Monday, July 25, 2016

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the internet...

...We begin this week's roundup with sad news, the passing of the great singer Marni Nixon. Nixon's famed movie dubbing work included Deborah Kerr in THE KING AND I (1956), Natalie Wood in WEST SIDE STORY (1961), and Audrey Hepburn in MY FAIR LADY (1964). She also sang on the soundtracks of Disney's CINDERELLA (1950), ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951), MARY POPPINS (1964), and MULAN (1998), and she was Sister Sophia in THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965). I was fortunate to see Nixon on stage in a nonsinging role as Henry Higgins' mother in MY FAIR LADY in 2008 (reviewed here); sadly, both Nixon and Christopher Cazenove, who played Higgins, have since passed on. Nixon's autobiography was I COULD HAVE SUNG ALL NIGHT. She was 86.

...Another great singer, Barbara Cook, has just published a memoir, THEN AND NOW, cowritten with Tom Santopietro.

...New on DVD in the Universal Vault Series: IRON MAN (1951) with Jeff Chandler, Evelyn Keyes, Stephen McNally, and Rock Hudson. That goes on the "must have" list! Thanks to reader Ashley for the tip.

...At OUT OF THE PAST Raquel has reviewed the book INTO THE DARK: THE HIDDEN WORLD OF FILM NOIR 1941-1950 by Mark Vieira. I anticipate reviewing this myself in the fairly near future.

...At Java's Journey there's a fascinating review of the book SEARCHING FOR MY FATHER, TYRONE POWER by Romina Power.

...John McElwee recently ran a wonderful post on Harold Lloyd's GIRL-SHY (1924) at Greenbriar Picture Shows. He captures many of the reasons this sunny film is such a joy to watch.

...Jessica wrote a fun review of the TV-movie GIDGET GETS MARRIED (1972) at Comet Over Hollywood. Monie Ellis, the daughter of actress Mona Freeman, played the title role, with a great supporting cast including Macdonald Carey, Don Ameche, and Joan Bennett.

...Colin's latest post at Riding the High Country is a review of Rory Calhoun in APACHE TERRITORY (1958), reviewed at this site in 2013.

...Coming to the Warner Archive in August: Fitzpatrick Traveltalks Vol. 2! My review of Vol. 1 is here.

...For those who love classic kidlit, there's a new biography of the great writer-illustrator Lois Lenski, LOIS LENSKI: STORY CATCHER, by Bobbie Malone. There's more info at Publishers Weekly. My Lenski favorites include BLUEBERRY CORNERS, STRAWBERRY GIRL, PRAIRIE SCHOOL, and I LIKE WINTER, plus I love her wonderful illustrations for Maud Hart Lovelance's BETSY-TACY series.

...Notable Passings: Los Angeles sportswriter Melvin Durslag recently died at the age of 95. I have fond memories of reading him in the L.A. Herald Examiner as a young Dodger fan..."West Coast Jazz" pianist Claude Williamson has passed away at 89...Robert Mason Pollock, the DYNASTY scriptwriter who created THE COLBYS, has passed on at 99.

Have a great week!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tonight's Movies: They Were Expendable (1945) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) - Warner Archive Blu-ray Reviews

Two of the greatest films from director John Ford and star John Wayne have recently been released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive: THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945) and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949).

THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945) is possibly the greatest war film ever made, and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) is my all-time favorite Western. The Warner Archive couldn't have made better choices to release on Blu-ray, and the resulting discs provide a wonderful viewing experience. Both films look terrific, with SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON deserving particular kudos as one of the best-looking Blu-rays I've ever watched.

THEY WERE EXPENDABLE was originally reviewed here in 2014, at which time I also provided quite a bit of background on the making of the movie. Inspired by actual people and events, it's the story of a PT boat squadron stationed in the Phillipines in the early days of WWII, when the war's outcome was far from certain.

Robert Montgomery, who also filled in as director when Ford was incapacitated, stars as Lt. John Brickley, with Wayne costarring as Lt. Rusty Ryan. Their squadron attacks Japanese boats but as the situation in the South Pacific deteriorates, they must evacuate General MacArthur from Bataan; Brickley and Ryan will eventually leave themselves, in order to train future PT boat crews. The rest of the squadron must be left behind to face the advancing Japanese.

THEY WERE EXPENDABLE is a long film at 135 minutes, but every minute is deserved. It's a powerful film about heroism under the most difficult conditions.

There are countless memorable scenes, including several officers hosting a glowing young nurse (Donna Reed) for dinner, but for me the most haunting moment comes at the end, when two men (Leon Ames and Louis Jean Heydt) graciously accept being bumped from the last plane off the island in favor of two young PT boat officers (Cameron Mitchell and Marshall Thompson). Everyone knows that the two men will likely become prisoners or be killed, but all involved, especially the men themselves, act with complete class. It's unforgettable...but then so is the entire film, a remarkable mixture of grit and poetry. It should not be missed.

Ward Bond, Jack Holt, Russell Simpson, Paul Langton, Donald Curtis, Jack Pennick, and Jeff York are among the large cast. It was shot by Joseph H. August. The screenplay by Frank Wead was based on a book by William L. White.

As with THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, it's hard for me to do anything but heap superlatives on SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON.

Last fall I reviewed SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON after seeing it in 35mm at UCLA. Just a few months later I had the chance to see the film again in a digital presentation at last spring's TCM Classic Film Festival, an experience which confirmed that YELLOW RIBBON will always be a good choice for me. That was certainly underscored watching the Blu-ray, my third time to see the movie in a year's time! It's simply not a movie I can see too often.

Incidentally, my understanding is the Blu-ray is the same restored digital print I saw at the TCM Festival.

SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON is a seemingly simple tale, with much of the film following a group of soldiers traveling through Monument Valley in a big circle, but one of the marks of a great film is finding new details on every viewing. That's certainly been the case for me.

This time around, thanks to the clarity of the Blu-ray, I especially noticed the way the breath of both men and horses is seen on screen in an early morning scene. Later, in the storm sequence, one would swear you could almost feel the wind whipping up and smell the impending rain. The immediacy of these scenes, decades after they were shot, is amazing.

The movie contains my favorite Wayne performance as the about-to-retire Captain Nathan Brittles, with Ben Johnson also especially memorable as Sgt. Tyree. Johnson's beautiful horse, Steel, was owned by his father-in-law and was considered to be one of the greatest horses in movie history.

The film is a wonderful showcase for the Ford Stock Company, including George O'Brien, Mildred Natwick, Victor MacLaglen, Arthur Shields, Harry Carey Jr., Joanne Dru, John Agar, Francis Ford, and Jack Pennick. It's a thing of beauty watching a cast like this making magic together.

Speaking of beauty, this is perhaps the most gorgeous Western ever filmed, thanks to the Oscar-winning work of Winton Hoch. Beyond the famous storm scene, which Hoch filmed under protest and which undoubtedly led to his Academy Award, the blues and yellows of the uniforms against the red-orange of Monument Valley is simply stunning. The film has surely never looked better than it does on this Blu-ray.

SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON is 104 minutes long. The screenplay was by Frank Nugent and Laurence Stallings.

Each of these Ford/Wayne Blu-rays contains the trailer, and the YELLOW RIBBON Blu-ray also includes brief home movies of Ford and Wayne on a location scouting trip in Mexico. The home movies were also included in a previous DVD release.

Both Blu-rays receive my highest recommendation.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing review copies of these Blu-rays. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Tonight's Movie: The Goose and the Gander (1935) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

THE GOOSE AND THE GANDER (1935) is a delightful comedic romp starring Kay Francis and George Brent. It's available from the Warner Archive.

The Archive released this film some time ago, but I was inspired to review it by the Archive's brand-new release IT'S A DATE (1940), in which Francis plays Deanna Durbin's mother. I'll be reviewing that title in the near future.

I first saw THE GOOSE AND THE GANDER back in 2009. I didn't remember it that well but recalled I had really enjoyed it, and that was certainly the case this time around. It's a fun film fans of the cast or romantic comedies will really enjoy.

Georgiana (Francis) is the jilted ex-wife of Ralph Summers (Ralph Forbes). She'd love to have a bit of revenge and hatches a crazy plan for Ralph to find his new wife Betty (the delightful Genevieve Tobin) spending time alone with handsome Bob McNear (Brent).

Betty and Bob end up "marooned" at Georgiana's country house, pretending to be "Mr. and Mrs. McNear." Then a pair of jewel thieves (John Eldredge and Claire Dodd) show up in Betty's stolen car and pretend to be Betty and Ralph. Lost yet? No matter, it's all quite delightful and amusing as identities are gradually untangled and true love conquers all.

Last time I saw the movie I hadn't seen "Wild Bill" Elliott's Westerns or detective movies so didn't know him well enough to pick him out in his many '30s appearances, billed as Gordon Elliott. It was thus a lot of fun to watch him in several scenes as one of Georgiana's swains at a nightclub. He's seen here in a still with Francis and Brent.

Speaking of Georgiana in the nightclub, Francis wears an Orry-Kelly gown in that scene that seems to stay on her by nothing short of a miracle! (It's seen in the same still in which Elliott appears.) She has a fantastic wardrobe, and her country house is also enviable. Oh, to live in the delicious world Warner Bros. created for Francis in this movie!

THE GOOSE AND THE GANDER was directed by Alfred E. Green and filmed in black and white by Sid Hickox. It runs just a tad over 65 minutes.

This is an older Warner Archive DVD from 2010 which doesn't seem to have been cleaned up to the extent of more recent Archive releases. The print is occasionally spotted and speckled, but on the whole it's quite watchable, and I very much enjoyed it. There are no extras.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Boss of Lonely Valley (1937)

I'm very appreciative of my friends John and Maricatrin introducing me to Buck Jones Westerns, as I've been enjoying them very much.

Earlier this year I loved UNKNOWN VALLEY (1933) and especially THE MAN TRAILER (1934), both costarring Cecilia Parker.

Jones's leading lady in BOSS OF LONELY VALLEY (1937) is Muriel Evans, with whom he made a number of films. While not quite as good as the two previously mentioned titles, I still enjoyed BOSS OF LONELY VALLEY quite well.

BOSS OF LONELY VALLEY was produced by Jones for Universal. It's a nicely made film with a good story and attractive locations.

Jones plays Steve Hanson, whose sweetheart Retta (Evans) is being cheated out of her ranch by Jake Wagner (Walter Miller). That may sound like the stuff of typical Western melodrama, but there's an atomospheric subplot about the murder of the local parson; how many times do you see a climactic shootout take place as an organist plays "Abide With Me" while a church bell rings? Great stuff.

Some of the film, perhaps the town set, was filmed in Newhall here in Southern California, but the scenic river locations were apparently filmed outside Kernville in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

I love watching a movie like this and suddenly realizing that Retta's wagon driver is Hank Worden. Such familiar faces make it feel like spending time with old friends.

My only quibble was I have no idea what "Lonely Valley" referred to! Apparently the title came from a novel by Forrest Brown which was the basis of Frances Guihan's screenplay.

It should also be noted this is one of those odd Westerns where the women wear 1930s style dresses but everyone rides on horseback, without a car or telephone in sight.

BOSS OF LONELY VALLEY was directed by Ray Taylor. It was filmed by John Hickson and Allen Q. Thompson. The running time is 60 minutes.

BOSS OF LONELY VALLEY was shown a few days ago on the Starz Encore Westerns Channel.

I'm looking forward to checking out more Buck Jones Westerns!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tonight's Theater: The Sound of Music

THE SOUND OF MUSIC is the show I know better than any other in musical theater.

As a young child I saw it with Sally Ann Howes in the '70s, with Anna Maria Alberghetti in the '80s, and Dale Kristien (of L.A.'s PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) in the '90s. I also appeared in two different productions, in school and community theater, so it's a play I know inside and out.

I'm thus very pleased to say that the national revival tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, currently playing at Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, is the best production I've ever seen of the beloved musical. Like the 2010 revival of SOUTH PACIFIC, the show feels fresh and decidedly un-tired, bringing new perspectives and interpretations to very familiar material.

Newcomer Kerstin Anderson is a gangly, slightly awkward but ebullient Maria, who gradually matures into a confident woman, and she's matched by handsome Ben Davis as a very romantic Captain Von Trapp. His Captain is less frosty, more deeply wounded by loss; when his reserve is finally punctured one can almost feel the anguish and relief simultaneously pouring out of him, followed by pure joy.

Paige Silvester plays Liesl on the verge of being either a real problem child or a lovely young lady; she could go either way, and it will entirely depend on whether caring adults step in before it's too late. Her Liesl hangs back in the first two songs, "Do Re Mi" and "The Lonely Goatherd," clearly "too cool for school," participating reluctantly to humor her younger siblings, till she's eventually won over. It's a great example of a performer and director using staging to bring a creative take to the same lines which have been performed for close to six decades.

The show finds the deep notes in the story and the performances, with one of the most profound moments in the show coming at the very end; as the Von Trapp family leaves the abbey, I expected Maria to embrace the Mother Abbess, but instead she throws herself at her mentor's feet, in gratitude, grief, and supplication, receiving a blessing before she follows her new family over the mountain.

I also found poignance in small touches, such as Gretl (Audrey Bennett) carrying a doll with her as the family begins their walk over the mountains. It's always struck me how sad and scary it must have been for the children to leave everything they knew and owned behind, and seeing Gretl carrying the doll -- which I believe had just been given to her when the newly married Von Trapps returned from their honeymoon -- was a touch I don't remember seeing in any previous production.

The Captain's reaction to hearing his children sing for the first time was also unusually moving as performed by Davis, and his performance of "Edelweiss," his voice breaking after he pauses to look at the Nazi flags hanging as a backdrop, was a highlight.

The staging also gives an improvisational feel to "Do Re Mi," "The Lonely Goatherd," and the final concert version of "So Long Farewell." In the first two songs there's a real sense of Maria trying to make up the words for the children as she goes, and "So Long Farewell," sung as the family prepares to flee, was terrifically staged, with Maria whispering a plan to Liesl and the children nervously looking at each other as again they put the number together on the fly.

The revival for the most part uses the original stage show's song placements and score, including two songs dropped for the movie, "How Can Love Survive" and "No Way to Stop It." The one big exception is that the theatrical version's love song "An Ordinary Couple" was dropped in favor of the song Richard Rodgers wrote for the film, "Something Good," but since "Something Good" is the decidedly superior song, I think that was a wise decision. There was a lovely reprise of "Something Good" at the conclusion of the beautifully staged wedding sequence.

With Maria being a candidate to be a nun, religion has always been a significant part of the show, but I felt this production went a step further, somehow managing to more strongly convey faith as an essential aspect of the characters' lives. This includes the wedding sequence, as the children, comprising the wedding party, enter, kneel, and make the sign of the cross. The attention to such details and fidelity to the story and characters is particularly refreshing in an era when some prefer to turn their eyes away from religious faith. Incidentally, the Latin choral music in the wedding scene was a favorite for me to sing "back in the day," and it sounded wonderful here.

The children were all strong singers, with the concert version of "Do Re Mi" ("Jam and Bread") being another highlight. At times they were slightly quiet, but there were never any notes that were clunkers. This was a group of singing children who were extremely well trained. The boys (Jeremy Michael Lanuti and Austin Levine) were especially engaging personalities.

I was disappointed that Ashley Brown, who originated the role of the Mother Abbess in this tour, was not in the show when it arrived in Costa Mesa; I've had the privilege of seeing Brown, Broadway's MARY POPPINS, sing at Disney events, and her "Feed the Birds" is always a showstopper.

That said, Melody Betts was a fine Mother Abbess, though I confess I struggle a bit with colorblind casting when it comes to history and logic. Just as I was confused by a black Queen Victoria in MARY POPPINS, it took me mentally out of the show pondering how a black woman became the head of a convent in 1930s Austria. However, when she began singing my mind stopped wandering over such matters and I simply enjoyed her soaring voice!

Merwin Foard was a good Uncle Max. Teri Hansen might have been the only semi weak link in the show as the Baroness, as it was hard to see anything the Captain could have liked about her. Their only commonality seemed to be they were part of the same social set. I thus appreciate how quickly the Baroness is disposed of in the stage production; the Captain realizes they think differently in the song "No Way to Stop It," Maria returns, and boom, Elsa is gone.

The set design was superb, and one of the joys of modern-day smooth, quick computerized set changes is that shows such as THE SOUND OF MUSIC are able to edit out the "crossover" scenes, those little bits of business in front of the curtain which do nothing to advance the story but were created to have something happening on stage while the sets were being pushed around. (One example would be in the original show there's a sequence in front of the curtain where the children are getting ready for the party, tying sashes on dresses and practicing dancing. In fact, in this production they wear their sailor uniforms to the party, which was different.) The action flows more smoothly and "cinematically," as the director of SOUTH PACIFIC said, and I don't have any issue with the lack of complete fidelity to the original script.

I've seen a dozen or so stage productions in the last few years, and I would place THE SOUND OF MUSIC in the top tier along with SOUTH PACIFIC, WHITE CHRISTMAS (one of the most unexpectedly delightful surprises ever), WEST SIDE STORY, and THE LION KING. I highly recommend this touring production. A two minute "sizzle reel" can be found on the tour media page, along with a shorter musical montage video.

Update: There was one negative aspect about the performance at Segerstrom Hall, and that is that many patrons brought alcoholic beverages and glass water bottles into the theater after intermission. This meant that we were distracted by the strong smell of alcohol all around us (we're non-drinkers, so it's not a pleasing aroma), the noise of glass bottles tipping over and rolling multiple times on the hard floor, and the general distractions of people around us sipping away as though they were in a movie theater.

I assumed this was an aberration so didn't initially write about it, but I've just received an email from Segerstrom indicating "We have actually recently changed our policy and now allow drinks into the theater for many of our performances, including Broadway productions. Allowing drinks into the theater is now more commonplace in the industry. So far, audiences have been very receptive to the change."

Frankly, I'm floored. I don't spend $50-100 for a theater ticket to be distracted by people who can't manage to finish consuming their drinks during intermission. I've been attending theater my entire life and never run into this. Have others found this is actually now commonplace?

I'm going to be investigating other theater venues such as the Pantages and inquiring about their policies. I've seen virtually all the shows reviewed below at Segerstrom in the last several years, but I have no desire to do so sitting in the equivalent of a bar, so I may be rethinking future patronage.

Update: Segerstrom's own FAQ admits that drinking is a distraction for patrons and performers, in contradiction of their policy. So is it a distraction or isn't it? It obviously was for me.

The Pantages website indicates no alcohol is allowed inside the theater.

Update: Positive reviews from the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times.

Related posts: Tonight's Theater: The Phantom of the Opera; Tonight's Theater: My Fair Lady; Tonight's Theater: South Pacific (October 14, 2010); Tonight's Theater: South Pacific (October 22, 2010); Tonight's Theater: Beauty and the Beast; Tonight's Theater: Mary Poppins; Tonight's Theater: West Side Story; Tonight's Theater: A Christmas Carol; Tonight's Theater: White Christmas; Tonight's Theater: The Lion King; Tonight's Theater: 42nd Street; Tonight's Theater: Wicked.

Tonight's Movie: The Saint in Palm Springs (1941)

THE SAINT IN PALM SPRINGS (1941) was George Sanders' final time to star as the Leslie Charteris crime solver, Simon Templar.

It's a middling film in the series, as Templar does a favor for Inspector Fernack (Jonathan Hale). Templar ends up in Palm Springs, where he needs to deliver expensive rare stamps to lovely Elna Johnson (Wendy Barrie).

It's very much a soundstage/back projection Palm Springs, with Templar golfing, bicycling, and horseback riding in front of back projection screens and inside a soundstage. The only horseback riders who actually filmed in the desert were doubles!

Further, one suspects that the resort swimming pool in the soundstage was only two or three feet deep. The movie thus doesn't present a very colorful depiction of the desert resort, although the ways the movie cut corners can be a bit amusing.

The story moves along at a pretty good clip, as villainess Linda Hayes and cohorts try to get the stamps themselves; after 66 minutes the movie ends almost abruptly as Templar says farewell to Elna and rides away, whistling.

Paul Guilfoyle, seen here last weekend in BEHIND THE HEADLINES (1937), reprises his character from THE SAINT TAKES OVER (1940).

It's interesting, as many of the same people worked on both series, but on the whole Sanders' Falcon Mysteries strike me as livelier and more engaging than the Saint films.

Jack Hively directed THE SAINT IN PALM SPRINGS, with black and white photography by Harry J. Wild.

THE SAINT IN PALM SPRINGS is available on DVD in the Warner Archive's George Sanders Saint Movies Collection. I've previously reviewed the other films in the set, THE SAINT STRIKES BACK (1939), THE SAINT IN LONDON (1939), THE SAINT'S DOUBLE TROUBLE (1940), and THE SAINT TAKES OVER (1940).

THE SAINT IN PALM SPRINGS is also out on a Region 2 DVD. Additionally, it was released on VHS as a "TCM Double Feature," paired with THE SAINT MEETS THE TIGER (1943), starring Hugh Sinclair as Templar.

In the future I'll be taking a look at Sinclair in THE SAINT MEETS THE TIGER and THE SAINT'S VACATION (1941), which are part of a Saint Double Feature from the Warner Archive.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Notable Passings: Lisa Gaye and Garry Marshall

...Actress Lisa Gaye has passed away at the age of 81.

Gaye, who was born March 6, 1935, was the youngest sibling in an acting family which also included Teala Loring, Frank Griffin (who later became a makeup artist), and the best-known of the foursome, Debra Paget.

Gaye danced in ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK (1956) and SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROCK! (1956).

I think of Gaye primarily as a Westerns actress, so it was interesting when my dad pointed out today that her only Western feature film was DRUMS ACROSS THE RIVER (1954) with Audie Murphy, which I reviewed in 2014.

Most of Gaye's many Western appearances were in TV shows, including my favorite series, MAVERICK ("A State of Siege"), plus ANNIE OAKLEY, ZORRO, HAVE GUN - WILL TRAVEL (seen below), BLACK SADDLE, TOMBSTONE TERRITORY, WAGON TRAIN, BRONCO, and more, including ten episodes of DEATH VALLEY DAYS. Her last screen appearance was in 1970.

Oldest sibling Loring died in 2007. Gaye is survived by Paget, Griffin, a daughter and grandchildren.

...The multi-talented Garry Marshall, the man behind HAPPY DAYS and MORK AND MINDY, has died at 81.

Marshall did it all: writing, directing, producing, and even acting, in both television and feature films.

Early in his career Marshall wrote many episodes of the classic THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, and I was fortunate to see him speak at the 50th Anniversary tribute to the show at the Egyptian Theatre in 2011; I wrote about it here. He's at the left in this photo with Van Dyke and Reiner (behind the microphone).

I'm not completely certain, but I believe Marshall was also at the HAPPY DAYS filming I attended; as I've related here in the past, I was present for the filming of the studio scenes for the infamous episode which contributed the phrase "jumped the shark" to the American lexicon.

Among Marshall's films, I'm especially appreciative of THE PRINCESS DIARIES (2001), with Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway, and Hector Elizondo, which remains wonderfully entertaining after multiple viewings.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the internet...

...TCM has announced the special guests for this November's cruise: Leslie Caron, Mitzi Gaynor, Kim Novak, Diane Baker, Dick Cavett, and Jerry Lewis, with hosts including Eddie Muller, Illeana Douglas, Craig Barron, and Ben Burtt. That's sure a group I'd like to cruise with!

...Carleton Carpenter (TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE) turned 90 a few days ago. He recently reminisced about his career, including his time at MGM, at The Spectrum.

...Paul Rudd (ANT-MAN) will star in the fact-based WWII thriller THE CATCHER WAS A SPY.

...Also of interest, coming in September: SULLY (2016), with Tom Hanks as the heroic "Miracle on the Hudson" pilot, directed by Clint Eastwood.

...Raquel has a new list of upcoming classic film books posted at Out of the Past. I'm particularly curious about a book on director Henry Hathaway.

...Thanks to Jacqueline for the tip that the rare Ann Blyth film KATIE DID IT (1951) is currently available on YouTube.

...Also on YouTube: Linda Darnell and Stephen McNally in THE LADY PAYS OFF (1951). Movies can and frequently do disappear from YouTube very quickly so those interested should make haste to check them out.

...I loved the recent live stream of the Broadway revival of SHE LOVES ME, starring Zachary Levi, Laura Benanti, and Jane Krakowski. The CD goes on sale later this month.

...I have a nice backlog of older links to share, and here's a fun one: Jacqueline writing on the Automat as seen in the movies at Another Old Movie Blog.

...I'm very enthused about ROGUE ONE (2016), the STAR WARS film coming this Christmas. It's the story of how the Death Star plans were obtained that Princess Leia put in R2-D2 at the beginning of STAR WARS (1977); it's even got James Earth Jones voicing Darth Vader! This week a new "sizzle reel" and poster were released.

...Here's a nice piece at Pop Matters on UCLA film noir restorations now out on DVD.

...Julie Newmar recently linked on Twitter to some photos from SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954), including a candid rehearsal shot of the "brides" I'd never seen before.

...Speaking of SEVEN BRIDES, getTV has begun showing the one-season TV series SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, which aired in the early '80s and starred Richard Dean Anderson (GENERAL HOSPITAL, STARGATE SG-1). It was very loosely inspired by the movie. As in very.

...Attention Southern Californians: Sophia Loren will be appearing in person in Cerritos, California, on September 16th in An Evening With Sophia Loren.

...More for Southern Californians: I'll be seeing the touring revival of THE SOUND OF MUSIC this Wednesday evening in Costa Mesa. It's playing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts through July 31st.

...Notable Passings: Mary Ann King, "Miss Mary Ann" of ROMPER ROOM in late '60s Southern California, has passed on at the age of 86. She's a very early childhood memory, along with Sheriff John...Noel Neill (seen at right), who for many will always be Lois Lane, passed on at the age of 95...Former child actor Teddy Rooney, the son of Mickey Rooney and Martha Vickers, died at 66. Rooney's roles included playing Doris Day's son in IT HAPPENED TO JANE (1959).

Have a great week!