Saturday, May 20, 2023

Around the Blogosphere This Week

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

...Happiest 90th birthday wishes to Constance Towers, born in Montana May 20, 1933. Her diverse career has included starring in John Ford's THE HORSE SOLDIERS (1959) and SERGEANT RUTLEDGE (1960), Samuel Fuller's SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963) and THE NAKED KISS (1964), TV's GENERAL HOSPITAL (1997-present), and many musical theater productions. As a child in the '70s I was fortunate to see her at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles opposite Yul Brynner in THE KING AND I as well as in RODGERS AND HART at the Westwood Playhouse, costarring with Harve Presnell. Towers also served our country when her husband, actor John Gavin, was the United States Ambassador to Mexico from 1981 to 1986. She engaged in extensive fundraising work following the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.

...Upcoming Blu-ray release dates announced by Kino Lorber Studio Classics: FORCE OF EVIL (1948) with John Garfield will be out on July 11th, with a new commentary track by Imogen Sara Smith, and the Audie Murphy Collection II will be out July 18th. Smith's commentary makes FORCE OF EVIL a "must buy," as she's one of the very best. The Murphy set will contain SIERRA (1950), KANSAS RAIDERS (1950), and DESTRY (1954); to my knowledge the latter film never had a DVD release. (July 17th Update: The release date for FORCE OF EVIL has been pushed back slightly, to August 1, 2023.)

..."Coming soon" from Kino Lorber Studio Classics: A three-film Philo Vance set starring William Powell and a brand-new 4K master of HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948).

...And coming July 25th from the Cohen Film Collection and Kino Lorber, Douglas Fairbanks (Sr.) in ROBIN HOOD (1922) and THE BLACK PIRATE (1926). ROBIN HOOD is a new 4K restoration. THE BLACK PIRATE has a commentary track by the late historian Rudy Behlmer.

...Thanks to Toby at 50 Westerns From the 50s for making me aware of the upcoming July release of a pair of Tom Mix films, SKY HIGH (1922) and THE BIG DIAMOND ROBBERY (1929). The Blu-ray set of new 2K restorations is coming from Ben Model's Undercrank Productions. Both films were recently shown on Turner Classic Movies.

...And releasing next month from Undercrank, a pair of films starring Raymond Griffith: PATHS TO PARADISE (1925) and YOU'D BE SURPRISED (1926). Both are new 2K restorations of 35mm Library of Congress prints, and each film has a new score by Ben Model.

...Undercrank has also released a pair of silent films directed by Frank Borzage, BACK PAY (1922) and THE VALLEY OF SILENT MEN (1922).

...Brand-new from the University of Illinois Press: THE CINEMA OF BARBARA STANWYCK: TWENTY-SIX SHORT ESSAYS ON A WORKING STAR, by Catherine Russell. The publisher has posted an interview with the author.

...In TCM-Running Press film book news, EDDIE MULLER'S NOIR BAR is publishing this week, on May 23rd. An excerpt has been published by Entertainment Weekly...Eddie's fellow TCM host Dave Karger has announced an upcoming book, 50 OSCAR NIGHTS, to be published in January 2024.

...Good news for fans of the MURDER, SHE BAKED movie series on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel: In addition to the brand-new film airing this weekend, CARROT CAKE MURDER: A HANNAH SWENSEN MYSTERY (2023), another film is on the way.

...Disney+ is removing a significant amount of programming from the streaming service as a cost-cutting move.  So much for Robert Iger's 2019 pledge that "At some point, fairly soon after launch, it will house the entire Disney motion picture library."

...Speaking of Disney, how great is this Loungefly lunchbox-style bag for ROBIN HOOD (1973)?

...Raquel Stecher's annual Summer Classic Film Reading Challenge begins today, May 20th, and continues through September 15th.

...Speaking of Raquel, she has reviewed Jeffrey Spivak's BUZZ: THE LIFE AND ART OF BUSBY BERKELEY, published by the University Press of Kentucky.

...At Poppity Talks Classic Film, Erica discusses the television work of Donna Reed. It's part of the Classic Movie Blog Association's Big Stars on the Small Screen blogathon. There are lots more interesting links at the CMBA site.

...The Warner Archive Collection has announced June titles, including Joan Crawford in THE DAMNED DON'T CRY (1950), Esther Williams in DANGEROUS WHEN WET (1953), and Jean Simmons and Robert Mitchum in ANGEL FACE (1953). For the full list and more details please visit The Extras podcast with Tim Millard and the Warner Archive's George Feltenstein.

...Some classic film reviews I've recently enjoyed reading: At Comet Over Hollywood, Jessica has reviewed Ronald Reagan in the programmer SMASHING THE MONEY RING (1939)...Danilo Castro reviewed SORRY, WRONG NUMBER (1948) for Classic Movie Hub. I enjoyed seeing it for the first time recently at the TCM Classic Film Festival...Colin's latest reviews at Riding the High Country include HIGH WALL (1947) and THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (1940)...CineSavant Glenn Erickson had a very thoughtful and interesting post on the early widescreen John Wayne film THE BIG TRAIL (1930). I wrote about the film after seeing it at the Lone Pine Film Festival in 2018.

...Many thanks to Terry at A Shroud of Thoughts for including me in his roundup of TCM Classic Film Festival coverage. Be sure to check out the coverage from the other bloggers he's linked.

...Notable Passings: Jacklyn Zeman, who played Barbara Jean "Bobbie" Spencer on GENERAL HOSPITAL for over 45 years, has died at the age of 70. Her character was front and center during the 15 years or so I watched the show, and I was very sorry to learn of her too-early passing...Football player turned actor Jim Brown has passed away at the age of 87. His films included RIO CONCHOS (1964), THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967), and ICE STATION ZEBRA (1968)...Austrian actor Helmut Berger has died at 78.

...For additional recent links of interest to classic film fans, please check out my May 6th roundup.


Blogger Margot Shelby said...

Eddie Muller's Noir Bar is of course a must-buy. Since the pandemic I've become a very good home bartender and no boozer can pass up that book. :)

2:05 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Thank you for the shout-out for the CMBA Blogathon, Laura! So much good stuff in this week's round-up - glad to have you back!

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Fairbanks' "Robin Hood" is just astonishing. I saw it with live orchestral accompaniment in the eighties and it remains one of my favorite moviegoer experiences.
Sadly, streamers gutting their offerings is very much the inevitable end scenario I always saw coming. No way were we ever going to get the Library of Alexandria we were promised. Disney might have been the one studio that could have made it work and what a dream that was but they have zero interest in celebrating and sharing their legacy. This just makes me want to grab all the Disney classic titles that are still available on DVD while I can.

5:35 AM  

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