Glory days: Siskel and Ebert's At the Movies popularized intelligent critiques of major motion pictures.
In a highly candid and revealing article, film critic Roger Ebert discusses how his health problems led to the deterioration of At the Movies - the legendary show he started in the 1970s with the late Gene Siskel. Ebert takes some blatant swipes at the boardroom hacks who changed the format of the show, destroyed the iconic set and left it in a pile of rubble, and who hired the hapless Ben Lyons as a co-host. Ebert also makes veiled criticism of his former partner, critic Richard Roeper, for using expletives to promote his own film criticism blog. Ebert's efforts to relaunch a new film criticism show have also fallen through. For more click here
The famous documentary Windjammer, released in 1958 and rarely seen since, is being painstakingly restored by Cinerama expert and documentary maker Dave Strohmaier and John Sittig of Pacific Theatre, the copyright holder of all the Cinerama travelogues. Windjammer tracked the journey of a Norwegian sailing ship on its world travels. It was released in an era in which the common man's exposure to distant lands was largely relegated to what he saw on film. The movie has never received a major reissue and the master prints had deteriorated with time. Strohmaier, who produced the outstanding documentary Cinerama Adventure (a history of the format that is included on MGM's ultimate DVD edition of How the West Was Won) is working with Sittig to restore the original elements which were shot in a widescreen format known as Cinemiracle. The goal is to have a restored version ready for DVD release and select theatrical release sometime in 2010. Click here for a special preview of this amazing restoration-in-process. For the full story, check out the excellent web site In 70mm.com
Sean Connery generally stayed away from making product endorsements, at least in the American and British markets. He has, over the years, participated in commercials for various products in non-English speaking countries. Here's a rare 1967 exception to the rule, when Connery endorsed Jim Beam, with a brief notation in the ad that he was appearing in You Only Live Twice. (Thanks to reader Eddie Love for the submission)