A few months ago my sister told me that she had seen OUR VERY OWN on TCM and really enjoyed it. It was the kind of drama with a marginal cast that I usually don't go out of my way for. But I was able to pick up a mint print cheap and I ran it this past weekend. Very fine drama with Jane Wyatt doing a virtual dress rehearsal for her role on FATHER KNOWS BEST. The story involves Ann Blyth discovering she was adopted and the angst it causes. Ann Dvorak was outstanding as the birth mother. Terrific film from Sam Goldwyn in 1950.
I am not a fan of Biblical epics (I do like BEN-HUR) and this one doesn't alter my opinion. It has two things going for it: 1. the reasonable running time (most of these flics are 3 plus hours) 2. Alfred Newman's fine score
I bet the 'flat' version plays as well or better > Anyone seen it? brm
Back in November I watched the new Kino-Lorber/Scorpion Releasing blu-ray of the 1965 film, Planet Of The Vampires, directed by the great Mario Bava, (Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Danger: Diabolik) and starring Barry Sullivan. Most people who know the film will tell you it was an influence on a certain 1979 Ridley Scott film featuring a rather malicious xenomorph.
A starship crew lands on an alien planet and soon find themselves under siege from disembodied alien spirits (sorry, no actual vampires here) trying to take over their bodies. John Carpenter tried something similar, years later, with Ghosts Of Mars, but to much lesser effect. Bava does extraordinary things with a low budget, doing all his FX in-camera, and making the planet's surface look dreamlike and forboding with smoke and creative lighting. Bava's use of color in some scenes is striking.
This new blu-ray looks amazing and Bava expert, Tim Lucas, supplies an amazingly informative commentary track. This is the icing on the cake for the blu-ray and you will glean a lot of solid information on how the film was made.
If you're a Bava fan, or love European science fiction films, I highly recommend it.
My final movie to view for 2014 was Sydney Pollack's excellent 1968 comedy-western, The Scalphunters. which stars Burt Lancaster, Ossie Davis, Telly Savalas, and Shelley Winters.
Lancaster and Davis play a trapper and runaway slave who try to retrieve Lancaster's stolen pelts from Savalas' bloodthirsty band of renegades. I've always loved this film. Great Elmer Bernstein score and it has a really funny fistfight at the end of the film. I recently picked up the new Kino-Lorber blu-ray.
Some of the dialogue in the film was priceless, (Lancaster to Davis) "Throw you in a pigpen, and you'd come out vice-president of the hogs."
So I streamed this last night on Amazon Prime under the title, Blood Beast Terror, a 1967 Tigon (not Hammer) production. It stars Peter Cushing and Benedict Cumberbatch's mum, Wanda Ventham. It's rather so-so, with a typically fine Cushing performance, but a really lame ending.
"Haven't I told you about death? It's nature's way of saying you're in the wrong job."
Watched the Kino -Lorber blu-ray of Richard Lester's 1974 suspense classic, Juggernaut. Still holds up very well, starting up slowly and building tension nicely as a terrorist holds a cruise ship for ransom by placing 7 bombs on board. Only Richard Harris and his bomb disposal team can disarm the explosives and save the day.
Excellent cast with Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Omar Sharif, David Hemmings, Ian Holm, Shirley Knight, and Clifton James. Lots of veteran British character actors like Roy Kinnear, Freddie Jones, Julian Glover, Kenneth Colley, and Jack Watson.
Interestingly, Lester inserts a lot of gags to break the tension. Roy Kinnear is painful to watch as he tries in vain to improve the passengers morale, failing miserably. Lester works three gags into a brief scene; A balloon popping, a reference to another sea-going disaster film, and a guitar twang reference to an earlier Lester film. All in about 30 seconds, bam-bam-bam.
It's an influential movie, where the "The blue wire, or the red wire!" trope started. Ripped off by many TV shows and films afterward. I remember a MacGyver episode that was a complete rip-off of Juggernaut.
Highly recommended, and the K-L blu-ray looks much better than I expected.