One Hour with You (1932) - News Poster


Scott’s TCM Fest Dispatch, Part One: Silliness

This is my seventh TCM Classic Film Festival. At a certain point, some things become routine – one learns to expect the exhaustion at the dawn of day three (of four), the constant negotiation between personal viewing whims and rare presentations, the way plots and aesthetic choices start to run together, and the suspicion that explaining the draw of such an event to those not immediately inclined to attend it may come across a touch insane. Film festivals are innately demanding experiences, but between the pleasure of its programming, the consolidation of the venues, and the brevity of most of its films’ running times, few make it so easy to watch four, five, six movies in a day. You tell your coworkers on Monday what you did all weekend, and it starts to not make a lot of sense. But somehow, in the midst of it all, the point of it couldn’t be clearer.
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It’s official, the best Oscar year ever is… – watch Jump Cut #4

This week’s Jump Cut is all about determining the best year ever in cinema.

“But how can you figure that out?!” you shout at whatever device you’re reading this on. “Film is too subjective an art form for you to make overarching statements like that!”

That’s a very good point, but you’re overlooking two things: 1) the Oscar best picture nominations, and 2) film ratings on the Internet Movie Database. Both obviously have degrees of subjectivity, but that’s levelled off somewhat with each institution’s sheer number of voters or raters.

So, to work out what year was the best ever for cinema, we’ve taken all the films nominated for each year’s Best Picture Oscar, and then worked out their average IMDb rating. I’ll just point out that these were the ratings as of the week of the 88th Academy Awards on 22nd February
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Lubitsch Pt.II: The Magical Touch with MacDonald, Garbo Sorely Missing from Today's Cinema

'The Merry Widow' with Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald and Minna Gombell under the direction of Ernst Lubitsch. Ernst Lubitsch movies: 'The Merry Widow,' 'Ninotchka' (See previous post: “Ernst Lubitsch Best Films: Passé Subtle 'Touch' in Age of Sledgehammer Filmmaking.”) Initially a project for Ramon Novarro – who for quite some time aspired to become an opera singer and who had a pleasant singing voice – The Merry Widow ultimately starred Maurice Chevalier, the hammiest film performer this side of Bob Hope, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler – the list goes on and on. Generally speaking, “hammy” isn't my idea of effective film acting. For that reason, I usually find Chevalier a major handicap to his movies, especially during the early talkie era; he upsets their dramatic (or comedic) balance much like Jack Nicholson in Martin Scorsese's The Departed or Jerry Lewis in anything (excepting Scorsese's The King of Comedy
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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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First Best Actress and Best Actor Academy Award Winners Tonight

First Best Actor Oscar winner Emil Jannings and first Best Actress Oscar winner Janet Gaynor on TCM (photo: Emil Jannings in 'The Last Command') First Best Actor Academy Award winner Emil Jannings in The Last Command, first Best Actress Academy Award winner Janet Gaynor in Sunrise, and sisters Norma Talmadge and Constance Talmadge are a few of the silent era performers featured this evening on Turner Classic Movies, as TCM continues with its Silent Monday presentations. Starting at 5 p.m. Pt / 8 p.m. Et on November 17, 2014, get ready to check out several of the biggest movie stars of the 1920s. Following the Jean Negulesco-directed 1943 musical short Hit Parade of the Gay Nineties -- believe me, even the most rabid anti-gay bigot will be able to enjoy this one -- TCM will be showing Josef von Sternberg's The Last Command (1928) one of the two movies that earned
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

New on Video: ‘Angel’


Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

Written by Samson Raphaelson

USA, 1937

Angel is a 1937 feature directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Marlene Dietrich. It’s not the greatest film of either one of their careers, however, it is a film deserving of attention, at the very least because it’s a film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Marlene Dietrich. And now, it’s also available for the first time on an American-issued DVD, by way of Universal’s Vault Series collection.

Dietrich is Maria Barker, but we first see her as “Mrs. Brown,” the false name she registers under when arriving in France. She’s “in Paris but not in Paris,” there to meet an old acquaintance, the Russian émigré, Grand Duchess Anna Dmitrievna (Laura Hope Crews). At the same time, Anthony Halton (Melvyn Douglas) drops by the duchess’ “salon,” at the suggestion of a friend who sent him there for an “amusing time.
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A Journey Through the Eclipse Series: William Klein’s The Model Couple

A few weeks ago I began a four-part miniseries here, reviewing Eclipse films that deal with the topic of marriage. My first selection was Ernst Lubitsch’s One Hour With You, published almost exactly a year after I covered a different Lubitsch film, Monte Carlo here in this same column.

Now, even though I ran out of time to complete the series in June as I originally intended, the concluding installment, The Model Couple from Eclipse Series 9: The Delirious Fictions of William Klein, is unleashed one year after Mr. Freedom was the object of my attention over the Independence Day holiday weekend. I don’t know that these coincidences portend any particularly deep meaning, but they provide a lead into this review, so as far as I’m concerned, they serve a purpose.

Better yet, The Model Couple also makes a great follow-up to last week’s film, Allan King’s A Married Couple.
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A Journey Through the Eclipse Series: Allan King’s A Married Couple

When I mentioned in this column a few weeks back that I planned a short series of reviews on the topic of marriage, anyone possessing more than a passing familiarity with the Eclipse Series probably could have guessed that the film I’m writing about this time around would be part of the scheme. I mean, it’s right there in the title - A Married Couple, part of Eclipse Series 24: The Actuality Dramas of Allan King. And as a follow-up to the first two installments in this four-part exploration, A Married Couple builds logically upon the themes of its predecessors. One Hour With You took a comical, light-hearted look at the temptations of infidelity, while Street Without End examined the tensions between a mismatched couple who got together for the wrong reasons, only to discover after the marriage had taken place that their ideals had misled them and
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A Journey Through the Eclipse Series: Mikio Naruse’s Street Without End

Last week in this column I mentioned that I’m dedicating the month of June to watching and reviewing a few Eclipse Series titles focused on themes of marriage, being that this is a traditional month, in Western societies anyway, for those vows to be exchanged. We’re more than halfway through the month though and I still have two more films beside this week’s selection to cover before the month is up, plus a new Eclipse collection due for release next week that I want to watch and comment on before it’s overtaken by other hot new Criterion products, so I gotta get a move on. I guess that’s what happens when one is busy living the life of a married guy, rather than just writing about other people’s marriages. The first entry in this series was 1932′s One Hour With You, a lighthearted romp featuring the famous Lubitsch touch.
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A Journey Through the Eclipse Series: Ernst Lubitsch’s One Hour With You

For the month of June, I’m trying something a little different for my (more or less) weekly review column here on Going with the old tradition of June as the ideal month for weddings that I alluded to just about a year ago, in my second installment in this Journey through the Eclipse Series that covered Ernst Lubitsch’s Monte Carlo, I’m going to focus on the theme of Marriage. I’ve selected a few titles that concern themselves in various ways, and from the perspective of different cultures and times, with that venerable institution. That basic human phenomenon of coupling up and sealing the relationship with a set of vows is one that we can all relate to in some way, even if we haven’t taken that walk down the aisle (or in whatever other situation our culture and whims might lead us to arrange.
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The Merry Widow Review – Jeanette MacDonald, Maurice Chevalier d: Ernst Lubitsch

The Merry Widow (1934) Direction: Ernst Lubitsch Cast: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Edward Everett Horton, Una Merkel, George Barbier, Minna Gombell, Sterling Holloway Screenplay: Ernest Vajda and Samson Raphaelson; from Franz Lehár's operetta Oscar Movies Highly Recommended Jeanette MacDonald, Maurice Chevalier, The Merry Widow The Merry Widow is neither one of Ernst Lubitsch's most discussed nor best-liked films. Film critics and historians generally tend to focus on a couple of his early, pre-Code Paramount talkies, One Hour with You (co-directed with George Cukor) and Trouble in Paradise, and his later comedies Ninotchka and To Be or Not to Be. But that's the critics' and historians' fault. For the visually and aurally arresting The Merry Widow is a superlative musical, boasting sumptuous sets (production design by Cedric Gibbons), exquisite black-and-white cinematography (Oliver T. Marsh), and a magnificently staged ballroom-dancing sequence that should impress even those who couldn't care less about
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Movie Posters of the Week: "Auto-Remakes"

  • MUBI
There is a terrific series titled ”Auto-Remakes” starting today at Anthology Film Archives in New York. The series, which runs through March 31, pairs films made and remade by the same director (in the way Michael Haneke did recently with Funny Games). C. Mason Wells, one of the programmers, writes “Anthology surveys the history of auteurs who – per Ken Jacobs – returned to the scene of the crime. Whether out of dogged perfectionism, playful abandon, or, yes, monetary gain, they changed their own films from black-and-white to color, from documentary to reenactment, from tragedy to comedy, from silent to sound, from noir to Western, from video to celluloid – reimagining the same stories, characters, or ideas with new collaborators, technologies, and formal strategies.”

What’s interesting about the pairs of posters for these films is that they are markedly similar. Aside from the casting, you can’t tell much about what differentiates the original and the remake,
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Turner Classic Movies Has 360 Reasons To Tune In

In the days leading up to the upcoming Academy Awards, Turner Classic Movies will be playing a long round of Oscar-nominated and winning films.

The vintage movie network will air its perennial special "31 Days of Oscar" starting February 1. Paying tribute to films that feature the best that the cinematic medium has to offer, the month-long programming block has a special theme for 2010.

This year's "31 Days" is styled after the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," which links actors movie by movie to the titular star. However, rather than six degrees, TCM will utilize a full circle with 360 degrees - 360 movies. Starting with Bacon himself, "31 Days" kicks off at 6 a.m. Et with the actor's "Only When I Laugh." The progression continues in a like format with Bacon's co-star, James Coco, in "Man of La Mancha." Coco's co-star, Harry Andrews, is then featured in "55 Days at Peking," and the sequence continues
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"Kilometre Zero," "Lubitsch Musicals"

  • IFC
By Michael Atkinson

The idea of a "national" cinema, expressive of a particular and coherent cultural esprit, is a standard of most cinematic intercourse . until you confront the real map, in which Kosovar cinema is now primed to forge an identity of its own (as the Serbs and Slovenians have done), the ex-Soviet nations of the Silk Road are struggling to differentiate themselves from Russian film and the nationless movies of the Basque, the Romany and the Palestinians still hunt for footing and voice. Add to this gray zone the films of Kurdistan, a non-country standing nevertheless with its own army, government and debatable borders, and a nascent cinema rising with the ascent of the Iranian new wave and from the crater of the American occupation. Even within this context, Hiner Saleem is filmmaker on the roam . an Iraqi Kurd long expatriated to France, Saleem has made seven features, two in France,
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