OLD MOVIES MADE NEW ON BLU-RAY AND DVD – Leonard Maltin’s crazy movie


Joan Leslie, Louis Hayward and newcomer Richard Basehart top the cast in this exciting drama that takes place on New Year’s Eve and allows its protagonist to relive a painful and outrageous year. It marked a promising start for the newly christened Eagle-Lion Films, which just months earlier had been known as the PRC (Producers Releasing Corporation). Now, with an infusion of money and prestige from Britain’s J. Arthur Rank and producer Bryan Foy’s film-making know-how, Eagle-Lion was out to bring some class to the ranks of B-movies. This saga is well told in a concise documentary by Stephen C. Smith and narrated by Alan K. Rode (both of whom are well versed in this field). Eddie Muller, known to TCM viewers as the host of Noir Alley and founder of the Film Noir Foundation, appears on camera to introduce the film, while contemporary critic and essayist Farran Smith Nehme gives a summary of Joan Leslie’s film career. I encourage you to try the commentary track where Nora Fiore, The Nitrate Diva, adds sharp thoughts and funny facts. An accompanying booklet includes a book-to-film comparison essay by Brian Light. You can see that for each of these contributors, this endeavor was a work of love, and that is what makes the project so appealing.

EDWARD EVERETT HORTON (Undercrank Productions)

Edward Everett Horton made such a vivid impression in the talkie era that it may come as a surprise to some people that he had a flourishing career in silent film, starring in a handful of features and directing a number of two-reel comedies produced of none. other than Harold Lloyd. These eight short subjects were well taken care of, even before the Library of Congress made digital scans in recent years, removed scratches and stabilized the image while restoring original nuances. Designed by Lloyd’s production team, there’s nothing particularly distinctive about these effervescent comedies – one can easily imagine another performer at the helm – but they are effectively made and fun to watch. What’s more, it’s rare to see any quiet comedy shorts that look so good. The disc contains a summary of Horton’s quiet career by Steve Massa and peppered piano and organ scores by Ben Model, whose Undercrank Productions is responsible for bringing these films to home video.

THE LITTLE RASCALS volume 4 (ClassicFlix)

I grew up watching these Hal Roach comedies every single day on local television in New York, and while they have burned into my consciousness, I have a ball to revisit them – and watch them like I have never done before. , thanks to ClassicFlix’s restorations. The before-and-after demonstrations are really impressive, especially in the early talkie era, where dialogue-free scenes used to contain a low-pitched hiss. Volume 2 also includes a short-lived Hal Roach innovation: “talking” title credits. Cute blonde twins (Beverly and Betty Mae Crane) appear in front of a stage curtain and proclaim in chorus: “Dear ladies and gentlemen … Hal Roach presents His Rascals in their latest Our Gang comedy titled Love business. “After reciting the credits, they end by bowing and saying,” We thank you. ” Love business is one of my childhood favorites in the series for a variety of reasons, not least because it’s a great vehicle for Norman “Chubby” Chaney and has a wonderfully silly call-and-answer piece of dialogue with him and Dorothy DeBorba. What I did not realize when I was a child was that Chubby recited words of love for a cardboard cut of Greta Garbo. What’s more, right behind him in the cinema entrance is a love pose with Charley Chase and Thelma Todd! If you already own a set Our gang comedies on DVD and considering whether I should spend the money on repurchasing them, my answer is YES! If you love The little scoundrels as I do and plan to show them to your children and grandchildren, you will be repaid many times over. Your purchase will also confirm to ClassicFlix that its investment in restoring these comedies was worthwhile.

GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (Warner Archive)

I defy you to find a 1933 movie that looks better than this. And what an opening: a giant close-up of Ginger Rogers singing “We’re in the Money,” in both English and pig Latin. This melodic Busby Berkeley musical may not rank highly for credibility, but when it comes to production numbers, it’s hard to top. Add the energetic James Cagney, who shows off his singing and dancing skills, the Warner Bros. players (Warren William, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Guy Kibbee and Ned Sparks) and a span of Al Dubin-Harry Warren songs and you have an absolute knockout. The film even dares to mark its escapist mandate with a striking and sober number called “Remember My Forgotten Man.”

Along with the feature come four appropriate cartoons, each highlighting a song from the film. (Remember, Warners only started making animated shorts to promote these songs.) There are also three live-action Vitaphone shorts: On the 42ndnd Gade Specialpromoting the private railroad that carried a wagonload of celebrities (including a very young Bette Davis, Lyle Talbot, Jack L. Warner and Darryl F. Zanuck) on a whistle-stop ride to present the film … and a two -wheel machine from 1933 with Lita Gray Chaplin called Spicy greetings and briefly puts the spotlight on Sammy Davis (billed just that way) but makes no use of his musical talent!


Here is the result of yet another ambitious restoration project. It was backed by a Kickstarter campaign funded by a legion of Abbott and Costello fans. Their two-season TV series has been released and re-released as many times as any property I can think of on home video. I asked Bob Furmanek, Big Kahuna of the 3D Film Archive, why he took on this task and what it entailed: “We scanned 120,000 feet of 35mm film from 175 rolls of archival elements. The incredible survival rate of the camera’s original material for a TV show of this vintage is VERY unusual, and the ‘Saving the Negatives’ feature on the third disc tells the story.Of the 26 episodes, all but 4 image reels (2 are lost and 2 are degraded) and 2 reels with push-pull optical tracks with variable density scanned from original 35mm negatives.Fans have never before experienced the show in this quality and I have wanted to tackle this restoration / preservation project for decades.The entire 3DFA restoration team is very proud of the final product.

“We have restored the original concluding MCA logo that was present on the show from October 1951 to 1959 when Sterling Television picked up the syndication. WPIX in New York first broadcast the program on September 18, 1955 on Sunday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. . Life with father and Clubhouse Gang Comedies. It ran in sharp rotation in NY for decades.

“There are two complete episodes (and six partial shows) with the original non-audience numbers. When the programs were edited, they were shown to a small study audience. Their response, which includes Bud’s sister Olive and her VERY distinctive laugh, was recorded and mixed. to the final track master.The shows have never been heard before without an audience and it is a very interesting experience.

“If you need more information on the production history and restoration, please check out the Kickstarter campaign. There is VERY wrong information online and I have corrected many long-standing myths in the various project updates: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/3dfilmarchive/pre-order-the-abbott-and-costello-show-season-one-restored/

Everything Bob says is true and the results speak for themselves. This is the final home video release of a lasting popular TV series.

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