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Good Bad Man Cortez: Final Interview Segment with Biographer of The Great Hollywood Heel

Good Bad Man Cortez: Final Interview Segment with Biographer of The Great Hollywood Heel
'The Magnificent Ambersons': Directed by Orson Welles, and starring Tim Holt (pictured), Dolores Costello (in the background), Joseph Cotten, Anne Baxter, and Agnes Moorehead, this Academy Award-nominated adaptation of Booth Tarkington's novel earned Ricardo Cortez's brother Stanley Cortez an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White. He lost to Joseph Ruttenberg for William Wyler's blockbuster 'Mrs. Miniver.' Two years later, Cortez – along with Lee Garmes – would win Oscar statuettes for their evocative black-and-white work on John Cromwell's homefront drama 'Since You Went Away,' starring Ricardo Cortez's 'Torch Singer' leading lady, Claudette Colbert. In all, Stanley Cortez would receive cinematography credit in more than 80 films, ranging from B fare such as 'The Lady in the Morgue' and the 1940 'Margie' to Fritz Lang's 'Secret Beyond the Door,' Charles Laughton's 'The Night of the Hunter,' and Nunnally Johnson's 'The Three Faces
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The Keys of the Kingdom

The Keys of the Kingdom

Blu-ray

Twilight Time

1944 / B&W / 1:37 Academy / 137 min. / Street Date December 13, 2017 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95

Starring: Gregory Peck, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Rose Stradner, Roddy McDowall, Edmund Gwenn, Cedric Hardwicke, Peggy Ann Garner, Jane Ball, James Gleason, Anne Revere

Cinematography: Arthur Miller

Art Direction: James Basevi, William Darling

Film Editor: James B. Clark

Original Music: Alfred Newman

Written by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Nunnally Johnson from a novel by A.J. Cronin

Produced by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Directed by John M. Stahl

The Twilight Time label has access to much of the Fox library, and draws from the vault what’s been fully restored and what’s not already claimed elsewhere. Accompanying their UA- sourced disc of Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s The Barefoot Contessa is a 1944 Fox release from the writer-director-producer, a big studio production directed in this case by John M. Stahl. The Keys of the Kingdom
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Suddenly

Political terror scenarios were a bit simpler in the 1950s, and movies about them fairly rare. Frank Sinatra gives a strong performance as the villain John Baron, in a tense tale of presidential assassination by high-powered rifle. Suddenly Blu-ray The Film Detective 1954 / B&W / 1.75 widescreen / 75 min. / Street Date October 25, 2016 / 14.99 Starring Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason, Nancy Gates, Willis Bouchey, Cinematography Charles G. Clarke Art Direction Frank Sylos Film Editor John F. Schreyer Original Music David Raksin Written by Richard Sale Produced by Robert Bassler Directed by Lewis Allen

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Some disc companies do well by refurbishing movies in the Public Domain, using various methods to bring what were once bargain-bin eyesores nearer the level of releases made from prime source material in studio vaults. As I've reported with efforts by HD Cinema Classics and Vci, the results vary dramatically -- did the company do a professional job,
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Review: “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” (1941; Directed by Alexander Hall) ; Criterion Blu-ray Special Edition

  • CinemaRetro
“A Heavenly Beginning”

By Raymond Benson

They must have done something right. Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) has proven to be a timeless and universal movie that keeps on giving, and the welcome new release from the Criterion Collection attests to it.

The premise of the film has been around for a while. Most of our generation know the remake better—Heaven Can Wait (1978, starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie)—which is a superb Oscar-nominated romantic comedy in its own right. Another remake in 2001, Down to Earth, starred Chris Rock.

But that’s not all. It wasn’t until I’d viewed the supplements on the new disk that I appreciated the fact that Mr. Jordan was indeed the first of several Hollywood pictures dealing with “heavenly” concepts—angels, the afterlife, and second chances. In a video discussion, critic Michael Sragow and filmmaker/distributor Michael Schlesinger reveal how the picture’s popularity actually began a trend of similar movies throughout the 1940s—A Guy Named Joe, Angel on My Shoulder, A Matter of Life and Death, It’s a Wonderful Life, and even Mr. Jordan’s direct sequel, Down to Earth (1947, not to be confused with the Chris Rock remake), which features both James Gleason and Edward Everett Horton again playing their roles from the first movie.

Here Comes Mr. Jordan was a major release and surprise hit from Columbia Pictures, a studio that always struggled to be one of the majors despite having director Frank Capra on their team in the ‘30s. Critically and popularly acclaimed, the picture successfully blends fantasy, romance, comedy, and intrigue, creating a delightful, and sometimes thought-provoking, piece of entertainment. It was nominated for Best Picture of 1941, Best Director (Alexander Hall), Best Actor (Robert Montgomery), Best Supporting Actor (James Gleason, and he steals the movie!), and Best B&W Cinematography. The film deservedly won the Oscar for Best Writing, Original Story, for Sidney Buchman and Seton I. Miller.

The story concerns Joe Pendleton (enthusiastically played by Montgomery in a stretch from his usual sophisticated tuxedo-clad characters) as a prizefighter with a heavy New Jersey accent who crashes in his private plane. His soul is saved by the Messenger (Horton), an angel whose job is to escort to Heaven the departing souls from his “territory.” In the mist-filled outskirts of Heaven, Mr. Jordan (benevolently portrayed by Claude Rains), a sort of St. Peter in a three-piece suit, checks in the new souls as they board another plane to take them to their afterlife homes. But Joe’s soul was accidentally taken before his body actually died—and therefore Mr. Jordan grants Joe a second chance. However, his consciousness must be placed into a recently deceased person—so Joe winds up inside a rich, corrupt banker’s body. Joe, in his new persona, sets about turning the banker’s life around for good, and he also attempts to continue his prizefighting. For the latter, he calls in his former manager, Corkle (Gleason) to train him. First, though, he’s got to convince Corkle that he’s really Joe inside the new man’s form. To complicate things, Joe falls in love with the daughter (Evelyn Keyes) of a man the banker destroyed financially and sent to prison. Joe also doesn’t know it yet, but he will have to jump bodies one more time before the story plays out.

The comedy and romance work like a charm, and the fantasy elements of Mr. Jordan are surprisingly effective. The movie is intelligently written and treats its subject matter with respect; and yet it has fun with the mechanics of death and the philosophical discourse of what we think the afterlife really is. The audience is tricked, in a way, into pleasantly enjoying a movie about death. What happens to Joe Pendleton at the end isn’t the norm for a romantic comedy. Technically it’s not a happy ending—and yet, it is. It’s a feel-good movie with a bittersweet center. This is a testament to the quality of writing in Here Comes Mr. Jordan.

The new 2K digital restoration looks fabulous. It has an uncompressed, monaural soundtrack. Along with the aforementioned video conversation about the film, the supplements include a long audio interview with Elizabeth Montgomery (daughter of Robert Montgomery, and, yes, the star of Bewitched) about her father and the movie; the Lux Radio Theatre radio adaptation starring Cary Grant (who was originally approached to star in the film—one can only imagine what it would have been like with Grant), Rains, Keyes, and Gleason; and a trailer. An essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme adorns the booklet.

A little gem from Hollywood released just prior to America’s entrance into World War II, Here Comes Mr. Jordan is a genuine classic, arguably superior to its many remakes and imitations. You will believe...

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Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Here's a sterling example of what Hollywood excelled at back in the golden age: Robert Montgomery, Evelyn Keyes, Claude Rains and Edward Everett Horton star in possibly the most magical of movies known as Film Blanc. A cosmic goof leaves a man with fifty years yet to live without a body -- so heavenly troubleshooters try to find him a new one. Here Comes Mr. Jordan Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 819 1941 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 94 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date June 14, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Robert Montgomery, Evelyn Keyes, Claude Rains, Rita Johnson, Edward Everett Horton, James Gleason. Cinematography Joseph Walker Art Direction Lionel Banks Film Editor Viola Lawrence Original Music Frederick Hollander Written by Sidney Buchman, Seton I. Miller from the play Heaven Can Wait by Harry Segall Produced by Everett Riskin Directed by Alexander Hall

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Some movies are so entertaining that it's best to tell people,
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Oberon Later Years: From Empress to Duchess, Shah of Iran Mexican House Connection

Merle Oberon films: From empress to duchess in 'Hotel.' Merle Oberon films: From starring to supporting roles Turner Classic Movies' Merle Oberon month comes to an end tonight, March 25, '16, with six movies: Désirée, Hotel, Deep in My Heart, Affectionately Yours, Berlin Express, and Night Song. Oberon's presence alone would have sufficed to make them all worth a look, but they have other qualities to recommend them as well. 'Désirée': First supporting role in two decades Directed by Henry Koster, best remembered for his Deanna Durbin musicals and the 1947 fantasy comedy The Bishop's Wife, Désirée (1954) is a sumptuous production that, thanks to its big-name cast, became a major box office hit upon its release. Marlon Brando is laughably miscast as Napoleon Bonaparte, while Jean Simmons plays the title role, the Corsican Conqueror's one-time fiancée Désirée Clary (later Queen of Sweden and Norway). In a supporting role – her
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Bad Boy

This proto- juvenile delinquent epic launched celebrated WW2 warrior Audie Murphy on the road to Hollywood fame, fortune and more troubled times. Audie commits every crime short of shooting dogs and nuns, but those wacky liberal social workers still give him the benefit of the doubt. Director Kurt Neumann back our hero with expert acting support from Lloyd Nolan, Jane Wyatt and James GleasonBad Boy DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1949 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 86 min. / Street Date January 5, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Audie Murphy, Lloyd Nolan, Jane Wyatt, James Gleason, Stanley Clements, Martha Vickers, Rhys Williams, Selena Royle, Jimmy Lydon, Dickie Moore, Tommy Cook, William F. Leicester, Stephen Chase, Walter Sande, Ray Teal, Charles Trowbridge. Cinematography Karl Struss Art Direction Theobold Holsopple Production Design Gordon Wiles Film Editor William Austin Original Music Paul Sawtell Written by Robert Hardy Andrews, Karl Kamb, Paul Short Produced by Paul Short
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Sean Hayes Will Star as 'God' in the Broadway Comedy An Act of God – See the Pictures!

Sean Hayes Will Star as 'God' in the Broadway Comedy An Act of God – See the Pictures!
Sean Hayes has landed his holiest role yet!

The Emmy award-winning actor will star as "God" in Broadway's hit comedy An Act of God, a play written by David Javerbaum.

The Will and Grace star and his angels – played by David Josefsberg and James Gleason – will touch down on Earth for 90 precious minutes to answer some of mankind's deepest questions during the comedy directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello.

Hayes made his Broadway debut in 2010 when he starred in Promises, Promises alongside Kristin Chenoweth, Molly Shannon and Tony Goldwyn.

An Act of God officially open on Feb. 10 at the
See full article at People.com - TV Watch »

Sean Hayes Will Star as 'God' in the Broadway Comedy An Act of God - See the Pictures!

  • PEOPLE.com
Sean Hayes Will Star as 'God' in the Broadway Comedy An Act of God - See the Pictures!
Sean Hayes has landed his holiest role yet! The Emmy award-winning actor will star as "God" in Broadway's hit comedy An Act of God, a play written by David Javerbaum. The Will and Grace star and his angels - played by David Josefsberg and James Gleason - will touch down on Earth for 90 precious minutes to answer some of mankind's deepest questions during the comedy directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello. Hayes made his Broadway debut in 2010 when he starred in Promises, Promises alongside Kristin Chenoweth, Molly Shannon and Tony Goldwyn. An Act of God officially open on Feb.
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Sean Hayes Will Star as 'God' in the Broadway Comedy An Act of God - See the Pictures!

  • PEOPLE.com
Sean Hayes Will Star as 'God' in the Broadway Comedy An Act of God - See the Pictures!
Sean Hayes has landed his holiest role yet! The Emmy award-winning actor will star as "God" in Broadway's hit comedy An Act of God, a play written by David Javerbaum. The Will and Grace star and his angels - played by David Josefsberg and James Gleason - will touch down on Earth for 90 precious minutes to answer some of mankind's deepest questions during the comedy directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello. Hayes made his Broadway debut in 2010 when he starred in Promises, Promises alongside Kristin Chenoweth, Molly Shannon and Tony Goldwyn. An Act of God officially open on Feb.
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Thomas' Popular TV Costar, Mother of Oscar-Nominated Actress Dead at 97

Marjorie Lord actress ca. early 1950s. Actress Marjorie Lord dead at 97: Best remembered for TV series 'Make Room for Daddy' Stage, film, and television actress Marjorie Lord, best remembered as Danny Thomas' second wife in Make Room for Daddy, died Nov. 28, '15, at her home in Beverly Hills. Lord (born Marjorie Wollenberg on July 26, 1918, in San Francisco) was 97. Marjorie Lord movies After moving with her family to New York, Marjorie Lord made her Broadway debut at age 17 in Zoe Akins' Pulitzer Prize-winning adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel The Old Maid (1935). Lord replaced Margaret Anderson in the role of Tina, played by Jane Bryan – as Bette Davis' out-of-wedlock daughter – in Warner Bros.' 1939 movie version directed by Edmund Goulding. Hollywood offers ensued, resulting in film appearances in a string of low-budget movies in the late 1930s and throughout much of the 1940s, initially (and
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Oscar Winner and Queen of MGM on TCM: Still Relevant Adult Themes

Norma Shearer: The Boss' wife was cast in 'The Divorcee.' Norma Shearer movies on TCM: Early talkies and Best Actress Oscar Note: This Norma Shearer article is currently being revised and expanded. Please Check back later. Norma Shearer, one of the top stars in Hollywood history and known as the Queen of MGM back in the 1930s, is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month of Nov. 2015. That's the good news. The not-so-good news is that even though its parent company, Time Warner, owns most of Shearer's movies, TCM isn't airing any premieres. So, if you were expecting to check out a very young Norma Shearer in The Devil's Circus, Upstage, or After Midnight, you're out of luck. (I've seen all three; they're all worth a look.) It's a crime that, music score or no, restored print or no, TCM/Time Warner don't make available for viewing the
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Cummings' Ten-Year Death Anniversary: From Minor Lloyd Leading Lady to Tony Award Winner (Revised and Expanded)

Constance Cummings: Actress in minor Hollywood movies became major London stage star. Constance Cummings: Actress went from Harold Lloyd and Frank Capra to Noël Coward and Eugene O'Neill Actress Constance Cummings, whose career spanned more than six decades on stage, in films, and on television in both the U.S. and the U.K., died ten years ago on Nov. 23. Unlike other Broadway imports such as Ann Harding, Katharine Hepburn, Miriam Hopkins, and Claudette Colbert, the pretty, elegant Cummings – who could have been turned into a less edgy Constance Bennett had she landed at Rko or Paramount instead of Columbia – never became a Hollywood star. In fact, her most acclaimed work, whether in films or – more frequently – on stage, was almost invariably found in British productions. That's most likely why the name Constance Cummings – despite the DVD availability of several of her best-received performances – is all but forgotten.
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Top Screenwriting Team from the Golden Age of Hollywood: List of Movies and Academy Award nominations

Billy Wilder directed Sunset Blvd. with Gloria Swanson and William Holden. Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett movies Below is a list of movies on which Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder worked together as screenwriters, including efforts for which they did not receive screen credit. The Wilder-Brackett screenwriting partnership lasted from 1938 to 1949. During that time, they shared two Academy Awards for their work on The Lost Weekend (1945) and, with D.M. Marshman Jr., Sunset Blvd. (1950). More detailed information further below. Post-split years Billy Wilder would later join forces with screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond in movies such as the classic comedy Some Like It Hot (1959), the Best Picture Oscar winner The Apartment (1960), and One Two Three (1961), notable as James Cagney's last film (until a brief comeback in Milos Forman's Ragtime two decades later). Although some of these movies were quite well received, Wilder's later efforts – which also included The Seven Year Itch
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Two-Time Oscar Winner Cooper on TCM: Pro-War 'York' and Eastwood-Narrated Doc

Gary Cooper movies on TCM: Cooper at his best and at his weakest Gary Cooper is Turner Classic Movies' “Summer Under the Stars” star today, Aug. 30, '15. Unfortunately, TCM isn't showing any Cooper movie premiere – despite the fact that most of his Paramount movies of the '20s and '30s remain unavailable. This evening's features are Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Sergeant York (1941), and Love in the Afternoon (1957). Mr. Deeds Goes to Town solidified Gary Cooper's stardom and helped to make Jean Arthur Columbia's top female star. The film is a tad overlong and, like every Frank Capra movie, it's also highly sentimental. What saves it from the Hell of Good Intentions is the acting of the two leads – Cooper and Arthur are both excellent – and of several supporting players. Directed by Howard Hawks, the jingoistic, pro-war Sergeant York was a huge box office hit, eventually earning Academy Award nominations in several categories,
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Scorsese (Costly) Short Featuring the Director, DiCaprio, and De Niro Has Been Pulled from Venice Festival

'The Audition' poster with Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Martin Scorsese short 'The Audition' pulled from Venice Film Festival No major international film festival is worth its mainstream U.S. media salt unless there's at least one screening featuring the latest work of a major Hollywood name. The Venice Film Festival is surely no exception, especially as it's the year's final internationally renowned European movie fest, held shortly before the fall – i.e., awards – movie season begins. Well, one work by a top Hollywood name will no longer be available at Venice: The Audition, a short film directed by and featuring veteran Martin Scorsese, has been pulled out. "We have just been informed by the production that due to unexpected technical problems the film could not be here in time," festival organizers said in a statement earlier today, Sat., Aug. 29, '15. According to The Hollywood Reporter,
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Walker on TCM: From Shy, Heterosexual Boy-Next-Door to Sly, Homosexual Sociopath

Robert Walker: Actor in MGM films of the '40s. Robert Walker: Actor who conveyed boy-next-door charms, psychoses At least on screen, I've always found the underrated actor Robert Walker to be everything his fellow – and more famous – MGM contract player James Stewart only pretended to be: shy, amiable, naive. The one thing that made Walker look less like an idealized “Average Joe” than Stewart was that the former did not have a vacuous look. Walker's intelligence shone clearly through his bright (in black and white) grey eyes. As part of its “Summer Under the Stars” programming, Turner Classic Movies is dedicating today, Aug. 9, '15, to Robert Walker, who was featured in 20 films between 1943 and his untimely death at age 32 in 1951. Time Warner (via Ted Turner) owns the pre-1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer library (and almost got to buy the studio outright in 2009), so most of Walker's movies have
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Long Before Day-Lewis, Oscar-Nominated Actor Played Lincoln: TCM 'Stars' Series Continues

Raymond Massey ca. 1940. Raymond Massey movies: From Lincoln to Boris Karloff Though hardly remembered today, the Toronto-born Raymond Massey was a top supporting player – and sometime lead – in both British and American movies from the early '30s all the way to the early '60s. During that period, Massey was featured in nearly 50 films. Turner Classic Movies generally selects the same old MGM / Rko / Warner Bros. stars for its annual “Summer Under the Stars” series. For that reason, it's great to see someone like Raymond Massey – who was with Warners in the '40s – be the focus of a whole day: Sat., Aug. 8, '15. (See TCM's Raymond Massey movie schedule further below.) Admittedly, despite his prestige – his stage credits included the title role in the short-lived 1931 Broadway production of Hamlet – the quality of Massey's performances varied wildly. Sometimes he could be quite effective; most of the time, however, he was an unabashed scenery chewer,
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The Top Father's Day Films Ever Made? Here Are Five Dads - Ranging from the Intellectual to the Pathological

'Father of the Bride': Steve Martin and Kimberly Williams. Top Five Father's Day Movies? From giant Gregory Peck to tyrant John Gielgud What would be the Top Five Father's Day movies ever made? Well, there have been countless films about fathers and/or featuring fathers of various sizes, shapes, and inclinations. In terms of quality, these range from the amusing – e.g., the 1950 version of Cheaper by the Dozen; the Oscar-nominated The Grandfather – to the nauseating – e.g., the 1950 version of Father of the Bride; its atrocious sequel, Father's Little Dividend. Although I'm unable to come up with the absolute Top Five Father's Day Movies – or rather, just plain Father Movies – ever made, below are the first five (actually six, including a remake) "quality" patriarch-centered films that come to mind. Now, the fathers portrayed in these films aren't all heroic, loving, and/or saintly paternal figures. Several are
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Wright Was Earliest Surviving Best Supporting Actress Oscar Winner

Teresa Wright: Later years (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright: From Marlon Brando to Matt Damon.") Teresa Wright and Robert Anderson were divorced in 1978. They would remain friends in the ensuing years.[1] Wright spent most of the last decade of her life in Connecticut, making only sporadic public appearances. In 1998, she could be seen with her grandson, film producer Jonah Smith, at New York's Yankee Stadium, where she threw the ceremonial first pitch.[2] Wright also became involved in the Greater New York chapter of the Als Association. (The Pride of the Yankees subject, Lou Gehrig, died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in 1941.) The week she turned 82 in October 2000, Wright attended the 20th anniversary celebration of Somewhere in Time, where she posed for pictures with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. In March 2003, she was a guest at the 75th Academy Awards, in the segment showcasing Oscar-winning actors of the past. Two years later,
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