Hondo Blu-ray Giveaway

American icon John Wayne stars in the powerful and exciting Western classic “Hondo,” debuting on Blu-ray June 5 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. Renowned actress Geraldine Page made her feature film debut as the strong-willed Angie Lowe, an isolated female rancher caught between warring Native American tribes. When Cavalry rider Hondo Lane (Wayne) comes upon Angie and her son, he becomes their designated protector and finds himself embroiled in Angie’s personal drama, as well as the growing danger from the nearby Apache. Boasting superb acting (including an Academy Award-nominated performance by Page), spectacular scenery and a compelling story, “Hondo” is an unforgettable cinematic experience.

In celebration of its release, Premium Hollywood is giving four lucky winners a copy of the new Blu-ray. Click here to enter for your chance to win, and then be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on new contests and giveaways.

CONTEST ENDS: June 20th

  

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

Related Posts

It’s your pre-Father’s Day Blu-Ray/DVD Round-Up

The DVDs and Blu-Rays have been piling up. So, it’s time to go through a bunch of them, with a bit of extra attention paid to movies that might appeal to dads, though I suppose moms might like some of these as well.

* Playwright George Kaufmann famously defined satire as “what closes on Saturday night” and these days you might as well define political thrillers as “what doesn’t get greenlit unless a bunch of big stars really want to do it, and then bombs.”  “The Manchurian Candidate” is both political thriller and a satire and it didn’t fail at the box office, though it was kept out of circulation for nearly twenty years after its initial release for reasons that remain somewhat mysterious to this day.

I’m hardly alone in feeling this is probably the best political thriller ever made and possibly the second best political satire after “Dr. Strangelove.” Long after the end of the Cold War which spawned it, it’s continues to resonate with our political culture and it’s title still gives peoples the willies. Just ask John McCain.

Directed by John Frankenheimer and based on a novel by the mordantly comic suspense novelist Richard Condon of “Prizzi’s Honor” and “Winter Kills,”, you might know that it’s the story of what happens when a Soviet/Red Chinese brainwashing unit gets its hands on a group of captured soldiers, including Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey, who makes aloof bitterness very cool), the highly estranged step-son of a Joe McCarthy-like senator. Frank Sinatra does maybe his best acting work as a traumatized fellow soldier who realizes something might be up because of some very strange and very bad dreams he’s having — and the fact that he keeps calling the unpleasant Shaw “the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”

It’s a brave blend of politics, off-the-wall black comedy (what was called “sick humor” back then), suspense, and borderline Jacobean classical tragedy. Frankenheimer had a knack for making political material work dramatically, and also for drawing out strong performances. Janet Leigh (“Psycho“) was perfect as the female love interest, who was written so oddly by Richard Condon and screenwriter/playwright George Axelrod that many have theorized she’s actually an operative of some sort — an idea capitalized on in Jonathan Demmes’ disappointingly morose 2004 remake. The greatest casting coup here, however, is Angela Lansbury’s absolutely chilling turn as Raymond Shaw’s hated extremist Washington-hostess mother. She wasn’t the only less-than-pleasant character Lansbury ever played, but there’s something about what happens when actors who make a career largely playing nice people play extremely not-nice people that can be electrifying.

I also can’t resist mentioning the fight scene between Sinatra and Henry Silva as a North Korean spy, which Frankenheimer was often proud to mention was the first use of martial arts fighting styles in an American film. Seeing it again, it’s not only more brutally effective than I remembered as Sinatra and Silva all but destroy Laurence Harvey’s Washington apartment, but — especially in the initial moments when Sinatra instinctively begins fighting the Silva character without even knowing who he is — it’s pretty obvious to me now that it had to be one of the main inspirations for the terrific first fight scene in “Kill Bill, Volume I,” in which Uma Thurman and Vivica A. Fox lay waste to a Pasadena living room.

The Blu-Ray is, by the way, not a deluxe restoration, but it includes all of the excellent features that earlier DVDs have included and the print has been kept in excellent enough shape that a new restoration isn’t really necessary. It looks great. Super highly recommended, though pricey.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Related Posts

RIP Tony Curtis

Tony-Curtis-in-1957-006

It’s another one of those weeks and we’ve lost one of the last surviving greats of the tale end of Hollywood’s classic-era. Indeed, Tony Curtis was a kind of a bridge between the more traditionally manly film stars of the earlier classic era — Clark Gable, John Wayne, Bogart, Cagney — and the eternally young and slightly androgynous stars of today. I’d say it’s safe that say that there’s a bit of Tony in Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, and Colin Farrell, among many others.

It’s the nature of the actor to imitate and the nature of the movie star to be imitated. He was doubtlessly imitated by countless young men over the years who borrowed his handsome-man moves for personal use, but he also admitted to borrowing a lot of his movies from Cary Grant back when he was a kid from the Bronx named Bernie Schwartz. With a little help from Billy Wilder, he brought the entire matter full circle and, for once, completely lost his accent in “Some Like It Hot” — for me the best farce ever filmed in no small part because of the then-outrageous pre-post modern conceit of allowing an actor to perform a major part of his role overtly imitating another actor, still very much alive and working at the time. As far as I know, this wasn’t even dared again until Christian Slater spent “Heathers” imitating Jack Nicholson. It was good, but it was no “Some Like It Hot.”

Since I had to wait until later in the day to write this, there’s already a lot of online about Curtis — most of it collated over at Mubi — and there’ll be much more. I trust there’ll be more clips here like the one below over the weekend, and maybe a couple more observations about him here as well over the coming days, as well as the wonderfully inevitable 24 hour tribute to Curtis at TCM.

  

Related Posts

“Retribution this Christmas”

The Coen Brothers certainly have been no strangers to the American West or movie Western iconography. Still, there’s a difference between borrowing Western tropes for such more or less contemporary tales as “Raising Arizona” or “Fargo” or “No Country for Old Men” and making an actual western with six-shooters and cowboys and all of that. Hence, this teaser for “True Grit” makes me very, very happy.

H/t the Film Drunk, who very correctly reminds us that this may perhaps be more fairly described as a new adaptation of Charles Portis’s novel. I haven’t read the book yet — at least I don’t remember ever reading it — and its been decades since I’ve seen the hit John Wayne/Henry Hathaway version from the sixties, but I understand from people in the know that, surprisingly, that version was mostly very faithful to the book.

  

Related Posts

Miramax movie moment #2

Another clip celebrating the groundbreaking quasi-indie studio that Disney is selling and, many believe, destroying. The scene below isn’t quite as funny now as I remember it being the first time I saw it, but when you think of Miramax and Harvey Weinstein, you can’t help but think of Kevin Smith’s ultimate DIY film-making breakthrough, “Clerks.”

And now a bonus clip, the introduction of Jay and Silent Bob. It’s not quite the first shot of John Wayne in “Stagecoach,” but it’s something. And so absurdly NSFW, it’s guaranteed to lower your net worth — in a good way.

  

Related Posts