Sunday, March 30, 2008

man of a thousand faces and furies coming to dvd

Universal is releasing a Cagney film on DVD that I haven't seen in years: Man of a Thousand Faces. The film is the life story of the great Lon Chaney - known as the "man of a thousand faces" because of his great ability to bury himself in a role and completely change himself onscreen. While the movie includes some fictionalized parts, a lot of Chaney's life is there up on the screen. And Cagney really tackles this role with reverence and maturity (it was a later role for Cagney- made in 1957). It's one of those films that you just love and want to learn more about the man portrayed. Cagney's co-stars were Jack Albertson, Jim Bakkus, Dorothy Malone and his sister Jeanne Cagney (her next to last film)
Famous NY Times critic from the past, Bostley Crowther had some critical things to say about the screenplay and film, but praised Cagney's performance.
From his 1957 review:
"With not too much help from the screenplay, Mr. Cagney none the less gives a stirring sense of the actor's devotion to his first wife, to his infant son, to his aging parents and to his profession, which he stubbornly pursues through a hard career in vaudeville to eventual stardom in Holly wood. Being Mr. Cagney, it is difficult for him to remove all the familiar Cagney cockiness and pugnacity from the role. Even so, there is an abundance of tenderness, sensitivity and pride in his creation of the driven actor. This is the heart of the film."
Universal will release the DVD on June 24, 2008. It is available for pre-order at

Also on June 24, Criterion will be releasing something I've been hoping for: The Furies with Barbara Stanwyck and Walter Houston in his very last role. Director Anthony Mann guides this great 1950 western melodrama about a struggle between a controlling father and his tough father. Set in 1870s New Mexico, widowed rancher T. C. Jeffords (Houston) is constantly at odds with his daughter, Vance (Stanwyck) over everything, but especially over who she will marry and what she will inherit. Jeffords is furious about her choice in a suitor- and does what he can to destroy their impending marriage. Vance isn't also too happy about Jefford's decision to remarry- a woman she believes is after the family fortune.
It's a beautifully shot film and earned an Oscar nod for Victor Milner for cinematography. Criterion promises a new digital transfer and great extras, including a 1931 on camera interview
with Walter Houston. It is also available for pre-order from

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.

Barbara Stanwyck loved doing westerns more than anything where she had to dress up frilly and chase after a man. At heart, she's a cowgirl. Or a cowboy - she's one of the toughest, most no-nonsense women in this town, and she stopped playing the old cat-and-mouse game years ago.".

sallie's back

Here is some welcome news- our old pal Sallie is back, blogging away at The Vintage Place. Shelfers will remember that Sallie pulled her blog down earlier this year - but we are glad to say she is back! We've missed her fun blog and look at OTR, pop culture, movies, soundtracks and more. So what are you waiting for? Go visit The Vintage Place and welcome her back. And tell her ol' Uncle Loophole sent ya'.

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.

Tough beans buddy, 'cause that's the way it's gonna be.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

dvd review: the val lewton collection

Not too long ago we were fortunate enough to be able to preview Martin Scorsese's new documentary about film maker Val Lewton, The Man in the Shadows. We were also lucky to be able to interview Lewton's son, Val E. Lewton, about his father's life and career. On both occasions I got a glimpse into a very private person who brought a special touch to films, and elevated what began has a plan for cheesy horror films, and turned them into cult classics. This year, Warner Brothers has reissued The Val Lewton Collection Box set and included a copy of the new documentary as well. If you have these films in your collection, then you are familiar with them. If you haven't, now is an excellent opportunity to get the set with the new doc. But is it really worth your hard earned ducats? How well do the films hold up? Is the set worth the valuable space on your DVD shelf? How are you going to answer these nagging questions? By checking out our review of course! So sit back, relax and read our review of The Val Lewton Collection.

The Hard Facts:
The Val Lewton Collection
6 Discs in keepcases
Studio: Warner Brothers
Black and White/ Color (documentaries)
Full Screen/Wide Screen
Original Studio: RKO
Release Date: 1/29/2008
Rated: NR
Stars: Various
Director: Various

We discussed Lewton's career and background in our review of The Man in the Shadows, which you can read at this link. However he is a section from that article, regarding Lewton's tenure at RKO:
" RKO gave Lewton’s unit (which became known as “The Snake Pit”) two things to work with: a pre-ordained title and a small budget. Although a producer, Lewton’s touch on his films is apparent; it is why he is often talked about in the sense a director would be discussed. He worked on the stories, often devising plots and themes which were at once literary and immediate; belying the cheesy titles given to him by the studio. During his stay at RKO, Lewton produced 11 films, nine of which were considered “horror” films. He worked with several directors who would find even further success and impact on the industry later, including Jacques Tourner (Out of the Past), Mark Robson (The Bridges at Toko-Ri and Peyton Place) and Robert Wise (West Side Story, The Sound of Music and a host of others). Lewton elevated Wise from editor to director on Curse of the Cat People when the previous director was over schedule and over budget....

...Perhaps what is most unique about Lewton’s films is the style in which he told his stories. Hampered by a small budget, he relied on creative lighting ( and shadows) and sound and a company of wonderful stock players and character actors to convey the story. His techniques have inspired other film makers (including Scorsese, Hitchcock, M. Night Shyamalan to name a few). The basic philosophy was to trust the intellect of the audience- that the unseen could be just as chilling as the seen. In many ways, Lewton’s films are almost like a radio suspense show on screen. The ambient sounds, the selective use of music and the shadows all combine to create an effect that allows the audience to feel the tension and fill in the blanks, without having everything splashed across the screen. His son Val E. Lewton agreed with that observation (a fan of radio shows himself) and further noted that his father considered “the imagination a function of the audience. It [his technique] may have had a lot to do with the budget, but it also was his instinct in knowing the audience.”

RKO executives eyed Universal's profits from the Monster pictures with envy. It's somewhat understandable because Orson Wells obsessions had cost them dearly. Although eventually, Citizen Kane would be recognized as one of the greatest pictures of all time, at the time the box office returns were dismal. Bringing on Lewton to head their new horror unit was designed from the outset to be a "B" unit; making films quickly and cheaply that would turn an even quicker profit. To RKO that meant very little time for tinkering, reshoots, story process, etc. Get a story and budget, a cast and shoot it was what they were after.

The Films:
For the review of Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, which is included in the set on a separate disc, please read our previous in-depth review here. You can also read many great articles about the man and his films from the recent Val Lewton blogathon at The Evening Class.

Cat People / Curse of the Cat People
For Lewton's first film with RKO, the studio heads handed him a title- Cat People- and a budget and told him to get it in on time. The title would've insulted another director. Lewton saw it as a challenge. He filmed a story of relationships, superstition, psychological fear and sexual desire. Cat People tells the tale of a young Serbian transplant to New York, Irena, who retains the fears and superstitions of her ancestors. The thing she fears the most is that on some night, when aroused by a man, that she will turn into a panther and wreak violent havoc upon her beloved. Despite this she falls in love and marries a architect named Oliver. She eventually betrays her fears to her husband and he recommends she a therapist, Dr. Judd. However, when Irena begins to suspect that her husband's friendship with a co-worker is more than just business, she begins to follow the other woman.
Audiences are never explicitly told or shown that Irena really transforms into the panther, although we do see shadows of a large cat. By the same token, it's not necessary, because Lewton and director Jacuques Tourner create an atmosphere in which you are drawn in and the slightest, smallest noise reverberates in the audience's mind- creating fear and emotion and the notion that maybe, just maybe, you really did see something.

While The Curse of the Cat People includes some of the same characters, the story is very different. This time the film centers on a young girl, Amy, whose imagination and daydreaming not only gets her in trouble at school, but has made it difficult for her to fit in and make friends. This worries her father, Oliver, who has now remarried and moved from New York City to small and quiet Tarrytown, NY. He tries to help her, but has a hard time understanding how to do so. When Amy runs across a hidden picture of Oliver’s first wife, Irena, the apparition of Irena begins to appear to Amy and comfort and befriend her, but warns Amy not to tell anyone of their friendship. Does Amy really see Irena or is it her imagination? While the set up sounds like a standard ghost story, Lewton and Director Robert Wise turn it into a look into the loneliness of childhood and the way fantasy can weave its way into the life of a child to compensate for a lack of companionship and real affection. This film is so much more than its title and premise. It is one of Lewton’s best.

The Seventh Victim
The Seventh Victim is a very dark tale about a young woman, Mary searching for her missing sister, Jacqueline, the owner of popular line of women's products. Her search soon leads her to the discovery of a secret husband, Gregory, and the mysterious involvement of a satanic cult. Gregory knows that Jacqueline is alive and he and poet that Mary befriends named Jason, agree to help find Jacqueline. They discover that she is alive and being hidden by Dr. Judd (yes, that's the doctor from Cat People). Jacqueline was involved with the Satanic Cult, but left upon discovering their true nature. The Cult demands that anyone who speaks of the cult must die, and yet they are sworn to non-violence. They demand that Jacqueline kill herself or die by some other means.
The studio head explicitly told Lewton repeatedly that they did not want "message pictures." After reviewing The Seventh Victim, they approached Lewton about the film, not really understanding it. When asked if there was a message in the film, Lewton replied, "Yes. Death is good." Reflecting, not a sadistic nature (Lewton was the opposite), but yet a mind that thought about life and death and the suffering and unhappiness that sometimes we all endure.

I Walked with a Zombie/ The Body Snatcher:
Although studio heads at RKO were not initially impressed with Cat People, they became impressed with its profits. They quickly gave Lewton another title and another budget, this time one sillier than the first: I Walked with a Zombie. Again, rather than complain loudly, Lewton took on the challenge to take the title and make the film rise above it. He even takes the title head-on by making it the first line of the film, but from that point on it becomes so much more. A nurse, Betty Connell is given a job to care for a mysteriously ill and semi-comatose woman on an island in the Caribbean. Connell soon finds herself at the estate of the wealthy Holland family, who runs the sugar production on the island. Jessica Holland, wife of Tom Holland, is her patient, and it soon becomes clear that Jessica’s condition is much more than what it appears. When the voodoo drums beat through the night, Jessica rises and is called into the sugar cane. Connell is intrigued and frightened, and is determined to get to the bottom of Jessica’s problem. Meanwhile she finds herself torn between her duty and her feelings for Tom. Things become even more complicated when she discovers Tom’s wife was in love with his brother. Again, Lewton takes a potentially ridiculous title, and turns the film into something literary. This time Zombie is based on Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.

The Body Snatcher is a film from later in Lewton’s turn at RKO, and it also is based on a book. This time it’s Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Body Snatcher. It stars the great Boris Karloff as a 19th century grave digger who plunders and eventually hunts down corpses for a medical school’s supply of cadavers. Karloff is brilliant in this film; menacing and dark. The film also features a small role for Bela Lugosi and is the last time the two icons of horror appeared on-screen together.

The Ghost Ship/The Leopord Man
Here again, Lewton takes a seemingly dull request from RKO and turns it into something much better. RKO had a ship built for a previous film, and wanting to get more of it, tasked Lewton with making a sea-going film. The result is the suspenseful The Ghost Ship starring Richard Dix. Dix is Will Stone, the captain of the ship, The Altair, and has just taken on a new crewman, Tom Merriam. At first, things seem to be going well. Merriam is getting on well, and the voyage is going fairly well. And then several members of the crew die under mysterious circumstances. Merriam eventually suspects Stone, and the ship takes on eerie, dark atmosphere- almost choking the air out of the sea. He attempts to prove that Captain Stone is mad and responsible for the murders, but Merriam is discredited and fired. When they dock, Merriam leaves, but is involved in a fight and is knocked unconscious. When he awakes he finds that he has been brought back to The Altair by mistake and is out to sea. Merriam fears his fate.

The Leopard Man is an attempt to build upon the success of Cat People, but the film bears no connection to the first film. The film takes place in New Mexico. Jerry Manning has purchased a Leopard (the same one Lewton used in Cat People) to help promote his girlfriend, Kiki, a nightclub singer. When her competition sees how successful it is, she startles the cat, hoping to ruin the act. However, the Leopard escapes from the club and soon people are found clawed to death. Jerry and Kiki try to hunt the big cat down, but begin to think something more sinister is at work. This film has a famous and haunting scene- a young girl, late on her way home from market, sees the Leopard and runs home for safety but is locked out by her mother. Her mother and brother hear her knocking and scratching at the door, but she refuses to open the door to teach her a lesson. Then the girl screams and the mother realizes something is really wrong. The audiences sees the mother staring in horror at the door, as the girl screams and the door is clawed and then there is silence. The camera pans down to the floor and we see blood oozing under the doorway. You never see the Leopard or the girl in that moment- just the door. It is one of the most chilling sequences in all of his films and you don't really see anything. Again- it demonstrates Lewton's philosophy and method of using shadows and light and sound, and letting the imagination and mind of the audience to do the rest.

Isle of the Dead/Bedlam
One of the more creative and happy combinations in Lewton's films is his work with Boris Karloff. Intially reluctant to work together, the men eventually discovered much to admire in each other, and worked very well together. Isle of the Dead is a departure for Karloff. He plays a Greek general during the First Balkan War in 1912–1913. On a small island, he and the population are quarantined, due to fears of the plague. As you may surmise, bodies begin to turn up, and the populace is convinced that is the work of a woman they believe to be a vorvolaka- a sort of vampire devil.

Bedlam is also different, and Karloff always referred to it as a "historical picture." Set in 1700s London, Karloff plays Master Sims, the head of St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum. He is constantly seeking power and place - something only the nobility have. He sees his position, and his benefactor and superior, Lord Mortimer as a means to position and wealth. However, Sims is a sadistic villan who delights in abusing the so-called "loonies": the inmates. When one of Lord Mortimer's proteges, Nell Bowen, begins to suspect Sims true nature, he manipulates her commitment to the asylum and places her in constant peril- trying to drive her mad. Both claustrophobic and atmospheric, Bedlam is a psychological period thriller. It was Karloff's last film with Lewton.

Bonus Features:
Special features include: Audio commentary: Greg Mank with Simone Simon on Cat People and Curse of the Cat People, Kim Newman and Steve Jones on I Walked With a Zombie, Steve Haberman with Robert Wise on The Body Snatcher, Tom Weaver on Bedlam, and Steve Haberman on The Seventh Victim. Also included on the Seventh Victim disc is a full length documentary, Shadows In The Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy. The commentaries are interesting, especially the input of Simone Simon who played Irena and director Robert Wise. Shadows in the Dark is a well done documentary, with some great interviews with past collaborators and family members. Martin Scorsese's documentary goes deeper into Lewton's work and the films themselves- so having both is a welcome thing. In fact, if you already own this collection, the Scorsese film is also available separately. It is worth adding to the set.

The audio and video are nothing short of great. While a few of the prints bear some brief instances of scratching, it is nothing substantial. Great care was taken to restore the sound, an important element of the films.

The Bottom Line:
The Val Lewton Collection
is a wonderful set of films that anyone should add to their DVD library. Not only are the films great classic horror films, it should be evident how influencial they were on the work of others and how much they added to the history of film. In many ways, Lewton preceded the increasing film noir genre, adding many elements that would be more consistantly in that genre of film making. The films aren't typical horror films, in the way we think of them today. Think of them more like Hitchcock films that provide a bridge between the german expressionists and noir films of the late 1940s and 1950s. (Hitch and Lewton were contemporaries and had a mutual respect for each other). The documentaries also demonstrate how Lewton tapped into the fear and tension that the American public was feeling during World War II, and how he used his films to somewhat demonstrate that fear: the fear of the unknown and of what man can do to his fellow man.

Review Rating:
Individually grading the films and bonus features, the sets would earn the following:
Cat People / Curse of the Cat People: A+/A+
The Seventh Victim: B+
I Walked with a Zombie/ The Body Snatcher: A+/A
The Ghost Ship/The Leopord Man: B/B
Isle of the Dead/Bedlam: B/B
Shadows In The Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy: B
Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows: A
Remaing Bonus Features: C

Overall Rating:

The Shelf rates The Val Lewton Collection:
4 and 1/2 stars (Groucho Glasses)

Stay tuned for a review of The Warner Brothers Gangster Collection Vol. 3- and of The Season 4 set of Walker: Texas Ranger in our new TV on DVD review series- all coming up soon!

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.

Everything good dies here. Even the stars.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

richard widmark dead at 93

Veteran actor Richard Widmark has passed away at the age of 93, according to news sources. The tough guy image he carried with him saw him through countless westerns, crime and film noir films. His debut film was partly responsible for this initial image- it was a breakout role as a sadistic hit man in the film noir classic, Kiss of Death. He was an instant hit, and was nominated for an Oscar. He laughed as he killed his victim, sending chills up the spine. He later said of the role; "That damned laugh of mine! For two years after that picture, you couldn't get me to smile. I played the part the way I did because the script struck me as funny and the part I played made me laugh. The guy was such a ridiculous beast."

My favorite Widmark films are Broken Lance with Spencer Tracy and the great Sam Fuller flick, Pickup on South Street. Pickup also featured a fantastic perfomance from actress Thelma Ritter. Widmark also starred in John Wayne's The Alamo, although the two didn't always get along during filming. You can read some very nice tributes to Widmark at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings and at Libertas.

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.

Sometimes you look for oil, you hit a gusher.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

easter fun

We've been a bit MIA lately- that's what Jury Duty, new responsibilities at work and grading final papers will do for you. We beg your forgiveness and ask you to stay tuned for reviews next week and lots of other fun stuff. In the meantime, it's Easter- are you ready?

I love this time of year. It's a season of renewal and spiritual rebirth. There are certain films that I love to watch to celebrate the season: Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town, It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown....And while all these are great and absolutely wonderful, nothing quite fills me with the simple "joie de vive" that Easter Parade does. Fred Astaire is almost superhumanly talented and is paired with the equally amazingly talented Judy Garland and wonderful Ann Miller! The music is great and while it seems to have little to do with Easter- the colors, the music and the story of a second chance of getting it right seems to get me in the Joy of Easter mood. So in celebration of Easter- here are some great clips from Easter Parade:

First up: Drum Crazy- simply awesome:

And now: A Couple of Swells

Happy Easter to you and yours.

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.

Why didn't you tell me I was in love with you?

Friday, March 21, 2008

new contest in television land

Alright ladies and gents- we've had a winner in our latest contest and we've had a winner of our Animal Planet SuperPack Contest. Congrats to Daniel, our SuperPack winner!

Now we have a new contest with a new set of DVDs from Paramount and CBS DVD! The prize? A double dip! Each winner will received a copy of The Fugitive Season One, Volume Two and The Love Boat Season One, Volume One. Lucky winners will be drawn at random from emails to our inbox. SO GET THOSE EMAILS IN! All you have to do send an email to (note the rules below) with a subject line of Fugitive/Love Boat Giveaway in the subject line.

The rules are simple:

Email us your entry at
1.You MUST include: Your name and full address in the body of the email, and "Fugitive/Love Boat Giveaway" must be in the subject line.
2. The contest is only open to US residents
3. Only one entry per email address (and household, please!)
4. Contest ends on Friday, March 28th at 11:59pm. We will draw the winner and notify them by email sometime on March 29th.

Please note that your information will be held confidential and will not be published and only used solely for identifying the winner and shipping the prize. Also, we will mail the prize to you, but cannot guarantee that the post office will treat it with the same respect as we will when we send it out. We will only guarantee that we will mail it to the address you provide to us.
So get those emails in and good luck!

Let the contest begin!

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.

I thought we were gonna get television. The truth is... television is gonna get us.

Monday, March 03, 2008

happy 85th warner brothers!

This year marks 85 years of movie making for Warner Brothers Studios. They've come a long way from small beginnings with 4 brothers to the special effects blockbusters of today. They were one of several innovators and investors in sound technology, helping to push Hollywood towards sound features. Recently, WB announced they were going strictly Blu-Ray, turning another page in the ongoing changes in technology in entertainment. While the future may hold something different for us in how we watch movies, I'm fairly certain they will include great films and animation made by the many stars, animators, directors and producers of Warner Brothers.
To celebrate Warner Brothers has announced their plans for 2008, which include some re-releases and new to DVD titles and box sets. Each quarter is themed in a way, and will see the release of certain titles. Here is how the quarters will break down:

Q1 - Oscars and Warner Gangsters
Special Editions, Ultimate Collector's Editions:
Bonnie and Clyde UCE, Special Edition
GoodFellas: Special Edition
Heat: Special Edition*
Once Upon a Time in America: Special Edition
True Romance: Special Edition
Re-released box sets:
Film Noir Classics Collection: Volume 1
Film Noir Classics Collection: Volume 2
Film Noir Classics Collection: Volume 3
Film Noir Classics Collection: Volume 4
Warner Bros. Gangsters Collection Vol.1
Warner Bros. Gangsters Collection Vol.2 (formerly tough guys)
New sets:
Bette Davis Collection Vol.3
Joan Crawford Vol. 2
Warner Brothers Gangster Collection Vol. 3

Q-2 Sinatra and Dirty Harry
Special Editions, Ultimate Collector's Editions

All of the Dirty Harry films in an Ultimate Collector’s Edition set
Dirty Harry 2-Disc Special Edition (1971)
Magnum Force Deluxe Edition (1973)
The Enforcer Deluxe Edition (1976)
Sudden Impact Deluxe Edition (1983)
Dead Pool Deluxe Edition (1988)
also a bonus Disc: Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows
Rat Pack Ultimate Collector’s Edition
(Ocean’s Eleven, 4 for Texas, Robin and the 7 Hoods and Sergeants 3 with with an exclusive music CD and rare collectibles)
Repackaged or Re-released sets:
Frank Sinatra & Gene Kelly Collection:
(Take Me Out to the Ball Game, On the Town and
Anchor’s Aweigh)
New Sets
2 Frank Sinatra Box Sets:
Frank Sinatra:The Golden Years & The Early Years
(Containing the films: The Man with Golden Arm, None But the Brave
Some Came Running, The Tender Trap, Marriage on the Rocks
Double Dynamite, Step Lively, It Happened In Brooklyn and
The Kissing Bandit)

Q3 – Superheroes, Musicals, Westerns
Special Editions, Ultimate Collector's Editions:
Batman Begins Limited Edition Gift Set
Batman Anthology BD
How The West Was Won UCE, Special Edition
An American in Paris SE
Gigi SE
New Box sets:
Errol Flynn Westerns
Western Classics Collection
Classic Musicals From The Dream Factory Volume 3
(Including: Hit The Deck, Kismet,Deep in My Heart, Broadway Melody of 1936, Broadway Melody of 1938, Born to Dance, Lady Be Good, Nancy Goes To Rio and Two Weeks With Love)

Q4 - Horror/Sci-Fi and Holiday
Special Editions, Ultimate Collector's Editions:
A Christmas Story Ultimate Collector’s Edition
New Box sets:
Classic Horror collection with Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre
A New Warner Bros Holiday Collection

Warners also announced that there will be 50 new to DVD titles to come out this year including: All This And Heaven, Too, The Beast With Five Fingers, Black Legion, Brother Orchid, Deception, Flamingo Road, Gold Diggers Of 1937, Inside Daisy Clover, Kid Galahad, Lady Killer, The Mayor Of Hell, Night Nurse, None But The Brave, Pete Kelly’s Blues, San Antonio, Thank Your Lucky Stars, Three On A Match, Virginia City and Watch On The Rhine.

There will also be additional titles released from other film catalogs that Warners owns such as films from RKO and MGM.

To top it all off, Warner, in partnership with the American Masters series on PBS is presenting a new six hour documentary about the 85 years of Warners entitiled: You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story produced, written and directed by Richard Schickel and narrated by Clint Eastwood. You Must Remember This will first be presented on American Masters in September, 2008. The documentary will be released on DVD in September 2008 alongside a 550-page full-color companion book written by Schickel and George Perry, with an introduction by Eastwood.

Although this press release comes from Warner Brothers, and I've confirmed the contents of some of the sets with them, that doesn't necessarily mean that there can't be surprises along the way. As always, we'll keep you informed. So plan accordingly and stay tuned!

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.

Thank God for film. It can capture a performance and hold it right there forever. And if anyone says to you, "Who was he?" or, "Who was she?" or, "What made them so good?" I think a piece of film answers that question better than any words I know of.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

pre-code hollywood on tcm

As we say goodbye to 31 Days of Oscar tonight, we move on to a night of pre-code Hollywood films and a brand new documentary on Turner Classic Movies Monday, March 3rd. Just in time for Tuesday's release of Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 2. We'll have a review here at The Shelf of course. But in the meantime check it out (all times are eastern):

7:00 PM The Divorcee (1930)
The double standard destroys a liberal couple's marriage. Stars: Norma Shearer, Chester Morris and Robert Montgomery. Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard.

8:30 PM Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (2008)
This documentary looks at how the social, financial and moral forces all helped shape one of the most intriguing periods in Hollywood history.

9:45 PM Night Nurse (1931)
A nurse discovers that the children she's caring for are murder targets. Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon and Clark Gable. Directed by: William A. Wellman.

11:00 PM Three on a Match (1932)
A woman's childhood friends try to rescue her from gangsters. Stars: Joan Blondell, Bette Davis and Ann Dvorak. Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy.

12:15 AM Female (1933)
A female CEO who's used to buying love meets her match in an independent young executive. Stars: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent and Johnny Mack Brown. Directed by: Michael Curtiz.

1:30 AM Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (2008)
Encore Presentation

2:45 AM A Free Soul (1931)
A hard-drinking lawyer's daughter falls for one of his underworld clients. Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Norma Shearer, Clark Gable. Directed by: Clarence Brown.

Lots of interesting films that haven't been seen in years. In 2006, we reviewed Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 1 (here) and we made this comment:
I think the DVD set could have really benefited from a documentary on Pre-Code Hollywood, but since this is Volume One, perhaps that will be forthcoming in a later Volume. There are a lot more Pre-Code films out there, so one can hope.

Thou Shalt Not is that documentary and it will be included in Volume 2, along with the films: The Divorcee, A Free Soul, Night Nurse, Three on a Match, and Female. So check out tomorrow's TCM lineup and then order yourself a copy of Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 2. And be sure to check back with us for a full review.

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.

There's only one guy in the world that can do a nurse any good and that's a patient with dough! Just catch one of them with a high fever and a low pulse and make him think you saved his life and you'll be getting somewhere.


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