After years of litigation, Warner Bros. has prevailed in its lawsuit against several entities it claimed violated copyright laws by producing unlicensed merchandise based on the films The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind and also Tom and Jerry cartoons. The defendants had argued that the merchandise was derived from materials in the public domain, such as movie posters and images that were out of copyright. However, the judge found that the companies went beyond making exact reproductions of those materials and altered them for use in the creation of new lines of merchandise. (The companies produced collectible figurines of the actors who depicted characters in Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz). The judge ruled that the defendants have to pay $2.75 million in damages despite the fact that the defendants claim to have only derived a total of $70,000 in profits from the merchandise. A factor in the judge's ruling was his belief that the defendants did not keep accurate records. The case further muddies the waters regarding what properties fall into the public domain, which, under American law, allows certain works to be reproduced without payment of royalties if such works are out of copyright or used in a context of educational or non-profit works. Scholars have long led the battle to open up more works under the public domain argument while copyright holders have tried to put a short leash on such freedoms. Central to the case are films derived from source novels. In some cases, merchandise and products could be produced based on literary works such as The Wizard of Oz that have fallen out of copyright. However, the law does not allow imagery to be used that depicts actors from the film versions of such novels, which are still under copyright. For example, a company could produce a line of products based on the literary concepts of characters from The Wizard of Oz but would have to get a license to use the depiction of those characters associated with the legendary film version. For more click here
American acting icon Charlton Heston will be honored by the United States Postal Service with a commemorative stamp. The unveiling, which will be attended by Heston's family, will take place at the famed Chinese Theatre in Hollywood as part of the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival on April 11. For more about the ceremony click here
Fabby, the star of the new sitcom Fabby Knows Best, introduces the creative teams from Stage 17.
The cast of Wallflowers.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Last week Cinema Retro was invited to attend a launch part at the Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York City to celebrate the on-line launch of production company Stage 17's first season of all original programming. The festivities kicked off with a fun VIP champagne party after which guests were escorted into the theater to see highlights of the programs on the big screen. The Stage 17 line-up includes an abundance of original comedy shows, reality programming and "Fan Fare", a show that is set at the world famous Sardi's restaurant that is devoted to the latest productions on Broadway.
Broadway star Kate Baldwin.
Actress Elizabeth Stanley
The festivities were attended by the network's creator David Stoller, who joined cast and production crews on stage to celebrate the launch. The ambitious venture is just another indication that industry types believe the future lies in on-demand programming that viewers can watch anytime, anywhere at their own convenience. In the early days of on-line programs, it was fairly apparent that production values were far below that of network shows. However, the Stage 17 productions are virtually indistinguishable from the big budget fare on the major networks. More importantly, the shows give exposure to talented young artists, some of whom may well become stars in the near future.
VIP kickoff party.
Fabby with David Stoller of Stage 17 productions.
To explore the lineup of Stage 17 programming, click here to visit the official web site and get ready for some binge viewing.
For many years an ad hoc group of volunteers struggled to save the landmark Loew's Theatre in Journal Square, the hub of commerce in Jersey City. The one-time movie palace had been allowed to disintegrate into a crumbling ruin by the 1980s and was slated for the wrecking ball. Concerned citizens from within and outside the city formed a group called The Friends of the Loew's. Working with sometimes reluctant city officials, they got landmark status on the theater where young Frank Sinatra saw Bing Crosby perform and became inspired to become a crooner himself. As the theater was painstakingly restored over a period of decades, crowds have been flocking to see presentations of classic movie screenings as well as live concerts. The theater is not 100% restored, however, and is still suffering from a lack of funding to pay for essential repairs such as the air conditioning system. The theater is only openly periodically, mostly on weekends and has operated at a slight financial loss. Still, the theater has been drawing enthusiastic crowds with many classic movie lovers taking the short PATH train ride from Manhattan to Journal Square. Cinema Retro has occasionally helped to host some of these screenings.
The Loew's in 1932.
There is now trouble in paradise, however. The new mayor of Jersey City, Steven Fulop, has determined that its time to bring the Loew's to its full potential. He is bringing in private investors to turn the venue into a world class entertainment palace. No one disputes the theater has more potential than is presently being realized but the Friends of the Loew's say they are being marginalized and pushed out of the equation with little recognition or appreciation for the work they have done in running the theater. They fear that if corporate bigwigs take over, the theater will lose its appeal for the core audience that has kept it going over the years. Consequently, the Friends of the Loew's have taken legal action against Jersey City and its Redevelopment Agency to stop the corporate takeover. For his part, Mayor Fulop claims that the Friends have been treated with all due respect but that only corporate funding and involvement will make the Loew's truly thrive again. Fulop, who was recently elected on a reformist agenda, has also been in the national news in regard to the controversial New Jersey "Bridgegate" scandal after Governor Chris Christy's staff canceled a number of promised meetings allegedly because he refused to endorse the governor for re-election. One thing is certain: New Jersey thrives on political controversy and now its even seeped into the seemingly uncontroversial topic of saving a wonderful old movie theater. For more on the Loews situation, visit the Friends of the Loew's web site by clicking here.
Click here for photo galleries of the Loew's including vintage shots from decades ago.
Will Smith was "honored" as Worst Supporting Actor for his role in the bomb sci-fi flick After Earth at the annual Razzie Awards, designed to celebrate the worst achievements in filmmaking. His co-conspirator, son Jaden Smith, did not escape recognition, winning Worst Actor in a Leading Role. Jaden and dad were also accorded Worst Screen Duo for the film which earned scorned from both critics and the public. Poppa Smith is generally immune to critical notices but After Earth was seen as a blatant, expensive attempt to build a career for his son. It lost mega bucks at the boxoffice. The sketch comedy Movie 43 also won numerous Razzies. For the complete list click here.
Well, here we go again. The annual pointless but fun ritual of weighing in on my predictions for the major Oscar categories. This year is more challenging than most because there are plenty of fine films but no clear front runners, though certainly there are a number of nominees that are far more favored than others. I'll put out my predictions, but I have to admit I don't feel certain about any of them. Keep in mind that these predictions don't always reflect my own personal preferences
12 Years a Slave- Oscar loves "message" movies and although this film is difficult to watch, it does relate a true and inspiring story about one man's incredible courage. My pick for the Best Picture Oscar. Runner up: American Hustle. The acclaimed film Gravity seems to have some serious momentum but Oscar generally snubs sci-fi and horror-related flicks.
Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave. It's rare that the best picture doesn't result in an Oscar for its director, though last year Argo won Best Picture and it's director, Ben Affleck, wasn't even nominated. Still, that was a fluke that has rarely happened in the past and I don't think it will occur again this year. Runner up: David O. Russell for American Hustle.
Cate Blanchett for her amazing performance in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. Runner up: Amy Adams for American Hustlealthough you can never count out sentimental favorite Judi Dench who many people feel was unjustly snubbed for a Supporting Actress snub for Skyfall.
It's a toss-up between Chiwetel Ejifor for 12 Years a Slave and Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club. It could go either way. Ejifor might be seen as a newcomer with plenty of opportunities ahead of him (plus there are probably only ten people in the Academy who can pronounce his name.) McConaughey has been kicking around for twenty years, making some good films and a lot of celluloid garbage, but his performance in this film is true method acting and a brilliant achievement on any level. My choice: McConaughey.My preference: Bruce Dern for Nebraska, admittedly partially out of sentiment and the fact that he has been underrated as an actor for decades.
Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle would be the lead contender but she won Best Actress last year for Silver Linings Playbook which was also directed by David O. Russell. The Academy might think they are overdoing it by giving her the award two years in a row. My choice: newcomer Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave.
Jared Leto gave an amazing performance as a transvestite hooker in Dallas Buyers Club and critics love streetwise, eccentric characters. He could be the favorite but I think Barkhad Abdi is strong competition for Captain Phillips. It's a really tough call but I'll go with Leto.
American Hustle- This might be the consolation prize for not winning in other major categories. The fact that the film is an almost entirely fictionalized look at the Abscam caper of the late 1970s/early 1980s won't hurt it since the film doesn't present itself as anything other than a playful romp "inspired" by some true life events.
12 Years a Slave
We'll know in a matter of hours how off the mark I am! Enjoy the show.
When we first started Cinema Retro ten years ago, one of our first subscribers was Leith Adams, the highly-regarded archivist for Warner Brothers. Well, it's time for a little nepotism so that we can return the favor for his support over the years. For a classic movie lover, Leith has a dream job: preserving and cultivating "the stuff dreams are made of" which includes every type of costume and prop that might have some historical significance (or practical use in future films.) The Hollywood Reporter presents a video segment in which Leith takes viewers through a typical day on the job. Click here to view
Blogger Shaun K. Chang posts an interesting article on the Hill Place film web site regarding the Academy's controversial rescission of a Best Song Oscar nomination for writer Bruce Broughton pertaining to the Christian film "Alone, Yet Not Alone." Broughton allegedly violated Academy rules by openly soliciting votes from members but critics say he is being victimized by a double standard that may have something to do with the religious nature of the film. Chang presents a well-balanced article that examines both sides of the controversy and find that everyone deserves some criticism for the positions they have taken. Click here to read.
In an enlightening interview with Christopher Rosen of The Huffington Post, legendary film editor Themla Schoonmaker discusses her remarkable collaborations with Martin Scorsese. They first paired on Raging Bull in 1980 and she has cut every one of his 18 films since then. Schoonmaker reflects back on the making of some of those classics right up through the release of The Wolf of Wall Street. She also amusingly expresses why the legacy of Goodfellas has proven to be a curse for both she and Scorsese. Click here to read
Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: one of the P.M.'s all-time favourite films.
whether you share his political views, readers will have to agree that British
Prime Minister David Cameron's choice of movies are worth voting for. In an
interview in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday 'Event' magazine he chose the following
films as his favourite top five - Lawrence of Arabia; Where Eagles Dare; The
Good, The Bad, And The Ugly; Casablanca, and Schindler's List. Nice one, Dave!
There's a Cinema Retro exclusive "Broadsword Calling Danny Boy" tee
shirt in the post to you, tomorrow.
You can count me among those who were critical of Jacqueline Bisset's bizarre acceptance speech at the recent Golden Globe Awards. Bisset seemed dazed and confused (though decidedly not inebriated) when she gave a rambling speech (complete with an unbleeped expletive) that resulted in widespread criticism and ridicule in both the main stream and social media. Entertainment writer Shaun Chang contacted Cinema Retro to set the record straight, at least insofar as he sees it. He has written an article detailing his dealings with Ms. Bisset and defends her as as kind, sensitive and highly intelligent woman. To be fair, that has always been her reputation and we at Cinema Retro are great admirers of her work. That's why it was so disheartening and disappointing to see her appearance at the Golden Globes. There are precious few actors and actresses still working who were major players in the golden age of cinema during the 1960s and 1970s. Generally speaking, they are light years ahead of today's crowd when it comes to class and style. Ms. Bisset certainly looked as gorgeous as ever. It was her choice of words that got her in trouble. Nevertheless, in the interest of fairness to an actress we respect and admire, we agree with Shaun Chang that she should not judged entirely by this one incident because most of us would not want to be subjected to the same fate. Thus, you can click here to read Chang's poignant defense of the lady and her career. - Lee Pfeiffer
Funny Girl's engagement at the Criterion Theatre in New York City.
In his column on the Digital Bits web site, writer Michael Coate provides some fascinating facts about director William Wyler's classic 1968 film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Funny Girl, the movie that won Barbra Streisand a Best Actress Oscar. Coate not only traces the movie's entire road show presentation history in North America but also scores an exclusive interview with Sony's Grover Crisp, who discusses the challenges he encountered in the film's recent restoration process. Click here to read.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from Acorn
Silver Spring, MD; December 19, 2013 — After a highly competitive bidding process, Fox has acquired film rights to the iconic mystery novel “Murder on the Orient Express” from Acorn Productions Ltd/Agatha Christie Ltd, the UK based rights holding production arm of RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE). With more than two billion books sold, Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, and “Murder on the Orient Express”is one of her most popular novels. The 1934 novel features her internationally renowned detective, Hercule Poirot, investigating a murder on the Orient Express.
Though no decision on writers or casting have been confirmed yet, Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down, Gladiator), Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class, Sherlock Holmes) will be producing the film.
Miguel Penella, CEO of RLJ Entertainment, said,“Since acquiring a majority share of Agatha Christie’s literary estate in February 2012, we have worked closely with Mathew Prichard, Agatha’s grandson, to find the right studio and filmmakers to grow the Christie brand. We are excited to be working with Fox as well as Ridley Scott, Mark Gordon and Simon Kinberg to produce a new, star-studded adaptation of one of the most well-known mystery novels of all time.”
Founded by Robert L. Johnson, RLJ Entertainment owns a 64% share in Agatha Christie Ltd, which manages Christie’s extensive literary works including more than 80 novels and short story collections, 19 plays, a film library of nearly 40 TV films, and iconic characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Agatha Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard, is Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd.
“Murder on the Orient Express”was previously made into a 1974 film directed by Sidney Lumet. The film received six Oscar nominations, including best actor for Albert Finneyas Poirot, and winning best supporting actress for Ingrid Bergman. The all-star cast of suspects also featured Lauren Bacall, Jacqueline Bisset, Colin Blakely, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Michael York.
Additionally, David Suchet portrayed the popular Belgian detective in all 70 television adaptations of Christie’s Poirot stories, including “Murder on the Orient Express” in 2010. The final five Poirot television mysteries aired in the U.K. in 2013 and will debut in the U.S. in 2014. In Sept. 2013, Agatha Christie Ltd and RLJ Entertainment announced the first fully-authorized new Agatha Christie novel to be released in September 2014. Bestselling author Sophie Hannah is writing the novel featuring Hercule Poirot.
Hilary Strong, Managing Director of Acorn Productions, and WME negotiated the deal for RLJ Entertainment.
The Library of Congress continues its tradition of adding 25 films a year to the National Film Registry. In addition to being preserved by the Library, the status ensures that the films cannot be edited for television viewing. This year's list is typically eclectic, with titles released in the silent era through 2012. Among the more iconic titles on the list are Pulp Fiction, Mary Poppins, The Quiet Man and The Magnificent Seven. For the entire list click here
Cinema Retro has received the following announcement:
filmmakers are using Kickstarter to raise the small budget needed to make a
brand new episode of classic TV detective show Columbo, in tribute to
the late Peter Falk.
on the amount of money they raise, the film may or may not get the rights to
use the name Columbo from Universal, but at the very least they want to
make a show in that 1970s American TV-style that fans of the genre will enjoy.
have various levels of funding options available with some great rewards, and
are appealing to the public to get behind the project. What could be a better
Christmas gift for the Columbo fan in your life than a piece of branded
memorabilia, a signed script or even a name in the credits?
For more information and the opportunity to become a
backer of the project go to their Kickstarter by clicking here
(Please note: this notice is posted for informational purposes only. The Kickstarter campaign does not involve Cinema Retro in any way, although our columnist Adrian Smith is one of the production team that is trying to get the project off the ground.)
It's no secret that the Loew's Jersey City Theatre is a favorite of Cinema Retro readers in the New York/New Jersey area. The magazine periodically provides film scholars to introduce classic movie screenings there. Located only minutes from mid-town Manhattan, the landmark theater that opened in 1929 has seen its share of hard times and almost faced the wrecking ball before activists saved it in the 1980s. Since then, a private ad-hoc group called Friends of the Loew's has been managing the theater and overseeing a painstaking restoration of the palace back to its former glory by using mostly volunteer help. The theater now screens classic movies monthly and also offers concerts and stage productions. Now the new Mayor of Jersey City, Steven Fulop, weighs in on his views about the potential for the place to become the hub for the revival of Journal Square, the famed center of the city that has been in decline since the 1970s. The area is on the verge of seeing a boom and the Mayor feels the Loew's can be a major, world class venue. Those who have nurtured the Loew's, however, are nervous that the politicos will move in and undo progress that has been brought about by the current management team. The Mayor assures the Friends of the Loew's that "we are not throwing them out" and says that sizable investments from private industry will be pouring into the theater to finalize its full restoration. Click here for more
At a recent auction of classic movie memorabilia conducted by Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies in New York City, an original Maltese Falcon sold for $4,085,000. There were two falcons built for John Huston's classic 1941 movie but this one can be verified as actually having been in the film. It was purchased by an anonymous collector. The piece is thought to be the third highest valued movie collectible in history having sold for slightly less than the original Batmobile and James Bond's original Aston Martin DB5. Click here for more
George Lazenby, Laurene Landon and Douglas Dunning in "Hunter".
Douglas Dunning, Cinema Epoch’s Director
of Acquisitions, has just announced that the company has obtained the rights to
release four films from XPosse Productions for worldwide distribution on DVD and
on all digital platforms. Scary Tales
is among the titles scheduled for release. Here
is a brief trailer for the film.
Mr. Dunning is currently also appearing
opposite actor George Lazenby, who is best known for playing James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969),
in the recently completed film Hunter, which was directed by Gregory
Hatanaka, who is also the president of Cinema Epoch. Mr. Lazenby plays General Bullmont in the
film. Also starring is actress Laurene
Landon who has starred in the Peter Falk film All the Marbles (1981), I,
the Jury (1982), Hundra (1983)
and Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold
Mr. Dunning can also be seen in Jason
Rutherford’s upcoming film Shhhh. You can view the trailer here
and click on the homepage here.
At a recent symposium in St. Louis, Jesuits joined with members of the public for a symposium dedicated to discussing the actual incident that inspired William Peter Blatty's best-selling book The Exorcist, which in turn, was adapted into the classic 1973 horror film by director William Friedkin. The incident involved a 13 year old boy who was allegedly possessed by demonic spirits. The Catholic church, which had pretty much down played exorcisms in the modern age, gave rare permission for Father William Bowdren to perform the ritual. The identity of the boy remains secret even today and Father Bowdren, who died in 1983, never discussed specifics of the case other than to say "it was the real thing." Nevertheless, there is disagreement even among contemporary priests about the validity of the claim. Some say it's very probable that whatever physical manifestations Father Bowdren witnessed afflicting the boy could have been attributed to other causes. If faith is a belief in something that cannot be proven through traditional means, how one views the incident depends on one's religious convictions. If someone believes in God and an afterlife, it stands to reason that it isn't much of a stretch to believe in the existence of evil spirits. Conversely, skeptics and those who look to science as opposed to faith would look to natural causes for such occurrences. Whatever your views are, the incident certainly inspired one hell of a creepy horror story.- Lee Pfeiffer For more click here
(Issue #19 of Cinema Retro features an exclusive interview with William Peter Blatty. Click below to order)
Our good friend actor Robert Davi has a sensational second career as a crooner. His Sinatra tribute show is getting rave reviews and the Huffington Post called him "a legend in the making". Now Davi has just released a wonderful new single on CD. New York City Christmas calls to mind the kind of unapologetically old-fashioned, sentimental holiday songs you just don't hear anymore. If you haven't heard him sing, you're in for a real treat.(We love that cover art by Steve Penley). Here is the official press release:
Angeles, CA--Singer/actor ROBERT
DAVI will be releasing his forthcoming “New York City Christmas” single for the upcoming holiday
season. The song was recorded at the iconic Capitol Records’ Studio A,
where Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole and The Beatles once laid down some of
their most memorable work. Davi recorded “New York City Christmas” with
arranger/conductor ChrisWalden (Michael Buble), and is
accompanied by a live 30-piece orchestra, creating a lush background for the
holiday seasoned-song. “New
York City Christmas” was produced by legendary mixing engineer Al Schmitt, John Potoker and Nick Vallelonga, who also wrote the
song. Vallelonga has extensive directing, writing and producing credits
including: Yellow Rock, Stiletto and the
forthcoming romantic comedy, That’s Amore! (2014).
DAVI, who recently released DAVI
SINGS SINATRA – On The Road to Romance, produced by the
legendary Phil Ramone and
mixing engineer Al Schmitt (which
hit #6 on Billboard’s Top 10 Jazz chart), will be in New York for
promotion of the song in November and December.
Quincy Jones says of Davi’s performances: “As FS would say, 'Koo, Koo.' Wow! I have
never heard anyone come this close to Sinatra's sound – and still be himself.
Many try, but Robert Davi has the voice, tone, the flavor and the swagger. He
absolutely touched me down to my soul and brought back the essence and soul of
'Ol Blue Eyes himself.”
noted actor in motion pictures, DAVI is scheduled to film The
Expendables 3 on location in Bulgaria in October with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Swartzenegger,
Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Jet Li and DolphLundgren – is best known for his
roles as FBI Special Agent Johnson in Die Hard; Franz Sanchez in Licence
to Kill; Jake Fratelli in The Goonies and Ray Ferritto in Kill
the Irishman. He has appeared in
more than 100 moviesand television
The last known photograph of Doris Day, taken in 2008. The screen legend is now largely relegated to staying indoors.
In an interview with a former assistant to Doris Day, the Daily Mail reveals that there are concerns that the 91 year-old screen legend may be in a precarious state. Ms. Day has always been the most reluctant of superstars. Despite being a chart-topping singer and one of the most popular actresses of her era, Ms. Day has worn the mantle of fame and fortune very modestly. Her life has been beset by tumultuous marriages, deaths and estrangements. Like Cary Grant, she walked away from the motion picture business in the 1960s (her last film was released in 1968). She had a successful TV sitcom in the early 1970s and would periodically appear in the medium from time to time. She spent most of her life in a rather secluded manner, having sworn off relationships with men. Most of her efforts in her post-acting years were devoted to helping injured and stray animals. Rumors have abounded that Ms. Day was a total eccentric but friends and neighbors said that wasn't true. She would often be seen around her home town of Carmel, California, shopping or running errands. She also prided herself on answering fan mail personally. Now, however, it is feared that her health is deteriorating and that the quality of her life has been compromised by caregivers who are allegedly little more than adequate. For more click here
It was the last remaining Mecca for movie memorabilia collectors in New York City. Jerry Ohlinger's Movie Memorabilia Store at 253 W. 35th Street in Manhattan will close it's doors and sell goods only on line. There was a time when New York, like most major city, had numerous major outlets selling movie stills, photos, magazines and other goodies. Rising rents and lack of interest in collecting among the new generation combined to force these wonderful places to close. In New York, Mark Ricci's old Memory Shop contained the stuff dreams were made of. But with Ricci's death many years ago, there was no heir apparent to carry on and much of his stock was purchased by friendly rival Jerry Ohlinger. There was also the long-standing Movie Star News, which had morphed into a rather antiseptic place characterized by neatly arranged, bland filing cabinets that somehow violated the unwritten rule that memorabilia shops should be cluttered, friendly places. Movie Star News finally closed its doors last years. Back in the 1970s and 1980s the Cinemabilia book shop and collector's store was the place to keep up with movie books and collectibles prior to the advent of the internet. They were the first major New York venue to close. Along 8th Avenue, minor memorabilia stores would open and close throughout the years, but Jerry Ohlinger's persistently survived even in the face of a changing marketplace. Finally, rent of $9,000 a month put the kabosh on his ability to maintain a store five days a week. The good news is that Ohlinger will continue his mail order and eBay sales- and it will also be possible for customers to make appointments to review memorabilia in person, but this will have to be done by appointment, according to Dollie Banner, a long time employee of Ohllinger and a contributing writer to Cinema Retro.
On a personal level, this announcement really hurts. I've know Jerry Ohlinger since 1971 and have acquired countless items from his store. His inventory has always been helpful in the publishing of Cinema Retro. Whenever I walk through mid-town Manhattan, I inevitably stop by to pick up some hard-to-find stills and chat with Dollie. Jerry still holds court there, his trademark soggy, unlit cigar dangling from his mouth. He has had several different locations over the years in Manhattan. The one I have the fondest memories of was located in Greenwich Village way back when. Those were the days when the store acted as something like a neighborhood barber shop for local movie fans who would gravitate there to to discuss and debate cinema. I'm glad Jerry is still hanging in there, even on a virtual basis, but I'll sure miss the human element as New York's last great memorabilia shop closes its doors. Thanks for the memories, Jerry.
Gregory Peck in the screen version of To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee, the reclusive 87 year old author of the American literary classic To Kill a Mockingbird, is taking legal action against the Monroe Heritage Museum, located in Lee's hometown in Alabama. Lee acknowledges that her novel, which was adapted into the classic 1962 film starring Gregory Peck in an Oscar-winning performance, has had a significant cultural impact. However, she maintains that the Museum is crossing the line and profiting by using her work and image for purely commercial purposes including running a gift shop that capitalizes on her work. The Museum denies all allegations and attributes the suit to the greed of Lee's "handlers". Like Margaret Mitchell, author of another American classic, Gone With the Wind, Harper Lee never wrote another novel after her first great success, which directly addressed the shameful racial practices taking place in the segregated American South. For more click here
The next time you think you've got too much time on your hands, consider Canadian artist Kristan Horton,who professes not to own a TV, but somehow became so obsessed with Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove that he's recreated some of the most iconic sequences from the film using everyday household objects. This is the kind of time-consuming diversion one would think was last practiced by inhabitants of the Bastille, yet we have to admit Horton has fashioned some remarkable images. We can't wait to see his tribute to General Jack D. Ripper's "precious bodily fluids"! The web site www.cinematical.com uncovered this bizarre tribute. To indulge yourself click here.
"MEIN FUHRER, THEY'VE MADE A TRIBUTE TO ME USING CLOTHESPINS AND DINNERWARE!"
Ever wonder why the plot lines and even trailers of today's action movies often seem indistinguishable? Well, the truth is that they are intentionally made to be indistinguishable.Slate writer Peter Suderman reveals that the late author Blake Snyder's book Save the Cat! was designed to give aspiring screenwriters some tips about producing scripts with commercial appeal. However, the self-help scenario worked too well. The book has been used as a formula by studio executives to commission big budget action movies that never stray far from some basic plot devices. It's as generic as you can get, with only the characters distinguishing one story from another. The article explains why Hollywood is so devoid of creativity: if one Iron Man movie makes a ton of money, just make ten more movies just like it. The strategy works theoretically, but not always financially. Audiences often know they are being served warmed over, recycled fare and this often results in such "sure-fire" hits bombing at the box-office. Click here to read
Cartoonist and film book author Sophie Cossette pays tribute to the late, great British director Ken Russell, calling him "The Mad Hatter of British Sinema" and examining the stories behind Russell's controversial films. There's also her unique cartoons that enhance the very enlightening analysis. Click here to view
When F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote "There are no second acts in American lives", he would have missed the boat when it comes to actor Robert Davi. He's been a familiar face on the big screen and TV for decades and is known as one of the most memorable James Bond villains. Davi was generally regarded as a reliable and talented character actor. When I made his acquaintance some years ago, we instantly bonded. He is a regular guy with a New York attitude, no ego and a mutual love of exchanging ball-busting jokes with any other guy in his orbit. We share a love of good cigars and stories of old Hollywood but the difference, of course, is that Davi's stories are based on personal experience. His first major role came about when Frank Sinatra personally chose him as a co-star, despite his lack of experience. That was the basis of a long-time friendship and Davi always spoke reverently of Sinatra, s grateful for the break he gave him. A few years back, we were conversing over some stogies and arguing politics (we're on opposite sides but love debating the issues),when Davi told me he was determined to embark on a second career as a crooner of Sinatra's songs. In my typically gentle way of offering advice I told him he was crazy. I told him no one would go to a concert to see a guy who never sang a note on screen. Then shortly thereafter, Robert starred in a directed a little-seen independent movie called The Dukes, about an over-the-hill group of doo-woppers who were attempting to make a comeback. He did all of his own singing and was quite brilliant. The next thing I knew, he was being acclaimed as one of the best Sinatra tributes act ever. Davi is now the toast of the town, taking his show on the road around the country to packed houses. He's now fulfilling another dream by combining his singing talents on stage with Don Rickles, one of Sinatra's best cronies. In a review on The Huffington Post, writer Ellen Sterling calls him "A legend in the making". Sometimes nice guys do finish first. For more click here
HBO has made a deal with executive producers J.J. Arbrams and Jerry Weintraub to buy a pilot for a TV series based on Michael Crichton's thriller Westworld. The story was already made into a hit 1973 MGM film starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin. If the story line remains consistent, it will involve the establishment of a high end amusement park where people can live out their most extreme fantasies. The park features exact period recreations of various eras of history with the gimmick that highly sophisticated robots are intermingled with the guests and are indistinguishable from the humans, who can use or abuse them as their fantasies dictate. Things go wrong when a design flaw in the control program allows the robots to think for themselves and rebel against their human masters. For more click here
Despite his aversion to making public appearances or attending awards shows (he has even shunned the Oscars when nominated), Woody Allen will receive the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at next year's Golden Globe ceremonies, to be telecast on January 14. For more click here
Did anyone even know a sequel to Easy Rider was in the works? Suddenly, it is upon us. Easy Rider: The Ride Back follows the life and adventures of the son of Wyatt Willliams (aka "Captain America", played by Peter Fonda in the 1969 classic). We don't know how the new team of filmmakers scored the rights to a film that was so contentious between Fonda and his co-star and director Dennis Hopper that they could never agree on a concept for a follow-up. A trailer has been released for the film, which opens later this month. We hate to judge a book by its cover but the trailer looks pretty awful...like a low-brow attempt to rip off the original, with some unconvincing Vietnam footage and plenty of tits and ass tossed in for the male audience. On the up side, two great character actors have prominent roles: Michael Nouri and Rance Howard, so let's all just hope for the best.- Lee Pfeiffer Click here for more and to view trailer.
Upon the 50th anniversary of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, you
can own an authentic piece of the movie. You can even wear an authentic
piece of the movie. Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe award
winning artist Dave Woodman is mainly known for his 20 years of Hollywood
animation, especially the Disney animation & over 35 years of illustration
work. The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin are among his
animation credits. Paula Abdul dancing with a cartoon cat in her
Opposites Attract video, miniature animated children for Honey I shrunk the
Kids titles as well as an animated Santa that looks suspiciously like Al
Hirschfeld in Christmas Vacation are all part of the flow of graphite Dave
spewed during that magical time of his life. Familiar illustration
projects include The Laugh Factory logo and Phyllis Diller's caricature
logo. All of this aside, Dave recently created a line of shift knobs,
jewelery, belt buckles, paperweights, charms, models and assorted art pieces
with authentic pieces of Jimmy "The Smiler" Durante's crashed car
from the legendary opening sequence of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
In the year 2000, the
traditional animation system was coming to an end. Without an inkling
that this might be in his future, Dave used downtime to travel to Palm Springs
in search of filming locations from this, his favorite movie. When movies
could only be watched in the theater or on network television, availability of
location photos was extremely rare. The aid of video tape and DVDs made
finding locations possible. Near and around "The Smiler"'s
bucket kicking location, Dave noticed piles of glass, turned aqua by the sun
and assorted car parts. This was an added and unanticipated bonus.
Dave says, with a smile, "The parts can be traced to find that they are
indeed from a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500." A '57 Fairlane was the
automobile used in this most beloved car crash. Since a ramp was built
for the Ford to dive from and the car deliberately raced downhill for the most
spectacular sail and impact possible, no other Ford Fairlane could have landed
that far down the mountainside. So, aged glass turned aqua by the sun and
other Ford Fairlane pieces found in the exact spots that are now traceable by
DVD research, all add up to a treasure find other than the Smiler's buried
$350,000. Dave even found a piece 16m of 16mm movie film negative down
there, deemed authentic by archivist-producer
Robert Harris! "At first I thought it was a piece of paper,
and then I noticed the sprocket holes. You might say I found some of the
missing footage,...if you don't care what you say". The very short
scene shot from inside the wayward car explains a possibility related to the
film find. A hubcap, side chrome, red taillight fragments, headlight
fragments, and even a tire were left for Dave to discover. Research has
taught Dave that, "The Nygen General Dual 90 was common on this type of
car. It was left in the right spot and mangled instead of blown
out. In addition to the larger finds obscure pieces such as the top off
of a shock absorber and a Fairlane Custom door lock cylinder lever only gave me
more confidence in what I had found."
"How could I just leave it all down there?" Mr. Woodman
asked. "Over the years I left most of it, thinking that there should
be some for anyone else who might track down this location. Then after
moving to Palm Springs I noticed a line of cones was placed down that side of
the road, leading me to believe the road might be widened. This could
have covered all of it and that's when I started seriously gathering whatever
Fairlane parts I found. When I noticed the 50th anniversary approaching,
I began to make items of interest out of the very beautiful, aqua glass, as
well as merely placing pieces in protective cubes. I believe this
materiel should belong to the people who will love it. The more fun I can
make from it, the better." Dave's "Smiler" products are
currently listed at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/DaveWoodmanArt?ref=ss_profile
What makes even a larger
treasure is the use of 3 cars to create this spectacular wreck sequence.
Dave noticed, "The first car shown, tilts to its left, the second in the
sequence hits head on and flips over and the third is shown settling right side
up. I discovered that the final car shown was used as the prop car behind
Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Jimmy Durante, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney and
Jonathan Winters. Since it had crash landed right side up, most of the
glass remained inside. Turning it on its side for use behind the men
caused more glass to spill out. I finally found all 4 areas when my
friend Ron Kwal helped me find where the car that tilted to its left had hit
the ground. It's mysterious to me is that the glass from this car did not
turn aqua. Hopefully someone can tell me why."
When asked if there's anything else he might add, Dave said, "Criterion
has hired me to create a map of locations for their box set release of this
movie and last night Karen Kramer gave me permission to reveal that the 50th
anniversary Cinerama Dome screening of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World will
take place on October 27th. The Dome itself was built to showcase this
Los Angeles continues to suffer from the "runaway production" syndrome that has found virtually none of this summer's major blockbuster releases filmed in the legendary movie capital. For many years, production has been on a downward spiral in Hollywood as studios are lured by major tax incentives in other states, England and Canada. New York City has prospered by aggressively pursuing studios with such incentives. L.A. has incentives, too, but they pale in comparison to what other locales are offering. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is fighting back, lobbying state politicians to enact even greater tax incentives and hiring a new "Film Czar" to actively work to bring production back to Hollywood. However, it may be a quixotic undertaking. In a state that has been devastated by severe financial cuts across the board, some who live outside of L.A. feel that further tax incentives may benefit L.A. on a local level but be a losing proposition for the rest of California. In the earliest days of the film industry, New York and New Jersey were the centers of business before the lure of Hollywood devastated local production. Now, ironically, Hollywood finds itself in the same bind. For more click here
Welles starred in the lost film Too Much Johnson, along with his friend and frequent collaborator Joseph Cotten.
Contrary to popular opinion, Orson Welles' first cinematic experience was not on his 1941 masterpiece Citizen Kane. As film critic Dave Kehr reports in the New York Times, as early as 1934, when still a schoolboy, Welles made an 8 minute, sophisticated short film that was satirical in nature. However, his other pre-Kane film venture is more legendary simply because it was widely believed to have been lost to the ages. In 1938, Welles was engaged (at age 23) to direct and star in short film segments that would accompany a stage revival of actor William Gillette's 1894 romantic farce, Too Much Johnson, which centers on a philanderer whose schemes get him in trouble with the women in his life. The plan was to have various acts of the revived production preceded by filmed segments. Welles put a lot of time and effort into the project and was pleased with the results. However, when the revival of the play was shelved early on, Welles naturally abandoned the accompanying filmed segments. In 1978, he told a reporter that he had recently rediscovered the footage in his villa in Spain and that it was pristine in terms of condition. The notoriously critical Welles also heaped praise on the starring performance in the film of his old friend and collaborator, Joseph Cotten, whose work he called "magnificent". Welles said he intended to send a copy of the film to Cotten as a present but, ironically, before he could do so, a fire destroyed Welles' villa. Everyone presumed the footage was lost in the inferno and Welles, who died in 1985, never mentioned the film again. Now it has come to light that the footage has been found in an Italian storage locker. How it got there remains a mystery, but after being lost to time, the film is now being prepared for its first public screening at a film festival. For more on this fascinating story, click here
PangeaSeed, artist Craig Drake and Hero Complex Gallery are pleased to announce a shark-saving effort of monstrous proportions: Smile, You Son of a Bitch! An Art Tribute to JAWS!
For three days only, from November 1 - 3, 2013, at Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles, we will host a one of a kind art exhibition featuring original artworks created by 70+ of today’s most renowned artists in celebration of one of the most iconic films in movie history. This unprecedented exhibition aims to engage the audience by helping to further bring much needed awareness to the global plight of sharks.
The three day event will see guest appearances by original cast and crew from the movie, original film memorabilia and collectibles on display, special guest presentations from some of today’s leading shark experts and exciting film screenings. Search deep and wide, without a doubt this is the must-see event of the year for JAWS fans!
Leading up to the opening night reception on November 1, PangeaSeed will release 4 limited edition fine art screen prints entitled “JAWS: The Lost Trading Card Set” created in collaboration with supporting artist Craig Drake and printed via Seizure Palace Screen Printing. A new print will be released monthly to help make this event possible - we greatly appreciate your support.
The year was 1972 and Jerry Lewis was embarking on the the riskiest venture of his long, successful screen career. He would star in and direct The Day the Clown Cried, a dramatic and sobering tale about a Jewish clown who is imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. He is only able to survive by making himself useful to his captors by distracting doomed children with his antics as he leads them to the gas chamber. The announcement that Lewis would be involved in such a production raised eyebrows at the time and more than a bit of skepticism that he could pull it off. Lewis had been one of the top boxoffice attractions in the world in the 1950s and 1960s, but by the advent of the 1970s he knew that his squeaky clean family films were out of touch with the Woodstock generation. He was convinced he could launch a new career as a dramatic star and director. However, the film ran into problems almost immediately with production funds from private sources routinely drying up. This forced Lewis to cut the budget practically to that of a home movie level. Still, he soldiered on a completed the film. However, legal battles over the rights have prevented it from ever being released. Over the years, Lewis has shown the movie to only a handful of trusted confidants. Their reaction was uniformly terrible and Lewis now accepts the blame for the movie's artistic failures, saying "I lost the magic" and vowing no one else will ever see the movie. Nevertheless, some footage has surfaced from a German documentary done at the time of production that shows Lewis on the set of the movie and a glimpses of him performing as a clown. Click here to view
If you're not thrilled with the announcement that Ben Affleck will be the screen's latest Batman, you're not alone. There is already a public petition that has garnered thousands of signatures protesting the studio's choice of Affleck. Some fans actually got a petition temporarily posted on the White House web site begging President Obama to do something about it! (Click here to read more). We'll give ol' Ben the benefit of the doubt. After all, from the moment Daniel Craig was announced as the new 007, fan protest sites sprang up around the world. They vanished as soon as the film premiered and Craig received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor. Maybe luck will shine on Affleck, as well, though comic book fans are even more cynical and hard to please than 007 buffs. In any event, the newly launched web site Do Your Remember? weighs in on the subject, with writer Neil Vazquez offering evidence for his choices for the screen's worst Caped Crusaders. (Fortunately, Adam West did not make the list). Click here to read.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
are delighted to announce the Halloween 2013 theatrical and home video releases
of an eagerly awaited new restoration of F. W. Murnau's legendary silent cinema
horror classic Nosferatu: A
Symphony of Horror (1922), expertly restored in Germany by the
world-renowned Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung (FWMS).
revival of a horror classic, one of the most famous of all silent films,
follows Eureka! Entertainment's hugely successful restoration showcases of
in 2010 and Carl Theodor Dreyer's The
Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) in 2012.
UK theatrical run will be co-ordinated by Eureka! Entertainment and will open
in selected cinemas nationwide on Friday October 25, 2013, just in time for
Halloween, and will also feature as part of the BFI’s GOTHIC: The Dark Heart of Film which runs from 21st October
2013 – 31st January 2014. This year the BFI will take Britain back to darker
times and thrill the nation by uncovering, as never before, the dark heart of film.
With over 150 titles and around 1000 screenings GOTHIC features spectacularly
terrifying special events to thrill every corner of the UK. GOTHIC will explore film’s most popular theme,
spawning some of the medium’s most iconic, powerful and terrifying scenes and
characters whose lasting popularity just refuses to die www.bfi.org.uk/gothic
Blu-ray SteelBook and DVD releases of Nosferatu will follow with a raft of
special features to be announced nearer the release date, as part of Eureka!
Entertainment's award-winning The
Masters of Cinema Series www.mastersofcinema.org.
Benson, head of Eureka! Entertainment, comments: “Eureka! Entertainment have
had the real pleasure of releasing some of the absolute classics of silent
cinema, and there are arguably no more iconic than F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu, the grandfather of all
vampire films, which continues to thrill, chill, and horrify audiences nearly 100
years after it was made.”
Keller, producer of The Masters of Cinema Series, adds: “This new restoration
of Nosferatu has
been meticulously prepared and looks truly outstanding. It will allow a new
generation to experience afresh one of the greatest of all cinematographic
horrors, and a monument of German expressionism, looking better than ever. The
film is uncanny, legitimately terrifying – to see it on the big screen in the
midst of the Halloween season will make for an unforgettable experience.”
praise for Nosferatu:
"The first and probably the greatest of all vampire films."
"[F. W. Murnau is] the greatest film director the Germans have ever
known." – Lotte Eisner
James Cameron has promised (threatened?) that there will indeed be three more films based on his blockbuster Avatar. He will be working with four different screenwriters on the films, which Fox will release over a three year period beginning in 2016. Cameron will co-script each of the films, which will be shot simultaneously presumably with Cameron directing (he is also producing). It is not certain whether these will be sequels, prequels or both. Cameron has the unique distinction of having the two top grossing films of all time: Avatar and Titanic. Fox is said to be committing to a combined budget of up to $1 billion for the project (Cameron does not work cheap and often exceeds his budget estimates.) Yet, Cameron is considered to be "money in the bank" for any studio lucky enough to enlist his talents. For some of us, Avatar was over-hyped and over-praised, but there is no denying moviegoers embraced the film, seeing it numerous times. Whether that enthusiasm will have waned by 2016 remains to be seen, but it's a likely bet that Cameron-Mania will still be in full swing. - Lee Pfeiffer
John Williams has confirmed that he will return to the Star Wars series to score director J.J. Abram's "Episode VII", which is expected to reunite the stars of the original film, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. Williams says he has not seen the script yet but gave an interview in which he discusses his ideas about how to score the film. Click here for more
The much-hyped Wolverine movie top-lining Hugh Jackman has opened a bit soft at the American boxoffice, grossing an okay $55 million in its opening weekend, about $10 million less than predicted. The number is still adequate for an action film but the overseas markets for the film show Wolverine to be a very hot item with young audiences. In the U.S. specialty market, Woody Allen's latest flick Blue Jasmine has scored the highest per-theater gross of the year. The acclaimed film is said to be a shoo-in for Cate Blanchett to nab an Oscar nomination. For more click here
It may be hard believe, with cinemas awash in the latest big, dumb action movie extravaganzas, but reality-based feature films designed to appeal to thinking people are actually making a comeback. The success of recent movies like Lincoln and The King's Speech has convinced studios to at least temporarily recognize that the movie-going audience is comprised of more than pimple-faced kids who are willing to sit through two hours of endless explosions and cheesy special effects. Thus, throughout the course of the year, there will be a number of high profile films based on real life people and dramatic incidents including Captain Phillips, in which Tom Hanks stars as the captain of a vessel who was captured by Somali pirates and who was ultimately rescued by Navy Seals. Click here for more
Henry Fonda gave an iconic performance as Tom Joad in John Ford's original screen version of Steinbecks Depression-era classic.
Steven Spielberg is reportedly finalizing negotiations with the estate of John Steinbeck to produce a big screen remake of The Grapes of Wrath. The original film, released in 1940, is regarded as a cinematic classic and won an Oscar for director John Ford. Spielberg is adamant that he won't direct the film, only produce it. He seems to have edged out Robert Redford, who was also eager to remake the movie. There are certain distribution rights that have to be sorted out with Fox, which released the original film, according to Deadline.com For more click here
Hollywood studio's obsession with finding the next big "tent pole" action movie franchise has been wreaking havoc on corporate profits. The recent flop of The Lone Ranger may be the most high profile debacle but there are plenty of other overstuffed turkeys like White House Down and R.I.P.D. that boast plenty of talented actors, all of whom are reaching for the low-hanging fruit of a quick, sizable paycheck without the slightest concern about the quality of the projects they are appearing in. Britain's Telegraph newspaper reports that these flops are starting to cost real money...but the "suits" in the executive suites can't pull themselves away from sinking even more money into risky ventures to find the next big blockbuster. Click here for more
Johnny Depp's boxoffice clout may be on the wane but you'd never know if from the size of the paychecks he's pulling in. Despite the fact that his pet project, The Lone Ranger, may end up costing Disney losses of over $150 million, Depp is estimated to earn as much as $100 million to reprise his shopworn Captain Jack Sparrow character for yet another Pirates of the Caribbean sequel. Depp is being roundly criticized for grabbing at low hanging fruit in terms of cinematic projects and for continuing to play quirky, eccentric and over-the-top characters who may be wearing thin with his fan base. In fairness, he has periodically paused to play "real" people, but those film ventures have also bombed. For more click here
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from Warner Home Video:
Burbank, Calif. June 4, 2013 – Marking the 75thanniversary ofThe Wizard of Oz, Warner Bros. has produced a 3D remastered version of the film which will launch a comprehensive, cross-divisional campaign encompassing theatrical, home entertainment, consumer products and a number of promotional partnerships.
Kicking off the celebration, The Wizard of Oz 3D will be presented in the immersive IMAX® 3D format and return to the big screen for an exclusive one-week engagement in IMAX® theatres across North America beginning September 20, 2013.
“We couldn’t be happier to partner with IMAX® as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of this iconic film,” said Dan Fellman, President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. “The Wizard of Oz IMAX® 3D Experience is an integral part of our studio-wide anniversary initiative and we are excited to give fans the rare opportunity to see this stunning version on the big screen.”
“The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved films of all time and we are thrilled that our longtime partners at Warner Bros. have made IMAX® a part of this exciting milestone event,” said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX® Entertainment. “This film revolutionized the use of color and special effects in cinema, and we’re excited to add another ‘first’ – bringing this timeless classic to moviegoers through the power of The IMAX 3D Experience® for the very first time.”
The IMAX® release The Wizard of Oz will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX 3D Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX®'s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.
Following the IMAX® theatrical release, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) will release a limited and numbered The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition on October 1, 2013, featuring the 3D version of the film and more.
“Seventy-five years later, The Wizard of Oz continues its reign as a multi-generational favorite, with nearly 100 percent awareness among adults and more than 80 percent awareness among children,” said Jeff Baker, WBHE Executive Vice President and General Manager, Theatrical Catalog. “In this new 3D version, the film is bound to make history all over again—with both past and future fans.”
The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition will debut as a five-disc set that will include Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and UltraViolet versions of the film; a new documentary, The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz;bonus features and premium collectibles ($105.43 SRP). Three more editions will be available separately: a two-disc 3D/Blu-ray ($35.99 SRP), a one-disc Blu-ray ($19.98 SRP) and a two-disc DVD ($16.95 SRP). All four will contain the new documentary and extra content.
SPECIAL FEATURES will include all previously released special features along with:
ALL-NEW Documentary! The Making of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz—This candid overview of how a troubled production overcame the odds to become an integral part of American culture features contributions from historians John Fricke and Sam Wasson, composers Stephen Schwartz and Marc Shaiman, critics Leonard Maltin and Michael Sragow, Bert Lahr’s son John as well as revealing interview clips with Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Buddy Ebsen, Margaret Hamilton and Mervyn LeRoy, among others.
NEW! Exclusive Collectible Memorabilia —Acollectible 75th Anniversary journal; Sparkle RUBY SLIPPERS™ Globe; Noble Collection 3-piece enamel pin set, a Map of Oz and a 48-page hardcover book. Collection is limited and numbered.
The 3D conversion was a long and complex project which Warner Bros. initiated with a very high resolution (8k) scanning of the original Technicolor camera negative. The restored 2D image was then transformed by creating a depth-map of each frame to construct 3D imagery and determine distances from the viewer’s vantage point. This was followed by the long process (with the use of a rotoscope) to further refine viewer distances and fully layer shapes and objects.
“People have asked for years about The Wizard of Oz3D conversion. My answer was always, ‘We’re not doing it until it’s perfect.’ And now it is,” said Ned Price, Warner Technical Operations’ Vice President of Mastering. “As a kid, I was so enthralled by this film. Watching it, you just want to enter the frame, enter the Land of Oz. This new version will allow you to do just that.”
In support of the 75th anniversary of the film, Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ extensive licensing program of more than 80 top-tier licensees will expand with new partnerships. Leading the way is master toy partner Jazwares, along with Mattel, Rubies, Lionel, Steiff, USAopoly, Thomas Kinkade, and many more that will be taking part in the celebration. Special commemorative anniversary product will be available across a wide array of categories including apparel, jewelry, collectibles, publishing, stationery and paper goods, toys and games, slot machines and personal care.
In addition, the Warner Bros. releases will be massively supported by a far-reaching promotional campaign encompassing numerous participants. National corporate partners include (to date) promotional activities with a Major National Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR), the debut of a giant hot-air balloon and balloonhead characters in the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as joint programs with Amtrak, Gourmet Trading Company, Langers Juice, QVC and Simon Malls®. In collaboration with the Ad Council and the National Highway TrafficSafety Administration, new child passenger safety Public Service Announcements (PSAs) featuring iconic elements from The Wizard of Oz film will be distributed and run in donated media nationally.
The Wizard of Oz themed competition will also be featured on an upcoming episode of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” to be aired later this year.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from Paramount Home Video:
Paramount Home Media Distribution (PHMD) announced today that four beloved films starring the incomparable Danny Kaye are available on iTunes for the first time ever in celebration of The Danny Kaye Centennial. Fans can now download the Oscar-nominated biopic The Five Pennies (1959), the musical comedy On the Double (1961), the period comedy The Court Jester (1955) and the hilarious caper Knock on Wood (1954), all quintessential family-friendly films that everyone can enjoy for Father’s Day. This year marks the 60th anniversary for Kaye as a UNICEF ambassador as well as the 60th anniversary of both the Knock on Wood and White Christmas releases.
In The Five Pennies Kaye cuts loose with his trademark dramatic and comedic talents in this success-tempered-with-tears biopic of jazz great Red Nichols, which features legendary performances by Louis Armstrong, along with big band icons Bob Crosby, Ray Anthony and Shelly Manne. In On the Double Kaye stars as Ernie Williams, a G.I. with weak eyes, a weak stomach and weak nerves but an uncanny resemblance to British Colonel MacKenzie. Williams is asked to impersonate the Colonel, allowing him to make a secret trip East – but what Williams is not told is that the Colonel has recently been a target of Nazi assassins. The Court Jester showcases Kaye’s variety of talents as he plays kind-hearted entertainer Hawkins who disguises himself as the legendary king of jesters, Giacomo. Hawkins infiltrates the court of the evil villain Basil Rathbone, but when a sorceress hypnotizes him, royal chaos ensues. In Knock on Wood Kaye is a ventriloquist who becomes the target of a spy ring when secret plans are hidden in his dummies’ heads.
The Danny Kaye Centennial, which began in late 2012 and continues into early 2014, isa celebration of events and activities honoring a legendary entertainer and trail blazing humanitarian’s amazing contributions to the arts. The event highlights this uniquely talented man who brought laughter and joy to generations and served as UNICEF’S first Goodwill Ambassador. Kaye received countless accolades during his lifetime including Oscars®, Emmys®, Golden Globes®, The French Legion of Honor, The Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Beginning in October of 2012 events around the country invited the public to experience the talents that made Danny Kaye one of a kind. These included programs with UNICEF, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, the Paley Center for Media, Sirius XM Radio, Museum of the Moving Image and The New York Pops. The Danny Kaye Centennial will culminate with UNICEF presenting the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award in January 2014.
Ever wonder what toy factories in China do with leftover parts? Generally, they try to make use of them by combining them in the creation of other toys, even when it isn't appropriate. In a hilarious slide show on Flavorwire, Jason Bailey has a remarkable collection of the worst bootleg superhero toys ever created. How about Superman using a parachute or riding a horse? Most of the toys change the name of the character, as though we're not supposed to believe he could possibly be based on Superman, Batman or Spiderman. Thus, we get Specialman, Spaderman and Silver Bat (who also rides a horse!) Click here to view