Monday, November 28, 2016

Around the Blogosphere This Week

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

...There's terrific DVD news this week: The "L.A." film noir ABANDONED (1949), starring Dennis O'Keefe, Gale Storm, Raymond Burr, and Jeff Chandler, is now available on DVD in the Universal Vault Collection. I reviewed this film last year -- in fact, I saw it twice in 2015! -- and loved it. Thanks to reader John Knight for the tip.

...Big thanks as well to reader Ashley for sending me links to many more interesting new Universal Vault DVD releases, including THE SLEEPING CITY (1950) with Richard Conte and Coleen Gray, SO EVIL MY LOVE (1948) with Ray Milland, Ann Todd, and Geraldine Fitzgerald, A WOMAN'S VENGEANCE (1948) with Charles Boyer and Ann Blyth, ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST (1948) with Blyth, Dan Duryea, Edmond O'Brien, and Fredric March, SMOOTH AS SILK (1946) with Virginia Grey and Kent Taylor, BLACK HORSE CANYON (1954) with Joel McCrea and Mari Blanchard, and THE LEECH WOMAN (1960) with Coleen Gray, plus more. I'm very much looking forward to trying some of these; if only Universal Vault DVDs would go on sale more than once in a blue moon! I was able to see THE SLEEPING CITY in 2012 and particularly enjoyed it. I saw SO EVIL MY LOVE at the Noir City Film Festival in 2010; it was well done but very, very dark.

...An interesting new TV release from the Warner Archive: SAM BENEDICT, a 1962-63 legal series starring Edmond O'Brien. I'm hoping to pick that one up before too long.

...Coming to DVD and Blu-ray at long last, thanks to Kino Lorber: LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER (1963) starring Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen, which I reviewed in 2010 thanks to a showing on TCM. It will be out in early 2017.

...Here's a nice post on John Garfield and Geraldine Fitzgerald in NOBODY LIVES FOREVER (1946) at Phyllis Loves Classic Movies, including some nice screen captures of the film's location shooting at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

...Available for preorder: AVA: A LIFE IN MOVIES by Kendra Bean and Anthony Uzarowski. It's due out in April 2017. Kendra wrote the excellent VIVIEN LEIGH: AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT, which I reviewed in 2014. Based on the high quality of the Leigh book, I anticipate the Ava Gardner book will be a "must buy."

...Over at The Frame, my friend Jandy invited me to participate in her 2016 Movie Challenge and recommend two films she'd never before seen to watch this year. I chose a pair of favorite William Wellman films, the Loretta Young pre-Code MIDNIGHT MARY (1932) and the Robert Taylor Western WESTWARD THE WOMEN (1951). I'm happy to say Jandy liked them both! Her post on MIDNIGHT MARY is here and WESTWARD THE WOMEN is here.

...A reminder that the recent Broadway stage production of SHE LOVES ME can be seen in movie theaters nationwide this Thursday evening, December 1st. It stars Zachary Levi, Laura Benanti, and Jane Krakowski.

...Jessica writes about one of my favorite musicals, Rita Hayworth's TONIGHT AND EVERY NIGHT (1946), at Comet Over Hollywood.

...Raquel's 2016 Classic Film Holiday Gift Guide is now up at Out of the Past!

...I'm even more excited to see LA LA LAND (2016) next month after reading this New York Times article.

...Like so many others, our family spent part of Thanksgiving weekend watching the entire six hours of GILMORE GIRLS: A YEAR IN THE LIFE on Netflix. Nine years after going off the air, the new show continues to serve up dysfunctional characters living in a charming, cozy small town setting surrounded by a recurring cast of eccentrics. Unlike some "years later" revivals -- THE WALTONS, I'm looking at you! -- GILMORE GIRLS stayed completely true to its history and brought back pretty much everyone except for Chad Michael Murray as Tristan -- in which case they pretended he was there, with another actor standing in in the distance! Happily none of the appearances felt rushed or shoehorned in, even Melissa McCarthy's cameo as Sookie, though I do suspect one of the final scenes was filmed as it was due to not being able to gather the entire cast at once! I have a few criticisms, such as the Stars Hollow musical sequences running far too long, and when exactly is Rory planning to grow up?! -- but for the most part the show proved you can go home again, and it feels great. And Lauren Graham knocks her key phone call scene in the final "Fall" episode out of the park.

...Notable Passing: Farewell to TV and musical star Florence Henderson, who by all accounts was an exceptionally nice and loyal woman in addition to being a multitalented performer. My earliest memory of Florence Henderson isn't THE BRADY BUNCH, but listening to her sing the role of Laurey on a studio recording of OKLAHOMA! with John Raitt. In fact, other than Julie Andrews movies, OKLAHOMA! might be the first musical score I was exposed to, from earliest memory, and I listened to that LP countless times over the years.

...For even more classic film links, please visit my most recent link roundup.

Have a great week!


Blogger John G. said...


Interesting comments on "Gilmore Girls." I'm a fan, moreso of the first three seasons. IMO, the show gradually went off the rails once Rory started college. I also think the sixth season was the bottom--not the seventh season which aired without the involvement of the Palladinos, and is for that reason deemed to be the worst. Just my two cents. Anyway, the last time I signed up for Netflix was for the "Arrested Development" debacle from a few years ago, so I'm a little leery of seeing a revived "GG" on Netflix. :-)

Speaking of TV deaths, Ron Glass of "Barney Miller" (and later "Firefly") passed away a few days ago. "Barney Miller" was one of THE great television shows, and Mr. Glass' Ron Harris was one of the best things about it.

4:22 PM  
Blogger KC said...

Universal Vault is becoming increasingly more interesting to me. Very intriguing titles they're putting out.

9:28 PM  
Blogger SimpleGifts said...

Thank you for your GILMORE GIRLS review - it was spot on. My daughter and I watched all 4 episodes in a row starting at midnight on Friday! What a delight to revisit the zany, lovable townsfolk of Stars Hollow. And what a lovely tribute to Edward Herrmann (I was fortunate to see him years ago on stage in THE CHERRY ORCHARD at the Goodman Theater in Chicago). As always, the acting and screenwriting were superb. It all made me wonder how I managed to get through the last 8 years without GILMORE GIRLS. I agree Lauren Graham’s key phone call scene in "Fall" was outstanding. And we had to pass around the Kleenex box when Sookie returned to her kitchen! Take care, Jane.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

John, thanks for your comments! The last couple seasons were definitely not on a par with the earlier years; I never particularly liked the stories about Rory's college life, and April was another poor addition. I'd be interested if you try the new episodes. I've found my thoughts keep returning to them. Even things I mentally quibbled with while watching, such as Lorelai and Emily's relationship backsliding, upon reflection made sense (loss resurrecting old conflicts).

Jane, wow, you started at midnight, wow! I love that. We didn't get started till Saturday afternoon LOL. How great you saw Edward Heerrmann on stage. It was really wonderful to see everyone, wasn't it? And I think it left us wanting more.

KC, I agree! There are a number of Universal Vault titles I'd really like to get.

Thanks to you all for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

Best wishes,

10:38 PM  
Blogger David Lawrence said...

Great round-up as ever, Laura. I'm with you on GG, including your opinions on the phone call scene and muscial scenes.

John, for what it's worth I completely share your perspective - I thought the developments in S6 were a blot on the landscape and the first three seasons are my favourite. I still recommend the revival; it often felt like fan-service and there was more of certain characters than I'd like, and I don't think everything completely rang true. But it still felt like a proper return to the GG universe and like spending time with a loved one you've not seen in much too long. And, personally, I think it's the perfect ending for the show.

1:33 PM  

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