Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tonight's Movie: The Saint's Double Trouble (1940)

THE SAINT'S DOUBLE TROUBLE (1940) is a minor entry in RKO's Saint series.

George Sanders plays a dual role, as the crime-solving Saint, Simon Templar, and also as Duke Bates, the head of a diamond smuggling ring.

The story, which involves diamonds smuggled into the U.S. in a mummy, is not the easiest in the world to follow, as it's often unclear which character is the real Saint. This seems to have been a deliberate story-telling device by the filmmakers, to keep the audience guessing, but I simply found it frustrating, as I wanted to know who to root for.

The film's other main drawback is that despite the presence of Bela Lugosi -- and of course Jonathan Hale as the Saint's friendly nemesis, Inspector Fernack -- the cast is extremely bland.

This was one of just four films leading lady Helene Whitney appeared in; she and the Saint seem to have had some sort of past romantic relationship but it's not explored in any depth. The next couple films will have Wendy Barrie, who also appeared with Sanders in the early FALCON films, and hopefully those movies will be a bit livelier.

The cast also includes Donald MacBride, John F. Hamilton, Thomas W. Ross, Elliott Sullivan, Byron Foulger, Edward Gargan, and Pat O'Malley.

The most interesting thing about the film is a scene with primitive special effects; the second George Sanders in the scene is a back projection! It's quite odd-looking, and it's fascinating how far special effects had come by the time of THE DARK MIRROR (1946), in which the effects are almost seamless.

Whether he's playing the Saint or the Falcon, Sanders is always pleasant company in his RKO mysteries, but this one is a lesser effort.

This was one of three SAINT films directed by Jack Hively. The screenplay was by Ben Holmes, and the cinematographer was J. Roy Hunt.

THE SAINT'S DOUBLE TROUBLE is available on DVD in the Warner Archive's George Sanders Saint Movies Collection. I previously reviewed the first two films in the set, THE SAINT STRIKES BACK (1939) and THE SAINT IN LONDON (1939).

THE SAINT'S DOUBLE TROUBLE has also been released on Region 2 DVD. It had a VHS release as a TCM double feature paired with THE SAINT IN LONDON (1939).

THE SAINT IN LONDON can also be seen from time to time on Turner Classic Movies.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tonight's Movie: Return of the Gunfighter (1967) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

One of the things I most appreciate about the Warner Archive is that it makes available lesser-known but really interesting Westerns.

Examples of this are recent releases of GUNSMOKE IN TUCSON (1958) and RATON PASS (1951), movies I'd never heard of which proved to be quite entertaining.

Yet another example is an earlier Archive release, RETURN OF THE GUNFIGHTER (1967), a TV-movie which marked one of the great Robert Taylor's last screen appearances.

The Robert Buckner screenplay is based on a story Buckner cowrote with Burt Kennedy, who wrote some of Randolph Scott's best Westerns, and the movie is good stuff. This 98-minute film, which was released theatrically in Europe, was directed by James Neilson, shot by Ellsworth Fredricks at Old Tucson.

When I read it was a TV-movie I wasn't expecting all that much, but RETURN OF THE GUNFIGHTER is a quality Western; the story is pleasingly familiar, anchored by Taylor's compelling performance as an aging gunfighter seeking justice for the murder of friends.

Taylor plays Ben Wyatt, recently released from a Yuma prison after being cleared of murder. The weary Ben would like to live in peace, but it seems there's always someone ready to draw on him ("Why won't they leave me alone?").

Upon discovering the murder of his closest friend and his wife, Ben searches for their daughter Anisa (Ana Martin), who is relieved to see the man she calls "Padre" and views as a second father.

Along the way Ben has also picked up Lee Sutton (Chad Everett), who is on the run from Frank Boone (Michael Pate) and his family; Ben and Lee clash, but Lee reminds Ben of his younger self and he continues to look out for him. The kindness Ben offers Lee, perhaps against his better judgment, will prove to be key in the path the young man chooses in life.

Ben and Anisa travel to Lordsburg to search for her parents' killers...who turn out to include Lee's brother (Lyle Bettger).

This was simply a really good, satisfying movie which I would rank near the top of the Westerns I've seen this year in terms of enjoyment, perhaps surpassed only by the several Anthony Mann Westerns I saw at UCLA. The film doesn't really have anything new to say, but isn't that sometimes one of the good things about watching a Western?

What matters is the way the story is presented, and this was sure a good one, from the tight script with its strong Burt Kennedy influence to the acting to the extensive location exteriors to the evocative score by Hans J. Salter. Then add in some of the all-time great Western villains in Pate and Bettger, and you've got yourself quite a little movie. Everything works.

All that said, the truly key thing which elevates this film above the ordinary is the performance of Robert Taylor. His bright blue eyes in his now weathered face, his authoritative deep voice, his ease with a horse, the way he wordlessly conveys sadness and a desire to escape from troubles yet meets the responsibility he feels to Anisa and Lee -- well, he simply commands the picture.

The final scene, as he walks away by himself, inevitably calls to mind John Wayne at the end of THE SEARCHERS (1956), or even the ending of ANGEL AND THE BADMAN (1947), as the older man frees two young people to live in peace. There's a wealth of Western history which gives the shot so much more meaning than it has as simply part of the story, and knowing that Taylor would all too soon pass on adds yet another layer of poignance.

Indeed, he's so good here that it seems sadder than ever that this wonderful actor didn't have the chance to act for many more years.

The supporting cast includes John Crawford (later Sheriff Ep Bridges on THE WALTONS), Willis Bouchey, Rodolfo Hoyos Jr., Mort Mills, John Davis Chandler, Henry Wills, Boyd "Red" Morgan, and Harry Lauter.

The widescreen Warner Archive DVD looks great except for just a scene or two which are a little more fuzzy. The DVD includes the trailer.

Western fans will love this one. Highly recommended.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.

Tonight's Movie: Rustlers (1949)

RUSTLERS (1949) is a strong entry in the series of postwar Westerns made by Tim Holt and Richard Martin for RKO.

This time around Tim plays Dick McBride ("Ricardo" to Chito); Dick and Chito are nearly broke when they ride into Bisbee, Arizona. They hope to find work at a ranch owned by Frank Abbott (Addison Richards), but Abbott is having trouble staying in business due to cattle rustlers.

Steve Brodie and Frank Fenton play members of the cattle rustling gang, which is headed by the sheriff (Harry Shannon)!

Chito unexpectedly wins a large sum of money which he and Dick want to invest in Abbott's ranch, but a series of circumstances leads Abbott to believe that Dick and Chito are the rustlers.

The supporting cast includes a young Martha Hyer in an early role as the rancher's tomboy daughter. She also appeared with Holt in THUNDER MOUNTAIN (1947) and GUN SMUGGLERS (1948).

Lois Andrews has an even bigger role than Hyer, playing Trixie, the saloon gal who's sweet on Chito. It's an especially good part and Andrews sparkles, making the most of it.

Some interesting trivia is that at the time the movie was made, Andrews was married to one of the movie's villains, Steve Brodie!

This 61-minute film was directed by the reliable Lesley Selander and filmed by J. Roy Hunt.

This is a very good-looking movie, with pine trees aplenty. According to David Rothel's book on Tim Holt, it was filmed at the Garner Ranch in Idyllwild, California.

RUSTLERS is available on DVD in the Warner Archive's Tim Holt Western Classics Collection Vol. 2.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tonight's Movie: Brimstone (1949)

BRIMSTONE (1949) is an enjoyable, if overly complicated, Western about a lawman (Rod Cameron) working to bring down a family of cattle rustlers and robbers headed by Pop Courteen (Walter Brennan).

Brennan, channeling Old Man Clanton from MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946), has a grudge against local settlers which motivates his crime spree with eldest son Nick (Jim Davis) and idiot son Luke (Jack Lambert).

A third son, Bud (James Brown), is not allowed to ride with his father and brothers, but kept at home cooking and shoeing horses. Bud is secretly in love with a settler's daughter, Molly (Adrian Booth, aka Lorna Gray).

One day the Courteens are themselves robbed by a masked man called "the Ghost." Roundabout that time Johnny Tremaine (Cameron) shows up in the area and is accused of being the Ghost, but he ends up signing on as deputy to the mysteriously weasely sheriff (Forrest Tucker).

I'll stop here and not attempt to further describe the dense plot, as it gets a bit hard to follow at times, what with a huge cast, a masked bad guy robbing other masked bad guys, one brother going by another brother's name, multiple people accused of being the Ghost, a good guy turning out to be a bad guy and a bad guy turning out to be a good guy, and so on. And I haven't even mentioned the marshal (Jack Holt) who shows up for a handful of scenes! You almost need a scorecard to keep track of who's who.

And speaking of confusing, there's this publicity still of Rod Cameron and Adrian Booth, who emphatically do not have a romance in the movie! Yet the L.A. Times says it's from BRIMSTONE. The costumes look right for BRIMSTONE, but could it possibly be from Cameron and Booth's OH! SUSANNA (1951) instead? I haven't seen that one yet.

All confusion aside, any time Rod Cameron is in a Western I'm happy, and he's surrounded by an excellent cast, with Brennan a wicked, wicked man who would contemplate killing his own son. (I wonder if Pop Courteen helped inspire the Burl Ives character in THE BIG COUNTRY?) The best advice is simply to enjoy their company and not be overly concerned about following every minute detail of the plot! The Thames Williamson screenplay was based on a story by Norman S. Hall.

Guinn "Big Boy" Williams has a nice role as a genial deputy. I got a particular kick out of a light scene he shared with Cameron at the Old West version of a food truck.

The cast also includes Will Wright, David Williams, Harry Cheshire, and Hal Taliaferro. This was actor-stuntman Chuck Hayward's very first stuntman credit.

BRIMSTONE was filmed in Trucolor by Jack Marta. Parts of the movie are absolutely gorgeous, with lovely Trucolor blues, but there are also some really odd shots; for instance, an action sequence at the start of the movie is in a pale sepia tone, almost black and white. I suspect this was due to stock footage being cut into the movie.

The movie runs 90 minutes and was directed by Joseph Kane.

Many thanks to John Knight for making it possible for me to see this movie.

BRIMSTONE can be streamed via Amazon Prime.

Tonight's Movie: The Navy Comes Through (1942)

THE NAVY COMES THROUGH (1942) is a well-done patriotic film released in the first year after America's entry into World War II.

THE NAVY COMES THROUGH stars Pat O'Brien and was directed by A. Edward Sutherland. Sutherland and O'Brien would later team on a film I thoroughly enjoyed, SECRET COMMAND (1944), as well as HAVING WONDERFUL CRIME (1945). HAVING WONDERFUL CRIME reunited O'Brien with George Murphy, his costar from THE NAVY COMES THROUGH, and also with Carole Landis of SECRET COMMAND. I hope to watch HAVING WONDERFUL CRIME in the near future.

In THE NAVY COMES THROUGH Murphy plays Lt. Tom Sands, who resigns his commission as a Naval officer circa 1940, after he's found responsible for a fatal shipboard accident. The incident also puts an end to Tom's romance with Myra (Jane Wyatt), a nurse who is the sister of his commanding officer, Mike Mallory (O'Brien).

After Pearl Harbor Tom enlists in the Navy as an ordinary sailor, and he ends up under the command of a shocked Mallory, who is deeply bitter towards Tom.

The men are part of a small Navy crew serving aboard a merchant marine vessel, protecting it as it traverses the Atlantic. Mallory comes to grudgingly respect Tom as they take on German ships, and eventually he also learns the truth about the accident which had led to Tom's resignation.

I am developing quite an appreciation for O'Brien, who strikes me as similar to Lloyd Nolan in his ability to imbue his characters with personality and give interesting line readings even when there's nothing much going on.

The best scene in the movie is when a young sailor (Jackie Cooper) tries to play it cool saying goodbye to his mother when he's about to embark on the ship, and O'Brien orders him to go back and say goodbye to his mother "right," after which the young man kisses and hugs his mother in an emotional goodbye. Then, once the sailor is on the ship, O'Brien further goes over to the mother and hugs and reassures her. It's a lovely little moment.

The film is further made enjoyable by an excellent supporting cast. The ship's crew includes the young Desi Arnaz (left), Frank Jenks, and Carl Esmond, with Ray Collins as the captain of the merchant marine ship.

The only problem I had with the film was that I found Murphy colorless as Tom. His character starts out on a negative note, going through the inquiry regarding the accident, and he's remote and impassive through most of the movie. We never get a sense of what he's feeling or who he really is. I felt like the role was tailor made for someone like O'Brien's SECRET COMMAND costar Chester Morris, who might have brought more shadings to the character, along with conveying a sense of longing toward Myra which was completely missing here.

I seem to be watching films with Jane Wyatt and/or a Navy theme with some frequency of late! Last week I saw Wyatt in WE'RE ONLY HUMAN and watched the Navy movie WINGS OF THE NAVY (1939). Wyatt and the Navy were also both part of TASK FORCE (1949), seen a couple of weeks ago.

THE NAVY COMES THROUGH runs 82 minutes. The story was by Borden Chase, who would go on to write many fine Westerns. The movie was filmed by Nicholas Musuraca. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Special Effects.

THE NAVY COMES THROUGH is an RKO film which had a VHS release as part of the RKO Collection series. It has not been released on DVD.

I saw THE NAVY COMES THROUGH thanks to Turner Classic Movies.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tonight's Movie: The Macahans (1976) at the Lone Pine Film Festival

The final screening I attended at the 25th Lone Pine Film Festival was THE MACAHANS (1976), the TV-movie which was the pilot for the HOW THE WEST WAS WON miniseries and TV series which followed, continuing production until 1979.

THE MACAHANS was not filmed in Lone Pine but was featured in honor of festival guest Bruce Boxleitner.

THE MACAHANS was one of the very first screen roles for the man who would go on to star in EAST OF EDEN (1981), BRING 'EM BACK ALIVE (1982-83), SCARECROW AND MRS. KING (1983-87), BABYLON 5 (1994-98), and the current Hallmark series CEDAR COVE, as well as Disney's cult film TRON (1982). TRON was revived nearly 30 years later with Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges starring in the 2010 sequel; it will have another sequel released next year.

Boxleitner was a congenial festival guest who was front and center interacting with attendees for the entire weekend. I especially enjoyed him in EAST OF EDEN with Jane Seymour, where his character exited shortly after she uttered the unforgettable line "You just slept with your brother's wife." Having seen him in so many varied projects over several decades, it was a lot of fun to meet him in person during the festival and even hear firsthand how he almost made a Western with Budd Boetticher.

THE MACAHANS starred James Arness as frontier scout Zeb Macahan, with the always-wonderful Richard Kiley and Eva Marie Saint as his brother and sister-in-law, Timothy and Kate Macahan. Boxleitner played their oldest son, Seth (the character name was later changed to Luke), with the other children played by Kathryn Holcomb, William Kirby Cullen, and Vicki Schreck. It was also fantastic to see character favorites Frank Ferguson and Ann Doran as Arness and Kiley's parents.

I was very fond of HOW THE WEST WAS WON "back in the day," and in fact I will admit to still having a mint-condition lunchbox such as seen here tucked away in a cupboard. I received it as a gift and it looked too nice to use so I always had it on display on a shelf instead! I was thus quite enthused to see THE MACAHANS for the first time since it originally aired.

Revisiting it for the first time in the better part of four decades, I have to admit I didn't think it held up all that well. It might have played better on TV, broken up with commercials or spread over a couple of nights, but seen in one sitting, it seems like a pioneer version of THE PERILS OF PAULINE! The Macahans attempt to move west before their family can be caught up in the Civil War, but every bad thing that could possibly have happened to the Macahan family did happen!

I was glad to have the chance to revisit it and especially to reacquaint myself with the work of some favorite veteran actors, but I was becoming impatient for the film to end by the time it finally wrapped up.

THE MACAHANS was written by Jim Byrnes, directed by Bernard McEveety, and filmed by Edward R. Plante.

As was the case with GUNGA DIN (1939), what followed the screening was very enjoyable, as Boxleitner was interviewed by historian Ed Hulse, and I was certainly glad I went.

Boxleitner felt that James Arness really enjoyed THE MACAHANS because he had just come off his long run on GUNSMOKE, and playing untamed mountain man Zeb Macahan let him cut loose and play a character a little wilder than he'd been playing for the previous couple of decades.

He also shared that it wasn't until years later, watching an archival interview with Arness on YouTube, that he learned that the network had been insisting on another young actor but Arness went to bat for Boxleitner to be cast, and prevailed. He said that in doing so, Arness completely changed his life, and he continues to be very grateful.

He said that the veteran actors in the film were all extremely supportive and helpful to the younger cast members, who for the most part had little experience; he said Richard Kiley was especially helpful playing their emotional final scene together, not moving after they rehearsed it but staying in position and in character until they completed the work. He was quite effusive in praising Kiley's professionalism and kindness, which was wonderful to hear about a man I have always admired as both a singer and an actor.

Boxleitner said he never knew why Saint later left the project, replaced in the series by Fionnula Flanagan as Kate's sister, and that he was very sorry she left.

Boxleitner didn't mention it in the interview, but he married Kathryn Holcomb, who played his sister Laura, and they had two sons. They later divorced and she married British actor Ian Ogilvy. He went on to marry Melissa Gilbert -- their son Michael is named for Michael Landon -- but they split after many years together, and she is now married to actor-director Timothy Busfeld (THIRTYSOMETHING). Some Hollywood trivia!

THE MACAHANS is on DVD as an extra in the Season One set of HOW THE WEST WAS WON.

Prior to THE MACAHANS a charming foreign-language short was shown titled FAR FROM THE WEST (2013), about a Brazilian man who has an amazingly huge collection of Westerns. I loved the way he rhapsodized in Portuguese about his happy childhood memories of Allan "Rocky" Lane, especially as I recently reviewed the new biography of Lane by Linda Alexander.

He also said that as a child he didn't know what "directed" meant but that he recognized early on that if he saw the name William Witney at the start of a movie, good things would follow.

Coincidentally I purchased Witney's autobiography at the festival, which has the crazy title IN A DOOR, INTO A FIGHT, OUT A DOOR, INTO A CHASE: MOVIEMAKING REMEMBERED BY THE GUY AT THE DOOR.

The documentary includes footage of a visit to the Lone Pine Film Festival. I know my fellow Western fans would also enjoy seeing FAR FROM THE WEST (2013); there's a bit more information on the festival website, including a brief clip.

For more on the Lone Pine Film Festival, please visit The 25th Lone Pine Film Festival in Review, which includes all links to all of my festival coverage at the end of the post.

The Lone Pine Film Festival: Anchor Ranch and More

The third tour I took at this year's 25th Lone Pine Film Festival, following the DYNAMITE PASS bus tour and the "Backlot" car caravan tour, was the Anchor Ranch car caravan tour.

The Anchor Ranch tour was offered several times during the festival, and we went on Saturday afternoon. The car caravan tours begin in a parking lot south of the museum, with different rows coned off for each tour, and volunteers are available to make sure everyone gets in the right line. It was obvious they've been doing this for a while because it was very well organized!

The volunteers also helped people who needed transportation line up rides. When we went on the Backlot tour, we took a couple who came to the festival in a motorhome along in our van, as their vehicle wouldn't have been appropriate for some of the bumpy, narrow roads.

The Anchor Ranch is on the left side of Highway 395 as you drive north just before you reach Lone Pine; on previous trips up the 395 I had never noticed this anchor near the ranch gate!

Our volunteer guide for this tour had also worked as a state and federal parks guide, including a few summers at the ghost town of Bodie further up the 395, an area we know well. She pointed out that when mining dried up in Bodie and the town was abandoned early in the 20th century, the businesses which had supported Bodie, including Sierra ranches and farms, needed to find another way to make money.

Russ Spainhower of Lone Pine's Anchor Ranch, seen below, found plentiful work with the film industry.

Spainhower helped film crews scout locations, hired riders to work as extras, and provided film companies with wagons and livestock.

Spainhower used lumber left from the GUNGA DIN (1939) set in the Alabama Hills to build a hacienda set on his ranch. Years later, in the spot right below, he also built a Western town set on the Anchor Ranch; the street set was dubbed Anchorville.

Anchorville was designed so that one end of the street opened looking toward Mount Whitney and Lone Pine Peak; the other end faced the direction as seen above.

Anchorville appeared in many Tim Holt and Hopalong Cassidy Westerns; portions of the hacienda set can be seen in a post I found with screen captures of a BONANZA episode filmed at the ranch.

The Anchorville sets were three-sided sets, with the backs exposed to Lone Pine's harsh weather, and between that and a lack of maintenance, as Western filming gradually dried up, the sets fell into disrepair. Eventually the sets were dismantled as they were no longer safely usable.

Prior to the tour, I enjoyed a talk by William Wellman Jr., author of THE MAN AND HIS WINGS: WILLIAM A. WELLMAN AND THE MAKING OF THE FIRST BEST PICTURE and the forthcoming WILD BILL WELLMAN: HOLLYWOOD REBEL which will be out in 2015.

I also had the pleasure of hearing Wellman speak at a screening of SAFE IN HELL (1931) at the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival, and it was a pleasure to hear him talk again. He shared many interesting stories about his father in the museum theater.

One of the stories which I enjoyed the most was learning that Fred MacMurray was one of his father's closest friends, but his father refused to work with Fred again after MEN WITH WINGS (1938) because Fred muffed his lines frequently and took too long to get usable takes. He felt it was better for their friendship not to work together! Wellman Jr. said he thought for years that his father had exaggerated the issue until he himself had a small acting role in THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE (1967) and saw MacMurray work firsthand. He said Greer Garson was endlessly patient with the retakes of her scenes with Fred and that what MacMurray put on film was superb, it just took a while to get there.

Wellman described Garson as "a perfect person" and said she was always professional, friendly, and elegant. He also particularly mentioned his love for his father's friend Clark Gable, who took him fishing when he was a boy.

Late in the afternoon we saw a talk by Edward Faulkner, who gave an hour-long extemporaneous talk on "the Duke" in the high school auditorium. Ed was engaging and articulate as he told several stories about working with John Wayne, always mentioning how kind and thoughtful Wayne was.

He particularly remembered when they were shooting on location in the middle of nowhere and he was supposed to call the hospital to speak with his wife after she had a c-section -- those were the days when men weren't necessarily expected to be there! -- and although he had never mentioned it to Wayne, Wayne had his driver take Faulkner from the location back to town so he could make that all-important long-distance call.

Faulkner's credits with Wayne included McLINTOCK! (1962), in which he played Bruce Cabot's son; THE GREEN BERETS (1968), HELLFIGHTERS (1968), THE UNDEFEATED (1969), CHISUM (1970), and RIO LOBO (1970).

Faulkner was also full of praise for Richard Boone and Andrew McLaglen; Faulkner's first role in Hollywood was on Boone's HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL, which McLaglen often directed, and he appeared on the show an additional dozen times.

On Saturday I also saw part of the enjoyable documentary BROTHERHOOD OF THE POPCORN (2014), about a group of men who've been watching movies together for 35 years; I received a review copy of the film in last week's mail and expect to review it here in the near future.

Finally, my day included the purchase of the 2014 edition of Lone Pine in the Movies, which includes articles on Lone Pine and Tim Holt, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (1955), and GUNGA DIN (1939). It has many photos and is the size of a softcover book. Highly recommended.

A final note, when you're in Lone Pine, be sure to eat at the best place in town, the Alabama Hills Cafe. I also wrote about it in July. Consistently outstanding meals and service, and be sure to buy some chocolate chip cookies for the road! Unfortunately they're only open for breafast and lunch, and we have yet to find a good dinner spot in town.

I have one more Lone Pine post coming, on Bruce Boxleitner and THE MACAHANS (1976), and then that will be a wrap on the festival coverage!

For more on the Lone Pine Film Festival, please visit The 25th Lone Pine Film Festival in Review, which includes all links to all of my festival coverage at the end of the post.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the extra-long edition, as I didn't post last week due to being out of town at the Lone Pine Film Festival. You can find all my Lone Pine coverage linked here!

...Here's a great-looking new book coming for Christmas: CECIL B. DEMILLE: THE ART OF THE HOLLYWOOD EPIC. It's by DeMille's granddaughter Cecilia DeMille Presley, who I had the pleasure of seeing introduce a 2010 screening of CLEOPATRA (1934), and Mark Vieira, author of many excellent coffee table books including HARLOW IN HOLLYWOOD, HOLLYWOOD DREAMS MADE REAL: IRVING THALBERG AND THE RISE OF MGM, and MAJESTIC HOLLYWOOD: THE GREATEST FILMS OF HOLLYWOOD, which I reviewed earlier this year.

...Speaking of new film books, at her blog Out of the Past Raquel has put together a really fantastic long list of upcoming books on classic films. There are many titles I'm looking forward to learning more about and possibly adding to my shelves! CHARLES WALTERS: THE DIRECTOR WHO MADE HOLLYWOOD DANCE is a must, as is WILD BILL WELLMAN: HOLLYWOOD REBEL. I heard William Wellman Jr. speak about his father at last weekend's Lone Pine Film Festival; more on that soon! Many thanks to Raquel for providing so many tantalizing previews and a great resource to use in the months to come.

...My appearance yesterday on the online radio show Hollywood Time Machine can be heard at the program's archive page; scroll down and click the arrow for Show 6. It was a lot of fun, and I really appreciate Alicia Mayer and Will McKinley inviting me to be on the program.

...Attention Southern Californians: This year's centennial of the birth of Tyrone Power will be celebrated by A Century of Power on November 14th and 15th. Two Power films, ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND (1938) and CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE (1947), will be screened at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. The Friday night screening will be attended by Taryn and Tyrone Power Jr., along with Coleen Gray, Terry Moore, and Jane Withers.

...That same weekend, November 14-17, I'll be contributing a piece on Power and Moore in KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES (1953) to the British Empire in Film Blogathon hosted at The Stalking Moon and Phantom Empires.

...So cool: A sphinx from DeMille's THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1923) has been unearthed in dunes where location filming took place near Guadalupe, California.

...A book review by Robby at Dear Old Hollywood: HOLLYWOOD FRAME BY FRAME: THE UNSEEN SILVER SCREEN IN CONTACT SHEETS, 1951-1997 by Karina Longworth. The book looks quite interesting; thanks to Robby for calling it to my attention!

...Over at Speakeasy, Kristina has a gallery of vintage advertising with movie stars. So much smoking going on! My favorite ad is Alexis Smith sitting on a diving board singing the praises of Royal Crown Cola.

...And if you missed it during the O Canada Blogathon, here's Kristina's tribute to the great Yvonne DeCarlo, born in British Columbia.

...Exciting news from Kimberly Truhler at GlamAmor: She's begun work on an authorized biography of designer Jean Louis, with the cooperation of his family, including the family of Loretta Young, who married him a few years before his passing.

...At the Classic Film and TV Cafe, Rick had a very interesting post on the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, North Carolina.

...Here's an interview with Paula Guthat all about @TCM_Party on Twitter, by Kimberly Lindbergs of the TCM Movie Morlocks.

...Here's a fun map showing in graphic form how the U.S. roots for college football.

...A Broadway revival of the musical ON THE TOWN has drawn positive reviews.

...Cliff has a very interesting post on MEN AGAINST THE SKY (1940) at Immortal Ephemera; I reviewed the film with Richard Dix, Wendy Barrie, and Kent Taylor in June. Cliff provides extensive background information as well as his critical perspective.

...Anyone who loves brightly colored Fiestaware, as I do, will enjoy this article. (Via a Tweet from Constance.)

...This week Raquel paid a visit to two classic film related exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She shares photos at Out of the Past.

...Coming from the Criterion Collection in January: One of the funniest movies ever made, Preston Sturges' THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942) starring Joel McCrea, Claudette Colbert, Rudy Vallee, and Mary Astor.

...I'm sad that Joan Fontaine's family is auctioning off her 1941 Oscar, among other items. The proceeds will benefit the SPCA, an organization dear to Fontaine's heart.

...Anyone who's ever tried to work with a cat in the way will chuckle over this video.

...Reviews, reviews, and more reviews: Cameron reviews HIT THE DECK (1955) at The Blonde at the Film, a movie I enjoyed last May...Toby reviewed Randolph Scott and James Garner in SHOOT-OUT AT MEDICINE BEND (1957) at 50 Westerns From the 50s...Aurora reviewed the new Olive Films release of DRAGONFLY SQUADRON (1954) at Once Upon a Screen. It has a great cast including John Hodiak and Bruce Bennett, which John McElwee referred to as a "comfort cast" in his post on the film at Greenbriar Picture Shows...and Glenn Erickson also reviewed DRAGONFLY SQUADRON at DVD Savant.

...I love newspaper movies so I enjoyed Kendahl's post on newspaper pre-Codes for ClassicFlix!

...Have you checked out the great posts in the Jack Webb Blogathon at The Hannibal 8 yet? Click here to head on over to Dispatch for links.

...Attention Southern Californians: The Crest Theater on Westwood Boulevard will be screening Alfred Hitchcock's silent film THE LODGER (1927) with live music on October 25th at 5:00 p.m.

...Notable Passings: Sad news this week that Tim Hauser, founder of the Manhattan Transfer, has passed away at the age of 72. That group has brought me a lot of listening pleasure over the years, starting with their short-lived TV series back in my childhood. I especially like their 2005 Christmas Album...Actress Elizabeth Pena, who was in the very enjoyable TORTILLA SOUP (2001), has died at 55. She was the voice of Mirage in THE INCREDIBLES (2004).

Have a great week!