I’ve been bad with consistently reporting the news this month, and hopefully with my winter break imminent the news will be running smoother. With the holidays right around the corner I’ll be discussing some upcoming DVDs and Blu-rays in anticipation of my first-ever holiday gift guide, as well as an upcoming interview you might want to get in on and a heap of other news-worthy items! Time to dive in!
I’m tempted to believe this is a joke, if only because it sounds outrageously absurd. Variety is reporting a sequel is in the works for the Jimmy Stewart Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. Apparently, the sequel is entitled It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story (the title lends to its hoax-like quality) and is being developed by Star Partners and Hummingbird Productions; two studios who, according to IMDB, haven’t put anything out since the early 1980s. The plot follows George Bailey’s son, also named George, who meets an angel (set to be played by original Zuzu herself, Karolyn Grimes) who tells George how much better life would be if he wasn’t born. Seriously, this is a joke, right? A few other actors from the original, the ones still living, are being considered for spots in the film. I’m no fan of the original (it’s okay in my book) but seventy years for a sequel? It’s a ridiculous proposition, and based on the less than reliable sources I’m tempted to say this will be called out as a hoax in a few days. If anything, it inspires me to do a recasting write-up on the original. You can read the original story via Variety.
I’ve reported on Lauren LoGuidice’s play, Garbo Dreams, for awhile, and she recently asked me to do an interview (yes, for once I’ll be the interview subject) on classic film. Our event, entitled Dames and Dons of Old Hollywood is scheduled for December 5th and you’re all invited! I’m new to the world of Google Hangouts but everyone can watch the our discussion via Facebook (both Lauren and I will be providing links at a later time). If you’re interested in watching the show live, I can send invites to eight people. You must have a Gmail account. If you’re interested in watching the talk live, email me at email@example.com. If not, I’ll be putting up the discussion via the blog Facebook page. The place to get more information on this upcoming event is via the Dames and Dons Google page.
By now, classic film fans are aware of the Watch TCM app comprised of two live TCM feeds and a copious video on-demand vault. I had issues getting the app to work upon premiere, but as of last week the app runs smoothly and is downright addicting. If you haven’t downloaded it already you can do so via the iTunes app store (for all Apple products) or the Android store. Not only can you watch TCM live or stream their library on-demand, you can also set reminders based on your favorite actors/actresses as well as read history and analysis on particular films. It’s a fun app and perfect if you’re somewhere and want TCM on the go. Download it now, and don’t say I didn’t warn you on its addictive nature.
And speaking of TCM fun, a last-minute news item was just announced to compel you to start making Christmas plans. The cable channel is teaming up with Macy’s department stores to celebrate Christmas in the Big Apple. In honor of the channel’s 20th anniversary, on November 22nd you can watch the Christmas classic, Miracle on 34th Street outside Macy’s Herald Square. The showing will start at 11am and run throughout the day. TCM host Robert Osborne will be on-hand during the 7:45pm showing to dispense expertise on the movie. In addition, TCM’s Classic Film Sightseeing Bus Tours is offering twenty days of free admission starting December 1st. The tour will also expand from its traditional three days a week run to seven days a week between December 1st-20th to accommodate the free days. If you’re in the New York area and are able to catch a showing of Miracle on 34th Street drop me a line and I’ll be happy to post your experiences. If you’re interested in taking advantage of TCM’s free admission tours you can purchase a seat via TCM.com/20.
New on DVD/Blu-ray
20th Century Fox: F.W Murnau is the director of the month – this on top of Kino Classic’s release of Nosferatu. 20th Century Fox is set to release the 1929 Academy Award winning, Sunrise on DVD and Blu-ray. The fully restored silent film will come with two version of the movie (the original Fox Movietone version and the European silent version), commentary by ASC cinematographer John Bailey (who will also provide commentary on special outtakes included on the disc), a theatrical trailer, the screenplay, and notes on the restoration. You can own Sunrise on January 14th.
Kino Classic: Speaking of Kino, they’ve recently announced a 2-disc Blu-ray edition of Marlene Dietrich’s breakout film, The Blue Angel. The 2-disc set includes both English and German cuts of the movie (with optional English subtitles) remastered in HD. Kino’s cut marks the first time the English version is available on Blu-ray. Other bonus features scene comparisons of the two versions, Dietrich’s screen test for the role, interview and concert footage of Dietrich, two trailers, and an image gallery. I was fortunate to snag a copy of this, and will be reviewing this soon. You can purchase The Blue Angel from Kino Classics on December 17th.
Warner Archive: It’s all about Danny Kaye and Jack Benny this month in the Warner Archive. Based on the note about high consumer demand, I can only assume the release of several of Kaye’s films (under the banner Danny Kaye Clown Collection) is in conjunction with the Kaye Centennial. Warner is releasing six films with Kaye as the leading man. The first four, called The Goldwyn Years, are Up in Arms (1944), Wonder Man (1945), Kid From Brooklyn (1946), and A Song is Born (1948). The last two are part of the Danny Kaye Double Feature: The Court Jester (1956) and The Five Pennies (1959). Actor Jack Benny is also being honored with two releases: George Washington Slept Here (1942) and The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945). Remember, all Warner Archive movies can be ordered at their website.
Warner Brothers: From the regular Warner Brothers Studios they’ve announced three Western/action releases, two of which star John Wayne. You can pre-order El Dorado, Hatari!, and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. All three will be released on Blu-ray after having DVDs put out via Paramount. Bonus features are unknown at this time. All three hit store shelves March 11th.
Walt Disney Studios: Disney continues to put out their Diamond edition Blu-ray/DVD combos with digital copies (their last was The Little Mermaid). It’s been announced that the studio will put The Jungle Book out on Diamond Edition, although it’s unknown what bonus content will carry over from the previous Platinum Edition. You can purchase The Jungle Book on Blu-ray February 11th.
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.