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  1. Top News Stories

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    • The Big Gundown on Blu-ray

    • Sergio Leone is unarguably the godfather of spaghetti westerns. He directed its first international smash of the genre, defined the spare, savage style and mercenary sensibility, and made stars of journeymen actors Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. But he was far from the only director who made his mark in the genre. Among the filmmakers who carved out their own style in the genre were Sergio Corbucci, Damiano Damiani, Enzo G. Castillari, and Sergio Sollima, whose trilogy of films with Tomas Milian take a more politically charged approach to the brutal tales of greed and betrayal and revenge that ground most spaghetti western scripts.

      The Big Gundown (1966), Sollima's first spaghetti western, stars Lee Van Cleef in a rare heroic role as Jonathan Corbett, a dogged lawman without a badge who applies an unwavering sense of justice. Fresh off For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Van Cleef was an instant icon of the genre; the American posters even promoted the film with a reference to his Leone success: "Mr. Ugly is back." (Never mind that he was actually "the bad" man of the trio.) Sollima casts him as an unusual kind of hero who hunts down wanted men yet refuses to collect the bounty on their heads. His code is honorable (he literally hands a ragged band of outlaws a chance to go out shooting rather than face the rope) but unforgiving, an Old Testament angel as gunslinger passing judgment on the wanted men of his promised land of Texas. His lean features, windblown face, and hard, piercing eyes makes him stand out in the cast of Italian and European actors standing in for American settlers and Mexican peasants.

      Brokston (Walter Barnes, another American import), a rapacious landowner and would-be railroad baron, wants to nominate Corbett for Texas Senator for his own ends. "I'm interested in Texas, not your personal profit," responds Corbett, who is more motivated by reports that a 12-year-old girl has been raped and murdered by a local Mexican named Chuchillo. When the local sheriff is too lazy to be bothered with a manhunt, he hits the trail alone while Brokston prepares the campaign for Senate, leveraging Corbett's quest as an election stunt.

      Cuban-born Tomas Milian is Cuchillo, who gets his introduction in a scruffy desert camp dressed in course peasant clothes worn to rags, a dirty serape that looks like it was hacked out of a horse blanket with a dull knife, and simple sandals. He doesn't look much like a bandit let alone a brutal killer and master criminal. He's more con man and frontier rascal than hardened outlaw, as he proves in his clever getaway. If Van Cleef's Corbett is a humorless, unstoppable force, Milian's Cuchillo a wily, earthy trickster, a Bugs Bunny playing pranks on every escape along this merry chase through the southwest and across the border. He has a wicked sense of humor and an implacable survival instinct that gets a few unsavory types killed in the proverbial crossfire, most of them lured into harm's way by their own greed and guilt. In the corruption and cruelty of this world, that's just good clean dirty fun.

      Sollima uses the landscape of Almeria, Spain, to create a spare, stripped-down portrait of the southwest frontier as a stark ocean of rock and sand, beautiful but hostile with the occasional oasis of dubious salvation (and a lovely prologue where death takes a band of outlaws in a wooded clearing standing in for Colorado), but he's not a stylist on the Sergio Leone level. Corbett and Cuchillo cross paths with a Mormon wagon train, a monastery, and an isolated ranch where the sexual pressure-cooker of a widowed owner and a crew of jealous ranch hands makes every visitor a target for their desires and frustrations, before tangling in a bordello and landing in a Mexican prison. But the episodes in this sun-blasted Odyssey through the desolate deserts of Texas and Mexico are petty tangles rather than operatic showdown, a bitter comedy where the jokes are on our childish desperado and stalwart tracker.

      Most spaghetti westerns are built on the conflict between the rapacious figures of big business and political power and the common folk who stand in their way, figuratively or literally, with the mercenary gunmen becoming heroes merely by virtue of standing against the oppressors. The Big Gundown puts the power and the politics from and center and drops Corbett in the middle, a man with an unyielding sense of justice who slowly discovers that he's serving a corrupt master. Sollima and screenwriting partner Sergio Donati offer a pointedly political perspective of the corrupted American dream on the frontier in place of Leone's mythic approach or Corbucci's utterly mercenary take. Brokston's posse crosses the border like an invading army pillaging a local village in a treasure hunt where Cuchillo is the prize, a scapegoat for his latest scheme. Brokston's bodyguard, a German Baron with a mania for dueling, offers up the ideal of European culture (he plays Beethoven's "Für Elise" on the grand piano at one point) as nothing more than the claim of aristocratic privilege. His one desire on this American adventure is to hunt the only big game he has not yet faced: man. He recalls the Prussian officer, Captain Danette, played by Henry Brandon in Robert Aldrich's Vera Cruz, a film that in many ways was a template for the spaghetti western, but with an even more naked streak of cruelty and arrogance.

      Whether the audiences noticed the politics is a fair question, especially in a genre as disreputable as the Italian western was in the 1960s, but politics was in the air in Italy as it was in film cultures everywhere and that kind of commentary was always easier to smuggle into pulp genres and violent films. But politics aside, it's one of the best spaghetti westerns of the genre. Van Cleef brings an ominous sense of stature to Corbett, a hero compromised by his blinkered perspective and obsessiveness, Milian practically bounds through the film as he makes Cuchillo an energetic, entertaining, unaccountably likeable jester, and the playful script is full of tangles and scrapes and clever twists on gunfights and showdowns. The icing on the cake is Ennio Morricone's score, which offers plenty of moods through its spare orchestrations and creatively weaves the piano line of Beethoven's "Für Elise" into the Baron's theme for his final showdown.

      It's hard to believe that this film has never had a legitimate home video release in the U.S. until now. Grindhouse goes all out for its debut with a four-disc Blu-ray+DVD+CD Combo that features both the original English-language release version expanded with three additional scenes not seen in American release prints, and the complete Italian director's cut, which runs 15 minutes longer than the expanded American version (a complete list of cuts is listed in a DVD-ROM supplement on the DVD) and adds small but significant details to the film and adds to the complicated nature of the character of Corbett. The American version is mastered from a 2k digital restoration and these elements are used in the presentation of the Italian cut, which makes it relatively easy to spot the footage unique to this version (the drop in video quality is not dramatic but it is noticeable). Both version are presented on separate Blu-ray discs, with the DVD featuring the expanded American cut only. The final disc is a CD soundtrack with Ennio Morricone's score.

      Also features interviews with director Sergio Sollima, co-writer Sergio Donati and star Tomas Milian, commentary by western film experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke, galleries of stills, trailers and TV spots, and a booklet with notes by Joyner and Gergely Hubai, who writes on the differences between the two cuts and on Morricone's score. The case features reversible art.

      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 & 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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    • 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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  1. Press Release

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    • IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER at NYC's Film Forum Celebrating Betty Comden's Centennial, 5/3

    • Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen's It's Always Fair Weather, starring Kelly, with music by André Previn and screenplay and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, will have a special screening at 8:15 pm at Film Forum on May 3, the 100th anniversary of Betty Comden's birth. The screening will be introduced by Green's daughter, actress, singer, and Tony-nominated lyricist/songwriter Amanda Green.

      Born Basya Cohen to Russian immigrants in Brooklyn on May 3, 1917, Betty Comden first attracted attention as part of the Revuers, a theater troupe comprised of herself, Judy Holliday, Leonard Bernstein, and Adolph Green, which performed to acclaim at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village. Her first Broadway show was 1944's On the Town with Green, Bernstein, and choreographer Jerome Robbins - besides writing the book and lyrics (including the iconic "New York, New York"), she and Green also co-starred in supporting roles.

      In the late 1940s, Comden and Green went Hollywood, where they wrote screenplays for classic films like Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon. Even after the move to Hollywood, the team continued to write lyrics for Broadway, teaming with many of American musical theater's most important composers, including Bernstein (Wonderful Town), Jule Styne (Bells Are Ringing, Subways Are Sleeping, Fade Out - Fade In, Hallelujah, Baby!), and Cy Coleman (On the Twentieth Century, The Will Rogers Follies). Her final public appearance was at Film Forum.

      35mm. Approx. 102 Min.

      For more information, links and showtimes, visit www.filmforum.org

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The Egg and I DVD
$8.55
was $14.98
Westward The Women DVD
$14.96
was $19.99
The Graduate (Criterion Collection) DVD
$23.35
was $29.95
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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