The Bad And The Beautiful (1952)

Being a cinephile, I find myself watching at least one to two movies on TCM during my day. I’ve mentioned before on the site that when growing up I had almost no control of what TV shows or movies we watched in our living room…so I missed quite a few classic series and films. There is no greater joy for myself in my day than when TCM shows me a film that when it is over I just can’t believe that I never had the pleasure of watching it before.

This morning I caught TCM’s airing of the 1952 Vincente Minnelli (An American in Paris, Lust for Life) helmed The Bad and the Beautiful. The story deals with three mover and shakers in Hollywood that are called in to discuss helping the man who made them famous and powerful. Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), the head of the down on it’s luck, Shields Studios.
The three individuals are film director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), starlet Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), and screenwriter and novelist James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell). Each of them were friends of Jonathan but through the producers own actions he has forced them to turn away from him at his time of need.
The movie is the back story of each of the characters and how they came to be successful through Jonathan, perhaps I should say despite being involved with Jonathan.

This movie is a bit like Singing in the Rain in that it shows you the behind the scenes of the Golden Age of Hollywood…just not as brightly as the version we see in Gene Kelly’s film.

A big thanks to IMP Awards for the awesome poster and to I Am Only Love for uploading the trailer on YouTube.

Stop Look And Listen (1967)

I caught this humorous short in the wee hours of the morning on TCM, Stop Look and Listen, was directed by and starred Len Janson (Smurfs, Real Ghostbusters, Space Sentinels) and Chuck Menville (Speed Buggy, Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, Tiny Toon Adventures). It deals with a mild mannered man (Menville) as he attempts to enjoy a leisurely drive and finds himself caught up in a bit of road rage…oh did I mention that he is the car and the short is stop-motion?

A big thanks to Commercialman Rob for uploading this short on YouTube.

TCM Spotlight: Charlie Chan Collection on DVD

charlie chan dvds

As a kid, channels 5, 9 and 11, were my source for old movies and TV. I would watch hours of the Three Stooges and Abbot and Costello by myself. But I would also watch things that the older members of my family enjoyed. My Mother did not watch a ton of old movies, she liked more current shows, but the one thing I knew she would also wanted to watch were Charlie Chan films. I have no idea why, but she could be stopped cold in her tracks when Sidney Toler or Roland Winters took to the screen. I watched it with her and since then have always had affection for the movies. So I was pleased as punch to see that TCM Spotlight: Charlie Chan Collection was released on DVD and picked up a copy.

The collection consists of 4 Chan classics, 3 of them are Toler films and the 4th is a Roland Winters film. All of them are great. I think it was smart for them to include a Winters version of Chan, for those who are being exposed to these films for the first time, it offers a a different take on a classic character.

The films in this collection are: Dark Alibi (1946), Dangerous Money (1948), The Trap (1946) and The Chinese Ring (1947).

The movies look great in crisply transferred full frame black and white. Chan films might have been done on the cheap, but it always looks like they put every penny of what they had onto the screen. The sound is all in Dolby Digital mono, which keeps the movies original audio sounding authentic, but very clear. The set has nothing in the way of extras, which is disappointing, but what are you gonna do?

Charlie Chan can make some modern viewers feel uncomfortable. The films are filled with questionable stereotyping, so if you have not seen the films be prepared. That being said, these mysteries are enjoyable to watch overall. At the very least they will give you a window into an earlier time in film making, at the most they will turn you into a Chan addict, trawling through cable movie channels trying to get your next fix. Personally I am enjoying them thoroughly and hope this will lead to the remaining 7 Chan films to be released on DVD.

TCM Spotlight: Charlie Chan Collection on DVD [@] Amazon