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They Live by Night

Don’t look to this noir for hardboiled cynicism – for his first feature Nicholas Ray instead gives us a dose of fatalist romance. Transposed from the previous decade, a pair of fugitives takes what happiness they can find, always aware that a grim fate waits ahead. The show is a career-making triumph and a real classic from Rko — which shelved it for more than a year.

They Live by Night

Blu-ray

The Criterion Collection 880

1948 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 95 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date June 13, 2017 / 39.95

Starring: Cathy O’Donnell, Farley Granger, Howard Da Silva, Jay C. Flippen, Helen Craig, Will Wright, William Phipps, Ian Wolfe, Harry Harvey, Marie Bryant, Byron Foulger, Erskine Sanford .

Cinematography: George E. Diskant

Film Editor: Sherman Todd

Original Music: Leigh Harline

Written by Charles Schnee, Nicholas Ray from the novel Thieves Like Us by Edward Anderson

Produced by John Houseman

Directed by Nicholas Ray
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It’s Always Fair Weather

When MGM was almost a ghost town, the Arthur Freed unit hit one last 'special' factory musical out of the park with this strangely melancholy ode to faded ambitions. Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd put in great, memorable work, while the glorious Dolores Gray is practically a living Tex Avery cartoon. And it's designed in wide, wide CinemaScope. It's Always Fair Weather Blu-ray Warner Archive Collection 1955 / Color / 2:55 widescreen / 102 min. / Street Date November, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Dolores Gray, Michael Kidd Cinematography Robert Bronner Art Direction Cedric Gibbons, Arthur Lonergan Film Editor Adrienne Fazan Original Music André Previn Written by Betty Comden & Adolph Green Produced by Arthur Freed, Roger Edens Directed & Choreographed by Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Back in the late 1980s, I first became aware of the future of home video when Criterion introduced
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Strategic Air Command

The biggest, most lavish hook-up between Hollywood and the Pentagon was this Anthony Mann-James Stewart collaboration, a morale & recruiting cheer for America's intercontinental bombing air force, the service that kept the peace by holding up our side of the balance of fear. Strategic Air Command Blu-ray Olive Films 1955 / Color / 1:66 widescreen (VistaVision) / 112 min. / Street Date October 16, 2016 / available through the Olive Films website / 29.98 Starring James Stewart, June Allyson, Frank Lovejoy, Barry Sullivan, Alex Nicol, Bruce Bennett, Jay C. Flippen, James Millican, James Bell, Rosemary DeCamp, Harry Morgan, William Hudson, Strother Martin, House Peters Jr. Cinematography William Daniels Film Editor Eda Warren Original Music Victor Young Written by Valentine Davies, Beirne Lay, Jr. Produced by Samuel J. Briskin Directed by Anthony Mann

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

In the 1950s America was spending its enormous military budget on a fantastic array of advanced weapons technology, the most expensive of which was
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The King and Four Queens

Clark Gable is still sufficiently frisky in this late career western to attract four well-chosen frontier women -- who in this case happen to be a quartet of robbers' wives, sitting on a rumored mountain of ill-gotten gains. Raoul Walsh abets the comedy-drama, as Gable's fox-in-a-henhouse tries to determine which hen can lead him to the promised golden eggs. The King and Four Queens Blu-ray Olive Films 1956 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 86 min. / Street Date May 24, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Clark Gable, Eleanor Parker, Jo Van Fleet, Jean Willes, Barbara Nichols, Sara Shane, Roy Roberts, Arthur Shields, Jay C. Flippen. Cinematography Lucien Ballard Production Design Wiard Ihnen Film Editor Howard Bretherton Original Music Alex North Written by Richard Alan Simmons, Margaret Fitts from her story Produced by David Hempstead Directed by Raoul Walsh

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Olive's latest dip into MGM's United Artists holdings brings up the cheerful, not particularly
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Run of the Arrow

Sam Fuller's superior western classic stars Rod Steiger, Brian Keith, Charles Bronson and Sarita Montiel, and takes on a tall stack of potent issues. A Reb sharpshooter denies the South's defeat, and goes west to join the Sioux nation where he can continue his war against the Yankees. This spin on 'The Man Without a Country' is one of Fuller's best thanks to a generous budget, unflinching action violence and committed performances. Run of the Arrow DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1957 / Color / 1:78 enhanced widescreen / 86 min. / Street Date July 7, 2015 / available through the WBshop / 19.49 Starring Rod Steiger, Sarita Montiel, Brian Keith, Ralph Meeker, Jay C. Flippen, Charles Bronson, Olive Carey, H.M. Wynant, Neyle Morrow, Frank DeKova, Tim McCoy, Chuck Hayward, Chuck Roberson, Roscoe Ates, Angie Dickinson, Carleton Young. Cinematography Joseph Biroc Film Editor Gene Fowler Jr. Original Music Victor Young Written, Produced and Directed by Samuel Fuller    

Reviewed
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Oscar Nominated Moody Pt.2: From Fagin to Merlin - But No Harry Potter

Ron Moody as Fagin in 'Oliver!' based on Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist.' Ron Moody as Fagin in Dickens musical 'Oliver!': Box office and critical hit (See previous post: "Ron Moody: 'Oliver!' Actor, Academy Award Nominee Dead at 91.") Although British made, Oliver! turned out to be an elephantine release along the lines of – exclamation point or no – Gypsy, Star!, Hello Dolly!, and other Hollywood mega-musicals from the mid'-50s to the early '70s.[1] But however bloated and conventional the final result, and a cast whose best-known name was that of director Carol Reed's nephew, Oliver Reed, Oliver! found countless fans.[2] The mostly British production became a huge financial and critical success in the U.S. at a time when star-studded mega-musicals had become perilous – at times downright disastrous – ventures.[3] Upon the American release of Oliver! in Dec. 1968, frequently acerbic The
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Blu-ray Review – The Killing (1956)

The Killing, 1956.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Starring Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen, Ted de Corsia, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook Jr.

Synopsis:

A group of men plan to steal money from a local race track, scrupulously planning the heist, and coming across a host of obstacles.

The Killing is rarely cited when referencing heist films such as Inside Man and Ocean’s Eleven, yet it is deeply imbedded in their – and many others’ – genetics. Coming from the great Stanley Kubrick, expect a film as carefully constructed as the caper within it. Even with a story that now seems standard, The Killing has barely aged, and despite some predictability (mostly thanks to a number of contemporary films copying its style) the finale packs a punch.

Building up to a perfectly devised conclusion, The Killing relies on a motif of meticulousness, with the loud diegetics of ticking clocks, the constant criss-crossing of people,
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‘The Killing’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Academy)

Stars: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen, Ted de Corsia, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook Jr., Joe Sawyer, Timothy Carey, Kola Kwariani, Dorothy Adams | Written and Directed by Stanley Kubrick

It goes without saying that film fans know that Stanley Kubrick was a master of his art. All masters though have a starting point where they were learning and in some respects were yet to evolve into the legends that they would become. With the Arrow Academy release of The Killing on Blu-ray, which also includes Killer’s Kiss we get to see a director who had a vision, but was yet to perfect his style.

The Killing is a heist movie that when it was first released didn’t make that much of an impact, but not surprisingly when it comes to Kubrick’s work has grown to be respected and revered as a true classic of the genre.
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The Conversation: Drew Morton and Landon Palmer Discuss ‘The Killing’

  • SoundOnSight
The Conversation is a new feature at Sound on Sight bringing together Drew Morton and Landon Palmer in a passionate debate about cinema new and old. For their second piece, they will discuss Stanley Kubrick’s film The Killing (1956).

Drew’s Take

Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (1956) is not my favorite work by the visionary director. In fact, the film probably wouldn’t even make it onto a list of my top five Kubrick films. Yet, with a career that included such amazing films as Paths of Glory (1957),Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964),2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Barry Lyndon (1975), and The Shining (1980), that’s not an indication that The Killing is a film of poor quality but an indication that Kubrick’s body of work comes the closest to cinematic perfection than any director I can think of. Thus, while The Killing
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From 'Traitor' to Screen Legend: Fonda Still Busy on the Big Screen

Jane Fonda: From ‘Vietnam Traitor’ to AFI Award and Screen Legend status (photo: Jason Bateman and Jane Fonda in ‘This Is Where I Leave You’) (See previous post: “Jane Fonda Movies: Anti-Establishment Heroine.”) Turner Classic Movies will also be showing the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony honoring Jane Fonda, the former “Vietnam Traitor” and Barbarella-style sex kitten who has become a living American screen legend (and healthy-living guru). Believe it or not, Fonda, who still looks disarmingly great, will be turning 77 years old next December 21; she’s actually older than her father Henry Fonda was while playing Katharine Hepburn’s ailing husband in Mark Rydell’s On Golden Pond. (Henry Fonda died at age 77 in August 1982.) Jane Fonda movies in 2014 and 2015 Following a 15-year absence (mostly during the time she was married to media mogul Ted Turner), Jane Fonda resumed her film acting career in 2005, playing Jennifer Lopez
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Beautiful, Lighthearted Fox Star Suffered Many Real-Life Tragedies

Jeanne Crain: Lighthearted movies vs. real life tragedies (photo: Madeleine Carroll and Jeanne Crain in ‘The Fan’) (See also: "Jeanne Crain: From ‘Pinky’ Inanity to ‘MargieMagic.") Unlike her characters in Margie, Home in Indiana, State Fair, Centennial Summer, The Fan, and Cheaper by the Dozen (and its sequel, Belles on Their Toes), or even in the more complex A Letter to Three Wives and People Will Talk, Jeanne Crain didn’t find a romantic Happy Ending in real life. In the mid-’50s, Crain accused her husband, former minor actor Paul Brooks aka Paul Brinkman, of infidelity, of living off her earnings, and of brutally beating her. The couple reportedly were never divorced because of their Catholic faith. (And at least in the ’60s, unlike the humanistic, progressive-thinking Margie, Crain was a “conservative” Republican who supported Richard Nixon.) In the early ’90s, she lost two of her
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TCM Celebrates Oscar Nominee Blyth's 85th Birthday

Ann Blyth movies: TCM schedule on August 16, 2013 (photo: ‘Our Very Own’ stars Ann Blyth and Farley Granger) See previous post: "Ann Blyth Today: Light Singing and Heavy Drama on TCM." 3:00 Am One Minute To Zero (1952). Director: Tay Garnett. Cast: Robert Mitchum, Ann Blyth, William Talman. Bw-106 mins. 5:00 Am All The Brothers Were Valiant (1953). Director: Richard Thorpe. Cast: Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger, Ann Blyth. C-95 mins. 6:45 Am The King’S Thief (1955). Director: Robert Z. Leonard. Cast: Ann Blyth, Edmund Purdom, David Niven. C-79 mins. Letterbox Format. 8:15 Am Rose Marie (1954). Director: Mervyn LeRoy. Cast: Ann Blyth, Howard Keel, Fernando Lamas. C-104 mins. Letterbox Format. 10:00 Am The Great Caruso (1951). Director: Richard Thorpe. Cast: Mario Lanza, Ann Blyth, Dorothy Kirsten, Jarmila Novotna, Richard Hageman, Carl Benton Reid, Eduard Franz, Ludwig Donath, Alan Napier, Pál Jávor, Carl Milletaire, Shepard Menken, Vincent Renno, Nestor Paiva, Peter Price, Mario Siletti, Angela Clarke,
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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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Chance to Check Out Heston Directing Self in 'Man" Remake

Charlton Heston movies: ‘A Man for All Seasons’ remake, ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ (photo: Charlton Heston as Ben-Hur) (See previous post: “Charlton Heston: Moses Minus Staff Plus Chariot Equals Ben-Hur.”) I’ve yet to watch Irving Rapper’s melo Bad for Each Other (1954), co-starring the sultry Lizabeth Scott — always a good enough reason to check out any movie, regardless of plot or leading man. A major curiosity is the 1988 made-for-tv version of A Man for All Seasons, with Charlton Heston in the Oscar-winning Paul Scofield role (Sir Thomas More) and on Fred Zinnemann’s director’s chair. Vanessa Redgrave, who plays Thomas More’s wife in the TV movie (Wendy Hiller in the original) had a cameo as Anne Boleyn in the 1966 film. According to the IMDb, Robert Bolt, who wrote the Oscar-winning 1966 movie (and the original play), is credited for the 1988 version’s screenplay as well. Also of note,
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Two Must-See Disasters as Parker Series Continues (She Turns 91 in Two Days)

Eleanor Parker 2013 movie series continues today (photo: Eleanor Parker in Detective Story) Palm Springs resident Eleanor Parker is Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month of June 2013. Thus, eight more Eleanor Parker movies will be shown this evening on TCM. Parker turns 91 on Wednesday, June 26. (See also: “Eleanor Parker Today.”) Eleanor Parker received her second Best Actress Academy Award nomination for William Wyler’s crime drama Detective Story (1951). The movie itself feels dated, partly because of several melodramatic plot developments, and partly because of Kirk Douglas’ excessive theatricality as the detective whose story is told. Parker, however, is excellent as Douglas’ wife, though her role is subordinate to his. Just about as good is Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Lee Grant, whose career would be derailed by the anti-Red hysteria of the ’50s. Grant would make her comeback in the ’70s, eventually winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her
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2013 TCM Classic Film Festival Adds More Movies, Stars & Frank Capra’s The Donovan Affair (1929) To Lineup

The 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival continues to expand, with newly added appearances by legendary stars at screenings of some of their most memorable films, including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Marvin Kaplan, Barrie Chase, Polly Bergen,Coleen Gray, Theodore Bikel and Norman Lloyd, as well as producer Stanley Rubin, Clara Bow biographer David Stenn, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) film collections manager Katie Trainor and director Nicholas Ray’s widow, Susan Ray. In addition, TCM’s Essentials Jr. host and Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader will present screenings of Shane (1953) and The Ladykillers(1955).

And The Film Forum’s Bruce Goldstein will present a special screening of Frank Capra’s The Donovan Affair (1929), complete with live voice actors and sound effects to replace the film’s long-lost soundtrack.Mel Brooks is slated to talk about his comedy The Twelve Chairs (1970). Carl Reiner, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Marvin Kaplan
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John Wayne Classics on TCM

John Wayne Movies Among the John Wayne movies in the TCM line-up are two John Ford classics: Stagecoach (1939), surely inspired by Guy de Maupassant’s Boule de suif, and The Searchers (1956). Turner Classic Movies, Wednesday, August 1 6:00 Am Flying Leathernecks (1951) A World War II Marine officer drives his men mercilessly during the battle for Guadalcanal. Dir: Nicholas Ray. Cast: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Don Taylor, Janis Carter, Jay C. Flippen. Color-102 minutes. 7:45 Am Allegheny Uprising (1939) Colonial settlers fight the corrupt British in the days before the American Revolution. Dir: William A. Seiter. Cast: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, George Sanders. [...]
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Friday Noir: Director Ray makes a great first impression with ‘They Live by Night’

  • SoundOnSight
They Live by Night

Directed by Nicholas Ray

Screenplay by Charles Schnee

U.S.A., 1949

Young love is a powerful thing, even dangerously so when it blinds people from reality. When the hearts of two youths are intertwined as they are between the protagonists in They Live by Night, a sense of invincibility can slowly and surely take over all the senses. Just as the emotions blindly dictate the lovers’ conduct, the stark realities of their real world circumstances inexorably drag them closer to impending doom. What better material for a brilliant young director to explore for in a debut. If at the time the name Nicholas Ray did not stir the passions of movie connoisseurs, They Live by Night and its tragic love story certainly planted the seeds of many great things that would follow.

Somewhere in the state of Mississippi, a trio of dangerous criminals have escaped the penitentiary.
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DVD Review: Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Killing’ Features Early Work of Future Master

Chicago – When film lovers hear the name of one of the great masters of the form — Stanley Kubrick — their mind usually races to one of his most famous flicks, whether it be “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “The Shining,” or even “Full Metal Jacket.” But where did one of our most beloved directors hone his craft? In a series of smaller films, two of which are now available in a single Criterion Blu-ray or DVD release — “The Killing” and “Killer’s Kiss.”

Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

Stanley Kubrick’s account of an ambitious racetrack robbery is one of Hollywood’s tautest, twistiest noirs. Aided by a radically time-shuffling narrative, razor-sharp dialogue from pulp novelist Jim Thompson, and a phenomenal cast of character actors, including Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Timothy Carey, Elisha Cook Jr., and Marie Windsor, The Killing is both a jaunty thriller and a cold-blooded punch to the gut.
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Josh Olson on "Brute Force"

The great supporting cast alone (Sam Levene, Jeff Corey,Jay C. Flippen, Sir Lancelot and the first of many pairings of John Hoyt and Whit Bissell) would make Jules Dassin's prison pic a keeper, but as written by Richard Brooks it's a tough, incisive and influential genre piece. Hume Cronyn's career highlight as the sadistic Warden Munsey, who plays Wagner records loudly to hide the sound of beatings. (Picture quality on this trailer is not up to our usual standard.)
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