Thursday, December 11, 2014

GET TV celebrates Frank Sinatra's Birthday | 99 Reasons We Love Sinatra

My latest and only broadcast TV source of classic film getTV is celebrating the entertainment icon, Frank Sinatra's 99th birthday with an all day movie marathon and a social networking birthday party. Anybody can join in the @getTV hosted party on Twitter with the hashtag #99ReasonsWeLoveSinatra. With the remaining characters we are to express why we adore Ol' Blue Eyes. If your adoration requires more characters you can post your passion for Sinatra on GET TVs Facebook page. You will find a schedule, trivia game, and an interactive flash mosaic of images and social networking posts on this page dedicated to to celebrating the icon. That even  lets us tweet directly from an input form that automatically adds the long hashtag. How nifty is that! So December 12 TCManiacs becomes SinatraManiacs as we join the getTV's party with why we love Sinatra.

Frank Sinatra Marathon Friday, December 12

7:00PM EST / 4:00PM PST
10:00PM EST / 7:00PM PST
7:30PM EST / 4:30PM PST
10:35PM EST / 7:35PM PST
1:25AM EST / 11:25PM PST

Friday, December 05, 2014

Christmas Classic Movies added to my Amazon Watchlist

Every year struggle to catch viewings of my favorite Christmas classic movies. So this year I am compiling lists. I am a purist so I usually only consider Christmas movies as "classics" if they predate 1960. Doing a search for "christmas classic movies" on Amazon Instant Video doesn't filter according to my strict parameters. So here's a list of timeless holiday classics I gathered for my personal Amazon Instant Video Watchlist. I have the Prime Account which enables me to enjoy unlimited streaming of many classics. Unfortunately not many of the "true" classics listed here are Prime Instant Videos but a number of them are available for immediate streaming for a nominal fee.(Often as little as $2) Click the links below posters to view trailers and your options to stream, download, rent or buy. Hope I have added a little cheer and convenience to your holiday season. Please let me know if I have overlooked any other "classics" off my Amazon list.

It's A Wonderful Life (Black & White Version)
It's A Wonderful Life (Black & White Version) 

Crosby, Bing - White Christmas Show
Crosby, Bing - White Christmas...

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) 

A Christmas Wish (In Color)
A Christmas Wish (In Color)

Bells of St. Mary's, The
Bells of St. Mary's, The

Going My Way
Going My Way 

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Christmas in Connecticut (1945... 

Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) 

White Christmas
White Christmas

Holiday Affair (1949)
Holiday Affair (1949)

The Shop Around The Corner
The Shop Around The Corner 

Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn

It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)
It Happened on 5th Avenue (194...

A few post 1960 films that are so nostalgic or iconic I'll add as classics...

A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas 

A Christmas Story
A Christmas Story

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!/Horton Hears a Who
How the Grinch Stole Christmas..

Home Alone
Home Alone 

Monday, December 01, 2014

TCM 2014 Christmas Classics

Beginning Thursday, December 4, every Thursday leading up to Christmas Day TCM has yuletide classics scheduled. For your convenience I have posted TCM's categorized schedule of Christmas Classics, Religious Favorites, Robert Osborne's Christmas Eve Picks, Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas, and the jolly Christmas with Mel Brooks! The list is not necessarily sequential as many of our seasonal favorites are repeated 2-3 times. Click through the links to get TCM articles.

TCM Christmas Classics 2014

    Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! The TCManiac

[ updated 12/7/2014 to add dates & times ]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Black Book | John Alton photographs epic Reign of Terror in Film Noir style - Watch Free Online

Cover of "The Black Book"Cover of The Black Book
Reign of Terror (also known as The Black Book) is a 1949 drama film set in the French Revolution. Plotters of François Barras seek to bring down Maximilien Robespierre and end his bloodthirsty regime. Although ostensibly an historical thriller, the film also has the characteristics of film noir in style, and numerous elements of chase films.

"For The Black Book, working to the usual modest budget, cine-photographer John Alton contrived a richly atmospheric evocation of Revolutionary France, turbulent and treacherous, largely from shadows and silhouettes." ~ John Alton - Painting With Light

Reign of Terror available for free download at the Internet Archive

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Scarlet Empress | Josef von Sternberg's expressionist art design

Cover of "The Scarlet Empress - Criterion...Cover via Amazon
The Scarlet Empress is a 1934 historical drama film made by Paramount Pictures about the life of Catherine the Great. It was directed and produced by Josef von Sternberg, with Emanuel Cohen as executive producer, from a screenplay by Eleanor McGeary, based on the diary of Catherine arranged by Manuel Komroff.

Marlene Dietrich as Catherine, with John Davis Lodge, Sam Jaffe (in his film debut), Louise Dresser, and C. Aubrey SmithDietrich's daughter Maria Riva plays Catherine as a child. This is the very last mainstream motion picture to be released before the Hays Code was strictly enforced. ( Hence the sexual overtones in the symbols)

The film is notable for its expressionist art design von Sternberg creates for the Russian palace. In film critic Robin Wood's words:

Rooted in both Expressionism and Surrealism, The Scarlet Empress is essentially “modernist,” far removed from even Hollywood’s notions of realism. Though von Sternberg insisted that the Imperial Palace set was historically authentic, he used it to create and sustain a hyperrealist atmosphere of nightmare with its gargoyles, its grotesque figures twisted into agonized contortions, its enormous doors that require a half-dozen women to close or open, its dark spaces and ominous shadows created by the flickerings of innumerable candles, its skeleton presiding over the royal wedding banquet table. And here, the sense of entrapment that connects most of the director’s personal work reaches its extreme of oppressiveness.

Josef von Sternberg  was an Austrian-American film director. He is particularly noted for his distinctive mise en scène, use of lighting and soft lens, and seven-film collaboration with actress Marlene Dietrich.


Dietrich's daughter Maria Riva plays Catherine as a child.

You can see the director's sense of art expressed by the Von Sternberg House which he had designed by the architect Richard Neutra a philosopher of Modernism in architecture. It was a single bedroom (servant bedrooms excluded) mini-mansion built in 1935 in Northridge, California, in the then-rural San Fernando Valley. It was demolished in 1972 to make way for a housing development.


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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Too Many Husbands & Wives Plots for Screwball Comedy

Too Many Husbands (released in the United Kingdom as My Two Husbands) is a 1940 romantic comedy film about a woman who loses her husband (Cardew) in a boating accident and remarries, only to have her first spouse reappear. The film starred Jean ArthurFred MacMurray and Melvyn Douglas. It is based on the 1919 play "Home and Beauty" by W. Somerset Maugham

My Favorite Wife (released in the U.K. as My Favourite Wifeis a film released less than two months later with a similar plot, but with the sexes reversed, with Cary Grant losing his first wife, Irene Dunne, in a boating accident and remarrying after seven years, only to find his first wife re-appear just as he's getting ready for his honeymoon night. It was produced and co-written by Leo McCarey and directed by Garson Kanin. The story is an adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Enoch Arden"; in tribute, the main characters' last name is Arden. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards for Best StoryBest Score and Best Art Direction by Van Nest Polglase and Mark-Lee Kirk.

20th Century Fox began filming a 1962 remake of My Favorite Wife starring Marilyn MonroeDean Martin, and Cyd Charisse under the working title of Something's Got to Give, which was to be directed by George Cukor.
It was Monroe's last work; from the beginning its production was disrupted by her personal troubles. Marilyn Monroe was fired for seldom showing up for shooting early in its production cycle, appearing in only about 30 minutes of usable film. 

Unable to complete the movie, and having already sunk a considerable amount of money into the production and sets, 20th Century Fox went ahead with the project, under a new title, new director, and recast stars. At first, they tried to continue with Lee Remick in Monroe's place, but Martin balked at working with anyone else and that version was never completed. Monroe was re-hired but died before she could resume filming. Doris Day and James Garner were eventually cast in the roles originated by Irene Dunne and Cary Grant in My Favorite WifeChuck Connors played the Randolph Scott role, replacing Tom Tryon, who'd been cast in the Monroe version. Following Monroe's death in August 1962, the new version was released by Fox as Move Over, Darling (1963).

In a scene from Move Over, Darling, the movie that Ellen ( Doris Day ) describes to Bianca while giving her a massage is My Favorite Wife.

Nine hours of largely unseen footage from the film remained in the vaults at 20th Century Fox until 1999, when it was digitally restored by Prometheus Entertainment and assembled into a 37-minute segment for the two-hour documentary, Marilyn: The Final Days. It first aired on American Movie Classics on June 1, 2001, which would have been Monroe's 75th birthday. It is available on DVD.

The Tom Hanks film Cast Away has a plot similarity: the lead character is marooned on an island for several years; on his return he finds that his girlfriend has given him up for dead and has married someone else.

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Who is the mysterious TCManiac?

First, I'll tell you who I am not. I am not affiliated with TCM. I am not some superbot created by software developers. I am not being paid by TCM or anyone else to dedicate my time to tweeting. I am a real flesh and blood human being. I am a real maniac for TCM. I really do keep my TV tuned to TCM 24-7. I created the TCManiacs twitter as a result of my sincere passion for watching Turner Classic Movies.

How I got started?
Well, I've been a fan of TCM since its inception. As I lay flat on my back recovering from a disabling health crisis unable to do little more than watch TV and surf the internet, I found refuge watching TCM round the clock. I soon developed an obsessive habit of keeping a browser tab open for the TCM schedule and beating Robert Osbourne's introductions to finding out facts for upcoming movies. My entire day and night became defined by the TCM line-up. At the beginning of 2009 I decided to check out twitter and lucked up on some fellow TCM fans to friend. During the 31 days Oscar I decided to dedicate a twitter just to share my TCM obsession by tweeting about every movie every day of February. I was totally overwhelmed by the number of fellow TCM maniacs that became my following. Its been a WIN WIN in everyway for me. I have had the opportunity to share fun stuff with some incredible fellow classic movie lovers and bloggers. With so many followers I became committed to maintaining the twitter schedule and finding fun stuff for upcoming TCM movies.
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As I mentioned before, I am not employed by anyone nor being paid for my time maintaining tweets and blog. However, you may express your appreciation for my labor of love by dropping a token of your appreciation in the hat. Simply click the Donate button below. Any amount your heart moves you to give no matter how small will be graciously accepted.
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Even if you decide to skip tipping the hat, please take the time to comment or send a message with your thoughts and suggestions. Send ideas on more fun stuff you would like featured. Send me links to your own classic movie websites. I just want to hear from you! Let me know what sharing my little obsession is worth to you. Every follower is priceless to me!

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