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The Flight of the Phoenix (Region B)

Forgotten amid Robert Aldrich’s more critic-friendly movies is this superb suspense picture, an against-all-odds thriller that pits an old-school pilot against a push-button young engineer with his own kind of male arrogance. Can a dozen oil workers and random passengers ‘invent’ their way out of an almost certain death trap? It’s a late-career triumph for James Stewart, at the head of a sterling ensemble cast. I review a UK disc in the hope of encouraging a new restoration.

The Flight of the Phoenix

Region B Blu-ray

(will not play in domestic U.S. players)

Masters of Cinema / Eureka Entertainment

1965 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 142 min. / Street Date September 12, 2016 / £12.95

Starring: James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Hardy Krüger, Ernest Borgnine, Ian Bannen, Ronald Fraser, Christian Marquand, Dan Duryea, George Kennedy, Gabriele Tinti, Alex Montoya, Peter Bravos, William Aldrich, Barrie Chase.

Cinematography: Joseph Biroc

Stunt Pilot: Paul Mantz

Art Direction: William Glasgow
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Panther Girl of the Kongo

Did Republic’s serial-makers lose their marbles? This is an endurance test of a thriller, with 12 chapters that refuse to advance a story beyond the same repetitive ambushes and fistfights. It’s got monsters in the form of giant crawfish bred to… well, bred for almost no reason at all. With Phyllis Coates and Myron Healey. I tell you, watching this feels like watching an endless loop. But hey, it’s quite handsomely filmed!

Panther Girl of the Kongo

Blu-ray

Olive Films

1955 / B&W / 1:37 flat full frame (originally widescreen) / 168 min. / Street Date February 21, 2017 / available through the Olive Films website / 29.95

Starring: Phyllis Coates, Myron Healey, Arthur Space, John Day, Mike Ragan, Morris Buchanan, Roy Glenn, Archie Savage, Ramsay Hill, Naaman Brown, Dan Ferniel, James Logan, Steve Calvert.

Cinematography: Bud Thackery

Film Editor: Cliff Bell

Original Music: R. Dale Butts

Written by Ronald Davidson

Produced and Directed by Franklin Adreon

Ah yes.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Battleground

Battleground

Blu-ray

Warner Archive Collection

1949 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 118 min. / Street Date January 10, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Don Taylor, James Whitmore, Douglas Fowley, Leon Ames, Guy Anderson, Denise Darcel, Richard Jaeckel, James Arness

Cinematography: Paul Vogel

Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters

Film Editor: John D. Dunning

Original Music: Lennie Hayton

Written by: Robert Pirosh

Produced by: Dore Schary

Directed by William A. Wellman

“The Guts, Gags and Glory of a Lot of Wonderful Guys!”

— say, what kind of movie is this, anyway?

Action movies about combat are now mostly about soldiers that fight like killing machines, or stories of battle with a strong political axe to grind. WW2 changed perceptions completely, when a mostly civilian army did the fighting. With the cessation of hostilities combat pictures tapered off quickly, and Hollywood gave the subject a break for several years.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Lone Wolf and Cub

You'll always be careful with knives after seeing the outrageous, impossibly gory violence of this brain-warping samurai series from the early 1970s. Tomisaburo Wakabayashi rolls his tiny tot Daigoro through feudal Japan, looking for trouble. There's simply been nothing like it: breathtakingly beautiful images aestheticize bloodletting as never before or since. Lone Wolf and Cub Sword of Vengeance, Baby Cart at the River Styx, Baby Cart to Hades, Baby Cart in Peril, Baby Cart in the Land of Demons, White Heaven in Hell + Shogun Assassin Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 841 1972-1974 / Color / 2:40 widescreen / 630 + min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date November 8, 2016 / 99.95 Starring Tomisaburo Wakayama, Akihiro Tomikawa. Written by Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima Produced by Shintaro Katsu, Hisaharu Matsubara, Tomisaburo Wakayama Directed by Kenji Misumi, Buichi Saito, Yoshiyuki Kuroda

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

In an unexpected move, Criterion has released one of the most influential Japanese film series of the 1970s,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Lee Marvin Died 29 Years Ago Today – Here Are His Ten Best Films

Article by Jim Batts, Dana Jung, and Tom Stockman

Lee Marvin rose through the ranks of movie stardom as a character actor, delivering mostly villainous supporting turns in many films before finally graduating to leading roles. Regardless of which side of the law he was on however, he projected a tough-as-nails intensity and a two-fisted integrity which elevated even the slightest material. Born February 19, 1924, in New York City, Marvin quit high school to enter the Marine Corps and while serving in the South Pacific was badly wounded in battle when a machine gun nest shot off part of his buttocks and severed his sciatic nerve. He spent a year in recovery before returning to the U.S. where he began working as a plumber. The acting bug bit after filling in for an ailing summer-stock actor and he studied the art at the New York-based American Theater Wing. Upon making his debut in summer stock,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

The Angry Hills

Robert Mitchum all but snoozes through this promising war-espionage thriller that pits lazy Gestapo agents against clueless partisans in occupied Greece. It's got great locations and a good cast, but director Robert Aldrich seems off his feed -- there's not a lot of excitement to be had. The Angry Hills DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1959 / B&W / 2:35 enhanced widescreen / 106 min. / Street Date February 16, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Robert Mitchum, Stanley Baker, Elisabeth Mueller, Gia Scala, Theodore Bikel, Sebastian Cabot, Donald Wolfit, Marius Goring, Jocelyn Lane, Kieron Moore, George Pastell, Marita Constantinou, Alec Mango. Cinematography Stephen Dade Film Editor Peter Tanner Production Design Ken Adam Original Music Richard Rodney Bennett Written by A.I. Bezzerides from the novel by Leon Uris Produced by Raymond Stross Directed by Robert Aldrich

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Director Robert Aldrich had come through with successes for Burt Lancaster's production company (Apache, Vera Cruz
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

MGM's Lioness, the Epitome of Hollywood Superstardom, Has Her Day on TCM

Joan Crawford Movie Star Joan Crawford movies on TCM: Underrated actress, top star in several of her greatest roles If there was ever a professional who was utterly, completely, wholeheartedly dedicated to her work, Joan Crawford was it. Ambitious, driven, talented, smart, obsessive, calculating, she had whatever it took – and more – to reach the top and stay there. Nearly four decades after her death, Crawford, the star to end all stars, remains one of the iconic performers of the 20th century. Deservedly so, once you choose to bypass the Mommie Dearest inanity and focus on her film work. From the get-go, she was a capable actress; look for the hard-to-find silents The Understanding Heart (1927) and The Taxi Dancer (1927), and check her out in the more easily accessible The Unknown (1927) and Our Dancing Daughters (1928). By the early '30s, Joan Crawford had become a first-rate film actress, far more naturalistic than
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

'31 Days of Oscar' honors James Dean, Frank Sinatra, other 1955 Best Actor nominees

What does it mean to be an Oscar nominee?

The answers can be as varied as the nominees themselves. As the annual "31 Days of Oscar" festival continues on Turner Classic Movies, each night is themed to all the candidates in a certain category in a certain year.

The evening of Friday, Feb. 14, showcases all the talents who were nominated for best actor of 1955 for the pictures that are being shown. One of the movies absolutely transformed the career of the actor in question: "Marty," the big-screen version of a television play.

Related: All the 2014 Academy Award nominees

Rod Steiger was sought to reprise his TV portrayal of a lonely, good-hearted Bronx butcher, but he refused to sign a contract that would have obligated him to make several more pictures for the producers, who included Burt Lancaster. They then chose Ernest Borgnine, who mostly had played villains ("From Here to Eternity,
See full article at Zap2It - From Inside the Box »

Groundbreaking Brazil Star Controversies: Lawsuits, Lesbian Role, Mick Jagger Movie

Norma Bengell controversies (photo: Norma Bengell in Walter Hugo Khouri’s ‘Eros’) (See previous post: “Dead at 78: Norma Bengell, First Actress to Go Full Frontal in Mainstream Films.”) Norma Bengell found herself embroiled in numerous controversies throughout her life. For instance, besides her not infrequently "scandalous" anti-establishment screen roles of the ’60s and ’70s, she took to the streets to protest against both censorship in the arts and Brazil’s military dictatorship. At the 1985 edition of Rio de Janeiro’s Fest Rio, Bengell got into a verbal match with American actress and fellow jury member Ellen Burstyn (Oscar winner for Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) following alleged improprieties at the festival’s awards ceremony and Bengell’s role in the jury. Presumably to justify her worth as a jury member, the native Portuguese-speaker Bengell bellowed in Spanish: "I am a great actress!" Norma Bengell: Controversial filmmaker In later years,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Director & Actor Teams: The Overlooked & Underrated (Part 1 of 2)

Cinema is a kind of uber-art form that’s made up of a multitude of other forms of art including writing, directing, acting, drawing, design, photography and fashion. As such, film is, as all cinema aficionados know, a highly collaborative venture.

One of the most consistently fascinating collaborations in cinema is that of the director and actor.

This article will examine some of the great director & actor teams. It’s important to note that this piece is not intended as a film history survey detailing all the generally revered collaborations.

There is a wealth of information and study available on such duos as John Ford & John Wayne, Howard Hawks & John Wayne, Elia Kazan & Marlon Brando, Akira Kurosawa & Toshiro Mifune, Alfred Hitchcock & James Stewart, Ingmar Bergman & Max Von Sydow, Federico Fellini & Giulietta Masina/Marcello Mastroianni, Billy Wilder & Jack Lemmon, Francis Ford Coppola & Al Pacino, Woody Allen & Diane Keaton, Martin Scorsese & Robert DeNiro
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Sultry Spanish Film and Recording Star Has Died

Legendary Spanish-born international film and music icon has died Sara Montiel, also known as either Sarita Montiel or, at times, Saritisima, was one of the Spanish-speaking world's biggest stars. She died on Monday, April 8, apparently of "natural causes" at her house in Madrid's district of Salamanca. She was 85 years old. Earlier today, a cortege driving through the streets of Madrid was attended (and applauded) by thousands of mourning fans. Montiel was born on March 10, 1928; according to online sources, her birth name was María Antonia Alejandra Vicenta Elpidia Isadora Abad Fernández; her father was a small farmer and her mother was beauty products salesperson. She left behind her poverty-stricken childhood, spending her days in the streets of her small village while dreaming of Spanish film star Imperio Argentina, after moving to Madrid in her mid-teens. Diction and singing lessons followed. Eventually, she started appearing in films, landing two roles in 1944 releases:
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Critic's Notebook: Why 'Johnny Guitar,' Now On Blu-ray, Deserves a Second Look

Critic's Notebook: Why 'Johnny Guitar,' Now On Blu-ray, Deserves a Second Look
"Was I dreaming or did I just see a bank held up?" asks Sterling Hayden during Nicholas Ray's sole Republic Studios directorial outing, "Johnny Guitar." The 1954 film, which arrives on blu-ray Tuesday as part of Olive Films' carefully curated home video cull of Paramount titles (Viacom absorbed the Republic catalog in the 90's) is paced with such unapologetic relentlessness that midway through the film its title character needs a reality check. The 1950's were the American western's greatest decade and 1954, which also included Robert Aldrich's "Apache" and "Vera Cruz," as well as Allen Dwan's "Silver Lode," was a banner year for revitalizing the genre with more accurate history, psychological nuance, cynicism and violence than had come before. On a superficial level the red dirt world of "Johnny Guitar" overlaps the plea for racial justice of "Apache," the treatise on mercenary...
See full article at Indiewire »

Remember Me: Ernest Borgnine

When the drama Marty won the Academy Award for the Best Picture of 1955, it was a win of many wins, and not just because the movie walked off with three other Oscars.

It signaled that the balance of creative power in Hollywood was shifting; that the monopoly of the major studios was fading, and that a new breed of independent companies – often formed with or by the stars who had, at one time, been held in bondage to the majors under long-term contracts – were serious player in the industry (Marty had been produced by Hecht-Lancaster which had been formed by Burt Lancaster and producer Harold Hecht).

It was a victory for a new kind of anti-Hollywood storytelling; unglamorous tales about unglamorous people, real people. Postwar Italian neo-realism had demonstrated the power of the drama of everyday people just trying to get through a day, and Marty and other films like
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Ernest Borgnine obituary

Stocky supporting actor who won an Oscar when he was cast against type as a lonely butcher in Marty

With his coarsely podgy features, bug eyes, gap-toothed grin and stocky build, Ernest Borgnine, who has died aged 95 of renal failure, seemed destined to remain one of nature's supporting actors in a string of sadistic and menacing parts. Instead he won an Oscar for a role which was the antithesis of all his previous characters.

In 1955, the producer Harold Hecht wanted to transfer Paddy Chayefsky's teleplay Marty to the big screen, with Rod Steiger in the title role, which he had created. But Steiger was filming Oklahoma! so was unavailable. Borgnine was offered the role after a female guest at a Hollywood reception quite disinterestedly remarked to Hecht that, ugly as he was, Borgnine possessed an oddly tender quality which made her yearn to mother him. "That," Hecht said later,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Ernest Borgnine obituary

Stocky supporting actor who won an Oscar when he was cast against type as a lonely butcher in Marty

With his coarsely podgy features, bug eyes, gap-toothed grin and stocky build, Ernest Borgnine, who has died aged 95 of renal failure, seemed destined to remain one of nature's supporting actors in a string of sadistic and menacing parts. Instead he won an Oscar for a role which was the antithesis of all his previous characters.

In 1955, the producer Harold Hecht wanted to transfer Paddy Chayefsky's teleplay Marty to the big screen, with Rod Steiger in the title role, which he had created. But Steiger was filming Oklahoma! so was unavailable. Borgnine was offered the role after a female guest at a Hollywood reception quite disinterestedly remarked to Hecht that, ugly as he was, Borgnine possessed an oddly tender quality which made her yearn to mother him. "That," Hecht said later,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Oscar-Winning Actor Ernest Borgnine Dead at 95

A great actor with a great face, it was always good to watch Ernest Borgnine. From Hamden, Ct., the WWII vet was in so many great movies: From Here To Eternity, Vera Cruz, The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, Poseidon Adventure, Devil.S Rain, Escape From New York. Even with that unlikely mug of his, had great range as an actor, winning the Oscar for his lead performance in Marty in 1955. We Are Movie Geeks is sad that he.s gone but happy he had such a long and healthy life. Borgnine was 95.

From The Associated Press:

He was a tubby tough guy with a pug of a mug, as unlikely a big-screen star or a romantic lead as could be imagined.

Yet Ernest Borgnine won a woman’s love and an Academy Award in one of the great lonelyhearts roles in “Marty,” a highlight in a workhorse career that
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Ernest Borgnine Passes Away at 95

Ernest Borgnine, the beloved Oscar-winning star of Marty and The Wild Bunch has passed away at the age of 95.

His manager, Lynda Bensky announced that he died of renal failure at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, with his family at his side. He is survived by his wife, Tova Borgnine and his four children.

Borgnine, (whose real name is Ermes Effron Borgnino) was born on January 24, 1917. He had a much-decorated ten-year career in the Navy, before starting acting in 1947, making his Broadway debut in 1949 with Harvey. However, a move to Hollywood in 1951 saw him snag the integral role of Sergeant “Fatso” Judson in From Here to Eternity (opposite Burt Lancaster and Frank Sinatra). Borgnine’s stocky frame and unconventional looks meant that he was often cast as the ‘heavy,’ in such films as Vera Cruz and ...

Click to continue reading Ernest Borgnine Passes Away at 95
See full article at Screen Rant »

Ernest Borgnine – a career in clips

Ernest Borgnine has died at the age of 95. We look back over his career in clips

Borgnine's first screen credit was, somewhat improbably, as a Chinese gambling-den operator called Hu Chang in a studio thriller called China Corsair. After more bit parts as racketeers, heavies and gun-toting villains, Borgnine put himself on the map with the memorably-named nasty Fatso Judson in From Here to Eternity. The aggressive, loutish Judson, quick with a switchblade, is the guard sergeant in the stockade, where he eventually does for the mercurial Angelo Maggio (played by Frank Sinatra).

Borgnine progressed to a string of more visible henchman roles – in Johnny Guitar, Vera Cruz, The Bounty Hunter – but probably his best from this period is another fight-picking bruiser from Bad Day at Black Rock – "I'm half horse, half alligator. You mess with me and I'll kick a lung outta' ya'."

Bad Day at Black Rock was
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

R.I.P. Ernest Borgnine

Legendary film and television actor Ernest Borgnine has died this afternoon from kidney failure, he was 95. His wife, Tova, and children were at his side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles reports CNN.

After serving in the U.S. Navy in the Second World War, the gap-toothed Borgnine made the move into television and then film, forging out a six decade long career as a widely liked and respected character actor.

His first big break was the role of the cruel Sgt. 'Fatso' Judson in 1953's "From Here to Eternity" along with a few villain roles in films like "Vera Cruz" and "Bad Day at Black Rock". In 1955 though came "Marty" in which he played a lovelorn butcher, a performance that won him the Best Actor Oscar over the likes of James Cagney, James Dean, Frank Sinatra and Spencer Tracy.

He worked with filmmaker Sam Peckinpah on both the
See full article at Dark Horizons »

Blackthorn – review

Sam Shepard excels in Mateo Gil's elegiac sequel imagining further adventures in Bolivia for the Wild Bunch leader

Back in 1969 George Roy Hill brought Paul Newman and Robert Redford together in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a self-consciously stylish western in which two notorious bandits were celebrated as forerunners of the outlaw sensibility of the 1960s. A decade later, Richard Lester, one of the film-makers credited for shaping the artistic expression of the 60s with The Knack and two Beatles films, made his only western, Butch and Sundance: The Early Days. Featuring two young actors, Tom Berenger and William Katt, with uncanny resemblances to Newman and Redford, the film took a quirky but generally realistic look at frontier life as it related to the pair's early criminal life and friendship, ending in the 1890s at the point where they were becoming aware of being legends, leaders of a gang called the Wild Bunch.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
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