Archive 548

December 2023

Ryan O'Neal has died

"Ryan O’Neal dead at 82"Yahoo Fox

"Ryan O'Neal, ‘Love Story' and ‘Paper Moon' Star, Dies at 82"Variety MSN

"Ryan O’Neal Co-stars Barbra Streisand, Mia Farrow & Lee Grant Recall Funny, Charming & "Incredibly" Beautiful Actor"Deadline Hollywood

Jimmy Stewart getting new voice work via AI generationVariety Magazine

Jimmy Stewart died in 1997, but he is being licensed by his estate for reading a "Calm" bedtime story and through AI voice generation to mimic Stewart's "soothing" voice tone.


In recreating Stewart’s voice, Respeecher employed a voice actor who performed the lines and mimicked his speech style. “It was essential, like in all other projects, that the project was done according to high ethical standards and respect, which Respeecher has advocated for many years,” said Alex Serdiuk, Respeecher CEO and co-founder.

Short Film Reviews:

Fingers at the Window - 1942: Confusion! This film was listed as a Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes mystery on one of the preeminent online streaming services. Early scenes show us a mysterious fellow in shadow with Basil's profile sending axe murderers out into the city streets from the basement doorway of a prestigious looking inner city mansion.

More about Fingers at the Window - 1942

Copshop - 2021: Nicely done, limited scale movie in which a small town police station falls under siege from within: a con man and a hit man are locked up inside the jails, the hit man is there on assignment to kill off the con-artist who stole some other crooks' money. The police officers inside the station start dropping like flies because a second hit man arrives and begins working his way through the building, intending to kill the con man before the first hit man (Gerard Butler) is able to do so, and thus get the money first for the "hit." A young police officer (Alexis Louder) gets caught up between the different forces at work, all trying to manipulate the situation to bring about vastly different ends, meanwhile she can't leave a section of the station where she is trapped with the first two criminals without almost certainly being killed by the third one. The violence in the film is brutal in the style of 2020's gun movies, but a lot of the tale is told through dialogue as each person in the police station uses talking to try and reach their goals, and the varied ethical standards (and mental state) of each person becomes crystal clear, that is, all hit men are not alike and even a novice cop can (eventually) morally outthink practiced manipulators (the con-man). Well done film, in a tightly compressed way, though with a great deal of violent gunplay.

The 2023 Cinemagraphe Holiday Wish List

The last few years have been kind of tough on old movie fans. Twilight Time and Olive Films have gone out of business. They were both a great source for HD versions of classic films across many decades, but they were also alternatives to the output (and choices) of the big two of KinoLorber and Criterion.

There are still several remaining businesses marketing "classic films" on physical media and hopefully they will last interminably so that we can avoid the calamity of only streaming services providing "antique" films. Such a situation risks the titles available becoming more narrow, year after year, which would be quite a defeat compared to the bonanza of the VHS, DVD and Blu Ray years.

In regards to streaming: it is counter-productive for the streaming services (Amazon Prime, Roku, Paramount+. etc) to populate their "classic" film list with ragged and highly pixilated copies of old films. If there's no other better version available, I can understand, but lousy quality renditions of old films doesn't build an audience for classic film, it does the opposite. I understand that it is highly unlikely that the streaming services care about preserving old films and for curating an audience to sustain an interest in them into the future, rather, what I suspect is happening, is that they're grabbing any title at whatever quality it is from the cheapest sources (or public domain) to help broaden their list of available product for streaming and to simply boost the numbers of titles available.

Convincing younger people who have no familiarity with old black and white movies to give them a chance is already a tough sell, but lousy sound and picture just piles on the impediments.

The 2023 Classic Film Wish List

The Saint in New York 1938 – Louis Hayward gives the investigator character of Simon Templar a savage undertone threatening violence (to bad guys for which he seems to have a visceral dislike once they reveal themselves) through how he simply delivers dialogue. This was Hayward's only rendition of the character and the first appearance of the character on film from the 1934 novel of the same name. I am not aware of any official release of the film in any format.

Mission in Morocco 1958 – Lex Barker in a low budget adventure that has only had a 1990 VHS version released. A restored HD version would be appreciated.

Happy Texas 1998 – Comedy set in a fictional Texas town populated by humorous characters and invaded by a pair of escaped felon con men who are forced by circumstances to pretend to be beauty pageant consultants. There was a DVD release of the film, but no HD on physical media.

Tell It To The Marines 1926 – Lon Chaney was made an Honorary Marine by the corps for his performance as a tough marine sergeant who has to deal with a younger and better looking competitor for a nurse he is in love with, also there's the matter of fighting off a warlord's bandit army in China. There's a 2013 DVD release but with so many other Chaney films getting HD remastering (The Penalty, The Trap, Hunchback, etc) why not this one? TCM has an alternative version with a new sound track. And while this needs an HD version, how about the 1921 Ace of Hearts with Chaney, too? TCM released a DVD version in 2003, and Warner Archive has DVD version, too, but there's no HD version I know of.

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Original Page December 27, 2023