I'm a huge fan of your magazine. I buy every copy. But is there a reason your website seems to take such malicious glee in bad reviews given to Will Smith and Tom Cruise? It's very unbecoming and lacking in class, in my opinion. Especially since you seem to cherry-pick the worst things said. A grudge perhaps, or just hatred for current stars?
Retro responds: "Et tu, Darin?" You're judging us a bit harshly - our obligation is to report what the general views of the industry and critics are toward certain films. Hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide read our site every month to get this kind of candid reporting. For the record, Tom Cruise's Valkyrie has been a much-troubled production, as has been widely reported over the last year. Will Smith's Seven Pounds has received mediocre reviews and has opened softly at the box-office. Those are facts, not opinions. However, for the record, we're big fans of both Cruise and Smith. I've personally never seen Cruise give a bad performance and his fine work in his early films like Rain Man and The Color of Money was often overshadowed by more flamboyant work from his legendary co-stars. His self-imposed melt-down during the 2005 War of the Worlds publicity tour did not diminish what we felt was his terrific performance in the film. Furthermore, we're really looking forward to seeing Valkyrie. In fact, back when everyone was bashing him for making a WWII film, Cinema Retro was about the only media outlet to defend his decision. (Read the archived article here) We think it's terrific he's reminding people about one of the most dramatic periods in world history- and shining a spotlight on the heroic attempts by German officers to assassinate Hitler. As for Will Smith, we have long said he is perhaps the only true remaining movie star in the world - a person whose name alone generally brings crowds to theaters. Like Cruise, he's never given a bad performance even when some of his films don't live up to expectations.Finally, our love for old movies doesn't mean we're unappreciative of the great films being made today- and there are plenty. There are also many wonderful actors who we enjoy immensely. However, there is probably no dispute that the golden age of Hollywood probably ended in the 1970s - and it's unlikely we'll see the kinds of star power that existed up until then any time soon.
Finally, we can take criticism as well as anyone - but you've crossed a line by implying we are classless! How can you say such a thing when both Dave Worrall and I adorn our living rooms with those classy velvet paintings of dogs playing poker? In fact, I'm going down to my local corner gas station to pick up another right now!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for your support of Cinema Retro.
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Only in New York could a serene loop of fireplace footage cause controversy. However, The New York Times reports on the debates that have inflamed fans of the Yule Log over the decades. What is the Yule Log? Back in 1966, local New York TV station WPIX (Channel 11) made the decision to dedicate several hours of uninterrupted air time to showing a six-minute loop of a burning fireplace. Famous singers were heard crooning classic Christmas carols, adding to the enjoyment of the serene setting. When the station once canceled the tradition, the uproar was so intense that it has been shown ever since. Tomorrow, WPIX will show the Yule Log between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM, giving frantic New Yorkers a bit of nostalgia and relaxation. However, as the Times reports, there are many faux versions of the log making the rounds on DVD - and, thus, a controversy about the fireplace footage has been ignited. To read click here
WELCOME TO RETRO-ACTIVE: THIS FEATURE ALLOWS NEW READERS TO CATCH UP WITH ARTICLES FROM OUR ARCHIVES THAT THEY MAY HAVE MISSED. THIS PIECE ORIGINALLY RAN IN AUGUST 2007.
Back when the Betamax was qualified to be included in Disney's "World of Tomorrow" exhibit, movie fanatics had few choices when it came to acquiring their favorite films and watching them at their convenience. The hardcore elitists collected bootleg prints on 16mm and 35mm, but those who played by the rules had to suffice with official studio condensations of classic movies on 8mm (and later Super 8mm). Initially, these even lacked sound but as technology progressed, the more upscale projection systems could allow you to watch these gems with their original soundtracks intact. The only problem was that the films were cut down worse than the features shown on the old 90 miinute daily 4:30 Movie in New York City. For example, you could enjoy Ben-Hur in
a convenient, 18 minute edition. (It must have opened with the
Crucifixtion!) The advent of home video in the mid 1970s was the death
knell for the
hobby, though 8mm provides a high quality way to enjoy a film. There
are still hoardes of movie collectors who continue to purchase movies
on actual film, feeling it is the purest way to watch a movie. However,
there numbers are doubtlessly shrinking as a younger generation is
preoccupied by the increasingly sophisticated video projection systems
which often display a picture that approaches the quality of film
These 8mm editions were generally marketed as "highlights" of the feature film. In the 1960s most were distributed by Castle Films and featured gloriously cheesy box art that has become highly collectible. As the hobby matured, so did the marketing and by the 1970s the cover art generally reproduced a still from the film or the original poster art. In England, fans had a more desirable situation: if they could shell out relatively serious money, they were allowed to legally purchase entire 8mm feature films - though, curiously, 16mm prints were all but forbidden in the UK and had to be dealt with through a collector's "underground". The one remaining vibrant source for 8mm and 16mm is Derann
Films which has been servicing collectors worldwide since 1964. Located
in England, the company still makes prints of 8mm and 16mm feature
films available, along with unusual shorts and trailers. (We once
purchased a reel of British cinema advertisements used to get patrons
to the snack stand- only to find young pre-James Bond George Lazenby
slurping an ice cream cone in one of the spots!) To visit Derann's web
site click here
If you have a memory or anecdote you'd like to share about collecting movies on 8mm film, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Major Dundee release was unusual because it was not excerpted from the feature film. Rather, it was the original promotional featurette.
She made cinema history in Frank Capra's Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life playing Jimmy Stewart's youngest daughter ZuZu. But life has been far from wonderful for Karolyn Grimes, who played the role. Now 68 years old, Karolyn has suffered being orphaned as a teenager, watching two husbands die, a child commit suicide and losing her stepchildren in a court battle. Yet in true Capra-esque style, she maintains a sunny outlook and finds solace from the fact that a half century later, millions of people are still moved and inspired by the film. London's Daily Mirror has an interview with Karolyn. Click here to read.