January Movies to Watch For

Are we dead? Did the Mayan spaceship blow us up on the winter solstice? No? Then sit your big butts back down on those couches and start watching movies like God and Greyhound intended! Here are some films on Fox Movie Channel, Sundance and TCM for the month of January that you might be interested in. Remember, these movies may be edited, time compressed, in the wrong aspect ratio, have commercial interruptions, or contain subliminal messages compelling you to toss articulated bodies off cliffs as part of a series of elaborate insurance scams. You know how it goes. All times Eastern.   FOX MOVIE CHANNEL Night Train to Paris (1964) January 1, 4:50 AM (early morning) Leslie Nielsen as a retired secret agent on one last mission in Paris. This gets horrible reviews, so beware!   TRIPLE FEATURE ON JANUARY 2ND: Leave Her to Heaven (1945) at 6:00 AM Daisy Kenyon (1947) at 8:00 AM Laura (1947) at 10:00 AM Fox Movie Channel rarely has more than two films in a row worth watching, but this is a terrific line up that you might want to marathon on the 2nd. If you’re not still hung over from the 31st, that is.   The Driver (1978) January 10, 1:15 PM Director Walter Hill’s cult fave about an obsessed cop (Bruce Dern) after a getaway driver (Ryan O’Neal).   Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence (1939) January 10, 4:50 AM (early morning the 11th) A New Yorker’s adventure on the way to … Continue reading

Have a Happy Holiday Weekend!

Hope your holiday is Divine!

The White Shadow (1924)

Watch the surviving reels of Alfred Hitchcock’s earliest feature film The White Shadow (1924) online for free at The National Film Preservation Foundation. It’s only up until January 15, so watch it soon! Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville at their wedding in December, 1926.   Three reels of The White Shadow, about half the film, were recently discovered in New Zealand. In May of this year, Self-Styled Siren, Ferdy on Film and This Island Rod hosted the annual For the Love of Film Blogathon, proceeds of which went to allowing the restored White Shadow to be streamed online. Known as White Shadows in the U.S. and The White Shadow in the U.K., apparently not much is known about the film. Hitch, just 24 years old at the time, adapted the screenplay from Michael Morton’s unpublished novel Children of Chance. Morton was a well known dramatist whose biggest success was to come a few years after Shadow, when he adapted Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd into the play Alibi. Hitch worked many jobs on Shadow; he was not only writer but assistant director, editor and production designer of the film. David Sterrit considers The White Shadow to be a “missing link” in Hitch’s career, an example of work from the bridge of his career between neophyte title designer to director. Shadow is alternately listed as released in 1923 or 1924, with a February, 1924 review from a U.K. publication and Silent Era pinpointing the U.S. release date to October … Continue reading

TCM Remembers 2012

This year’s TCM Remembers, thankfully posted by TCM this year (which means you don’t have to rely on my iffy video editing skills to watch it on YouTube, and that benefits us all). Thanks to eagle eyed SBBN man about town Kingo Gondo for letting me know the video was up! It is a lovely tribute, but I am going to be honest: It’s unfortunate that they had so many people shown for a single brief second while indulging in lengthy gaps for all the filler and atmosphere. But hey, go check it out yourself and see what you think. Update 1/14/2013: It appears TCM has made the video private on YouTube. It can still be found here on Vimeo.

The Late Movies Blogathon: 10 Laps to Go (1936)

For anyone interested in using these posts for research, please read the notes at the bottom of this post. Thank you. *** This post is for shadowplay’s The Late Show: The Late Movies Blogathon. Please visit shadowplay to see more entries in this exceptional series! *** Hot shot speed demon Larry Evans (Rex Lease) has teamed up with the aging engineer Corbett (Tom Moore) for a super fast, super hot new car design he plans to drive in the big race. His rival Eddie DeSilva (Duncan Reynaldo) is an evil, evil man, as you can tell because of an accent that places him somewhere across the ocean, or perhaps south of the border. After DeSilva accuses Evans of taking advantage of the washed-up Corbett, some rousing fisticuffs ensue; they part even greater enemies than before. Tragedy strikes during the race when Larry and his co-driver Steve (Charles Delaney) are injured in a terrible crash, the result of Eddie DeSilva’s sabotage. Because he’s evil, you see. It’s somewhat surprising that Reynaldo would be cast as the stereotypical suspicious foreigner, given that this film was produced by Fanchon Royer, one of the few female producers in Hollywood and known for encouraging studios to create positive Latino/Latina characters and produce well-constructed Spanish language films. Royer worked mostly on Poverty Row, and had a reputation for putting out low budget but smartly produced product. Her films were nearly always released “state’s rights;” that is, released to smaller independent companies throughout the U.S., usually distributing … Continue reading

Elsewhere Today: Writin’ For Spectrum Culture

I have three reviews up on Spectrum Culture today, which should explain why things have been a little quiet around here: Revisit: Death To Smoochy (2002): “…Underneath the obvious joke, Death to Smoochy is practically Shakespearean in its tragedy. Children’s entertainment is used as an analogue for the entire entertainment biz, not merely the crooked world of kid’s shows. The focus is less on the business itself than on its effect on individuals, like former child star Buggy Ding Dong (Vincent Schiavelli), now a drug-addled, urine-covered hit man. Spinner Dunn (Michael Rispoli) had been a boxer, a man once well paid to punch another man for the entertainment of others, now a goofball left with the mind of a young child. Everyone in the biz has been broken by it in some essential way, their dreams discarded as a world of fame, money and groupies overwhelmed them, then discarded them.” *** Addicted To Fame (2012): “Director David Giancola warned Anna Nicole Smith and her partner Howard K. Stern that if she did not complete Illegal Aliens, he would replace her by having her alien character morph into a banana, then he would release the behind-the-scenes footage of her antics and she would be put on, as Giancola said, “the acting blacklist.” The acting blacklist, mind you, as though there is a large leather-bound tome kept hidden in a dungeon somewhere just south of Burbank, guarded by wizened old character actors in retirement, names of misbehaving personalities carefully recorded in the … Continue reading

The Late Show: The Late Movies Blogathon going on now at Shadowplay!

The sublime dcairns of shadowplay is hosting his annual blogathon The Late Show: The Late Films Blogathon. The theme is the last film of… well, of something, or someone. The ‘thon is running from the 1st through the 7th, and you can find all of dcairns’ entries as well as the rest of the submitters here. Yours truly will have at least one post up by Friday, hopefully two, it depends on how a few deadlines work out. Don’t forget to visit shadowplay, and even though it’s late notice, if you have something to contribute, please do!

2013 Silent Film Benefit Calendars are now!

Rodney Sauer of the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra is once again producing the terrific Silent Film Calendars, with proceeds this year going to benefit George Eastman House. This year’s theme is Flying Machines, and as you can see from the cover, Wings (1927) features prominently. Look closely: The official SBBN patron saint El Brendel is on the left. That’s why you should buy two calendars, or maybe three. Please check out the official page at the Mont Alto site here. Calendars are $14.72 for U.S. shipping, with modest discounts for buying more than one, and the profits go to a good cause! I’ve bought a calendar for the past several years, and they have been both fun and useful. The birthdays of silent film stars listed on the calendar has saved my bacon more than once. Plus, this year promises to have at least one photo of a dirigible, and you can’t pass that up. Nobody can.

December Movies to Watch For

Here are a few films on Sundance, Fox Movies and TCM for the month of December that you might be interested in. Remember, films may be edited, time compressed, in the wrong aspect ratio, or have hard-coded Klingon subtitles. You know how it goes.   FOX MOVIE CHANNEL A Royal Scandal (1945) December 3, 7:40 AM (and again the 7th) Tallulah Bankhead as Catherine the Great and Charles Coburn as her wily chancellor. Tallu looks marvelous, Coburn is amazing and the supporting cast (Vincent Price, Anne Baxter) are terrific. Give this one a go.   The Black Swan (1942) December 10, 6:00 AM (again on the 20th) Tyrone Power as a pirate, swashbuckling and making the ladies swoon. With George Sanders and Laird Cregar.   Too Good To Be True (1988) December 12, 9:30 AM This is a made-for-TV remake of Leave Her to Heaven starring Loni Anderson and Patrick Duffy (and a very young Neil Patrick Harris). Now, I’m not averse to TV movies, but this was absolutely rotten. I saw it in high school and really, really wish I hadn’t. Anderson is in a bikini much of the time, flirting with one of the Baldwin brothers (Daniel), the hunky hired hand. Duffy is her novelist husband, and Harris is the boy, no longer the brother but the son of Duffy’s character. Duffy just kind of stands there until the script says “Yell about something,” which he does. And the change to the plot they made to make it … Continue reading

Elsewhere This Week: Anniversaries, Giveaways and Gunfights

Lots of stuff to point you to this week! First up is my article at Spectrum Culture on 3:10 to Yuma (1957 & 2007) for their Re-Make/Re-Model feature. The 1957 film is an absolute classic — I’d love to say “undisputed,” but nothing in the world of cinema is undisputed. It’s philosophical chaos! Madness reigns! Ahem. The two leads in each film give masterful performances, though for my money, Glenn Ford is the stand out. The remake, while flawed, is worthwhile. Let me put it this way: There are worse ways to make film than by getting a grew together and saying, “Okay, we’ll use John Ford location shots, Surtees camera angles and fill it with Peckinpah violence. Huh? Whaddya think?” I’m pretty excited about this article, so please, check it out! *** Films From Beyond the Time Barrier is celebrating its second anniversary! Brian has a terrific celebratory post featuring a Diabolic Dual Personality Double Feature about everyone’s favorite dual-personality sociopath, Jekyll and Hyde. Go on over and wish Brian a happy second! Meanwhile, at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, Ivan is asking readers to help decide which serial he’s going to do next for Serial Saturdays! See, he is a normal human being, which is why in the time it’s taken me to finish Phantom Creeps, he’s done three serials, maybe four, plus wallpapered the hallway and dug up a few old stumps in the back yard. Braggart. But he’s also giving away VCI’s new box set release Dick … Continue reading