Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:48 AM
this states that Garfield died because he was hounded by the HUAC. What I read online was that it was "McCarthyism" which had nothing to do with the HUAC.
I guess this anecdotal stuff is supposed to substitute for an autopsy.
Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:15 AM
It is still a powerful piece, though dated, of course. But prejudice still exists for people of all nationalities and religions. We've seen enough of that in the news to know that hate never disappears. Gregory Peck is excellent as the writer, and Dorothy McGuire turns in a good performance. Exceptional in the cast are John Garfield as the writer's best friend (who happens to be Jewish), Anne Revere as Peck's mother, and Celeste Holm, who develops a crush on him. Garfield is best known for his angry young man performances, but except for one brief moment of a fight in this film, he displays a touching inner dignity throughout the picture. Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap) is excellent as Peck's son.
The film was a difficult one to get made. It was a best-selling novel, but most of the studio heads wouldn't option the screen rights because they were Jewish and they didn't want to draw attention to themselves by making this story. Maverick producer Darryl F. Zanuck, who wasn't Jewish, was the head of the 20th Century-Fox studio at the time, bought the rights. And after it was filmed, the other studio heads offered to buy the film from him, in order to shelve it. He wouldn't sell out...and the film went on to win the Best Picture Oscar for 1947.
Many of the people in front of the cameras and behind had to face the House Un-American Activities Committee. John Garfield died a few years later of a heart attack due to the hounding by HUAC.
Video quality is exceptional, with definite grain.
Audio is also good.
Extras are carried over from the DVD: A Hollywood Backstory about the making of the movie (25 min.), a trailer, two Movietone clips, and a dry-as-dust commentary by Richard Schickel with tiny bits interjected with film stars Cleste Holm and June Havoc.
Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:39 PM
Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:07 PM
Don't forget wonderful composer Alfred Newman. This was the last film he scored before he died.
Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:19 PM
"Airport" was basically the start of the 1970s disaster films. There had been "disaster" movies before: "San Francisco" with Clark Gable, "In Old Chicago" with Tyrone Power, and "The Hurricane" with Jon Hall, to name just three from the 1930s, but they really took off in the Seventies ("The Poseidon Adventure," "Earthquake," etc.). But what was at the heart of "Airport" was...heart. It came from an Arthur Hailey novel, one of those thick kind filled with character plots. Anyway, "Airport" brought together old and new stars in this story of an unhappy marriage, a love affair, a man so driven by desperation who brings a bomb on board to get insurance money for his wife, an old lady stowaway, and a heavy winter storm causing havoc on the runways of the airport.
This was a very enjoyable film in its day and still is today. It was one of the major inspirations for "Airplane!" ("Zero Hour" was another.) The stars of this production were all perfect...except for one. Dean Martin, famous in show business life for his image as a harddrinker, as the co-pilot? (Mad Magazine had fun with that in their satire of the film, named "Airplot".) Burt Lancaster is the general manager of the airport, trying to balance the needs of the many in the terminal and up in the air with those of his demanding wife at home. Jacqueline Bisset is the stewardess whose affair with co-pilot Martin has resulted in her being pregnant. George Kennedy, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton, Dana Wynter, and Jean Seberg round out the cast. And, oh, yes, Helen Hayes as a charming old lady who has gotten quite good at slipping unchecked onto different flights in order to be able to see her family around the country. Hayes was so delightful that she won the Best Supporting Actress for her performance. (By the way, "Airport" was nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture.)
There was one other element to making this picture successful and that was Alfred Newman's musical score. It comes in powerful at the beginning and plays under the dangerous landing, helping to project the tensions. He is also equally romantic in several sections.
The picture quality is very good, probably as good as we will get from this.
Audio is excellent. While dialogue is front and center, you may not notice it but you do get a subtle use of music and sound effects that adds to the whole experience.
Extras are on the extremely slim side. A trailer and two retrospective featurettes (100 Years of Universal: The Lot and 100 Years of Universal: The '70s).
This package comes with a DVD and a digital copy.
Very much recommended.
Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:54 AM
*The Mountain Blu-ray*
The Mountain is an unusual film, and not in a good way. It's the story of two brothers who are mountain climbers. When a plane crashes at the top of a mountain, one brother (Robert Wagner) wants to go up to the crash site in order to steal jewelry, cameras, and other valuable items from the corpses. His brother (Spencer Tracy) tries to stop him, but ends up going along in order to protect his less experienced sibling in the climb.
Let's start with a major flaw of this movie, and you may have already picked it out from my synopsis above: Casting. Fifty-six year old Spencer Tracy and twenty-six year old Robert Wagner...brothers? They look more like father and son. Further casting problems: you know a film is in trouble when they cast William Demarest as a priest. Claire Trevor, who gets third billing, is wasted in a tiny role as a village woman with romantic plans for Tracy.
Flaw number two: Studio sets. Except for a handful of scenes with the stars outdoors, most of the scenes on the mountain with the stars are obviously studio sets, intercut with doubles on an actual mountain. And though they are supposed to be on top of a mountain with snow and freezing temperatures, you never see a fog breath.
Flaw number three: Characters. Robert Wagner plays possibly the most despicable character of all his film roles. He goes on and on about how he wants to get money to escape his life in the village. It is an unbelievable one-note character who annoys you so much you hope he will die as soon as possible in the movie.
The video quality is a mixed bag. It varies between HD quality shots and upgraded DVD video.
Audio is good
Worth a look if you can rent this, but even as a classic film fan I find it hard to recommend it as a buy.
Posted 05 November 2009 - 11:40 AM
This is the VCI release, similar to their restored edition on DVD about a year ago, but remastered for high definition?and it is a treat to put under your Christmas tree this year. While there are some occasional film scratches and dirt, this is an exquisite version of the movie, incredible to look at in HD with just the right amount of grain to capture the film details. Sound is quite good, too.
Extras include the previous DVD?s commentary by George Cole (who played young Scrooge)(be sure to look for Patrick Macnee as the young Marley). There is something new with this release on Blu-ray and that is a pop-up trivia track. It is never intrusive, staying off to the side, and has some very interesting information in it.
In addition to the Blu-ray disc, this release contains a DVD containing the movie in both 4:3 format and a 16:9 cropped version (for those who simply refuse to watch a 4:3 movie on their widescreen HDTVs). (Note: the Blu only contains the 4:3 version.) The previous DVD set had a colorized version of the movie, but happily that is not included in this new release.
SPECIAL NOTE: There is, apparently, a release on Blu-ray from a company called Morningstar (in Canada). It is reported to be very, very poor. _Be sure you get this VCI release_. I can recommend it.
Posted 13 October 2009 - 09:31 PM
I can only assume the title of The Late Show refers to the kind of movies that used to be shown on TV back in the day, because this 1977 Robert Benton film is really a loving homage to those old gumshoe flicks, with a bit of a 70s twist.
The movie has been given a first-rate treatment on DVD by WHV; the film is presented in its proper aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The film also offers English subtitles, a theatrical trailer, and a brief TV interview with Lily Tomlin.
Aside from Tomlin, who's delightful playing a "New Age" type, the movie also featurs Art Carney - better known perhaps for Harry and Tonto - and Joanna Cassidy, who'd go on to star in a couple of popular 80s flicks, Blade Runner and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Posted 12 October 2009 - 04:11 PM
This is one of those titles I would love to buy, if it were available on blu-ray - or at least a recently restored DVD. As it is, the only version on DVD that exists is a 1999 release, and quite out-of-print.
Considering that it's a 10-year-old DVD, I would be inclined to be generous and say that this video transfer is adequate under the circumstances. It is presented in non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen, with Dolby Surround-encoded stereo sound. This old transfer doesn't quite do full justice to Michael Hoffman's visually astonishing period drama, which received Academy Awards for Art Direction and Costume Design -- but until something better comes along, it will have to do.
And one could only hope Miramax will re-release this at some point, given the fascinating story and the amazing cast: Robert Downey, Jr., Sam Neill, Meg Ryan, David Thewlis, Polly Walker, Ian McKellan, Hugh Grant and Ian McDiarmid.
The extras on the 10-year-old Miramax DVD are limited to the theatrical trailer (apparently presented in open-matte Academy ratio), and a 7-minute featurette. The DVD has both closed-captioning and English subtitles.
Posted 06 October 2009 - 09:37 AM
When I heard this Anthony Mann movie was in the TCM schedule for January, I became very interested and thought I'd seek it out ASAP on DVD.
It seems the best DVD version is the one released by Image Entertainment in 2001, which is OOP but can still be found from some sellers for under $10.
Considering that it is an 8-year-old DVD, I found the transfer and picture quality on the Image DVD to be really pretty good. The film is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of about 1.85:1, which nicely fills up an HDTV screen. The source material Image used is apparently a UCLA restored print of the film, and the image seems pretty crisp, again, considering it's a 2001 DVD.
The sound is good, although the accents can be a little thick at times; the DVD doesn't have closed-captioning or captions for the hearing impaired.
Also worth noting, the Image DVD contains both the original theatrical cut and the "uncensored" version. I only watched the 118-minute uncensored version, and it's really rather amazing how things have changed since the 1950s. I don't think there's anything in this movie that wouldn't be considered acceptable in a G-rated movie today.
There's not much in the way of extras save for some trailers.
The movie has a great cast, including Tina Louise in what was her movie debut. It seems that at least part of what was considered so "racy" about the film at the time involved some of her, um, you know.
Even if you can't get a hold of this movie, I highly recommend you watch it when TCM shows it in January, it's got some interesting performances, and it's also a great reminder that Anthony Mann directed something other than Westerns during the 50s.
Posted 22 July 2009 - 06:52 PM
Alan Parker's somewhat controversial 1978 film Midnight Express gets a blu-ray release this week, and although the results are less than stellar, it is still comforting to see more pre-1980 movies being released on blu-ray by the major studios.
The movie looks good, but you shouldn't expect crystal-clear images. How some studios can make movies several decades old (like How the West Was Won from WHV) look razor sharp and others can't is a mystery. But, the movie has good performances by Brad Davis, John Hurt and Randy Quaid, and a fairly compelling premise (the screenplay by Oliver Stone has been criticized for taking too much liberty with the actual facts of the real-life case in which it is based).
Fans of the Indiana Jones series will want to note that the guy who plays the prosecutor in this movie also appeared in The Last Crusade as Kazim the head of the Brothers of the Cuneiform Sword.
The extras appear to be mostly ported over from the DVD.
Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:12 AM
I normally don't watch made for cable movies unless they involve major actors who usually work in films, or unless they somehow have a connection with existing classics. Im happy to report that Grey Gardens from HBO fills both requirements.
Inspired by the 1975 documentary that is already a cult item, this new dramatization of the real-life incidents in the lives of Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter is full of great performances, including of course Jessica Lange as the elder Edith and Drew Barrymore as her daughter, Edie. There's also a great cameo by Jeanne Tripplehorn as Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
The film takes the filming of the 1975 documentary as a starting point, then flashes back and forth between the past and the "present-day" filming of the documentary, taking us back into the life of the Beales as far back as the mid-30s. The production values are great, and it's fun to watch and listen to Jessica Lange as Edith Beale as she sings some of the numbers from "Show Boat" while entertaining guests at a party.
Presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the movie looks and sounds great, though of course some of the "documentary within the movie" footage has been aged to make it look like something that was filmed long ago.
Among the bonus features, there is a short 11-minute documentary that skillfully compares footage from the movie with that from the actual 1975 documentary.
Posted 12 July 2009 - 12:12 AM
Sometimes, just having a movie available on DVD is enough to satisfy a classic movie fan. Such is the case with Universal Home Video's The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, a movie originally released by Paramount in 1936 which stars Sylvia Sydney, Henry Fonda and Fred MacMurray.
Directed by Henry Hathaway, Trail also deserves a special place in movie history for being reportedly the first movie in 3-Strip Technicolor to be filmed largely outdoors. The photography is great, although the colors may seem somewhat muted compared to Technicolor movies of the late 30s. Since this movie has been recently restored, it can only be assumed that it is exactly as it was intended to look.
There really aren't any extras here, not even a trailer or one of those Robert Osborne introductions that some Universal DVDs used to have a few years ago. But that's OK, having this movie on DVD in a good transfer is more than enough.
Posted 10 July 2009 - 02:25 PM
This is an exceptional Blu-ray. Picture and sound quality are wonderful, and there are enough extras to make any film fan happy. A number of the shorts can be picked individually or as "play all" (I recommend that so you can just sit back and enjoy the different parts of the making, pieces about the stars (Millie Perkins and Diane Baker are interviewed, as is Shelly Winters in an older interview), and George Stevens, Jr. provides lots of insight into his father (Jr. worked on the film, too, so he was there). There is also color footage of Stevens, Sr. during WWII and in the death camps.
There is also a commentary track by Stevens, Jr., and Millie Perkins.
Posted 08 June 2009 - 11:15 AM
Now that so many movies are being released by WHV through their Archives label, with no bonus features at all, it is extremely refreshing to go back to one of their classic films released just a couple of years ago, such as the Barbara Stanwyck film My Reputation, with co-star George Brent.
The film itself is quite old-fashioned, as it takes place in 1942 and concerns the attempts by a young widow, Jessica Drummond (Stanwyck, in top form) to rebuild her life some months after her husband's death after a two-year ailment. With her teenage kids just off to boarding school, she seems to be stuck with no real romantic options until she meets Maj. Scott Landis (Brent), quickly falling in love and hoping to eventually remarry.
Ah, but society being what it was at the time, it was not thought proper to start seeing another man so soon after becoming a widow, especially one that doesn't even like to wear black.
The print used for this DVD was in excellent condition, with the slightest little wear and tear here and there. Even better, this old-fashioned DVD release comes with a HUGE number of bonus features, including the musical short "Jan Savitt and His Band", the classic cartoon "Daffy Doodles," and 2 radio adaptations (one with Stanwyck and Brent, the other with Alexis Smith and Wayne Morris).
All in all, an excellent DVD, particularly for Stanwyck fans, either as a purchase or a rental.
Posted 21 May 2009 - 12:59 PM
This had been one of the most eagerly anticipated classic releases from Fox and it does not disappoint. The Fritz Lang classic has been carefully restored and looks in pristine condition in this newly released DVD, which not coincidentally has been timed to coincide with the DVD/BD release of Valkyrie.
The film's great cast includes Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders, John Carradine and Roddy McDowall.
Not only does the movie look and sound great, but it also contains some great bonus features, including a sound commentary by author Patrick McGilligan and the documentary "Rogue Male: The Making of Man Hunt", as well as the original theatrical trailer, restoration comparison, and artwork galleries. With an average price of around $10 from online retailers, it's a steal!
I made some screencaps and posted them in the Fritz Lang thread:
Posted 03 February 2009 - 11:44 PM
This film is a treasure. Based on the Charles Dickens novel, John Mills stars as Pip, a young man who leaves the world of apprenticing a blacksmith to becoming a young gentleman of society. Mills is excellent, as is the whole cast, which also includes Alec Guinness and Valerie Hobson (and Jean Simmons as the love of Pip's childhood).
Director David Lean, before he started doing epic dramas such as The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia and others, was a master at small personal dramas early in his career (In Which We Serve, Brief Encounter, Oliver Twist). The black and white photography is used splendidly here, with sets that often reflect so much bleakness that black and white is perfect for them. There is so much atmosphere in every detail in every shot.
And it is all captured with incredible picture quality crispness on Blu-ray. The film hasn't been remastered but it is still an exceptional Blu disc to own. The audio is 2.0 mono and there are no extras, but I HIGHLY recommend buying this title. (As this is a classic British movie, it is unlikely that it will get an American release, so you should jump on it while it is available from places like Amazon UK. Luckily, this import can be played on all North American Blu-ray players.)
Posted 03 February 2009 - 11:29 PM
The 1970s hit starring Gregory Peck in an incredibly unusual bit of casting, as Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, with a plot that could change the modern world forever. Laurence Olivier plays a Nazi hunter trying to discover what the mysterious plot is. While Peck was often over the top as the terrifying Nazi, Olivier (looking very gaunt) truly inhabits his role. You beliive him every second.
The picture quality of this Blu-ray is astounding. There are a number of instances where you feel you are there watching it being filmed. Audio is mono 2.0 but still clear.
The only extra is a trailer.
Well worth picking up and plays perfectly on North American Blu-ray players.
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