History, Legacy & Showmanship

“The Mr. Novak series is among the finest programs to be produced in the 1960s. It ranks with The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Defenders and others as an absolute pinnacle of television production.” — Chuck Harter, author of Mr. Novak: An Acclaimed Television Series

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 55th anniversary of the premiere of Mr. Novak, the acclaimed but little seen television series starring James Franciscus (Beneath the Planet of the Apes) and Dean Jagger (Twelve O’Clock High) which ran on NBC from 1963 to 1965.

Highly influential on the education community, the series featured still-timely themes, some early-career directing by Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon) and Mark Rydell (The Rose, On Golden Pond) and a bevy of now-recognizable guest stars including Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant), Beau Bridges (The Fabulous Baker Boys), Tony Dow (Leave it to Beaver), Walter Koenig (Star Trek), Martin Landau (Mission: Impossible, Space: 1999), June Lockhart (Lost in Space), Burgess Meredith (Batman, Rocky), and Marion Ross (Happy Days). [Read on here...]

We’ve got a pair of new Blu-ray reviews for you to start the new week off today…

Our own Tim Salmons has checked in with his thoughts on Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, now available as a new Collector’s Edition from our friends at Scream Factory. Tim has also checked out Lionsgate’s new Vestron Video Collector’s Series release of Mark Lester’s Class of 1999. Do give them a look.

Meanwhile, Michael Coate has just posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column, featuring an interview with filmmaker Vincent Pereira on the subject of Dario Argento’s classic giallo film Suspiria, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.

The film was recently restored in 4K by Synapse Films and released in terrific new Blu-ray editions (one of which is reviewed here). It’s a great interview, so be sure to check that out as well. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

“Horror movies are often overlooked or seen as being ‘less than’ other genres, but Suspiria truly is a work of art. Visually and sonically, it’s a beautiful piece of cinema.” — Vincent Pereira, Synapse Films’ Suspiria Blu-ray Original 4.0 LCRS Audio Supervisor/Producer

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of Suspiria, Dario Argento’s influential “giallo” (Italian horror) film starring Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini and Flavio Bucci.

The acclaimed film, and first entry in Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy, recently turned forty, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with Vincent Pereira, who discusses the film’s virtues and influence as well as his involvement with the recently issued Blu-ray release (reviewed here). [Read on here...]

“It’s hard to overstate the influence of Planet of the Apes on the sci-fi film genre. Until then, sci-fi didn’t get much respect, but the one-two punch of that film followed by Kubrick’s mind-blowing 2001 would cause critics and audiences to reevaluate the genre as something more than hapless earthlings trying to repel creatures with ray guns.” — Lee Pfeiffer, Cinema Retro editor-in-chief

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Planet of the Apes, the science fiction classic starring Charlton Heston (The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur) and Roddy McDowall (The Black Hole, Fright Night).

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (Patton, Papillon) and based upon the Pierre Boulle novel, Planet of the Apes also featured Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, and Linda Harrison.

The popular film turns fifty this month, opening initially in New York before a staggered spring rollout across the country. [Read on here...]

“The first art house action film.” —Dwayne Epstein, author of Lee Marvin: Point Blank

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of Point Blank, the neo noir crime classic starring Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou, The Dirty Dozen) and Angie Dickinson (Police Woman, Dressed to Kill).

Directed by John Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur) and based upon the crime noir novel The Hunter, Point Blank also featured Keenan Wynn (Annie Get Your Gun, Dr. Strangelove) and Carroll O’Connor (All in the Family, In the Heat of the Night) — and striking San Francisco locations. The film recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its release, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with film historian Dwayne Epstein, who discusses the film’s virtues and influence. [Read on here...]

All right, we’re back! We hope you all had a lovely and safe Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and/or New Year’s celebration – as the case may be – with your family and friends. My wife and I had a pretty solid case of the flu over Christmas, but we’re mostly recovered now (save for a lingering cough) so we spent New Year’s in Joshua Tree National Park with family. I brought my telescope and so we got some nice star watching in along with the usual hiking and whatnot. By the way, if you’re ever in Twentynine Palms, California and you’re in the mood for barbecue, be sure to visit The Rib Co., because they know what they’re doing.

In any case, we’ve got a number of things going on here at The Bits this week. First, I’ll spend the next couple of days catching you up on new and recent Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD announcement news. I’ll also be getting back into the BD and 4K review rhythm. And of course, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off next week in Las Vegas, so we’ll keep you up to date on developments there too. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ll be back to our regular Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD news and reviews work here at The Bits starting on Tuesday, but in the meantime we just wanted to drop in and wish you all a very Happy New Year and best wishes to your family and friends.

And if you’re looking for a little cinephile reading, be sure to check out Michael Coate’s recent History Legacy & Showmanship columns featuring anniversary celebrations of Casino Royale (1967), Camelot, Tomorrow Never Dies, The Dark Crystal, Die Another Day, and The Graduate, all of which have been posted in the last week or two.All right… be safe, be happy, and may 2018 bring better things for all of us. Peace out!

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

Published in My Two Cents

Casino Royale is the Star Wars Holiday Special of James Bond films.” — 007 historian John Cork

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of Casino Royale, the James Bond comedy spoof starring Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Orson Welles and Woody Allen.

Our previous celebratory 007 articles include Tomorrow Never DiesDie Another Day, Dr. No, The Living Daylights, The Spy Who Loved Me, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, Casino Royale, For Your Eyes Only, Thunderball, GoldenEye, A View to a Kill, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Goldfinger, and 007… Fifty Years Strong.

The Bits continues the series with this retrospective featuring a Q&A with an esteemed group of James Bond historians who discuss the virtues, shortcomings and legacy of Casino Royale (1967). [Read on here...]

“It’s clear in retrospect that Camelot began the extinction process of old school Broadway musicals extravagantly transferred to the screen.” — Matthew Kennedy, author of Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Camelot, the Oscar-winning cinematic interpretation of the King Arthur legend and the Lerner and Loewe stage musical which starred Richard Harris (Cromwell, Unforgiven) as King Arthur and Vanessa Redgrave (Blow-up, Julia) as Guenevere.

Camelot — directed by Joshua Logan (South Pacific, Paint Your Wagon) and which featured Franco Nero, David Hemmings and Lionel Jeffries in supporting roles — opened 50 years ago this past autumn. For the occasion, The Bits features an historical reference listing of the film’s major-market roadshow engagements and a Q&A with film historian Matthew Kennedy, who discusses the film’s virtues, shortcomings and legacy. [Read on here...]

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