Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Tonight's Movie: Truly, Madly, Sweetly (2018)

Dylan Neal and Nikki DeLoach star in TRULY, MADLY, SWEETLY (2018), a very enjoyable film from the Hallmark Channel.

TRULY, MADLY, SWEETLY recently aired as part of the network's annual "Fall Harvest" lineup. As with the Gourmet Detective films he starred in for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel, leading man Neal cowrote the movie with his wife, Becky Southwell; director Ron Oliver joined Neal and Southwell authoring the script. Neal was also executive producer.

The simple yet appealing story finds a pair of strangers, Natalie (DeLoach) and Eric (Neal), meeting when Eric's aunt leaves them property in San Francisco. Although they initially plan to sell it and split the proceeds, issues arise which make a quick sale difficult.

Natalie, who sells cupcakes out of an old food truck, becomes interested in restoring the building to its past glory as a bakery, and when Eric is laid off from his job in finance he agrees to partner with her on the project. Natalie and Eric tentatively draw closer, but they're each wary of finding love again; Natalie is still nursing wounds after being dumped by her boyfriend, and Eric is divorced with a young daughter (Bailey Skodje).

Meanwhile Natalie's best friend Sam (Karen Holness) and Eric's colleague Nick (Dallas Blake), who was also laid off, help get the bakery off the ground and strike up a relationship themselves.

This is a quiet, enjoyable film of two nice people finding each other and their calling, starting a business together. There are bumps along the way, including the interference of an aggressive real estate agent (Alison Wandzura), but Eric, Natalie, and the bakery keep moving forward towards the inevitable happy ending.

I particularly like Neal, finding him both intelligent and attractive; as much as I enjoyed this, I really wish he and Brooke Burns would make another Gourmet Detective movie!

The script was inspired by a novel by Kira Archer.

The movie was filmed by Adam Sliwinski. Though there are establishing shots of the film's San Francisco setting, the movie was made in British Columbia.

TRULY, MADLY, SWEETLY is "feel good" viewing which I enjoyed. Up to this point I think I've enjoyed every Hallmark film I've tried!

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween Wishes!

To celebrate the day, here's Janis Paige weaving a spidery web in a classic studio publicity shot.

Janis turned 96 last month. Very best wishes to her, and I hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween!

Previous Halloween Posts: Ella Raines (2017), Veronica Lake (2016), Barbara Bates (2015), Marsha Hunt (2014), Linda Darnell (2013), and the BEWITCHED cast (2012).

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

TCM in November: Highlights

Halloween is just about here, which means it's time to take a look at the November schedule on Turner Classic Movies!

The November Star of the Month is Glenda Farrell.

Four dozen Farrell films will be shown each Monday, starting in the daytime hours and continuing through the evening. I'll have a separate Star of the Month post up on Glenda Farrell in the next few days. (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Glenda Farrell.)

The November Noir Alley movies are THE SNIPER (1952) on November 3rd and 4th, THE THREAT (1949) on the 10th and 11th, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (1944) on the 17th and 18th, and THE KILLING (1956) on November 24th and 25th. I particularly recommend THE KILLING, with a top cast headed by Sterling Hayden.

The TCM Spotlight each Tuesday evening is "The Art of Casting." More details on that series may be found at the TCM website.

Here's a look at just a few more of the interesting titles being shown this month. Click any hyperlinked title to read the corresponding film review:

...I really enjoyed the lesser-known Hitchcock film STAGE FRIGHT (1950) and recently picked up a copy so I can watch it again. For those who don't own it, it's on November 2nd. The film has a wonderful cast headed by Jane Wyman, Michael Wilding, Marlene Dietrich, Richard Todd, and Alastair Sim.

...RED RIVER (1948) was my personal highlight at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival. This John Wayne Western, directed by Howard Hawks, is highly recommended. The superb supporting cast includes Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, John Ireland (all three seen at left), Walter Brennan, Coleen Gray, Harry Carey Sr., Harry Carey Jr., and Noah Beery Jr. How can you not love a movie with a cast like that?! It airs November 3rd.

...Joel McCrea's November 5th birthday will be celebrated one day later, on Tuesday, November 6th. Eight McCrea films are on the schedule, including several Westerns and my favorite Hitchcock film, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940). Laraine Day and George Sanders costar.

...I had a wonderful opportunity to see HARD, FAST AND BEAUTIFUL (1951) at a four-movie tribute to Ida Lupino at UCLA last spring. Lupino directed this film about a young tennis star (Sally Forrest) with a greedy mother from you-know-where (Claire Trevor). The movie will be shown on TCM on November 7th. On the schedule later that day is another film directed by Lupino, the disturbing OUTRAGE (1950) with Mala Powers excellent as a traumatized rape victim.

...Gene Raymond and Wendy Barrie star in the cute RKO comedy CROSS-COUNTRY ROMANCE (1937) on November 8th. The fine supporting cast includes Hedda Hopper and Cliff Clark, and watch for Alan Ladd in a bit role near the end!

...TCM has a lineup of war films on November 10th and 11th to mark Veteran's Day. Titles include perhaps the best WWII movie ever made, John Ford's THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945), early on the 10th. The film stars Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, and Donna Reed. (November is a good month for Robert Montgomery fans! Some additional titles starring Montgomery are listed below.)

...I like to recommend WITHOUT RESERVATIONS (1946) whenever I get the chance. It's quite an enjoyable romantic comedy with the unlikely pairing of John Wayne and Claudette Colbert, with Don DeFore in support. Good fun! It's on November 12th.

...In my recent Classic Movie Hub column on "Snowy Westerns," one of the films discussed was THE WILD NORTH (1952), starring Stewart Granger, Wendell Corey, and Cyd Charisse. Corey plays a Mountie who gets his man (Granger) -- who then saves the Mountie's life. It will be shown on November 14th.

...A four-film memorial tribute to actress Mary Carlisle will take place on November 15th. Titles include MURDER IN THE PRIVATE CAR (1934). Carlisle, one of the last remaining adult actresses of 1930s Hollywood, passed away in August at the age of 104.

...A day of Marlene Dietrich films on November 16th includes the marvelous SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932). Anyone who shares my love of "train movies" needs to be sure to see it!

...Robert Montgomery is superb in his Oscar-nominated performance in the comedic fantasy HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (1941), costarring Claude Rains and Evelyn Keyes. It's on November 17th.

...PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE (1952) makes its annual appearance the Sunday before Thanksgiving, on November 18th. While it's only a middling movie, there are so few Thanksgiving-related films that I appreciate TCM showing it each year! It has a strong score by Miklos Rozsa and a cast headed by Van Johnson, Gene Tierney, and Spencer Tracy.

...Robert Taylor is outstanding as an amnesiac who may have killed his wife in HIGH WALL (1947), costarring Audrey Totter. It's on November 19th.

...I've been meaning to catch the 1946 version of BLACK BEAUTY, starring Mona Freeman. It airs November 20th.

...November 21st, the day before Thanksgiving, features a seven-film birthday tribute to Eleanor Powell, including LADY BE GOOD (1941), in which Powell has a delightful dance with a dog. Powell trained the dog for the routine herself! The film also features the Academy Award winning song "The Last Time I Saw Paris."

...Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd, features family-friendly fare starring Elizabeth Taylor and/or Margaret O'Brien: NATIONAL VELVET (1944), THE SECRET GARDEN (1949), LITTLE WOMEN (1949), COURAGE OF LASSIE (1946), and LIFE WITH FATHER (1947). Also on the schedule: MA AND PA KETTLE (1949).

...Black Friday, November 23rd, will feature a lineup of swashbucklers and adventure movies, including THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940), TARZAN THE APE MAN (1932), and KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1950). It's a great opportunity for families to continue enjoying movies together over the long holiday weekend!

...I watch ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) every few years, delighting anew in its wonderful cast and sharp script. Bette Davis, George Sanders, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, and Hugh Marlowe star, with Marilyn Monroe in a small but amusing role. It's on November 24th.

...Early on the 25th look for the enjoyable mystery FAST AND LOOSE (1939), with Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell as married rare book dealers who are also amateur sleuths.

...The evening of November 25th features a two-film tribute to director Mark Sandrich, SHALL WE DANCE (1937) with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, followed by Astaire and Bing Crosby in HOLIDAY INN (1942).

...ACROSS THE PACIFIC (1942) reunited director John Huston with a trio of stars from his film THE MALTESE FALCON (1941): Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Sydney Greenstreet. It's an enjoyable film about WWII espionage. It will be shown November 27th.

...I'm intrigued by YOUNG WIDOW (1946), with Jane Russell in the title role as a woman who lost her husband during WWII. Louis Hayward and Faith Domergue costar. It airs on November 28th.

...Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn star in Stanley Donen's CHARADE (1963) on November 29th. It's been a long time since I saw that one, I'm due for a rewatch!

...The month concludes on November 30th with a lineup of good films about jewel thieves and con artists, including Joan Crawford, William Powell, and Robert Montgomery in THE LAST OF MRS. CHEYNEY (1937); Lucille Ball, John Hodiak, and Lloyd Nolan in TWO SMART PEOPLE (1946); and Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins, and Kay Francis in TROUBLE IN PARADISE (1932).

Please visit the online schedule schedule for more information on TCM's November schedule.

Happy movie viewing, and early wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!

Monday, October 29, 2018

New Westerns Column at Classic Movie Hub

I'm excited to announce that my latest Western Roundup column was posted today at Classic Movie Hub!

The topic of this month's piece is a subject dear to my heart: Universal Westerns. I discuss 13 of my favorites -- and I had enough titles which didn't make this list to fill a couple future columns!

I hope everyone will click over to Classic Movie Hub and check it out. I hope the recommendations will inspire future viewing, and I'd also love to know which Universal Westerns are reader favorites! Those recommendations might make a future column. :)

Thanks again to everyone who has taken the time to read and/or leave comments both here and at Classic Movie Hub.

Happy viewing!

Previous Classic Movie Hub Western Roundup Column Links: June 2018; July 2018; August 2018; September 2018.

Quick Preview of TCM in January

Turner Classics Movies has released its tentative January schedule!

Kathryn Grayson is the January Star of the Month. 15 of the MGM singing star's movies will be shown on Tuesdays beginning January 8th.

Grayson was last honored by TCM 22 years ago, in October 1996.

January's Noir Alley films are HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1951), LURED (1947), and MURDER, MY SWEET (1944).

There's currently not a Noir Alley film on the schedule for the last Saturday of the month, yet TCM's Noir Alley microsite lists TALK ABOUT A STRANGER (1952) for that weekend; I also note none of the usual Saturday morning programming of "B" Westerns and cartoons is listed for that date so am a bit curious about that change from the norm.

Also receiving extended attention on TCM in January: Elia Kazan and gladiator movies. Saturday mornings will feature John Wayne's early '30s "B" Westerns and POPEYE cartoons, with a FLASH GORDON serial starting on the 12th.

New Year's Day will be focused on comedies of the '30s and '40s, with a prime time tribute to Carole Landis. Also receiving multifilm tributes in January: Laurel and Hardy, Marion Davies, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Mann, Paul Henreid, Maureen O'Hara, and Margaret O'Brien.

January themes include '70s Westerns, letters, prison breaks, WWII, princesses, "B" Westerns, and "Young" biographies (YOUNG MR. LINCOLN, etc.). There's also a day of "numbered" movies, beginning with ONE WAY PASSAGE and going up to 8-1/2.

I'm particularly curious about a 2017 documentary, JAMES STEWART, ROBERT MITCHUM: THE TWO FACES OF AMERICA.

There seem to be a significant number of films dated from the '70s and beyond on this schedule, including a tribute to Denzel Washington. Joel Williams provides an invaluable service calculating the films TCM shows from each decade month by month -- here's his look at November -- so hopefully we'll see how the final numbers actually shake out in due course.

I'll have much more on the January schedule posted here around New Year's Eve! In the meantime, Glenda Farrell is coming up as TCM's November Star of the Month, with Dick Powell scheduled for December.

Update: For more on TCM in January 2018, please visit TCM in January: Highlights and TCM Star of the Month: Kathryn Grayson.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Tonight's Movie: Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Dean Martin stars in TEN THOUSAND BEDROOMS (1957), a lightweight yet likeable musical romance available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

Martin plays wealthy Ray Hunter, who visits Rome to purchase a hotel. He quickly falls for young Nina Martelli (Anna Maria Alberghetti) and proposes marriage. Nina's papa (Walter Slezak) believes she's too young to marry and insists that she can only wed after her three older sisters, Maria (Eva Bartok), Diana (Lisa Montell), and Ana (Lisa Gaye).

Ray summons two associates (John Archer and Steve Dunne) from the U.S. to Rome, who promptly fall for Ana and Diana. Ray also encourages Maria's longtime admirer Anton (Paul Henreid) to think about marrying her, but a couple of problems pop up: Ray's pilot Mike (Dewey Martin) is head over heels in love with Nina himself...and when Ray spontaneously kisses Maria, he realizes that he's engaged to the wrong sister. Will it all work out in the end? What do you think?!

The script for this film isn't as sharp as it could be despite -- or because of? -- the contributions of four writers, and it meanders a little too much in its 114 minutes. A couple lengthy sequences with Jules Munshin and Henreid could have been left on the cutting room floor to rev up the pace a bit, while at the same time I would have liked to see even more of Gaye and Montell, who are charming but seen too briefly. I especially enjoyed their short rendition of "Rock Around the Clock," which gives Gaye the chance to dance, if only for a few seconds.

The movie also could have used more music; both Dean Martin and Anna Maria Alberghetti's talents in this regard are sadly underutilized. It's a romantic comedy with some music on the side, rather than a full-blown musical.

All that said, I found TEN THOUSAND BEDROOMS congenial company. I especially enjoyed the triangle of the two Martins and Alberghetti, rooting for lovelorn Mike to win his girl and Ray to move on to someone closer to his age. The film also has some lovely location shooting, filmed by Robert Bronner. I found it a pleasant middle-of-the-road type film despite its shortcomings.

The supporting cast includes a young Dean Jones, plus Marcel Dalio and Evelyn Varden.

TEN THOUSAND BEDROOMS was directed by Richard Thorpe.

The Warner Archive DVD is a nice widescreen print of this CinemaScope film. 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.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements

A few weeks ago Turner Classic Movies announced the dates and theme for its 2019 10th anniversary festival.

Next year's festival, with the theme "Follow Your Heart: Love at the Movies," will take place from April 11-14, 2019.

It's now been announced that festival passes will go on sale November 15th.

The first nine titles have also been announced. As is typical for the first titles released for each festival, the announcements are focused on top classics and films celebrating an anniversary; the more obscure titles tend to come later!

Films shown in 2019 will include GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), celebrating its 80th anniversary, and a 40th anniversary world premiere restoration of Clint Eastwood's ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ (1979).

Other titles include TARZAN AND HIS MATE (1934), HOLIDAY (1938), LOVE AFFAIR (1939), and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953). I'm especially excited at the prospect of seeing George O'Brien and Janet Gaynor in the silent classic SUNRISE (1927) on a big screen.

Keep an eye on the films page at the festival site for news of additional titles!

The good festival news takes place against the backdrop of the somber announcement that AT&T/WarnerMedia is shutting down the FilmStruck streaming service, a TCM spinoff which is greatly loved by those in the classic film community. The closure is apparently in part because the service couldn't provide massive numbers of subscribers to data mine. Profitability is not enough.

This news and the new corporate environment can't help but make one a bit concerned for the future of both TCM and the Warner Archive, but for now we'll appreciate what we still have and look forward to celebrating classic films in Hollywood in April 2019!

Previous post: TCM Announces 2019 Festival Dates and Theme.

November 30, 2018 Update: Latest TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements.

March 1, 2019 Update: New TCM Classic Film Festival Announcements.

March 27, 2019 Update: The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule.

Last Night at Downtown Disney

Last night we went to Downtown Disney to check out the Splitsville Luxury Lanes which opened last spring.

Splitsville, which has a wonderful retro design throughout the building, is both a bowling alley and a gourmet burger restaurant.

The bowling lanes are scattered throughout the building in small groupings, which both reduces noise and gives each area a cozy, private feel.

The menu was definitely on the pricey side, with the burgers starting at $18, but my Disney annual pass discount helped a little...

...and wow, that was a *good* burger!! Lots of flavor and definitely worth the splurge. I doubt we'd eat there often due to the prices -- that's like eight or nine times the cost of a basic burger at In-N-Out Burger! -- but we had a great experience and will definitely return.

We were able to watch the first part of Game 3 of the World Series on the wall next to our table; then we did a quick bit of shopping and hurried home to watch the rest of the game. It turned out we didn't need to worry too much, as we got home about 6:30 p.m. -- and the game went on for another 6 hours! It turned out to be the longest game, in terms of both time and innings, in World Series history. And the Dodgers won in the 18th inning!!

Salt & Straw ice cream just opened...we plan to try it next time we visit Downtown Disney.

The World of Disney store officially reopened yesterday after a lengthy remodel.

It has a very different, dressed down "look" compared to the old store, which supposedly will provide more of a blank "canvas" for rotating displays.

There's a fictional "story" behind the building; the Imagineer who created the backstory explained to the Orange County Register that "Walt Disney, the story goes, purchased the shuttered bus depot in the 1940s as a satellite studio for his animators, where they worked until the late 1980s." And now it's a store. Okay then!

I liked the ink and paint jars which ostensibly are left over from when it was an animation building. Periodically there's a digital "show" here with Tinker Bell.

And I love this "Dashing Down Main Street USA" t-shirt! I'd seen it online and made it a point to go pick one up.

After a quick stop at Sprinkles Cupcakes it was time to head home to the Dodgers and our very long but exciting and historic night of watching baseball.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 26, 2018

FilmStruck Streaming Service Shutting Down Next Month

Rather shocking classic film news this morning: The FilmStruck streaming service will be shutting down as of November 29, 2018.

FilmStruck began in November 2016, focusing on "art house," indie, and foreign films, including titles from the Criterion Collection. Earlier this year it added "TCM Select," rotating in classic film titles from the Warner Bros. library.

Although I didn't have time to watch it as often as I'd have liked, simply due to having so many viewing options, I've been enjoying subscribing the past few months. The curation was absolutely stellar, including introductions filmed specifically for the service, and I loved being able to watch things like the not-on-DVD documentary on director Yasujiro Ozu.

I wasn't that concerned when Warner Archive's streaming service closed because that channel's content essentially moved to FilmStruck. FilmStruck shutting down seems much, much more ominous. If that service couldn't make it as a classic film streaming channel, what could?

Cable subscribers continue to have the Watch TCM service supplementing the TCM Channel, essentially extending availability of titles airing on TCM for a few more days on PCs and portable devices, but there's not much more out there. It's especially concerning as services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have continued to pare down their classic-era offerings in favor of investing in new original content. It will be interesting to see whether the upcoming Disney streaming service incorporates their classic film library along with original and newer content.

In the meantime, this certainly -- and sadly -- underscores that streaming services cannot be relied on as the "way of the future," especially when it comes to classic films. I'm glad I invest in owning a large library of physical media, along with regularly recording from cable. As long as the discs -- or tapes! -- don't "go bad," there's comfort in knowing I'll never run out of classic films to watch!

Previously: TCM News: FilmStruck and TCM Backlot; FilmStruck and Warner Archive Streaming News.

November 17, 2018 Update: Criterion Announces New Streaming Service.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Tonight's Movie: Annapolis Salute (1937) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

James Ellison, Marsha Hunt, and Van Heflin star in the RKO programmer ANNAPOLIS SALUTE (1937), just released on DVD by the Warner Archive.

I first saw this film close to a decade ago, in February 2009. I was especially glad to revisit it just now since leading lady Marsha Hunt celebrated her 101st birthday last week! As she did in Paramount's THE VIRGINIA JUDGE (1935), which I saw last month, she plays her character with a light Southern accent.

ANNAPOLIS SALUTE is a short and sweet 65-minute film about Bill Martin (Ellison), a new cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy. He falls in love with Julia (Hunt), the sister of his classmate (Arthur Lake); unfortunately another classmate (Van Heflin) is also taken with Julia, creating conflict between the men, but she's only got eyes for Bill.

The path to true love isn't smooth, especially when a drunken young woman (Ann Hovey) has a car wreck with Bill's cap in her car, which gets him in trouble with the academy; Bill and Julia also face pressure from Bill's proud father (Harry Carey Sr.) not to get too serious too fast, given how many years it will be before Bill is free to wed.

Ellison, who had spent the previous couple of years appearing in a number of Hopalong Cassidy Westerns, is appealing as an honorable young man, and Hunt is charming as always, managing to imbue her lightly written character with more depth than appears on paper. Carey similarly always adds tremendously to any film in which he appears.

Hunt and Heflin would both later work at MGM; half a decade after appearing in ANNAPOLIS SALUTE, they costarred in MGM's KID GLOVE KILLER (1942) and SEVEN SWEETHEARTS (1942).

ANNAPOLIS SALUTE isn't anything out of the ordinary, but it does what it sets out to do, entertain its audience for an hour or so with an interesting story about young men in the service. Viewing this knowing that it's likely all of these young men would have been serving in WWII around the time of their graduation gives the film a bit of added poignance; indeed, it seems quite likely that many of the men seen in the background would later serve in the war in real life.

ANNAPOLIS SALUTE was directed by Christy Cabanne, who also wrote the story which inspired John Twist's screenplay. The black and white filming was by Russell Metty. The film has a host of back projections, but it also appears that filming was done on location in Annapolis.

The ANNAPOLIS SALUTE DVD is a good print. 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.

Tonight's Movie: Cairo (1942) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Jeanette MacDonald, Robert Young, and Ethel Waters star in CAIRO (1942), available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

CAIRO is a somewhat strange but amusing amalgam of musical, comedy, and WWII spy thriller. Homer Smith (Young) is a small-town newspaper reporter whose newspaper wins a contest which enables Homer to travel to Europe to cover the war scene. His ship sinks but he still makes it safely to Cairo -- but not before Philo Cobson (Reginald Owen), who claims to be with British intelligence, gives him a message to deliver to a mysterious Mrs. Morrison (Mona Barrie) at a Cairo hotel.

Performing at the hotel is singer Marcia Warren (MacDonald), who happens to be Homer's favorite movie actress. For reasons too complicated to explain here, Homer soon believes Marcia's a spy, so he applies for a job as her butler so he can keep tabs on her. This leads to a rather amusing scene where Marcia and Homer debate the relative merits of Northern and Southern California; when Homer asks if she's ever been to San Francisco, she replies "Yes, once with Gable and Tracy and the joint fell apart!"

The rest of the movie isn't that witty, but it's still pretty amusing, if often meandering; the film's 101 minutes could have easily been tightened up by 10 minutes or so. It just kind of ambles around, getting progressively sillier as Marcia also comes to believe that Homer's a spy, but every so often there's a funny moment or MacDonald and/or Waters breaks into song, and all's right with the world. It's what I think of as a perfect Sunday afternoon movie, nothing very demanding or special, but still nice company to have around. I enjoyed it.

This was MacDonald's last starring role for several years, until she returned to MGM for two more films, THREE DARING DAUGHTERS (1948), which was reviewed here last month, and THE SUN COMES UP (1949), reviewed here in 2017. After that she left the big screen permanently.

This was also one of the final films of director W.S. Van Dyke, who had previously directed Jeanette with Nelson Eddy in multiple films. Van Dyke's last film, JOURNEY FOR MARGARET (1942), starred Robert Young and Margaret O'Brien. He was only 53 when he died in 1943.

The supporting cast also includes Dooley Wilson, Lionel Atwill, Rhys Williams, Grant Mitchell, and Dennis Hoey. The singers backing MacDonald at one point are the King's Men.

CAIRO was filmed in black and white by Ray June. Although I'm definitely a fan of glorious black and white, this was one of the few films I've seen when I rather regretted at times that it wasn't filmed in Technicolor. According to a 2014 post at the Hollywood Comet, it was originally planned as a color film.

The Warner Archive DVD is a good print which also has a strong soundtrack. 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.

Around the Blogosphere This Week

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

...Coming next spring from Robert Matzen: DUTCH GIRL: AUDREY HEPBURN AND WORLD WAR II. Matzen has previously combined interests in Hollywood, aviation history, and WWII to author the superbly researched FIREBALL: CAROLE LOMBARD AND THE MYSTERY OF FLIGHT 3 and MISSION: JIMMY STEWART AND THE FIGHT FOR EUROPE. The Hepburn book has a foreword by Hepburn's son, Luca Dotti. I'll be reviewing it here closer to its April publication date.

...Marsha Hunt, Norman Lloyd, June Lockhart, and Barbara Perry were honored by the Screen Actors Guild yesterday. Hunt turned 101 last Wednesday, and Lloyd turns 104 in early November. Perry, who is 95, played John Barrymore's unappreciative stepdaughter in COUNSELLOR AT LAW (1933), which I saw in a nitrate 35mm print at UCLA last summer.

...On October 30th the Warner Archive Collection will release the delightful comedy WALLFLOWER (1948) on DVD. Joyce Reynolds, Robert Hutton, and Janis Paige star along with a great supporting cast. I reviewed this film back in 2010 and hope to take a fresh look at it soon via the new Warner Archive disc.

...More great Warner Archive news: THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951) is coming to Blu-ray in November! The terrific film made my list of Favorite Film Discoveries of 2016; I don't typically like "monster" movies but this '50s sci-fi film is pure joy from start to finish. Check out my review. I'm excited to see it again on Blu-ray!

...A DOWNTON ABBEY film is coming in the fall of 2019.

...It's almost time for Christmas movie season on the Hallmark and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channels! For lists of this year's many premieres -- 37 between the two channels! -- visit the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries sites. And stayed tuned to the excellent It's a Wonderful Movie website for regular updates, photos, and more. (Hallmark Christmas movie fans may also want one of these cute T-shirts.)

...For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, here's the latest trailer for MARY POPPINS RETURNS (2018), opening December 19th. I'm not quite sure what I think about the whole thing - the original film holds a special place in my heart as the first theatrical film I ever saw -- but Emily Blunt looks good in the title role, and it's great to see Dick Van Dyke return as Mr. Dawes Jr., over half a century after starring in the original MARY POPPINS (1964).

...Coming soon from Alicia Malone of Turner Classic Movies: THE FEMALE GAZE: ESSENTIAL MOVIES MADE BY WOMEN. It will be published by Mango with a November 15th release date.

...Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer will star with Kenneth Branagh in DEATH ON THE NILE (2019), due out at Christmas next year. As he did on MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (2017), Branagh will both direct and star as detective Hercule Poirot.

...New from actress Reese Witherspoon: WHISKEY IN A TEACUP: WHAT GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE, LOVE, AND BAKING BISCUITS. I've flipped through this one and it's beautifully produced.

...I'm enjoying Andy Wolverton's reports from the Noir City D.C. Festival at his blog Journeys in Darkness and Light. Start with Part 1, and at this writing there are three more installments.


...The Art Deco Long Beach (California) Airport, seen in many classic films, is in the middle of a years-long remodel. The historic early '40s terminal building familiar from films such as A STOLEN LIFE (1946), THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947), and EXECUTIVE SUITE (1954) will become a rental car facility.

...I'm thrilled that Kino Lorber is releasing the 1976 TV-movies YOUNG PIONEERS (1976) and YOUNG PIONEERS CHRISTMAS (1976) on DVD next month. Those films were very special to me when they first aired, and I'll be reviewing the new releases here! Linda Purl, Roger Kern, and Robert Hays star.

...More great Kino Lorber news: As I shared late last year, Kino Lorber is bringing the Ray Milland Western A MAN ALONE (1956) out on Blu-ray and DVD. A November 6th release date has been announced, and it will have a commentary track by Toby Roan of 50 Westerns From the 50s. I wrote about my love for this film back in 2009, and I'll be taking a fresh look at it when the Blu-ray is out! Kino Lorber is also releasing Milland's LISBON (1956), costarring Maureen O'Hara and Claude Rains.

...Check out "The Singing Voices Behind the Stars," on singers who dubbed nonsinging actresses, by Jessica Pickens for Classic Movie Hub.

...Olivia de Havilland is appealing her defamation case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lara Fowler of the Backlots blog has covered this case extensively; her latest report from early October may be found here.

...Great Disney news: An eight-part documentary based on last year's coffee table book INK AND PAINT: THE WOMEN OF WALT DISNEY'S ANIMATION by Mindy Johnson will debut next year when Disney launches its new streaming service. The new streaming channel will also have some interesting Marvel programming...hopefully some of Disney's older, rarely seen films will also be available.

...Attention Southern Californians: Down and Dirty in Gower Gulch, a festival of Poverty Row films preserved by UCLA, opens at Raleigh Studios next weekend on October 27th. The six film series runs through December 8th, with all screenings taking place at Raleigh. Opening night speakers at THE VAMPIRE BAT (1933) include Victoria Riskin, daughter of the film's leading lady Fay Wray, and Illeana Douglas, granddaughter of the film's Melvyn Douglas. Former child actress Cora Sue Collins will be present at THE SIN OF NORA MORAN (1933) on November 3rd. The series also includes MAMBA (1930) which I saw at the 2017 UCLA Festival of Preservation.

...Notable Passings: Sound editor Nicholas Korda, son of director Zoltan Korda and actress Joan Gardner, has passed away at 73. Nicholas Korda's many credits include E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1981)...Actress Vanessa Marquez, best known for STAND AND DELIVER (1981) and E.R. (1994-97), died in late August at the age of 49. She regularly participated in #TCMParty discussions about classic films on Twitter. She had been in poor health in recent years and sadly died after being shot in an incident in which she pointed a BB gun at police summoned for a welfare check...Stuntman Jack N. Young has passed on at 91. He worked on many classic Westerns, including John Wayne's SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1959) and RIO BRAVO (1959). He also worked regularly with James Stewart, Clark Gable, and Richard Widmark...Actress Laurie Mitchell of QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE (1958) recently passed away at 90. Warner Archive has just released QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE on Blu-ray...For more recent show business deaths, please visit last month's post Notable Passings.

...For additional recent links on classic movies and more, please check out my August news roundup.

Have a great week, and GO DODGERS!

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