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Everything posted by EricJ

  1. Films of 2017

    While the press covers the committee debating this year's contenders...
  2. Christmas-in-the-film vs Christmas Film

    Well, "The Silent Partner" doesn't really feel like a Christmas film... Disney's Lady & the Tramp starts and ends on snowy Christmases, but doesn't really feel like a "holiday" film either...Or any adaptation of "Wind in the Willows" that climaxes on Christmas Eve. Unless you're being deluged with ads for those cheesy little LED lawn projectors. (And if we're going to adopt that new censor dodge, it helps to know the reference: Me, I'm all for it.)
  3. Christmas-in-the-film vs Christmas Film

    Thought the thread was about what "is" and "isn't" a Christmas film just for having Christmas in it--Which would bring up the old debate about why Gremlins "isn't" a Christmas film, but everyone thinks the first Die Hard should be. And then I'd end up looking hypocritical having to explain why I always watch Curse of the Cat People (1944) on Christmas, even though the snowy climax takes place weeks later. Even worse, The Sound of Music has started showing up in lists of "holiday" movies, A) because of generational association with it being shown on Thanksgiving, and B ) the annoying habit of people thinking "My Favorite Things" is a "Christmas song" because it mentions snow, sleigh bells and packages, even though there's no holiday of any kind in the entire three hours. And, of course, Holiday Inn (1942) is about an entire year of holidays, but as long as it gave us Bing's song and "Happy Holidays"... In My Day, Junior(tm), there was literally no such thing as "Black Friday", and it certainly didn't have a name yet--It was called "The day after Thanksgiving" (although our house has started calling it "White Friday"), and that was THE official starting pistol for decorations, shopping, Christmas Muzak at the malls, and more importantly, TV Christmas movies and specials. At least two stations would be showing It's a Wonderful Life, maybe one Sim-Scrooge, one station might dig up that cheesy 70's-Baryshnikov "Nutcracker", and if you were in broadcast range of NYC's WPIX-11, you didn't watch Laurel & Hardy's "March of the Wooden Soldiers" on any other day of the year. It's Tuesday, and most of us are blowing off or traveling Wednesday, close enough.
  4. We're not your "pals" here on the Magic Screen. That's the root of the problem we've been trying to make the moderators aware of.
  5. Silent Film Ideas

    I remember the public domain "goofy" dubs, but I also remember some local-station morning kids' shows also showing (cheap) condensed versions of the classics, with funny "real" narration for what was happening onscreen-- That was the first time I ever saw Keaton's Seven Chances (complete with explaining the gag of why Buster was going out marriage-proposing already carrying tickets to Niagara Falls and Reno), and my lasting image of "silent comedy" from childhood is still the Wile E.-like boulder avalanche scattering stampedes of enraged brides. That helped me get over most first-timers' trepidation about silent films, namely, "Do these things actually have coherent plots, or do the Keystone Kops just run around and drive cars over cliffs?" Needless to say, the Bullwinkle version didn't help.
  6. Calling it early: Best Supporting Actor nomination, Patrick Stewart, "Logan". The nomination that will cause double-takes, and if a win, one that will cause huge piles of torn-up betting pools. They who-WHA?? Early March, or did the Academy finally push back the "One month earlier" rule that caused all the mess in the first place, now that we don't have Harvey to kick around anymore? (No, spence, I was asking everyone else, lie down, heel...)
  7. I Just Watched...

    But, of course, since all the singing was dubbed, that wasn't his-- He proved to be just as good in his other first musical he did sing in:
  8. What's Missing From TCM

    The epitaph carved on Turner-colorization's tombstone was "I own 'em, I can do what I want with 'em", ie. Turner's ownership of the Warner/MGM library. Disney, Hal Roach, Fox's Shirley Temples, and low-budget video indies (like Republic) tried to get in on it too for plain-folks marketing, but didn't stay long. Turner went through a few library classics-to-impress like Casablanca and 42nd St., but when he tried to legitimize his Warner/RKO "ownership" by colorizing Citizen Kane, the Welles estate reminded Ted in no uncertain terms he DIDN'T own that one and COULDN'T do anything he wanted to it. That was the smoking gun the film-preservation community needed to shout down colorization once and for all, and its star fell quickly back into the bottom-feeding public-domain ghetto.
  9. It would be *staggering, considering it's not set to *open until *January 2018, and therefore disqualified. ....Next?
  10. What's Missing From TCM

    The first ones could only afford to be public-domain titles, so while It's a Wonderful Life has since been buried by ownership, you can still look up ancient $5 (or Amazon Prime) copies of Night of the Living Dead, or Scrooge (Hicks or Sim), and see that it....wasn't very good. At first, colorization was only able to do weird pastel shades of green, purple, tan, business-suit gray, sky-blue, and some Trump-like peach/orange for skin tones, which pretty well caused the public to give up on it immediately. And let's not even discuss the "bridge" scene from IAWL, where all the flying snow makes it impossible to hold the colorization from frame to frame. Turner tried to push his new folly, even giving us Casablanca, but more ambitious =/= better. And when he got the slap about Citizen Kane, that pretty much pulled the rug out from his entire industry, and TCM ("Uncut, commercial-free, and no colorization!") was born. Nowadays, Legend Films handles the colorization, the technology's improved and they're a little better at it, but if it isn't some licensed Ray Harryhausen or Stooges job for Columbia, it's still stuck in PD-vulture territory, where nobody who actually owns the content will let them do it anymore.
  11. I Just Watched...

    Most people don't know that Columbia, for some odd reason, decided to boost Rita Hayworth's Down to Earth (1947)--a movie unfairly cited as "inspiring 'Xanadu'", which is thoroughly inaccurate--into a pseudo-sequel to Jordan, with Horton and Gleason's characters returning, as Gleason now can't get anyone to believe his claims of Greek mythological characters in the city. No idea why, but a funny follow-up to watch.
  12. What's Missing From TCM

    So IOW, you want it to lose its compass and turn into the same nameless morass of public-domain syndie reruns that most cable channels did near the end of the 80's boom? (I mean, I liked the fact that Pat Robertson's "Family Channel" soon turned into an excuse to air old 50's Jack Benny and Burns & Allen reruns, and the early Comedy Channel soon had to give up the standup clips and fall back on Abbott & Costello reruns, but......) With cable having even more severely lost its channel compass in the 90's and 00's, let's raise a glass to one of the few cable channels that's not only kept its content, it's actually kept its programming CONCEPT for the last thirty years. That's what built its reputation as "The only watchable channel on cable". As for Laurel & Hardy, Harold Lloyd, Abbott & Costello and the Little Rascals, they're all in a bit of an ownership gray-area: The Hal Roach estate owns L&H and Our Gang ("Gang" was released by MGM, but the "Rascals" reruns are either PD or owned by Roach), and don't see the light of disk often, except for whatever slipped through the ownership cracks without restoration. We'll see L&H's work for MGM--plenty of "Bonnie Scotland" and "Devil's Brother"--but the shorts and classics are still stuck in the Roach motel. Harold Lloyd's estate was unique in putting a hold on his films, although the new Criterion partnership might bring back the classics that got restoration. As for A&C's tv series (the movies are Universal, except for a few MGM non-classics), that also seems to have fallen into PD quicksand along with "Africa Screams", "Jack & the Beanstalk", and anything else you can find at Walmart bins for $5....Or Amazon Prime. TCM is movies, and it's movies Turner/Warner/MGM/UA/RKO/Criterion own, which is a hefty chunk. Just because you don't watch other channels, don't ask them to deliver them to your door. And if it makes you feel any better, I grew up on NYC stations too, and still psychologically associate watching old movies and reruns with WPIX-11, unless they're old classics from WNEW-5...One's now a CW station, and the other's a Fox affiliate.
  13. Please cut the politics

    (O-kayyyy, so I'm guessing some other poster went running back to his favorite red-state forum crying about Ben, saying "Let's get 'em, girls!" Let the new single-digit "crusader" poster crossover-invasion begin...And then end just as quickly, seeing as they really don't know what they're talking about. )
  14. Current Films that will be Classics

    For the Oscars-vs.-Classics rundown of famous latter-century titles, another good source I found surfing the public-domain backwaters of Amazon Prime (ah, it's like looking at those old dusty VHS shelves in that mom-and-pop store around the corner) was a documentary clip-recap series, "30 Years of Oscar: 1972-2001" (Which, while on the streaming app, doesn't seem to be on the website, but appears to be the digital equivalent of ) It may look as if it was made on the cheap, with the footage coming mostly from free sources of promotional interviews and classic trailers (but then 70's-80's were when trailers were trailers), but it's a surprisingly comprehensive sampler-recap introduction to EVERY major-category Oscar nominee year by year. Even the obscure ones--Anybody remember Jack Lemmon winning for "Save the Tiger", or Glenda Jackson for "A Touch of Class"? I'm not sure if your complaint was about not seeing great movies from the 70's, 80's and 90's aired, or just being out of touch not to know what New Classics were on the list, but it's just about the best first reading-list to give any modern seeker. As for classic Oscar films from after 2004, don't worry, there weren't any, and it's all Harvey Weinstein's fault.
  15. Current Films that will be Classics

    I TRY to watch old movies showing up on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc., and most of the attention is at "Titles people already know", most of them 80's-90's. Not to mention, most of those are from the glory days of Sequel Franchises, which is all studios send to subscription-streaming services anymore. (Because remember, studios are more important than movies.) Even the TCM Fathom screenings in theaters, but anyone notice that Fathom's screening of The Princess Bride got about three times the amount of promotional hype that their regular screenings of Casablanca and GoodFellas did? If you noticed, you can probably guess why, and it doesn't have to do with quality.
  16. Current Films that will be Classics

    Of course, AFI already did that too, when they wanted flimsy excuses to crank out more TV specials and no centennial:'s_10_Top_10 I'll give you '69-75, but are you saying that movies from '82-99 aren't being shown ENOUGH?? "Pre-1975" is already Milliennial-codeword for "Probably old boring critically-acclaimed film I haven't seen."
  17. Current Films that will be Classics

    Basically it's the Oscar-vs.-Classic question of "How many times have YOU watched Shakespeare in Love, English Patient, American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire, or A Beautiful Mind?" vs. "How many times have you seen Saving Private Ryan, Fargo, Field of Dreams, Wall-E or Fellowship of the Ring?" ...That's what the AFI meant by "a Classic".
  18. And remember folks: She's wrong because she's Evil! (Copyright 2016, Republican party...All licensed uses of "She's wrong because she's ugly" are registered trademarks of the Trump candidacy.)
  19. Current Films that will be Classics

    Like, complaints about Paul T. Anderson basically throwing out the entire point, plot and central character of Sinclair's labor-union book, and turning it into his own personal wishful-atheist revenge stroke-fantasy of being mean and badass enough to drink fraud-preachers' milkshakes? It was good, but much of the "classic" love not only seems to have come from 80's generational sentimentality, but Ted "Svengali" Turner hypnotizing us with 24-hour marathons of one of the only MGM/UA Christmas movies his channel owned (apart from the Chuck Jones Grinch), every year many years, ten, twelve? Later, Ted bought New Line, and let's go out and hit the first person who claims Will Ferrell's "Elf" is a "modern Christmas classic". (Then Turner was absorbed into Warner, and we can both go out and gang up on the Chevy Chase "Christmas Vacation" disciples.) It's hard to distinguish "Great" Christmas movies from "Ritual" ones, much as Frank Capra and "It's a Wonderful Life" have to distinguish their reputations apart from the "Stockholm syndrome" of holding audiences hostage everywhere on TV at the same time every year for a generation.
  20. Current Films that will be Classics

    The AFI 100 list was made in 1998 for the Centennial of Motion Pictures, but that needed to be updated every ten years or so:'s_100_Years...100_Movies_(10th_Anniversary_Edition) When the '08 list had to consider whether we'd had any "Great American movies" to include from between 1997-2006, was it crazy to put Saving Private Ryan (#71), Titanic (#83), The Sixth Sense (#89) and Fellowship of the Ring (#50) on the same great-essential century watchlist as A Night at the Opera, Ben-Hur and Bridge on the River Kwai?....Not a bit, IMO. But then, I was one just glad to see Unforgiven go up 30 points in the ranking.
  21. Please cut the politics

    If you've ever read or seen Dr. Seuss's "Horton Hears a Who" (preferably the classic Chuck Jones version that tried to get it, not the more recent CGI mutation that didn't), when the Doc wrote it, the US was so determined to keep Stalin as a postwar ally that not only did the country turn a deaf ear to complaints about life under repressive Stalinist rule, any leftwing talk that we should do more to help Russia was considered "subversive" and trying to promote that nasty 30's-Communist hidden-agenda. Which explains, if you ever wondered, why the Kangaroo not only thinks Horton is crazy for hearing little people who "everyone knows don't exist", but is a "subversive danger to our society" as well--Seuss believed, all it would take for the truth to come out is just someone in a corner to say something, since a person is a person, no matter how small.
  22. Silent Film Ideas

    Many great cartoon characters were directly inspired by silent comics. (Except for Scooby-Doo, which was inspired by Dobie Gillis, but that's another discussion.) It's easy to explain Buster Keaton, for example, by describing him as "Wile E. Coyote", and audiences in the 30's always referred to classic Mickey Mouse as "a little Harold Lloyd". We got our kids hooked on the vintage 60's Pink Panther cartoons, but never quite got to make the connection over to watching classic Chaplin shorts.
  23. While it's "challenging" to see Jimmy Stewart play a creep with a psychologically kinky object-fetish for the girl he lost...we don't believe it for a second. Maybe Henry Fonda can play villains, but Stewart's got an uphill battle.
  24. Pia or Bo? Which Was Sexier?

    They were both sexy to look at, but both were mismanaged into bad movies by their husbands, so it was hard to tell whether they were talented or not-- Bo wasn't really allowed to act in any of John Derek's films, and in "Tarzan: the Ape Man" (that's what prompted the question, right?), she spends so much time with her fingers sexily in her mouth, we feel like a parent telling a two-year-old "WILL you take those things out??" Pia tried to sell her own career, but didn't have much luck either, and her buying up the Pickfair mansion before her star fell just feels like she sprayed it with graffiti. Still, Bodie can look hot at 60, and stays close to the water with ocean issues:
  25. No, have to pronounce it correctly: In spence's case, it's "Oh. Welcome.........back. "

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