Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Off to Lone Pine!

Wednesday morning it's time to head north once more to the Lone Pine Film Festival!

The festival is held from Thursday through Sunday or Monday every Columbus Day weekend; this year the dates are October 6th through 9th, with a "bonus" tour available on Monday the 10th.

We usually drive to the festival on Thursday morning, but my husband is now a guide for the festival's horseback locations tour, and tickets have sold so briskly this year that a second ride was added on Thursday; we'll thus be heading up a day earlier than usual. I'm looking forward to a little extra time in town this year!

I previewed the festival here back in July. In addition to looking forward to seeing films and guests, I'm signed up for four location tours this year:

*A YELLOW SKY (1948) tour with William Wellman Jr. accompanying the group; as he described at a UCLA screening in 2015, he was on location during filming as a child and has some fun memories.

*An Owens River tour past the old train depot; I previously wrote about the depot in a review of ARMY GIRL (1938). Randolph Scott's THE NEVADAN (1950) and some '30s John Wayne films were shot in the area. It's always especially interesting learning about locations in the area outside the more commonly seen Alabama Hills.

*A tour of locations for THE TALL T (1957). I've been to the main "cave" location in the Alabama Hills many times -- I shared a photo in last year's Classic Movie Hub article -- but I welcome the chance to learn more about the location shooting of this favorite Western. I most recently saw THE TALL T at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival.

*A tour for the Hopalong Cassidy film DANGEROUS VENTURE (1947). I always enjoy the "Hoppy" tours -- check out my 2019 Western RoundUp piece -- and indeed, it's my time in Lone Pine over the years which has turned me into an appreciative fan of the series.

Other eagerly anticipated events include an interview with Rod Cameron's son Tony after a screening of PANHANDLE (1948) and an interview with Claude Jarman Jr. after a ROUGHSHOD (1949) screening. These are two favorite lesser-known Westerns, and I'm really thrilled that Cameron and Jarman will be there. I had the chance to meet Claude at last year's festival, where he attended screenings of RIO GRANDE (1950 and HANGMAN'S KNOT (1952), and it was quite a thrill. He's seen here in a photo I took last year.

While I'm at the festival I'll be sharing photos on Twitter; please check out my Twitter feed or search Twitter for the hashtag #LonePineFilmFestival. After the festival check back here for additional coverage!

For anyone new to the festival or my Lone Pine Film Fest coverage, please visit my posts on the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 festivals for more information. (I also covered the 2020 "virtual" fest for Classic Movie Hub.)

My life was so busy after the 2021 Lone Pine festival, with two additional trips out of town immediately afterward -- including the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival -- that I didn't get a chance to write much about last year's Lone Pine Fest, though I did share some interesting location photos in my Classic Movie Hub Western RoundUp column.

Along with coverage of this year's festival, I'll be doing some catching up here on 2021 festival coverage, starting with a post on locations for THE HITCH-HIKER (1953) which is scheduled to run while I'm in Lone Pine.

I've prescheduled a couple of additional posts for my time away, so please check back periodically for new content over the next few days.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Photos From the Road: A Summer Visit to Lone Pine, Part 2

Here are a few more photos from our summer visit to Lone Pine. Part 1 may be found here.

One of the interesting things we came across as we explored was this 1992 marker north of town titled "The Alabama Gates." (Click on this or any photo to enlarge it for a closer look.)

The marker commemorates water battles which took place at the Alabama Gates and gatehouse, which were built in 1913 as part of the Los Angeles Aqueduct system. The Owens Valley water wars with Los Angeles were the inspiration for the film CHINATOWN (1975).

This hill marked "LP" is seen driving down Whitney Portal Road just outside of Lone Pine, on the way to the Alabama Hills and Movie Road.

Stunning views seen on a morning hike in the Alabama Hills:

One can see why so many filmmakers chose to use this area as their canvas.

A panoramic shot:

A new shot of the "Hoppy Cabin" where many movies were filmed and where Bill and Grace Bradley Boyd lived when he was working in Lone Pine. The home is easy to recognize in movies due to the distinctive well in the yard. This is as close as visitors can get to the home, which as can be seen is still inhabited today.

One of many films in which this view of the Hoppy Cabin is visible, along with closeups of the well, is the Randolph Scott film THE NEVADAN (1950).  I've just revisited that excellent film as preparation for this year's Lone Pine Film Festival, where I'll be visiting other locations from that film.

Thanks to the kindness of a friend who let us tag along while he researched tours for this year's festival, we were fortunate to receive permission to visit Anchor Ranch on this visit.

As I wrote in my new Classic Movie Hub column on THE VIOLENT MEN (1955), Lone Pine's Anchor Ranch, located on Highway 395 south of Lone Pine, predates the Anchor Ranch of the movie; the film's Anchor Ranch was shot on Moffat Ranch Road a few miles away. The anchor hanging at the entrance to the "real" Anchor Ranch is a replica of the one used in the movie.

Below, a view at Anchor Ranch.

For my Classic Movie Hub Western RoundUp column: Another Look at Western Movie Locations! (includes more photos from our summer road trip visits to Keeler, California, along with locations around Moab, Utah); The Violent Men (1955).

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Tonight's Movie: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS (1946) has just been released in an excellent Blu-ray print by Kino Lorber.

When I revisited the movie today I described it to a friend as "soapy, murdery goodness." It's a very dark movie, yet it's also a lot of fun in a jaw-dropping kind of way.

I first saw THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS at UCLA as part of a Kirk Douglas Centennial tribute in 2016.

I wrote a very detailed review at that time, including sharing some interesting background information provided in an introduction by Alan K. Rode, who happily did the commentary track for this disc.

This is one of those rare reviews where rather than "reinvent the wheel," I'd like to refer readers to click over to my original review, then come back here to finish this Blu-ray review.

For a thumbnail plot sketch, the film is about a trio of troubled teens (Darryl Hickman, Janis Wilson, and Mickey Kuhn) who grow into even more troubled adults (Van Heflin, Barbara Stanwyck, and Kirk Douglas). When Heflin returns to town after an absence of many years, Stanwyck and Douglas assume he's there to blackmail them, while he's got to figure out why they're so wary.

Murders abound in the lives of Stanwyck and Douglas's characters, but if Heflin knows what's good for him he'll head back out of town fast with Toni (Lizabeth Scott), a woman on probation he's just met -- who's ironically by far the most likeable and ethical of the lead quartet.

This 116-minute film was written by Robert Rossen, based on a story by John Patrick, and directed by Lewis Milestone.

While there's murder aplenty, in the end the film strikes me as more of a character study of troubled -- even warped -- people, as we learn which ones might have a future and which are past redemption. All four lead actors are outstanding, and that's coming from someone who rarely praises Kirk Douglas.

The movie was beautifully shot in black and white by Victor Milner. There are plenty of glam shots of both the leading ladies, but the film is also stunningly noirish at times. A final shot through a window in the distance is a jaw-dropper.

THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS fell into public domain and, like THE TURNING POINT (1952), has been kicking around for years in poor-to-indifferent prints. Thanks to Kino Lorber this film is now available for home viewing in a great-looking print, which Kino's website says was "remastered in HD by Paramount Pictures from a 4K scan of the 35mm fine grain."

In addition to the previously mentioned commentary track, the Blu-ray also has a gallery of trailers for seven other films available from Kino Lorber.

THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS is another excellent release by Kino Lorber which I recommend.

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

Tonight's Movie: The Turning Point (1952) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

The highly recommended THE TURNING POINT (1952) was just released in an excellent Blu-ray print by Kino Lorber.

I've seen THE TURNING POINT three times in the last decade or so, initially streaming via Netflix in early 2013 and then at the 2018 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival. The Netflix print was watchable but soft, while the Lyons Festival showed a restored digital print.

I'm happy to say that this Kino Lorber Studio Classics Blu-ray looks and sounds outstanding. It's a remastered HD print from Paramount Pictures, using a 4K scan of 35mm elements. It's a great pleasure to watch this film looking so good, especially when I reflect back on my very first viewing.

The great Edmond O'Brien plays John Conroy, a special prosecutor going after an organized crime syndicate headed by Neil Eichelberger (Ed Begley Sr.).

Conroy is aided by reporter Jerry McKibbon (William Holden), a childhood friend. The men like and respect one another, but complications ensue when McKibbon realizes that Conroy's cop father (Tom Tully) has been on the take from the mob, and things become even more tense when Conroy's girlfriend/assistant Amanda (Alexis Smith) falls for Jerry.

Within the confines of the familiar police and press versus the mob story, the film manages to be unpredictable. Jerry and Amanda bristle when they first meet, with Jerry putting down the wealthy Amanda as a dilettante; only later do we -- and they -- realize their antagonism was an attempt to hide their instant attraction.

The script by Warren Duff, from a story by Horace McCoy, occasionally saddles McKibbon with high-falutin' speeches which get slightly too precious, but otherwise the scripting is excellent. I appreciated that the development of the love triangle is relatively subtle and matter-of-fact, and likewise the film's tough ending packs a punch without being melodramatically milked for maxium emotional pull.

Eichelberger casually committing arson in order to destroy documents under subpoena is truly shocking; he believes he won't be suspected because no one would burn down a building filled with innocent people. O'Brien's response to what he's seen after the fire is memorable.

Although O'Brien describes the setting as a "fine midwestern city," one of the film's greatest assets is its extensive location filming in Los Angeles, including Bunker Hill and Angels Flight Railway. Lionel Lindon's black and white photography provides a great peek into the past, especially for Southern Californians.

It's a well-paced 85 minutes directed by William Dieterle; if anything, it ends a tad too abruptly. The excellent supporting cast includes Ray Teal, Neville Brand, Carolyn Jones, Ted de Corsia, Adele Longmire, Whit Bissell, Russell Johnson, and John Maxwell.

Blu-ray extras consist of the trailer; a gallery of seven additional trailers for other films available from Kino Lorber; and a commentary by Alan K. Rode which I'm looking forward to checking out.

I've appreciated this film more on each successive viewing and very much recommend this Blu-ray release.

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

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Around the Blogosphere This Week

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

...New on Blu-ray from Australia's Viavision/Imprint: SECRET OF THE INCAS (1954) starring Charlton Heston. This is a film which has come up in discussion along with CHINA (1943) as having inspired Indiana Jones. Glenn Erickson reviews the Viavision release.

...Glenn has also just reviewed the new Kino Lorber Blu-ray release of MURDER AT THE VANITIES (1934).

...Alison Martino has a fun new video available on Larry Edmunds Bookshop...featuring a guest visit by Ruta Lee!

...Coming in late October: LOUIS WISHES YOU A COOL YULE.

...ClassicFlix has put out a newsletter on upcoming projects, which I was interested to read include restoring Hopalong Cassidy films.

...Happiest birthday wishes to Julie Andrews, who turns 87 on October 1st. Here's my past birthday photo tribute to this very special performer.

...Jacqueline T. Lynch of Another Old Movie Blog has a new book on the way, CHRISTMAS IN CLASSIC FILMS; it's a collection of essays on Christmas movies, some of which have been adapted from her blog. It will be available in both e-book and print format.

...It's fall cookbook season! New from Cook's Illustrated: DESSERTS ILLUSTRATED...I just got a copy of HOME IS WHERE THE EGGS ARE by Molly Yeh.

...Published last week by the University of California Press: CAPTAIN OF HER SOUL: THE LIFE OF MARION DAVIES by Lara Gabrielle of Backlots. Congratulations, Lara!

...Sincere congratulations to Vienna's Classic Hollywood on ten years of blogging!

...Colin has reviewed THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY (1945) at Riding the High Country. It stars George Sanders, Ella Raines, and Geraldine Fitzgerald. One I need to see!

...On Monday, October 3rd, Annette Bochenek of Hometowns to Hollywood will give an online presentation on "Mermaids in the Movies." Ticket info is here.

...Notable Passing: Actress Venetia Stevenson, the daughter of director Robert Stevenson and actress Anna Lee, has died at 84. Her half-brother was actor Jeffrey Byron. She was briefly married to Russ Tamblyn and later married to Don Everly for several years. Her films included DARBY'S RANGERS (1958), DAY OF THE OUTLAW (1959), and SEVEN WAYS FROM SUNDOWN (1960), seen at right.

...I have sad news to share: Irene, a commenter here from the earliest days of this blog, passed away last week. Irene was always an upbeat, positive lady it was a joy to know, and I'm glad we were able to meet in person a couple of times over the years. Her longtime support of my blogging and Twitter account and her enthusiasm for our common interests meant a great deal. I know some of you who are longtime readers yourselves are familiar with her, and I wanted to let you know that this wonderful lady is no longer with us. I'm going to miss her tremendously.  It's been a sad year with Irene's passing following the deaths of Gina Neylon (Moira Finnie) and Patricia Nolan-Hall (Caftan Woman).

...There will not be an Around the Blogosphere This Week column next weekend, when I'll be attending the Lone Pine Film Festival. My next news roundup should post on October 15th.

...For additional recent links of interest to classic film fans, please check out my September 24th roundup.

Friday, September 30, 2022

TCM in October: Highlights

It's October, and there's lots of spooky viewing ahead on Turner Classic Movies!

TCM is changing things up from the norm with this month's schedule; the Star of the Month on Saturday nights is "Robots" rather than a specific actor or actress.

One of the first robots featured will be Robby the Robot in FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956) on October 1st. Please note there will not be a separate Star of the Month post this month.

The TCM Spotlight for October focuses on "Creepy Cinema" on Monday evenings so between the Star of the Month and Spotlight franchises, TCM has plenty of horror, fantasy, crime thrillers, and sci-fi on the way for the "spooky season."

There's also a Halloween marathon on October 30th and 31st, culminating in the showing of seven '30s Universal Pictures horror films on Halloween night.

There are two "special themes" this month: "The Blacklist" will be the focus on three Thursday nights, and actress Pam Grier will be featured on the last two Wednesdays of the month. I enjoyed hearing Pam speak at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival.

The October Noir Alley films will be THE RED HOUSE (1947) October 1st and 2nd, THE PHENIX CITY STORY (1955) October 8th-9th, THE ARGYLE SECRETS (1948) October 15th and 16th, CAGE OF EVIL (1960) on the 22nd and 23rd, and EL VAMPIRO NEGRO (1953), aka THE BLACK VAMPIRE, on October 29th and 30th.

I really enjoyed seeing UCLA's restoration of THE RED HOUSE at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival a few years ago. Its pleasures include a young and gorgeous Julie London and Rory Calhoun. Check out my review for a nice collection of stills from the film.

I was also impressed with the Argentinian film EL VAMPIRO NEGRO at this year's Lyons Festival. It will be released by Flicker Alley in a Blu-ray/DVD combination set in November.

Below are a few more highlights from among the many interesting films airing on TCM this month. Please click on any hyperlinked title to read my full-length review.

...Sunday, October 2nd, the lineup includes Rodgers & Hammerstein's FLOWER DRUM SONG (1961), which I reviewed this summer. James Shigeta and Nancy Kwan are particularly good.

...A day of films featuring waitresses on October 4th includes the delightful comedy GOOD GIRLS GO TO PARIS (1939) starring Joan Blondell and Melvyn Douglas. This film was an unexpected treat for me a few years ago.

...An evening of obscure films starring black actors, based on the Academy Museum exhibit Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971, has some interesting and unusual titles. I'll be checking out HARLEM ON THE PRAIRIE (1937), a "B" Western starring Herb Jeffries, and REFORM SCHOOL (1939), which has a rare starring role for one of my favorite character actresses, Louise Beavers. The movies will be shown October 5th.

...An eight-film Carole Lombard birthday tribute on October 6th includes SWING HIGH, SWING LOW (1937), which is often only seen in poor public domain prints. I was fortunate to see this film in a nice 35mm print at UCLA a decade ago. Fred MacMurray costars.

...The Saturday morning lineup of "B" films and cartoons on October 8th includes the Tim Holt Western DUDE COWBOY (1941). Marjorie Reynolds costars.

...I've never seen ON OUR MERRY WAY (1948), also known as A MIRACLE CAN HAPPEN, which airs on October 9th. The amazing cast includes James Stewart, Paulette Goddard, Henry Fonda, Harry James, Dorothy Lamour, and Fred MacMurray. It's also got a few actors I'm not so fond of, like Burgess Meredith, Victor Moore, and Hugh Hubert, but I've got to try it out!

...The evening of "Creepy Cinema" on October 10th includes Alfred Hitchcock's ROPE (1948), an unusual film which I reviewed a decade ago. James Stewart, Farley Granger, and John Dall star.

...A day of legal films on October 11th includes some very enjoyable minor films: CRIMINAL COURT (1946) with Tom Conway and Martha O'Driscoll; THE LAW IN HER HANDS (1936) with Margaret Lindsay and Glenda Farrell; and SOCIETY LAWYER (1939), a remake of PENTHOUSE (1933) starring Walter Pidgeon and Virginia Bruce.  I think this is a particularly fun day of viewing.

...The October 12th theme is road trips, including THE HITCH-HIKER (1953), directed by Ida Lupino. Look for a post on one of the movie's locations here in a few days. THE HITCH-HIKER is so scary that I consider it excellent Halloween month programming!

...The first evening of TCM's Blacklist series on October 13th includes a new documentary, HIGH NOON ON THE WATERFRONT (2002). Former L.A. Times classic film writer Susan King wrote more about the series for TCM.

...Along with ROPE on October 10th, a few more John Dall films will air as part of a tribute to the actor on the 14th. Titles include the classic crime film GUN CRAZY (1950) which I consider "must see" viewing for anyone who loves cinema. Peggy Cummins costars.

...A birthday tribute to Montgomery Clift on October 17th includes Hitchcock's I CONFESS (1943), costarring Anne Baxter. Clift plays a priest who has a terrible conundrum when someone confesses a murder to him and he can't say anything to break the seal of the confessional. Even "lesser" Hitchcock is worthwhile!

...A Margaret Sullavan tribute on October 18th includes THE SHOPWORN ANGEL (1938), costarring James Stewart and Walter Pidgeon. I recently caught Sullavan and Stewart in NEXT TIME WE LOVE (1936) for the first time and look forward to THE SHOPWORN ANGEL, another new-to-me Stewart-Sullavan film.

...A day of "career transitions" on October 19th includes BEAUTY FOR THE ASKING (1939), a very good "B" film starring Lucille Ball as a successful businesswoman.

...I tend to like Val Lewton's horror films as they're more about mood and suspense than anything graphic. One of my favorites is THE LEOPARD MAN (1943), showing on October 20th. Dennis O'Keefe and Jean Brooks star.

...October 21st features a lineup of football movies including Harold Lloyd in THE FRESHMAN (19250, a wonderful film which costars Jobyna Ralston. I most recently saw it as a drive-in movie a couple years ago.

...Humphrey Bogart stars as a cheesecake-loving gangster who ends up battling Nazi saboteurs in ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (1942). Worth seeing for the deep, deep supporting cast alone. It's on October 24th.

...The low-budget film noir MURDER IS MY BEAT (1955), starring Barbara Payton (TRAPPED), is worth seeing simply because it's so odd, including documentary footage of a ceramics factory midway through the movie for no particular reason. It airs October 27th.

...A tribute to costume designer Edith Head on October 28th includes an October showing of CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945), providing some alternative holiday programming to all the films inspired by Halloween!

...A favorite Hitchcock film, DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954), will be shown October 29th. Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Bob Cummings star, with a marvelous supporting performance by John Williams.

...There are more Val Lewton films on October 30th, including the classics CAT PEOPLE (1942) and I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943).

For more on TCM in October 2022, please visit my Quick Preview of TCM in October and TCM's online schedule.

Happy October!

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Photos From the Road: A Summer Visit to Lone Pine, Part 1

This year's summer road trip began with a long weekend in Lone Pine, California.

Like our 2021 winter visit to Lone Pine, our trip afforded us the opportunity to do exploring we don't always have time for during our busy Lone Pine Film Festival visits.

I previously wrote about visiting all of Lone Pine's cemeteries on this trip, as well as seeing a wall which is all that remains of Lone Pine as it existed prior to the great earthquake of 1872.

After our morning hike at Red Rock Canyon we rolled into town right on time to eat lunch at our favorite place in Lone Pine, the Alabama Hills Cafe.

The hotels were busy due to the annual Concert in the Rocks taking place that weekend, so instead of our usual motel, the Dow Villa, we stayed at the Best Western Frontier Motel on the south end of town.

It was our first time to stay there, and we thought it was as nice as the Dow. The only drawback is that, unlike the Dow, it's not in the heart of town and thus not in easy walking distance of restaurants and other locations.

The wing of the motel where our room was located had rooms named after actors who worked in Lone Pine, and there was one room -- ours -- named after a movie filmed in the area.

The artwork in the room included framed stills from the "Lone Pine" movies GUNGA DIN (1939)...

...and YELLOW SKY (1948):

Here's a sampling of a few of the other room names:

A few years ago we went on a Lone Pine Festival movie locations tour which included Keeler, 13 miles outside Lone Pine. Several movies were filmed in Keeler, including I DIED A THOUSAND TIMES (1955) with Jack Palance.

We were quite amused to learn that the Best Western where we were staying was another location from that movie! Jack Palance is seen walking through the Best Western parking lot in the film. Please visit the wonderful Sierras/Highway 395 locations blog The Great Silence for a screen shot.

We returned to Keeler this summer for another look. It was rather sad that the vintage gas pumps seen in I DIED A THOUSAND TIMES, which looked like this when I photographed them in 2014...

...now look like this:

We also revisited the old train depot in Keeler, seen in GREED (1924) and the Hopalong Cassidy film SINISTER JOURNEY (1948). I shared photos of the depot along with screen shots of SINISTER JOURNEY at Classic Movie Hub in July.  Here's another shot:

Keeler is an interesting, admittedly slightly creepy semi-ghost town, population roughly 70. It still has a post office:

A scene in Keeler:

Coming soon: Photos From the Road: A Summer Visit to Lone Pine, Part 2.

Additional Summer 2022 road trip posts: Photos From the Road: Red Rock Canyon; Photos From the Road: Lone Pine Cemeteries; A Visit to Marysvale Cemetery.

For my Classic Movie Hub Western RoundUp column: Another Look at Western Movie Locations! (includes additional photos of our visit to Keeler, along with several locations around Moab, Utah); The Violent Men (1955) (includes photos of Lone Pine locations).