Tuesday, November 29, 2011

THESE AMAZING SHADOWS: The Film Preservation Act and the National Film Registry

Independent Lens, the Emmy-winning PBS series, airs Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton’s These Amazing Shadows, a one-hour documentary, on Thursday, December 29, at 10:00pm (check local listings).

These Amazing Shadows is an often kaleidoscopic swirl of film clips iconic and obscure, from Casablanca, Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz to 2001, The Godfather and E.T., plus culturally noteworthy home movies, the odd sound film demo and theater intermission bumper. The documentary also outlines the background of the Film Preservation Act and the creation of the National Film Registry.

The Night of the Hunter
When Ted Turner purchased MGM in 1986 for $1.6 billion he sold off parts of his acquisition, but kept the film and TV libraries, which included those of MGM/UA, RKO and Warner Bros. With the hope of expanding the appeal of classic black and white films on his ‘SuperStation’ WTBS and elsewhere, Turner devised a plan to “colorize” them. In September 1986, Turner Broadcasting System released a list of 100 films set for “colorizing” – the list included Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Out of the Past and other legends of black and white American cinema. Turner’s decision met with loud opposition from Hollywood filmmakers. The Director’s Guild was outspoken and an indignant Billy Wilder snarled: “Those fools! Do they really think that colorization will make The Informer any better? Or Citizen Kane or Casablanca? Or do they hope to palm off some of the old stinkers by dipping them in 31 flavors? Is there no end to their greed?”

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Coming Soon to REEL LIFE...

Some Came Running

A sampling of a few posts and one event (my first!) on the near horizon for The Lady Eve's Reel Life:

The Families of Vincent Minnelli
A look at some of the director's most memorable family-themed films, including Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Father of the Bride (1950), Some Came Running (1958) and Home From the Hill (1960). Plus a look at the award-winning artist's own life.

These Amazing Shadows
Late in December the PBS series "Independent Lens" will spotlight  "culturally, historically... aesthetically significant" American films included in the National Film Registry with the one-hour documentary, These Amazing Shadows. The registry's beginnings with National Film Preservation Act of 1988 is also covered. I'll be previewing the documentary ahead of its air date.

The Shop Around the Corner
Just in time for the holidays...a reflection on Ernst Lubitsch's 1940 classic. The director's own favorite among his films, it is set at Christmastime in Budapest, features a sparkling ensemble cast led by James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan...and 'tis perfection.

A Month of Vertigo
A great group of guest contributors - and me - will blog on myriad facets of Alfred Hitchcock's masterwork. I'm hoping A Month of Vertigo makes for a very interesting beginning to 2012...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Family Thanksgivings: Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

I'm looking forward to spending some time with one of my favorite families this Thanksgiving weekend, Hannah and Her Sisters (as well as her other relatives and friends).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Chill in the Air - Part II

For a few years now, Turner Classic Movies has traditionally aired The Uninvited (1944) during Halloween season. A gothic mystery/romance with a lighter heart than Rebecca (1940), The Uninvited is another of my cold night favorites.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Chill in the Air - Part I

Halloween has come and gone, a time change looms (“fall back”) and winter is just around the corner. Early twilight and cool evenings are here and it seems to me that when the weather starts getting nippy and night falls early, nothing satisfies like a crackling fire, something either steaming or iced to drink and a well-chosen book or movie to settle into. What I'm reading and watching as autumn deepens this year are books and the films that were made of them.