An excess of news for this week as I look at some upcoming DVD releases, some upcoming stuff worth DVRing, and a fun, new TCM movie trivia app!
TCM has answered the clarion call about a movie-trivia app! It’s been announced that Apple users (iPhone, iPad, and iPod) can download the TCM Movie Trivia app and challenge their friends (or themselves) to trivia. You can play towards winning exclusive trivia packs, or purchase them through in-app purchase. Sections where you can test your knowledge include “Pop Culture Cinema,” “Musicals & Romance,” “Tough Guys,” and “Behind the Camera;” with questions ranging from multiple choice, image recognition, mix-and-match, or fill-in-the-blank. Social media, of course, can be used to share scores or play with others. I haven’t played this yet, although I am intrigued at a trivia game designed specifically with TCM fans in mind. I do hope that you can play a great deal without purchasing. If you’ve tried the TCM Trivia App feel free to share your review in the comments.
TCM and late-night host Conan O’Brien have paired up to show TCM fans the Johnny Carson show throughout the month of July. Starting July 1st, O’Brien will be hosting Carson On TCM, a series featuring memorable interviews from The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. The range of interview subjects range from a young Drew Barrymore to classic stars like Kirk Douglas and William Holden. You can catch Carson On TCM every Monday (starting July 1st) at 8pm Eastern.
I’m always on the look-out for new pictures of Veronica Lake; the same photographs get used over and over, and it’s hard to find an original photo of Lake in color. If you’re a Hollywood photo hound, you might want to stop by mptvImages, originally called the Hollywood Photographer’s Archive, but now containing countless rare photos of classic stars. Their range of photos is breathtaking, including several I’d never seen before (the above photo of Lake, for starters). The collection started by photographer Sid Avery, and is now run by his son, Ron. The company boasts several photo books and is set to be in collaboration with the House of Dior. If you’re in the market to purchase rare photographs, or simply want to see the stars of yesteryear at their most glamorous, spend some time over there.
Two diverse releases from Olive Films this week: On July 30th, they’ll be releases Fire Maidens From Outer Space (1956) and God’s Little Acre (1958); one is a sci-fi film while the other is a romantic Western. Both will be released on DVD and Blu-ray with the former making its first appearance on either format.
20th Century Fox is going the musical route with their June 4th release of At Long Last Love. The 1975 musical directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Burt Reynolds and Cybil Shepard will be receiving a director’s cut complete with 8-page booklet and isolated soundtrack feature. The movie features the songs of the venerable Cole Porter. I haven’t seen this, but Bogdanovich has a keen eye towards showcasing and paying tribute to genres of the past, so this might be one to snag.
Fox Archive has revealed another string of classic movies as part of their on-demand program, and will be released June 21st. Several of them are Westerns (Red Skies of Montana, The Siege at Red River, and The Silver Whip). Other movies include Lure of the Wilderness, Untamed, and Western Union. The cadre of stars on display, including Richard Widmark, Fredric March, and Susan Hayward are worth a look. Remember, these are manufactured from the best prints available and lack bonus material.
Kino’s pulling out the big guns with the release of two Bette Davis classics: Of Human Bondage and Hell’s House. Both will be hit shelves June 18th on Blu-ray and DVD, and are remastered from original 35mm prints from the Library of Congress. Of Human Bondage will include an 83-minute documentary on the life of author W. Somerset Maugham who wrote the book while, Hell’s House has no bonus content. Early Davis has been haphazard, but I’m excited to continue my adventures in Davis’ work. You can pre-order both films from Kino’s website.
Also available from Kino Classics is Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick, available to own on June 25th. This documentary details the life of director William Wellman who helmed classics like Wings, A Star is Born, and The Ox-Bow Incident; it also boasts 28 interviews with colleagues of Wellman, like Robert Mitchum, as well as those who were influenced by him such as Clint Eastwood. I’m a sucker for Hollywood documentaries and Wellman has crafted strong investigations into human emotion, so a documentary would open the door to learning about his life and how that influenced his pictures.
Warner Archive’s new releases focus on “Extra-Vehicular Activities,” and “Ginger Snaps” (the work of June Allyson). They’ve announced the release of Terror on a Train (1953) starring Glenn Ford, and The Decks Ran Red (1958) with James Mason in the former category; both movies take place on vehicles. In the latter category, two of Allyson’s films are featured: The Reformer and the Redhead (1950) and Right Cross (1950). Allyson isn’t one of my favorites, but I know quite a few classic film fans adore her. Remember, these movies are manufactured-on-demand, use the best prints available, and lack bonus content. You can order the movies from the Warner Archive website.
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.