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    • Two Rode Together on Blu-ray

    • Two Rode Together is a problem western for John Ford. Fairly lively on the character level, it lacks the full spark of the director's talent. Although the subject matter of Will Cook's novel is more adult than ever, the film's dramatic potential is undercut by tiresome slapstick nonsense. Ford doesn't fully engage with either, and instead relies on the can't-fail charm of James Stewart to carry most of this interesting picture.

      Screenwriter Frank S. Nugent tackles a near-replay of major themes from John Ford's The Searchers, on a smaller scale. Corrupt Marshal Guthrie McCabe (James Stewart) skims 10% of all business in Tascosa, and spends most of his time drinking beer on the porch of the bar/brothel owned by Belle Aragon (Annelle Hayes). Then he's roped into accompanying Cavalry Lt. Jim Gary (Richard Widmark) to negotiate with the Comanche Chief Quanah Parker (Henry Brandon) for the return of white captives. In hopes of recovering their stolen children, a sizeable group of families has encamped at the fort of Major Frazer (John McIntire). Frazer has unrealistic ideas of the odds of success, and the civilians likewise expect their lost family members to magically return as they once were. To Jim's consternation, Guthrie brings a stock of rifles along, to insure that Quanah Parker will trade. Quanah gives up three captives. "Wakanana" (Regina Carrol) prefers to stay with her Indian husband. McCabe must tie a violent white teenager now known as Running Wolf (David Kent) to his saddle. Guthrie takes him because he's made a lucrative deal with one of the civilians, McCandless (stunt director Cliff Lyons). The man will accept any captive boy to make his heartbroken wife Mary (Jeanette Nolan) happy. The third captive is a Mexican señora, Elena de la Madriaga (Linda Cristal). She's married to Stone Calf (Woody Strode), a warrior who challenges Quanah Parker's leadership. Parker purposely hands Elena over in the hope that the sharpshooting Guthrie will rid him of Stone Calf.

      John Ford's impressive pictorial style in The Searchers made the West look pure, as if sanctified by heaven. Although Charles Lawton Jr.'s cinematography is attractive, this may be Ford's first western not to exploit striking exterior landscape compositions. Most of the film's interiors are shot in static wide masters suitable for a silent movie, as if Ford were too lazy or tired to direct for the camera. This works well enough when the actors are lively and the slightly cynical script is in good humor. Yet the camera almost invariably faces one way, with the actors arrayed as if on a stage.

      Ford doesn't alter this formula even in the film's most violent moments. In the film's most tense confrontation, a menacing Indian warrior walks almost casually into the frame, and is shot down. A tragic lynching scene uses only three or four angles (plus cutaway close-ups) to show a mob dragging its victim past a wagon on the way to the hanging tree. Everything cuts, but Ford seems to be relying on George Duning's music to generate excitement.

      Ford's simplified direction may have been an economic necessity. By the middle 1950s he had fairly used up the possibilities of his beloved Monument Valley, so we don't mind that this show is not yet another epic dominated by that strange landscape. Stewart and Widmark's fees could very well have accounted for the bulk of the film's budget, ruling out distant locations. In interviews about 'Pappy' Ford, James Stewart implied that he was the meek actor in the presence of the master director. But we can see that the actor is carrying much of the picture. Resting by a creek-side, Stewart and Richard Widmark carry on a loose conversation that goes on for perhaps three full minutes. It stops only when the actors finally run out of lines to improvise. The camera remains stock-still.

      On a character level Two Rode Together is frequently very rewarding. Having graduated from his Anthony Mann 'neurotic hero' westerns, Stewart's Marshal is an amusingly thorough opportunist, throwing his weight around Tascosa and making money while lounging on a porch chair. Belle Aragon apparently sleeps with him at her pleasure and carries a knife on her thigh to keep him in line. With zero interest in doing anything for free, McCabe takes on the rescue mission only when a civilian promises him a bonus of a thousand dollars. Stewart gets exactly one 'Anthony Mann' moment when he draws his pistol on Richard Widmark. The scene tries to provide some sense of character tension, but it's almost a throwaway.

      The Searchers impressed audiences with its acknowledgment of racial prejudice. Two Rode Together makes white bigotry its main concern. The Indians may be rough on their captives but they form relationships equally as solid as those in the white community. The attempts to return the captives result in failure or tragedy. The blonde Kristin refuses to go, and remains in the tribe, as Wakanana. The only thing to do is to lie to her father, the forlorn Ole Knudsen (permanent Ford fixture John Qualen). Running Wolf has dropped any trace of his white identity, and poses an obvious menace to the civilians back in the camp. Audiences in 1961 would have related to the character as an even more dangerous variety of teenage delinquent. Elena Madriaga rather unaccountably accepts the fate of her beloved Comanche husband and voluntarily returns, only to bear the brunt of white prejudice and cruelty back at the fort. Because she has been 'defiled' by a savage, she's no longer socially acceptable on any level. Jim and Guthrie take turns lecturing the bigots and biddies at the fort, but their words have no measurable effect.

      Guthrie McCabe is drawn to Elena, while Jim "goes soft" on the young and spirited Mary Purcell (Shirley Jones), who had hoped to be reunited with her long-lost brother. Their courtship is handled in annoying Ford nonsense fashion, with a tough 40+ cavalry officer acting like as shy as a ten-year-old. There's also a clownish fistfight between Jim and the moronic Clegg Brothers Ortho and Greeley (Ford players Harry Carey Jr. & Ken Curtis). We much prefer Stewart's semi-comic relationship with the humorless Belle Aragon, who isn't about to let sentiment enter the picture, not for a moment.

      Although Ford frequently expressed sympathy for minorities, his depiction of them never really changed much. As in The Searchers, Anglo actor Henry Brandon once again draws Heap Big Injun Chief duty. But this time he's equally as conniving as his white counterparts. Quanah Parker sneers at Stone Calf for believing that a foolish religious shield ceremony can offer protection from the white man's bullets. Black acting icon Woody Strode takes a demotion from his leading role in Sgt.Rutledge, but we're given to understand that members of Ford's stock company were expected to accept any role he offered them. Strode plays a Native American here, and would later play a Chinese bandit in Seven Women.

      Other Ford stock company players are Olive Carey, Harry Carey Jr., Ken Curtis, Anna Lee and O.Z. Whitehead. "Emeritus" Ford actress Mae Marsh appears as a loony old white captive. The star of the original Birth of a Nation makes a strong impression despite being seen in exactly one shot. The husband & wife acting team of John McIntire and Jeanette Nolan have featured roles; Ms. Nolan's frantic Mrs. McCandless is the most sympathetic of the settlers desperate to recover lost children.

      Recent Oscar winner Shirley Jones receives preferred billing but hasn't a particularly rewarding role. In her one really memorable scene, what sticks with us is not Ms. Jones, but the horrifying meaning of a fancy music box. Leading lady honors go to Argentine beauty Linda Cristal, as the Mexican woman 'of good family' newly returned from the Indian camp. Ford allows Elena some worthy close-up reactions before having her break down emotionally. Elena gravitates toward strong men - first Stone Calf and now Guthrie McCabe.

      The film makes a big point of the fact that the biddies at the fort consider Elena's presence an obscene scandal, when she is obviously a lady of quality. This simplified view doesn't take into account that the fort's mostly Irish American immigrants would most likely discriminate against Elena just for being Mexican. For that matter, higher Mexican society might reject Elena as well, as racial and class discrimination would arguably be even more pronounced South of the border. Ford insists on characterizing Elena as a delicate, sheltered princess, despite having lived for several years as the woman of a Comanche warrior. A more 'evolved' Latina character appeared a decade earlier, in Fred Zinnemann's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

      The Twilight Time Blu-ray of Two Rode Together is a good reminder of how attractive this picture can look in a proper presentation. Cinematographer Charles Lawton Jr.'s taste and discretion makes Ford's simple choice of shots look their best. The movie's many wide master shots did not fare well in old television screenings because the unmasked 1:33 prints marooned the actors as tiny figures, with acres of headroom above and foot room below. Until I saw Two Rode Together on a big screen I thought that Running Wolf had been played by Sal Mineo. The actor's face was always so small in the frame.

      Twilight Time's presentation gives us an Isolated Score Track in which Columbia house composer George Duning provides excellent counterpoint to Ford's direction. The original trailer argues that fans that want real western adventure should forget the tiny B&W TV fare and instead take in the big screen impact of the colorful Two Rode Together. Julie Kirgo's thoughtful liner notes provide career context for what became a lesser Ford picture, and sharp insights into the way the film breaks down Ford's tenets of family solidarity.

      By Glenn Erickson

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  1. New Books

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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  1. DVD Reviews

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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  1. Press Release

Alan Ladd: The 1940s Collection DVD
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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir DVD
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Hard-boiled detective Sam Spade gets caught up in the murderous...
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  • 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