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  1. Top News Stories

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    • Wonderwall on DVD and Blu-ray

    • When film studies literature took an upswing in the 1970s, students learned about unusual and experimental English films that weren't distributed here, like the legendary Herostratus by Don Levy. Unless one paid close attention to fan magazines, the whereabouts of the rather high-profile Beatles attraction Magical Mystery Tour also remained a mystery. Some American fans may remember 1968's Wonderwall as a George Harrison record album soundtrack for a motion picture that never arrived. Almost fifty years later, the Pinewood Studios film restoration team has come forward with a beautiful new edition of this obscure effort, which stars Jane Birkin, one of the top star personalities of the late- '60s London scene.

      Director Joe Massot's show is a seriocomic tour through the fads of hippie-influenced fashion and psychedelic design, as experienced by an absent-minded microbiologist-voyeur. Unlike most filmic attempts to glamorize the 'groovy' counterculture, Wonderwall looks and sounds great. No oil-smear superimpositions or flower-power clichés here.

      Elderly Professor Oscar Collins (Jack MacGowran) is an eccentric's eccentric. He runs his research department by a set of fussy guidlines, and retires alone to study the books that jam every corner and surface in his dank, warren-like apartment. But Oscar's life changes radically when top model Penny Lane (top model Jane Birkin) moves in next door. Obsessed by her beauty, he is soon poking a hole in the wall between their apartments, the better to spy on Penny's glamorous fashion shoots and lovemaking sessions with her main boyfriend, a photographer (Iain Quarrier). Oscar refuses to go back to work, and rebuffs the concerned inquiries of his assistant, Perkins (Richard Wattis). He pries open numerous openings in the wall to permit his plunge into the deep end of voyeurism. Perhaps influenced by the parties next door or the sweet smoke seeping through the wall, Oscar experiences his own strange fantasy dreams. Although he's hardly the sort to attract Penny Lane, the previously aloof Oscar is madly in love with her.

      Wonderwall definitely captures a glamorous image of the times, thanks to the rich and creative cinematography of Harry Waxman (She, Twisted Nerve). The movie's basic visual is a peeper's eye view of the wild life in Penny Lane's apartment. No longer content to peer at microorganisms, the fascinated Oscar dashes from peephole to peephole to catch glimpses of Penny Lane posing in an endless succession of colorful fashions. He also learns that Penny sleeps with her handsome boyfriend, who takes her for granted. Oscar's associates back at the lab try to bring him back to reality, but the Professor would rather live with his fantasies.

      Production Designer Assheton Gorton and costume designer Jocelyn Rickards take top honors, as Wonderwall displays a lush, attractive appearance at all times. Even before he begins to transform his apartment, Oscar's walls have unusual, Tolkien-like mottoes painted on the beams. When the voyeuristic wall is complete, it looks like a shrine or a site for a ritual. The pattern of viewing holes almost resembles the hallucinatory cemetery map that comes to life in the old horror film I Bury the Living.

      By and large, Oscar's personal dream sequences aren't as distinguished. The talented Jack MacGowran improvises skit-like actions in a park or among regal-looking buildings, in broad daylight. It's here where we realize that Wonderwall isn't going to make any profound statements. The crazy visuals and teasingly erotic fantasies in Penny Lane's room are the whole show. Artful tricks with colored lights, filters and focus are artful in expertly designed and achieved. Oscar rearranges his flat, constructs his Wonderwall and deals with various people that knock on his door, but the film's focus keeps returning to the desirable Penny Lane next door.

      In 1967 and '68 the Beatles were trying to expand their marketing and creative activities. Wonderwall's director Joe Massot had made a short film called Reflections on Love that saw screenings mainly because it featured a few seconds of footage of the Beatles getting into a car - any glimpse of the Fab Four was a rare treat. Massot parlayed his connections into a feature film deal. He convinced George Harrison to do the soundtrack, a coup that attracted other talent and investors. With Harrison demonstrating his new mastery of the sitar, the Wonderwall LP record saw wide distribution. It was reportedly the first album released on the new Apple label.

      Massot's was also enmeshed in the nightclub scene frequented by associates of Roman Polanski, who was then a hot newcomer to London. Wonderwall's producer Andrew Braunsberg would eventually work on three Polanski pictures. Massot also hired some of Polanski's actors. Iain Quarrier had been in both Cul-de-sac and The Fearless Vampire Killers. Although Quarrier's acting talent was limited, he was considered one of the most attractive young men in London. Star Jack MacGowran had a leading part in Polanski's vampire movie and signed on as well.

      Wonderwall looks great. The problem is that its story is barely enough to carry a short subject. Polanski's writing partner Gérard Brach is credited with the original idea, and the screenplay is by the Cuban writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante. Once the basic situation is established little of consequence occurs until the film's finish. Jack MacGowran compensates with a performance that holds our interest in details of the moment. Unlike the vampire hunter in Polanski's film, Oscar is sweet and confused, a fussy fellow who's clearly a romantic softie at heart. But one questions why a movie about the Swinging London scene with its fancy fashions and dolly birds needs whimsical, 'cute' character like Oscar. MacGowran was never a sentimental actor; the youth audience for Wonderwall would much rather spend their time with the sexy, stylish activities on Penny's side of the wall.

      Jane Birkin was at this time one at the top of her popularity and had made a highly publicized appearance in Michelangelo's Blow-Up. Penny Lane's personal problems are central to the story, yet are not developed, and the actress is afforded little chance to offer a performance. We instead simply admire the brief glimpses we're given of her grace and beauty. Veteran character actress Irene Handl is Oscar's frustrated cleaning woman. Oscar's friends at the lab include Bee Duffel, the 'book lady' from François Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451. She and the ubiquitous Richard Wattis turn in standard performances. Face-spotters will easily pick out Anita Pallenberg at one of Penny Lane's crowded parties.

      Shout Factory and Fabulous Films' Blu-ray of Wonderwall is a near-perfect transfer of this colorful curio from just before the bubble burst for the Swinging London scene. A separate DVD release is being offered as well. The disc is actually encoded with two versions of the film. The 1968 theatrical version runs 92 minutes, but the director has recently re-edited the film into his own 75-minute version, which is said to incorporate more of George Harrison's music. The music is now mixed in 5.1 surround. To these ears there is one reasonably catchy tune amid a number of spacey themes played on the exotic instruments. Fans of the old record album will finally be able to see the movie, too.

      The handsomely appointed disc extras fill in a lot of detail. Joe Massot's 1966 Reflections on Love film is present. It played well enough when new but no longer seems very distinctive. A full publicity gallery gives us a look at the original ad art for Wonderwall. A feature outtake is present along with a poem by John Lennon, and video by the Remo Four, who collaborated on the music. Among a couple of other short items is an edit of the film's artwork inter-titles by the artist Marijke.

      The insert Collector's booklet consists of lengthy liner notes and essays, most of which are written by director Joe Massot as a personal memoir. We read much more about his social life and celebrity contacts of the period than the actual making of the film. Beyond the name-dropping and praise, the notes tell us little about the film's distribution or lack thereof. As a curio of a specific corner of '60s pop culture Mr. Massot's film has definite value. We've all seen films from the period that soon became dated embarrassments. In Wonderwall the much-disparaged psychedelic style once again seems artistically viable.

      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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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir DVD
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Hard-boiled detective Sam Spade gets caught up in the murderous...
$14.96
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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