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Review: "Dietrich & Von Sternberg In Hollywood"; Criterion Blu-ray Special Edition

  • CinemaRetro
“Light, Shadow, And Marlene”

By Raymond Benson

I love it when The Criterion Collection produces a lavish boxed set containing multiple features, an abundance of supplements, and a thick and illustrated booklet. What better collection is there than one featuring the six Hollywood films made between 1930 and 1935 by Josef von Sternberg and starring the exquisite Marlene Dietrich? Hats off to producer Issa Clubb for overseeing what could be one of Criterion’s better products.

These adventure-romances showcased a star who immediately defined the word “exotic”—a German-born, English-speaking, beautiful, sultry, seductress who could act, sing, and dance. Like Greta Garbo, who had arrived in Hollywood during the silent era, Marlene Dietrich exhibited a European mystery to American audiences of the early Depression years. Her self-styled gender-bending wardrobes and mannerisms, her sometimes ambiguous but often overt sexuality, and her allure of “knowing something we didn’t” made her an overnight star…
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Dietrich & von Sternberg in Hollywood

Delirious silver-screen glamour never disappoints! Marlene Dietrich’s six Paramount pictures for Josef von Sternberg arrive in a beautifully annotated disc set. The most creative director-muse relationship of the 1930s created an all-conquering German siren-goddess, a screen icon vom kopf bis fuss.

Dietrich & von Sternberg in Hollywood


Morocco, Dishonored, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress, The Devil is a Woman

The Criterion Collection 930

1930-1035 / B&W / 1:19 Movietone (2), 1:37 flat Academy (3) / 542 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date July 3, 2018 / 124.95

Starring: Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Victor McLaglen, Clive Brook, Herbert Marshall, Cary Grant, Sam Jaffe, Lionel Atwill, Cesar Romero.

Directed by Josef von Sternberg

Dietrich & von Sternberg in Hollywood assembles a package we’ve long desired, a quality set of the duo’s highly artistic Paramount pictures from the first half of the 1930s. The Scarlet Empress arrived in a sub-par Criterion disc early in 2001, and three more
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

The Jungle Book

Sabu plays Mowgli, a kinetic young adventurer who gets to cavort with a parade of talking animals in the most sumptuous jungle setting this side of the Garden of Eden. The 1942 film was a family affair, directed by Zoltán Korda, produced by his brother Alexander and art directed by his other brother Vincent. But the real stars are cinematographers Lee Garmes and W. Howard Greene who transform the forest’s dense foliage and bright flowers into a Technicolor playground.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Duel in the Sun

David O. Selznick’s absurdly over-cooked western epic is a great picture, even if much of it induces a kind of hypnotic, mouth-hanging-open disbelief. Is this monument to the sex appeal of Jennifer Jones, Kitsch in terrible taste, or have Selznick and his army of Hollywood talents found a new level of hyped melodramatic harmony? It certainly has the star-power, beginning with Gregory Peck as a cowboy rapist who learned his bedside manners from Popeye’s Bluto. It’s all hugely enjoyable.

Duel in the Sun


Kl Studio Classics

1946 / Color / 1:37 flat Academy / 144 min. / Special Edition / Street Date August 15, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck, Joseph Cotten, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Walter Huston, Butterfly McQueen, Charles Bickford, Tilly Losch.

Cinematography Lee Garmes, Ray Rennahan and Harold Rosson

Production Designer J. McMillan Johnson

Film Editor Hal C. Kern, John Saure and William H. Ziegler

Original Music Dimitri Tiomkin

Written by Niven Busch,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Review: Alfred Hitchcock's "The Paradine Case" (1947) Starring Gregory Peck; Kino Lorber Blu-ray Special Edition

  • CinemaRetro
By Jeremy Carr

Alfred Hitchcock may have directed The Paradine Case, the 1947 adaptation of Robert Smythe Hichens’ 1933 novel, but the film is most clearly a David O. Selznick production. It was his coveted property, he wrote the screenplay (with contributions from Alma Reville, James Bridie, and an uncredited Ben Hecht), and the movie itself discloses far more of its producer’s temperament than it does its director’s. The Paradine Case was, in fact, the last film made by the British-born master as part of his seven-year contract with Selznick, and by most accounts, Hitchcock’s heart just wasn’t in it. Unfortunately, it shows.

But this is no slipshod motion picture. Selznick spared no expense—the completed film cost almost as much as Gone with the Wind—and the entire project is built on quality and class. Set in London, in “the recent past,” The Paradine Case stars an
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Good Bad Man Cortez: Final Interview Segment with Biographer of The Great Hollywood Heel

Good Bad Man Cortez: Final Interview Segment with Biographer of The Great Hollywood Heel
'The Magnificent Ambersons': Directed by Orson Welles, and starring Tim Holt (pictured), Dolores Costello (in the background), Joseph Cotten, Anne Baxter, and Agnes Moorehead, this Academy Award-nominated adaptation of Booth Tarkington's novel earned Ricardo Cortez's brother Stanley Cortez an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White. He lost to Joseph Ruttenberg for William Wyler's blockbuster 'Mrs. Miniver.' Two years later, Cortez – along with Lee Garmes – would win Oscar statuettes for their evocative black-and-white work on John Cromwell's homefront drama 'Since You Went Away,' starring Ricardo Cortez's 'Torch Singer' leading lady, Claudette Colbert. In all, Stanley Cortez would receive cinematography credit in more than 80 films, ranging from B fare such as 'The Lady in the Morgue' and the 1940 'Margie' to Fritz Lang's 'Secret Beyond the Door,' Charles Laughton's 'The Night of the Hunter,' and Nunnally Johnson's 'The Three Faces
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

After Valentino and Before Bogart There Was Cortez: 'The Magnificent Heel' and the Movies' Original Sam Spade

After Valentino and Before Bogart There Was Cortez: 'The Magnificent Heel' and the Movies' Original Sam Spade
Ricardo Cortez biography 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez' – Paramount's 'Latin Lover' threat to a recalcitrant Rudolph Valentino, and a sly, seductive Sam Spade in the original film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 'The Maltese Falcon.' 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez': Author Dan Van Neste remembers the silent era's 'Latin Lover' & the star of the original 'The Maltese Falcon' At odds with Famous Players-Lasky after the release of the 1922 critical and box office misfire The Young Rajah, Rudolph Valentino demands a fatter weekly paycheck and more control over his movie projects. The studio – a few years later to be reorganized under the name of its distribution arm, Paramount – balks. Valentino goes on a “one-man strike.” In 42nd Street-style, unknown 22-year-old Valentino look-alike contest winner Jacob Krantz of Manhattan steps in, shortly afterwards to become known worldwide as Latin Lover Ricardo Cortez of
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

The Paradine Case

This isn’t the only Alfred Hitchcock film for which the love does not flow freely, but his 1947 final spin on the David O. Selznick-go-round is more a subject for study than Hitch’s usual fun suspense ride. Gregory Peck looks unhappy opposite Selznick ‘discovery’ Alida Valli, while an utterly top-flight cast tries to bring life to mostly irrelevant characters. Who comes off best? Young Louis Jourdan, that’s who.

The Paradine Case


Kl Studio Classics

1947 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 125 min. / Street Date May 30, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring Gregory Peck, Alida Valli, Ann Todd, Charles Laughton, Louis Jourdan, Ethel Barrymore, Joan Tetzel.

Cinematography Lee Garmes

Production Designer J. McMillan Johnson

Film Editors John Faure, Hal C. Kern

Original Music Franz Waxman

Writing credits James Bridie, Alma Reville, David O. Selznick from the novel by Robert Hichens

Produced by David O. Selznick

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Witness the Evolution of Cinematography with Compilation of Oscar Winners

This past weekend, the American Society of Cinematographers awarded Greig Fraser for his contribution to Lion as last year’s greatest accomplishment in the field. Of course, his achievement was just a small sampling of the fantastic work from directors of photography, but it did give us a stronger hint at what may be the winner on Oscar night. Ahead of the ceremony, we have a new video compilation that honors all the past winners in the category at the Academy Awards

Created by Burger Fiction, it spans the stunning silent landmark Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans all the way up to the end of Emmanuel Lubezki‘s three-peat win for The Revenant. Aside from the advancements in color and aspect ration, it’s a thrill to see some of cinema’s most iconic shots side-by-side. However, the best way to experience the evolution of the craft is by
See full article at The Film Stage »

Hmwybs: Marlene Dietrich Double Feature

For this week's Best Shot episode we featured two Josef Von Sternberg & Marlene Dietrich pictures. The famous Director/Muse pair made seven films together but we asked Best Shot volunteers to do either Morocco (1930) or Blonde Venus (1932), their first two Hollywood pictures. Let's get right to the choices - click on the photos to enjoy the corresponding articles and participating blogs...

Morocco (1930)

Directed by Josef Von Sternberg. Cinematography by Lee Garmes

Nominated for 4 Oscars including Cinematography

What becomes a legend most?

-Dancin Dan on Film

It bizarrely holds together even when the seams look like they are going to burst apart at any second from being buffeted by sand...

-Scopophiliac at the Movies

She strikes quite a figure though throughout the film...

-Sorta That Guy 

Blonde Venus (1932)

Directed by Josef Von Sternberg. Cinematography by Bert Glennon

An impression she gives you in one moment she might take back with force in the very next.
See full article at FilmExperience »

The Captive City | Blu-ray Review

Two obscure Robert Wise titles reach Blu-ray release this month, both direct follow-ups to some of the auteur’s more iconic works. First up is 1962’s Two for the Seesaw, a romantic drama headlined by Robert Mitchum and Shirley MacLaine following the famed 1961 title West Side Story. But the decade prior would fine Wise unveiling one of his most stilted efforts, The Captive City (1952), a sort-of noir procedural which followed his sci-fi social commentary The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Providing John Forsythe with his first starring role (a performer who would find his most famous roles decades later on television, as Blake Carrington in “Dynasty,” and of course, the famous voice in “Charlie’s Angels”), it has to be one of the most unenthusiastic renderings of organized crime ever committed to celluloid. A scrappy journalist defies the mob ruled police force and a slick Mafia boss in a tired
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

The Captive City

Robert Wise's taut noir suspenser about the Mafia takeover of a small city is like an underworld Invasion of the Body Snatchers. John Forsythe's newsman slowly realizes that gambling corruption has infiltrated the business district, city hall, and even his close associates; he's expected to become a crook too, or else. Great docudrama style aided by a special deep-focus lens; Estes Kefauver makes a personal appearance touting the crime-busting Washington committee that inspired the picture. The Captive City Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1952 / B&W / 1:33 flat full frame / 91 min. Street Date January 5, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring John Forsythe, Joan Camden, Marjorie Crossland, Victor Sutherland, Ray Teal, Martin Milner, Geraldine Hall, Hal K. Dawson, Paul Brinegar, Estes Kefauver, Victor Romito. Cinematography Lee Garmes Film Editor Robert Swink Original Music Jerome Moross Written by Alvin M. Josephy Jr., Karl Kamb Produced by Theron Warth Directed by Robert Wise

See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Man with the Gun

First-time director Richard Wilson's B&W '50s western is different. Robert Mitchum is on-task as a town tamer with believable problems, both in exterminating gunslingers Claude Akins and Leo Gordon, and with making peace with his estranged wife, Jan Sterling. That's not to mention Mitchum's attraction for pacifist Karen Sharpe, and ditzy showgirl Barbara Lawrence. And don't forget an incredibly young Angie Dickinson. Man with the Gun Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1955 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 83 min. / Deadly Peacemaker / Street Date September 25, 2015 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Robert Mitchum, Jan Sterling, Karen Sharpe, Henry Hull, Emile Meyer, John Lupton, Barbara Lawrence, Ted de Corsia, Leo Gordon, James Westerfield, Jay Adler, Claude Akins, Joe Barry, Norma Calderón, Angie Dickinson, Mara McAfee, Maidie Norman, Robert Osterloh, Maudie Prickett, Stafford Repp. Cinematography Lee Garmes Film Editor Gene Milford Original Music Alex North Written by N.B. Stone Jr., Richard Wilson Produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: Caught (1949)

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: July 8, 2014

Price: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray $29.95

Studio: Olive Films

Barbara Bel Geddes and James Mason are Caught.

The 1949 film noir drama Caught directed by the great Max Ophuls (Lola Montes, The Earrings of Madame D…) makes its U.S. DVD and Blu-ray debut courtesy of Olive Films.

Caught is a tale of Leonora (Barbara Bel Geddes, Vertigo), an aspiring carhop who meets and marries a mysterious millionaire, Smith Ohlrig (Robert Ryan, God’s Little Acre). Soon after the wedding, Laura realizes she’s trapped in a loveless marriage with a ruthless workaholic husband who torments her with twisted mind games. Unable to obtain a divorce from Smith, she moves out of the mansion and goes to work for a dedicated doctor, Larry Quinada (James Mason, Bigger Than Life). The two quickly fall in love but the romance comes to an abrupt halt when Leonora learns that she is pregnant with Ohlrig’s child…
See full article at Disc Dish »

‘Guest in the House’ sees the noir welcome itself into the world of melodrama

Guest in the House

Written by Hunt Stromberg

Directed by John Brahm

USA, 1944

The family unit is, or should be, the strongest in one’s life, the one from which a solid emotional backbone is based from, the unshakable bond that brings its members together through thick and thin. For that reason, a troubled familial relationship, any sort of considerable rift between two or more of the members, may be the worst variety of schism afflicting previously close loved ones. Said troubles may not necessarily originate from within the unit, but from outside, such as when a new member is admitted through marriage. John Brahm’s 1944 melodrama noir Guest in the House concerns itself with this very matter (minus marriage), demonstrating the terrible deconstruction of a previously tightly knit family tearing apart at the seams.

The Proctors await the return of one of their own, Dr. Dan Proctor (Scott McKay
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Clara Bow: Savage!

  • MUBI
Above: Clara Bow in a publicity still for Call Her Savage. Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art.

Opening October and running through November at the Museum of Modern Art is the much anticipated 10th edition of the To Save and Project International Festival of Film Preservation. One of the major highlights is a gorgeous 35mm print of John Francis Dillon's Call Her Savage (1932), starring Clara Bow and shot by Lee Garmes. The film will open the series, on October 11, and be followed that evening with a screening of another must see restoration, Raoul Walsh's Wild Girl.
See full article at MUBI »

Scorsese's Two Ten Best Lists for Use of Light & Color, From 'Vertigo' to 'In the Mood For Love'

Scorsese's Two Ten Best Lists for Use of Light & Color, From 'Vertigo' to 'In the Mood For Love'
From the internet archives, check out two Ten Best lists from Martin Scorsese, which he did as a promo with Philips Electronics several years ago, via DVDtalk. The two lists are of films (one for domestic, another international) chosen for their use of light and color. Included are four films from the '40s, eight from the '50s, four from the '60s, two from the '70s, one from the '80s and only one from this century - Wang Kar-Wai's 2000 "In the Mood For Love." Trailers for "Mood" and 1943's "Phantom of the Opera" (the oldest on the lists) below. How many have you seen? English Language Films (in alphabetical order) • Barry Lyndon (1975, Dir. Stanley Kubrick; Cin. John Alcott) • Duel in the Sun (1946, Dir. King Vidor; Cin. Lee Garmes, Ray Rennahan, Hal Rosson) • Invaders From Mars (1953,...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Marlene Dietrich on TCM: Shanghai Express, The Scarlet Empress, The Devil Is A Woman

Marlene Dietrich is Turner Classic Movies last "Summer Under the Stars" star of 2011. Today, TCM is showing 12 Marlene Dietrich movies, in addition to J. David Riva's 2001 documentary Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song. Riva, I should add, is the son of Maria Riva and Dietrich's grandson. [Marlene Dietrich Movie Schedule.] Unfortunately, TCM isn't presenting any Marlene Dietrich movie premieres today. In other words, no Dietrich opposite David Bowie in Just a Gigolo, or Dietrich next to Jean Gabin in Martin Roumagnac / The Room Upstairs, or any of Dietrich's little-known German-made silents, e.g., Ich küsse Ihre Hand, Madame / I Kiss Your Hand, Madame; Das Schiff der verlorenen Menschen / The Ship of Lost Men; and Gefahren der Brautzeit / Dangers of the Engagement. None of the silents are exactly what I'd call good movies — nor is Just a Gigolo — but they all are worth a look if only because Dietrich is in them. Another option for
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Claudette Colbert on TCM: Boom Town, Parrish, Midnight, Outpost In Malaya

Mostly a Paramount star, Claudette Colbert hasn't been a frequent presence on Turner Classic Movies — that is, apart from reruns of her relatively few movies at MGM, Warner Bros., and Rko. Unfortunately, TCM's "Summer Under the Stars" day dedicated to Colbert — Friday, August 12 — won't rectify that glaring cinematic omission. [Claudette Colbert Movie Schedule.] Despite the fact that dozens of Claudette Colbert movies remain unavailable — thanks to Universal, owner of the old Paramount movie library — TCM is only presenting one Colbert premiere, Ken Annakin's British-made 1952 drama The Planter's Wife / Outpost in Malaya, co-starring Jack Hawkins. Of course, one rarely seen movie is better than none, but still… Think The Wiser Sex, The Lady Lies, Manslaughter, Young Man of Manhattan, The Phantom President (in case it's lying in some vault somewhere), The Man from Yesterday, Misleading Lady, His Woman, Zaza, Secrets of a Secretary, I Met Him in Paris, Texas Lady, Practically Yours, Skylark, Private Worlds,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

DVD Playhouse--May 2011

DVD Playhouse: May 2011


Allen Gardner

Blow Out (Criterion) Brian De Palma’s greatest Hitchcock homage, with a dash of Antonioni thrown in for good measure. John Travolta gives one of his best turns as a sound-effects engineer who unwittingly records a political assassination, then finds himself hunted by a ruthless hitman (John Lithgow, a memorably creepy psycho) after saving the life of the kindly, albeit dim-witted call girl (Nancy Allen, excellent) who was with the deceased. Terrific blend of suspense and very black humor, perhaps De Palma’s finest hour as an auteur. Beautifully shot by Vilmos Zsigmond. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Interviews with De Palma, Allen, cameraman Garrett Brown; Photo gallery; De Palma’s 1967 feature Murder a la Mod; Trailer. Widescreen. Dolby and DTS-hd 2.0 surround.

Kes (Criterion) Ken Loach’s landmark 1970 film is both a heart-rending portrait of adolescence, and a pointed socio-political commentary on life in the North of England.
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »
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