The update had to be a day late to accommodate the massive influx of news this week. Okay, there’s only three news items (two courtesy of TCM), but the interwebs certainly heated up with news worthy of passing along to you.
The Playlist is going to kick off our news section this week! They recently talked to director Kimberly Pierce, who’s out promoting her upcoming remake of Carrie. They got around to asking her about a few abandoned projects she was interested in; one of which was a script called Silent Star. Silent Star would have detailed the life, and unsolved murder, of director William Desmond Taylor and was set to star Hugh Jackman, Evan Rachel Wood, and Ben Kingsley. I’m spit-balling, but was Jackman set to play Taylor and Wood Mary Miles Minter? The movie was set for production at Dreamworks Studio, with Pierce going so far as declaring she’d solved the mystery of Taylor’s death! The movie was shelved due to budget issues, but there’s the slight possibility that it could be dusted off and restarted. With the interest in Hollywood biopics (the recently announced Trumbo and Monty Clift stories being two), I would adore seeing a old-fashioned Hollywood mystery get the treatment a la Hollywoodland (still my favorite of the group). Here’s hoping Pierce can direct and show us her vision. [Original Story]
You’ve been planning for it all year; if you’re reading my post today then you’re probably saying, “I already booked my room and airfare; thanks for being late!” Sorry, but TCM has announced the dates for the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival. In honor of the network’s 20th anniversary, the festival will take place on April 10th-13th with the theme, Family in the Movies: The Ties That Bind. While no guests have been announced, the release claims to be spotlighting “the first families of Hollywood and the filmmaking dynasties that have entertained generations,” so might we be seeing Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, or someone similar? Movies and guests will be announced at a later date. Festival passes go on-sale in November.
To coincide with the TCM Classic Film Festival, the network is launching the TCM Ultimate Fan Contest where one winner and a guest will be chosen to go to the festival – all expenses paid – and introduce/co-host a film on-air. All you have to do to win is prove you’re the Ultimate TCM fan. Aren’t we all? Fans interested in submitting an entry simply have to record a 90-second video introduction to a classic film of their choice. It can be a film you love or one you’ve never seen. The trick is to be creative, informative, and have fun! If you’re interested in submitting an entry you can do it at Fancontest.tcm.com. You have until the end of October to submit. If any of my readers win, I make a great plus one….just saying.
And finally, TCM announced they’ll be premiering the documentary, Oscar, about the history of the Academy Awards next February to coincide with 31 Days of Oscar. The documentary is being made by Academy Award winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, and will every facet of the long-running award series with a cadre of top-tier celebrity interviews. The doc will air February 1st and lead into the annual 31 Days of Oscar series which will focus on the history of the Academy Awards.
NEW ON DVD/BLU-RAY
Columbia Classics: Columbia Classics is putting out their first silent film with Betty Compson’s The Belle of Broadway. Release date for this is December 3rd. Columbia Classics is a manufactured-on-demand service, and with silent films it could be a poor print, but worth it if you’re a silent film collector.
20th Century Fox: Ten more titles are set for release as part of Fox’ long-running Fox Cinema Archives series. The next month is devoted to film noir starting October 8th with the release of Cry of the City (1948) and Moss Rose (1947); October 15th is Backlash (1947) and Circumstantial Evidence (1945); October 22nd is Hounds of the Baskervilles (1939) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939). You can purchase these manufactured on-demand films via the Fox website.
On top of that, Fox will be releasing all eight of the movies released under the Voice Your Choice program on Blu-ray December 3rd. Voice Your Choice was a voting system where viewers could vote on what long out-of-print movies would get a DVD/Blu-ray release. If you didn’t get the DVDs on the first go-round, now is the time to get them on Blu-ray although bonus features look non-existent. The eight films set for release are: Jesse James (1939), Call of the Wild (1935), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), Black Swan (1942), Carmen Jones (1954), Desk Set (1957), North to Alaska (1960), and Undefeated (1969).
Cohen Media: Cohen Media is going box-set with their latest offering. In honor of Vivien Leigh’s 100th birthday, they’ll be releasing The Vivien Leigh Anniversary Collection comprised of her of her out-of-print titles: Dark Journey (1937), Fire Over England (1937), Storm in a Teacup (1937), and Sidewalks of London (1938). The set will be available to purchase November 19th.
Warner Archive: More Halloween titles in this week’s Warner Archive releases. You can now purchase The Beast With Five Fingers (1946), Nightmare Honeymoon (1974), and Casper’s Halloween Special (1979). Expect a review of Beast as part of my 31 Days of Halloween. As always, you can purchase the latest titles from Warner Archive’s website.
Kino Classics: Boy, Kino continues to whet my appetite with their upcoming films. With all these amazing titles the blog could easily be overtaken by the distributor. Kino has had a long-standing relationship with the Library of Congress, and their next slate of films will be two impressive works by legendary directors: Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-Hiker, and Orson Welles’ The Stranger. Both will be remastered in 35mm from their original Library of Congress prints. Bonus content on The Hitch-Hiker is an image gallery, while The Stranger will have audio commentary by film historian Brent Wood, the original theatrical trailer, an image gallery; a 20 minute informational film on the Nazi death camps – produced by Billy Wilder – from 1946, and four of Orson Welles’ Wartime Radio broadcasts. You can purchase both on October 15th.
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.