Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tonight's Movie: Man in the Shadow (1957) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

MAN IN THE SHADOW (1957) is a very good melding of crime drama and social commentary starring Jeff Chandler and Orson Welles. It was very recently released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.

The movie begins with an opening credits sequence typical of Universal Pictures in this era, introducing all of the main cast members onscreen. The film has a terrific black and white CinemaScope look which I found very appealing.

Chandler plays Ben Sadler, the recently elected sheriff of a small California town. When a migrant farm worker (Martin Garralaga) timidly arrives at the sheriff's office to report the murder of one of his coworkers at the vast Golden Empire Ranch, Ben's racist deputy (Ben Alexander) could care less. The sheriff, however, brushes off the deputy, saying he's paid to take claims seriously and enforce the law, and he heads to the Golden Empire to investigate.

The atmosphere at the Golden Empire is unfriendly, to say the least. Ranch owner Virgil Renchler (Welles) tells Sadler to mind his own business, and foreman Ed Yates (John Larch) seems threatening. There's also a guard dog who's downright frightening! Sadler gets nowhere with his questions but is increasingly concerned by the evasiveness of Renchler and his men, who also include Chet (Leo Gordon).

Renchler's daughter Skippy (Colleen Miller of FOUR GUNS TO THE BORDER and PLAYGIRL) thinks something's amiss, especially when her father locks her in her room. She sneaks out of the house and into town, where she tells the sheriff about hearing screaming the night before.

The townspeople (including Paul Fix and William Schallert) pressure the sheriff to back down, fearful of what will happen to the local economy if the ranch takes all its business elsewhere. Sadler's wife (Barbara Lawrence), unnerved by threats, also asks her husband why he doesn't just listen to their neighbors, who want him to drop the matter.

After multiple attempts on his life while the circumstantial evidence grows, the sheriff heads back to the ranch. Only one townsman (Royal Dano) is brave enough to accompany him...

I really enjoyed this film, especially its attractive widescreen cinematography and the cast. Although the movie is in black and white, the opening with Colleen Miller looking out of her window rather called to mind the distinctive opening credits sequence of the previous year's colorful Douglas Sirk film for the same studio, WRITTEN ON THE WIND (1956).

Kino Lorber's Blu-ray shows off the black and white cinematography of Arthur E. Arling to good effect. While the movie seems to have been fairly low budget, with a minimum number of sets, the town depicted feels authentic, and the film makes good use of Conejo Valley locations. Conejo Valley is the area around Thousand Oaks and Moorpark where the McCrea Ranch is located; the ranch is part of the Conejo Recreation and Parks District.

I found Chandler extremely compelling as he's increasingly isolated wrestling with a tough problem; he manages to come across as an "ordinary guy," yet at the same time, he's special enough that the viewer watches his every move.

Welles is properly creepy as the rancher willing to shrug off a murder or two...or three or four...and Gordon and Larch are evil personified. Incidentally, I couldn't get over how different Welles looked from the following year's TOUCH OF EVIL (1958); he's not thin in this, but the look is remarkably changed given that the films were released just a year apart.

MAN IN THE SHADOW isn't a perfect film; for instance, I'm an advocate for short movies, but at 80 minutes the film needed more character development, especially for the women's roles.

Miller is as appealing as always, but her relationship with her father isn't fleshed out quite enough. That said, having seen her in person at the 2019 Noir City Film Festival, it was a treat to see another of her films.

The always-excellent Lawrence is completely wasted with just two scenes as Sadler's wife. I would have liked to know more about their relationship, especially given her arguing for job security and the opinions of the townspeople over his commitment to equal justice under the law. Their discussion on that subject is interrupted, and that's the last we see of her.

What did make it into the film, however, is quite good, and at times even unnerving, as Chandler is abandoned, HIGH NOON (1952) style, by those he's sworn to protect and defend. It ultimately builds to a satisfying ending.

MAN IN THE SHADOW was written by Gene L. Coon and directed by Jack Arnold, who directed Chandler in another good crime drama, THE TATTERED DRESS (1957), released the same year. Arnold also directed the outstanding Audie Murphy Western NO NAME ON THE BULLET (1959) and several classics of the sci-fi genre.

The Kino Lorber Blu-ray includes a commentary track by Troy Howarth and the movie trailer, plus a trailer gallery for seven additional films available from Kino Lorber.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.

TCM in April: Highlights

Happy 26th Anniversary to Turner Classic Movies!

The network celebrates the completion of 26 years on the air on April 14, 2020.

This year will be a little different as, as anyone interested must know by now, the 2020 TCM Classic Film Festival, originally scheduled to take place in Hollywood from April 16th to 19th, has had to be cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

TCM came up with a wonderful idea for everyone stuck at home, announcing a "Special Home Edition" of the festival to take place on the network on the original festival dates.

While most of the schedule was inspired by films shown at past TCM Classic Film Festivals -- many of which I was honored to see -- there are also four films scheduled for Sunday evening which were on the 2020 schedule. It's anticipated that this year's festival schedule will be held over for the 2021 festival.

The complete "festival at home" schedule may be found here. Please note all times on the schedule are Eastern.

Update: For more information, please visit my post The TCM Classic Film Festival 2020 Special Home Edition.

On a related note, TCM host Alicia Malone has shared some of her favorite TCM movie suggestions to watch while isolating at home this month. It's a good list of upbeat films including Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Harold Lloyd, and an MGM musical -- some of my favorite "go to" kinds of films in times of stress.

The entire April schedule, including the special "at home" festival dates, may be found here.

The April Star of the Month is Jane Russell. Russell's career will be celebrated on Mondays beginning April 6th. 17 of Russell's films will be shown. I'll be taking a closer look at the Russell lineup in a separate post a few days from now. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Jane Russell.)

April's Noir Alley titles will be ADDRESS UNKNOWN (1944) on April 4th and 5th, BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (1956) April 11th and 12th, and WICKED WOMAN (1953) April 25th and 26th. The latter film is memorably weird!

The previously scheduled Noir Alley film WITNESS TO MURDER (1954), originally scheduled for April 18th and 19th, has been pulled due to the at home edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival. I assume it will be rescheduled at a future date, though that may take a while as Noir Alley films are typically scheduled far in advance.

The TCM Spotlight on Thursday evenings, starting April 2nd, focuses on "New York in the '70s." Please note that the TCM Spotlight films originally scheduled for Thursday, April 16th, were moved to Tuesday the 28th to accommodate the "Festival at Home" schedule.

Below are just a few additional highlights from the April schedule; click on any hyperlinked title for the related review.

...On Wednesday, April 1st, TCM will celebrate the centennial of Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune. I've seen several of the films on the schedule and while they are all good, my highest recommendation goes to the crime drama HIGH AND LOW (1963). It's a gripping film which maintains audience attention for all of its 144 minutes.

...April 2nd begins with a trio of Joan Fontaine films, including the very enjoyable "B" film THE MAN WHO FOUND HIMSELF (1937), in which charming young Joan helps a troubled doctor (John Beal). It was directed by "B" film specialist Lew Landers.

...A day of films about maids and household staffers on April 3rd includes the very entertaining 58-minute "B" film PERSONAL MAID'S SECRET (1936) starring Margaret Lindsay, Ruth Donnelly, and Anita Louise; the latter two actresses are seen here. I've watched this one a couple of times and really enjoyed on both occasions.

...On April 4th the schedule includes the superb Anthony Mann Western WINCHESTER '73 (1950) starring James Stewart and an outstanding cast.

...The classic World War II "British homefront" drama MRS. MINIVER (1942), starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, airs on April 5th. William Wyler directed. Perhaps this is a good month to remember others who went through tough times -- and prevailed.

...While the world battles the coronavirus, why not be distracted by a day of battling sci-fi monsters? April 7th features some terrific films including THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953), seen here, and THEM! (1954), to name just two.

...Later on April 7th it's the TCM premiere of one of my very favorite film noir titles, 20th Century-Fox's CRY OF THE CITY (1948). Victor Mature and Richard Conte star, directed by film noir master Robert Siodmak. I highly recommend catching this one.

...A day of minor MGM musicals on April 8th includes LADY BE GOOD (1941), with Eleanor Powell, Robert Young, and Ann Sothern leading an excellent cast. The score includes the Oscar-winning "The Last Time I Saw Paris." Even "lesser" MGM musicals were top quality!

...Stay-at-homers can enjoy a wonderful day of pre-Codes on April 9th, including favorites such as FEMALE (1933) with Ruth Chatteron and George Brent and HOLD YOUR MAN (1933) with Clark Gable and Jean Harlow.

...THE UNSUSPECTED (1947) is a very entertaining crime drama starring Claude Rains, Joan Caulfield, Audrey Totter, and Constance Bennett. It airs on April 10th.

...The Easter Sunday schedule on April 12th will include, as always, EASTER PARADE (1948) starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, with Ann Miller and Peter Lawford offering delightful support.

...April 13th is a full day of MGM musicals directed by Stanley Donen. Along with big-name favorites like SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954) and SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952), the schedule includes one of my favorite lesser-known films from MGM, GIVE A GIRL A BREAK (1953). Debbie Reynolds, Bob Fosse, and Marge and Gower Champion star. It's a delight.

...TCM honors actor Clifton Webb on the evening of April 14th with four wonderful films: CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (1950), THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS (1956), LAURA (1944), and SITTING PRETTY (1948). They're all really good -- LAURA is one of my all-time favorite films -- but I want to particularly call attention to THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS which I saw for the first time just a few weeks ago. It's an outstanding WWII spy drama.

...April 15th is a day of seven Fred Astaire films, consisting of half a dozen of his films with Ginger Rogers plus the marvelous THE BAND WAGON (1953) with Cyd Charisse. A marvelous day!

...The Special Home Edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival kicks off on the evening of Thursday, April 16th, with A STAR IS BORN (1954). As mentioned above, the at-home festival runs through Sunday the 19th. A highlight from the first night's schedule, shown in the wee hours of the 17th, is NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER (1949) starring Esther Williams, Ricardo Montalban, Betty Garrett, and Red Skelton.

...I was present for the 2016 TCMFF screening of another favorite film, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949), introduced at the festival by Keith Carradine. John Wayne leads a terrific cast in this classic John Ford film, which also "stars" the Oscar-winning Technicolor photography of Winton Hoch. SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON will be shown on the 17th.

...The pre-Code DOUBLE HARNESS (1933), starring William Powell and Ann Harding, is legendary among TCMFF attendees for drawing crowds of such sizes that more people were probably turned away than got in to its two screenings, so I love that TCM included it on the April 18th "festival at home" schedule! (Incidentally, when I saw I wouldn't get into the initial screening of DOUBLE HARNESS I ended up down the street at the Egyptian for HE RAN ALL THE WAY, which turned out to be an excellent backup choice!)

...On April 19th, the final night of the Special Home Edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival will include FLOYD NORMAN: AN ANIMATED LIFE (2016), about the longtime Disney animator. Mr. Norman was due to be honored at this year's festival, and I hope that will be able to take place in 2021!

...A day of film noir and crime films on April 20th includes Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford in GILDA (1946), which I just reviewed after seeing it at this year's truncated Noir City Hollywood Festival.

...The April 21st schedule has some terrific crime films, first with a train theme and then switching to films about homicidal husbands. The lineup includes two of the very best train films, THE LADY VANISHES (1938) and THE NARROW MARGIN (1952), and I can't recommend them highly enough. Later in the day the lineup includes JULIE (1956), which I just rewatched a few weeks ago. Barry Sullivan and Frank Lovejoy try to save Doris Day from her murderous hubby, Louis Jourdan; by the end of the film stewardess Doris is at the controls landing a plane! Great fun to watch.

...You can't find better distraction than MY MAN GODFREY (1936), one of the all-time classic screwball comedies of the '30s, starring William Powell and Carole Lombard. It's on April 24th.

...On April 25th TCM will be showing a favorite little film I just watched last week, A DATE WITH JUDY (1948) starring Jane Powell and Elizabeth Taylor. The Technicolor photography by Robert Surtees is gorgeous, and the song "It's a Most Unusual Day" is guaranteed to lift spirits.

...Another MGM film I'm fond of is MUSIC FOR MILLIONS (1944) starring June Allyson, Margaret O'Brien, and Marsha Hunt. It airs on April 27th.

...The month wraps up with a tribute to Eve Arden on April 30th, including a favorite romantic comedy, THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE (1948), shown on TCM under its alternate title, ONE FOR THE BOOK. Eleanor Parker and Ronald Reagan are top-billed in a charming romance.

For more on TCM in April 2020, please visit my posts Quick Preview of TCM in April and TCM Star of the Month: Jane Russell, along with TCM's complete schedule.

Update: Here's a special post on the TCM Classic Film Festival 2020 Special Home Edition.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Classic Movie Hub: Streaming Westerns at Home

My new Western Roundup column has just been posted at Classic Movie Hub.

This month, with a nod to the fact that people the world over are spending most of their time at home, I look at a trio of films available for streaming online: GUNFIGHTERS (1947) with Randolph Scott, RIO GRANDE (1950) with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, and THE PROUD REBEL (1958) with Alan Ladd and Olivia de Havilland.

Amazon Prime members can stream all three films at no extra charge.

Thanks for reading my column over at Classic Movie Hub, and very best wishes to all my readers at this challenging time.

Previous Classic Movie Hub Western Roundup Column Links: June 2018; July 2018; August 2018; September 2018; October 2018; November 2018; December 2018; January 2019; February 2019; April 5, 2019; April 30, 2019; May 2019; June 2019; July 2019; August 2019; September 2019; October 2019; November 2019; December 2019; January 2020; February 2020.

A Look Back: Christmas 2019 at Disneyland

Today I'm following my posts on Christmas 2019 at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Disney California Adventure with a few photos of Christmas at Disneyland.

I hope everyone will enjoy a touch of Christmas cheer as we are about to embark on a few more weeks of "social distancing" at home.


Above, Main Street, U.S.A. decked out with garlands and Mickey wreaths; below, Mickey waffles for breakfast at Carnation Cafe are always wonderful! Can't wait to eat there again.


The Pioneer Mercantile in Frontierland decked out for Christmas:


No Christmas visit to Disneyland is complete without a ride on It's a Small World Holiday!


We also enjoyed the then-new Dueling Pianos show at Frontierland's Golden Horseshoe:



It was a cute little show with a pair of talented pianists, and it's always wonderful to pay a visit to this classic Disney venue.



Our trip also included a stop in Galaxy's Edge, where we came to the aid of Rebel master spy Vi Moradi, who was evading members of the First Order. What fun!


I love details such as this found throughout Batuu:


Our day included our third visit to the Millennium Falcon for a Smuggler's Run ride!


Our next Christmas visit to Disneyland will be more special than ever, and I suspect many of my readers who are able to visit will feel the same way.

Previously: A Look Back: Christmas 2019 at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and A Look Back: Christmas 2019 at Disney California Adventure.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Tonight's Movie: Kismet (1944) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Anyone looking for pure escapism at this challenging time will find KISMET (1944) to be the perfect diversion. Happiily, it's available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

MGM made this sumptuous version of KISMET to entertain audiences during WWII, and it continues to delight today. While lacking the gorgeous score of MGM's 1955 version -- which I reviewed in both 2013 and 2014 -- it makes up for that with a terrific cast and Technicolor cinematography by the great Charles Rosher.

Ronald Colman stars as Hafiz, "King of the Beggars" by day who by night disguises himself as another kind of king to court Jamilla (Marlene Dietrich), an independent-minded concubine of the Grand Vizier (Edward Arnold).

Hafiz's daughter Marsinah (Joy Page of CASABLANCA and BULLFIGHTER AND THE LADY) has fallen in love with the royal gardener's son (James Craig). Marsinah doesn't realize that her love is actually the Caliph, the highest ruler of the entire kingdom, and that he plans to make her his queen.

These mistaken identities, combined with the plotting of the evil Grand Vizier, cause all manner of complications before true love can find its way.

KISMET is visually dazzling from the impressive matte paintings -- so beautiful that one doesn't mind simultaneously recognizing the backgrounds are fake -- to the costumes and the colorful dancing. The whirling dancing girls of the palace banquet are visually thrilling -- and then to top it all off, in dances Dietrich herself, with her legs painted in gold. I'm actually a bit surprised her suggestive costume got past the censors; her number is really something.

And speaking of an interesting entrance, if you look very carefully in the background when Marsinah first arrives at the palace, you'll notice that one of her handmaidens is none other than Yvonne DeCarlo, who would soon find stardom in SALOME, WHERE SHE DANCED (1945).

Colman and Dietrich are perfect as the man of many disguises and the woman who delights in him, and Page is sweet and lovely as Marsinah. Since I've always had a soft spot for James Craig, the moment when he's finally reunited with his love at movie's end is quite thrilling.

My one complaint is I think this 100-minute movie could have been pared down by 10 minutes or so, as the machinations start to drag out in the last third of the movie, but other than that I found it a delightful escapist fantasy, produced with MGM's typical high-end production values. That includes a couple of songs by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg (THE WIZARD OF OZ); they're not in any way memorable in the way of the later musical version, but they work well, particularly Marsinah's haunting song near the end (with Doreen Tryden dubbing Page).

As a side note, Dietrich's Sydney Guilaroff hairstyles in this are even more complicated than the ones he designed for Ginger Rogers in WEEK-END AT THE WALDORF (1945) the following year, and that's saying something!

KISMET was directed by William Dieterle from a screenplay by John Meehan, based on the play by Edward Knoblock.

The supporting cast includes Harry Davenport, Robert Warwick, Florence Bates, Hugh Herbert, and Hobart Cavanaugh, with Frank Morgan providing the opening narration. Familiar faces abound in small roles, including Dan Seymour, Nestor Paiva, Charles Middleton, Pedro de Cordoba, Cy Kendall, and Morris Ankrum, to name just a few.

KISMET was first released by the Warner Archive a decade ago, but it remains available today, manufactured on demand. The Warner Archive print is lovely, with excellent sound. 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 or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.

A Look Back: Christmas 2019 at Disney California Adventure

Following up on last week's Christmas pictures taken at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel in December, here are a few pictures from Disney California Adventure.


It all looks so sunny and crisp, sure makes me wish I could be there this weekend. Someday...and won't we all appreciate being there that much more?


Like the Walt and Mickey statue and the Christmas tree in the background of the above photo.


Above is a closer look at the Christmas tree at the end of Buena Vista Street, and below, here comes the little Christmas parade held in the Paradise Gardens Park area. Click on any photo to enlarge it for a closer look.


It's going to seem strange being in crowds again down the road, isn't it?


Love the Little Green Men from TOY STORY and thought this popcorn bucket was so cute!


Coming soon, a few photos from Christmas 2019 at Disneyland.

Previously: A Look Back: Christmas 2019 at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Tonight's Movie: The Flame of New Orleans (1941) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Marlene Dietrich stars in the entertaining THE FLAME OF NEW ORLEANS (1941), which Kino Lorber will release on Blu-ray on March 31st.

THE FLAME OF NEW ORLEANS is a good-natured period film directed by Rene Clair, who would go on to make the comedic fantasies I MARRIED A WITCH (1942) and IT HAPPENED TOMORROW (1944).

Clair is said by IMDb to have also made uncredited contributions to the script by Norman Krasna, who himself wrote many enjoyable films, BACHELOR MOTHER (1939) and IT STARTED WITH EVE (1941) being just two examples among many.

Dietrich plays Claire, a poor adventuress out to nab a wealthy husband in old New Orleans. She lands Charles (Roland Young), a banker, but she's torn between financial security with the dim-witted Charles and her growing feelings for Robert (Bruce Cabot), a handsome but near-penniless ship's captain.

Matters grow complicated when rumors about Claire's past begin circulating, threatening her engagement, but she manages to convince Charles that it was her look-alike cousin Lili who had the wild reputation. Robert, however, suspects Lili and her cousin are the same woman...

This is a light little confection which runs a quick 79 minutes. I first enjoyed it in 2013, and I think I may have enjoyed it even more this time around, as over the years I've gained much more of an appreciation for Dietrich. She's quite good in this juggling multiple personas -- a whispering, wilting flower for Charles; assertive, romantic equal with Robert; and tough Cousin Lili. Dietrich and a well-written script manage to keep the viewer from getting confused, and in the end the film leaves the viewer smiling. A viewer can't ask for more than that!

In tone the film reminds me a bit of the Western comedy TRAIL OF THE VIGILANTES (1940), which was released by the same studio, Universal, the previous year. In each case the film takes a standard genre plot, which could easily have been a serious drama, but transforms it into a lighthearted and at times even goofy tale which is a lot of fun.

This was a rare "A" film lead for Cabot, who does a good enough job that one wonders a bit why he was so often stuck as villains or in support. Nonetheless, he had a great four-decade career, including many films with his friend John Wayne and concluding with DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971).

The film is notable for giving the wonderful Theresa Harris a real chance to shine as Claire's savvy maid Clementine, who plots with Claire and is sometimes the driving force behind the woman, pushing Claire toward financial security. Harris is always entertaining, and it's a shame that the conventions of the day kept a black actress of such charm from having even bigger and better parts in other films.

The top supporting cast also includes Andy Devine, Eddie Quillan, Frank Jenks, Franklin Pangborn, Mary Treen, Laura Hope Crews, Mischa Auer, Melville Cooper, Clarence Muse, Anne Revere, and Dorothy Adams, with narration by Robert Paige. Whatever frustrations there may be with the limited casting opportunities for minority actors of this era, the flip side is that only in classic Hollywood were deep casts like that the norm.

The movie was filmed in beautiful black and white by future director Rudolph Mate. The Kino Lorber print looks quite pleasing, with a strong soundtrack.

The Kino Lorber Blu-ray includes the trailer and an audio commentary track by Lee Gambin and Rutanya Alda. Also included are trailers for seven additional Dietrich films available from Kino Lorber, along with a trailer for Roland Young's THE YOUNG IN HEART (1938).

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.

Around the Blogosphere This Week

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

...Frank Lovejoy, a favorite of this blogger, was born on March 28, 1912. Here's my 2014 tribute to the actor, which has been updated over the years with new links, including a visit to his final resting place at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, CA.

...This week's Kino Lorber Studio Classics announcements included THE SUSPECT (1944), which I reviewed after a 2015 Noir City Hollywood screening. Charles Laughton and Ella Raines star, direct by film noir master Robert Siodmak.

...ClassicFlix announced a third volume of Hal Roach Streamliners, the "taxi" comedies starring William Bendix and Joe Sawyer. Info on the upcoming ClassicFlix release of "Westerns" Streamliners may be found in my March 14th roundup.

...Senior Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan has announced his retirement. He's been with the paper since 1991, and he'll be missed!

...ShoutTV is honoring the late Kenny Rogers by making his TV-movies THE GAMBLER (1980) and COWARD OF THE COUNTY (1981) available for streaming. Sequels to THE GAMBLER are also available.

...Classic film books by James Robert Parish are now available for Amazon Kindle.

...Glenn Erickson's colleague Charlie Largent reviews Kino Lorber's upcoming Blu-ray release of MURDER, HE SAYS (1945), starring Fred MacMurray and Marjorie Main. I anticipate reviewing that title here next month.

...See's Candies announced its first complete closure in 99 years due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, including mail order shipping. The company had previously had limited operations during WWII. We'll all look forward to the day when they, along with the rest of the world, reopen for business!

...On Sunday, March 29th, Ben Model will livestream another Silent Comedy Watch Party at 12:00 noon Pacific/3:00 Eastern. I watched the first "episode" and thought it was a lot of fun.

...At A Classic Movie Blog, KC reviews teenaged Diane Lane's film debut in A LITTLE ROMANCE (1979), just released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

...Last week Turner Classic Movies announced a Special Home Edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival, cheering news to those of us who planned to attend this year's cancelled festival.  The "at home" version will have special looks back at films and events from the festival's first ten years. I'll have more on this in next week's look at TCM's April highlights.

...Yesterday the Los Angeles Dodgers Tweeted an encouraging video message from the beloved Vin Scully.

...Notable Passings: The Harlem Globetrotters announced the death of the legendary Curly Neal at 77. In addition to being an amazing basketball player and performer who I was privileged to watch in person as a child, his likeness also became a cartoon character in TV's Harlem Globetrotters (1970-73) series...The Los Angeles Dodgers announced the death of '70s star Jimmy Wynn. He's one of the players I first remember being aware of as a very young Dodgers fan.

...For anyone who may have missed it earlier this week, here's my new overview of recent and upcoming Disney books.

...For additional recent links of interest to classic film fans, please check out my March 21st roundup.

Have a great week!

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