Crawdaddy's "Random Thoughts" about Home Video, Film & TV

Robert Crawford

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One of today's viewings was "Madame Curie" (1943) starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. A good biopic that I hadn't seen in many years. The video presentation on the TCM app was damn good as it looked better to me than the 2007 DVD. Of course, the movie shortcuts some of the scientific details of this married couple that happened to be great scientists that discovered radium. Even with that shortcoming, I think it's a really good film with Oscar nominations for both stars. A couple of young actors, Robert Walker Jr. and Van Johnson were also in the movie in supporting roles.



My second viewing was "The Secret Six" (1931) starring Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, John Mack Brown, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Marjorie Rambeau and Ralph Bellamy. The movie is a pre-code crime film in which the dialogue and and film execution was rather clunky to me. With that said, there are some funny lines in Frances Marion's screenplay. Also, I remembered that Marion was married to this film's director George Hill. Anyway, the movie does have its moments, but it's the great cast that always made this movie memorable to watch as some of the actors were so early in their acting career. It always cracked me up seeing Ralph Bellamy in this film
playing a gangster with a scar on his face. I see him in that role then I remember that funny line from Cary Grant about Bellamy in "My Girl Friday" when he told that bleach blonde to set him up for being a masher.
 

Robert Crawford

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Mill Creek releasing The Man From the Alamo/They Came to Cordura onto Blu-ray 05-12-20. Does anybody have a problem with both movies on the same disc? One movie is 79 minutes long while "The Came to Cordura" is 123 minutes. I'm definitely buying this BD release as "The Came to Cordura" is $12 on iTunes without a cheaper price drop since 2016. While "The Man From the Alamo" isn't even listed on iTunes. Of course, both are Sony titles so I checked Vudu with the same results except the "They Came to Cordura" HD digital is $13.99.

https://www.amazon.com/Alamo-Cordur...529011&rw_html_to_wsrp=1&s=movies-tv&sr=1-411
 

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As the transfers are coming from Sony, I'm willing to give Mill Creek the benefit of the doubt. I love their disc of that other Sony title The Lady From Shanghai.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Friday's viewings included "Bordertown" (1935) starring Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Margaret Lindsay and Eugene Pallette. A good drama that I like to frequent every now and then because I really liked Bette Davis's performance in this movie. She was really good and IMO, upstages Muni's performance. Another thing about this movie that always struck me is the line of dialogue that Lindsay says to Muni near the end of the movie. I mean it was not only vicious, but cold-blooded.
We're from two different tribes, savage.
 

Robert Crawford

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My second Friday viewing was RKO's "The Spanish Main" (1945) starring Paul Henreid, Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak and Binnie Barnes. Frank Bozage directed this swashbuckling movie in Technicolor. I always took this movie as a spoof to other swashbuckling/pirate movies. The look on O'Hara's face when she finally meets Slezak's character is too funny. Slezak was so good in his role that it brings a smile to my face whenever I think of him and lines of dialogue he uttered throughout the movie. To me, it's just a fun movie. Also, Binnie Barnes was delightful as always as the female pirate Anne Bonny. An underrated attractive actress. I wish this would be released on Blu-ray.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Today, was my first time viewing of "Guns of the Timberland" (1960) starring Alan Ladd, Jeanne Crain, Gilbert Roland, Frankie Avalon and Lyle Bettger. The cast also includes Alana Ladd, who was Alan's 16/17 year old daughter. I knew about his two sons, but, didn't even know Ladd had a daughter. She plays Frankie Avalon's love interest in the film. Anyhow, this western is about the conflict between loggers and ranchers in this small town out west. The movie is mediocre at best, but I still enjoyed the movie, mostly due to the cast. The movie took a turn near the end of the film which I didn't expect, but I was fine with that slight movie twist. I had the DVD of this movie for six years, but today I watched the HD digital that I bought during a sale last year. The video presentation was good, but not great. Another interesting fact about this film is that it was produced by Aaron Spelling, who also co-wrote the screenplay.





My second iTunes HD digital viewing on Saturday was "House on Telegraph Hill" (1951) starring Richard, Basehart, Valentina Cortese and William Lundigan. This movie was directed by Robert Wise. Some people consider this movie a "film noir", but it's not quite "noir" to me, though, it has some "noir" elements. I actually watched the movie twice today because I forgot that Eddie Muller did an audio commentary on the 2006 DVD and I never listened to it beforehand. I'm glad I did so as it another really good Muller commentary as I learned so much about the film, actors and director. By the way, Eddie was in his glory with the movie taking place mostly in San Francisco. IMO, "House on Telegraph Hill" is a good movie, made better not because of the script, but due to Wise's direction and Lucian Ballard's cinematography. The movie is about a woman that survives WWII while in a concentration camp, who takes a place of her deceased friend. She makes her way to America assuming that false identity, who happens to have American relatives including a young son that she sent to America before the war for his safety. Immediately, she becomes engrossed into a family mystery that threatens her life as well as her young son that really isn't her son. By the way, the HD digital was pretty good video presentation-wise and is an improvement over the DVD.
 
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Robert Crawford

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This morning I woke up in the mood for some Kirk Douglas movies. I chose two movies that were written by Dalton Trumbo. Both movies were on German Blu-rays that will soon have 2020 Blu-ray releases here in the States. Kino has already announced one for Blu-ray release in May and I suspect the second movie will also be released by Kino later on in 2020. Therefore, I think it was best I watched these two Blu-rays again in their entirety to see if its wise to double-dipped on either of these film titles.



The first Blu-ray this morning was "The Last Sunset" (1961) starring Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, Dorothy Malone, Joseph Cotton and Carol Lynley. This western was directed by Robert Aldrich. From what I can gather Douglas and Aldrich didn't get along during the filming of this movie. Aldrich called it an unpleasant experience. To me, it's a good western with a plot twist that I didn't see coming when I first watched this movie on TV some time in the mid-1960s. Frankly, I thought the plot twist was ahead of its time. The movie is about a gunfighter fleeing to Mexico from an American lawman that is after him for a personal reason. The gunfighter makes his way to a ranch in which his former lover is the wife of the alcoholic's ranch owner. The ranch owner is preparing too drive his cattle to Texas for market and needs some additional hands to help complete the cattle drive. Again, I think it's a good western and always thought the idea of the gunfighter having a derringer as his weapon of choice kind of cool, but kind of stupid for obvious reasons. The Blu-ray video presentation was decent, but if Kino releases this movie on Blu-ray with an audio commentary then I'll probably buy it again on Blu-ray disc.



My second Douglas/Trumbo movie this morning was "Lonely are the Brave" (1962) starring Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands and Walter Matthau. This modern western is about a cowboy born in the wrong era that is still fighting against modern society and its norms. I don't want to say much more about the film except it's basically a movie about a man and his horse living in (1962) New Mexico that really should be living in (1882) New Mexico. Douglas has stated this was a personal favorite of his and it's the same with me. Just a great film and one that every film buff should see at least once in their life. The movie has a great cast of other character actors in lesser, but still pivotal roles. The Blu-ray video presentation is really good, but like "The Last Sunset" if the upcoming Kino BD release in May has an audio commentary then I'll buy it again on Blu-ray. Hell, I even have this on HD digital that I bought on iTunes for $4.99 a couple of years ago. That's how much I really love this movie!
 

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In lieu of Noir Alley, I've been recording and watching other TCM movies; some revisiting.

Atlantic City. Watching this again after many years I was struck how good a script it was. Then you hear John Gaure won the Oscar for it. But it really holds up. Terrific Lancaster (playing down) and Sarandon. And you'll never think the same of lemons again.

The Sandpiper. What an inert piece of bad cinema. To be frank, I just tuned it in for the Big Sur locations, but this features some godawful unnatural acting from Liz Taylor, and some motionless oratory from a boring Richard Burton. A sloooowww moving soap opera who's only redeeming quality is that scenery. Also, there's a scene where Burton beats up Charles Bronson. In what universe?!!

Today I'm going back to a Bad Day at Black Rock. I just remember it was a Good Watch on Tube TV.
 
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Rodney

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I can't believe it, but I've never seen either of these westerns. I really need to rectify that lapse. You make them sound very appealing.
Matt, you really need to do yourself a favor and watch Lonely are the Brave. Just a great movie about a man out of step with civilization.
 

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Mill Creek releasing The Man From the Alamo/They Came to Cordura onto Blu-ray 05-12-20. Does anybody have a problem with both movies on the same disc? One movie is 79 minutes long while "The Came to Cordura" is 123 minutes. I'm definitely buying this BD release as "The Came to Cordura" is $12 on iTunes without a cheaper price drop since 2016. While "The Man From the Alamo" isn't even listed on iTunes. UOf course, both are Sony titles so I checked Vudu with the same results except the "They Came to Cordura" HD digital is $13.99.

https://www.amazon.com/Alamo-Cordur...529011&rw_html_to_wsrp=1&s=movies-tv&sr=1-411
I would have a serious problem with both movies being on the same disc as they Came to Cordura was the very first Gary Cooper movie i saw 40 years ago and it started me as a lifetime fan of his movies. Even with compression issues aside, it would be like someone asking you if you minded if the searchers was shared with whatever none john wayne western you want to pick to put on the same blu ray with it. Its not going to happen with john wayne or gary cooper for me.

However i simply dont believe this to be the truth. The only source I could find for one disc is bluray.com. i prefer to use the mill creek specs and amazon as my sources.

Your own amazon link lists this as 2 discs and then if you go to the mill creek specs on their web site it lists 2 discs:

https://www.millcreekent.com/products/man-from-the-alamo-they-came-to-cordura

Copied from mill creek web site


Tech Specs:
SKU:
63481

UPC:
683904634818

Language:
English

Genre:
Western

Discs:
2

Format:
Blu-ray
Subtitles:
English Subtitles

Run Time:
202 min

Rating:
Not Rated

Region Code:
BD Region A

Street Date:
2020-05-12

Color:
Color

I went ahead and cancelled my order with amazon just in case you are right and amazon and mill creek are wrong as i will wait till may to make my preorder. The order was not 25 dollars for free shipping so i would have to order another movie and if that movie shipped it would be impossable to cancel this release at a later date.

There are overseas region 2 companies that have this movie on a single disc. If i have to i will go this rout.
 
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Dan Cooper

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If there are no bonus material then there shouldn't be any compression issues for 202 minutes on one disc.
A Lyle Goff replied to me on an email i sent cusomer service at mill Creek.on the blu ray release of they Came to Cordura/man from the alamo release:

"As indicated on our product page, this title will have two discs."
 
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Dan Cooper

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With that cleared up i i would just like to say that i am super excited about they Came to Cordura being released on blu ray. The dvd of it was super sharp and since the hd master should have came from Sony i have nothing but good thoughts on this upcoming release.

With kino's 4 Gary Cooper upcoming releases and my German import of sergeant York that puts my GC blu rays at 27 titles. And if kino releases at least 3 more 30's cooper titles that would put it at 30 a full 10 titles more than my cary grant blu ray collection. I would think that only John Wayne has more blu ray titles for a classic Hollywood actor.

That wouldnt be the case if he had been at warner brothers for the majority of his career like clark gable. He would just have love in the afternoon and the hanging tree as warner is not too big on releasing classic hollywood titles these days. Oh they still do release about 5 titles a year. At that rate we should get a release of sergeant york in 2070.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Below is the 2020 "Noir Alley" Schedule through July!

TCM's Noir Alley 2020 schedule:

03-07-20: Ride the Pink Horse (1947)
03-14-20: I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
03-21-20: Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
03-28-20: Crime Wave (1954)
04-04-20: Address Unknown (1944)
04-11-20: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)
04-18-20: Witness to Murder (1954)
04-25-20: Wicked Woman (1954)
05-02-20: Fallen Angel (1945)
05-09-20: Mildred Pierce (1945)
05-16-20: The Crimson Kimono (1959)
05-23-20: Cornered (1945)
05-30-20: A Kiss Before Dying (1956)
06-06-20: The Underworld Story (1950)
06-13-20: Murder by Contract (1958)
06-20-20: Underworld U.S.A. (1961)
06-27-20: The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
07-04-20: The Sign of the Ram (1948)
07-11-20: Bodyguard (1948)
07-18-20: Three Strangers (1946)
07-25-20: The Breaking Point (1950)

 

Robert Crawford

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Dan Cooper

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If there are no bonus material then there shouldn't be any compression issues for 202 minutes on one disc.
I wanted to share what my good friend John Mulholland wrote on They Came to Cordura back in 2004. He did almost all of the extras for High Noon and Sergeant York and also the Cooper Hemmingway documentary.

"THEY CAME TO CORDURA was originally 148 minutes. It was hailed by critics who saw this version, including the NY Times, which gave it a rave. But Columbia grew nervous, it was dark, grim, downbeat. The army looked like it was filled with cowards, rapists, murderers. Columbia took the film away from director Robert Rossen and lopped off 35 minutes, then added back in several minutes of exposition. The resulting film is maddening. At times brilliant, at times clumsy; it's pacing is awkward, the editing downright amateurish. The minions at Comubia hadn't a clue what they were doing when they butchered and re-editied the film. Even so, it is still a fine, fine film. The writing is spot-on, some of the dialogue scalding; the acting is flawless, and many of the sequences take your breath away. An extraordinary score. And Cooper is heart-breaking in his depiction of the coward. The scene between him and Rita Hayworth, in which he tells of cowering in the ditch, is screen acting of the highest order. Rossen was in the process of buying the film back from Columbia to return it to his original vision when he died. Perhaps it will yet happen. But not by Columbia, which has dropped this DVD onto the market with no extras and no attempt to restore it. Even so, CORDURA is well worth the purchase. Truly, a butchered masterpiece."

Also the movie had three endings. In one Cooper was shot and another he had his head smashed in with a rock. This would be how the original book ended but the studio decided they wanted him to live, which in my view took away a great deal from the story.
 

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