View from the Cheap Seats

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All right, it’s a bit of a slow day news-wise, but we do have a little bit of announcement news for you...

First up, Cinelicious Pics has announced that they’re releasing Eiichi Yamamoto’s Japanese animated classic Belladonna of Sadness (1973) on Blu-ray on 7/12 (SRP $39.99). It features a new 4K restoration of the film, a new video interview with the director, vintage interviews with the art director and composer, several trailers, and a 16-page booklet. The film has never been released in the States before – think of it in the vein of Fantastic Planet, Heavy Metal, or Wizards. Note that this is an underground film, however, and is definitely not for children. There’s explicit sexuality and brutal violence, but also extraordinary animation for its time. You can read Glenn Kenny’s review of the current revival screening here at The New York Times (it opens today in L.A. through Cinefamily).  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 12:00

The Alamo Under Siege

Anybody know a good screenwriter? Here’s true scenario that would offer a perfect studio pitch.

And it’s a thriller, in a way, with a determined adventurer racing against time to seek justice for a hero from a past generation – one who sacrificed finances, reputation and goodwill to slay a dragon that was, in the long run, perhaps beyond even his reach.

This story is about John Wayne. This story is about Robert Harris. This story is about America and the importance of its cultural maintenance. And, ok, it’s also about personal obsession. Duke Wayne did what he said. No backing out. No cutting corners. No half assed. [Read on here...]

So... you might recall that last week I had dinner with film restoration expert (and former Bits contributor) Robert A. Harris and some other friends. (You can find a complete archive of his work on the original Digital Bits website here.) Robert, as it happens, is in town working on another fine classic film restoration project which will be announced in due course. But during our conversation last week, Robert alerted us to the fact that another beloved classic film is not faring nearly so well. That film, as you might already suspect, is The Alamo (1960), directed by and starring the legendary John Wayne. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

This was all we needed to hear: The DUKE was coming to Oklahoma City.

It was the year of our Lord, 1972 and The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City (now called the National Cowboy Museum and Western Heritage Center) hosted every year a grand event called the Western Heritage Awards, where they gave a trophy called “The Wrangler” to outstanding theatrical and television Westerns and the winner this particular year was a film called “The Cowboys,” starring, well, you know who.  [Read on here...]

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