Burnt Offerings: MOD DVD

Burnt Offerings For August 7: Triple Studio Round-Up

August 07, 2013 - 1:01 pm   |   By 

This week’s Burnt Offerings include titles from Paramount returning to print courtesy of Warner Archive and a quartet of classics from 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives.

Let’s kick things off with the latest from the Warner Archive Collection.

WARNER ARCHIVE – NEW THIS WEEK

Going Hollywood (1933) – Marion Davies and Bing Crosby star in this musical from director Raoul Walsh.  Crosby plays a radio crooner (quite a stretch, I realize) who goes to L.A. to make his movie debut.  Davies is a schoolteacher with a crush who follows him, determined to win him over.  Evidently restraining orders weren’t around back in 1933.  [...]

Kilroy Was Here (1947) – Former child stars Jackie Cooper and Jackie Coogan (the Coreys of their day) team up for this Monogram Pictures comedy.  Cooper plays John J. Kilroy who struggles to live down his notorious name.  Yep, even in the 40s they made movies based solely on fleetingly popular catchphrases.

Lost Angel (1943) – Margaret O’Brien plays Alpha, a child genius raised by scientists at the Institute of Child Psychology.  After she’s interviewed by reporter James Craig, she begins to realize the magic of childhood is passing her by.  So she runs away and asks Craig to show her what she’s been missing.

Where Are Your Children? (1943) – That’s a darn good question when teenager Gale Storm falls in with a group of juvenile delinquents and ends up an accessory to murder.  Jackie Cooper costars as Storm’s Navy-bound boyfriend with all the wrong connections.

Wife Wanted (1946) – In her last film, Kay Francis plays a down-on-her-luck movie star who becomes embroiled in a “Friendship Club” crime ring run by shady real estate agent Paul Cavanagh.

Cheyenne: The Complete Sixth Season (1961-62) – Clint Walker’s classic TV Western enters its second-to-last season with such notable guest stars as James Coburn, Lee Van Cleef and Ellen Burstyn.

Hunted: The Complete First Season (2012) – The X-Files’ Frank Spotnitz created this Cinemax series with Melissa George as spy Sam Hunter, betrayed by her own employers at the private security firm Byzantium.  Seems like Byzantium would have made for a more interesting and dynamic title than Hunted but what do I know.

PARAMOUNT – BACK IN PRINT FROM WARNER ARCHIVE

All In A Night’s Work (1961) – Dean Martin inherits his uncle’s publishing industry and a scandal involving towel-clad researcher Shirley MacLaine in this screwball comedy.

Fire In The Sky (1993) – D.B. Sweeney stars as UFO abductee Travis Walton in this better-than-you-might-expect science maybe-fiction-maybe-fact movie.  It’s given a boost by a terrific supporting cast that includes Robert Patrick, Henry Thomas, Craig Sheffer, Peter Berg and James Garner.

My Geisha (1962) – Shirley MacLaine disguises herself as a geisha to convince her filmmaker husband Yves Montand that she’s the right actress to star in his adaptation of Madame Butterfly.  One of a handful of pictures directed by legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff.

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) – Barbra Streisand undergoes hypnosis treatment from Yves Montand and finds herself reliving past lives in this odd musical from director Vincente Minnelli.  The supporting cast includes Bob Newhart and Jack Nicholson.  I stumbled upon this on TV many years ago.  I believe the exact words out of my mouth were, “What the hell is this?”

Red Garters (1954) – A highly stylized Western comedy musical with Rosemary Clooney as saloon singer Calaveras Kate.

Riding High (1950) – Frank Capra remakes his own 1934 film Broadway Bill as a musical with Bing Crosby as a down-and-out horse trainer.  Oliver Hardy makes one of his rare screen appearances without Stan Laurel in this.

Stuart Saves His Family (1995) – Senator Al Franken brings his Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley to the big screen.  Believe it or not, this is actually one of the better SNL movies, which I realize isn’t necessarily saying much.

20TH CENTURY FOX CINEMA ARCHIVES

April Love (1957) – Pat Boone and Shirley Jones make hay while the sun shines on Pat’s old Kentucky farm in this wholesome musical.  Fox has taken some heat for releasing pan-and-scan MOD discs of widescreen movies.  Sadly, this CinemaScope release seems to be no exception to that rule.

No Highway In The Sky (1951) – James Stewart plays an engineer trying desperately to convince the crew of the plane he’s on that a design flaw will cause it to crash within hours of takeoff.  Marlene Dietrich costars as one of the few passengers who believe him.  This is a taut, terrific little thriller and I’m genuinely surprised it hasn’t been released on DVD until now.

Ramona (1936) – If you live in southern California, you’re probably familiar with Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel Ramona, even if you aren’t aware of it.  This version stars Loretta Young as the half-Indian girl raised begrudgingly by a wealthy landowner.  Don Ameche plays her Indian lover.

Sweet And Low-Down (1944) – A wartime musical about a young trombone player who gets his big break when he’s invited to join Benny Goodman’s big band.  The plot and performances are kind of beside the point, though.  This is all about Goodman’s music, which was never better.

THIS WEEK’S REVIEW

Our coverage of Warner Archive’s Blu-ray program begins with a look at Hugh Hudson’s Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.

- Dr. Adam Jahnke

 

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