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

Robert Crawford

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This morning's viewing was "Destination Tokyo" as I start my Memorial Day homage to our veterans. A really good WWII movie starring Cary Grant, John Garfield and a fine cast of character actors. Yes, like many movies made during the war its has its propaganda moments, but it's still a favorite WWII movie of mine that I used to watch with my old man back in the day.

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Robert Crawford

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This afternoon's viewing on 4K disc was "Top Gun" starring Tom Cruise. The movie that made Cruise a movie star though his star was ascending from some earlier movies. I really like this film and consider this 4K reference-level for a catalog title. This evening's viewing is "The Fighting Sullivans" (1944). A sentimental favorite of movie of mine from my youth about the five Sullivan brothers that perished when the USS Juneau was sunk during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in late 1942.

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Robert Crawford

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Man, "The Fighting Sullivans" is a good movie, but, it leaves you sad at the end of the movie. This is really a family drama that ends up being a WWII movie in the last 20 minutes of the movie. Much of the story is fictionalized, but, the final fate of the Sullivan brothers is what happened to them. Thomas Mitchell and Selena Royle play the parents and Anne Baxter plays the wife of the youngest brother. Also, the film spends about half of the its runtime when the brothers were kids. When the brothers are adults they're played by some relatively unknown actors There is a scene in the movie near the end of the film that always left me teary eye and it didn't fail to do that again this evening. I wish this movie wasn't in PD hell as the 2005 VCI DVD isn't very good presentation-wise.

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Robert Crawford

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It will be interesting to read other people's thoughts on "Cornered" (1945) starring Dick Powell. I'm sure Eddie's comments will cover those film participants blacklisted including the director, producer and two of the actors in the cast. Another solid movie from RKO with a fine cast of actors. From the first time I watched this movie, I always thought Powell's character acted carelessly throughout the entire movie. This movie has never been released on Blu-ray, but is part of Warner's DVD "Film Noir Classic Collection" Volume 5.

Updated 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)
04-25-20: 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)

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I was surprised by a couple of omissions on Eddie's part during his comments. However, I shouldn't be as he tends to focus on writers and filmmakers during his brief commentaries every weekend.
 

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Crawdaddy, your post got me wanting to watch those Sullivan boys this weekend. I haven't watched my 1999 ROAN copy in quite a number of years, and this weekend is a perfect opportunity to correct that.


I never caught that they changed the title of the movie, thanks for posting the original one sheet.
I too wish this movie could get a good restoration as well as a release in blu.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Dick Dinman's interview with George Feltenstein regarding "Rachel and the Stranger" and "Blood on the Moon" and how the pandemic is affecting upcoming Blu-ray releases. Great stuff in that interview including some comments about "The Big Sky" which hasn't been released on Blu-ray.:(

 

Robert Crawford

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Another movie that I never saw, but wish was available to see on any kind of video format. "The Dark Past" (1948) starring William Holden, Nina Foch and Lee J. Cobb. I wonder if Eddie is a fan of this movie?

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Another movie that I never saw, but wish was available to see on any kind of video format. "The Dark Past" (1948) starring William Holden, Nina Foch and Lee J. Cobb. I wonder if Eddie is a fan of this movie?

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I'm surprised Sony haven't released that at all, not even on an MOD DVD. I notice Lois Maxwell in the cast. She must have been very young!
 

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Another movie that I never saw, but wish was available to see on any kind of video format. "The Dark Past" (1948) starring William Holden, Nina Foch and Lee J. Cobb. I wonder if Eddie is a fan of this movie?

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My records show that I've seen this film as well as the original, Blind Alley (1939), with Chester Morris and Ralph Bellamy.
 

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I was surprised by a couple of omissions on Eddie's part during his comments. However, I shouldn't be as he tends to focus on writers and filmmakers during his brief commentaries every weekend.
I was just planning to watch Eddie's comments but my wife had never seen the film, therefore I was suckered into watching the whole thing. It's still a good film.
 

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Cornered. A smart script, good dialogue, decent acting, but I was just bored and had to pinch myself to stay awake in the dry, linear structure of this story. Take some lessons from William Goldman and Marathon Man when hunting hidden Nazis. And it doesn't hurt to have more dynamic characters. I thought I spied a Sydney Greenstreet wannabe here. And Powell is good, but no Bogart. Chalk this one up for been there, done that, won't be stopping by again. But the backstory of the script musical chairs was more entertaining for me.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Cornered. A smart script, good dialogue, decent acting, but I was just bored and had to pinch myself to stay awake in the dry, linear structure of this story. Take some lessons from William Goldman and Marathon Man when hunting hidden Nazis. And it doesn't hurt to have more dynamic characters. I thought I spied a Sydney Greenstreet wannabe here. And Powell is good, but no Bogart. Chalk this one up for been there, done that, won't be stopping by again. But the backstory of the script musical chairs was more entertaining for me.
It was a little too long and could have been shorten to around 90 or 95 minutes.
 

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I was surprised by a couple of omissions on Eddie's part during his comments. However, I shouldn't be as he tends to focus on writers and filmmakers during his brief commentaries every weekend.
Yes, you're right and I had noticed that, too. Several actors here had interesting careers which Eddie might have mentioned. Like you, the film did seem a little long to me; a bit elongated in the middle section that didn't hold my attention as it should have (had no problem with my attention span with Murder, My Sweet).
 

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Now that more people have chimed in about Cornered, I'll say that I found Powell's character to be a brash, overbearing version of the ugly American (although Canadian), a bull in a china shop, wreaking havoc in a delicately plotted tale of the unmasking of a collaborator and his minions.
Tired, old transfer didn't help much.
I think it was Uncertain Glory played right after it, and that transfer looked ready for HD release.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Now that more people have chimed in about Cornered, I'll say that I found Powell's character to be a brash, overbearing version of the ugly American (although Canadian), a bull in a china shop, wreaking havoc in a delicately plotted tale of the unmasking of a collaborator and his minions.
Tired, old transfer didn't help much.
I think it was Uncertain Glory played right after it, and that transfer looked ready for HD release.
As I stated earlier I always had issues with that character as I thought he acted reckless and without much thought. In short, he was stupid in many of his actions. I didn't bother watching the TCM presentation except to sample a couple of sequences.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Today's Memorial Day film tribute was "Hell Is For Heroes" (1962) starring Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker and a terrific supporting cast. IMO, one of McQueen's best acting performances early in his career. McQueen plays an unlikeable and cold-blooded killing machine of a soldier that endangers his platoon with his actions. Another fine movie directed by Don Siegel. This film was written by Robert Pirosh, who's TV series "Combat" I grew up watching in the 1960's. He also has writing credits for "Battleground" and "Go For Broke" along with many other films. A fine HD presentation on iTunes.

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Robert Crawford

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Last night's viewing was "Hell to Eternity" (1960) which I didn't plan on watching, but, I was channel surfing and came across it on TCM. I ended up watching most of the movie after missing the first 15 minutes of it. The film is another favorite of mine from my youth. It was only months ago that I watched my iTunes HD digital of it. Some great "action" sequences in it.


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This morning's viewing was "Tobruk" (1967) starring Rock Hudson and George Peppard. I haven't watched this movie in decades. Hell, my last viewing might have been in the 1970s. I had little memory of it
except most of them dying in the movie.
As the Kino Blu-ray played on, the movie started to come back to me. A solid "war" film with plenty of action in it. A fine cast of actors and terrific action sequences that reminded me of old-time Hollywood movies without CGI that you don't see any longer in today's movies. After watching it, while cooking breakfast I decided to listen to some of the audio commentary by Steve Mitchell and Steven Jay Rubin. By the time I finished breakfast, I was hooked, so I ended up watching the entire movie again as I was really enjoying this commentary. They had a couple of things wrong, but nothing major and it was an informative commentary. This movie was written by character actor Leo Gordon, who was also in the movie. Gordon known for playing "baddies" in movies and TV was a prolific writer with some novels, screenplays and a lot of TV episodes. This movie is about a group of British soldiers and some German Jews posing as British prisoners of war and German soldiers in order to infiltrate behind enemy lines to destroy Rommel's fuel depot at Tobruk. The movie was directed by Arthur Hiller and produced by Roger Corman's brother Eugene.

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As I stated earlier I always had issues with that character as I thought he acted reckless and without much thought. In short, he was stupid in many of his actions. I didn't bother watching the TCM presentation except to sample a couple of sequences.
I think some of those actions would have made more sense if the film played up his obvious PTSD a bit more. I get why they might not have wanted to do that in 1945, but that was what I found lacking when trying to sympathize with the character.
 
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Cornered. The more I think about it the more unsympathetic I feel toward Dick Powell's one note character just bulldozing his way over his wife being murdered. What might have worked better is if we actually cared about her through his eyes via some kind of flashback that gave us a glimpse of who she was, and helped humanize him by showing how he behaved differently around her through his love for her. But as it played out, and from other viewer thoughts, there was just no reason to care about him or his quest.
 
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