Bogie56

HITS & MISSES: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow on TCM

8,909 posts in this topic

3 hours ago, mr6666 said:

Peter Avellino @PeterAPeel 5h5 hours ago

The fascinating DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME is on @tcm tonight 9/9 at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST

so don't miss it. @dcft_thefilm

I wanted to cry at the point where they said they threw the films into the Yukon river to destroy them. :(

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Tuesday, September 11

1972-Sounder-04.jpg

10 p.m.  Sounder (1972).  The entire cast is good in this one.  I wish someone would dig up Sounder, Part 2 (1976) which seems like a lost film.

A70-6761

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4 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

Tuesday, September 11

 

10 p.m.  Sounder (1972).  The entire cast is good in this one.  I wish someone would dig up Sounder, Part 2 (1976) which seems like a lost film.

A70-6761

Yeah, what happened to this? I saw it back when it was out and really liked it. It is nowhere. I can even find copies of the old after school special film J.T.  on youtube, but I can't find this at all.

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Wednesday, September 12

"You should have been at the first party.  I was blind for three days."

groucho-marx-2.jpeg

6 p.m.  A Night at the Opera (1935).  Simply the best.

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2 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

Wednesday, September 12

"You should have been at the first party.  I was blind for three days."

groucho-marx-2.jpeg

6 p.m.  A Night at the Opera (1935).  Simply the best.

In my opinion, this is the greatest comedy ever made; non-stop hilarity, with just the right amount of music and romance sprinkled in. Irving Thalberg deserves a lot of credit for it.

The contract scene is even more humorous when one realizes that Thalberg signed the brothers to an MGM contract which gave them 15% of the gross proceeds ... which was a huge deal.

Thalberg realized that the brothers' films could be even funnier if the plots were solid.  It was his idea to have the brothers try out some of their scenes (including the stateroom scene) on the road before filming. The studio dubbed the singing of Allan Jones and Kitty Carlisle with professionals from the Metropolitan Opera, but Thalberg decided to use the actor's voices instead. When the brothers wanted to have the song "Alone" cut from the film, Thalberg overruled them, and the song became a hit. 

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Theme for Dean Martin's night on Wednesday: Unlikely Siblings. Now you may raise an eyebrow at the likelihood of Frank Sinatra and Arthur Kennedy being brothers in a small Indiana town (Some Came Running), but who could imagine Dean Martin and Wendy Hiller as brother and sister (Toys in the Attic)? Geraldine Page is their other sister.

Toys in the Attic has its points of interest. George Roy Hill does a better job of making this Lillian Hellman play look like a movie than I would expect a newcomer to do. It's clearly implied that Gene Tierney is sleeping with her African-American chauffeur, which is unusual for a film of this era. And I love watching the classically trained Wendy Hiller mop the floor with Geraldine Page, who has her usual Method-y twitterings. Brits 1, Method 0. Despite being miscast as a Southerner, Dean Martin is actually pretty good. Dean is extremely good in Some Came Running, a film I do not like.

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5 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

Wednesday, September 12

"You should have been at the first party.  I was blind for three days."

groucho-marx-2.jpeg

6 p.m.  A Night at the Opera (1935).  Simply the best.

 

umanoitenaopera01-01blg21.jpg?w=300&h=22

"When a woman has dinner with me I expect her to look me in the face. That's the price she has to pay."

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Ada (1961) is on Thursday at 6:00 AM, part of Dean Martin day on Wednesday.  This is a fairly good political movie, especially at this time of year.  Susan Hayward costars and the movie is about her.

Murder on A Honeymoon came on at 9:15 this morning.  Probably the best of the Edna Mae Oliver Hildegarde Winters movies.

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Thursday, September 13

This one is not on in Canada …

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10 p.m.  A Warm December (1972).  Poitier in London.  But no Lulu.  Canada gets The Blackboard Jungle (1955) which despite its title I don't think counts as a 'black experience' film.

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Friday, September 14

William_Powell-Nat_Pendleton-The_Great_Z

5 p.m.  The Great Ziegfeld (1936).  Best Picture Oscar winner with William Powell, Myrna Loy and Frank Morgan.

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21 minutes ago, Bogie56 said:

Friday, September 14

William_Powell-Nat_Pendleton-The_Great_Z

5 p.m.  The Great Ziegfeld (1936).  Best Picture Oscar winner with William Powell, Myrna Loy and Frank Morgan.

A good film, but definitely not the Best Picture of 1936. I would have given that honor to "Dodsworth". Plus Ziegfeld is portrayed as a guy who has just lost his balance and fallen into the lap of a chorine every time his wife opens a door.  The poor misjudged guy! He never actually married his first wife, Anna Held, and the whole thing was just a business deal to him. He dumped her when she reached middle age and began to get frumpy. The actual love of his life - by his own words - was a show girl named Lillian Lorraine. And who gets a best actress award for one phone call??  Ah, the pull MGM must have had with the Academy back in the 30s.

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22 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

Thursday, September 13

This one is not on in Canada …

RSF97095_01d80d76-17fc-4f58-9faa-f23ecc0

10 p.m.  A Warm December (1972).  Poitier in London.  But no Lulu.  Canada gets The Blackboard Jungle (1955) which despite its title I don't think counts as a 'black experience' film.

Warner Bros. has the rights to this film,  but First Artists produced it. Like the films that MGM had distribution rights to but were produced by Hal Roach, this may cause WB to not have broadcast rights outside of the United States. An old article about this short lived production company follows.

First Artists Star‐Crossed Child of the 1960's

By PAMELA G. HOLLIEDEC. 23, 1979

The article as it originally appeared.

HOLLYWOOD — Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier, Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Out of these stars, a company was born. But none were present when the shareholders who had invested in their First Artists Production Company gathered for the annual meeting on Dec. 14. Not even Jon Peters, Miss Streisand's companion and producer, was there to witness his re‐election as director.

The meeting was held in a dark projection room at Warner Brothers studios. Edwin E. Holly, president of First Artists, sat atop a makeshift platform lit dimly by lamps brought from his office. Behind him was a projection screen on which the company had planned to show shareholders part of its newest and last film, “Tom Horn” with Steve McQueen. It didn't work out. “The film isn't ready,” Mr. Holly said softly, and moved on to the next topic.

In front of him a handful of shareholders sat quietly. “There aren't many of us left,” said Lee Korf, editor of a theater news publication in Whittier California and a holder of about 1,000 of First Artists 1.5 million shares outstanding. “There isn't much left anymore, just a shirt company.”

Indeed, On Dec. 31, the voting trust that runs the First Artists on behalf of its founder‐shareholders expires and First Artists will be out of the movie business.

The company has been up for sale since September when Philip Feldman resigned as chairman and president, citing the slowdown in motion picture production and distribution. But no buyers have appeared, and the company may be liquidated.

Of the diversification into television, music and film distribution initiated by Mr. Feldman, little remains. The only current assets are the last film promised by its star shareholders to be released in April 1980 (“We hope this will be a big one for First Artists,” Mr. Holly said) — plus the accounts receivable for rerelease of some of its 15 films and television sales on several others, and the sport shirt company referred to by Mr. Korf, which is beginning to feel the recession.

Ten years ago, First Artists was a bold experiment, a company designed to free stars of the corporate shackles of big studios. Likened to the formation of United Artists in 1919 by Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffin, First Artists brought together the superstars of the late 1960's, Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier and later Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.

It might have helped to review the United Artists experience. The stars lost control, the company failed to make any money for 10 years, the stars, who had other commitments, did not give their best and United Artists floundered until it was taken over by Joe Schenck. He built a chain of theaters and spearheaded the production of the classics “The Three Musketeers”, “Pollyanna” and “The Gold Rush”. The Transamerica Corporation took over the company from the last of the founding stars in 1951.

It also would have been wise to heed the Securities and Exchange Commission, which demanded when First Art- ists offered shares to the public that the company warn potential investors that giving performing artists creative control over their films “represents a significant departure from traditional industry practice.”

As it was organized, each of the First Artist founders agreed to make three productions for the company, although Mr. Poitier, who wanted to establish credits as a producer, made four, and Mr. Hoffman, who has been feuding with the company since he joined in 1972, made only two.

In exchange for creative control over their pictures, the stars agreed to forgo their customary seven‐figure salaries and instead share movie returns, including an “off the top” percentage that they began to receive from the moment of distribution. For each picture, Warner Brothers, which replaced the National General Corporation as distributor when National was liquidated, puts up two‐thirds of the money and First Artists puts up the rest.

At the time First Artists was formed, the industry was slipping into a recession. The deal seemed a good one for the stars. And it appeared that First Artists organizer‐agent Freddie Fields, then of Creative Management Associates (later to become ICM) with assistance from David Begelman, later to become Columbia Pictures president, had pulled off a major industry coup.

Mr. Fields, who never took any formal position with First Artists, called the formation a “significant step in film‐making.” He anticipated that the whole would be greater than the sum of the stars and that the strong films would carry the poor ones.

There are many ways to make money in the movie business, but none seemed so sure‐fire as the initial partnership of Newman-Streisand-Poitier, three of the industry's biggest box office stars. Then the company added Steve McQueen in 1971 and Dustin Hoffman the following year.

Adding personalities was like adding assets, it kept prospects for the stock up and morale high. Investors were asked in 1972 to help provide the onethird of the capital First Artists needed for movie production and expansion. They now own more than half of the outstanding shares, offered in 1972 at $7.50 each and in 1973 at $11.375. These days, the stock is quoted in the overthe‐counter market at about $4.

One problem was that the stars were not active in First Artists and have never all met for the sake of the troubled company. What is more, they took their time turning out pictures — a decade to produce just 15, the number major studios produce in a year. It became apparent with the first few years that creative control and prudent business management were not being made compatible. In 1975, First Artists lost $33,000 on sales of $9.3 million.

Phil Feldman, formerly an executive at CBS and Warner Brothers, was brought in that year to reorganize First Artists and to discipline its star shareholders who made more pictures for other studios than for First Artists.

Mr. Holly, who had spent 14 years at Desilu and then had gone to the William Morris talent agency, was also hired to help straighten out the mounting financial problems.

Mr. Feldman attacked the problem on two fronts. He began to diversify the company, moving it into film distribution, television and music, all of which have been cut back. The company flirted with casino ownership, but had to give up on obtaining a gaming license in Britain, and dropped the plan.

In 1978, the company bought the sport shirt company Joel/Cal‐Made, which produced $19 million of First Artists’ $43.8 million revenues in fiscal 1979 and a sizable chunk of the company's income, although that income was a slim $492,900.

Mr. Feldman also attempted to force upon the stars a regimen of production, despite the original aim of avoiding studio domination. These efforts were also star‐crossed.

Dustin Hoffman, who never exercised his option to buy stock, balked at Mr. Feldman's demands that he not make pictures for other studios until his obligation to First Artists was completed. In addition, when Mr. Hoffman's two films, “Straight Time” and “Agatha” ran over their production budget and schedule and Mr. Feldman stepped in, Mr. Hoffman sued the company for $68 million charging that he was denied creative control. The suit is still pending.

Another problem was that the movies made generally performed in range of mediocre to poor, often because the stars tried to change the very images that had made them box‐office draws in the first place.

Paul Newman made three mediocre pictures — “Pocket Money,” “The Drowning Pool” and “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.” Sidney Poitier, who had created roles with tremendous social impact in “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner” and “In the Heat of the Night” really preferred to make low‐key and limited interest ghetto movies with all‐black casts.

Barbra Streisand, whose only movie before she joined First Artists was “Funny Girl,” failed with “Up the Sandbox,” although her later “A Star is Born” and “The Main Event” did make money. Like Mr. Poitier she had other ideas about what image she should project. She talked the company into buying “Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy” based on an Isaac Bashevis Singer short story about a young girl who wants to be a rabbinical student. First Artists added the property to its stack of never-to-be-produced projects.

But it was Steve McQueen, the swaggering superhero of “Bullitt,” “The Great Escape” and “Towering Inferno” (none for First Artists) who really changed image. First, he made one of First Artist's most successful films, “The Getaway.” After that, however, he chose an 1882 Ibsen play,“The Enemy of the People,” jacked his weight up to 200 pounds and grew beard. The resulting movie was so dreadful that it may never be released.

He too sued the studio, when it refused to option Harold Pinter's “Old Times” for him. The suit was settled out of court and Mr. McQueen, under threat that United Artists would sue him for failure to meet his contractual obligations, was practically forced to make the western “Tom Horn.”

That's the one the shareholders might have seen, if it had met its production schedule.

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Tomorrow, 9-14, "Madam Satan" (1930) is on. DeMille makes a musical set partially on a blimp. Probably DeMille's weirdest film. Starring Kay Johnson, mother of actor James Cromwell.

 

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Thanks for the article on First Artists. I wondered what happened to it. Yentl was eventually made. By WB. I dont recall if First Artists was in the credits or even around by then.....

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Saturday, September 15

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10 a.m.  Popeye: For Better or Worser (1933).

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11:30 p.m.  Summer of ’63 (1963).  “Teens on the make spread syphilis among their friends.”  What are friends for?  

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4 a.m.  Class of ’44 (1973).  I had two bit parts in this one but my big panavision close-up ended up on the cutting room floor.   I must have been taking too much away from Grimes and Hauser.

 

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1 hour ago, kingrat said:

What? No recommendations for this evening's Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo? Bogie, I'm surprised!

He wasn't in it.

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10 hours ago, Hibi said:

Are you in that scene? Which guy??

I was a sailor in the opening graduation sequence (close-up cut) and a football player.  I couldn't believe it as I actually suggested to the stunt co-ordinator a play and then they set it up and filmed it.  I was just 16.  I suggested that Hauser does an end around and I would try to do a shoe lace tackle but miss him.  I told Hauser how I would do it and come the shot I dive for his feet and loosely grab him and let go and the guy kicks me in the face!  That is in the film but in a wide shot.  The director loved me because I was volunteering for everything.  He called me over in the canteen and we had lunch together. It was one of the first big American films to film in Toronto.

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On 9/13/2018 at 12:42 PM, Hibi said:

Thanks for the article on First Artists. I wondered what happened to it. Yentl was eventually made. By WB. I dont recall if First Artists was in the credits or even around by then.....

I have no idea. The article sounds like the company decomposed into a flurry of lawsuits. However, the article does explain - in a rather sideways manner - where the cutoff date is for United Artists films now owned by MGM. It sounds like 1951 forward is the date for MGM controlling United Artists films.

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Sunday, September 16/17

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2 a.m.  The Rules of the Game (1939).  It’s been a long while since I've seen this Jean Renoir film.

 
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Monday, September 17

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3:45 a.m.  The Loved One (1965).  Highly recommended.  Liberace is great as a funeral parlour salesman but Rod Steiger steals the show as Mr. Joyboy.

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