Saturday, December 19, 2020

Around the Blogosphere This Week

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

...No spoilers here (and please refrain from them in any comments), but for those of you also watching THE MANDALORIAN, how about that season finale? It was...amazing.  Some of the best STAR WARS ever, and maybe the best thing I've seen this year.  I'm still processing it.  The masterful blend of action and emotion also drove home anew what weak tea the last trilogy was.  THE MANDALORIAN was simply superb.

...On December 18th the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announced it has once again delayed its opening, this time to September 2021.

...CrimeReads has a list by Olivia Rutigliano of 10 crime films which take place at Christmastime, including COVER UP (1949) and ONE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS (1961).

...COVER UP is also discussed by Raquel Stecher in an article on two Christmas crime films for TCM Tumblr. Raquel also writes about one of my favorite Deanna Durbin films, LADY ON A TRAIN (1945).

...Kino Lorber has announced its upcoming Western Classics II Blu-ray set, due to be released April 6, 2021.  The titles in the set are THE REDHEAD FROM WYOMING (1953), PILLARS OF THE SKY (1956), and GUN FOR A COWARD (1956).  The three movies will have commentary tracks by Samm Deighan, Toby Roan, and the duo of Lee Gambin and Rutanya Alda, respectively.  Toby has more info at 50 Westerns From the 50s.

...LAist recently published an article on Southern California's new drive-in theaters, including the Hollywood Legion Drive-In where I saw Harold Lloyd in THE FRESHMAN (1925) last month.

...CineSavant Glenn Erickson's latest reviews posted at Trailers From Hell include looks at two new Warner Archive Blu-rays, HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949) and MISTER ROBERTS (1955).  I'll have a HOLIDAY AFFAIR review here in the fairly near future.

...I'll also be reviewing the new Olive Films Signature Blu-ray release of RIO GRANDE (1950), which KC reviewed last week at A Classic Movie Blog.

...Hollywood's legendary Musso & Frank Grill, established in 1919, has set up a fund to assist employees laid off due to the latest shutdowns here in California.

...Leonard Maltin has posted a gift guide for classic film fans. His recommendations include a new book from TaschenTHE WALT DISNEY FILM ARCHIVES: THE ANIMATED MOVIES 1921-1968.  It's 512 pages and over three pounds of Disney goodness.

...Since its launch last May, HBO Max has not been available on Roku streaming devices.  That just changed on December 17th, thanks to HBO Max and Roku finally coming to terms -- just in time for the Christmas Day debut of the highly anticipated WONDER WOMAN 1984 (2020)...And speaking of WONDER WOMAN, here are reviews by David Rooney for The Hollywood Reporter and Justin Chang for the Los Angeles Times.  I was iffy about the 2017 film, among other things finding it way too long, but I'm a big fan of Gal Gadot and Chris Pine and look forward to trying out the sequel.  WONDER MAN might be just what those of us stuck at home need for Christmas this year!

...And don't forget that Disney/Pixar's SOUL (2020) debuts on Disney+ on Christmas Day!

...Longtime readers know of my love for the High Sierras town of Bridgeport, California, which also happens to be where director Jacques Tourneur filmed OUT OF THE PAST (1947) and NIGHTFALL (1957). At his blog Let Yourself Old Hollywood Peter Bryant discussed a movie shot in Bridgeport I'd never heard of, ELINOR NORTON (1934), starring Claire Trevor.  The article also mentions another film shot in Bridgeport, SHE WAS A LADY (1934), starring Helen Twelvetrees.  Wonderful research!

...My friend Andy Wolverton has a terrific list of Westerns he enjoyed discovering this year posted at his blog.  It's a great guide for anyone who wants to delve more deeply into the genre.  (And thanks to Andy for the shout-out!)

...It's been announced that the Internet Archive will be the new home for the Michelson Cinema Research Library.  Lillian Michelson's work researching historical backgrounds for Hollywood classics is chronicled in the documentary HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (2015).

...At the Cartoon Research site, Keith Scott has an extensive rundown on the contents of the Warner Archive's new release Tex Avery Screwball Classics, Volume 2, now available on Blu-ray and DVD. I'm going to be consulting this for background when I watch my copy.  My review of Volume 1 is here.

...Last summer we visited Glen Haven Memorial Park in Sylmar, California.  We paid our respects at the final resting places of several actors, including Harry Cording, who passed on in 1954. I thus especially enjoyed learning more about his career in an interesting post by Caftan Woman.  It was part of the 9th What a Character! blogathon.

...Notable Passings: On December 18th Kim Novak announced on her Facebook page that her husband of 44 years, Robert Malloy, has died...John le Carre, author of several classic spy thrillers which were adapted for film, passed on on December 12th.  He was 89. Films based on his books include THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (1965), THE RUSSIA HOUSE (1990), and TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (2011)...Dancer-Actress Ann Reinking has died at the age of 71. Her films included MOVIE MOVIE (1978), ALL THAT JAZZ (1979), ANNIE (1982), and MICKI + MAUDE (1984).  She won a Tony for Best Choreography for the 1996 Broadway revival of CHICAGO...Jeremy Bulloch, who was the man behind the Boba Fett mask in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980) and RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983), has passed away at the age of 75.  His December 17th death comes less than a month after the passing of the original Darth Vader, David Prowse.

...Cartoon Brew pays tribute to a number of animation industry figures who passed away this year, including Marge Champion.

...I've been sharing vintage Christmas cards at my Twitter account.  A follower gathered some of my card Tweets via Threader.

...For additional recent links of interest to classic film fans, please check out my December 12th roundup.

Have a great week, and Merry Christmas to all!


Blogger KC said...

Thanks for the hat tip Laura. Those Olive Signature releases are always impressive. That's excellent news about the Michelson Cinema Research Library!

10:42 PM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Thank you, Laura. Harry Cording certainly deserves all the attention we can give him.

Merry Christmas, and may we all see a hopeful new year.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Irene said...

The Mandolorian was amazing! I got so emotional. This was the kind of "movie" I wish I was sitting in a theater and watching with a bunch of fans! Everyone would have been gasping and applauding several times I'm sure. ❤

10:37 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

You're very welcome, KC, I enjoyed your review! I'm very much looking forward to checking out the new Blu-ray edition. 100% agree re the Michelson Library!)

Merry Christmas to you, too, Caftan Woman! Thanks for a wonderful blog essay.

Irene, yes!! I cannot remember the last time I watched TV and gasped multiple times. My heart was racing! I can only imagine what it would have been like in a theater. We FaceTimed with our oldest daughter afterwards and I started crying again just trying to discuss it. Certainly a highlight of 2020!

Merry Christmas to all!

Best wishes,

10:43 AM  
Blogger Seth said...

Big roundup this week, sort of like an early Christmas gift.

Well, I've only seen the first movie of the prequels and didn't watch RISE OF SKYWALKER, but your enthusiasm for THE MANDALORIAN (among other things) is making me consider taking some of the money I've been spending on my ClassicFlix subscription and finally putting it toward Disney+.

One of the other titles on the CrimeReads list is FITZWILLY, which was just on TCM. A fun first viewing. I also enjoyed a rewatch of LADY ON A TRAIN.

Some interesting stuff on Maltin's gift list. I absolutely refuse to spend one penny to buy a face mask, but if someone gave me that Groucho one.... It also looks like Taschen has released an abridged version of their recent Mickey Mouse tome.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Seth,

So nice of you to say that, I'm glad you enjoyed perusing the latest news!

I'm not a fan of the STAR WARS prequels (I stopped after the second one) and while I saw all of the recent trilogy, both films after THE FORCE AWAKENS left me cold; I did really enjoy the stand-alone titles ROGUE ONE and SOLO, which felt much more authentic to me. If you like "original STAR WARS" THE MANDALORIAN is as good as it comes outside the original trilogy. Unlike the last three movies, it was made by people who clearly "get it."

I'd also note that they showed you can make an action show which thrills adults yet is appropriate for the entire family.

THE MANDALORIAN now has 16 episodes ranging in length from 30 to 45 minutes or so. I strongly recommend subscribing to Disney+ and if you either don't enjoy the show (perish the thought!) or don't want to keep the subscription long term, you could cancel again after a month or two. While you're there, definitely watch the multipart documentary THE IMAGINEERING STORY, it's excellent. And the LEGO STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL is worth a look, it made me laugh.

Best wishes,

11:36 PM  
Blogger Walter S. said...

Laura and readers of this most wonderful site a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

6:10 AM  
Blogger dfordoom said...

I'm pleased to see your mention of Jacques Tourneur's Nightfall, a very underrated movie.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Walter, Merry Christmas and best to you and yours for 2021!!

DforDoom, I love NIGHTFALL. Aldo Ray is marvelous and the locations and supporting cast are tops. Definitely should be a better-known film.

Best wishes,

1:53 PM  

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