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Crawdaddy's "Random Thoughts" about Home Video, Film & TV (4 Viewers)

Robert Crawford

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I had a busy week watching movies this past week with multiple Michael Curtiz films.

  • Twenty Plus Two: On the TCM app, not a good movie, but interesting. It has a promising opening, but the rest is not as good.
  • Mara Maru: On the TCM app, an underrated Errol Flynn movie late in his career about scavenging for some diamonds in the ocean.
  • Doctor X (1932): On the TCM app, a Warner Horror film in need of a restoration like that other 2-color Technicolor film, "Wax Museum".
  • Mystery of the Wax Museum: Excellent Blu-ray of this 2-color Technicolor film that I need to watch again for the audio commentaries.
  • The Walking Dead (1936): On the TCM app, a Warner Horror film starring Boris Karloff. A good movie directed by Michael Curtiz.
  • The Face at the Window: On BD, a Brit 1945 thriller about a serial killer known as the "Wolf". I love the hammy "bad" guy.
  • Fiend Without a Face: On Criterion DVD, a low budget horror/sci-fi movie from my youth which needs a BD release.
  • The Seventh Victim: On the TCM Channel, an RKO "B" movie from Val Lewton. On a grading scale of 1-5, my grade is 4.0.
 

Hollywoodaholic

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The Seventh Victim. Sufficiently creepy. I don't know why Kim Hunter was directed to go through most of the film emotionless, but it dragged things early on. The shower scene no doubt was seen by Joseph Stefano or Hitch. And that ending. Wow. Smart not to end on emotionless Mary and Mr. Cleaver. And yeah... Rosemary's Baby group.

Speaking of influences; I watched Dead of Night recorded from TCM and not only was that ventriloquist segment superbly creepy, but I get the feeling seeing that inspired the whole notion of Norman Bates dual personality that ultimately takes over him in the nut house. No doubt Joseph Stefano who wrote the novel Psycho may have been spurred on by this powerful portrayal of a latent-personality taking over. It was great; perfect Halloween viewing.
 

Matt Hough

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I thought I had seen the RKO Val Lewton films, but I had never seen The Seventh Victim before. I enjoyed it very much. Sufficiently creepy, and the deep, dark shadows added immeasurably to the mood even when it was clear they were on backlot sets. The ending was a real shocker knowing the era of the film.
 

Robert Crawford

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On the TCM app, I watched "Two O'Clock Courage" (1945) a "B" movie directed by Anthony Mann. The movie starred Tom Conway, Anne Rutherford and a supporting role for Bettejane Greer. It was a good move for her to drop the "Bette".:) Anyway, this movie is somewhat entertaining at 68 minutes in which an amnesia victim is not only trying to find out his identity, but is trying to determine whether he killed a man during a police investigation. I like watching "B" movies, particularly, if they're from RKO. This isn't a good movie, but, it does show that this young director Mann had a future in that business.

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From a TCM recording, I watched "They Won't Forget" (1937) starring Claude Rains, Gloria Dickson, Edward Norris, Otto Kruger and a 16 year old Lana Turner making her film debut in a short, but pivotal role. The movie is about mob/vigilante justice towards an innocent man involved in a murder of a young woman and how he's prosecuted by an ambitious DA trying to make a name for himself without any regard to real justice for the murder victim. A very powerful movie with some fine acting performances, particularly by Rains and Dickson. As some of you know this movie was based on the real murder of Mary Phagan and the lynching of Leo Frank. I wish I can revisit the unedited 1988 TV miniseries "The Murder of Mary Phagan" starring Jack Lemmon and Richard Jordan.

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Robert Crawford

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Yesterday, I watched the Kino Blu-rays of "Seven Sinners" (1940) starring Marlene Dietrich, John Wayne and Broderick Crawford as well as "The Shepherd of the Hills" (1941) starring John Wayne, Betty Field and Harry Carey. The video presentation of "Seven Sinners" was mediocre with several film blemishes while "The Shepherd of the Hills" video presentation was pretty damn good for this Technicolor movie. One humorous development from listening to those audio commentaries on each BD was they expressed contrary assertions regarding the alleged affair between Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne. The commentary on "Seven Sinners" says that alleged affair was made up by Dietrich and confirmed by her daughter's book about Marlena because she was pissed that Wayne refused her advances. On the "The Shepherd of the Hills" commentary it stated that they had an affair. I tend to believe that the affair didn't happened because Marlena wasn't Wayne's type as he preferred dark haired women especially of Hispanic descent. Anyhow, I thought that gossipy detail was interesting.

By the way, I laughed repeatedly watching "Seven Sinners" again as I thought Dietrich was great in this movie in which Wayne definitely played second fiddle in it. Some fine comic performances by Crawford, Mischa Auer, Billy Gilbert and Vince Barnett. One of the best saloon fights highlights the ending of the movie.

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bujaki

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Seven Sinners and Her Man, both directed by Tay Garnett, boast great fight scenes. If I recall correctly from a screening of countless decades ago, the fight scene opened Her Man, whereas, as you state, the saloon fight closes Seven Sinners, another film I haven't seen in decades.
 

Robert Crawford

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Seven Sinners and Her Man, both directed by Tay Garnett, boast great fight scenes. If I recall correctly from a screening of countless decades ago, the fight scene opened Her Man, whereas, as you state, the saloon fight closes Seven Sinners, another film I haven't seen in decades.
They mentioned on the Seven Sinners commentary that Tay Garnett was Clint Eastwood's favorite director on the Rawhide TV series.
 

Robert Crawford

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I just posted the following Warner Archive Facebook Announcements in the Warner Archive thread:


Take a Sneak Peek at 9 New Blu-ray Releases coming soon!

TEX AVERY SCREWBALL CLASSICS - VOLUME 2
New 2020 1080p HD Masters
Run Time: 149:00
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Specs: DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 - English
Aspect Ratio: 4x3, 1.37:1 Full Frame
Product Color: COLOR
Disc Configuration: BD 50
Special Feature: Documentary "Tex Avery: King of Cartoons"

Welcome back for another three-ring circus of animated comedy from the legendary leader of cartoon fun – director Tex Avery. In the first ring, Avery serves up some of his finest one-shot creations: cartoons featuring cats who hate people, wacky cuckoo clocks, kooky cavemen and lovelorn French fleas. We also meet up again with Avery's attractive Red Riding Hood, a pair of amorous wolves and his durable all-around fall guy, Spike. The second ring is a showcase for Avery's ironically deadpan "Happy Hound": Droopy. This time, Droopy appears in a number of guises – each one funnier than the last. As bandleader "John Pettybone," he leads his jazz-playing fleas to the heights of canine stardom. Out West, as a homesteader and a sheepherder, he has his final showdowns with the Wolf. The third ring offers a whimsical glimpse into the future – or at least a future from the POV of the mid-20th century – with a plethora of zany postwar inventions. While none of the cartoons "of tomorrow" foresaw smartphones or Blu-ray players, these far-fetched contraptions, gadgets, houses and farms, televisions, and various modes of transportation could only come from the madcap mind of Avery and his MGM crew. Uncut, restored and remastered in High Definition for the first time, Tex Avery Screwball Classics Collection Volume 2 is another must-own collection from the master of hand-drawn mayhem.

This 21 cartoon collection includes:

1 LITTLE RURAL RIDING HOOD
2 THE CUCKOO CLOCK
3 MAGICAL MAESTRO
4 ONE CAB'S FAMILY
5 CAT THAT HATED PEOPLE
6 DOGGONE TIRED
7 THE FLEA CIRCUS
8 FIELD AND SCREAM
9 THE FIRST BAD MAN
10 OUT FOXED
11 DROOPY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE
12 THREE LITTLE PUPS
13 DRAGALONG DROOPY
14 HOMESTEADER DROOPY
15 DIXIELAND DROOPY
16 COUNTERFEIT CAT
17 VENTRILOQUIST CAT
18 HOUSE OF TOMORROW
19 CAR OF TOMORROW
20 TV OF TOMORROW
21 FARM OF TOMORROW

THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) - 2 DISC SPECIAL EDITION
New 2020 1080p HD Restoration Masters from 4K Scans of Preservation Separation Elements
Run Time: 83:00
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Specs: DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 - English
Aspect Ratio: Disc One-1.85:1-16x9 Widescreen and 1.66:1-16x9 Widescreen
Product Color: COLOR
Disc Configuration: 2-BD 50
Special Features: New feature commentary by Screenwriter/Film Historian Steve Haberman and Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr, Newly Remastered 1.37:1 Open Matte version of feature. New Featurettes include: The Resurrection Men: Hammer, Frankenstein and the Rebirth of the Horror Film, Hideous Progeny: The Curse of Frankenstein and the English Gothic Tradition, Torrents of Light: The Art of Jack Asher, Diabolus in Musica: James Bernard and the Sound of Hammer Horror, Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)

The first, and perhaps the best of the long-running series of horror films from the house of Hammer, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee star in this landmark interpretation based on the famous Mary Shelley story. Baron Victor Frankenstein becomes friends with one of his teachers, Paul Krempe. At first, both men are fascinated by the potential of their re-animating experiments. Eventually, though, Krempe refuses to help with Frankenstein's human experiments. However, he is drawn back into the plot when Frankenstein's creature kills a member of the house staff. For its U.S. Blu-ray debut, Warner Archive is proud to present this deluxe 2 Disc Special Edition, featuring two theatrical aspect ratio presentations, meticulously remastered and restored from preservation separations, as well as bonus disc with the restoration presented in "open-matte" format, as was seen for years on television, plus four exciting new retrospective featurettes, an expert commentary, and the original theatrical trailer.

THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946)
New 2020 1080p HD Restoration from 4K Scan of the Original Nitrate Technicolor Negatives
Run Time: 102:00
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Specs: DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 - English
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 4x3 Full Frame
Product Color: COLOR
Disc Configuration: BD 50
Special Features: Feature-length audio commentary by Director George Sidney, Three Deleted Musical sequences: March of the Doagies, March of the Doagies (reprise), and My Intuition. Scoring stage sessions (audio only) featuring pre-recordings made for the film including the unused "Hayride". "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" Remixed in Stereo (HD), Original Theatrical Trailer (HD).

Judy Garland headlines The Harvey Girls, a joyous slice of Americana celebrating the "Harvey House" restaurants that brought extra helpings of civilization to the Old West. Famed M-G-M musical producer Arthur Freed brought together an impressive cast of talents for this box-office hit which features a delightful original score by composer Harry Warren and lyricist Johnny Mercer, who earned an Oscar for their On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe as the Best Song of 1946. Garland once again shares the screen with her "Oz" co-star Ray Bolger, clowns with Virginia O'Brien, falls in love with leading man John Hodiak, and faces off against wicked saloon gal Angela Lansbury in one of the most entertaining and enduring musical classics to come from Metro's golden age, now fully restored to its original Technicolor luster for its Blu-ray debut.

HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949)
New 2020 1080p HD Master
Run Time: 87:00
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Specs: DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 - English
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1, 4x3 Full Frame
Product Color: B&W
Disc Configuration BD 25
Special Feature: Lux Radio Theater broadcast (12/18/50) with Robert Mitchum and Laraine Day, Original Theatrical Trailer

RKO's resident "bad boy" Robert Mitchum (Out of the Past) surprised audiences with his softer side in this classic Yule-themed romantic comedy. Mitchum portrays Steve Mason, a department-store clerk who loses his job, yet buys an electric train set for a child he scarcely knows. It must be Christmastime. Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh are warmly matched in Holiday Affair, a seasonal favorite scripted by Isobel Lennart (later to adapt Mitchum's The Sundowners) and directed by Hope/Crosby "road movies" veteran Don Hartman.

MISTER ROBERTS (1955)
New 2020 1080p HD Remaster from 4K Scan of Original Negative
Run Time: 121:00
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Specs: DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 – English
Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1-16x9 LETTERBOX
Product Color: B&W
Disc Configuration: BD 50
Special Features: Commentary by Jack Lemmon, Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)

The USS Reluctant carries cargo along World War II's forgotten Pacific seaways. Beyond the horizon, the real war passes its stir-crazy crew by. Mister Roberts, directed by John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, is the classic story of men fighting to survive – not war's dangers, but its indignities. Henry Fonda's reprise of his Tony®-winning Broadway role returned him to movies after seven years away. Jack Lemmon won his first Academy Award® as hapless, lecherous Ensign Pulver. James Cagney's petty, scrappy Captain makes a fierce adversary. In his final film, William Powell makes world-weary Doc a sage for the ages. Mister Roberts has moments of unforgettable humor. But sadness tempers the comedy. No shot is fired. No blood is spilled. Yet Mister Roberts endures as one of our most truthful war sagas.

YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN (1950)
New 2020 1080p HD Remaster from 4K Scan of Original Nitrate Elements
Run Time: 112:00
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Specs: DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 – English
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 4x3 Full Frame
Product Color: B&W
Disc Configuration: BD 50
Special Features: Lux Radio Theater broadcast (3/3/52) with Kirk Douglas and Jo Stafford; Vintage WB Cartoons: HILLBLLY HARE (HD); HOMELESS HARE (HD) and HURDY GURDY HARE (HD); Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)

With a secondhand trumpet and the loving guidance of a brilliant bluesman, a lonely boy grows into manhood as a superb musician whose talent carries him from honky-tonks to posh supper clubs. But his desperate search for an elusive high note – trapped in his mind but impossible to play – starts him on a boozy downward slide. Charged with dynamic performances by Kirk Douglas (the title role), Doris Day, Lauren Bacall and Hoagy Carmichael, and pitch-perfect direction by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca), the film is a feast of hot, cool, moody jazz. Legendary Harry James dubbed Douglas' hornwork. Day brings another fine instrument – her voice – to four standards. Movie and music lovers will be glad to meet this Man.

THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940)
New 2020 1080p HD Remaster
Run Time: 99:00
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Specs: DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 – English
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1. 4x3 Full Frame
Product Color: B&W
Disc Configuration: BD 50
Special Features: Vintage MGM promotional film: "The Miracle Of Sound"; Screen Guild Theater radio broadcast (9/29/40) with Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart and Frank Morgan; Lux Radio Theater broadcast (6/23/41) with Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche.

Ernst Lubitsch adds his unique style of directorial aplomb to this timeless love story that marked the third of Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart's four film appearances together. A 1936 play by Nikolaus Laszlo called "Perfumerie" was the basis for this timeless love story set in a Budapest shop. With a witty screenplay adaptation by Samson Raphaelson, Stewart and Sullavan play bickering gift-shop workers Alfred and Klara, unaware that they have fallen in love with each other as secret pen pals who only know their respective correspondents as "Dear Friend". The charm of the stars ably supported by a sterling supporting cast headed by Frank Morgan make this timeless classic one to enjoy over and over again. The story was later filmed as "In The Good Old Summertime" with Judy Garland and Van Johnson in 1949, and as "You've Got Mail" in 1998. It was also the basis of the 1963 Broadway musical favorite "She Loves Me". Beautifully remastered from protection film elements made right from the original nitrate negative, this new Blu-ray presentation of the original 1940 classic is a joy to behold

IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE (1947)
New 2020 1080p HD Remaster from 4K Scan of Best Surviving Nitrate Elements
Run Time: 115:00
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Specs: DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 – English
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1. 4x3 Full Frame
Product Color: B&W
Disc Configuration: BD 50
Special Feature: Lux Radio Theater Broadcast (5/19/1947)

As he does every winter, hobo Aloysius T. McKeever (Victor Moore) moves in to a mansion on New York City's 5th Avenue while its owners are away for the winter and invites all his hobo friends in from the cold. But this Christmas, Mary O'Connor (Ann Harding) comes home unexpectedly after a quarrel with her boyfriend to find her house occupied by jovial street dwellers. To make matters even worse, her father (Charles Ruggles) disguises himself as a hobo to get an invitation to stay in his own home -- and keeps his identity secret in this perennial Christmas favorite about rediscovering family and the joy of being together. Don DeFore (Romance on the High Seas) and Gale Storm (My Little Margie) co-star as the young love interests in this first release from Allied Artists Productions.
 

Tino

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MISTER ROBERTS (1955)
New 2020 1080p HD Remaster from 4K Scan of Original Negative
Run Time: 121:00
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Specs: DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 – English
Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1-16x9 LETTERBOX
Product Color: B&W
Disc Configuration: BD 50
Special Features: Commentary by Jack Lemmon, Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)
YES
YES
YES
!!!!!!!!!
 

Robert Crawford

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It looks like Sony is releasing five Jack Lemmon titles onto Blu-ray on December 8th, as I noticed four Amazon links that haven't gone live yet. I added them to the Pre-Order BD/4K Listing.

By the way, I haven't watched any of these movies in their entirety since I was a teenager back in the early 70's. I do have fond memories of "The Notorious Landlady" and that's because of Kim Novak. I liked "Good Neighbor Sam" too, but only vague memories of the other two movies.
 

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Robert Crawford

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This weekend's "Noir Alley" movie is "Nightfall" (1957) starring Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft, Brian Keith and James Gregory. Directed by Jacques Tourneur. IMO, a pretty good movie with my last viewing of it last year so I doubt I'll watch the entire movie again except for Eddie's comments.

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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)
09-06-20: Night Editor (1946) "Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Only"
09-12-20: Danger Signal (1945)
09-19-20: Gilda (1946)
09-26-20: They Won't Believe Me (1947)
10-03-20: Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
10-10-20: The Racket (1951)
10-17-20: Destination Murder (1950)
10-24-20: Macao (1952)
10-31-20: The Seventh Victim (1943)

11-07-20: Nightfall (1957)
11-14-20: Fear (1946)
11-21-20: Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
11-28-20: Suspense (1946)
12-05-20: Tomorrow is Another Day (1951)
12-12-20: The Burglar (1957)
12-19-20: The Unsuspected (1947)
12-26-20: Detour (1945)
 

Hollywoodaholic

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Nightfall. Widescreen, crisp picture, Stirling Silliphant script; what's not to like? I'm starting to sync with Muller's observations when I see the "Chekhov's Snowplow." But was expecting a little Fargo action there (blood spraying). Not so in sync when I was about to make a comment about Aldo Ray being the weakest actor link here. After Muller's comments I am rethinking that opinion. He always made a great soldier in films, so this was my first time seeing him as a lead in Noir. I guess it's just the voice. Gregory, Bancroft, and Keith are all great.

My all-time favorite B&W TV drama (not counting TZ or The Outer Limits) is Route 66 and, specifically all those Silliphant episodes. The man just had a way with character studies and dialogue that never ages or fails to captivate. So I was glad to find this film.
 

Matt Hough

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There was definitely something wrong with the audio recording of Eddie's intro and outro this week. On the TCM app, it was muffled to the point of not being understandable. On my DVR's recording of the TCM broadcast, the sound was coming out of the rear left speaker only in my set-up.

The movie itself played just fine. I had never seen it before, and I really enjoyed it though the ending was too pat for my taste. The transfer was pretty great, and I enjoyed all the performances. I had NO idea that character actor Robert Keith was Brian Keith's father!! How did that nugget of information escape me all these years?
 

Robert Crawford

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There was definitely something wrong with the audio recording of Eddie's intro and outro this week. On the TCM app, it was muffled to the point of not being understandable. On my DVR's recording of the TCM broadcast, the sound was coming out of the rear left speaker only in my set-up.

The movie itself played just fine. I had never seen it before, and I really enjoyed it though the ending was too pat for my taste. The transfer was pretty great, and I enjoyed all the performances. I had NO idea that character actor Robert Keith was Brian Keith's father!! How did that nugget of information escape me all these years?
I swore I thought I talked about it in this thread beforehand. Anybody want to see a really good movie that was directed by Anthony Mann, check out "Men in War" starring Robert Ryan, Aldo Ray and Keith's old man Robert Keith. I believe that movie came out the same year as Nightfall. This movie also has a tremendous supporting cast.

As to Ray himself, my first remembrance of him was in the western "Welcome to Hard Times" with Henry Fonda. Also, his role in the "The Green Berets" with the Duke.
 

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