- Exclusive Video

Steve Martin DVD unearthes wild and crazy hidden treasures -- Exclusive Video
Steve Martin has been making people laugh so hard for so long that some — especially younger audiences — might not fully appreciate just how pure and fresh his early comic work was. Before the Oscars, before Father of the Bride, before Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, even before The Jerk, Martin was a total force of nature whose main platform was television, beginning with writing for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. In his wild and crazy prime, an appearance by Martin on Johnny Carson or other primetime showcase was insane, yet so carefully crafted. When he hosted Saturday Night Live or had a stand-up special,
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Don’T Worry We’LL Think Of A Title – The DVD Review

Big kudos to the fine folks at MGM Limited Edition DVD-r! They’ve dug deep in the vaults for a true oddity in the world of cinema and television ( sitcoms, to be more precise ) ! I will tell anyone who asks that my absolute favorite TV situation comedy of all time is that early sixties gem ” The Dick Van Dyke Show” ( desert island, only one TV comedy, no hesitation! ). Well one of the few people with even more admiration and affection for this bit of comic perfection is comedy writer and pop culture master Mark Evanier. One of the sites I’ve bookmarked ( and if you love entertainment you should too ) is his website/ blog newsfromme.com . In 2007 he alerted his readers to Don”T Worry We’LL Think Of A Title was airing on the Turner Classic Movie cable channel. He had seen it with his family while they were
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Leave It to Beaver: The Cast Reunites to Remember the Classic TV Show

Some of the surviving members of Leave It to Beaver recently reunited at The Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles.

Those attending were Frank Bank (Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford), Jerry Mathers (Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver), Tony Dow (Wally Cleaver) and Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell). Barbara Billingsley (mother June Cleaver), who is now 94 years old, was not present.

Matt Hurwitz was the event's moderator. The actors discussed being cast on the show and their recollections of filming it. They also talked about the late Hugh Beaumont (dad Ward Cleaver), Richard Deacon (Lumpy's father), and directors Norman Tokar and Norman Abbott.

Dow recalled that, when the Still the Beaver reunion movie was being prepared, they tried to find Robert "Rusty" Stevens, who played Beaver's pudgy friend Larry Mondello. When the detective they hired went to his home, his wife answered. She wasn't
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Shout! Factory Dishes the Dirt on Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep Special Edition Blu-ray Releases

If we could kiss, cuddle, and embrace Shout! Factory until we both weep, I think that we would. After reading the following news, we're fairly certain you'll want to join in on our video induced love fest.

From the Press Release

Just when you thought it was safe to take a dip in the water again…they’re baaaack! This summer rediscover two enduring Roger Corman underwater thrillers filled with unstoppable action and edge-of-your-seat suspense as Joe Dante’s Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep, directed by Barbara Peters, debut August 3, 2010 for the first time on Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD from Shout! Factory, in association with New Horizons Picture Corporation. These two definitive Special Edition home entertainment releases from Roger Corman’s Cult Classics are sure to cause a feeding frenzy among thrill seekers and loyal fans of Roger Corman and Joe Dante. Piranha Special Edition offers two highly
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