skip navigation

Movie News - Our extensive online Hollywood film and classic DVD news page.

  1. Top News Stories

    •  
    • Overlord on Criterion Blu-ray

    • England's Imperial War Museum commissioned this feature film to make use of the enormous quantity of WW2 documentary footage in its vaults. Thames TV's The World at War would draw upon the archive, but the Museum wanted something that would show the breadth of their holdings, not just the most sensational footage. Director Stuart Cooper instead chose to express a single soldier's anxieties and fears as he prepares for battle. His 1975 Overlord takes a poetic approach to the combat experience.

      The film uses no narration. England is already at war. Young Tom (Brian Stirner) is called up for duty and joins uncounted young men preparing to cross the channel on D-Day. Life in camp is boring, and he and his friends Jack (Davyd Harries) and Arthur (Nicholas Ball) get in trouble for minor offenses. Tom meets a beautiful girl (Julie Neesam) at a dance. He promises to see her again, but is called away the very next morning and cannot leave her a message. As the massive armada of men and material forms up, Tom has a recurring vision in which he sees himself felled by a bullet on the Normandy beach.

      The average historical documentary will license WW2 stock footage from a commercial film library. But it usually isn't original film from newsreel and combat cameramen. The filmmakers are instead given previous compilation films with film footage most likely obtained by duping other previous compilation films. The beauty of Overlord's access to prime source, original negative film material is twofold. First, the ability to work from the original negative allows one to discover that original combat camerawork is often of excellent quality. Filmed on 35mm, battle scenes have a breathless you-are-there impact that holds up even when enlarged on a giant screen. Secondly, prime source access means not having to settle for an earlier editor's choice of scenes. Newsreels of war action naturally focused on the dynamics of guns firing, men marching and actual combat situations. When one wants to analyze the combat experience, what happened before and after the editor's cuts takes on greater significance. Also, the combat cameramen filmed miles of non-combat footage showing how soldiers really lived, little of which was ever used.

      Stuart Cooper went straight for this peripheral material. During the spring of 1944 hundreds of thousands of soldiers were moved into southern England with millions of tons of war equipment, all massing for the D-Day assault. Cooper's narrative breaks away for scenes of air raids softening the French mainland for the invasion, but mostly concentrates on the hurry-up-and-wait misery of the countless young soldiers. Cut off from their normal lives, shifted from camp to camp at a moment's notice and kept completely in the dark, they can't even send a private letter home without it being read by a censor.

      When told that viewing everything in the Archive would take nine years, Cooper opted to collect mostly footage concerning troop mobilization and preparation for invasion. Overlord rigorously maintains its documentary truthfulness, in that film shot elsewhere or at a different time was not used. The organization of D-Day is shown in its immensity. We see real divisions marching and traveling by train and truck; endless lines of tanks and landing craft make their way down wooded English lanes. Much of the film has never been seen before and looks as though it were shot yesterday. Editor Jonathan Gili makes sense of miles of footage, often finding serendipitous cuts in random material.

      Soldier Tom's story is directly intercut with the archive scenes. Cinematographer John Alcott found old un-coated lenses identical to those used by the combat cameramen, and he filmed as much as possible with 'available light.' We see Tom telling his parents he's leaving and adjusting to the humiliations of regimented army life. He spends a great deal of time alone or with one of his friends, trying not to complain about his situation. The only failing in these scenes is budgetary; the 'Tom' material tends to be under-populated. Tom is pointedly alone on the train to camp, which the film excuses by having him made late by an air raid. But when he arrives at camp and is seen walking alone across an empty parade ground, we can't quite connect Tom with the masses of other soldiers. Stylistically, however, the young man's isolation serves director Cooper's notion that Tom is already a kind of ghost, detached from any sense of group identity.

      Cooper's scenes definitely stray from the literal plane. A montage of Tom exploring an ancient castle segues into a dramatic (newly filmed) image of a DeHavilland bomber heading East for Europe. That introduces an eye-opening bombing montage. Tom meets a painfully attractive girl at a dance. They're immediately attracted to one another but must part only a few minutes later. When Tom's outfit moves on he's unable to keep their date and cannot contact her. But he continually fantasizes about her in the days ahead.

      Most of Tom's fantasies are of what he fears most, being shot dead on the beach. The repeated nightmare begins with an out-of-focus slow motion image of Tom running from afar. Cooper references the famous combat pictures of Robert Capa, but many viewers will be reminded of a stylized flashback in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time In the West. Cooper does manage several stunningly surreal images, such as Tom and his girl embracing while standing alone in a landing craft. Tom also imagines himself returning as a corpse. As a substitute for the sex he will never share, his girl is the one to prepare his body for burial, gently undressing him. It's quite touching.

      Overlord's bleak ending cuts off the action at the point where pictures like The Longest Day begin. Tom has been imagining his terrible end in romantic terms. When it comes, his fate is devoid of glory or honor. Greatly adding to the film's appeal is Paul Glass's symphonic score, a mellow, plaintive thread that helps many sequences to cohere. A few period songs also stick in the mind, like a pop tune called We Don't Know Where We're Going.

      The Criterion Collection's Blu-ray of Overlord improves visually on the earlier excellent DVD release only to the degree that the HD image offers more resolution and a wider contrast range. In the often gray-on-gray images, viewers aren't likely to notice much difference. The Blu-ray encoding does impress with its uncompressed sound, which shows the creativity of the audio work on Overlord. The sounds for everything -- troops, vehicles, machinery -- had to be invented after the fact. In some shots it looks as if lip readers have been employed to help dub new voices.

      Director Stuart Cooper was a former actor who played one of Robert Aldrich's criminal commandos in The Dirty Dozen. Cooper and Brian Stirner share a full-length commentary. The only film optical in the movie, they tell us, is the dream image of Tom falling, superimposed in his own eye.

      Aspiring film editors will love the extras. The curators of The Imperial War Museum host a tour of the facility and discuss the making of the film in a handsome new featurette, Mining the Archive. A 1943 propaganda film Cameramen at War honors the battlefield film units. Two other propaganda pictures glimpsed briefly in Overlord, 1941's Germany Calling and the comical The Lambeth Walk are seen in their entirety. Stuart Cooper's arresting 1969 short subject A Test of Violence plays graphic tricks with the war paintings of the Spanish artist Juan Genovés. Brian Stirner reads from the journals of two D-Day participants. A trailer is included as well.

      The fat insert booklet contains an essay by Kent Jones, a history of the Imperial War Museum and excerpts from a novelization of Overlord by Stuart Cooper and Christopher Hudson.

      By Glenn Erickson

    • Comment
      share:
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. New Books

    •  
    • Elizabeth and Michael

    • By Donald Bogle

      One of the country's leading authorities on popular entertainment presents an eye-opening and unique biography of two larger-than-life legends--Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson--and their unlikely yet enduring friendship.

      From the moment Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson met, they were hooked on each other. He peered into her violet eyes and was transfixed; she, in turn, was dazzled by his talent, intrigued by his sweet-tempered childlike personality, and moved by the stories she had already heard about his troubled early life. Soon a deep friendship blossomed, unexpectedly unlike anything either had ever experienced. Through thick and thin, through their various emotional upheavals, through the peaks and valleys of their careers, through their personal traumas and heartaches, through the unending health issues and extreme physical pain that each experienced, and through the glare of the often merciless public spotlight, their bond held them together, and their love for each other endured.


      Donald Bogle skillfully recreates the moving narrative of Taylor and Jackson's experiences together and their intense emotional connection, without shying away from the controversies that swirled around them. Through interviews with friends and acquaintances of the two stars, as well as anonymous but credible sources, Elizabeth and Michael emerges as a tender, intimate look at this famous "odd couple" and a treasure to their millions of fans.

    • More >
    •  
    •  
    • Robert Wagner's I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses

    • By Robert Wagner and Scott Eyman

      In a career that has spanned over sixty years, Robert Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of television, becoming a beloved star in both film and TV. During this time, he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with many of the greatest female screen personalities of all time. I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses (On-sale: 11/15/16) by Robert Wagner, with co-author Scott Eyman, provides an intimate and revealing account of the charisma of these women on film, why they became stars, and how their specific emotional and dramatic chemistries affected the choices they made both as actresses and as women.

      I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES offers a privileged look behind the scenes at some of the most well-known women in show business. Among Wagner's subjects are Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Debra Paget, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, Betty Hutton, Raquel Welch, Glenn Close, and the two actresses whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John. In addition to offering perceptive commentary on these women, Wagner examines topics like the strange alchemy of the camera--how it can transform the attractive into the stunning, and vice-versa--and how the introduction of color brought a new erotic charge to movies--one that enabled these actresses to become aggressively sexual beings in a way that that black and white films had only hinted at.


      Robert Wagner is the star of such films as A Kiss Before Dying, The Longest Day, The Pink Panther, and most recently, the Austin Powers franchise. On television, he starred in It Takes a Thief (with Fred Astaire), Switch (with Eddie Albert and Sharon Gless), and Hart to Hart (with Stefanie Powers). He has recently appeared on Two and a Half Men and NCIS. He is married to actress Jill St. John.

      Scott Eyman is the author of eleven books about the movies, including Lion of Hollywood: The Life of Louis B. Mayer (which the Wall Street Journal called one of the five best books ever written about Hollywood), Empire of Dreams: The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMille, and more recently, John Wayne: The Life and Legend.

    • More >
    •  
    •  
    • King of Jazz: Paul Whiteman's Technicolor Revue

    • King of Jazz: Paul Whiteman's Technicolor Revue tells the story of the making, release, and restoration of Universal's 1930 Technicolor extravaganza King of Jazz. Authors James Layton and David Pierce have uncovered original artwork, studio production files, behind-the-scenes photographs, personal papers, unpublished interviews, and a host of other previously unseen documentation. The book offers a richly illustrated narrative with broader context on the film's diverse musical and theatrical influences. The story concludes with an in-depth look at the challenges Universal overcame in restoring the film in 2016. Additionally, the book's appendix provides a comprehensive guide to all of the film's performers, music, alternate versions, and deleted scenes.

      King of Jazz was one of the most ambitious films ever to emerge from Hollywood. Just as movie musicals were being invented in 1929, Universal Pictures brought together Paul Whiteman, leader of the country's top dance orchestra; John Murray Anderson, director of spectacular Broadway revues; a top ensemble of dancers and singers; early Technicolor; and a near unlimited budget. The film's highlights include a dazzling interpretation of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," which Whiteman had introduced to the public in 1924; Walter Lantz's "A Fable in Jazz," the first cartoon in Technicolor; and Anderson's grand finale "The Melting Pot of Music," a visualization of popular music's many influences and styles. The film is not only a unique document of Anderson's theatrical vision and Whiteman's band at its peak, but also of several of America's leading performers of the late 1920s, including Bing Crosby in his first screen appearance, and the Russell Markert Dancers, who would soon become Radio City Music Hall's famous Rockettes.


      James Layton is Manager of the Museum of Modern Art's Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center. Prior to this he worked at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, where he curated two gallery exhibitions and the website Technicolor 100. Layton has also acted as Cataloguer and Workflow Coordinator at the East Anglian Film Archive in Norwich, UK, and is co-author of the Image Permanence Institute's informational poster Knowing and Protecting Motion Picture Film (2009).

      David Pierce is an independent film historian and archivist. He was formerly the Head of Preservation and Curator of the National Film and Television Archive at the British Film Institute. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, and his report on the survival of American silent feature films was published by the Library of Congress in 2013. He founded the Media History Digital Library, providing free online access to millions of pages of motion picture magazines and books.

    • More >
    •  
    •  
    • THE ESSENTIALS: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter

    • By Jeremy Arnold
      Forward by Robert Osborne

      Since its inception on Turner Classic Movies in 2001, The Essentials has become the ultimate for movie lovers to expand their knowledge of must-see cinema and discover or revisit landmark films that have had a lasting impact on audiences everywhere.

      Based on the hit series, THE ESSENTIALS by Jeremy Arnold showcases 52 must-see movies from the silent era to modern times. Readers can enjoy one film per week, like on the show, for a year of great viewing, or indulge in a movie-watching binge-fest. Each film is profiled with entertaining discourse on why it's an Essential, and running commentary is provided by TCM's Robert Osborne and Essentials guest hosts past and present: Sally Field, Drew Barrymore, Alec Baldwin, Rose McGowan, Carrie Fisher, Molly Haskell, Peter Bogdanovich, Sydney Pollack, and Rob Reiner.

      Featuring full-color and black-and-white photography of the greatest stars in movie history throughout, THE ESSENTIALS is the ultimate curated guide to 52 films that define the meaning of the word "classic."


      Jeremy Arnold, a writer and film historian, is the author of Lawrence of Arabia: The 50th Anniversary, a coffee-table book companion to that film's Blu-ray release. In addition to his work for numerous film trade publications, he has written over five hundred programming articles for the Turner Classic Movies website and contributed audio commentaries and historical essays to the DVD and Blu-ray releases of classic films.

    • More >
    •  
  1. DVD Reviews

    •  
    • Dick Dinman & Eddie Muller Explore THE ASPHALT JUNGLE!

    • DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER EXPLORE "THE ASPHALT JUNGLE": Producer/host Dick Dinman welcomes back the "Czar of Noir" himself Eddie Muller as both celebrate the Criterion Collection's pristine release on Blu-ray of John Huston's THE ASPHALT JUNGLE which remains conceivably the greatest "heist/noir" masterwork ever committed to celluloid. (It's early in the year but its difficult to conceive that any home video outfit in the ensuing year will be able to top the astonishing "special features" included on this sensational disc.)

      PLUS: Show opener "Dick's Picks" salutes the Criterion Collection's recent Blu-ray releases of Robert Altman's McCABE & MRS. MILLER, Marlon Brando's ONE EYED JACKS and Howard Hawks' HIS GIRL FRIDAY.

      COMING SOON: DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER ARE "ON DANGEROUS GROUND"!

      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to www.dvdclassicscorner.com or www.dvdclassicscorner.net.

    • More >
    •  
    •  
    • Dick Dinman Salutes Air Hero Jimmy Stewart!

    • DICK DINMAN SALUTES WW2 AIR HERO JIMMY STEWART: The dual releases of Olive Films stunning Blu-ray incarnation of the James Stewart air power classic STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND as well as author Robert Matzen's awe inspiring book MISSION: JIMMY STEWART AND THE FIGHT FOR EUROPE, which for the first time ever reveals the truth about Stewart's dangerous bombing missions over Germany, give producer/host Dick Dinman ample motivation to salute the spectacular military career of screen icon Stewart and Dick is joined by returning guest Robert Matzen as they marvel at the courage, skill and fortitude of this certifiable American hero.

      The opening DICK'S PICKS segment salutes Olive Films and their latest Blu-ray releases of not only STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND but Orson Welles' MACBETH (two versions!), HOUDINI, THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF BEL AMI, VILLA RIDES. ONE OF OUR AIRCRAFT IS MISSING and two new 4k releases of THE QUIET MAN and JOHNNY GUITAR (first time in original widescreen format on home video!).

      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to www.dvdclassicscorner.com or www.dvdclassicscorner.net.

    • More >
    •  
    •  
    • Dick Dinman & Eddie Muller Salute Ultra-Rare Noir Classics!

    • DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER SALUTE ULTRA-RARE NOIR CLASSICS: Producer/host Dick Dinman and Film Noir Foundation's Czar of Noir Eddie Muller wax poetic about the first-rate Blu-ray releases of three rarely seen film noir gems: Flicker Alley's dark and deadly duo of two heretofore thought virtually lost noir thrillers TOO LATE FOR TEARS and WOMAN ON THE RUN and KL Studio Classics 99 RIVER STREET about which Dick and Eddie have a rare major disagreement regarding the validity of what some consider the most memorable two scenes in the film.

      PLUS: A preview of KL Studio Classics upcoming noir Blu-ray release CRY OF THE CITY.

      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to www.dvdclassicscorner.com or www.dvdclassicscorner.net.

    • More >
    •  
    •  
    • Dick Dinman & Kathleen Hughes Return to 3-D "Outer Space!"

    • DICK DINMAN & KATHLEEN HUGHES RETURN TO 3-D "OUTER SPACE": Kathleen Hughes, whose breakout appearance in Universal-International's first 3-D blockbuster inspired the media to dub her the "first feminine sensation created by 3-D" rejoins producer/host Dick Dinman to salute Universal Pictures Home Entertainment's wonderfully immersive 3-D Blu-ray release of IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (immaculately restored by the 3-D Archive) and shares priceless memories about her career from her very first film ROAD HOUSE (just released on Blu-ray by Kino's KL Studio Classics) to her time as a contract star at Universal and 3-D Archive's Robert Furmanek chats about the challenges inherent in restoring this certifiable sci-fi classic to its current eye-poppingly spectacular 3-D grandeur.
      PLUS: OPENING "DICK PICKS" SEGMENT SALUTES UNIVERSAL'S "THE MARX BROTHERS SILVER SCREEN BLU-RAY COLLECTION." AND A PREVIEW OF THE UPCOMING KINO RELEASE OF THE 3-D ARCHIVE'S "THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE".

      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to www.dvdclassicscorner.com or www.dvdclassicscorner.net.

    • More >
    •  
  1. Press Release

Alan Ladd: The 1940s Collection DVD
$35.95
was $44.95
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir DVD
$10.47
was $14.98
Hard-boiled detective Sam Spade gets caught up in the murderous...
$14.96
was $19.98
Close

Close

  •  
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2011

  • Removed: 10:00pm Springfield Rifle
    12:00pm Casablanca
    Added: 1:00pm Virginia City
    12:15pm Casablanca
  •  
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2011

  • Removed: 10:00pm Springfield Rifle
    12:00pm Casablanca
    Added: 1:00pm Virginia City
    12:15pm Casablanca
  •  
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2011

  • Removed: 10:00pm Springfield Rifle
    12:00pm Casablanca
    Added: 1:00pm Virginia City
    12:15pm Casablanca