Archive for November, 2011

My wife and I are big fans of Mid-Century architecture, furniture, etc. (Ever seen Gary Cooper’s house?)

Today, Jennifer was reading up on Richard Neutra and this came up. It’s a rendering of a home designed for Howard Hawks, but never built.

Among lots of other incredible homes and buildings, Neutra designed the Cyclorama in Gettysburg. Oh, prints are available of the Hawks house.

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Last week, I posted about the Fight For 35mm petition, which if you haven’t, I urge you to consider signing. Since then, a very good article about the current state and icky future of theatrical projection has appeared on the AV Club website.

I grew up in a house full of film, usually 16mm. To me, the texture of film, a few specks of dust, changeover cues and the purr of a projector are as much a part of movie-watching as color, sound and popcorn. (One of my problems with DVD and Blu-ray is that they look too good.)

The cinema experience of today is nothing like the one some of us remember — the way these 50s Westerns were seen, incidentally. We’ve gone from movie palace to multiplex, which I don’t see as progress. So if the times they are a-changin’ again, I don’t see me heading out to the cinema too much. After all, we can watch a digital picture at home — on a screen not that much smaller than found in most theaters.

I will now step down off my soapbox and get back to cowboy movies.

Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda, from the TCM Classic Film Festival (and lifted from their website). Thanks to Laura for bringing this article to my attention.

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Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks (1961) is a picture that really seems to divide classic Western fans. To some, it’s a great film; to others, a self-indulgent disaster.

Whichever side you’re on, masterpiece or mess, you probably know something of its troubled production — at least a year behind schedule, a few million dollars over budget, Stanley Kubrick and Sam Peckinpah hired and fired, and so on. It’s been written about quite a bit over the years, and I’ve covered it before on this blog.

As a side project to 50 Westerns From The 50s, I’m at work on A Million Feet Of Film: The Making Of One-Eyed Jacks. Particulars will come as they’re sorted out. In the meantime, there’s a Facebook page to share some photos and other material I’ve amassed over the years.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

Here’s wishing you a safe, happy Thanksgiving — along with plenty to be thankful for over the next year.

And in the words of Roy Rogers, “may the good Lord take a liking to you.”

This still is from Utah (1945), which you can watch here if you get sick of parades and football. By the way, Roy and the turkey are surrounded by The Sons Of The Pioneers.

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If you end up at WalMart over the holiday, you might want to fish around in the $5 DVD bin — because there’s good stuff to be had in there. Image Entertainment has released a slew of triple-feature sets, with three films stuck on a single DVD — at five bucks a pop.

There are no technical specs on the packaging, so I tried one and was happy to find that my five-dollar gamble had paid off — Image has licensed the nice anamorphic transfers that are available elsewhere for more money. There are no extra features of any kind.

In addition to these Western sets, there are collections of war pictures (one has Andre de Toth’s excellent Play Dirty from 1968), a Corman/Poe/Price disc, and lots of Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson things.

I really dig Escort West (1959). You can’t beat black and white ‘Scope. Day Of The Outlaw (1959) is one of the best 50 Westerns of them all — we can spend the holiday weekend arguing that one, if you want. And John Sturges’ Hour Of The Gun (1967) deserves far more credit than it gets.

Whether they’re worth a trip to WalMart is a matter of personal taste.

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Just what my day needed — a little Budd Boetticher. First, I hung a title card for Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) in my office, then Seminole (1953) hits DVD. With Budd behind the camera and Rock Hudson, Anthony Quinn, Richard Carlson, Barbara Hale and Lee Marvin in front of it, it’s a good one.

Saw an IB Technicolor 16mm print of this thing years ago, and the color is still seared into my brain.

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“The major film studios have decided that they eventually want to stop renting all archival 35mm film prints entirely because there are so few revival houses left, and because digital is cheap and the cost of storing and shipping prints is high.”

The above quote comes from the overview of the Fight For 35mm petition. And I’m urging you all to read up on it and sign it.

And if that doesn’t work, then I guess it’s Occupy Film Vault.

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