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  1. Top News Stories

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    • Sorcerer on Blu-ray

    • "Despite all the problems and setbacks, bruised egos and shattered friendships, I felt then and still do that Sorcerer is the best film I've made." - William Friedkin

      After William Friedkin's career took off with the consecutive successes of The French Connection (1971) and The Exorcist (1973), he used his clout to make a passion project, a reworking of Henri-George Clouzot's The Wages of Fear (1953) (Friedkin insists that it's not a remake) that he rather abstractly titled Sorcerer, named after one of the two trucks that set out across treacherous jungle roads with a cargo of unstable dynamite in the back.

      It was a resounding commercial failure and it took the luster off of Friedkin's golden boy image. Forty years later it's being heralded, at least in some quarters, as an overlooked masterpiece. Distance, along with the film's unavailability for well over a decade, has allowed viewers to return to it with fresh eyes and a better understanding of Friedkin. I'm not part of the "masterpiece" chorus, at least not to the extent of The French Connection, but I find a terrible, beautiful power in the film's primal imagery and almost abstracted conflict of man and nature. Like Apocalypse Now and Heaven's Gate and other passion projects by seventies filmmakers that spun out of control in a perfect storm of ambition, obsession, arrogance, and bad luck, Friedkin's passion and commitment comes through in some superb filmmaking and riveting scenes and stunning imagery.

      Sorcerer opens with something that Clouzot's film denies us: introductions to the four men who will take the trucks through the jungles. There's an assassination in Vera Cruz, a terrorist (Amidou) fleeing a Jerusalem bombing, a financial officer (Bruno Cremer) about to be indicted for fraud, and finally the armed robbery a Catholic church collection in New Jersey by an Irish New York gang. Gangland wheelman Jackie Scanlon (Roy Scheider) is the sole survivor of a disastrous getaway but he's in the crosshairs of the Jersey mob so he has to get out. He lands in a muddy, grubby, impoverished little village of clapboard shacks in the middle of the South American jungle, connected to the outside world by a packed-dirt airfield. Like the other three men, he's trapped there, sweating his days away in a crummy job and drinking his nights in the town's cantina, too poor to fly out and nowhere to go if he could.

      When a guerilla attack on an American oil field turns a well into an inferno blasting out of the earth, these men get their one shot at escaping: a suicide mission driving crates of unstable dynamite (the nitroglycerin has seeped into the casing) across 200 miles of primitive jungle road to the oil field. Four men make the cut in driving auditions (Jackie, a professional getaway driver, is a shoo-in) just as a shadowy, improbably well-dressed man (Francisco Rabal) arrives in the village, surely a hit man out for one of the four, but which one? When the mystery man kills one of the drivers, he's drafted into taking his place. We're not even sure if that was his whole plan in the first place, or if he got his man the first time out and inadvertently got pulled into the odyssey.

      Once they leave the village they are, for all intents and purposes, cut off from the human world, like pioneers following the ghost of an old trail in rattling trucks practically rebuilt from scraps. Friedkin keeps exposition to a minimum and tells us almost nothing about the men beyond what we've seen in the prologue, making them almost abstract figures in a landscape ultimately defined by nothing but a primal drive to escape the village and survive the trip. It's no coincidence that these men are all foreigners. The overwhelming visual story of Sorcerer is of men trying to survive an alien world. They are outsiders in the village and potential prey in the dangerous yet indifferent jungle, a place that is quick to reclaim man's efforts to carve passage through it.

      Friedkin gives the jungle a primal quality, an aliveness that makes their journey feel like a trip through an merciless world waiting to swallow them up, and he makes the trucks themselves as elemental as the jungle, something ancient roused to life to carry the men through this primordial world. The title of the film, in fact, is taken from the name painted across the front of one of the trucks. It's man and machine versus the natural world, a place that is neither Eden nor Hell, simply eternal and implacable. In contrast, the men are oddly without dimension apart from Jackie, who takes the name Juan Dominguez in his underworld witness protection plan. He's the driving force (so to speak) in grinding through the challenges of the overgrown road: a fallen monster of a tree, cliff roads almost washed away by monsoon rains, a terrorist band hiding in the jungle, and the suspense showpiece of the film, a slow creep across a rotting, swaying suspension bridge spanning a raging river. It's the opposite of Friedkin's celebrated race under the elevated train in The French Connection, one man driving at a crawl while a spotter scrambles ahead to direct the wheels to the boards that haven't broken away. The scene plays twice, one for each truck, and it's even more tense the second time through as they have to negotiate over the damage left by the first truck.

      The score by German electronic outfit Tangerine Dream--their first soundtrack for an American film--helps set the otherworldly tone. Their music is actually used sparingly through the film, with the rumble of the engines, the noise of the trucks scraping through the tight roads, and the sounds of wind and rain and rushing water filling the soundtrack the rest of the time, but their slow but insistent rhythm and at times eerie electronic tones (unique at the time and still quite effective) is the film's defining sound.

      The film flopped on its original release and Friedkin, who claims it as the best film he ever made, in hindsight considers any number of reasons for it. The title suggested something supernatural along the lines of The Exorcist rather than an elemental thriller, which may have confused expectations. It's a grueling piece of tension with little overt action. The first fifteen minutes play out in foreign locations with subtitles. The reviews were brutal. And it opened in the wake of Star Wars, which was expanding out from its limited opening to become a national phenomenon, dominating the box office and the popular culture moment. Friedkin had gone millions of dollars over budget chasing his vision and overcoming delays and location problems. He had final cut and he kept it, but the film didn't come close to covering its costs, let alone turning a profit, and due to a legal morass--the film was a coproduction between two studios and neither was sure how the rights were split or cared enough to work out the details--it was kept out of circulation for more than a decade, available solely on home video by an early, long-out-of-print DVD, an edition that simply did not do the film justice.

      Friedkin spent years trying to untangle the rights and ended up suing to force the studios to clear up the legal morass. He supervised a restoration, mastered from a 4K scan of the original 35mm negative, that screened at the Venice Film Festival in 2013 and played around the country before making its Blu-ray debut in April. The disc looks and sounds superb and Friedkin has made a point of preserving the photographic texture and color of the film, though like previous Friedkin-supervised restorations, he appears to have taken the opportunity to tinker with the color. While most of the film has an exaggerated naturalism, the jungle photography looks boosted and some of the green of the vegetation looks unnaturally bright and verdant. It's initially distracting but is does add a hallucinatory quality to the odyssey.

      Back in 2013, when Friedkin first announced the work on the restoration, he hinted (via his Facebook page) that the release would feature a commentary track and other supplements. Sadly, the disc features no supplements beyond a letter from Friedkin and the 40-page Blu-ray booklet with photos, art, and an excerpt from Friedkin's autobiography that covers the production.

      While the Blu-ray looks superb, Warner accidentally mastered the DVD version from an unrestored master rather than the restoration overseen by Friedkin and featured on the Blu-ray. Warner pulled that disc and announced a remastered DVD for June 10.

      by Sean Axmaker

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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 Salutes Undervalued Star Van Johnson!

    • DICK DINMAN SALUTES UNDERVALUED STAR VAN JOHNSON: Kino Lorber's KL Studio Classics division has just released on Blu-ray a sparkling brand new 4K restoration of the riveting suspense thriller 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET and producer/host Dick Dinman welcomes noted author and classic film aficionado John McElwee to the show as both pay tribute to the versatile and undervalued 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET star Van Johnson.

      PLUS: "Dick's Picks" salutes KL Studio Classics Blu-ray releases of I WAKE UP SCREAMING, Elia Kazan's BOOMERANG, THE HOUSE ON 92nd STREET, THE LODGER, Preston Sturges' BEAUTIFUL BLONDE FROM BASHFUL BEND, Fritz Lang's WESTERN UNION, Henry King's DAVID & BATHSHEBA and PRINCE OF FOXES, NO HIGHWAY IN THE SKY, THE SICILIAN CLAN and BOY ON A DOLPHIN (stunning new 4K restoration!).

      EXTRA!
      DICK DINMAN SALUTES COHEN'S CHABROL COLLECTION!


      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 & William Wellman Jr. Salute BATTLEGROUND!

    • DICK DINMAN & WILLIAM WELLMAN JR. SALUTE "BATTLEGROUND!": BATTLEGROUND remains producer/host Dick Dinman's all-time favorite WW2 film and distinguished actor, writer and producer William Wellman Jr. rejoins Dick as both salute William Wellman's Oscar-winning once in a lifetime epic military drama which has just been beautifully remastered on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

      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 are ON DANGEROUS GROUND!

    • DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER ARE "ON DANGEROUS GROUND": The Warner Archive has just released an astonishing looking (and sounding!) Blu-ray rendition of Nicholas Ray's dark yet hypnotically beautiful film noir ON DANGEROUS GROUND which features a steely yet sensitive performance from noir icon Robert Ryan that easily ranks up there with his finest efforts ever and producer/host Dick Dinman and his guest "Czar of Noir" Eddie Muller dissect the various qualities which make this film so captivatingly unique (including the plaintively emotional score by Bernard Herrmann which was one of his two favorites).

      PLUS: SHORT TAKES: Kino's Kl Classics' THE HOUSE ON 92nd STREET, DAISY KENYON and Cohen Film Collection's SUDDEN FEAR.

      COMING ATTRACTIONS: The Warner Archives' BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK and Twilight Time's KISS OF DEATH.

      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 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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  1. Press Release

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    • Alec Baldwin to Host TCM's THE ESSENTIALS


    • Legendary Late Night Host David Letterman, Emmy and Golden Globe® Winner Tina Fey and Oscar-Winning Director William Friedkin Set to Join as Special Guests Throughout the Season.

      Premieres May 6 & Airs Saturdays at 8 p.m.



      Turner Classic Movies announced that Emmy® winner and Oscar® nominee Alec Baldwin will host The Essentials, TCM's popular franchise showcasing "must see" classic films. Joining Baldwin each week throughout the season will be one of three special guests: late-night television icon David Letterman, acclaimed actress, writer and comedian Tina Fey and legendary filmmaker William Friedkin. Together, Baldwin and his guests will introduce a hand-picked classic and offer color commentary on its cultural significance, its influence on other films, behind-the-scenes stories and their own personal reflections. The new season of The Essentials, which airs every Saturday night, premieres May 6 at 8 p.m. (ET).

      The Essentials will kick off with special guest David Letterman joining Baldwin to discuss a plethora of poplar classics including:
      • The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) - airing May 6
      • East of Eden (1955) - airing on May 13
      • No Time for Sergeants (1958) - airing on May 27
      • The Big Sleep (1946) - airing on June 16

      Tina Fey will make her guest appearance starting on June 24 to discuss her favorite classic films including:
      • Rear Window (1954) - airing June 24
      • The Lady Eve (1941) - airing on July 1
      • The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - airing on July 8
      • Singin' in the Rain (1952) - airing on August 5

      Rounding out the entertaining new season, William Friedkin will join Baldwin to highlight another round of notable films such as:
      • The Quiet Man (1952) - airing on Aug. 12
      • The Manchurian Candidate (1962) - airing on Aug. 19
      • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - airing on Sept. 2
      • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - airing on Sept. 23

      Baldwin takes over The Essential's hosting duties following the death of his close friend and colleague, Robert Osborne, who hosted the franchise from 2006 to 2015. A longtime friend of TCM and supporter of classic films, Baldwin has appeared frequently on the network, including as co-host of The Essentials with Robert Osborne from 2009 to 2011. He demonstrated his skill as an interviewer in 2008, when he joined one of his idols, Gene Wilder, for an hour-long discussion at Wilder's home in the special Role Model: Gene Wilder. Baldwin turned the tables on Osborne in 2015 by interviewing the longtime TCM host for Private Screenings: Robert Osborne, a one-hour special that premiered as part of TCM's 20th Anniversary celebration. This past October, Baldwin was the on-air host for a month-long look at the world's greatest and most influential documentaries for TCM's Spotlight showcase.

      "I have some big shoes to fill hosting The Essentials, and I plan on doing Bob proud with this new season of The Essentials," said Baldwin. "Dave, Tina and Billy each bring a unique perspective to the movies in our lineup, and they have some fascinating, and even surprising, insights to share as we shine a spotlight on some of our favorite 'must-see' films from over a century of epic moviemaking."

      Additionally, select titles from The Essentials will also be available at 30,000 feet through Delta Studio, Delta Air Lines' industry-leading, free in-flight entertainment collection. Delta operates the world's largest in-flight entertainment-equipped fleet, offering up to 300 movies, 750 TV shows, 100 foreign film titles, 2,400 songs, 18 channels of live satellite TV on select aircraft and a selection of games on aircraft with seat-back entertainment systems.

      To view a promo and for more information including a complete schedule, bios, images and film information, please visit tcm.com/essentials.

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Sabrina (1954) DVD
$5.45
was $8.98
Some Like It Hot DVD
$11.21
was $14.98
The Randolph Scott Round-Up: Volume 2 DVD
$11.21
was $14.98
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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