Tuesday, November 07, 2006

a true classic, part 1

Honestly folks, I just don't know about today's roundup. There is so much cool stuff coming out this week, that I don't know how to begin. I know this much- this will definitly be a two-parter, and we will give you the Top Shelf Pick of the Week from last week as well. This week's Top Shelf Pick? A no-brainer as well, I think. And while there is so much that requires your attention, tonight the Top Shelf pick of the week will be appearing on your television screen in your home. Gratis. Ok, well, not exactly free if you have cable or satellite... you get the picture.

Turner Classic Movies
Top Shelf Pick of The Week!
Directed By John Ford
Tonight is the premeire of the new version of Peter Bogdanovich's excellent documentary, Directed By John Ford. Originally premiered in 1971, Bogdanovich’s film features the stars that worked with Ford, and directors who knew him and his work. It was a groundbreaking film which delivered incredible insights into the man and his work. Now, Bogdanovich has revisited his film and added new footage and new interviews with Harry Carey Jr., Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg. The film also further examines Ford’s personal relationships, both with his family and several frequent collaborators.
Several key interviews, such as that with James Stewart, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, and of course, Ford himself have been preserved as well as Orson Welles' original narration. It is a celebration of John Ford movies on TCM. Be there and don't miss this incredible presention. Hopefully we will be able to bring you a full review later. For more information visit TCM.

Top Shelf Picks for TCM this week:
Nov.7th : It's John Ford night every Tuesday night in November. Don't miss our Top Shelf pick of the week. Directed by John Ford (2006), Stagecoach (1939) and They Were Expendable (1945).

Nov.8th : Old Time Radio fans don't want to miss Fibber and Molly, Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy or the Great Gildersleeve in Look Who's Laughing (1941)

Nov.9th : Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in Without Love (1945). Later don't miss Tracy in the powerful Bad Day At Black Rock (1955). And of course you don't want to miss Shelf favorite Ball Of Fire (1941).

Nov. 10th : Are you sure you have No Time For Comedy (1940)? If you've seen You've Got Mail, see the original: The Shop Around The Corner (1940).

Nov.11th : Great films for celebrating and remembering our veterans: The Longest Day (1962), Sergeant York (1941), Stalag 17 (1953) and Kelly's Heroes (1970).

Nov.12th :Old? Not really. Classic- you bet. One of the best animated feature films in the last ten years: The Iron Giant (1999)

Nov.13th : Don't miss the classic romances of Hepburn and Tracey in Woman Of The Year (1942); or Bogie and Bacall in To Have And Have Not (1944). Later it's a trio of musical bio-pics: The Gene Krupa Story (1959), The Jolson Story (1946) and St. Louis Blues (1958)

Sinatra:Vegas Box Set
If you are a fan of crooners like I am, a set of records which includes some previously unreleased live material is something to get excited about. In my opinion, Dean Martin was one the most entertaining stars to listen to live. His humor and wonderful singing really came through outside the confines of the studio. Frank was as dynamic a performer live, really putting the panache on signature songs. Vegas includes 4 cds and a dvd. This set is a must for fans.

Top Shelf Pick of the Week (for last week):
Martin and Lewis Collection Vol.1 and Tarzan Collection, Vol.2
Last week two great collections: Martin and Lewis, Vol. 1 from Paramount and Vol. 2 of Tarzan from Warner Brothers. Paramount's offering is late in the game and was previously scheduled for release this past summer, but was delayed. I'm not entirely sure why, because there are no extras to speak of; still the prints are excellent and it's great to have one of America's best comedy teams to receive a DVD collection. The last set of Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan films are collected for Warner's Vol. 2. Maureen O'Sullivan no longer returned as Jane by this point. This last round of Tarzan films are not as excellent as the first Volume, but excellent entertainment nonetheless. Either way, two excellent choices from last week!

Back to this week's must have releases:
Gary Cooper: The Signature Collection
This year marked the release of several films on DVD that were long overdue. This set from Warner Brothers continues that trend with the release of Sergeant York and King Vidor's highly ambitious (but, in my opinion falling short of the mark) adaptation of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. I am excited to see the release of Sergeant York, as this film has some personal meaning to me and my family. My grandfather was in the army in the beginning of World War II. As his family were sharecroppers and needed his help at home, an economic hardship was released for him. The night he was to leave for home and the day before his unit was to disembark for fighting in North Africa, he and his close buddy went to see Sergeant York in New York. Some days later as the Sgt. of my grandfather's unit was counting heads on the ship as it was in the Atlantic he was surprised to find my grandfather had snuck aboard to stay with his brothers in arms. The Sgt. told him he either had to re-enlist or take his chancs and catch the next boat out of Africa. My grandfather was wounded following Patton and Audie Murphy up through southern Italy. Films can be powerful and effect us in many ways. I can't wait to pick this set up and watch Sergeant York with my granddad. This excellent set also includes the films The Wreak of the Mary Deare, Dallas, and Springfield Rifle.

The Marlon Brando Collection
I remember sitting in English class back in High School and watching A Streetcar Named Desire. Now, I was in theater and film in those days and I knew who Brando was. I respected Brando and his work. I was mesmerized by his performance. Later in the year, as we did our Shakespeare unit, we watched Julius Caesar. And yet Streetcar kept coming back to my mind. I half expected to see him sink to his knees in his toga and scream "Caesar!" For some reason it just didn't work. The film was excellent, but Brando continued to be Brando. Sometimes he could steep himself inside a role and make it his own, other times it was Brando and not the character in the film. To me, Brando was a great talent, but he marks the time where Hollywood stars began to make films as stars and not necessarily as actors. You know, the way that some films aren't so much stories as they are starring vehicles for an actor. No matter how many films they make, they are essentially playing themselves, their image, or the same character over and over. I think Brando fought against that and was truly an excellent actor, but sometimes the directors, the producers, and the public insisted he be Brando. You may begin throwing barbs as I know many of you disagree, but I stand firm in my observation. That shouldn't prevent you from picking up this set, as there are some really excellent films included: The Formula, Julius Caesar, Mutiny on the Bounty, Reflections in a Golden Eye, and Teahouse Of The August Moon.

Cinema Paradiso: Special Edition
Director Giuseppe Tornatore created this love letter to cinema and film fans, which is partially based on his own life. This is perhaps one of my favorite Italian films, and that is saying alot. Cinema Paradiso tells the story of an Italian film director who returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his friend and mentor, a movie projectionist. The story of their friendship and the director's introduction and passion for films is told mainly through flashbacks. Two new documentaries lead the slew of extras included in this 2 disc special edition. Highly recommended.

Several 50th anniversary editions of some Roger and Hammerstein musicals, including Carousel, The King and I and the DVD debut of The Flower Drum Song. Also included is South Pacific (not shown).

Stay tuned tomorrow for part II... more DVDS of classics and legends, including a particularly stylish spy.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.


Anonymous said...

The John Ford film was excellent. I was hoping that it would have been an extra in the John Wayne John Ford dvd set earlier this year- maybe they will release it on DVD later. Some of these biographies only make it as extras. It would be nice to find out what DVDs alot of them are on.

ed said...

Thanks for the tip-
The wife and I spent the evening with John Ford, watching the documentary and then some of the great films like Stagecoach and They were Expendable. All the while playing cards and sipping some nice Merlot. Very nice all around. They don't make films like that anymore, and they don't make directors like that anymore. I wouldn't give you two cents for these whiney kids directors that get up on a soapbox, or the so-called films they make.

Laura said...

What a fabulous story about your grandfather and Sgt. York! (When we were in D.C. a couple years ago my husband made it a point to find Audie Murphy's gravesite at Arlington...)

The Sinatra and Tarzan sets are on my husband's Christmas list! Thanks for all the great tips --

Wolf Flywheel said...

If you listened to our podcast, you know my feelings about the Wayne/Ford box set. There's no way I could be convinced that anyone does it better than those two. Ford is a national treasure.

J.C. Loophole said...

Thanks for your comments Anonymous and Ed. I'm glad you enjoyed the Ford Doc. We hope to bring you more information and reviews from upcoming projects and events from TCM in the future. So stay tuned!

Thanks for your kind words Laura- movies have long been something I've shared with my granddad. I remember watching To Hell and Back with him and hearing my stories, and realizing that no matter how much I ask, there are some things he just won't talk about. At least until he is ready. I hope your husband enjoys the Sinatra, I've been listening a selection on AOLMusic (follow the link in our sidebar) this week, gratis. It makes an excellent preview of the set.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin