Friday, April 30, 2021

TCM in May: Highlights

It's time for a close look at the May schedule on Turner Classic Movies!

May is a big month for TCM, with the "virtual" 2021 TCM Classic Film Festival beginning the evening of May 6th and running through the night of May 9th. I have previously provided an overview of the festival here, while a look at festival schedule highlights may be found here.

Before the festival gets underway, the 31 Days of Oscar festival wraps up on May 1st, spilling over into the wee hours of May 2nd. The May schedule begins in earnest on the morning of the 2nd.

The May Star of the Month lineup is not focused on a single person, but instead celebrates "Movie Roberts," starting with Robert Osborne and including Mitchum, Taylor, Montgomery, and many more actors named Robert. Please note there will not be a separate Star of the Month post for May, but some of the many films featuring "Roberts" are mentioned below.

The Star of the Month films will be shown on Mondays. May 3rd, the date the series begins with PRIVATE SCREENINGS: ROBERT OSBORNE (2014), also happens to be the late Robert Osborne's birthday, and some wonderful news was just announced: Starting on that date, a gallery of Osborne's TCM intros will be available online thanks to the American Film Institute.

Noir Alley returns from its Oscar month hiatus the weekend following the virtual festival, with TOUCH OF EVIL (1958) on May 15th and 16th, THE BROTHERS RICO (1957) on the 22nd and 23rd, and ACT OF VIOLENCE (1957) on the 29th and 30th. I really enjoyed THE BROTHERS RICO, starring Richard Conte, and ACT OF VIOLENCE is outstanding.

ACT OF VIOLENCE, with Van Heflin and Robert Ryan playing World War II veterans, is also being shown in conjunction with the annual Memorial Day Weekend military films marathon, which will begin the evening of Friday, May 28th, and run through Memorial Day.

The TCM Spotlight for May is "Order in the Court," a series of 21 courtroom dramas airing on Wednesdays. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz will be joined by his brother Josh to host this series.

A COVID-era "I Miss..." theme on Thursdays will focus on films about things we've been doing without for the past year, such as parties, theater, travel, and concerts.

Below are just a few of the May highlights. Please click on any hyperlinked title in order to read my complete review.

...One of the first films showing on May 2nd is the charming
DEAR HEART (1964), starring Glenn Ford and Geraldine Page. I just caught with this gentle romance for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. Recommended.

...On May 3rd the first film in the "Movie Roberts" series, appropriately enough, features not one, not two, but three actors named Robert: CROSSFIRE (1947), with Mitchum, Ryan, and Young. I just revisited this film last month for the first time in years and was impressed.

...A quintet of Esther Williams films on May 4th includes one of my favorites, DUCHESS OF IDAHO (1950), costarring Van Johnson and John Lund.

...The first night of "Order in the Court" on May 6th includes the little-known but enjoyable CRIMINAL COURT (1946), directed by Robert Wise and starring Tom Conway and Martha O'Driscoll. It runs a quick 63 minutes and is a fun "B" film.

...On May 10th, the first day after the conclusion of the virtual TCM Fest, there's still lots of great viewing ahead, with a day-long birthday tribute to Fred Astaire. Eight films are featured, including the underrated THE SKY'S THE LIMIT (1943), costarring Joan Leslie (at right). The Mercer-Arlen score includes "One for My Baby" and the Oscar-nominated "My Shining Hour."

...The "Robert" films on the evening of May 10th include Robert Preston in THE MUSIC MAN (1962) and Robert Cummings in the delightful PRINCESS O'ROURKE (1943) with Olivia de Havilland.

...A Katharine Hepburn birthday tribute on May 12th includes a film I've enjoyed countless times, STAGE DOOR (1937), costarring Ginger Rogers. The fine supporting cast includes Gail Patrick, Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, and Eve Arden, just for starters.

...I like the way TCM is including some lesser-known films in the "Order in the Court" series. On May 13th the list includes PERFECT STRANGERS (1950), starring Ginger Rogers and Dennis Morgan, a decade after they appeared together in KITTY FOYLE (1940).

...The "I Miss...Travel" films on May 13th include Doris Day's film debut in ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS (1948). Jack Carson costars, directed by Michael Curtiz. The movie also features Cahn and Styne's Oscar-nominated song "It's Magic."

...A two-film tribute to Glenn Ford on the evening of May 15th features GILDA (1946), also starring Rita Hayworth. I saw this in March 2020 as one of the opening night films at the Noir City Film Festival, and it turned out to be one of the last handful of films I saw in a theater that year.

...Ernst Lubitsch's THE MERRY WIDOW (1934), starring Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier, is pure joy. It's on May 16th.

...A tribute to Elizabeth Taylor on May 17th includes CYNTHIA (1947). It may only be a so-so film, but I saw it on TV many times growing up and always think of it fondly. Mary Astor and George Murphy play the young Elizabeth's overly protective parents. Jimmy Lydon costars.

...On May 19th take a "Film Noir Road Trip" with a series of travel-related crime films including JEOPARDY (1953), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Barry Sullivan, THE HITCH-HIKER (1953), with Frank Lovejoy, Edmond O'Brien, and William Talman, and GUN CRAZY (1950) starring Peggy Cummins and John Dall. There are a few other interesting titles showing that day so be sure to check out the entire schedule.

...A series of films shown under the heading "Dream State: California in the Movies," includes a favorite of mine, BORN TO KILL (1947), starring Lawrence Tierney and Claire Trevor. Robert Wise directs. The air date is May 21st. The Dream State series ties in with a new book of the same title by Mick LaSalle, author of the classic pre-Code history COMPLICATED WOMEN.

...Margaret O'Brien and Dean Stockwell star in THE SECRET GARDEN (1949), a favorite film based on the classic book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, on May 23rd.

...May 23rd also features a trio of films directed by James Whale, including THE KISS BEFORE THE MIRROR (1933), starring Nancy Carroll, Frank Morgan, and Paul Lukas.

...On May 27th, I'm delighted TCM guest programmer Frank Langella has chosen to lead off the evening with OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES (1945), which I feel is wonderful MGM Americana. Edward G. Robinson, Margaret O'Brien, and Agnes Moorehead lead a fine cast, directed by Roy Rowland.

...I like the "Uncharted Territory" theme on May 28th, which includes Howard Keel, Jane Greer, and Patricia Medina in DESPERATE SEARCH (1952) and Stewart Granger, Cyd Charisse, and Wendell Corey in THE WILD NORTH (1952).

...The annual Memorial Day marathon begins on the evening of May 28th with John Garfield and Eleanor Parker in PRIDE OF THE MARINES (1945).

...Gary Cooper stars as SERGEANT YORK (1941) on May 31st. I recently saw this film for the first time in years and enjoyed it very much. Joan Leslie and Walter Brennan lead the fine supporting cast.

...The many fine war films airing Memorial Day weekend also include William Wellman's classic BATTLEGROUND (1949), also showing on the 31st. The deep cast includes Van Johnson, John Hodiak, and Ricardo Montalban.

For more on TCM in May 2021, please visit my Quick Preview of TCM in May. The TCM May schedule will go "live" on the TCM site on May 1st.

Happy May movie viewing on TCM!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Love Before Breakfast (1936) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Carole Lombard and Preston Foster star in the romantic comedy LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST (1936), released on Blu-ray this month by Kino Lorber.

LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST is part of the three-film Carole Lombard Collection II along with THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS (1936), reviewed a few days ago, and HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE (1935), to be reviewed at a future date.

I first saw LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST in 2007, then revisited it in 2013. It's one of my favorite Lombard films, so I was glad to go back to it again thanks to the new Blu-ray, which looks terrific.

Foster plays Scott Miller, a business tycoon who will stop at nothing to win daffy but beautiful Kay Colby (Lombard) as his wife. Scott even finds a way to ship Kay's fiance Bill (Cesar Romero) off to a two-year job in Japan. The fact that Bill is thrilled by the opportunity yet doesn't consider marrying Kay and taking her with him gives the viewer a good idea how things should turn out; Bill and Kay's relationship is tepid, at best.

Despite my liking for it, I admit the film isn't perfect; it has a sprightly 70-minute pace but it particularly needs more scenes showing why Scott and Kay love each other, given that they spend most of the movie fighting. Basically yelling is their crazy way of making love, but we need to see more of the underlying sparks. We pretty much take it as a given that the characters belong together just because they're gorgeous Carole Lombard and Preston Foster!

Modern viewers might be put off by Scott's bossy, even "stalker"-ish behavior, but that's never bothered me; after all, it's a 1930s screwball comedy, and the TAMING OF THE SHREW style story just isn't meant to be taken overly seriously. I find Foster tremendously handsome and appealing, and I only wonder what takes Lombard's Kay so long to come to her senses, given his ardor, good looks, and deep finances -- I mean, he gives her three engagement rings! Talk about a Depression-era fantasy.

The Depression fantasy of this beautiful Universal Pictures film also includes beautiful sets and Lombard in Travis Banton gowns. Combined with the cast, it's a pleasure to look at in every way.

A host of writers, including Preston Sturges, worked on the adaptation and screenplay of a Faith Baldwin novel. The movie was directed by Walter Lang and filmed by Ted Tetzlaff.

Janet Beecher is charming as Kay's mother, and Betty Lawford (cousin of Peter) plays a Countess in the orbit of both Bill and Scott. Joyce Compton is hilarious playing her typical "Southern belle" character.

The cast also includes Richard Carle, Forrester Harvey, Bert Roach, and Mia Ichioka. Look for a young Dennis O'Keefe as a frat boy early in the film, and everyone's favorite "dress extra," Bess Flowers, can be glimpsed deep in the background in the diner scene.

The attractive Kino Lorber Studio Classics Blu-ray also contains a trailer, two additional trailers for films available from Kino Lorber, and a commentary track by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Joshua Nelson.

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

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Tonight's Movie: The Ride Back (1957) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Anthony Quinn and William Conrad star in the Western THE RIDE BACK (1957), which is part of a "Double Feature" collection of Quinn Westerns recently released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.

I previously reviewed the other film in the set, MAN FROM DEL RIO (1956), which featured Katy Jurado along with Quinn.

THE RIDE BACK was produced by Conrad and Robert Aldrich. The sreenplay was written by Antony Ellis, with direction from Allen H. Miner and the uncredited Oscar Rudolph.

THE RIDE BACK had been recommended by friends of this blog, including in the comments for MAN FROM DEL RIO, and I'm glad to say it did not disappoint; indeed, it impressed. I found THE RIDE BACK one of the more satisfying viewing experiences I've enjoyed this year, leaving me with the feeling that I'd made a special new discovery.

The film begins with the title song sung by Eddie Albert, who does a fine job. Some viewers may associate Albert with acting roles in movies (including the recently reviewed CAPTAIN NEWMAN, M.D.) or TV comedies, but he also had a background in musical theater.

Sheriff Chris Hamish (Conrad) starts out from his small border town to bring back accused murderer Bob Kallen (Quinn) for trial.

Hamish must venture into Mexico, where as a non-Spanish speaker he struggles to communicate with people he meets as he hunts for Kallen. I found it highly effective and somewhat unique that a significant percentage of the film's dialogue is in Spanish, which was not only realistic but helped viewers understand Hamish's difficulty in being understood.

Hamish is ultimately assisted by a priest (Victor Millan) who is unhappy that Kallen is living with his cousin (Lita Milan) without benefit of marriage.

The first step of Hamish's mission is completed when he takes Kallen into custody, but they're still facing a long ride back.

This compact 79-minute film was simply excellent, with good writing, fine lead performances, and memorably stark black and white photography by Joseph Biroc. I appreciated that there are no pat characters or easy answers in this film, including at the conclusion.

Conrad is really outstanding, effectively playing a man who is simultaneously determined and a bit scared; as the saying goes, bravery is being afraid but saddling up anyway, and that's just what Hamish does.

Quinn is just as fine, playing an ambiguous character who has done some bad things but also has positive traits which draw women, children, and friends to his side. I'd also note that I was impressed by how different Quinn's characterization was compared to the socially awkward MAN FROM DEL RIO.

The central theme, with a man whose life has been rather a disappointment bringing someone to justice, is similar to 3:10 TO YUMA (1957), which came out several months later; 3:10 TO YUMA is by far the better-known film, but for my money THE RIDE BACK is superior.

Both films have excellent casts, but I found 3:10 TO YUMA talky and overly drawn out; by comparison THE RIDE BACK tells its story more efficiently and is the better for it. THE RIDE BACK conveys a great deal about both its lead characters while also being exciting and well-paced, with an excellent ending.

THE RIDE BACK also shares a couple of plot points with DRAGOON WELLS MASSACRE (1957), which came out the same month. (It's interesting how films with similar themes will so often come out in bunches.) The theme of the lawman and his quarry facing difficult obstacles is a familiar one to Western fans, including one of my favorite films in the genre, RIDE CLEAR OF DIABLO (1954). I'll skip elaborating further on these aspects in the interest of leaving more of the story for readers to discover when they watch themselves.

The sharp-looking widescreen Kino Lorber Blu-ray is from a brand-new 2K master. In addition to the other film on the disc, there's a trailer and a gallery of trailers for additional films available from Kino Lorber.

This film was a pleasant surprise, and I recommend this set.

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

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Around the Blogosphere This Week

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

...A new documentary, RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT (2021), will open in theaters on June 18th, 2021. A trailer is on YouTube.

...Coming to Blu-ray soon from Kino Lorber Studio Classics: SECRET OF THE BLUE ROOM (1933) starring Paul Lukas, Gloria Stuart, and Lionel Atwill. It will be from a new 2K master.

...CineSavant Glenn Erickson has reviewed the new Warner Archive Blu-ray release of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (1950).

...Coming to Blu-ray in May from Flicker Alley: CHILDREN OF DIVORCE (1927) starring Clara Bow and Gary Cooper.

...Annette Bochenek has written about actress Jean Porter in her Classic Movie Travels column for Classic Movie Hub. She shares several photos of homes Porter lived in over the years.

...June 22-27 has been declared "cinema week" to encourage moviegoers to return to theaters.

...Another campaign aims to entice fans of the FAST & FURIOUS series into theaters, with a free screening of each film in the long-running series on Fridays beginning April 30th, building up to the release of F9 (2021) on June 25th.

...My friend Karen Burroughs Hannsberry has reviewed YOUNG AND WILLING (1943) at her blog Shadows and Satin. The movie stars William Holden, Susan Hayward, Eddie Bracken, Martha O'Driscoll (seen here with Holden), Robert Benchley, and Barbara Britton. My kind of cast!

...Some long-running TV series have just been renewed by CBS: Mark Harmon will return in Season 19 (!) of NCIS and Tom Selleck returns for Season 12 of BLUE BLOODS.

..."South Korea and Japan Emerge as Key Battlegrounds in the Streaming Wars," from the Hollywood Reporter. Incidentally, I recently added several recent South Korean films to my Netflix queue at the suggestion of a friend.

...DOWNTON ABBEY (2019) was one of the real "feel good" films of the last couple years, and a sequel has now been officially confirmed. The entire cast will be back, and the film is due to open in theaters just in time for Christmas, on December 22, 2021. If it's as good as the first film it will be most welcome indeed.

...Attention Southern Californians: Musso & Frank Grill, part of the Hollywood scene for 102 years, will reopen on May 6th.

...Notable Passings: Director Monte Hellman has died at 91. His films included THE SHOOTING (1966), RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND (1966), and TWO-LANE BLACKTOP (1971). A number of years ago we ate dinner at L.A.'s legendary El Cholo restaurant at a table marked with a plaque that TWO-LANE BLACKTOP had been written there...Diane Adler, who edited TV's THE ROCKFORD FILES, has passed away at 97.

...For additional recent links of interest to classic film fans, please check out my April 17th roundup.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Flying With Music (1942) - A ClassicFlix DVD Review

Time for another Streamliner!

Tonight I dipped into ClassicFlix DVD set The Complete Hal Roach Streamliners Collection, Volume 4: The Musicals to watch FLYING WITH MUSIC (1942).  I previously reviewed the set's ALL-AMERICAN CO-ED (1941).

For those who are new to my Streamliner reviews, these Hal Roach movies are longer than a two-reeler short but shorter than a feature film, typically about 45-50 minutes. In the case of FLYING WITH MUSIC, it runs 46 minutes.

The FLYING WITH MUSIC plot, such as it is, concerns a group of five young ladies, headed by Ann (Marjorie Woodworth), touring South America via a seaplane piloted by Don Terry (William Marshall).

Their guide (Byron Foulger) is replaced by Harry (George Givot), who is on the run from a man (Edward Gargan) Harry thinks is trying to collect alimony payments.

And there's not really much more to the plot of this short little movie, which features several musical numbers. It's an extremely minor film, but even so, I found some things of personal interest. This movie might not have a great deal to offer an average movie-goer, but fans of the era might find it worthwhile from an historical perspective, as I did.

I especially enjoyed the chance to see another film with Streamliners regular Marjorie Woodworth, who was my most-seen actress of 2020 thanks to these films. This is the third Streamliner I've seen her in this year, along with TAXI, MISTER (1943) and PRAIRIE CHICKENS (1943). Woodworth may not be a great actress, but she's quite lovely and I enjoy seeing her in these movies. It's been rather fun to take a deep dive into the career of someone I'd never heard of a couple of years ago!

I also enjoyed the opportunity to see yet another "Good Neighbor Policy" film of the early '40s, one of the movies meant to help strengthen our relations with countries to our south during WWII. I've reviewed many such films here in the past, and it was fun to find this theme even made it into a Streamliner.

Somewhat amazingly, FLYING WITH MUSIC received Oscar nominations for Best Scoring and Best Song. The song, "Pennies for Peppino," is a throwaway number sung by some young children for the tourists; it's pleasant, but certainly not on a par with fellow nominees such as "How About You?" from BABES ON BROADWAY (1942), "Dearly Beloved" from YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (1942) and "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" from ORCHESTRA WIVES (1942).

The winner? A little number by Irving Berlin called "White Christmas," which first appeared in HOLIDAY INN (1942).

I was most impressed by the staging of "Song of the Lagoon," which is so steamy I'm rather amazed it made it past the censors. All of the film's five songs were written by Edward Ward, Chet Forrest, and Bob Wright.

Marie Windsor, who had an early role in ALL-AMERICAN CO-ED, was said by IMDb to be a "Native Girl" in this, but although I was watching closely I didn't spot her.

The supporting cast includes Claudia Drake, Norma Varden, Jane Kean, Dorothy O'Kelly, Jerry Bergen, and Rita Montoya.

FLYING WITH MUSIC was directed by George Archainbaud. It was filmed in black and white by Robert Pittack.

The ClassicFlix DVD print was excellent, with a strong soundtrack.

I'll be reviewing the final film in the set, FIESTA (1941), at a future date.

Thanks to ClassicFlix for providing a review copy of this DVD.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

A Winter Visit to Lone Pine, Part 2

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

The snowy visits were gorgeous! It threatened to snow when we were there but never actually did.

One afternoon we visited an area said to be near where the memorable ending of my favorite Randolph Scott movie, RIDE LONESOME (1959), was filmed. The burning tree from the end of the movie was out here somewhere, though we're not certain precisely where.

We've been told by knowledgeable people that the tree, in fact, may have been a prop! It was also seen at the end of Scott's COMANCHE STATION (1960). I was a bit confused in that the tree in that film looked the same but was in the middle of a body of water; we learned that it was a man-made irrigation flood.

Some new friends met outside of town:

The vistas in the Alabama Hills never fail to impress:

North of town, this flag marks the burial site for victims of the 1872 Lone Pine Earthquake. We searched but could not find a way to get closer to the site. Last August I photographed the Historic Landmark sign on Highway 395.

Last year the neon signs in town received a facelift from Metabolic Studio so we made it a point to photograph the signs one evening at dusk.

One last look toward Lone Pine Peak above the rodeo grounds on our final morning in town:

The Lone Pine Film Festival is hoping to go ahead as an "in person" event next October, and if that's the case, we plan to be there!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

The sublime dancing team of Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell toplines BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940 (1940), which has just been released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

I first saw this film as a teen in an MGM musical series at the Tiffany Theatre on Sunset Boulevard. I'm not sure when the last time I saw it was, but it had definitely been a lot of years since my last viewing, and so I was especially delighted to revisit it thanks to the Warner Archive Collection's gleaming new Blu-ray.

In this "backstage Broadway" saga, Astaire and George Murphy play longtime dance partners Johnny Brett and King Shaw. Broadway producer Bob Casey (Frank Morgan) spots Johnny and thinks he'd be a perfect new partner for star Broadway dancer Clare Bennett (Powell), but due to a name mix-up Bob recommends King to his partner (Ian Hunter) instead and the wrong man is auditioned and hired.

Johnny is gracious about the breakup of the act, though he's especially pained as he's had a crush on Clare and been regularly watching her current show from the standing room section. Unfortunately, the big career break goes to King's head, leading to potential disaster for the show, unless Johnny can save the day...

The plot isn't much, with Astaire sidelined a little too much while excessive screen time is devoted to Murphy's obnoxious behavior, but it doesn't really matter given that this is our only chance to see Astaire and Powell partnered. Powell has a winning screen personality, and when she and Astaire get together on the dance floor, it's glorious!

Astaire and Powell have multiple numbers, with the best coming near the end of the movie. I first saw the "Begin the Beguine" excerpt with Astaire and Powell dancing on a shiny floor in THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! (1974) when I was around 11 years old. In the intervening years that dance has only become more and more magical. It makes the movie an absolute must-see for musical fans. The moment near the end where the music stops and they just tap their hearts out never fails to give me goosebumps.

Watching the film made me remember a special moment with Powell's son, Peter Ford, whose father was Glenn Ford. It's hard believe it's been almost exactly a decade since I met Peter at the Noir City Film Festival. I've never forgotten that when I told him how much I admired his mother, he smiled and said she was "an angel." Her onscreen persona certainly reflects that.

There was a sort of pleasant reminiscing and familiarity for me while watching the movie on multiple levels. I love what we bring back to a movie on repeat viewings, enriching the experience, such as my memories of THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! and meeting Peter Ford.

Then there's the fun of connecting the dots with other viewing. This was my second film of the week featuring Ian Hunter, following GALLANT SONS (1940) from the same year. It was also the third movie in the last few days in which I saw George Chandler; I singled him out when I recently saw him in a nice part in MAN OF THE WORLD (1931).

This also happens to have been the second film in a row with a leading character having King as a first name, the prior film being THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS (1936).

Florence Rice has a nice role as Morgan's good-natured secretary. The supporting cast includes a number of familiar faces including Lynne Carver, Ann Morriss, Irving Bacon, Mary Field, Joseph Crehan, and Joe Yule (Mickey Rooney's father).

Douglas McPhail, who had a short run in MGM musicals of the late '30s and early '40s, sings "I Concentrate On You" while Astaire and Powell dance. The Cole Porter score also notably includes "I've Got My Eye On You," charmingly performed by Astaire.

BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940 was directed by Norman Taurog. It was filmed in black and white by Oliver T. Marsh and Joseph Ruttenberg. The running time is 102 minutes.

The Warner Archive Blu-ray looks terrific, in sparkling black and white. The soundtrack is also excellent.

Disc extras imported from the original DVD release include the trailer, the cartoon THE MILKY WAY (1940), the Our Gang short THE BIG PREMIERE (1940), and a featurette on Cole Porter featuring Ann Miller. A song selection menu enabling easy repeat visits to the musical numbers is also provided.

Don't worry about the story, but pick this up for Astaire and Powell. As Frank Sinatra memorably said of them dancing in THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!, "You'll never see the likes of this again."

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the Warner Archive Amazon Store or any online retailers where Blu-rays are sold.

Monday, April 19, 2021

A Winter Visit to Lone Pine, Part 1

Last month we spontaneously decided to spend a long weekend in Lone Pine on just a couple days' notice.

It was fantastic to get away after so many months at home, and the businesses up and down Highway 395, which were hit hard by the pandemic, are grateful for business. We hadn't been to Lone Pine in the winter months before, and the snow-capped mountains made for some striking photography.

This weekend's release of the Western Movies podcast on Lone Pine prompted me to sort through my photographs for a couple of photo posts. In Part 1 I'll look at scenes around town, including a couple of interesting movie locations, and later this week I've scheduled a post featuring shots in the Alabama Hills, along with Lone Pine's newly refurbished neon signs.

As we approached town in late afternoon we drove past Anchor Ranch, familiar from THE VIOLENT MEN (1955). Click on the photo to enlarge it for a look at the wooden anchor.

We've been wanting to visit Copper Top BBQ, which is in Big Pine, about half an hour up Highway 395 past Lone Pine.

We've heard great things about Copper Top, and it did not disappoint! Below, green chili with beans and a pulled pork sandwich.

They even have a vending machine with vacuum-sealed barbecue which can be purchased "for the road." It was well worth the trip.

As we headed back south to Lone Pine at dusk we passed Manzanar, a haunting sight at twilight.

We woke up to a beautiful morning in Lone Pine. We delighted in the snowy peaks...

...and striking cloud formations.

As I shared last year, Frosty is a statue of the owner's beloved horse, who doubled famous horses in the movies, including in Hopalong Cassidy films.

The Frosty Chalet promises to return for the summer season in May.

I always get a kick out of Lone Pine's very unique McDonald's. Longtime readers may recall that horses have been seen in the drive-through on occasion.

During last October's Virtual Lone Pine Film Festival I watched a couple of films directed by Robert F. Hill, who liked to film on the streets of Lone Pine as well as in the Alabama Hills. One of those films, THE PHANTOM OF THE RANGE (1936), starred Tom Tyler and is on YouTube.

At the 6:10 mark in the video, Tyler can be seen riding his horse up Bush Street in Lone Pine, past these two buildings at the intersection of Washington Street. As seen comparing this photo to the movie, the location has changed little today, other than the smaller building having a different roof:

Looking at the intersection from a different angle, Tyler approaches from the right in the movie, heading into the intersection.

Like many places in town, our favorite Alabama Hills Cafe currently offers outdoor seating. The Cafe built what looks like a permanent patio area in the street, and I hope it stays long term.

You just can't find a better French dip and fries than at the Alabama Hills Cafe!

One evening we got Mexican food from the Bonanza restaurant. Although we've eaten at many of the restaurants in town, this was a first-time visit for us. The food was good, the service was friendly, and we'll definitely be back in the future.

The Museum of Western Film History recently reopened a few days a week:

I was limiting my time indoors until being fully vaccinated so I skipped the museum exhibits on this visit, but I did pop into the gift shop. I found a wonderful book on movie locations, ARIZONA'S LITTLE HOLLYWOOD, by Joe McNeill.

The book focuses on Northern Arizona, around Sedona and the Flagstaff area where our son went to college, and is impressively thick (680 pages) and detailed, with glossy photographs throughout. We'll be using this as a reference to explore Arizona movie locations in the future! Highly recommended.

In my next post we'll travel into the Alabama Hills, visit the area where the finale of RIDE LONESOME (1959) was filmed, and take a look at Lone Pine's refurbished neon signs.

Newer›  ‹Older