BingFan

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  1. Right now (10am to 11:45am, April 3), TCM is showing All The Brothers Were Valiant in the wrong aspect ratio. This 1953 movie is obviously meant to be 4:3, but TCM has it stretched out to fill a wide screen. The picture is distorted and essentially unwatchable. (Six-footer Robert Taylor looks like he’s about the size of Mickey Rooney.) i know this was probably just a mistake — someone probably thought, wrongly, that this movie was in a widescreen format. We all make mistakes. (At least, I hope this was just a mistake and not an indication that TCM now thinks that every movie should be in widescreen format, which would be a disaster.) But I wish TCM would be more careful. The picture is so distorted that they may as well have not shown the movie at all. Very disappointing.
  2. BingFan

    TCM and aspect ratio

    Right now (10am to 11:45am, April 3), TCM is showing All The Brothers Were Valiant in the wrong aspect ratio. This 1953 movie is obviously meant to be 4:3, but TCM has it stretched out to fill a wide screen. The picture is distorted and essentially unwatchable. (Six-footer Robert Taylor looks like he’s about the size of Mickey Rooney.) i know this was probably just a mistake — someone probably thought, wrongly, that this movie was in a widescreen format. We all make mistakes. (At least, I hope this was just a mistake and not an indication that TCM now thinks that every movie should be in widescreen format, which would be a disaster.) But I wish TCM would be more careful. The picture is so distorted that they may as well have not shown the movie at all. Very disappointing.
  3. BingFan

    Top Five Charles Bronson Performances

    I'm going to go out on a limb with this question, although I guess I'm focusing more on the movie than on Bronson's performance. While I like a lot of the Bronson-related movies mentioned above (e.g., The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen), the movie of his that I actually like the most is Pat and Mike:
  4. BingFan

    Criterion March 2019 cartoon

    Criterion has previously issued other movies that were already restored by the owner (or a licensee): examples include Anatomy of a Murder, Design for Living, and Only Angels Have Wings. (They've also occasionally re-issued recent movies that presumably didn't require restoration, like Fantastic Mr. Fox and Inside Llewyn Davis.) I don't know whether Criterion always undertakes some further restoration of the picture/sound of older movies, or sometimes just issues the existing restoration. (I have the impression that they do a further restoration on at least some of the movies they reissue.) But what Criterion does always do, as far as I've seen, is include numerous additional bonus features that weren't on the original DVD/BR disc. Among the possible bonus features are one or more new documentaries or interviews; "vintage" documentaries or interviews regarding the movie or its makers; a fairly long written essay; radio productions of the same story; the trailer; commentary; visual displays of publicity material for the film (posters, etc.); sometimes a different version of the same movie (e.g., Night and the City, which includes both the American and British versions of the film); and sometimes even wholly different film versions of the same story (e.g., Magnificent Obsession, which includes the 1935 version of the film as well as the more well-known Douglas Sirk version from 1954). I guess it's a question of whether the many bonus features make it worth getting the new Criterion version of a previously-issued movie. I usually think they're worth it even if I already have the movie on an older disc, but that's just me. I love the background material.
  5. BingFan

    Criterion March 2019 cartoon

    Yes -- Cluny Brown is my guess, too. It'll be, by my count, the ninth Lubitsch film that Criterion has released, following Design for Living, To Be Or Not To Be, Trouble In Paradise, Heaven Can Wait, and, in Eclipse set no.8, The Love Parade, Monte Carlo, The Smiling Lieutenant, and One Hour With You.
  6. BingFan

    Criterion March 2019 cartoon

    The head was the hard part for me, too -- although I certainly can't claim that I could have drawn him more accurately. Hint: he's a current movie star, whose aunt was also a well-known show business figure.
  7. I'm often stumped by Criterion's cartoons, which give hints about upcoming releases. But this one I got right away. Any guesses about which movie it identifies?
  8. BingFan

    Pregnant and showing in 1952!

    Absolutely one of my favorite scenes in all of I Love Lucy! I love it when they yell at each other, in unison, "Somebody call a cab!!!"
  9. BingFan

    Pregnant and showing in 1952!

    No question -- Lucy was as authentic as she could be in showing her real-life pregnancy on I Love Lucy -- even if they couldn't use the word "pregnant." (The name of the 1952 episode in which Lucy finds out she's pregnant is entitled "Lucy Is Enceinte.")
  10. BingFan

    Pregnant and showing in 1952!

    Apartment for Peggy (1948) is a favorite that I've seen several times. Jeanne Crain was shown in maternity clothes that made Peggy's pregnancy pretty obvious. I don't remember if the word "pregnant" was used, however. And Elizabeth Taylor was similarly shown in maternity clothes in Father's Little Dividend (1951):
  11. BingFan

    Sabrina (1954) Fullscreen or Widescreen?

    For what it's worth, I believe Anatomy of a Murder was released in both widescreen and 4:3 formats. (And I suppose there are other such movies from that transition time as well, although Anatomy, from 1959, is kind of late in the transition.) Several years ago, I noticed that TCM was showing a widescreen version of Anatomy. I compared a particular shot from TCM's version to my old DVD, which was in 4:3, and found that, like Sabrina's two versions, the widescreen version had been created by lopping off the top and bottom of the 4:3 frame. (Criterion's excellent newer disc of Anatomy uses the widescreen version.) If I remember correctly, I found some documentation online that Anatomy was released in two versions -- probably like other movies of the time -- so that it could be shown in theaters with and without wide screens.
  12. Criterion Flash Sale -- noon March 5 to noon March 6: NEWSLETTER - MARCH 5, 2019 For the next 24 hours at criterion.com, all in-stock Blu-rays and DVDs are 50% off SRP. No promo code needed! Check out our real-time dashboard for new releases and curated categories like Director-Approved Editions, Staff Picks, Classic Hollywood, Documentaries, and more! Themes will be updated hourly to help you choose from our growing library of over 975 films. The sale ends at noon EST tomorrow, March 6, so don’t delay! PS: Please select your desired format (Blu-ray or DVD) when ordering as we can’t change or cancel orders once received. Note that we only ship within the United States and to Canada. For further information on Criterion and our products, please visit our website at criterion.com. If you are not already on our mailing list and would like to be added, please click here to register at criterion.com. To unsubscribe, click here. © 2019 The Criterion Collection.
  13. I have a strong opinion about this issue, not because I live in Orange County, Calif., but because I live in a southern state, Virginia, where local jurisdictions are prohibited by state law from removing monuments without permission from the state government. We have a statue commemorating Confederate soldiers in front of our county courthouse. I strongly oppose the state law that takes away the right of local citizens to decide what's displayed in their local area. Why should we be bound today by the way people 100 years ago -- or even more recently -- decided to remember history? The statue in front of our courthouse isn't, itself, a historical object. It's just a statue that some citizens decades ago decided to put up in the courthouse square, because they wanted to remember Confederate soldiers. That decision was probably promoted by a salesman from a company that sold statues to towns all over the South -- yes, there was a commercial motive that led to so many Confederate monuments. Some people today feel very strongly that the Confederate statue in our county commemorates people who were traitors to the United States and fought to preserve slavery. Other people disagree. But either way -- shouldn't local citizens today be allowed to decide how history is commemorated today? Why are we forced to continue remembering history the way our grandparents wanted to? I think the same applies to keeping John Wayne's name attached to the Orange County airport. Now, I like a lot of Wayne's movies, and I was glad to hear Katharine Hepburn -- a political liberal -- talk about what a nice guy Wayne was when she worked with him. At the same time, I don't like it that Wayne openly expressed racist and other bigoted views, and that he, along with Ward Bond (another actor I like), actively promoted blacklisting in the movie industry in the 50s. (In my view, they weren't just going after communists, keeping in mind that being a communist was not illegal. They were also going after liberals like John Garfield, as a way of stamping out political opposition to their right-wing views.) But you know what? I don't think my views should matter when it comes to how the Orange County airport is named. That should be up to the local citizens. They should decide whether they want to continue remember John Wayne in this way. And I don't want them, or anyone else outside our county, telling us whether we need to keep the Confederate statue in front of our courthouse.
  14. BingFan

    R.I.P. Peter Tork (1942-2019)

    I'm very sorry to hear about Peter Tork's passing. He and his Monkee bandmates all had tremendous talent. They brought a lot of joy to the world. When I was a young kid in the mid- to late-60s, the Monkees and the Beatles got me started as a rock fan. I still have my 45-rpm single of "Daydream Believer" in a picture sleeve, the first record I ever bought, as well as some of my original Monkee (and Beatle) LPs. They're cherished mementos of many hours of happy listening. In the late 90s, after about 25 years of not listening to the Monkees very much, I bought their Anthology CD set and gave them another try. I was surprised at how great all of those old hits and album tracks still sounded, which led me to seek out their full albums on CD. The music is still well worth hearing. A few years ago, I finally saw the Monkees (sadly without Davy) for the first and only time, during their "Midsummer's Night with the Monkees" tour. I can testify from direct observation that Peter, Mike, and Micky could all play their own instruments, despite those old stories to the contrary. Mike and, especially, Micky still have outstanding voices, and Peter impressed the full house with his instrumental talents, along with his very credible singing. They knew how to make the crowd happy. And I was interested to see how young some of the fans were -- many were too young by decades to have seen the Monkees in the 60s. It shows that the group has lasting appeal. (I've also seen Nesmith a couple of times, and his shows, which feature his excellent solo music, were quite good and well-attended.) If you're interested in hearing the more recent efforts of the Monkees, the group put out two outstanding albums in the past few years. Good Times!, from 2016, stands tall with the best Monkee music from the 60s. It features all four Monkees (Davy from archive recordings), and in addition to original tunes by the group members, it includes songs by some of today's best songwriters (e.g., XTC's Andy Partridge), much as their original albums did. Christmas Party, from 2018, also features all of the Monkees (albeit with only one Monkee on each track). The song selection is a mixture of traditional holiday tunes and new Christmas songs by more current songwriters (e.g., R.E.M.'s Peter Buck). A very nice collection. It's sad to see Peter Tork go. He fought illness for the last 10 years but remained active until quite recently, to his great credit. He brought happiness to a lot of people who remember him very fondly -- not a bad accomplishment to leave behind.
  15. BingFan

    What are you reading

    I assume you're referring to my comparison of the chart histories of Bing Crosby and the Beatles, among others. You're absolutely right that the Beatles' chart success, 68 records during seven years, is very impressive. Crosby's chart history (396 records) covered 35 years (1927 to 1962), so he obviously had much longer to build his record. On average, Crosby (about 11 charting records per year) is only slightly ahead of the Beatles (about 10 per year). No matter how the numbers stack up, though, I love listening to both Crosby and the Beatles. I halfway wish that I'd re-read the first volume of the Crosby biography before starting the second one. In the latter volume, author Giddins doesn't spend any time reiterating the events of the first volume, and while I remember the broad outlines of Bing's earlier life, I'm afraid that I've forgotten much of the detail. It's not strictly necessary to re-read the first volume in order to enjoy the second. But if you're patient enough to re-read the first one, it might enhance your appreciation of the second.

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