History, Legacy & Showmanship

First things first today: Our own Michael Coate has turned in a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column in which he looks back at the original roadshow release of Sweet Charity, which celebrates its 45th anniversary today. The piece includes a great and lengthy roundtable interview with a trio of leading experts on the film’s history, so don’t miss it. Enjoy!

In other news today, Disney has revealed that Thor: The Dark World (which streets on 2/25) is not going to be available in BD/DVD Combo versions as originally announced, but rather a Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray Combo, and single-disc Blu-ray and DVD editions, all with digital copy. This appears to be part of a broader shift by the studio away from BD/DVD Combos. Members of the Disney Movie Club who had pre-ordered the announced BD3D/BD/DVD Combo have had their orders shifted to the BD3D/BD version. And as you can see from the art below, the versions available for pre-order on Amazon have changed too.  [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Michael Coate has busy again today: He’s just turned in another great History, Legacy & Showmanship column with a look back at the release of Zulu on its 50th anniversary.  Not only does Twilight Time’s new limited edition Blu-ray start shipping out today, but Michael’s done an interview with film historian Sheldon Hall on the film’s release.  Enjoy!  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 13:15

"Zulu" 50th Anniversary

A FEW MINUTES WITH FILM HISTORIAN SHELDON HALL

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the premiere and the release this week of a new Blu-ray Disc from Twilight Time, The Digital Bits offers a reflective interview with film historian Sheldon Hall on Zulu, the extraordinary story of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, starring Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins and Michael Caine. [Read on here…] 

More good stuff for you today…

First, Dr. Jahnke has posted a BD review of Sony’s The Big Gundown, a great spaghetti western from 1966 directed by Sergio Sollima. Sounds like the disc and its extras are pretty swell too. Don’t miss it.

Also today, our own Michael Coate has posted an update of his History, Legacy & Showmanship column from back on November – It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Retrospective – with a great roundtable interview from some of the folks involved in the film’s restoration and Criterion’s fine new Blu-ray release, including Karen Stetler, the Criterion Blu-ray Disc producer; Robert A. Harris, the restoration/reconstruction producer; Karen Sharpe-Kramer, the widow of producer-director Stanley Kramer; and the team that recorded the audio commentary track: Mark Evanier, Michael Schlesinger, and Paul Scrabo. It’s a great read, so I highly recommend that you give it a look. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 00:01

Funny Girl: The Roadshow Engagements

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective article commemorating the 45th anniversary of the release of Funny Girl, the popular William Wyler-Ray Stark motion picture adaptation of the stage musical featuring Barbra Streisand’s Academy Award-winning performance as comedienne Fanny Brice.

Earlier this year, Sony Pictures’ restoration of Funny Girl was featured in the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival and subsequently released on Blu-ray Disc.

Now, The Digital Bits celebrates the classic musical’s 45th anniversary with a detailed listing of the film’s original, major-market, reserved-seat roadshow engagements in the United States and Canada as well as an interview with Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Grover Crisp, who speaks about the film’s recent restoration.  [Read on here…]

All right, we’ve got a quick early update for you today.

First, in the event you missed it, we posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate yesterday, featuring a look back at the original theatrical release of Superman: The Movie.  Yesterday marked the film’s 35th Anniversary.  The piece features a good interview component too, so do check it out if you haven’t read it yet.

Also today, after noting the passing of the legendary actor Peter O’Toole yesterday, this morning we must acknowledge the death of Tom Laughlin as well, star of the Billy Jack films.  He was 82.  You can read more on this here at the L.A. Times.  Sadly, actress Joan Fontaine also died this past weekend at the age of 96.  Fontaine was known for roles in such films as Jane Eyre, Ivanhoe, The Constant Nymph and Letter from an Unknown Woman, in addition to starring turns in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and Suspicion (for which she was best known).  More here at the New York Times.  Both will surely be missed.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’re back as expected today with a great new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our very own Michael Coate.

But first, we wanted to take a moment this afternoon to acknowledge a bit of sad breaking news: The legendary film and stage actor Peter O’Toole has died.  He passed away yesterday at the age of 81.  Cinephiles will of course know him from his performance as T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, but other favorite film roles include such titles as Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, The Stunt Man, The Last Emperor and My Favorite Year.  Younger readers may best recall him for voicing a character in Pixar’s Ratatouille.  If you’re one of them, I envy you – it means you have so many great O’Toole films yet to discover.  In fact, I think a fresh viewing of Lawrence just might be in order in O’Toole’s memory.  Our hats off to him.  You can read more here at The New York Times.  [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
Sunday, 15 December 2013 12:14

Still Believing a Man Can Fly

REMEMBERING “SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE” ON ITS 35TH ANNIVERSARY

It has been a big year for the Man of Steel. The year 2013 marked the 75th anniversary of Superman’s debut (in Action Comics issue #1), a new movie was made starring Henry Cavill and directed by Zack Snyder, and, of course, it represents the 35th anniversary of the release of the classic cinematic adventure starring Christopher Reeve and directed by Richard Donner.  The Digital Bits celebrates the occasion with a look back at Superman: The Movie’s opening weekend and features a reflective interview with some Superman authorities.  [Read on here...]

So it turns out The Desolation of Smaug is pretty good.  I mustered up the energy to catch a double-feature screening last night with a friend, and it was a fine evening’s entertainment.  If you enjoyed the first Hobbit film, I think you’ll like this one a great deal more.  The pacing is much more engaging.  Fans of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy will definitely feel more at home here, as in this film the prequel trilogy really begins to reveal its connections to the previous films more strongly… and not just in the fact that Legolas (Orlando Bloom) features prominently.  As one would hope, Smaug himself is wonderfully realized.

Smaug aside, with any luck you have a good art house theater in your neck of the woods, because there are a number of fine indie films worth seeing this holiday season: American Hustle, the Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, All Is Lost, Nebraska, Her, 12 Years a Slave and many more.  This is the time of year when all the great dramas get dumped into limited theatrical distribution so they quality for Oscar nominations, so be sure to head out to your local theater over the next 2 or 3 weeks.  [Read on here…]

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