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Robert Harris

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When most lovers of film think of the great directors, Sam Wood probably won't be on their list.

And yet, he directed some of our best loved motion pictures. Part of the problem may have been that he only live to 66, and passed away before what many might consider to be the modern era - 1949.

He began his career in 1917 as an actor. He was an assisstant director the following year on The Squaw Man and went on to direct over 30 films in the silent era.

Once we arrive in the sound years, you'll begin to recognize his work with Tugboat Annie in 1933, A Night at the Opera (1935), A Day at the Races (1937), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), Kitty Foyle in 1940, Kings Row (1942), The Pride of the Yankees (1942) For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) et al.

His film version of Thornton Wilder's brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Our Town, was shot and released in 1940, with a screenplay by Frank Craven, who plays Mr. Morgan. The score was by Aaron Copland. DP was Bert Glennon, and the production designer was William Cameron Menzies.

You should be getting the idea that this was an important project.

It stars William Holden in only his fourth credited performance. He made Golden Boy the year previous.

Martha Scott was appearing in her first film. You'll also find Fay Bainter, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Guy Kibbee and Stuart Erwin rounding out the major citizenry.

And yet, somehow it fell into the public domain, and has really only been seen in far less than stellar prints and videos ever since. I was able to access a 35mm nitrate in the mid-'70s and create a 16 dupe neg, but the print probably had survived because it was mis-lit.

Via the Library of Congress, Classic Flix has done something that I've been hoping for - a quality transfer from a 35mm element that allows the film to shine once again.

It's a winner, with a stable image, good gray scale and blacks, and comfortable grain.

One of the great plays made it to film almost 85 years ago and it can now be yours. I suggest that you support Classic Flix and the LoC.

I believe the aspect ratio is incorrectly stated as 1.33:1, but it's close enough for government work.

Quality extras give you more than enough to fill out an evening.

Image – 8.5

Audio – 9

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Worth your attention - 10

Slipcover rating - n/a but the cover art is glorious

Upgrade from DVD - Yup

Very Highly Recommended



Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. As an Amazon Associate HTF earns from qualifying purchases. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

 
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PMF

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I was fortunate enough to see Paul Newman’s portrayal of The Stage Manager in the summer of 2021 at the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. And, with my already greatest respects towards the works of ClassicFlix, I’ll find myself just as fortunate to finally purchase and see - for the very first time - this lauded film version of Our Town.

Long awaited and much desired.

My thanks to ClassicFlix.
 
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Robert Harris

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I was fortunate enough to see Paul Newman’s portrayal of The Stage Manager in the summer of 2021 at the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. And, with my already greatest respects towards the works of ClassicFlix, I’ll find myself just as fortunate to finally purchase and see - for the very first time - this lauded film version of Our Town.

Long awaited and much desired.

My thanks to ClassicFlix.
Possibly not 2021?

The one where he backs onto stage?
 

B-ROLL

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Guy Kibble
I'm not sure that dog will hunt ... was he a bit player ;)?

1702530770544.png
perhaps Otto Korrkct replaced Guy's last name-I suppose ...
1702530976972.png
Kibbee ... who knows .... :D
 

Robert Harris

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I'm not sure that dog will hunt ... was he a bit player ;)?

View attachment 206488 perhaps Otto Korrkct replaced Guy's last name-I suppose ... View attachment 206490 Kibbee ... who knows .... :D
Precisely. I find that correcting will only lead to the auto function again having its way. Actually, noted a second “correction” in the same sentence.
 

PatrickDA

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The sound is still an issue, but I thought the visuals were a vast improvement over the virtually unwatchable versions on TV and DVD over the decades.
 

SeanSKA

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I know that TCM ran this recently. Any word on the quality of their presentation ?
 

Michael1

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Mr. Harris, can you explain what you mean about the aspect ratio being incorrectly stated as 1.33:1? Wasn't that the standard for the time?

Also: I believe another reason why this film is not considered a classic is the fact that -- SPOILER ALERT -- the ending of the play was rewritten so that Emily lives! I remember seeing the film years ago on TV and I thought it was very good until that jaw-dropping moment arrived.
 

Robert Harris

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Aw Toe Core Wrecked will be the death of us, I swear. (and it's Bert Glennon, not Glenn) :biggrin:
Knew that, and typed as such. While auto can sometimes be helpful, I find myself correcting it multiple times. And then it responds with multiple different corrections. May be best to turn it off.

For those unfamiliar with the name, Mr. Glennon may best be known for some of his work with Mr. Ford (not Henry), Technicolor, Mr. Flynn, and of course, The Patriot.

Years ago, I was introduced to Andre de Toth at a screening at the DGA, and asked him about Wax. His answer. ”Didn’t need it. I had Bert Glennon” aka Glenn.
 
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