Premium Hollywood after Dark meets “The Reefer Man”

An excerpt from the oddball, and still sadly unseen by me, pre-Hays Code 1933 science fiction comedy, “International House” which has one of the most interesting movie casts ever, including comedy legends like W.C. Fields, George Burns and Gracie Allen, singer and underrated comic actor Rudy Vallee (“The Palm Beach Story,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”), Bela Lugosi, who I’m sure was really funny, and the great musician and performer Cab Calloway. The oddly prophetic plot involves a bunch of folks descending on a Chinese hotel to bid on a strange new invention called “television.”

Seeing as we have an initiative on the ballot, Proposition 19, that might legalize marijuana here in California, this particular movie moment seems appropriate for a Saturday evening. We don’t advocate illegal activities here at PH, but if you happen to be in Amsterdam or past the three mile limit in the manner of the late William F. Buckley, don’t let us stop from doing what you were probably going to be doing anyway.

Thanks to my buddy, Wes, for putting this on his Facebook page where I could steal it. I’m sure he also doesn’t advocate or condone illegal activities. On the other hand, he serves martinis on the rocks, which is a crime against urbanity, I tells ya!

  

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Some final thoughts about the TCM Classic Film Festival

It’s time for me to take a moment to reflect a bit on what I learned from my rather hectic but definitely fun and enlightening time at the TCM Fest.  As previously reported here and everywhere else, it turned out to be a fairly roaring success and is promised to be repeated next year in Hollywood.  Because of time constraints and because I wasn’t able to enjoy the truly titanic number of films seen by, say, a Dennis Cozzalio — currently working on a detailed and sure to be great summary of the event — I’m going to limit myself to a few random observations covering material I have not mentioned in prior TCM-centric posts. (Here, here, and here.) Naturally, it’ll still turn out to be much longer than I originally intended.

HCM-55-Grauman's-Chinese-Theater-(2)

Borgnine, Donen, Rainer

As someone with parents in their eighties and nineties, I’ve become especially interested lately in the way things work for people of a certain age. So it was with some some special interest that I listened to the words of 100 year-old thirties star Luise Rainer, 93 year-old star character actor Ernest Borgnine (“Marty,” “The Wild Bunch”), and 86 year-old directing great and one-time boy genius, Stanley Donen — best known for co-directing “Singin’ in the Rain” and other MGM musical classics with Gene Kelly but also an outstanding director in his own right of both musicals and “straight” films.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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What the wild & wonderful Whites won’t do (probably)

One screening I’ll be attending tomorrow for sure at LAFF is “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia,” about a rather intense West Virginia family into various forms of criminality, dysfunction and tap-dancing. I’m looking forward to it (you can see the trailer here), but below is something I won’t be expecting to see.

  

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