You know the drill, it’s Wednesday so there’s a ton of news! Check it out!
Jean Harlow is analogous to Marilyn Monroe when it comes to everyone and their sister putting out some type of biopic. I’ve reviewed two Harlow biopics and they’re both fairly terrible, so I doubt today’s news will do anything to dispel that notion. Variety is reporting that O.C. star Mischa Barton is cast as Jean Harlow in the biopic By Love Reclaimed. The script is said to focus on the scandal created by the mysterious death of Harlow’s second husband, Paul Bern. There’s no mention of a director and the movie is being produced by ThunderBall Films and Mania Entertainment, neither of which has released anything of note; in the case of the latter, I couldn’t access any of their productions as they’re apparently available to IMDB Pro users only. Thinking positively, the death of Bern is an untapped angle for Harlow biopics, which so far have focused on an overview of her life. If the script depicts a mystery element it could be similar to the excellent The Cat’s Meow. Of course, Barton’s name inspires little confidence considering she’s relegated to straight-to-DVD now. The movie is being partially produced by Barton’s mother, so this looks to be a family affair. I’ll remain ambivalent that this is even getting made for now.
The big studios continue to prepare to celebrate some huge milestones. In the last year I discussed Warner Brother’s anniversary, and now we’re set to mark MGM’s 90th. The studio itself is commemorating the occasion with a series of events and DVD/Blu-ray launches starting with the famed Leo the Lion putting his paw prints into the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theater (now the TCL Chinese Theater) in Hollywood. The event will be live-streamed on YouTube with special guest Sylvester Stallone in attendance. They’re also set to release several iconic movies onto Blu-ray such as Rocky, Rain Man, Fargo, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. A special coffee table book detailing the studios history and accompanied by a video companion is also set for release. Dates on the Blu-ray releases, book and Leo the Lion event are forthcoming. For now, MGM fans can head over to a MGM90th.com, a Tumblr site to celebrate their love for the studio, and a trailer, set to play in front of movie theaters and MGM operated channels has been released. I’m always delighted when studios acknowledge their history. After the fun WB had with their anniversary, I look forward to see what MGM has in store.
The TCM Film Festival is fast approaching and the network continues to promote some amazing opportunities for classic fans to pay homage to their favorite stars. It’s been announced that actor/humanitarian Jerry Lewis is set to be honored at the upcoming festival, complete with interview and hand print ceremony at the TCL. A special screening of The Nutty Professor conducted by Illeana Douglas is also being prepared with an audience Q&A to follow the screening. This is on top of the tribute already announced for composer Quincy Jones, and restoration screenings Double Indemnity, Touch of Evil, and The Best Years of Our Lives. Passes for the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival are on-sale now.
Coming Soon to DVD/Blu-ray
Timeless Media Group/Shout Factory: Shout Factory is an amazing place to find rare movies and television shows on DVD and they’ve alerted me to an upcoming release you TV fans might be interested in. On February 11th, Timeless Media Group is set to release The Red Skelton Show: The Lost Episodes on DVD for the first time. The final sixteen episodes, as well as two bonus episodes with celebrity guest hosts will be included on the disc to round out the previous releases of Skelton’s work. No bonus content has been announced, but if you’re a fan of Red Skelton, or classic television, head over to Timelessvideo.com to make your purchase.
Criterion: Criterion’s announced their April slate of films, and two are of classic film era status: Don Siegel’s Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) is a social commentary on prisoners rights, while Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Master of the House (1925) follows a wily housewife who gets the best of her domineering husband. Bonus content for Riot include audio commentary with film scholar Matthew Bernstein, excerpts from Siegel’s 1993 autobiography read by his son, and the requisite Criterion booklet with essays and articles. Master of the House features an interview with a Dreyer historian, a visual essay, and booklet. You can purchase Riot in Cell Block 11 and Master of the House on April 22nd.
Warner Archive: Finally, Warner Archive is releasing another collection of films this month. The most anticipated one is the Dr. Kildare movie collection featuring a whopping nine movies starring the titular doctor (played by Lew Ayres) released between 1938 and 1942. Included with the collection is an unaired 1961 pilot for a proposed Kildare television series co-starring a young Robert Redford! Additionally, the studio is releasing more Monogram Westerns in Monogram Cowboy Collection Volume Seven. Four movies are included such as Trigger Fingers (1946), Whistling Hills (1951), and Man From Black Hills (1952). You can purchase these and more via WarnerArchive.com.