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Four Men and a Prayer

It's the John Ford film you never heard of, not because it's bad, but because it's a little confused. Richard Greene, David Niven and an emotional George Sanders (!) dedicate their lives to clearing their father's name of a smear by international arms smugglers! Their spirited companion Loretta Young behaves almost as if this were a screwball comedy. So does the director! Ford aficionados will be fascinated. Four Men and a Prayer 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives 1938 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 85 min. / Street Date December 15, 2015 / 19.98 Starring Loretta Young, Richard Greene, George Sanders, David Niven, C. Aubrey Smith. J. Edward Bromberg, William Henry, John Carradine, Alan Hale, Reginald Denny, Berton Churchill, Barry Fitzgerald, Chris-Pin Martin. Cinematography Franz Planer Film Editor Louis R. Loeffler Written by Richard Sherman, Sonya Levien, Walter Ferris from a novel by David Garth Produced by Kenneth Macgowan Directed by John Ford

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

We all
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Forbidden Hollywood Volume 9

Depraved convicts ! Crazy Manhattan gin parties! Society dames poaching other women's husbands! A flimflam artist scamming the uptown sophisticates! All these forbidden attractions are here and more -- including Bette Davis's epochal seduction line about impulsive kissing versus good hair care. It's a 9th collection of racy pre-Code wonders. Forbidden Hollywood Volume 9 Big City Blues, Hell's Highway, The Cabin in the Cotton, When Ladies Meet, I Sell Anything DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1932-1934 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 63, 62, 78, 85, 70 min. / Street Date October 27, 2015 / available through the WBshop / 40.99 Starring Joan Blondell, Eric Linden, Humphrey Bogart; Richard Dix, Tom Brown; Richard Barthelmess, Bette Davis, Dorothy Jordan, Berton Churchill; Ann Harding, Robert Montgomery, Myrna Loy, Alice Brady, Frank Morgan; Pat O' Brien, Ann Dvorak, Claire Dodd, Roscoe Karns. Cinematography James Van Trees; Edward Cronjager; Barney McGill; Ray June Written by Lillie Hayward, Ward Morehouse, from his play; Samuel Ornitz, Robert Tasker, Rowland Brown
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From Robinson's Toyboy to Intrepid Drug Smuggler: Fairbanks Jr on TCM

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ca. 1935. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was never as popular as his father, silent film superstar Douglas Fairbanks, who starred in one action-adventure blockbuster after another in the 1920s (The Mark of Zorro, Robin Hood, The Thief of Bagdad) and whose stardom dates back to the mid-1910s, when Fairbanks toplined a series of light, modern-day comedies in which he was cast as the embodiment of the enterprising, 20th century “all-American.” What this particular go-getter got was screen queen Mary Pickford as his wife and United Artists as his studio, which he co-founded with Pickford, D.W. Griffith, and Charles Chaplin. Now, although Jr. never had the following of Sr., he did enjoy a solid two-decade-plus movie career. In fact, he was one of the few children of major film stars – e.g., Jane Fonda, Liza Minnelli, Angelina Jolie, Michael Douglas, Jamie Lee Curtis – who had successful film careers of their own.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Rare Silent Film Actor Who Had Long Talkie Career Is TCM's Star of the Day

Adolphe Menjou movies today (This article is currently being revised.) Despite countless stories to the contrary, numerous silent film performers managed to survive the coming of sound. Adolphe Menjou, however, is a special case in that he not only remained a leading man in the early sound era, but smoothly made the transition to top supporting player in mid-decade, a position he would continue to hold for the quarter of a century. Menjou is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Day today, Aug. 3, as part of TCM's "Summer Under the Stars" 2015 series. Right now, TCM is showing William A. Wellman's A Star Is Born, the "original" version of the story about a small-town girl (Janet Gaynor) who becomes a Hollywood star, while her husband (Fredric March) boozes his way into oblivion. In typical Hollywood originality (not that things are any different elsewhere), this 1937 version of the story – produced by
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On TCM: Conservative Actress Young in Audacious Movies

Loretta Young films as TCM celebrates her 102nd birthday (photo: Loretta Young ca. 1935) Loretta Young would have turned 102 years old today. Turner Classic Movies is celebrating the birthday of the Salt Lake City-born, Academy Award-winning actress today, January 6, 2015, with no less than ten Loretta Young films, most of them released by Warner Bros. in the early '30s. Young, who began her film career in a bit part in the 1927 Colleen Moore star vehicle Her Wild Oat, remained a Warners contract player from the late '20s up until 1933. (See also: "Loretta Young Movies.") Now, ten Loretta Young films on one day may sound like a lot, but one should remember that most Warner Bros. -- in fact, most Hollywood -- releases of the late '20s and early '30s were either B Movies or programmers. The latter were relatively short (usually 60 to 75 minutes) feature films starring A (or B+) performers,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Forgotten Pre-Codes: "Afraid to Talk" (1932)

  • MUBI
Part of a series by David Cairns on forgotten pre-Code films.

Edward L. Cahn—how shall I sing your praises? Perhaps before seeing this film I wouldn't have bothered, though It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) is a genuinely exciting sci-fi horror, and a clear precursor to Alien. Apart from that, Cahn seems to resemble W. Lee Wilder (Billy Wilder's idiot brother), in that he was capable of semi-decent Z-grade noirs, but concentrated much of his attention on science fiction, a genre he seemed to have no understanding of and nothing but contempt for. Cahn's Invisible Invaders (1959) may safely be recommended to anybody who likes really, really stupid movies. Movies so stupid they forget to breath.

Above: The chain gang chorus line—a surprisingly uncommon trope.

But decades earlier, things were different. Cahn was already churning out several quickies a year, with snap-brimmed titles like Homicide Squad (1931) and Radio Patrol (1932). The difference was,
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Summer Hours and Stagecoach Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

Criterion is now running the gamut of cinema, covering more modern releases than ever before, whilst still collecting some of the greatest films ever made. I don’t know if Olivier Assayas’s Summer Hours deserves to be kept in the same company as John Ford’s Stagecoach, but only three numbers separate them in Criterion’s continuing collection of some of the greatest films ever made. Still, both have such great value, even if only one is a classic. And my reviews of the Criterion Blu-ray’s of Stagecoach and Summer Hours follow after the jump.

To start with, it should be said that Stagecoach does not look pristine. Jeffery Welles railed on this, and Criterion made a decision they weren’t going to Dnr all of the scratches and blips. As such throughout the film there are shots that show the wear of bad storage, and choices were
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Stagecoach Blu Ray Review

Stagecoach Directed by: John Ford Written by: Dudley Nichols Starring: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, John Carradine, Andy Devine With comic book movies and fantasy films ruling the box office, it's safe to say that the 'B movie' is now 'the A movie'. While the idea of the blockbuster is nothing new, there seems to have been a shift in the quality of talent that have attached themselves to films that years ago might have been considered substandard (actually, most of it still is substandard). Similarly, the western was once considered pure pulp filmmaking until John Ford's Stagecoach set a standard that legitimized the American western and turned a B movie actor (John Wayne) into a legend. While the plot of Stagecoach is pretty straightforward, the characterizations are fairly subversive considering this was Ford's first 'talkie' western. The first act of the film takes its time setting up the multitude
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