History, Legacy & Showmanship

More good stuff for you today…

First, Dr. Jahnke has posted a BD review of Sony’s The Big Gundown, a great spaghetti western from 1966 directed by Sergio Sollima. Sounds like the disc and its extras are pretty swell too. Don’t miss it.

Also today, our own Michael Coate has posted an update of his History, Legacy & Showmanship column from back on November – It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Retrospective – with a great roundtable interview from some of the folks involved in the film’s restoration and Criterion’s fine new Blu-ray release, including Karen Stetler, the Criterion Blu-ray Disc producer; Robert A. Harris, the restoration/reconstruction producer; Karen Sharpe-Kramer, the widow of producer-director Stanley Kramer; and the team that recorded the audio commentary track: Mark Evanier, Michael Schlesinger, and Paul Scrabo. It’s a great read, so I highly recommend that you give it a look. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 00:01

Funny Girl: The Roadshow Engagements

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective article commemorating the 45th anniversary of the release of Funny Girl, the popular William Wyler-Ray Stark motion picture adaptation of the stage musical featuring Barbra Streisand’s Academy Award-winning performance as comedienne Fanny Brice.

Earlier this year, Sony Pictures’ restoration of Funny Girl was featured in the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival and subsequently released on Blu-ray Disc.

Now, The Digital Bits celebrates the classic musical’s 45th anniversary with a detailed listing of the film’s original, major-market, reserved-seat roadshow engagements in the United States and Canada as well as an interview with Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Grover Crisp, who speaks about the film’s recent restoration.  [Read on here…]

All right, we’ve got a quick early update for you today.

First, in the event you missed it, we posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate yesterday, featuring a look back at the original theatrical release of Superman: The Movie.  Yesterday marked the film’s 35th Anniversary.  The piece features a good interview component too, so do check it out if you haven’t read it yet.

Also today, after noting the passing of the legendary actor Peter O’Toole yesterday, this morning we must acknowledge the death of Tom Laughlin as well, star of the Billy Jack films.  He was 82.  You can read more on this here at the L.A. Times.  Sadly, actress Joan Fontaine also died this past weekend at the age of 96.  Fontaine was known for roles in such films as Jane Eyre, Ivanhoe, The Constant Nymph and Letter from an Unknown Woman, in addition to starring turns in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and Suspicion (for which she was best known).  More here at the New York Times.  Both will surely be missed.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’re back as expected today with a great new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our very own Michael Coate.

But first, we wanted to take a moment this afternoon to acknowledge a bit of sad breaking news: The legendary film and stage actor Peter O’Toole has died.  He passed away yesterday at the age of 81.  Cinephiles will of course know him from his performance as T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, but other favorite film roles include such titles as Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, The Stunt Man, The Last Emperor and My Favorite Year.  Younger readers may best recall him for voicing a character in Pixar’s Ratatouille.  If you’re one of them, I envy you – it means you have so many great O’Toole films yet to discover.  In fact, I think a fresh viewing of Lawrence just might be in order in O’Toole’s memory.  Our hats off to him.  You can read more here at The New York Times.  [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
Sunday, 15 December 2013 12:14

Still Believing a Man Can Fly

REMEMBERING “SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE” ON ITS 35TH ANNIVERSARY

It has been a big year for the Man of Steel. The year 2013 marked the 75th anniversary of Superman’s debut (in Action Comics issue #1), a new movie was made starring Henry Cavill and directed by Zack Snyder, and, of course, it represents the 35th anniversary of the release of the classic cinematic adventure starring Christopher Reeve and directed by Richard Donner.  The Digital Bits celebrates the occasion with a look back at Superman: The Movie’s opening weekend and features a reflective interview with some Superman authorities.  [Read on here...]

So it turns out The Desolation of Smaug is pretty good.  I mustered up the energy to catch a double-feature screening last night with a friend, and it was a fine evening’s entertainment.  If you enjoyed the first Hobbit film, I think you’ll like this one a great deal more.  The pacing is much more engaging.  Fans of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy will definitely feel more at home here, as in this film the prequel trilogy really begins to reveal its connections to the previous films more strongly… and not just in the fact that Legolas (Orlando Bloom) features prominently.  As one would hope, Smaug himself is wonderfully realized.

Smaug aside, with any luck you have a good art house theater in your neck of the woods, because there are a number of fine indie films worth seeing this holiday season: American Hustle, the Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, All Is Lost, Nebraska, Her, 12 Years a Slave and many more.  This is the time of year when all the great dramas get dumped into limited theatrical distribution so they quality for Oscar nominations, so be sure to head out to your local theater over the next 2 or 3 weeks.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Afternoon, everyone.  We should have that review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Extended Edition for you tomorrow.  However, the Cliff’s Notes version (for those of you wanting to know if you should buy it or not) is that the A/V quality is excellent, the extended footage doesn’t really add up to much (though there are a couple of nice character-enhancing moments), but the 9-hours worth of documentary material is terrific and well worth buying the disc for all by itself if you’re a Rings or Hobbit fan.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents
Thursday, 07 November 2013 13:20

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Retrospective

CELEBRATING “IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD” ON ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective article commemorating the golden anniversary of the original release of Stanley Kramer’s It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and a new Blu-ray Disc from The Criterion Collection.

Featured in this tribute are a list of the epic comedy’s roadshow engagements and an interview segment with several people involved with the production of the Blu-ray Disc. [Read on here...]

 

Dr. Jahnke’s Hell Plaza Oktoberfest continues today with a review of Jess Franco’s Nightmares Come at Night on Blu-ray Disc from Kino via their Redemption Films label.  Enjoy!

Speaking of Oktoberfest, we’ve got a special deal for you:  Our friends at Factory Entertainment, who are sponsoring the Fest, have provided a special discount code just for Bits readers.  All throughout the month of October, Bits readers can get 25% off any Factory Entertainment order of IN STOCK ITEMS over $50 by using the code D1G1TALB1TS10 at checkout.  Again, this is good on any order of IN STOCK ITEMS over $50 and it runs until the end of the day on October 31st.  Don’t forget, we’re also going to be giving away great Universal Monsters prop replicas from Factory Entertainment starting next week over on The Digital Bits Facebook page and the Jahnke’s Electric Theatre Facebook page, so be sure to head on over there and give them a “like” if you’re interested.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents
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