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The Headless Horseman (1922)
Merely adequate retelling of the famous story. Its chief interest lies in the location filming in New York's Hudson River Valley, including the actual Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow. The screenplay introduces a non-Irving subplot of Ichabod Crane being accused of witchcraft in a prank by Brom Bones. None of the comic scenes are particularly funny; one can imagine what Buster Keaton might have done as Ichabod. Some attempts are made at pictorialism, aided by the panchromatic film used here. But the valley's autumnal colors described by Washington Irving are sadly missing in black and white. And the day-for-night scenes of the climactic chase look like pure daylight without the deep blue tinting undoubtedly used in original prints.
The Colgate Comedy Hour (1950)
Not the first color broadcast
An earlier comment claims that an episode in November 1953 was the first color television broadcast ever. That is not so. The Federal Communications Commission, on Oct. 10, 1950, approved a color television system developed by CBS that was not compatible with existing black and white television sets. However, a court challenge by RCA, which was developing its own color system that was compatible with black and white sets, tied up the inauguration of the CBS color system until a decision for CBS by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 1951.
Finally, on June 25, 1951, CBS broadcast a one-hour program in color, called "Premiere", featuring Ed Sullivan and other CBS stars, and carried it on a five-station East Coast CBS-TV hookup.
The episode of "The Colgate Comedy Hour" broadcast in color in November 1953 was actually the network debut of the rival RCA color television system. In December 1953, the FCC formally reversed its earlier decision and approved the RCA system as the color standard for American television.
Les vampires (1915)
An example of a film that looks much more interesting in its stills or descriptions by its cult fans than watching the film itself. The direction is for the most part plodding, and for every one minute of something visually interesting, there are nine dull minutes. Closeups are rare, and entire scenes are often done in one medium far shot. The intertitles follow the European practice of this era of foretelling all the events of the upcoming scene.
Weary River (1929)
This film has been recently restored to its original part-talking version through the efforts of the Library of Congress, the UCLA film archive, and Warner Bros./Turner Classic Movies. Not much gain, however, unless seeing and hearing the morose Richard Barthelmess sing the title song not once but four times is what you've been waiting for. As melodrama it is crude, lacking the punch that other early gangster melodramas like LITTLE CAESAR and PUBLIC ENEMY have. Direction is competent, not remarkable enough to earn an Oscar nomination, as it did for Frank Lloyd. But this was from Oscar's early years, when artists were nominated for all their work in the eligibility year, which allowed mediocre credits ride on the coattails of their betters.
The Longest Yard (1974)
Stay with it
This movie really gets going in the last hour, which is almost entirely devoted to the climactic football game. Meaning the worst scenes are stuck at the beginning -- the opening scene is just embarrassing, and the "comedy" in the chain gang scenes is as laborious as their mud shoveling. So stay with it, it gets better and better.
True Grit (1969)
I just saw this movie again for the first time since 1969. What I had recalled as a very mannered performance by Kim Darby turned out to be a revelation on second viewing -- there is real warmth behind the maturity and determination she wears like armor in a man's world. Think of her first scene, bidding her father goodbye, and her last scene, at that snowy grave where she offers Rooster a final resting place by her. Kim Darby might have been the ideal choice to play Joan of Arc.
Royalty problems, not popularity problems
The reason "Godspell" took so long to come out on videocassette was protracted royalty negotiations between the owners of the stage musical and the owners of the film. "Godspell" was made before the videocassette era, when movie income was projected on the basis of rentals (theatrical and television), not outright sales. "Godspell" was perhaps THE most requested of Columbia's films not yet out on video. It had nothing to do with whether it was a success or not in its theatrical release (for the record, it did turn a profit in its theatrical release).