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Criterion's The Golden Age of Television in November - 8 TV Movies from the 1950s


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#1 of 20 Brandon Conway

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Posted August 14 2009 - 10:30 AM

www.criterion.com/films/3560

The Golden Age of Television
- Spine #495 (3-Disc DVD) - MSRP $49.95

The hugely popular live American television plays of the 1950s have become the stuff of legend. Combining elements of theater, radio, and filmmaking, they were produced at a moment when TV technology was advancing and making art accessible to a newly suburban postwar demographic. These astonishingly choreographed, brilliantly acted, and socially progressive “teleplays” constituted an artistic high for the medium, bringing Broadway-quality drama to homes across the country. The following award-winning programs—curated for PBS in the early 1980s as the series The Golden Age of Television, with recollections from key cast and crew members—were conceived by such up-and-comers as Rod Serling and John Frankenheimer, and star the likes of Paul Newman, Mickey Rooney, Rod Steiger, Julie Harris, and Piper Laurie.

SPECIAL EDITION THREE-DISC SET

  • The live kinescope broadcasts of Marty (1953), Patterns (1955), No Time for Sergeants (1955), A Wind from the South (1955), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956), Bang the Drum Slowly (1956), The Comedian (1957), and Days of Wine and Roses (1958)
  • Commentaries by directors John Frankenheimer, Delbert Mann, Ralph Nelson, and Daniel Petrie
  • Interviews with key cast and crew, including Frankenheimer, Andy Griffith, Julie Harris, Kim Hunter, Richard Kiley, Piper Laurie, Nancy Marchand, Jack Palance, Cliff Robertson, Mickey Rooney, Carol Serling, Rod Steiger, and Mel Torme
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by curator Ron Simon and his extensive liner notes on each program


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"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#2 of 20 DeWilson

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Posted August 14 2009 - 03:45 PM

A Wind from the South (1955) I don't think has ever been released in any format - the others have had VHS and/or Laserdisc releases.

#3 of 20 cajunhillbilly

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Posted August 14 2009 - 11:49 PM

Will this be available at Amazon?

#4 of 20 MattPeriolat

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Posted August 15 2009 - 03:34 AM

Wow, I want this just for Patterns and Requiem for a Heavyweight. Ever since reading about Serling and loving TTZ so much, been dying to find them. Hope for an Amazon release myself, otherwise, gotta save my nickles and dimes.

So much TV... So little money! Please visit my blog at: http://tvhistoryondvd.blogspot.com/

#5 of 20 TravisR

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Posted August 15 2009 - 05:37 AM

Why wouldn't this be available at Amazon?

#6 of 20 Brandon Conway

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Posted August 15 2009 - 05:39 AM

It'll be at amazon.com, guys. All Criterion releases are. With a $49.95 MSRP, it'll probably go for ~$35-38 on amazon.com.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#7 of 20 Rodney

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Posted August 15 2009 - 12:51 PM

I would buy this just for Marty alone. The entire cast is great, but I really love Rod Steiger's performance! This is great news!

Angie: What do you feel like doing tonight?
Marty: I don't know, Ange. What do you feel like doing?



-Rodney

#8 of 20 jdee28

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Posted August 15 2009 - 01:12 PM

Hope these programs have been restored and are presented with their original titles and end credits intact, and not chopped off, like in some other public domain releases. I even wouldn't mind seeing some original commercials.

I hope some company will get ahold of and release more of the CBS and NBC "spectaculars" of the 1950s, shows like Producer's Showcase. I'd love to see the excellent "Our Town," with Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, and Eva Marie Saint come to DVD, as well as "The Petrified Forest," with Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda, and Lauren Bacall. Would also love to see "Peter Pan" with Mary Martin. All of these programs were produced as part of Producer`s Showcase in the mid 50s.

#9 of 20 The Obsolete Man

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Posted August 15 2009 - 01:37 PM

Wow. Cool.

I know some of these are available in PD releases, but with Criterion, these will probably look the best they ever have.

It's also cool that Criterion is dipping into the TV Well, even if only in a roundabout way.


#10 of 20 MatthewA

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Posted August 15 2009 - 02:01 PM

This must be their first TV release since the LaserDisc days, when they released "Tanner 88" and two-episode compilations of "I Love Lucy" and "The Addams Family."

I wonder what else we can expect and I hope we can get them to bring up the kines to reasonable quality.


#11 of 20 Brandon Conway

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Posted August 15 2009 - 04:18 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by MatthewA 

This must be their first TV release since the LaserDisc days, when they released "Tanner 88" and two-episode compilations of "I Love Lucy" and "The Addams Family."
They've released Tanner '88 on DVD already, and Fishing with John. But it is pretty rare.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#12 of 20 Charles H

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Posted August 16 2009 - 02:43 AM

"A Wind from the South" did come out on VHS (it's still listed on Amazon).  From the same series and also listed on Amazon was "24 Hours in a Woman's Life" (1961) starring Ingrid Bergman, Rip Torn, and Jerry Ohrbach (Would love to have gotten that one on DVD!),  "The Comedian" and "Bang the Drum Slowly" are already available on THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION dvd from Passport.  I too would love to see more Playhouse 90s (like NO TIME AT ALL, an all-star cast if ever there was one, and "Producer's Showcase (the legendary OUR TOWN and Otto Preminger's production of Noel Coward's TONIGHT AT 8:30).
Charles Hoyt

#13 of 20 Dave Jessup

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Posted August 16 2009 - 03:04 AM

I'd love to see these productions transferred intact from the kinescopes - they were lightly edited for their PBS presentations and the videotape releases followed suit. I have two of the Rod Serling plays on commercial Beta tapes ("The Comedian" and "Requiem...").

Also had my hands on an original, complete 16mm kine of "Requiem For A Heavyweight" when working at Ithaca College's Rod Serling Archives in the late 1970s/early 1980s - for one careful viewing and cleaning. It was agreed that further use would be from the U-Matic tape dub also available; for all we knew then this might have been the only film copy around. I'm now pretty sure there are others - but much better to be conservative in decisions like that!


#14 of 20 Matt Hough

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Posted August 16 2009 - 03:05 AM

They also released MARTHA GRAHAM: DANCE ON FILM which consisted of some PBS recordings of some of her performance pieces. I reviewed that a year or two ago.

And they've been doing some of the TV-films made by Rossellini during the last decade of his career, too. I've reviewed several of those in the past year.

#15 of 20 jdee28

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Posted August 16 2009 - 03:25 AM

One thing I didn't like about the Golden Age of Television DVD release from Passport was that they edited out all the opening titles and end credits. Hopefully this won't be the case with Criterion and that we will get these programs complete, as originally aired.

#16 of 20 Charles H

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Posted August 16 2009 - 04:48 AM

These apparently are being portaled over from Image's two volumes of laserdiscs (all except "Wind from the South," which was only released on VHS).
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#17 of 20 MarcoBiscotti

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Posted August 16 2009 - 11:28 PM

AARGGH!!!

WHY NO "END OF A GUN" (1957) WITH RICHARD CONTE?!?!?

Sam Peckinpah wrote the teleplay and it's a great moody and suspenseful adaptation that deserves to be released in some form! I'd been suggesting that Fox include this with their long past due release of The Gunfighter, but to no avail!

I suspect that there's no hope of ever seeing this in the current format now... I only wish I'd recorded the episode while FMC was still airing it's 20th Century-Fox Hour/Hour of Stars series years back!


#18 of 20 Charles H

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Posted August 17 2009 - 12:46 AM

The Criterion collection is all kinescopes.  Fox is no longer interested in classics (movies or television), but it would be wonderful if they farmed a "20th Century Fox Hour Anthology" out to VCI or Shout Factory.  They've already invested in the restorations.
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#19 of 20 MarcoBiscotti

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Posted August 17 2009 - 02:36 AM

I plan to write a letter to VCI suggesting just that. Perhaps if others do the same, it might come to pass...


#20 of 20 Kevin Segura

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Posted October 11 2009 - 02:48 PM

It's very disappointing to see that this release will likely be nothing more than a port of the LD release-- those transfers are mediocre at best, almost 25 years old, and not even proper 2:3 archival transfers, in at least one case.

And we won't even talk about the fact that they didn't see fit to use LiveFeed on these kinescopes...

-Kevin





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