12 items from 2017
The most competitive Emmy categories this Sunday feature women. The names alone are dazzling: Elisabeth Moss, Robin Wright, Keri Russell, Claire Foy, Viola Davis, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Felicity Huffman. It is such a strong group that actresses like “Homeland” star Claire Danes were left out. And those are just for dramatic roles. It has not always been thus. Starting in the 1950s, names like Lucille Ball, Jane Wyatt, Donna Reed and Loretta Young were beginning their repeated runs for Emmy glory, often for playing housewives who rarely were allowed to know best. Only Harriet Nelson. »
- Mary Murphy and Michele Willens
Golden-age Hollywood had a fake-news apparatus that Russia (Soviet or modern-day, take your pick) could envy: homosexuality, infidelity, alcoholism, drug addiction and anything else that might ruffle feathers in Peoria was smoothed out, hidden and swept under the rug. The movie stars of the mid-20th century were presented as such paragons that we’re currently still chipping away at that façade to find the truth. Unmarried male stars and directors, we now know, weren’t necessarily just bachelors who hadn’t met the right girl. Loretta Young’s “adopted” daughter was actually the child she had with Clark Gable, »
- Alonso Duralde
Happy September, guys! This month’s home entertainment releases are wasting no time, as Tuesday looks to be another stellar day of horror and sci-fi titles coming our way. For those of you excited for Blade Runner 2049, Warner Bros. is putting out The Final Cut version of Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece in 4K Ultra HD, and Criterion is giving Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca their trademarked HD treatment with a stunning new release.
As far as new indie horror movies go, both A Dark Song and Raw come home this Tuesday and are well worth your time, and for those of you Winchester brothers fans out there, the 12th season of Supernatural is being released this week, too.
- Heather Wixson
Edward G. Robinson uncovers another killer, but this time he’s after a Nazi mass murderer, not an insurance salesman. Orson Welles’ most conventional thriller is a masterpiece of style and judgment, with a good sense of time and place – and a lot of expressive shadows. How does this new Blu-ray shape up in comparison to earlier presentations?
1946 / B&W / 1:37 Academy / 95 min. / Street Date August 29, 2017 / available through the Olive Films website / 29.98
Cinematography: Russell Metty
Production Design: Perry Ferguson
Art Direction: Albert S. D’Agostino
Film Editor: Ernest Nims
Original Music: Bronislau Kaper
Produced by Sam Spiegel
Directed by Orson Welles
- Glenn Erickson
Ronald Colman: Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month in two major 1930s classics Updated: Turner Classic Movies' July 2017 Star of the Month is Ronald Colman, one of the finest performers of the studio era. On Thursday night, TCM presented five Colman star vehicles that should be popping up again in the not-too-distant future: A Tale of Two Cities, The Prisoner of Zenda, Kismet, Lucky Partners, and My Life with Caroline. The first two movies are among not only Colman's best, but also among Hollywood's best during its so-called Golden Age. Based on Charles Dickens' classic novel, Jack Conway's Academy Award-nominated A Tale of Two Cities (1936) is a rare Hollywood production indeed: it manages to effectively condense its sprawling source, it boasts first-rate production values, and it features a phenomenal central performance. Ah, it also shows its star without his trademark mustache – about as famous at the time as Clark Gable's. Perhaps »
- Andre Soares
Ricardo Cortez in 'Ten Cents a Dance,' with Barbara Stanwyck. No matter how unthankful the role, whether hero or heel – or, not infrequently, a combination of both – Cortez left his bedroom-eyed, mellifluous-voiced imprint in his pre-Production Code talkies. Besides Barbara Stanwyck, during the 1920s and 1930s Cortez made love to and/or life difficult for, a whole array of leading ladies of that era, including Bebe Daniels, Gloria Swanson, Betty Compson, Betty Bronson, Greta Garbo, Florence Vidor, Claudette Colbert, Mary Astor, Kay Francis, Joan Crawford, Irene Dunne, Joan Blondell, and Loretta Young*. (See previous post: “Ricardo Cortez Q&A: From Latin Lover to Multiethnic Heel.”) Not long after the coming of sound, Ricardo Cortez was mostly relegated to playing subordinate roles to his leading ladies – e.g., Kay Francis, Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert – or leads in “bottom half of the double bill” programmers at Warner Bros. or on loan to other studios. Would »
- Andre Soares
Ricardo Cortez biography 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez' – Paramount's 'Latin Lover' threat to a recalcitrant Rudolph Valentino, and a sly, seductive Sam Spade in the original film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 'The Maltese Falcon.' 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez': Author Dan Van Neste remembers the silent era's 'Latin Lover' & the star of the original 'The Maltese Falcon' At odds with Famous Players-Lasky after the release of the 1922 critical and box office misfire The Young Rajah, Rudolph Valentino demands a fatter weekly paycheck and more control over his movie projects. The studio – a few years later to be reorganized under the name of its distribution arm, Paramount – balks. Valentino goes on a “one-man strike.” In 42nd Street-style, unknown 22-year-old Valentino look-alike contest winner Jacob Krantz of Manhattan steps in, shortly afterwards to become known worldwide as Latin Lover Ricardo Cortez of »
- Andre Soares
While the vast majority of our favorite films of last year have been treated with Blu-ray releases, one title near the top of the list we’ve been waiting the longest for is Kelly Reichardt‘s Certain Women. It looks like it’s been worth the wait as The Criterion Collection have unveiled their September releases and it’s leading the pack (with special features also an interview with the director and Todd Haynes!).
Also getting a release in September, is Michael Haneke‘s Isabelle Huppert-led The Piano Teacher and the recent documentary David Lynch: The Art Life (arriving perfectly-timed to the end of the new Twin Peaks). There’s also Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic psychodrama Rebecca and the concert film Festival, featuring Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, and many more.
Check out the high-resolution cover art and full details on the releases below, with more on Criterion’s site. »
- Jordan Raup
Bela Lugosi fan alert! This Monogram horror opus is yet another narrative-challenged fumble of unmotivated, incomprehensible characters… but Bela’s great in it, in a central role. He’s a sympathetic, non- maniac this time, if you don’t count his tendency to go into trances and smother random houseguests. Savant’s review has the lowdown on the interesting cast; Tom Weaver’s commentary has the authoritative lowdown on whole show.
Kl Studio Classics
1941 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 64 min. / Street Date March 21, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 24.95
Film Editor: Robert Golden
Original Music: hahahahah, good one.
Produced by Sam Katzman
Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
Horror movie fans come in two varieties, obsessive and dangerously obsessive. Back »
- Glenn Erickson
Erik Charell. His credits include script contributions to the Hope-Crosby comedy Road to Morocco and the Tony Martin musical Casbah. To learn this after seeing his only two features as director, The Congress Dances (1931) and Caravan (1934), is like discovering there was a guy called Orson Welles who made Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons and spent the rest of his career writing gags for Abbott & Costello.Perhaps Charell wasn't an artist of quite Welles' status. But he'd made a big name for himself in operetta, and both his films are in this mode, though the operetta-film is the genre that time forgot. As out-of-vogue as musicals are, despite anything Damien Chazelle can prove to the contrary, they are the height of fashion compared to actual filmed operettas.The Congress Dances is set in Vienna as pre-wwi world leaders meet and get distracted by romance, except Conrad Veidt as master diplomat »
As foretold by that recently released new promo for Season 3 of Better Call Saul masqueraded as a TV ad for Los Pollos Hermanos – the fast-food place Breaking Bad fans remember was run by chicken king/drug lord Gus Fring – Giancarlo Esposito made a Loretta Young entrance during today’s TCA panel for Saul. “It’s great to be back with the family of filmmakers,” Esposito enthused after entering from the wings, and handing out boxes of Los Pollos Hermandos chicken to TV… »
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from the University Press of Mississippi:
Winnie Lightner (1899–1971) was the first great female comedian of the talkies. Blessed with a superb singing voice and a gift for making wisecracks and rubber faces, she rose to stardom in vaudeville and on Broadway. Then, at the dawn of the sound era, she became the first person in motion picture history to have her spoken words censored.
In "Winnie Lightner: Tomboy of the Talkies" (University Press of Mississippi, Hollywood Legends Series), David L. Lightner documents how Winnie’s hilarious performance in the 1929 musical comedy Gold Diggers of Broadway made her an overnight sensation. She went on to star in seven other Warner Bros. features. In the best of them, she was the comic epitome of a strident feminist, dominating men and gleefully spurning conventional gender norms and moral values, which earned her the nickname of tomboy of the talkies. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
12 items from 2017
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