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About LawrenceA

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  • Birthday February 26

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    The Nexus of All Realities
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    Summoning the Old Ones

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  1. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Victory (1940) - Drama/thriller from Paramount Pictures and director John Cromwell. Hendrik Heyst (Fredric March) lives alone on an isolated Southeast Asian island near Java. During one of his infrequent supply trips to a nearby town, he meets desperate showgirl Alma (Betty Field) who is on the run from some unsavory types. Hendrik decides to invite Alma back to his island to lie low for a while, but a trio of crooks led by the sinister Mr. Jones (Cedric Hardwicke) track them down, looking for the girl and the treasure they believe Hendrik has hidden away. Also featuring Jerome Cowan, Sig Ruman, Margaret Wycherly, Rafaela Ottiano, Lionel Royce, Chester Gan, and Fritz Feld. This is based on Joseph Conrad's novel of the same name, which I had previously seen adapted as a film in 1995, starring Willem DaFoe, Irene Jacob, and Sam Neill. I liked this version much more, as the filmmakers intended this to be an allegory on the U.S.'s unsustainable isolationist stance regarding WWII at the time. The acting is good, and I especially liked Hardwicke, an actor who often dislike, perfectly cast as the creepy Mr. Jones. Jerome Cowan, using a high-pitched Cockney accent, is also a standout as Mr. Jones' sleazy "secretary". I may rate this even higher if I could see a better copy of it. The one I watched was very washed out. (7/10)
  2. It looks like it had a limited release on December 28. I never expected to come around my way, theatrically. I knew I'd have to wait for home video of some sort.
  3. LawrenceA

    Changing profile rank

    Have you tried changing your title since hitting 500 posts?
  4. No, not yet. I want to, though, as I've heard it's excellent, and I like both Reilly and Coogan.
  5. LawrenceA

    Upcoming Releases

    I've heard of Diamonds of the Night, and have wanted to see it for a long time, so I'm happy to see it's getting released. And A Face in the Crowd is a good one. The Jackie Chan films are exemplary examples of their genre, but seem an odd fit with Criterion. If I buy any of them, though, it would be one or both of the Jarmusch Blu-ray upgrades.
  6. LawrenceA

    ANN DVORAK "Housewife" with Bette Davis

    I've seen Housewife, and yes, I thought it was mediocre. I do like Ann Dvorak, though, and would recommend the original Scarface with Paul Muni. She's very good as his sister.
  7. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Those Were the Days! (1940) - Nostalgic rom-com from Paramount Pictures and director Jay Theodore Reed. A couple reminisces on how they met many year earlier in college. Petey (William Holden) is a freshman who has pledged the biggest fraternity. He gets "assigned" a date with Martha (Bonita Granville), and the two face ups and downs on the way to marriage. Also featuring Ezra Stone, Judith Barrett, Vaughan Glaser, Richard Denning, Phillip Terry, James Seay, Alan Ladd, Rod Cameron, William Frawley, Kitty Kelly, Sheila Ryan, Craig Stevens, and Lucien Littlefield as Prof. Sillicocks. This is a corny, rather unfunny look at turn-of-the-century dating and collegiate shenanigans. The leads hold some appeal, but Holden hadn't found his acting stride, yet. Judith Barrett is cute as a promiscuous friend of Granville's. (5/10)
  8. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    The Saint's Double Trouble (1940) - Fourth entry in the mystery series, from RKO and director Jack Hively. Simon Templar (George Sanders), aka the Saint, gets mixed up with a gang of diamond smugglers led by a lookalike. Also featuring Bela Lugosi, Helene Reynolds, Jonathan Hale, Donald MacBride, John F. Hamilton, Thomas W. Ross, Edward Gargan, and Byron Foulger. An unexceptional installment in the series, this does feature the usual, amusing turn by Sanders as the bemused Templar, as well as a rare non-horror outing for Lugosi. The way characters handle an ancient Egyptian mummy is unintentionally laughable. (6/10)
  9. LawrenceA

    Upcoming Releases

    April Criterion Titles Announced Diamonds of the Night (1964) April 16 SPECIAL FEATURES New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray Interview from 2009 with director Jan Němec A Loaf of Bread, Němec’s 1960 student thesis film, based on a short story by Arnošt Lustig Arnošt Lustig Through the Eyes of Jan Němec, a short documentary on Lustig from 1993 New interview with film programmer Irena Kovarova New video essay on the film’s stylistic influences by scholar James Quandt New English subtitle translation PLUS: An essay by film critic Michael Atkinson A Face in the Crowd (1957) April 23 SPECIAL FEATURES New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray New interview with Ron Briley, author of The Ambivalent Legacy of Elia Kazan New interview with Andy Griffith biographer Evan Dalton Smith Facing the Past, a 2005 documentary featuring actors Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, and Anthony Franciosa; screenwriter Budd Schulberg; and film scholars Leo Braudy and Jeff Young Trailer PLUS: An essay by critic April Wolfe and a 1957 New York Times Magazine profile of Andy Griffith Police Story/Police Story 2 (1985/1988) April 30 SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES New 4K digital restorations of Police Story and Police Story 2 Alternate 5.1 surround and English-dubbed soundtracks for both films Hong Kong–release version of Police Story 2, presented in a high-definition digital transfer for the first time New programs on Chan’s screen persona and action-filmmaking techniques featuring author and New York Asian Film Festival cofounder Grady Hendrix Archival interviews with Chan and actor and stuntman Benny Lai Television program from 1964 detailing the rigors of Peking-opera training, akin to the education that Chan received as a child Chan stunt reel Trailers New English subtitle translations More! PLUS: An essay by critic Nick Pinkerton My Brilliant Career (1979) April 30 DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES New 2K digital restoration, approved by director Gillian Armstrong, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray Audio commentary from 2009 featuring Armstrong New interview with Armstrong Interview from 1980 with actor Judy Davis New interview with production designer Luciana Arrighi Trailer PLUS: An essay by critic Carrie Rickey Plus Blu-ray upgrades for: Stranger Than Paradise (1984) April 9 DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES High-definition digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Jim Jarmusch, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack Permanent Vacation (1980, 75 minutes), Jarmusch’s first full-length feature, presented in a high-definition digital restoration supervised by the director Kino ’84: Jim Jarmusch, a 1984 German television program featuring interviews with cast and crew from Stranger Than Paradise and Permanent Vacation Some Days in January, 1984, a behind-the-scenes Super 8 film by Tom Jarmusch U.S. and Japanese trailers PLUS: A booklet featuring Jarmusch’s 1984 “Some Notes on Stranger Than Paradise,” critics Geoff Andrew and J. Hoberman on Stranger Than Paradise, and author and critic Luc Sante on Permanent Vacation Night on Earth (1991) April 9 DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES High-definition digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Jim Jarmusch, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack Selected-scene commentary from 2007 featuring director of photography Frederick Elmes and location sound mixer Drew Kunin Q&A with Jarmusch from 2007, in which he responds to questions sent in by fans Belgian television interview with Jarmusch from 1992 PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by authors and critics Thom Andersen, Paul Auster, Bernard Eisenschitz, Goffredo Fofi, and Peter von Bagh, and the lyrics to Tom Waits’s original songs from the film
  10. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Rhythm on the River (1940) - Amusing musical from Paramount Pictures and director Victor Schertzinger. Famous songwriter Oliver Courtney (Basil Rathbone) secretly pays struggling tunesmiths to ghostwrite all of his music. Composer Bob Sommers (Bing Crosby) and lyricist Cherry Lane (Mary Martin) are two such laborers who fall for each other and decide to strike out on their own. Also featuring Oscar Levant, Oscar Shaw, Charley Grapewin, Charles Lane, Lillian Cornell, William Frawley, and Pierre Watkin. A breezy time capsule of the musical tastes of the day, this features winning performances from Crosby and Martin, as well as Rathbone in a rare musical film appearance. "Only Forever" was nominated for the Best Song Oscar. Billy Wilder has a co-credit for the film's story. (7/10)
  11. LawrenceA

    WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    On a related note: NBCU Launches Streaming Service In 2020 Both Disney and WarnerMedia are targeting launches of their direct-to-consumer services in late 2019, and now Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, has confirmed NBCUniversal is working on their own service that will launch in 2020 reports The Los Angeles Times. Bonnie Hammer will head up the service which will be available in an ad-free version for a fee, or an ad-supported one at no cost. Both versions will be available to NBCUniversal’s pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. and major international markets. Comcast Cable and Sky will provide the service to their collective 52 million subscribers in the U.S. and Europe. In addition, viewers without pay-TV service can buy a subscription to the service. The aim is to be available to and engage a subscriber base quickly (hence the ‘free with ads’ option), leveraging off their existing infrastructure and deals to do so. NBCU will continue to license content to other studios and platforms, while retaining rights to certain titles for its new service. It will also allow the company to potentially bring catalogue titles like “The Office” back under its purview when its deal with Netflix expires in 2021. The plan is to launch with around 15,000 hours of programming derived from the wide array of broadcast (NBC), cable (USA, SYFY, Bravo, Oxygen, E!), film (Universal Pictures), news and sports operations. When the Disney-Fox deal closes in coming weeks, Disney will control the easy majority of Hulu with the remainder belonging to NBCU who could divest themselves of it, but reportedly are intending to stay invested. I placed the most interesting bit in bold underline above. One can hope, however unlikely, that they may make some of the Universal and Paramount back catalog available.
  12. LawrenceA

    NOW I'M REALLY MAD ! ! !

    First thing I think of:
  13. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Queen of the Mob (1940) - Crime drama from Paramount Pictures and director James P. Hogan. FBI agents led by Scott Langham (Ralph Bellamy) hunt a criminal gang directed by "Ma" Webster (Blanche Yurka). Also featuring J. Carrol Naish, William Henry, Richard Denning, Paul Kelly, Jeanne Cagney, Hedda Hopper, James Seay, Jack Carson, Billy Gilbert, John Miljan, Mary Treen, Neil Hamilton, Lloyd Corrigan, Paul Fix, Pierre Watkin, and Robert Ryan. A thinly-veiled take on the "Ma" Barker gang, based on J. Edgar Hoover's book Persons In Hiding, this is a heavily-fictionalized take on something that was already largely a fantasy. It's been substantiated by several contemporary accounts, as well as research since, that Barker was actually not the leader of the gang, and that Hoover had the group's criminal reputation boosted in the media in order to burnish the FBI's image in their capture and/or killing. Regardless, this is a solid "B" programmer anchored by an interesting performance from Blanche Yurka. (7/10)
  14. LawrenceA


    Henry Fonda - Rollercoaster, City on Fire, Meteor George Kennedy - Airport series, Earthquake Charlton Heston - Earthquake, Armageddon (narrator) Ava Gardner - Earthquake, City on Fire, The Cassandra Crossing Susan Blakely - The Towering Inferno, The Concorde...Airport '79
  15. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Parole Fixer (1940) - "B" crime drama from Paramount Pictures and director Robert Florey. When recently paroled criminal "Big Boy" Bradmore (Anthony Quinn) goes on a crime spree, FBI agents Scott Britton (William Henry) and Ross Waring (Lyle Talbot) crack down on parole fixing, going after the people responsible for manipulating the parole process on behalf of criminals who pay handsomely. Also featuring Virginia Dale, Robert Paige, Gertrude Michael, Richard Denning, Fay Helm, Harvey Stephens, Charles Lane, Byron Foulger, Marjorie Gateson, Charlotte Wynters, Louise Beavers, Paul McGrath, Joseph Crehan, and Jack Carson. The title card states that this is based on J. Edgar Hoover's book Persons In Hiding. It has that square, "just-the-facts" quality of an FBI-endorsed project. The back half of the less-than-an-hour film slows down, with a kidnapping and lots of phone calls in place of action. However, the first half is exciting, as Quinn gets wild-eyed as the murderous thug "Big Boy".

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