Archive 1 - Dec 2008

Previous Posts that appeared on the front page of

• December 12, 2008

Actress Nina Foch has passed away at age 84
She started off in Hollywood appearing in Wagon Wheels West (1943) and then with Bela Lugosi appearing in The Return of the Vampire (1944).

• December 10, 2008
20th Century Fox releases a DVD box set of 12 films by Murnau and Borzage
Two directors who worked in he silent and early talkie era are featured in a deluxe set containing a documentary and many films never available before on VHS or DVD. The most well known of the included titles is Murnau's famous "Sunrise" in which a farmer must contend with himself, his city mistress, and the young wife he is being urged to drown (shades of "An American Tragedy").


• November 7, 2008
The Universal Legacy Series continues with a 2-disk package for Vertigo
Although it is sometimes touted as "noir" it is really just a most unusual Hitchcock film and in a more personal mode than most of his films. Kim Novak is the dopplegangered victim/criminal and James Stewart the detective with a dangerous fear of heights.

• October 22, 2008
Orson Welles, Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh TOUCH OF EVIL 50th Anniversary 2-disk set
This much touted noir film from 1958 is released to DVD with three versions: the original 1958 "Mancini" version, the 1976 108-minute "Keller" version, and the 1998 re-cut "Orson Welles' Memo" version.

• October 13, 2008
New Mark A. Vieira Book "Hollywood Dreams Made Real: Irving Thalberg and the Rise of M-G-M" from Abrams Books
A new 260 page hardback exploring MGM and Thalberg's role as producer and architect of the MGM production system.


• October 7, 2008
3-Disk "Holiday Inn" DVD with Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Irving Berling tune extras
The release of Holiday Inn on three disks seems like overkill, but Universal has packaged the original black and white with a colorized-version and an extra disk with the Irving Berling soundtrack sung by Crosby, Astair, Virginia Dale and Marjorie Reynolds.

• September 16, 2008

Library of Congress Moves Film and Sound Recording Library

With over nearly 5 million collection items held in five separate locations, the Library of Congress is consolidating to a single spot in Culpeper, Virginia

• September 14, 2008
Carole Lombard Month
TCM has the late Ms. Clark Gable on their October 2008 cover, and are running a string of 18 films every Monday to survey her career.

• September 7, 2008
Anita Page has Died

Sometimes called "The Last Silent Movie Star" for her resume of roles opposite Gilbert, Lon Chaney, and others, has passed away.

• August 24, 2008
A.F.I. shutting down film cataloging department

Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood web site is showing a letter from former AFI staffers that purport to tell that AFI is abandoning a core mission of researching every American film made. Most telling is Finke's reaction t the news: another example of the industry turning its back on its history.

• August 22, 2008

M-G-M for sale: only 5.2 Billion

The Nikki Finke Deadline Hollywood web site is describing M-G-M as being offered at $5.2 billion USD. (This is separate from the M-G-M library of old films, which is owned by Turner Network Television, which is owned by Time Warner. Read a history of MGM at Wikipedia)

• August 22, 2008
What Years are the best from Hollywood?

The site from the Journal-Star newspaper in Peoria, Illinois, has a run an article with competing film critics/fans arguing over what decade of film production is the "best." To get a look at the arguments made for each era, go here. We've had a similar question on our contact page for a little while now.

• July 10 2007

Oh Rats!

The film is entertaining, but probably a bit over the head for little kids who won't catch on to the adult issues about pursuing a career that is the heavy problem in the midst of the film's levity and episodes of slapstick. The distinctions being made between good gourmet food and not-so good food is another area probably lost on little kids.

Ratatouille is a little clumsy in how it goes about explaining all of this, but it seems to be an honest film about ambition, facing up to unbeatable personal limitations, and also the myriad consequences all that brings. Unusual territory for family-fare animated movies, and certainly not a topic many live action films aim for. But this is Pixar, and it's Brad Bird (who did the film The Incredibles) who has the directing chores, and thus Pixar continues to stand well out and away from competition from it's (ironically) in house rival, Disney Animation. The difference between the jaded numbness from Disney and the earnestness of Pixar is made clearer with every Pixar release.

A Love Letter to Surfing

Surf's Up The story is generic (penguin overcomes numerous impediments to become a champion surfer) but there are human touches about the cost of wanting to be a champion (and it reducing other people to mere tools for the goal). Ultimately, though, the movie is one long kiss blown toward the sport of surfing. It is also an ode to the plain beauty of getting out in the water (well, the water around a fictitious Pacific Island). The animation is very pretty, the story isn't subtle but it get's the point across (friends are more important than winning), and it celebrates the wonder of 'riding inside the tube.'

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Original Page Dec 2008 | Updated Feb 2014

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