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  1. Top News Stories

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    • Let the Fire Burn on DVD

    • Most documentaries about controversial subjects are advocacy pieces with an active agenda to promote, whether the subject is our health, the environment, government policy or historical events. The truth be told, the most successful advocacy documentaries end up on some level appealing to emotion.

      Jason Osder's 2013 docu Let the Fire Burn is as fair minded as a show can be about a violent historical event that surely still divides the politics of Philadelphia. The MOVE Organization is an urban black liberation group, originally Christian-oriented, that began in 1972. All of its members changed their last names to Africa, to match that of their leader John Africa. The non-violent group practiced a radical anti-technological lifestyle. Trouble began when neighbors of MOVE's headquarters in a residential neighborhood complained of belligerent confrontations and frequent profane public address harangues broadcast into the street. The members and their children lived in unsanitary conditions. 1978 marked an attempt by the Philly police to search the headquarters, which resulted in a shoot-out that left one police officer dead and a number of people wounded. Nine MOVE members were convicted for the one killing, and sentenced to long prison terms.

      The MOVE people relocated to a new address, where they resumed all of their previous anti-social behavior, adding frequent direct provocations and threats of violence. When the cops finally returned in 1985, the clash became a major street battle. Less than a day later, almost all of the MOVE members inside the building were killed. A police bomb to the roof started a fire that burned the house to the ground, along with fifty other houses in the neighborhood. The legal battles sorting out what happened continued for over eleven years.

      A docu about MOVE could be spun in at least two distinct directions. The group was a major disruption and a threat to law and order, a civic problem that had to be dealt with. As the standoff with the city escalated, so did the verbal threats of violence, which for many labeled the group as urban terrorists. An advocate for the MOVE people could claim that they were only exercising their right to be different and live outside the strictures of white-dominated society. In this interpretation, all the trouble was the result of white police persecution. Let the Fire Burn chooses to remain neutral. Rather than let authority figures tell the story, Osder's film accesses hundreds of hours of TV news footage, especially of the 1985 siege and burning. Much of what we see is the events playing out as they happened, with newsmen reporting on the spot. We know better than to take what we see and hear as the whole truth; the 'action news' teams are often forced to guess at what's going on. That all of this news video still exists is fairly miraculous.

      The film does contain scripted sequences, visual montages plus voiceovers that communicate basic facts. But it also gives us earlier news film of visits to the MOVE compound, where we see the members' children playing and hear their parents and guardians recite the tenets of John Africa's social philosophy. They don't believe in medicine or science. Whenever a member is asked about the movement's aims, we hear vaguely ominous references to their leader's "strategies"... as in, "he has a strategy for that".

      More prime-source footage comes from various hearings and courtroom proceedings after the 1985 battle, where the tactics of the police are questioned. High ranking law enforcement officials admit that events took a wrong turn, but fall short of explaining why part of the assault force was made of veterans of the 1978 shoot-out that wanted revenge for the shooting of one of their own. Yet any sympathy for the MOVE contingent dissolves with the militant testimony of two surviving movement members, both of whom respond to every question with a furious and insufficiently supported accusation of mass murder against the police and the city.

      Finally, we also see parts of the deposition of young Birdie Africa, a small child who was one of only two or three MOVE members to escape the burning building, where eleven people including five children perished. Birdie describes life in the compound and his own desire to escape from its deprivations -- children were not allowed to watch TV. When the lower part of the building was consumed by fire, other members tried to pull Birdie back in. A pair of policemen rescued him.

      The evidence of the videotapes suggests that the Philadelphia police did little to prevent the supposed eviction from turning into a slaughter. After hours of gunfire the cops dropped a bomb on the roof of the building, to knock out a construction they decided was a fortified pillbox. And when the entire building caught fire, the order was given not to fight it, even though the flames spread quickly through the neighborhood. Water cannons that had been used to confuse and distract the MOVE defenders were turned off. Tearful neighbors, evacuated at a moment's notice with the clothes on their backs, watched everything they owned go up in smoke.

      Jason Osder's docu makes us think about other armed confrontations between law authorities and dissident groups that defy the government or due process of law, like the Branch Davidians at Waco. Something had to be done about the MOVE separatists, and the nature of their group almost guaranteed that the outcome would be violent. The docu's only speculative theme looks for evidence to back up the charge by MOVE survivors that the 1985 confrontation was a slaughter conducted by racist officers. This is denied of course, even though Philadelphia Police Department's record of racial conflicts is a widely accepted reality. One of the stinging revelations that comes out of Let the Fire Burn is that the two cops that saved Birdie Africa were later harassed by some of their colleagues on the force, and allegedly branded as "nigger lovers."

      Zeitgeist Films' DVD of Let the Fire Burn has the urgency and drama of a real-life disaster unfolding on live TV, except in this case the events of a day are compressed into about an hour. The video quality is excellent considering that the original flat TV coverage has been enlarged to fit a widescreen aspect ratio; in many cases the cropping helps to focus our attention on action seen in (expertly shot) handheld camera footage. At several junctures the news crews are forced to withdraw or take cover behind vehicles, as gunshots come their way.

      Zeitgeist has packed its disc with several interesting extras, including a Q&A session with the director, an original trailer, and a 2002 interview with Birdie Africa, who by then was using the name Michael Ward. The documentary Let the Fire Burn is certain to provoke heated discussion.

      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 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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    • Dick Dinman & Eddie Muller's Bogart Bonanza!

    • DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER'S BOGART BONANZA (PART ONE): Producer/host Dick Dinman welcomes back distinguished Film Noir Foundation head honcho Eddie Muller as both dedicated Humphrey Bogart fans rejoice about the fact that no less than four revered Bogart classics have hit the streets recently on Blu-ray. In this first of two shows Dick and Eddie trade thoughts about the amazing cult favorite IN A LONELY PLACE (Eddie's single favorite film!) which has been released by the Criterion Collection in typically outstanding Criterion fashion and no slouch in the Blu-ray visual perfection department is the Warner Archive's release of Bogart and Bacall's most unusual thriller DARK PASSAGE which reunites them in a tale of so many unexpected twists and turns that fortunate viewers will be on the edge of their seats.

      DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER'S BOGART BONANZA (PART TWO): On this second Bogart Bonanza show acclaimed Czar of Noir Eddie Muller and producer/host Dick Dinman marvel at the omnipresent degree of authenticity displayed in the rare Bogart newspaper drama DEADLINE U.S.A. which has just hit the streets (with a sublime Eddie Muller commentary) on Blu-ray courtesy of Kino's KL Studio Classics and rabid fans who've been pleading for the Blu-ray release of TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (which is Bogart and Bacall's first and most scorchingly incendiary pairing) can now revel in the white hot perfection of this latest exemplary Warner Archive release.

      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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    • Acclaimed documentary TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL released on DVD & Blu-ray

    • FilmRise has announced the September 1 Blu-Ray and DVD release of Tab Hunter Confidential. After an incredible year on the film festival circuit and a theatrical run across fifty cities in the United States, the acclaimed documentary will be available to rent or own from all major retailers. Based on Hunter's New York Times best selling memoir, producer Allan Glaser and director Jeffrey Schwarz (I Am Divine) have assembled dozens of past and present Hollywood stars, and most importantly the man himself, to talk frankly about being a survivor of the Hollywood roller coaster. The Blu-Ray & DVD will be available nationwide at all major retailers, with autographed copies only available on Tab Hunter's official website, www.tabhunter.com. Click here to learn more and order Tab Hunter Confidential on Blu-Ray & DVD (with optional autograph).

      Throughout the 1950s, Tab Hunter reigned as Hollywood's ultimate heartthrob. In dozens of films, and in the pages of countless magazines, Hunter's astonishing looks and golden-boy sex appeal drove his fans to screaming, delirious frenzy, solidifying him the prototype for all young matinee idols to come. Bristling against being just another pretty face and wanting to be taken seriously, Hunter was one of the few to be able to transcend pin-up boy status. He earned his stripes as an actor to become a major movie star and recording artist. But throughout his years of stardom, Hunter had a secret. He was gay, and spent his Hollywood years in a precarious closet that repeatedly threatened to implode and destroy him. Decades later, Hunter's dramatic, turbulent and ultimately inspiring life story has become an explosive documentary feature.

      Tab Hunter Confidential offers unprecedented access to the man behind the marquee smile, who shares first hand what it was like to be a manufactured movie star during the Golden Age of Hollywood and the consequences of being someone totally different from his studio image. The film traces Hunter's dizzying rise to Hollywood super-stardom, his secret life in an era when being openly gay was unthinkable, and his ultimate triumph when the limelight finally passed him by and true love won.

      Punctuating Tab's on-screen presence are rare film clips and provocative interviews with friends and co-stars including John Waters, Clint Eastwood, George Takei, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner, Portia de Rossi, Noah Wyle, Connie Stevens, Robert Osborne, and dozens more.

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Alan Ladd: The 1940s Collection 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