The VCR / DVR / Streaming Alert Thread

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dws1982
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Postby dws1982 » Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:49 pm

Tomorrow they're showing Marie Dressler movies, and a lot of those are not available on DVD.

At 10:00 PM they show her winning performance in Min and Bill, and at 11:15 PM they show her nominated performance in Emma.

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Postby Damien » Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:50 pm

Tee, I couldn't stop laughing at your account of your He Who Must Die screening, especially the Col. Boogey March. (I might not have felt the same way had I been there, though.)

The Trans-Lux 85th Street was one of my favorite theatres. The little faux French village lobby was wondrous. I curse the apartment house that stands in its place every time I pass it.

I only post in the Alerts thread when there's a film that is rarely screened. Plus it has to be of some interest, either because of an Oscar nomination or a worthwhile director. I don't bother, for example, with obscure J. Lee Thompson British films from the mid-50s.
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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:29 am

Thanks, dws, re: Outcast.

I saw He Who Must Die, but under about the worst circumstances imaginable. I was a high school junior; several classes, including ours, were taken (compelled) to see it, around the corner at the long-defunct Trans-Lux 85th Street. Given that it was subtitled and full of religious allegory/symbolism, you can imagine it was not a project to warm the hearts of late teens (even ones from a thought-elite school). People started making sophomoric cracks very early on (whistling the Col. Bogey March when a group of, I believe, lepers appeared); before long it was at Mystery Science Theatre 3000 level. Finally a teacher came to the front and chewed us out; we all got in serious trouble. So, it's hard for me to trust any opinion I have. (For what it's worth, however -- I know she's loathed around here -- Pauline Kael thought the whole thing was pseudo-arty horse-pucky).

One Way Passage was a movie of which I'd never heard until my mother-in-law started describing the plot. We tracked it down and taped it for her off TNT (back in the days when it had all the TCM movies). I was startled to discover it was actually an Oscar-winner for screenplay. It's sentimental, needless to say, but packs a punch.

They Won't Forget is in the same pretty-decent class as They Won't Believe Me.

The Seventh Cross is one of the most tension-filled behind enemy lines films I've ever seen. Literally every character except Tracy is a potential betrayer; it's truly nerve-racking to watch him feel out each one in succession.

John Cromwell, the director of Abe Lincoln in Illinois, is probably best known today as James Cromwell's father. But I've always thought of him as one of the most interesting trivia-question directors, along the lines of What director you've practically never heard of directed the most movies you have heard of? Of Human Bondage, The Prisoner of Zenda, Algiers, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, The Enchanted Cottage, Since You Went Away, Anna and the King of Siam, Caged, The Goddess -- there are directors with major reputations with not close to as many familiar titles.




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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:17 pm

dws1982 wrote:Has anyone seen Anthony Mann's Reign of Terror (aka Black Book) off of TCM? I passed up on the chance to record it the other day because I had it coming from Netflix, only to put the disc in and find out that it looked worse than a 10th generation VHS. It was truly unwatchable.

Has anyone ever watched Jules Dassin's He Who Must Die? I'm not a huge fan of Dassin based on what I've seen, but I've really been wanting to see that for awhile, since it's based on one of my five or so favorite novels of all time. (Kazantzakis's Christ Recrucified, aka The Greek Passion.) MGM HD apparently aired it earlier this month, but DirecTV took it out of the regular package, so I don't have it anymore. But if it's worthy and if I can find that MGM HD is going to air it again in a few months, I might see about getting it added again so I can DVR it. (When I had it, MGM HD actually showed some pretty good, and pretty rare films, usually in pristine prints, although not all were true HD.)

The Black Book is a good film even if Robert Cummings is miscast. Reign of Terror is the U.K. title.

I caught a glimpse of it on TCM while it was on. It looked great compared to the horrid public domain copies available on DVD.

I've never seen He Who Must Die.

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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:11 pm

Penelope wrote:Thanks for the reminders; One Way Passage has been on my list of Most Want to See But Not Yet Available on DVD for years; I haven't seen The Gorgeous Hussy, but I thought it was about the Margaret Eaton scandal in Jackson's first term? I've also long wanted to see The Key, partly because Jan de Hartog's novel has an interesting plot: a good-time girl passes her housekey from soldier to soldier during WWII, giving them a good time before they head off to the front.

I may be a bit hazy on the relationship between Andrew Jackson and Peggy O'Neal Eaton as it's been a long time since I've seen The Gorgeous Hussy. I could be wrong that she was his cousin and acted as hostess at for him at the White House, but not the fact that Beulah Bondi as Rachel Jackson dies early on to make way for Crawford.

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Postby dws1982 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:10 pm

Mister Tee wrote:If you have access to the TCM schedule, do you know if Outcast of the Islands is upcoming? I thought I'd heard a report to that effect a while back; it's one Carol Reed film I've always been unable to track down.

August 22, 8 PM.

Has anyone seen Anthony Mann's Reign of Terror (aka Black Book) off of TCM? I passed up on the chance to record it the other day because I had it coming from Netflix, only to put the disc in and find out that it looked worse than a 10th generation VHS. It was truly unwatchable. I'd hope and imagine that TCM might have got their hands on a better print than that, because that was probably the single worst DVD I've ever seen.

Also, has anyone ever watched Jules Dassin's He Who Must Die? I'm not a huge fan of Dassin based on what I've seen, but I've really been wanting to see that for awhile, given that it's based on one of my five or so favorite novels ever (Kazantzakis's Christ Recrucified, aka The Greek Passion.). MGM HD apparently aired it earlier this month, but DirecTV took it out of the regular package, so I don't have it anymore. But if it's worthy and if I can find that MGM HD is going to air it again in a few months, I might see about getting it added again so I can DVR it. (When I had it, MGM HD actually showed some pretty good, and pretty rare films, usually in pristine prints, although not all were true HD.)




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Postby Penelope » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:44 pm

Thanks for the reminders; One Way Passage has been on my list of Most Want to See But Not Yet Available on DVD for years; I haven't seen The Gorgeous Hussy, but I thought it was about the Margaret Eaton scandal in Jackson's first term? I've also long wanted to see The Key, partly because Jan de Hartog's novel has an interesting plot: a good-time girl passes her housekey from soldier to soldier during WWII, giving them a good time before they head off to the front.
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Postby flipp525 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:04 pm

Big Magilla wrote:9/3 10:15 P.M. - The Candiate (1972) - Jeremy Larner's literate Oscar winning screenplay is the best thing about Mic hAel Ritchie's somewhat muted film with Robert Redford as an idealistic Senatorial candidate.

If anyone is in the D.C. area (rolo, for instance), The Candidate is also the July 21st feature of "Screen on the Green", the outdoor theater fest with movies shown on the National Mall during the summer. Shows start at 7pm. Others include:

* Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), July 28th
* The Apartment (1960), August 4th
* Superman (1978), August 11th

Big Magilla wrote:4:15 A.M. - Blossoms in the Dust (1941) - to be released on DVD in November. One of the better Garson-Pidgeon collaborations based on a true story about Edna Gladney's fight for equal rights for illegitimate children in Texas.

A must-see. One of my favorites of the 40's.




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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:04 pm

They Won't Believe must be TCM's new run it 'til they can't stand it anymore film - it's repeated in August and again in September.

Here are some more not on DVD films worth catching up with on TCM:

(All times Eastern)

6/4 9 A.M. - The Divine Lady (1929) - Frank Lloyd's first Oscar for best director - one of only two of the thrty I haven't seen.

11:15 P.M. - Emma (1932) - Marie Dressler is the whole show in her second Oscar nominated performance. Directed by clarence Brown with his usual panache.

8/5 6 A.M. - They Won't Forget (1937) - based on fact drama of notorious deep South justice (or injustice) later done as TV movie The Murder of Mary Phagan - with Claude Rains and Lana Turner. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

8/6 12:30 P.M. - 7 Women (1966) - John Ford's last film and one that has grown in reputation over the years. Anne Bancroft is outstanding as the self-sacrificing doctor locking horns with crazed missionary Margaret Leighton.

8/14 9:30 A.M. - The Valley of Decision (1945) - More a guilty pleasure than a work of art but one of 1940s Hollywood's best examples of a sprawling family saga with Greer Garson, Gregory Peck, Gladys Cooper, Donald Crisp, Lionel Barrymore, Dean Stockwell and Jessica Tandy heading an all-star cast under Tay Garnett's direction.

8/15 12:15 A.M. - Mrs. Parkington (1944) - An odd mix of overheated passion in the present tense and muted romance in the flashback scenes with Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Gladys Cooper, Edward Arnold and Agnes Moorehead under Tay Ganett's direction - some of them coming off better than others. Cooper, who usually played somebody's mother, grandmother or great-grandmother plays Garson's daughter here. The opening and closing scenes are only parts of the damn thing actually worth watching.

4:15 A.M. - Blossoms in the Dust (1941) - to be released on DVD in November. One of the better Garson-Pidgeon collaborations based on a true story about Edna Gladney's fight for equal rights for illegitimate children in Texas.

8/22 6 A.M. - The Key (1958) - This Carol Reed film is no Third Man but William Holden, Sophia Loren and especially Trevor Howard make it a pleasant time killer.

8/24 10 P.M. - The Fugitive (1947) - Henry Fonda in a John Ford film from a Graham Greene novel should be selling points enough for one. If not, see it for its outstanding black-and-white cinematography.

8/27 5 P.M. - Boeing Boeing (1965) - Long forgotten farce given new interest thanks to the Tony winning Broadway revival. Holds up surprisingly well, though its 60s seams do show. Tony Curtis gets top billing, but Jerry Lewis (surprisingly) and Thelma Ritter (unsurprisingly) take the acting honors.

9/1 2:30 A.M. - The Seventh Cross (1944) - Fred Zinnemann directed wartime thriller with outstanding performances by Spencer Tracy, (Oscar nominated) Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.

9/3 10:15 P.M. - The Canddiate (1972) - Jeremy Larner's literate Oscar winning screenplay is the best thing about Mic hAel Ritchie's somewhat muted film with Robert Redford as an idealistic Senatorial candidate.

9/4 8 P.M. - Raffles (1930) - The third of four versions of this breezy comedy-drama about a high class jewel thief who continues to outwit Scotland Yard. One of Ronald Colman's best early talkie performances.

10:30 P.M. - One Way Passage - One of the 30s best remembered romantic comedies, albeit one with a tragic ending, marvelously directed by Tay Garnett with William Powell, Kay Francis and Aline MacMahon at their amusing best.

9/11 12:45 A.M. - The Farmer's Daughter (1947) - Loretta Young's Oscar winner still delights. Joseph Cotten, Ethel Barrymore and Charles Bickford are also excellent under H.C. Potter's skilled direction.

9/12 2 P.M. - Vivacious Lady (1938) - Professor Jimmy Stewart marries night club singer Ginger Rogers but doesn't know how to tell his conservative parents played by Charles Coburn and Beulah Bondi in this excellent George Stevens comedy. Bondi steals the film in a mother role quite unlike any she's ever played.

6:45 P.M. - Journey Into Fear (1942) - Not always successful World War II espionage thriller was started by Orson Welles and completed by Norman Foster. Welles stars with Josph Cotten, Dolores Del Rio, Ruth Warrick and Agnes Moorehead.

9/13 12 A.M. - Secrets (1933) - The other one on this list I haven't seen, notable as Mary Pickford's last film.

9/15 4 A.M. - The Corn Is Green (1945) - Classic film of dedicated teacher and poor Welsh student, interesting as the only film made by both Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn. This is the Davis version directed by Irving Rapper, The Hepburn version was a 1975 made-for-TV film directed by George Cukor. Both films are worth seeing. Both Davis and Hepburn are excellent in their roles, although Davis at 37 was a bit too young to be playing a middle-aged spinster and Hepburn at 68 was a bit too old though closer in age to Ethel Barrymore who originated the role on Broadway when in her 60s.

9/17 8 P.M. - Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) - John Crowmell's film with Raymodn Massey as the 16th U.S. President and Ruth Gordon as Mary Todd Lincoln has been shown on TV almost forever, so it's doubtful there are too many who haven;t seen it, but still it's not on DVD in the U.S. though it is in Europe - shameful!

10 P.M. Tennessee Johnson (1942) - Excellent historical drama about the impeachment proceedings brought against Lincoln's successor with Van Heflin at his peak under William Dieterle's direction.

9/18 3:30 A.M. - Four Days in November (1964) - Oscar nominated documentary was the first and best of teh many about the assassination of President Kennedy.

5:45 A.M. - The Gorgeous Hussy (1936) - Clarence Brown directed film of President Andrew Jackson's cousin and acting first lady after the death of his wife. Joan Crawford has the title role while Lionel Barrymore is Jackson. Beulah Bondi as Rachel Jackson managed to get an Oscar nomination out of it despite having been killed off in the first reel to make way for Crawford.

9/19 7 A.M. - In Name Only (1939) - Lovely romantic drama with Carole Lombard and Cary Grant under John Cromwell's direction. Kay Francis, Charles Coburn and a very young (and very good) Peggy Ann Garner co-star.

9/22 9:30 P.M. Stars in My Crown (1950) - Jacques Tourneur directed western about rural minister. Terrific performances by Joel McCrea and Dean Stockwell, with outstanding cinematography and perfect feel for a long ago Americana.

9/23 2 A.M. - The Tall Target (1951) Pinkerton agent John Kennedy, played by Dick Powell, thwarts an attempted assassination of Abraham Lincoln on his way to his 1861 inaugural. Expertly directed by Anthony Mann, and featuring outstanding cinematography that belies its confinement to mostly train cars.

9/24 11:30 P.M. - The Glass Key (1942) - Excellent film noir directed by Stuart Heisler was the inspiration for Kurosawa's Yojimbo. Stars Alan Ladd, Vernica Lake, Brian Donlevy and William Bendix.

9/29 4:15 A.M. - The Catered Affair (1956) - Paddy Chayesfsky wrote the original teleplay, Gore Vidal the screenplay and Richard Brooks directed it long before Harvey Fierstein and company turned it into a flop Broadway musical. Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds and Barry Fitzgerald hardly seem like they belong in the same movie, let alone the same family, but somehow it all works and should be seen at least once.




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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:17 pm

Who Is Harry Kellerman is available on VHS.

I'm surprised that Sister Kenny's name and reputation aren't more widely known, but then I suppose the Salk vaccine wiped out the fear of polio rendering her treatments for people already afflicted with it as somewhat passe.

I re-watched Night Must Fall recently, and while the plot may be creaky the performances still hold up. May Whitty, though always fun to watch, never had a role as good as this one again.

The preaching in Knock on Any Door may be laughable, but Bogie's under-rated performance is still worth seeing and John Derek's mantra, "die young and leave a good-looking corpse" still haunts.

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Postby flipp525 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:36 pm

I actually have Diary of a Mad Housewife on video and Carrie Snodgress is really quite great in it.

Sister Kenny also stayed with me after I saw it, Tee. Rosalind Russell just seemed to sink her teeth into that role. It’s a shame that people don’t know about her. Although, I’ve thought the same thing about Edna Gladney (as portrayed by Greer Garson in 1941’s Blossoms in the Dust) whose tireless efforts to effect reform on the label of bastard/illegitimate children seems to have been rendered somewhat outdated and irrelevant today.




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Postby Mister Tee » Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:16 pm

Sister Kenny was a real surprise to me. I guessed (incorrectly) from the title that it'd be a Keys of the Kingdom-ish glorificaion of a devoted religious soul, which is not my kind of movie to put it mildly. Instead, it was quite rebellious, and even somewhat proto-feminist film; I should have expected such from Dudley Nichols.

Incidentally: had anyone even heard of Sister Kenny before they saw the film? I've since heard Philip Roth refer to her as a cherished heroine of his childhood, but she was totally missing from my upbringing -- I presume because the discovery of the Salk vaccine rendered her extraordinary accomplishments old hat overnight.

Of the films you mention, dws, They Won't Believe Me is a modestly enjoyable fatalistic 40s noir, if you like that sort of thing (which my wife and I both do, rather to excess). Knock on Any Door is interesting enough, though it's final speech would now be hooted out of theatres as liberal do-gooder palaver.

I may be alone in this, but I was hugely disappointed in Night Must Fall by the time I saw it in the late 80s. I thought the psychology around the Rosalind Russell character was laughable, and didn't even find the famous play/film terribly effective on a pure suspense level.

I tend to only post about films here when they're ones I haven't yet seen; those I can guarantee are worth the VCR/DVR alert. Once I've seen something, I tend to file it away and not notice if if ever turns up again. Which no doubt leaves real blind spots. I was thinking the other day about Diary of a Mad Housewife -- a best actress nominee I saw in the movies, but which may be inaccessible to most viewers today. And, just a few weeks ago, a Long Island station ran Who Is Harry Kellerman...? -- the first time I've run across it since I saw it in 1971. (I couldn't put myself through the whole thing, but I did poke in for Barbara Harris, and was pleased to find she still seems exceptional in it)

If you have access to the TCM schedule, do you know if Outcast of the Islands is upcoming? I thought I'd heard a report to that effect a while back; it's one Carol Reed film I've always been unable to track down.

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Postby Damien » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:32 am

dws1982 wrote:Thanks for those recommendations. 1952 is another year I'm hoping to put a lot of focus on, so Never Wave at A WAC will fit in with that.

Daniel, 1952 is a year in which I immersed myself a few years ago. My favorite films of that year are:

1. Angel Face (Otto Preminger)
2. The Lusty Men (Nicholas Ray)
3. On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray)
4. Ivanhoe (Richard Thorpe)
5. Talk About A Stranger (David Bradley)
6. The Flavor Of Green Tea Over Rice (Yasujiro Ozu)
7. Europa ’51 (Roberto Rossellini)
8. My Son John (Leo McCarey)
9. Invitation (Gottfried Reinhold)
10. Ruby Gentry (King Vidor)

(Runners-up include: The Quiet Man (John Ford); The Bad And The Beautiful (Vincente Minnelli); No Room For The Groom (Douglas Sirk); Fanfan la Tulipe (Christian-Jacque); The Big Sky (Howard Hawks); Singin’ In The Rain (Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen); Moulin Rouge (John Huston); Springfield Rifle (Andre De Toth); Macao (Josef von Sternberg and Nicholas Ray); Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (Douglas Sirk); 5 Fingers (Joseph L. Mankiewicz); Rancho Notorious (Fritz Lang); Monkey Business (Howard Hawks); One Hour To Zero (Tay Garnet); Othello (Orson Welles); The Member Of The Wedding (Fred Zinnemann); Son Of Paleface (Frank Tashlin); Bend of the River (Anthony Mann); Life Of Oharu (Kenji Mizigouchi); Million Dollar Mermaid (Mervyn LeRoy); Clash By Night (Fritz Lang); The Importance Of Being Earnest (Anthony Asquith); Carson City (Andre de Toth) )

I have most -- although not all -- of these on video tape, and I can burn any that you need onto a disc. Let me know if you want any (although right now I'm in the midst of burning things for Cam).

I also have Sister Kenny on tape, and can record it on disc for you.




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Postby dws1982 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:23 pm

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see Sister Kenny before I deleted it. I've been working my way in a rough chronological order, and still had some that had been sitting on there since January with no action. It's frustrating, because that was my only 1946 Actress nominee still unseen. (Although To Each His Own needs to be seen again; It's been over a decade since I saw it on TCM or AMC.) And 1946 is one of the years I've put a lot of focus into catching up on this year. TCM does air it in October, though, so I can re-record it then.

Thanks for those recommendations. 1952 is another year I'm hoping to put a lot of focus on, so Never Wave at A WAC will fit in with that. TCM may show a studio print. TCM aired Two Women earlier this year, which is only available in the States in godawful ugly public domain copies, and they apparently aired a beautiful print. (It's one of those on my DVR, but not yet watched.)

Night Must Fall is one I would've completely overlooked if you hadn't pointed it out; thanks for that.

And I didn't realize that A Thousand Clowns wasn't out on DVD yet. (And I wonder what's holding Wings up too.)

Confessions of A Nazi Spy I was meaning to ask about; I had liked Litvak's Decision Before Dawn a lot when I saw it a few years back.

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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:45 pm

Hopefully you got to see Sister Kenny before it was deleted. One of the best biographical dramas of the 40s with a wonderful performance by Roz as the crusading Australian nurse.

I believe Roz's earlier Oscar nominee, My Sister Eileen, was also on TCM this month. Right now they're showing A Majority of One which might have gotten her a nomination if the competition wasn't so strong in 1961.

Knock on Any Door is available on DVD in Region 2, which hopefully means it's only a matter of time before this under-rated classic comes to Region 1.

Coming up on TCM (all times Eastern):

11/16 - 11:30 AM - Never Wave at a WAC (Rosalind Russell, Marie Wilson) - silly, but popular in its day, has been available in horrible public domain copies forever - it would be interesting to see if TCM shows a studio print.

11/22 8 PM - Night Must Fall (Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell, Dame May Whitty) - for years the Enclopedia Britannica used a scene from the stage version of this film in which Dame May does something near the end of the film - if you've seen it, you'll know which scene I mean - to illustrate the art of acting.

7/23 3:45 AM - A Thousand Clowns (Jason Robards, Barbara Harris, Martin Balsam) - a film I like less every time I see it but an important one of its time.

7/24 9:30 PM - Confessions of a Nazi Spy (Paul Lukas, Frances Lederer) - one of the first and best (1939) of Hollywood's anti-Nazi propaganda films.

7/28 2 AM - Wings (Clara Bow, Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen) - the first Oscar winner still holds up.


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