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FOX CINEMA CLASSICS


edgeciff

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I am not even going to presume to know what they're thinking, but it is definitely disappointing. I'm still waiting for the release of CENTENNIAL SUMMER, a robust Technicolor musical made in the 40s with Jeanne Crain, Cornel Wilde, Linda Darnell, Walter Brennan and Constance Bennett. With a cast like that, not to mention it was helmed by one of the cinema's great directors (Otto Preminger), why is it still not available? It was Fox's attempt at replicating the success of MGM's earlier hit MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. Today's audiences would scoop it up in a heartbeat.

TopBilled, TWILIGHT TIME has released a complete soundtrack plus extras on CD of CENTENNIAL SUMMER. Just sent for it. Its taken from original masters. A bit pricey at $19.95 but worth having until a DVD comes along.

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TopBilled, TWILIGHT TIME has released a complete soundtrack plus extras on CD of CENTENNIAL SUMMER. Just sent for it. Its taken from original masters. A bit pricey at $19.95 but worth having until a DVD comes along.

That's wonderful, Edge...please tell us when you receive the shipment and if the quality is decent.

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That's wonderful, Edge...please tell us when you receive the shipment and if the quality is decent.

FROM THEIR SITE:

 

In 1944, Meet Me in St. Louis captivated moviegoers the world over. The unbridled nostalgia for a simpler time was very appealing in the turbulent war years. Two years later, Twentieth Century-Fox made its own film to appeal to that same audience – Centennial Summer. With an excellent screenplay by Michael Kanin and elegant and stylish direction by Otto Preminger, Centennial Summer takes a colorful, fun and even touching look at the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition and one family’s trials and tribulations and follies and foibles. Like Meet Me in St. Louis, Centennial Summer was a love letter to a bygone era and like Meet Me in St. Louis, Centennial Summer was a musical, with some wonderful musical numbers by the brilliant composer Jerome Kern and lyricists Leo Robin, Oscar Hammerstein and E.Y. Harburg.

Centennial Summer was Jerome Kern’s final score – he died in November of 1945 at sixty years of age, a great loss to the world of musical theatre and film. In Centennial Summer, Kern’s music could not have been in better hands than that of Fox’s music director extraordinaire Alfred Newman, who also adapted Kern’s tunes and created the beautiful underscore for the film. The songs are charmers and several went on to become staples of the Great American Songbook – “Up with the Lark,” “All Through the Day” and “In Love in Vain.” There is also a magical specialty number called “Cinderella Sue” performed by Avon Long that is one of the highlights of the movie. And Alfred Newman’s underscore for the film is classic Newman. The film received two Academy Award nominations, one for Best Song and one for Best Score.

 

This is the official world premiere release of the complete Centennial Summer, transferred from the 1/4” archival elements in the Twentieth Century-Fox vaults and lovingly restored by Mike Matessino. It just doesn’t get better than Jerome Kern, Leo Robin, Oscar Hammerstein, E.Y. Harburg and, of course, Alfred Newman. It is a thrill to bring this under-appreciated musical to CD and we hope you enjoy this delightful, tuneful and beautiful score, sounding incredible over sixty years later. - KRITZER

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FROM THEIR SITE:

 

In 1944, Meet Me in St. Louis captivated moviegoers the world over. The unbridled nostalgia for a simpler time was very appealing in the turbulent war years. Two years later, Twentieth Century-Fox made its own film to appeal to that same audience – Centennial Summer. With an excellent screenplay by Michael Kanin and elegant and stylish direction by Otto Preminger, Centennial Summer takes a colorful, fun and even touching look at the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition and one family’s trials and tribulations and follies and foibles. Like Meet Me in St. Louis, Centennial Summer was a love letter to a bygone era and like Meet Me in St. Louis, Centennial Summer was a musical, with some wonderful musical numbers by the brilliant composer Jerome Kern and lyricists Leo Robin, Oscar Hammerstein and E.Y. Harburg.

Centennial Summer was Jerome Kern’s final score – he died in November of 1945 at sixty years of age, a great loss to the world of musical theatre and film. In Centennial Summer, Kern’s music could not have been in better hands than that of Fox’s music director extraordinaire Alfred Newman, who also adapted Kern’s tunes and created the beautiful underscore for the film. The songs are charmers and several went on to become staples of the Great American Songbook – “Up with the Lark,” “All Through the Day” and “In Love in Vain.” There is also a magical specialty number called “Cinderella Sue” performed by Avon Long that is one of the highlights of the movie. And Alfred Newman’s underscore for the film is classic Newman. The film received two Academy Award nominations, one for Best Song and one for Best Score.

 

This is the official world premiere release of the complete Centennial Summer, transferred from the 1/4” archival elements in the Twentieth Century-Fox vaults and lovingly restored by Mike Matessino. It just doesn’t get better than Jerome Kern, Leo Robin, Oscar Hammerstein, E.Y. Harburg and, of course, Alfred Newman. It is a thrill to bring this under-appreciated musical to CD and we hope you enjoy this delightful, tuneful and beautiful score, sounding incredible over sixty years later. - KRITZER

I am hoping this is the first step in bringing the film to DVD. Maybe it will get a major release, not just as part of this Archive series, since they are comparing it to MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. I can hope...right?

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I am hoping this is the first step in bringing the film to DVD. Maybe it will get a major release, not just as part of this Archive series, since they are comparing it to MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. I can hope...right?

Very surprised TWILIGT TIME is not giving this a BR release. They have already released STORMY WEATHER on Blu Ray licensed from FOX.

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Very surprised TWILIGT TIME is not giving this a BR release. They have already released STORMY WEATHER on Blu Ray licensed from FOX.

I guess we will see what happens. Again, it is encouraging the music is being sold on CD now.

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FROM THEIR SITE:In 1944, Meet Me in St. Louis captivated moviegoers the world over. The unbridled nostalgia for a simpler time was very appealing in the turbulent war years. Two years later, Twentieth Century-Fox made its own film to appeal to that same audience – Centennial Summer. With an excellent screenplay by Michael Kanin and elegant and stylish direction by Otto Preminger, Centennial Summer takes a colorful, fun and even touching look at the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition and one family’s trials and tribulations and follies and foibles. Like Meet Me in St. Louis, Centennial Summer was a love letter to a bygone era and like Meet Me in St. Louis, Centennial Summer was a musical, with some wonderful musical numbers by the brilliant composer Jerome Kern and lyricists Leo Robin, Oscar Hammerstein and E.Y. Harburg.Centennial Summer was Jerome Kern’s final score – he died in November of 1945 at sixty years of age, a great loss to the world of musical theatre and film. In Centennial Summer, Kern’s music could not have been in better hands than that of Fox’s music director extraordinaire Alfred Newman, who also adapted Kern’s tunes and created the beautiful underscore for the film. The songs are charmers and several went on to become staples of the Great American Songbook – “Up with the Lark,” “All Through the Day” and “In Love in Vain.” There is also a magical specialty number called “Cinderella Sue” performed by Avon Long that is one of the highlights of the movie. And Alfred Newman’s underscore for the film is classic Newman. The film received two Academy Award nominations, one for Best Song and one for Best Score.This is the official world premiere release of the complete Centennial Summer, transferred from the 1/4” archival elements in the Twentieth Century-Fox vaults and lovingly restored by Mike Matessino. It just doesn’t get better than Jerome Kern, Leo Robin, Oscar Hammerstein, E.Y. Harburg and, of course, Alfred Newman. It is a thrill to bring this under-appreciated musical to CD and we hope you enjoy this delightful, tuneful and beautiful score, sounding incredible over sixty years later. - KRITZER

 

Up until just before filming began, CENTENNIAL SUMMER was to have made as a straight drama. The huge success of MMISL, as well as Fox' own musicalized rremake of STATE FAIR, had the studio revamp CS at the last minute, and commissioned Kern for what would be his last score. While a hit, CS wasn't as big a moneymaker as the studio anticipated; additionally, the mixed results by critics was usually attributed to Preminger's direction.

 

CENTENNIAL SUMMER.has lived in the shadows of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS ever after. It has been largely forgotten, fairly or unfairly, due to it apparently not being broadcast, or even moreso, not having a DVD release. The use of the music in the CD soundtrack points to the rights not being an insurmountable issue. And with that big name cast, you would think Fox would've released it, or leased it for release, ages ago. And featuring it on their own FXM RETRO, or on TCM,.will guarantee more exposure for this enjoyable, colorful and tuneful film.

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Up until just before filming began, CENTENNIAL SUMMER was to have made as a straight drama. The huge success of MMISL, as well as Fox' own musicalized rremake of STATE FAIR, had the studio revamp CS at the last minute, and commissioned Kern for what would be his last score. While a hit, CS wasn't as big a moneymaker as the studio anticipated; additionally, the mixed results by critics was usually attributed to Preminger's direction.

 

CENTENNIAL SUMMER.has lived in the shadows of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS ever after. It has been largely forgotten, fairly or unfairly, due to it apparently not being broadcast, or even moreso, not having a DVD release. The use of the music in the CD soundtrack points to the rights not being an insurmountable issue. And with that big name cast, you would think Fox would've released it, or leased it for release, ages ago. And featuring it on their own FXM RETRO, or on TCM,.will guarantee more exposure for this enjoyable, colorful and tuneful film.

Great post. I could not agree more. 

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TopBilled, some of CENTENNIAL SUMMER is posted on You Tube. Sorry to say its ghastly looking. All washed out. Maybe this is why no print has surfaced as yet since the film needs major restoration. Don't know where the clips came from.

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TopBilled, some of CENTENNIAL SUMMER is posted on You Tube. Sorry to say its ghastly looking. All washed out. Maybe this is why no print has surfaced as yet since the film needs major restoration. Don't know where the clips came from.

Thanks for the heads up. My copy doesn't look so bad. Maybe I was lucky in terms of the person I bought mine from online...? Other Fox classics have gotten restorations. This film truly deserves similar consideration by the studio.

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I finally got in the mail and viewed King of Burlesque, part of the Fox Cinema Classics collection. The print quality is quite good, considering the age of this production.

 

The musical itself is quite fun, with an engaging cast of players. Difficult to watch this film featuring Warner Baxter as a burlesque-gone-to-Broadway musical producer without thinking of his more famous similar turn just two years earlier in Warners' 42nd Street. Baxter is likable and, of course, in the true tradition of films of this nature, blind to the fact that his musical star (Alice Faye) has a thing for him while he is obsessed with a society lady with "class." Jack Oakie is his usual dependable comic support self. Oakie brings an engaging comic attitude to his charactcer, even when the dialogue he is given is less than first rate.

 

If there's a familiarity to this film's story (and there is) and a deja vu quality about the cliches, that still doesn't detract too much for fans of this kind of film used to the plot contrivances and conventions of stage-set musicals. It's really only what you expect, and fans of Alice Faye will be pleased to see her effectively singing and dancing on stage in tights, even if, dramatically, the film asks very little of her.

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I finally got in the mail and viewed King of Burlesque, part of the Fox Cinema Classics collection. The print quality is quite good, considering the age of this production.

 

...Difficult to watch this film featuring Warner Baxter as a burlesque-gone-to-Broadway musical producer without thinking of his more famous similar turn just two years earlier in Warners' 42nd Street. 

 

And I think that is exactly why Zanuck would have cast him. Often, (and we call this typecasting) actors who do well with an earlier role are in reality "auditioning" for the many similar roles that will come their way during the later stages of their careers.

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And I think that is exactly why Zanuck would have cast him. Often, (and we call this typecasting) actors who do well with an earlier role are in reality "auditioning" for the many similar roles that will come their way during the later stages of their careers.

In reference to this, Warner Baxter later said, "After I had repeated 42nd Street several times, it occured to me that actors, drugged by pride, can make first class a s s e s  of themselves."

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In reference to this, Warner Baxter later said, "After I had repeated 42nd Street several times, it occured to me that actors, drugged by pride, can make first class a s s e s  of themselves."

I am not against stars repeating certain kinds of roles. And I am not against typecasting-- because the upside of it is that certain parts become their signature or calling card-- they become specialists in specific types of characterizations. After all, only one person can play a hotel desk clerk the way Franklin Pangborn does, so he will keep getting requested for it. And logically, if Actor X played the same sort of role in picture after picture, they would have it perfected. 

 

But there is the other angle where serious performers want to stretch themselves and do other characters.

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I am not against stars repeating certain kinds of roles. And I am not against typecasting-- because the upside of it is that certain parts become their signature or calling card-- they become specialists in specific types of characterizations. After all, only one person can play a hotel desk clerk the way Franklin Pangborn does, so he will keep getting requested for it. And logically, if Actor X played the same sort of role in picture after picture, they would have it perfected. 

 

But there is the other angle where serious performers want to stretch themselves and do other characters.

I don't know exactly when in his career that Warner Baxter expressed that lament about some of his film role choices. Possibly it was towards the end, when he was trapped in a series of Crime Doctor "B"s at a time when film producers were no longer interested in him. During the '30s, after getting his Oscar as the Cisco Kid (a pretty ripe hammy performance, I might add) he repeated his role as the Kid in a few other westerns, as well.

 

I would think that Baxter is best remembered today for his harried musical producer in 42nd Street (and it's a pretty solid performance, too, I think), with Fox's King of Burlesque clearly derivative of that role.

 

But Baxter had his effective stretches as an actor, too, with 1936 a particularly fine year for him, with two films directed by legends, Howard Hawks in The Road to Glory and John Ford in Prisoner of Shark Island (my favourite Baxter performance as Dr. Samuel A. Mudd). In both those instances the directors and scripts proved to be a blessing for Baxter, delivering convincing, sympathetic performances as men cursed by circumstances.

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I don't know exactly when in his career that Warner Baxter expressed that lament about some of his film role choices. Possibly it was towards the end, when he was trapped in a series of Crime Doctor "B"s at a time when film producers were no longer interested in him. During the '30s, after getting his Oscar as the Cisco Kid (a pretty ripe hammy performance, I might add) he repeated his role as the Kid in a few other westerns, as well.

 

I would think that Baxter is best remembered today for his harried musical producer in 42nd Street (and it's a pretty solid performance, too, I think), with Fox's King of Burlesque clearly derivative of that role.

 

But Baxter had his effective stretches as an actor, too, with 1936 a particularly fine year for him, with two films directed by legends, Howard Hawks in The Road to Glory and John Ford in Prisoner of Shark Island (my favourite Baxter performance as Dr. Samuel A. Mudd). In both those instances the directors and scripts proved to be a blessing for Baxter, delivering convincing, sympathetic performances as men cursed by circumstances.

I think this happened with Chester Morris, too, who wound up doing a truckload of Boston Black-ie films in the 1940s. But Morris eventually left Hollywood for the stage where he sort of reinvented himself. 

 

As for Baxter, I love the comedy he did with Loretta Young called WIFE, HUSBAND AND FRIEND where she is trying to be a professional opera singer and winds up being upstaged by her husband (Baxter) who is more talented. It was remade a decade later with Paul Douglas and Celeste Holm, as EVERYBODY DOES IT.

 

Baxter could handle lighter material with ease.

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  • 2 weeks later...

CARNIVAL IN COSTA RICA is another Fox Technicolor musical from the 40s that is missing in action. I suppose Dick Haymes is not very well remembered now, though he was in the second version of STATE FAIR. His CARNIVAL costars include Vera-Ellen, Cesar Romero and Celeste Holm.

 

I'd very much like to see it.

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  • 1 month later...

2 NEW TITLES:

 

 

DEAR BRIGETTE (1965) - James Stewart, Fabian, Glynis Johns

SAD HORSE (1959) - David Ladd, Chill Wills, Patrice Wymore

 

Not sure if these two titles will be widescreen or most likely pan and scan knowing FOX.

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2 NEW TITLES:

 

 

DEAR BRIGETTE (1965) - James Stewart, Fabian, Glynis Johns

SAD HORSE (1959) - David Ladd, Chill Wills, Patrice Wymore

 

Not sure if these two titles will be widescreen or most likely pan and scan knowing FOX.

And still no CENTENNIAL SUMMER. Unbelievable!

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  • 1 month later...

Glad to read you're enjoying it, Edgecliffe. 

TWILIGHT TIME has CENTENNIAL SUMMER as a possible BLU RAY release.  Nothing definite as yet.  Since they released a soundtrack album it seems likely a video release is forthcoming.

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TWILIGHT TIME has CENTENNIAL SUMMER as a possible BLU RAY release.  Nothing definite as yet.  Since they released a soundtrack album it seems likely a video release is forthcoming.

Fingers crossed. Toes crossed too!

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