Wednesday, August 31, 2022

TCM in September: Highlights

It's hard to believe that summer is winding to a close and it's time to take a look at the September schedule on Turner Classic Movies!

There are a great many interesting things ahead this month on TCM, starting with Humphrey Bogart as the September Star of the Month.

Over 50 Bogart films will be shown every Thursday this month, carrying into Friday. Please check back here for a detailed look at the Bogart Star of the Month schedule on September 1st.  (Update: Please visit TCM Star of the Month: Humphrey Bogart.)

The September Noir Alley titles are HIT AND RUN (1957) on September 3rd and 4th; OBSESSION (1949), known as THE HIDDEN ROOM in the U.S., on the 10th and 11th; THE NAKED STREET (1955) on September 17th-18th; and I LOVE TROUBLE (1948) on the 24th and 25th.

I really enjoy I LOVE TROUBLE, which was written by a young Roy Huggins. P.I. Stuart Bailey, played by Franchot Tone, seems to foreshadow Huggins' later creation, Jim Rockford.

The TCM Spotlight is called Radio Days and features almost two dozen films with radio stars such as Edgar Bergen, Jack Benny, Jim and Marian Jordan (Fibber McGee and Molly), and Harold Peary (the Great Gildersleeve). The Radio Days films will air on Monday evenings.

The September Special Theme is a nine-film series, "The Idea of America," "a look at how Hollywood movies convey American cultures, customs and mores to a global audience."

The Idea of America series has an eclectic assortment of titles including HIGHER AND HIGHER (1943), HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949), and TO HELL AND BACK (1955). The series will run on three consecutive Fridays, September 9th, 16th, and 23rd.

There are also two evenings celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month on September 18th and 25th. This is a good point to also mention the upcoming book from TCM and Running Press, VIVA HOLLYWOOD: THE LEGACY OF LATIN AND HISPANIC ARTISTS IN AMERICAN FILM by Luis I. Reyes. It will be published September 13th. Look for a review here at a future date.

I'm especially enthused about two evenings of "Soundies," including over 30 rarely seen musical shorts. Cyd Charisse dancing to Stan Kenton in 1942? Yes, please! Feature films including one of my personal favorites, ORCHESTRA WIVES (1942), are also part of the series. Those should be very exciting evenings on September 7th and 21st.

Below are more September highlights. Please click any hyperlinked title to read a complete review.

...A Marjorie Main birthday tribute on September 1st includes the little-known but very good GENTLE ANNIE (1944), costarring James Craig, Donna Reed, and Harry Morgan.

...The Labor Day holiday on September 5th features an entire day of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies. Seven of the dancing duo's ten films will be shown.

...Robert Montgomery and Ann Harding star in BIOGRAPHY OF A BACHELOR GIRL (1935) on September 8th. It's one of a few Montgomery films I've not yet seen.

...I'm really delighted that TCM will feature two Deanna Durbin films in prime time on September 11th. Even better, this will be the TCM premiere of both films, MAD ABOUT MUSIC (1938) and FOR THE LOVE OF MARY (1948). I like them both, but FOR THE LOVE OF MARY is a personal favorite I've seen multiple times. Deanna playing a White House switchboard operator is a scenario which is great fun, and even better she's courted by Edmond O'Brien, Don Taylor, and Jeffrey Lynn.

...September 12th features a lineup of films about working for corporations, including the interesting OIL FOR THE LAMPS OF CHINA (1935), starring Pat O'Brien and Josephine Hutchinson.

...There are two evenings of films focused on puppets in September. The first is September 6th; then on September 13th the titles include THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN (1984), THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO (1968), THUNDERBIRD 6 (1968), and LILI (1953).

...More good news: COCKTAIL HOUR (1933), a favorite at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival, will air on TCM as part of a Bebe Daniels birthday tribute on September 14th. Randolph Scott costars. COCKTAIL HOUR will be a TCM premiere.

...September 15th there are more pre-Codes on the way thanks to a birthday tribute to Fay Wray. Titles include the very creepy THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932), costarring Joel McCrea.

...TCM will celebrate Janis Paige's 100th birthday on September 16th with a seven-film tribute including HER KIND OF MAN (1946).

...A wonderful cast is featured in THE CONSTANT NYMPH (1943) on September 17th. Joan Fontaine and Charles Boyer star; the movie also features Alexis Smith, Peter Lorre, Brenda Marshall, and Joyce Reynolds.

...Twins are the theme on September 19th, including a pair of PENROD films from 1938 and a cute little movie which is a personal favorite, TWICE BLESSED (1945), starring Preston Foster, Gail Patrick, and real-life twins Lyn and Lee Wilde.

...A new film, THIS IS JOAN COLLINS (2022), will be shown on September 20th, along with two of Collins' films of the mid '50s.

..."Women Write Crimes" on September 21st includes THE FALLEN SPARROW (1943), based on a novel by Dorothy B. Hughes.  John Garfield stars with a marvelous trio of ladies, Maureen O'Hara, Patricia Morison, and Martha O'Driscoll.

...Robert Mitchum films on September 23rd including the very entertaining THE BIG STEAL (1949), which reunited Mitchum with his OUT OF THE PAST (1947) costar, Jane Greer.

...An evening of Barbara Rush films on September 24th includes the sci-fi classics IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953) and WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951).

...A day of films set in department stores on September 28th includes the enjoyable romantic comedy THERE GOES MY HEART (1938) with Fredric March and Virginia Bruce and the classic pre-Code melodrama EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE (1933) with Loretta Young and Warren William.

...TCM will celebrate National Silent Movie Day on the evening of September 28th and the daytime hours of the 29th. Films will include the TCM premiere of Marion Davies in BEVERLY OF GRAUSTARK (1926). There will be two documentaries on silent-era animation, BEFORE MICKEY MOUSE: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN ANIMATION (1982) and CENTURY OF ANIMATION SHOWCASE: 1922 (2022).

...The month ends in great style on September 30th with the TCM premiere of SO ENDS OUR NIGHT (1941) starring Fredric March, Margaret Sullavan, Frances Dee, and Glenn Ford. John Cromwell directed. As reported in my Quick Preview of TCM in October, the movie will also air as part of a Sullavan tribute in October.

For more on TCM in September 2022, please visit my posts TCM Star of the Month: Humphrey BogartQuick Preview of TCM in September or TCM's online schedule.

Tonight's Movie: A Shriek in the Night (1933)

A SHRIEK IN THE NIGHT (1933) is a short pre-Code "B" mystery which stars Ginger Rogers and Lyle Talbot.

As the movie begins, a man falls to his death from an apartment building. Police Inspector Russell (Purnell Pratt) interviews the man's housekeeper Augusta (Lillian Harmer) and secretary, Pat Morgan (Rogers).

Pat is actually a newspaper reporter who was trying to learn more about her former employer's criminal connections. She and fellow reporter Ted Rand (Talbot) constantly try to outscoop and trick one another while also bantering and contemplating marriage.

Over the course of the film's 66 minutes more bodies pile up. Will Pat and Ted solve the murders before one of them ends up a victim?

This little film, written by Frances Hyland from a story by Kurt Kempler, is nothing special, but Ginger fans will find it worthwhile. The movie was initially recommended to me by Jeremy Arnold, who pointed out that the film helps show the emergence of Rogers' familiar snappy film persona. I enjoyed looking at the film from that perspective.

In fact, it's fascinating to realize that A SHRIEK IN THE NIGHT was one of 10 Rogers movies released in 1933, including GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933) and 42ND STREET (1933) for Warner Bros. and FLYING DOWN TO RIO (1933) for RKO. That year Ginger was also in films released by Fox, Universal, Paramount, and in the case of A SHRIEK IN THE NIGHT, Allied Pictures. By the time 1934 and THE GAY DIVORCEE rolled around, her film presence was fully formed.

Talbot himself was in nine pictures released in 1933; he and Rogers were definitely busy working actors in the early '30s. Their repartee is enjoyable, and I liked the fact that although they pull some fast tricks on one another, they also genuinely care for and support each other. This gives the characters a little more dimension than one might expect to find in a minor film such as this. Talbot's Ted does exhibit some of the chauvinism common in the era, but at the same time he clearly respects Pat and her ability to beat him reporting news.

There's a brief appearance by character actress favorite Louise Beavers (billed here as Louise Beaver). The cast also includes Harvey Clark, Arthur Hoyt, and Clarence Wilson.

Albert Ray directed, with cinematography by Tom Galligan and Harry Neumann.

A SHRIEK IN THE NIGHT fell into the public domain. It's available on DVD in multiple prints of so-so quality, and it may also sometimes be found streaming online.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Tonight's Movie: Only Yesterday (1991)

Last night it was wonderful to attend my first Fathom Events Studio Ghibli Fest screening in the last few years.

The movie was ONLY YESTERDAY (1991), directed by Isao Takahata and filmed by Hisao Shirai.

It's the story of Taeko (Miki Imai), a young secretary from Tokyo embarking on a vacation in the country. (Spoiler alert, I will be discussing the plot of this 31-year-old film in its entirety.)

In parallel to the adult Taeko's story we see Taeko as a misfit 10-year-old (Yoko Honna). Young Taeko struggles with math, and some of her emotional struggles frustrate her strict father (Masahiro Ito); Taeko finds a talent in acting, but her father forbids her to accept an invitation to appear in a community play.

Despite her problems, Taeko grows up to be a well-adjusted adult who loves the countryside. During her time on a farm she gets to know an in-law's distant cousin, Toshio (Toshiro Yanagiba), who seems to understand her well.

In a scene straight out of an Ozu film Toshio's grandmother asks Taeko to stay on the farm and marry Toshio. Taeko is shocked but starts to realize how much she likes Toshio, though as the film nears its end she still gets on the train to head back to her job in Tokyo...

It took me a while to figure this movie out, as it zipped back and forth in time; watching the film was a bit like working a puzzle, with the ultimate completion feeling rewarding.

I did struggle a bit with the sadness of Taeko's childhood, and indeed, it's hard to see a "through line" from there to how she became such a positive young woman. It's difficult to watch the small, crushing moments she experiences, whether it's her sister belittling her inability to understand fractions or a teacher discouraging her from improvising in a play.

I frankly also could have done without the extended, unpleasant sequence on puberty, which seems to anticipate TURNING RED (2022) by three decades.

In contrast to the childhood scenes, there is great beauty in the country sequences Taeko experiences as an adult, in terms of both animation and emotions. The visuals are exquisite, and I loved Taeko's enthusiasm for life on the farm. I also enjoyed her confident interactions with Toshio and the ease they had with one another discussing issues big and small.

As Taeko boarded a train back to the city near movie's end, promising to return in the winter, and the end credits began, I felt a sense of dissatisfaction that the movie was ending on such an ambiguous note, just as Taeko seemed to be discovering what really made her happy.

And then something magical happened: Accompanied by a Japanese rendition of Amanda McBroom's "The Rose," Taeko, cheered on by her 10-year-old self and former schoolmates, decides to get off the train and heads back to the farm.

The emotional payoff here at the conclusion of the film's 119 minutes, as Taeko makes peace with the past and claims her adult chance at happiness, led to tears rolling down my cheeks and made it all worthwhile.

It's a moment of such life-affirming beauty -- perhaps I can compare it to the ending of I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! (1945) -- that it causes me to recommend the film despite my issues with some of the childhood scenes. I won't forget that profound ending or my emotional response to it for quite a while.

ONLY YESTERDAY is available in a Blu-ray/DVD combination set.

Previous reviews of Japanese animation: CASTLE IN THE SKY (1986), MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (1988), HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE (2004), THE WIND RISES (2013), YOUR NAME. (2016), IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD (2016), MIRAI (2018).

Weekend Fun in Los Angeles: A Visit to Tail o' the Pup

Late last month we enjoyed a day "out and about" in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Our day began with a long walk exploring Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City and ended with a book signing at Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Hollywood.

In between we enjoyed grabbing a meal at Tail o' the Pup, a hot dog stand which has been in Los Angeles since 1946.

The stand was originally located at 311 N. La Cienega, then spent years in storage. It reopened at 8512 Santa Monica Boulevard on July 20, just 10 days before our visit.

Over the years Tail o' the Pup has been seen in various films and TV series, including the 1971 "Murder By the Book" episode of COLUMBO, a 1974 episode of ADAM-12, and the 1974 ROCKFORD FILES pilot "Backlash of the Hunter."

Films featuring Tail o' the Pup at its original location include BODY DOUBLE (1984) and L.A. STORY (1991). I'll be reviewing the latter film here at a future date.

The restaurant has another movie-related connection: It was originally owned by dancers Veloz and Yolanda, who appeared in films including THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES (1942), BRAZIL (1944), and THE THRILL OF BRAZIL (1946).

Orders are placed at the front counter...

...then picked up around the corner.

There's ample seating, including an upstairs patio.

My husband tried the extra-long hot dog...

...while I had the corndog and some very good chili.

I'd say the food wasn't quite as good as the Dog Haus chain, but it came close, and the colorful, historic ambiance was delightful. It's wonderful that this restaurant has been revived and is once more part of the L.A. scene. (Perhaps the new location will show up in a future movie or TV series!)

I recommend anyone who's in the area check it out and enjoy some fun L.A. restaurant history.

Stories on the Tail o' the Pup's history and reopening may be found at the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and Eater Los Angeles. There's also an informative short video from 2014 with Alison Martino on YouTube.

For more on classic L.A. area eateries, please visit my May post on Pann's and Bob's Big Boy, and be sure to scroll to the end for even more links!

Monday, August 29, 2022

Tonight's Movie: Blue Skies (1946) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby star in BLUE SKIES (1946), available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

BLUE SKIES followed Astaire and Crosby's successful teaming in the now-classic Irving Berlin musical HOLIDAY INN (1942). In BLUE SKIES they once again perform music from the Berlin songbook, but although beautiful Technicolor is added, this reteaming is frankly a bit of a misfire.

Most of the film is presented in flashbacks, as Jed Potter (Astaire) tells his radio audience the story of his love for pretty chorine Mary (Joan Caulfield), who in turn fell in love with nightclub owner Johnny Adams (Bing Crosby).

Despite Jed's entreaties for Mary to marry him and Johnny's habitual inability to settle down, constantly selling off his nightclubs, Mary is stuck on Johnny.

Eventually, after a long separation, Mary and Johnny wed and have a baby (played by Karolyn Grimes as an older child). Johnny, however, continues to constantly make business decisions without consulting Mary, who eventually is exhausted by the instability, leading to another separation.

Jed hopes to reunite his friends thanks to his radio show. Will it work?

This is a movie I've returned to periodically over the years, hoping to like it more, which is one reason I wanted to revisit it via the new Blu-ray. However, after a fresh look at it it must be admitted that it simply never quite works.

There are wonderful moments, to be sure, from Bing singing the memorable title song to Astaire's dances to songs like "Puttin' on the Ritz" and "Heat Wave"; the latter is danced with one of the film's bright lights, Olga San Juan, who also does a great job putting over the song "You'd Be Surprised." Whenever San Juan is on screen the movie gets a nice little jolt of energy.

The Technicolor cinematography of Charles Lang and William Snyder is beautiful and Caulfield is stunningly gorgeous...yet despite the visual beauty and the great music, the movie is dreary, with one downer moment after another.

Jed may be somewhat pushy, but honestly Mary would have been much better off with him than Johnny, and I had no confidence at the final fadeout that Mary and Johnny would be any happier going forward than they'd been in the past, which was not much. The screenplay by Arthur Sheekman, based on an idea by Berlin, is way too downbeat for what should be a smile-inducing musical.

The sadness extended off the screen, as director Mark Sandrich, who had directed several Astaire-Rogers films along with HOLIDAY INN, died on March 4, 1945, early in this film's production. The film was finished by Stuart Heisler, who is the credited director.

I used to think perhaps part of the movie's problem was Caulfield, but I've come to really appreciate her over the years in films such as DEAR RUTH (1947), LARCENY (1948), and THE PETTY GIRL (1950). I've come to realize that the issue isn't with Caulfield herself but with her insipid character, who deliberately chooses a path doomed to unhappiness. There really wasn't anything more Caulfield could have done with Mary.

The new print is so crisp and clear that I also noticed that Crosby looks rather worn out at times; perhaps it was behind-the scenes stress, or the weight of playing an unlikeable character.  I don't recall Crosby's appearance being an issue with his previous film, THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S (1945). It's been rumored that offscreen Crosby wanted to leave his wife for Caulfield but ultimately did not, so it seems possible that his personal life had an impact on his appearance, though any offscreen stress certainly didn't detract from Caulfield's looks in this film.

Finally, the movie is also hampered by Billy DeWolfe's comedy, which isn't to my taste.

A note on the running time: IMDb says the film is 99 minutes long, but it's actually 104 minutes.

Kino Lorber's BLUE SKIES Blu-ray is from a brand-new 2K master, with newly mastered audio. It looks wonderful. The earliest releases of this disc had an issue with the sound for some of Astaire's tap dancing which was promptly corrected; replacements were offered to those who had purchased the initial disc.

Extras consist of a gallery of four trailers for other films available from Kino Lorber, along with a commentary track by Simon Abrams.

This is a lovely disc and Astaire-Crosby completists will doubtless want to pick it up for that reason. I'll definitely be rewatching some of the musical highlights in the future thanks to this beautiful print...but I think when I want a full dose of Astaire and Crosby in the future, I'll stick to the beloved, joyous HOLIDAY INN.

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

New Western RoundUp Column at Classic Movie Hub

It's time for a new Western RoundUp column at Classic Movie Hub!

This month I return to the subject of books on Western movies in "Western Film Book Library - Part 6."

It's my first column on this topic in over a year and I have some great new additions to my library to recommend, along with an old favorite.

Please click over to Classic Movie Hub to check it out, and, as always, thanks for reading!

Previous Classic Movie Hub Western RoundUp Column Links: June 2018; July 2018; August 2018; September 2018; October 2018; November 2018; December 2018; January 2019; February 2019; April 5, 2019; April 30, 2019; May 2019; June 2019; July 2019; August 2019; September 2019; October 2019; November 2019; December 2019; January 2020; February 2020; March 2020; April 2020; May 2020; June 2020; July 2020; August 2020; September 2020; October 2020; November 2020; December 2020; January 2021; February 2021; March 2021; May 2021; June 2021; June 2021 (No. 2); July 2021; August 2021; September 2021; November 2021; December 2021; December 2021 (No. 2); January 2022; February 2022; March 2022; April 2022; May 2022; June 2022; July 2022.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Tonight's Movie: The Clock (1945) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

Judy Garland and Robert Walker star in the World War II romance THE CLOCK (1945), released on Blu-ray this summer by the Warner Archive.

THE CLOCK was one of three Garland films released by the Warner Archive in celebration of Garland's centennial. I previously reviewed the other titles, ZIEGFELD GIRL (1941) and FOR ME AND MY GAL (1942). They are enjoyable films, but THE CLOCK is the gem of the trio. Having now revisited it for the first time in decades, I would describe it as a four-star classic.

THE CLOCK has a huge cast but a very intimate story, written by Joseph Shrank and the novelist Robert Nathan (PORTRAIT OF JENNIE). As with my recent review of WHEN TOMORROW COMES (1939), it's really impossible to discuss this film without discussing the plot in its entirety, so those who would like to see it "cold" are advised to wait and read this after seeing it.

Alice Maybery (Garland) and Corporal Joe Allen (Walker) chance to meet in New York's Penn Station when he's on leave and she happens to trip over his leg, breaking off her heel.

Joe helps Alice find a shoe repair shop, and then he persuades her to walk with him a while. Alice is initially a bit wary of the awkward soldier who's never visited the big city, but one thing leads to another and after spending the afternoon together, she agrees to meet him that night for a real date.

Eventually circumstances lead to them spending a night helping a milkman (James Gleason) -- it all makes perfect sense in context! -- and then, marriage. All beautifully told in 90 minutes.

THE CLOCK is absolute perfection, directed by Vincente Minnelli (and, before he was replaced by Minnelli, an uncredited Fred Zinnemann); it was filmed in gorgeous black and white by George Folsey.

The script and performances are brilliantly nuanced, depicting the push-pull of Alice and Joe getting to know one another. She's not quite sure at first, a little edgy responding to Joe's interest, and she really might rather get home to her apartment and relax than spend time with him, but something about Joe keeps drawing her back.

The gradual development of the romance, building to a kiss under the stars in Central Park, is completely believeable. The real world occasionally intrudes on the magic, as obtaining a blood test and marriage license and even the wedding itself all prove to be dreary, but then they find the lasting beauty of their relationship once more, alone in a quiet church.

At the movie's opening Alice is a confident city girl compared to Joe's Indiana boy, but underneath that we realize she's a bit lost herself, away from her family and with a roommate (Ruth Brady) who natters at her about not being "picked up" by a soldier.

Like Alice, we gradually realize that Joe is a man of substance and devotion underneath the "green kid in the city" exterior, and by movie's end Alice is a completely different person. Alice genuinely believes that she and Joe were brought together for a purpose and that he'll return safely, and, having bidden her new husband a loving goodbye, she confidently leaves the station where they first met. The happiness of their "See you soon" farewell is a marvelous, perhaps unexpected twist as the movie comes to an end, reflecting the wonderful surprise of their new relationship and marriage.

The cast includes James Gleason's wife Lucile playing his wife and Keenan Wynn as a drink in a diner. Familiar faces seen briefly include Marshall Thompson, Barbara Bedford, Nella Walker, Arthur Space, Robert Emmett O'Connor, Geraldine Wall, Ruby Dandridge, Steve Brodie, Wally Cassell, and Angela Lansbury's mother, Moyna MacGill. Look for a very young Terry Moore as one of a trio of girls Alice and Joe see in a museum. "B" Western leading lady Nan Leslie is said to be an extra in Penn Station, but I didn't pick her out of the crowds.

The Blu-ray print and sound are outstanding. Disc extras consist of the trailer; the cartoon SCREWY TRUANT (Tex Avery, 1945); a short, HOLLYWOOD SCOUT (Pete Smith Specialty, 1945); and a 1946 Lux radio version with Judy Garland and John Hodiak.

I have no idea why I hadn't seen the movie in so many years, especially given my love for '40s MGM films, but I certainly won't go that long again without revisiting it. I can't think of a thing this film could have done better; indeed, it's one of the films I've enjoyed the most so far this year. Very highly recommended.

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

Tonight's Movie: Next Time We Love (1936) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

James Stewart and Margaret Sullavn star in NEXT TIME WE LOVE (1936), just released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.

Sullavan is billed alone over the title, followed by Stewart and "Raymond" Milland. It was Sullavan's fifth film and Stewart's third, while Milland had been in films since the late '20s, often in small parts.

As the film begins, newspaperman Chris Tyler (Stewart) and college student Cecily Hunt (Sullavan), desperately in love, throw caution to the winds and marry on the spur of the moment.

Cecily, having left college for marriage, is conscious of still wanting to have her own career, rather than spending her days in Chris's shadow; she hopes to be an actress. Chris's close friend Tommy (Milland), who works in the theatrical world, arranges some meetings for Cecily and her career takes off.

Trouble rears its head when Chris receives a plum reporting assignment in Rome. Cecily doesn't want to leave her blossoming career and move to Europe -- and she also doesn't want to have their baby overseas. She sends Chris off on the assignment without telling him she's expecting, wanting him to achieve his dream of being a foreign correspondent, but he returns when he learns about the baby.

In the ensuing years Chris and Cicely continue to spend extensive time apart due to their careers, despite their continuing love for one another. But eventually Chris's letters grow increasingly distant, causing Cecily to fear his love is finally waning...and Tommy finally confesses to Cicely that he feels more for her than friendship.

This is the kind of plot that I often find annoying, as two ostensibly smart people make questionable choices, prioritizing work over their relationship. However, the screenplay -- which had many contributors, including Preston Sturges -- is written with enough sensitivity and insight that it kept me more interested than impatient. Some of the characters' perspectives seemed quite modern, which made watching it over eight decades later an interesting viewing experience.

Thanks also to top-notch acting by the three leads, I liked this movie perhaps more than I expected, given the plot. It's a worthwhile film, particularly for those who appreciate the lead actors...and, really, who doesn't?

The incandescent Sullavan is such a memorable film presence that it's hard to believe that she only made 17 films in a film career which likewise stretched for 17 years, from 1933 to 1950.

Four of those films were with Stewart, beginning with this movie and continuing with THE SHOPWORN ANGEL (1938), THE MORTAL STORM (1940), and THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940).

As in their later films, they have a marvelous chemistry, making it believable that despite all their time apart, at each reunion they realize anew that they're still desperately in love.

Likewise Milland as Tommy is totally likeable, even when he finally confesses his feelings. No one comes off as a "bad guy"; they're just people with complicated feelings, but ultimately they're loyal and do the right thing.

NEXT TIME WE LOVE was directed by Edward H. Griffith and filmed by Joseph Valentine. It runs 87 minutes.

The supporting cast includes Grant Mitchell, Robert McWade, Anna Demetrio, Ronnie Cosby, and, in one scene, Hattie McDaniel.

The Kino Blu-ray print is excellent. Extras consist of a six- film Kino Lorber trailer gallery and a commentary track by Lee Gambin and Elissa Rose.

Watch for a review of Kino Lorber release of another of Sullavan's films, BACK STREET (1941), coming in the future.

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

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Around the Blogosphere This Week

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

...Critics' Choice has released another exclusive three-film set, this one featuring William Holden comedies. The titles: MEET THE STEWARTS (1942) with Frances Dee, MISS GRANT TAKES RICHMOND (1949) with Lucille Ball, and FATHER IS A BACHELOR (1950) with Coleen Gray. These multifilm Critics' Choice sets are a great value. Here's a list of what's current available.

...Coming soon from Kino Lorber: HELL IS FOR HEROES (1962) starring Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, and Bob Newhart.

...Leonard Maltin has an overview of a number of interesting recent Blu-ray releases, I was also interested in his short review of the new documentary BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN (2022).

...New book: THE GEORGE RAFT FILMS by James L. Neibaur, published by Bear Manor Media. I reviewed Neibaur's book on Frank Sinatra films last month and expect to review this new book in the next few weeks.

...Coming in January from the University Press of Kentucky: A reprinting of IDA LUPINO: A BIOGRAPHY by William Donati, originally published in 1996. It has a new cover, which I mention because when I first saw it I thought it was a brand-new book.

...I was disappointed that Warner Bros. has pushed back SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS (2023) from its planned December release to March 2023. In turn, AQUAMAN AND THE LOST CITY (2023) is pushed from next March to Christmas 2023. The films are sequels to a fun pair of movies I've watched a couple times each, SHAZAM! (2019) and AQUAMAN (2018).

...Actress Vera Miles turned 93 last week, on August 23rd. Vienna paid tribute to Miles at Vienna's Classic Hollywood. I will always associate Miles first and foremost with her role as Laurie in John Ford's THE SEARCHERS (1956).

...One of my favorite Westerns, CANYON PASSAGE (1946), has been restored by Universal Pictures and the Film Foundation. It will be screened at the New York Film Festival, to be held in September and October 2022. Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg both "consulted" on the restoration. The movie stars Dana Andrews, Susan Hayward, and Brian Donlevy along with a superb supporting cast. For a little more on CANYON PASSAGE, read on to the obituaries at the end of this post.

...NBC is considering dropping seven hours of primetime programming per week, getting rid of its 10:00 p.m. lineup. Hard to imagine times have changed so much, but here we are.

...A new book coming in November: CHRISTMAS PAST: THE FASCINATING STORIES BEHIND OUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY TRADITIONS by Brian Earl, published by Lyons Press.

...For fall cookbook season: MODERN BISTRO: HOME COOKING INSPIRED BY FRENCH CLASSICS from America's Test Kitchen.

...Thanks to CineSavant Glenn Erickson for the great tip on the Los Angeles Theatres website, which I look forward to exploring. I've also added the site to my blogroll at the left of this page, under "Southern CA Classic Film Theaters & Festivals."

...At Out of the Past, Raquel Stecher has reviewed the recent Flicker Alley Blu-ray release of a favorite film for me, REPEAT PERFORMANCE (1947). Joan Leslie stars.

...This week Jessica Pickens' Musical Monday at Hollywood Comet focused on SWEET AND LOW-DOWN (1944), which I saw at Cinecon in 2018. Benny Goodman and Linda Darnell star.

...Speaking of Cinecon, it was confirmed to me via email this week that next weekend's Cinecon festival in Hollywood will be going ahead with its plans for masks and vaccine passes. I am unwilling to spend the festival's five days of movies with a mask covering where I breathe and will sadly be passing on this festival.

...From January, a list by Fiona Underhill of SlashFilm of Alfred Hitchcock's 20 Best Films. While much of my list would look quite a bit different, comparing notes is the fun of a list such as this.

...Here's a really interesting DVD find I made this week: A 1958 episode of PLAYHOUSE 90 titles "No Time at All," put out by Reel Vault, which specializes in public domain releases. The cast is led by William Lundigan, Betsy Palmer, and Jane Greer; the supporting cast seems to stretch for a mile, with names including Keenan Wynn, Buster Keaton, Chico Marx, Regis Toomey, James Gleason, Charles Bronson, and Mary Beth Hughes. The full cast may be found at IMDb. I ordered it and am very curious to try it out, especially as I like aviation-themed drama.

...Thanks to John Aldrich for letting me know that the Harkins Theatres chain shows classic movies on Tuesdays for $5. They will be screening GIANT (1956) on Tuesday, September 6th. I first became familiar with the Harkins chain as my son saw movies there when he was at college in Flagstaff. There is also a Harkins theater in driving distance from me in Cerritos. A list of upcoming Tuesday night titles is here.

...Notable Passings: Virginia Patton, who played Harry Bailey's pretty wife Ruth in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1947), has passed on at the age of 97. Patton also played Liza, a young bride in CANYON PASSAGE (1946)...Character actor Joe E. Tata has passed away at 85. His many episodic TV appearances included multiple roles on shows such as BATMAN, MANNIX, ADAM-12, and THE ROCKFORD FILES, where he appeared a total of eight times, including repeat performances as bail bondsman Solly Marshall.

...For additional recent links of interest to classic film fans, please check out my August 20th roundup.

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