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Possibly the first TV series to acknowledge gays.
BROTHERS was first presented in the United States by Showtime, Inc. on a premium channel. I have not known of the series being re-run by any other channel, though there is no surprise there! As I recall, it told of a family of brothers, one of whom has "come out." Of course, it treated the situation in a broad comedic manner. I remember the comedy was sometimes forced and sophomoric, but it was a daring breakthrough for its' day, and as such, deserves another look! SHOWTIME....where are you when we need you? You have presented what is possibly the most blatantly gay drama ever, and yet you have forgotten your own pioneering effort. Look in your vaults, and dust the tapes off.
My Man Godfrey (1936)
MY MAN GODFREY in living color!
MY MAN GODFREY has been available only in dreary black-and-white dupes, as it was allowed to go public domain by Universal. Even Turner Classic movies has shown only a dupe print.
Now, this sparkling comedy has been colorized by 20th Century Fox, and it is an immaculate print that proves that colorization has come of age. To silence those "purists" who think they have a right to tell me how I should view a film, MY MAN GODFREY is also available on the DVD in the original black-and-white.
I never saw a comedy which would not be better served by color, and I must say, I have seen at least 100 black-and white films that begged for color, but I have never seen a color film that would have been better in black-and-white!
God bless FOX!
The Woman in Green (1945)
Colorization has come of age!
THE WOMAN IN GREEN has long been one of the best Sherlock Holmes films of the forties, but it has been available only in copies ranging from mediocre to dismal. Then, last year, UCLA restored the Holmes films in beautiful black-and-white prints.
Now, 20th Century Fox has colorized this film in a stunning print, and has made both the black-and-white and the color version available on the same DVD. Now, opponents to colorization can shut their collective yaps. If they don't approve of colorization, they can watch the b&w version, but they have no right to tell others what they can or cannot watch.
Go, Twentieth Century Fox!
The Blue Veil (1951)
One of the finest "lost films."
There are several truly excellent movies that have apparently vanished from general distribution. THE BLUE VEIL sadly lies in a vault somewhere, for some unknown reason. My guess: some copyright dispute, be it literary or musical. Please, someone, "PAY THE TWO DOLLARS!"
As Louise, a governess, Jane Wyman gives a performance that is easily the equal of JOHNNY BELINDA. In two scenes alone, Miss Wyman could, and does, wring tears from a stone. She is supported by a fine cast which includes Joan Blondell, Charles Laughton and Natalie Wood. Performances which are of this caliber should not be allowed to disappear, unknown and unappreciated.
This was an RKO release, which spells TED TURNER. Why don't we bring pressure to bear where it counts? THE BLUE VEIL deserves to be seen.
SYBIL may be coming our way on DVD.
Of course, we know that SYBIL is one of the great Made-For-TV biographies, and that Sally Field gives the performance of her life. What has puzzled us is Paramount's reluctance to release this in its' original length on DVD.
It was presented this month in Part One and Part Two at two hours each part on the Oxygen Network. Minus commercials, each part had a running time of 92 minutes. While it is an improvement over the previously released tape, it is still edited, and unsatisfactory. Perhaps, this presentation is a harbinger of a future release of this fine drama. The print that was shown is very fine, so that bodes well for those of us who hope to see this film uncut, uninterrupted and unmatched! Perhaps if we each wrote to Paramount....?
The Fleet's In (1942)
Wonderful "Variety Show'" with performers at their peak.
This was one of Paramount's biggest grossers of 1942, and it gave Betty Hutton the chance of a lifetime. She is a powerhouse here with great chemistry with her co-star, Eddie Bracken. They were to go on to greater heights in MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK. It's almost everything the audiences of wartime 1942 wanted: bright and bouncy music done by the top talent of the day, a star, Dorothy Lamour, who never looked better, and a silly escapist plot to lighten one's mood. The only drawback: it was filmed in black-and-white, when it screamed for Technicolor. Still, this is a musical that should be on DVD and NOW! What's not to sell? It has a young William Holden, Dorothy Lsmour, Betty Hutton's dynamics, one of the top Big Bands, Jimmy Dorsey, and the singing talents of Bob Eberle and Helen O'Connell. Priceless nostalgia.
Back Door to Heaven (1939)
Small, budget film with a heart bigger than an epic.
A film that was created as a second-feature became a small jewel by means of an honest script and sincere performances by little-known actors. (Van Heflin appears in a very early performance.)
James Lydon appears as Frankie, a small boy living a desperate existence in a slum area, who steals a harmonica in order to fit in with his classmates. Lydon's performance is heartbreaking, and you know that his character is lost forever under the weight of despair. Then we see Frankie grown, in prison. (Wallace Ford) A parole sets the story in motion, and we see how tragic circumstances can indeed forever destroy a life. Aline MacMahon as Frankie's teacher gives her usual sterling performance. Don't miss this one.
Back Street (1941)
Finest version of the Fannie Hurst novel.
Two of Hollywood's greatest actors, Charles Boyer and Margaret Sullavan, starred in this first remake of the 30s tearjerker, and they
portrayed the star-crossed lovers with great restraint. Acting, writing and direction all combined to create the ultimate BACK STREET! Warners had their crime dramas, MGM had their musicals, Paramount had their comedies, and Universal had the best weepers. This may be the very best one ever! Even the supporting cast was hand-picked with care. Richard Carlson, ever the "other guy", does his thing once more, and we want him to win for a change, but in this case, true love ruins all. Frank McHugh, as Rae's friend, gives perhaps his best performance.