Saturday, May 21, 2022

Around the Blogosphere This Week

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

...Lots of news to share after a couple weekends out of town! We'll lead off with the good news that the Cinecon Classic Film Festival has confirmed it will resume being held "in person" this Labor Day weekend. The location is yet to be determined; the Egyptian Theatre, where the festival has been held for the last several years, is currently undergoing extended remodeling. I'm excited to hear this news, though I'll add that my own attendance will depend on whether the festival is held under truly normal conditions, along the same lines as the recent Noir City Hollywood and Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festivals. More thoughts on that issue further below.

...Mary Mallory reports on the recent San Francisco Silent Film Festival at The Daily Mirror.

...Coming from Turner Classic Movies and Running Press this fall: VIVA HOLLYWOOD: THE LEGACY OF LATIN AND HISPANIC ARTISTS IN AMERICAN FILM by Luis I. Reyes.

...Some recent film reviews I've enjoyed: Jessica reviewed the delightful MGM musical LOVELY TO LOOK AT (1952) at Comet Over Hollywood...Danilo Castro reviewed the very enjoyable I, THE JURY (1953) at Classic Movie Hub...KC reviewed the new Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray release of THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM (1962) at her blog Watching Classic Movies...Colin's latest review at Riding the High Country is SLATTERY'S HURRICANE (1949), with the great cast of Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, and Veronica Lake, supported by Gary Merrill and John Russell...Glenn Erickson's recent reviews at Trailers From Hell include DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1941), now out on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive...Glenn's colleague Charlie Largent reports on Kino Lorber's new seven-film Francis the Talking Mule Collection.

...My thanks to Glenn Erickson for mentioning my review of THE ARGYLE SECRETS (1948) in a recent CineSavant column. In another column Glenn shares the news that Kino Lorber has a new deal with Paramount Pictures for 71 titles, many of which they will be releasing on Blu-ray for the first time. A handful of Republic Pictures titles are on the list, but not much more is known yet. This sounds like good news!

...Film fashion historian Kimberly Truhler has a new online film fashion talk coming in June, History of Fashion in Film: The Jazz Age. Details are at Kimberly's site, GlamAmor. I have found Kimberly's past presentations both informative and enjoyable. She will also be seen on TCM in June in a new series, "Follow the Thread."

...Lora Lee Michel was a talented child actress in a baker's dozen of films between 1948 and 1950, including GOOD SAM (1948) with Gary Cooper; THE SNAKE PIT (1948), playing Olivia de Havilland as a child (seen here with Natalie Schafer); the MGM musical WORDS AND MUSIC (1948), playing Richard Rodgers' (Tom Drake) daughter Mary; and BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN (1950) with Mark Stevens and Edmond O'Brien. Years later she spent time in prison and then dropped out of sight, with her own family not knowing where she was. Stacy Perman of the Los Angeles Times recently did some detective work and unraveled a fascinating -- if tragic -- story, which at least has provided her family closure, now knowing that she passed on in 1979. (Some readers may find that this story is behind a Times paywall.)

...Coming from Martin Scorsese: A new documentary on directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Additional news: Scorsese's Film Foundation recently launched a free "virtual screening room." Info on upcoming screenings is here.

...There's lots of new Kino Lorber Studio Classics Blu-ray news! Here are some of the upcoming releases which particularly caught my eye:

*LUCKY JORDAN (1942), starring fave Alan Ladd, is "coming soon." I reviewed it over a decade ago and really look forward to rewatching it in a great print.

*TIME OUT OF MIND (1947), with Phyllis Calvert, Robert Hutton, and Ella Raines directed by Robert Siodmak, is coming July 26th. Kino Lorber first mentioned this was in the works via their Twitter account last November.

*THE MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER (1953), a favorite Tyrone Power film costarring Piper Laurie and Julie Adams, is "coming soon."

*A Dark Side of Cinema X collection "coming soon" will feature FLESH AND FURY (1952), an excellent film with Tony Curtis, Jan Sterling, and Mona Freeman; THE SQUARE JUNGLE (1955) with Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine, and Pat Crowley; and WORLD IN MY CORNER (1956) starring Audie Murphy and Barbara Rush.

*MY MAN GODFREY (1957), a remake of the classic 1936 comedy starring June Allyson, David Niven, and Martha Hyer.

*A 3D restoration of BWANA DEVIL (1952) from the 3D Film Archive.  Robert Stack and Barbara Britton star.

*THE KILLING (1956) will be released in Ultra HD this July with a new commentary by Alan K. Rode.

...Landmark Theatres will be closing the company's Pico arthouse location at the end of the month. Variety has analysis on the future of the L.A. arthouse scene.

...Rachel of Hamlette's Soliloquy has written about four favorite Alan Ladd-Veronica Lake films for a "Four Favorite Noirs" blogathon. SAIGON (1947) is one I still need to see! (How I wish Kino Lorber could release it...) There are lots more links to posts on favorite noirs at Classic Film & TV Cafe, which hosted the blogathon.

...There's a big new permanent John Wayne exhibit at the Fort Worth Stockyards in Texas.

...Personal viewing notes: In early April I mentioned my plans to attend the UCLA Festival of Preservation this weekend, but I cancelled last week after confirming directly with the theater that masks would be required. (A side note: Masks are not currently required by the city, county, state, or even UCLA, but the requirement has been established by the Hammer Museum where UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater is located.) I complied with the mask requirement for last month's TCM Classic Film Festival, but I found it a miserable way to watch movies, including impeded, uncomfortable breathing and fogged glasses. I've made the personal decision that I'm simply "done" with that, especially as zero evidence has emerged over the last two-plus years that masking reduces the spread of the coronavirus; if anything, the data repeatedly shows the opposite, for reasons which are yet unknown. COVID is now an endemic virus which is likely to rise and fall in seasonal waves, and if some theaters won't give up masking now, it seems possible they never will.  I decided to say something here as one of the only ways this might end is if more people speak up.

...Additionally, in my last roundup column I mentioned looking forward to seeing DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS (2022). I'm a huge Marvel fan, having seen two dozen of the films -- only missing THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008) and ETERNALS (2021) to date -- and I am also a great admirer of last year's TV series WANDAVISION (2021), as I've previously shared here. However, I've decided not to see DOCTOR STRANGE based on the advice of three different family members, and my friend Deb concurred with their feedback in the comments to my Star Wars Nite post. It sounds as though the film is disturbingly violent, and the writers also trashed my longtime favorite Marvel character, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen); she could have learned and grown as she moved on from her experiences in WANDAVISION, but the filmmakers took her in the opposite direction and turned her into a killer. It's a shame, but I think I'd rather remember Wanda as she was in WANDAVISION and hope the writers might do right by her in a future multiverse story. I do still hope to enjoy the new film DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA (2022) before long!

...Notable Passings: Joanna Barnes, a busy working actress especially memorable as Vicky in THE PARENT TRAP (1961), passed on at 87. In a nice touch, Barnes was cast in a role in the 1998 PARENT TRAP remake. Barnes was also important to me as a five-time guest star on my favorite TV series, MAVERICK. She's seen here with James Garner in a publicity photo for the MAVERICK episode "The Lonesome Reunion" (1958)...Composer Vangelis, who won the Oscar for CHARIOTS OF FIRE (1981), has passed away at 79....Character actor James Olson has died at 91...ST. ELSEWHERE actor David Birney, the former husband of actress Meredith Baxter-Birney, has passed away at 83. Circa 1980 the Birneys sat behind me at a small (99-seat) theater production of Ibsen's A DOLL HOUSE, starring Linda Purl...Disney voice actor Norma Swank has died at 97. Her roles included voicing Chip of Chip and Dale and mice in CINDERELLA (1950)...Soap opera actor Jerry verDorn, best known for THE GUIDING LIGHT, has died at 72...Fred Ward, who played astronaut Gus Grissom in THE RIGHT STUFF (1983), has passed on at 79...I was sad to learn of the death of country singer Naomi Judd at the age of 79.

...For additional recent links of interest to classic film fans, please check out my April 30th roundup.


Anonymous Barry Lane said...

barryMasks are a terrible way to do almost anythign, but as usual, Laura found the right and delicate way to express herself. Just great.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you, Barry. I appreciate it.

Best wishes,

10:36 PM  
Blogger Jerry Entract said...

We flew to Greece recently and had to mask-up the whole 4 hour flight and the whole time in Thessaloniki Airport. It was a huge relief to take the darn thing OFF when we got back to UK.

I'm excited to read that KL has struck a deal with Paramount and that some Republic pictures may be on the release schedule but I have to HOPE that they will be region-free. Thanks for being the messenger, Laura!

11:50 PM  
Blogger Seth said...

I’m with you, Laura. One of the reasons I didn’t attend this year’s TCMFF was because of the draconian “health” measures, including the masks. I also refused to fly anywhere while masks were required on airplanes.

Nice to have the roundup back.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's a long time for you to have worn a mask, Jerry! I'm glad we were able to hold off flying to Oregon until a court struck down the U.S. mask mandate. The head of L.A. County Public Health (who isn't even a doctor, but a social worker) has attempted to bring back the mandate to L.A. County airports, but when we flew from Burbank earlier this month maybe 10 percent of people in the airport were masked. Even the airport security guards weren't masked. (And despite the social worker's warnings, no calamity has ensued.)

I hope that we'll both be able to enjoy next year's TCMFF mask free, Seth!

Isn't that interesting Kino Lorber news, Jerry? I'm definitely curious to learn more about the titles. I have been particularly thrilled by the number of "never on DVD" Paramount and Universal films Kino Lorber has brought out on Blu-ray over the last couple years.

Best wishes,

1:41 PM  
Blogger Tony Wendice said...

I've continued to wear masks when I am outside my house but it's more out of habit than anything else. I mostly wear them because I don't want anyone else's germs in my face. But I think it is a personal decision and don't think requiring them makes any sense. I don't think we can continue to live like this as a society if we are going to have these silly rules that aren't backed up by anything other than "they make us feel virtuous."

I haven't been in a cinema since 2019 in the USA. Honestly, with what is showing these days I cannot envision myself ever setting foot in a cinema again. And I teach film!

7:05 AM  

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