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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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TopBilled’s Essentials


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#201 TopBilled

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 12:41 PM

The Criterion copy of "The Wicked Lady" is leaving Prime.

 

Yes..there are a few exceptions. As I said there are some Republic films not leaving Prime.

 

On September 1st, I will check whether the titles leaving Amazon Prime are going to remain on Amazon with rental fees. 

 

Once I can see exactly what they are doing, I will make a list of everything and create a separate thread about it. I will post the link here for you and others to find it. 

 

In the meantime, this thread will be used to post my essentials. Obviously not all the essentials I review will be available on Amazon Prime. As I stated earlier, some of them will be on TCM's schedule with others available through different home video sources.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#202 Emertiff

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Posted 27 August 2016 - 12:11 PM

I just looked through the films on my Amazon Prime watch list (I had 16 pages and it took awhile to go through it). All the Paramount films will be leaving Prime; and all the MGM/UA titles are leaving; but a few of the Republic titles will remain. The Kino, Criterion and Fox titles also remain.  

 

There is only one Universal classic on Amazon Prime and it's staying too. I plan to feature it as one of my essentials in October-- the 1943 version of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

The Criterion copy of "The Wicked Lady" is leaving Prime.



#203 TopBilled

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 07:34 PM

I will be posting my seventh essential tomorrow. 

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It's such a good film. Hope everyone takes a look at it.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#204 TopBilled

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 09:31 PM

I just looked through the films on my Amazon Prime watch list (I had 16 pages and it took awhile to go through it). All the Paramount films will be leaving Prime; and all the MGM/UA titles are leaving; but a few of the Republic titles will remain. The Kino, Criterion and Fox titles also remain.  

 

There is only one Universal classic on Amazon Prime and it's staying too. I plan to feature it as one of my essentials in October-- the 1943 version of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#205 TopBilled

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 06:20 PM

As of now it's exclusively Criterion titles, with no word of expansion. However, there are a few titles that have received the "Criterion treatment", such as remastering, that have not yet been put on disc.

 

Thanks Larry. My friend just replied back to me. He seems to think the Paramount, Republic and MGM titles will stay on Amazon, but they will just not be "free" any longer for Amazon Prime members. This means there will be rental fees. I guess we will see what happens on September 1st.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#206 LawrenceA

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 06:10 PM

As of now it's exclusively Criterion titles, with no word of expansion. However, there are a few titles that have received the "Criterion treatment", such as remastering, that have not yet been put on disc.


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#207 TopBilled

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 06:00 PM

Thanks! I appreciate it. I hope the Paramount Vault picks up films such as "About Mrs. Leslie," "Alaska Seas," and "Knock on Wood." However, I wonder if the new streaming service FilmStruck will pick up the discarded titles or is it exclusively Criterion?

 

Not sure. I know virtually nothing about FilmStruck. Maybe someone else can tell us.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#208 Emertiff

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 05:58 PM

Yes. I see that. I am reviewing SCARLET STREET as my essential this weekend. 

 

I am still going to stick to the schedule I devised in the middle of the summer, and hopefully people will be able to find these films somewhere and watch them. Some people have them on discs in their home video collections.

 

Related to Amazon Prime...I just sent an email to a friend of mine in Los Angeles who does projects at Paramount. Hopefully he can find out where those films are being moved to-- my guess is that Paramount might put them on the studio's YouTube page. It usually takes my friend a day or two to reply, but when he does, I will share any information I receive about this.

Thanks! I appreciate it. I hope the Paramount Vault picks up films such as "About Mrs. Leslie," "Alaska Seas," and "Knock on Wood." However, I wonder if the new streaming service FilmStruck will pick up the discarded titles or is it exclusively Criterion?



#209 TopBilled

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 05:40 PM

The last three "essentials" you mentioned, "The House Across the Bay," "Trade Winds," and "Vogues of 1938" are also leaving Prime. 

 

Yes. I see that. I am reviewing SCARLET STREET as my essential this weekend. 

 

I am still going to stick to the schedule I devised in the middle of the summer, and hopefully people will be able to find these films somewhere and watch them. Some people have them on discs in their home video collections.

 

Related to Amazon Prime...I just sent an email to a friend of mine in Los Angeles who does projects at Paramount. Hopefully he can find out where those films are being moved to-- my guess is that Paramount might put them on the studio's YouTube page. It usually takes my friend a day or two to reply, but when he does, I will share any information I receive about this.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#210 Emertiff

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 05:21 PM

Sounds like things are changing. I just called in to ask about this, and they are saying it's because of the content provider (namely the studios are canceling these contracts with Amazon). Kind of disappointing to say the least. We'll have to see where these titles end up.

The last three "essentials" you mentioned, "The House Across the Bay," "Trade Winds," and "Vogues of 1938" are also leaving Prime. 



#211 TopBilled

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 04:34 PM

I'm not surprised. More and more films seem to be getting dropped, with less added, each month. It's because they are trying this new subscription model, where Prime members pay additional fees to subscribe to channels or packages of film and TV content. You know, like a cable bill.   :(

 

Sounds like things are changing. I just called in to ask about this, and they are saying it's because of the content provider (namely the studios are canceling these contracts with Amazon). Kind of disappointing to say the least. We'll have to see where these titles end up.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#212 LawrenceA

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 03:46 PM

This is an alert concerning Amazon Prime members. I checked my watchlist which consists of classic films and I just found out that almost all of the classic films (mostly from the MGM, Paramount, and Republic libraries) are leaving Prime at the end of this month. I'm not sure if they'll ever return. Does anyone have any idea what's going to happen to them or where they will go to? Please let me know.

 

I'm not surprised. More and more films seem to be getting dropped, with less added, each month. It's because they are trying this new subscription model, where Prime members pay additional fees to subscribe to channels or packages of film and TV content. You know, like a cable bill.   :(



#213 TopBilled

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 03:44 PM

This is an alert concerning Amazon Prime members. I checked my watchlist which consists of classic films and I just found out that almost all of the classic films (mostly from the MGM, Paramount, and Republic libraries) are leaving Prime at the end of this month. I'm not sure if they'll ever return. Does anyone have any idea what's going to happen to them or where they will go to? Please let me know.

 

This is the first I've heard of it, Emertiff. The Paramount/Republic titles were previously on Netlfix. 


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#214 Emertiff

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 03:42 PM

This is an alert concerning Amazon Prime members. I checked my watchlist which consists of classic films and I just found out that almost all of the classic films (mostly from the MGM, Paramount, and Republic libraries) are leaving Prime at the end of this month. I'm not sure if they'll ever return. Does anyone have any idea what's going to happen to them or where they will go to? Please let me know.



#215 TopBilled

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 12:12 PM

Essential: THE HOUSE ACROSS THE BAY (1940)

 

When Joan Bennett was still a blonde, she costarred with George Raft in a 1935 picture for Columbia called SHE COULDN’T TAKE IT. It was a modest hit, and they enjoyed working together. Five years later, they jumped at the chance to do another film, this time for Bennett’s husband, producer Walter Wanger.

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When they teamed up again for Wanger’s THE HOUSE ACROSS THE BAY, they picked up right where they had left off. The opening scenes show Raft in control as the owner of a casino. But his cool is quickly shattered by a sassy dame, who’s making trouble in his joint. It’s the kind of trouble that only Bennett can play in the greatest Jean Harlow style. Soon she makes a play for him, and he makes a play for her. The dialogue crackles, and in no time at all, it turns into “I do.”

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Of course, there are complications galore. He’s muscling out competitors, but his racket is under scrutiny by the feds. It all escalates, and in a dramatic turn of events, he’s arrested, found guilty of tax evasion and given ten years in the slammer. Keep in mind this is just the end of the first act, and we haven’t gotten to the house in the title yet, or the bay.

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The bay is in San Francisco, and Bennett goes there to live while Raft serves out his sentence at Alcatraz. It’s not made clear if the house is hers on one side of the troubled waters that separate them, or the big house on the rock where he’s incarcerated. While they’re apart, she makes two friends– one is a tough cookie played by Gladys George, and the other a well-meaning man (Walter Pidgeon) who is the antithesis of Raft’s hoodlum character.

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At this point, Raft recedes slightly into the background. A relationship, at first platonic, grows between Bennett and Pidgeon. The middle stretch of the film still retains the charm established in the first part. But we’re doing time like Raft waiting for the explosive finale. And what a finale it is. Obviously Raft has to feel betrayed by his wife (when in reality the traitor is a lawyer played by Lloyd Nolan). He busts out to try and reclaim everything he had before. Wanger and the director stage a dramatic sequence where Raft dodges bullets, swimming across the bay. He makes it to the shore and goes to a club where his wife is working. This is the first time the three main characters come together.

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It’s clear that Raft is a doomed man, and he will not ever be able to have the kind of marriage he should have had all along. The cops are closing in; he flees and is shot and killed. The film’s dual structure (the two romances Bennett experiences) leave us with a woman broken in half. One half is a woman who lived, and the other half is a woman who still has yet to live.

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THE HOUSE ACROSS THE BAY was directed by Archie Mayo. It can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#216 TopBilled

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 02:51 PM

I will be posting my sixth essential tomorrow. 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-08-19%2Bat%2B12.43.

It's such a good film. Hope everyone takes a look at it.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#217 TopBilled

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 01:57 PM

Essential: VOGUES OF 1938 (1938)

 

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Walter Wanger’s VOGUES OF 1938 was made before TRADE WINDS, so the leading lady of this picture, Joan Bennett, still has blonde hair. And unlike most of the other films these two made together, this production is in Technicolor. So Joan is quite a sight here, and so are the other lovely ladies who model the many gowns and outfits that are on display.

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Joan plays a different type of character– she’s a debutante who is being married to a snob (Alan Mowbray) to ensure her family stays financially well-off. But of course, she doesn’t like the man they’ve chosen to be her husband, and when she goes to Warner Baxter’s design house to try on her wedding gown, she gets an idea. If Baxter agrees not to send her dress to the house, then the nuptials will have to be postponed. Of course, he doesn’t go along with her idea, and when the dress arrives on time, she lets out a scream. In the next scene, we learn she called off the wedding. She returns to his place of business, followed by reporters, to toss the gown in his face. He realizes there is great publicity value in maintaining an association with her, so he offers her a job modeling clothes for him. She says yes, because without a wedding to prepare for, what else is a fashionista to do?

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The story is off and running, and other characters are quickly added. There is Sophie, one of the lead designers who functions as a den mother to Joan and the other girls. And we also have Baxter’s shrewish wife (Helen Vinson) who leaves him in a huff and then comes back. Rounding out the supporting cast are Jerome Cowan as the wife’s confidante and Mischa Auer who plays a rival designer. In fact, Auer has some very good comedy scenes with Mowbray; and they provide a lot of fun during breaks from the action involving the leads.

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In addition to the clothes and the comic relief, some spectacular musical numbers are included. It’s obvious Wanger is pulling out all the stops to make a very lavish piece of entertainment. On that level, it certainly succeeds. Everyone who appears in the story is fabulously in style from head to toe. Indeed, the opening credits acknowledge several real-life designers who have provided the fashions (vogues) that are seen on screen.

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But the thing that really helps make this production fun and slightly kitschy is the early Technicolor photography Wanger and United Artists opt to use. (The art design was Oscar-nominated and deservedly so.) Also, the picture has the distinction of having been filmed entirely in New York City. So there’s a real sense of urban east coast ambience here– in the fashion house scenes, the club scenes and especially in the outdoor scenes filmed on location.

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Walter Wanger’s VOGUES OF 1938 was directed by Irving Cummings. It can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#218 TopBilled

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 04:44 PM

I will be posting my fifth essential tomorrow. 

82864-screen2bshot2b2016-08-102bat2b4-47It's such a good film. Hope everyone takes a look at it.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#219 TopBilled

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 11:18 AM

Essential: TRADE WINDS (1938)

 

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This month I will be reviewing four films starring Joan Bennett that were produced by her husband Walter Wanger. Wanger joined United Artists in 1936. He had previously worked as a producer at Paramount, where he met his future wife. By the late 1930s, they had left Paramount and were making a series of independent features together Wanger was able to distribute through UA. The films were tailor-made to showcase the actress’s talents across a variety of genres.

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The first one I will discuss is TRADE WINDS, a breezy romantic escapade that casts the actress as a wanted woman. This is the film where Joan Bennett last appears as a blonde. Her character dyes her hair brown when a disguise is needed; and Bennett decided to stay a brunette for the rest of her life.

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The action gets underway almost immediately, when she is informed her sister is dead, and then goes to confront the man she feels is responsible for it. She shoots at him, and goes on the lam, ditching her car and anything else that can be linked to her. When a police detective (Ralph Bellamy) thinks she committed suicide, she is able to assume a different identity with her new hair color and a new name. In the next part, Bellamy and his boss (Thomas Mitchell) learn she’s still alive and in Hawaii. So they decide to bring in a bounty hunter (Fredric March). Bellamy will tag along, and so will March’s wacky girl Friday– superbly played by scene-stealing Ann Sothern.

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The film quickly hops from one international setting to the next. It starts in San Francisco, and goes to Hawaii, then to Japan followed by Singapore and Bombay. There are many rear projection shots, with the actors working on a studio sound stage. But Wanger did send a crew on location to photograph exteriors for the various overseas locales we see in the background. I’m sure this must have been a pleasurable travelogue of sorts for audiences of the time, and in that regard, it still holds up quite nicely. Wanger reused these filmed backgrounds for a Loretta Young picture he made a year later called ETERNALLY YOURS.

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The plot is all over the map, literally– but TRADE WINDS has considerable charm and abounds in energy. Misunderstandings occur March and Bennett meet and get tangled up situations that involve Sothern and Bellamy. But we know that while both couples are on the run, they are also headed for romance and marriage. Eventually, they all forget where they’ve been and where they thought they were headed.

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TRADE WINDS was directed by Tay Garnett and can be streamed on Amazon Prime.

 
 

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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#220 TopBilled

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 11:40 AM

I think TRADE WINDS is a terrific film. It marked significant turning points for two of my favourite movie actresses -- Joan Bennett and Ann Sothern. And Fredric March and Ralph Bellamy are always worth watching. Nice choice, TopBilled!

Thanks Barton. I knew I wanted to do a month on Joan Bennett (produced by Walter Wanger). It had been a few years since I'd seen TRADE WINDS. When I sat down to watch it yesterday and started writing my review, I was so glad I picked this one to lead off with. It's better than I remembered. Sometimes TCM shows a raggedy looking print, but the picture quality on Amazon Prime is very good. 

 

And you're right about the four main performers. They play off each other effortlessly. 


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).





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