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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Serious offers and old gossip

Just another sane Monday in movieland.

A robot* Halcyon, a somewhat odd firm with an all but empty website, has officially put its one and only asset and reason for being, the rights to “The Terminator” franchise, on the auction block. So reports Variety and Nikki Finke. Suddenly, over at Whedonesque — yes, the Joss Whedon fansite where the beloved cult TV and occasional film creator occasionally postsĀ  — Whedon links to it and posts a very serious offer. So serious, in fact, that Finke — who occasionally claims she “doesn’t do geek” runs the item. Meanwhile, back at Whedonesque, the Whe-man and a commenter who appears to be both a fan of the Joss and the late singer-songwriter Warren Zevon (some folks are just blessed with too much taste) note an earlier serious offer.

Quote of the week (probably):

Well, here’s what I have to say to Nikki Finke: you are a fine journalist and please don’t ever notice me.

* Sony Classic has picked up the rights to “Mother and Child,” the latest film from arthouse/cable director Rodrigo Garcia, still probably best known to a lot of people as the son of Columbian literary great Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It’s not too surprising a pick-up, even in this tough market, given that the cast includes Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, up-and-comer Kerry Washington (“Ray,” “The Fantastic Four”), and Samuel L. Jackson.

* The box office “actuals” for most of the big releases turned out to be a couple of million higher than the estimates I reported yesterday. Sorry MJ’s ghost.

* Thinking about “The Men Who Stare at Goats” which comes out this Friday, Jeff Bridges gets appropriately trippy but not in too dudish a way.

* This is a few days old, but for those of us who find ourselves unduly fascinating by the Church of Scientology, via Kim Masters, here’s an interesting new story opened up last week. Writer-director Paul Haggis (“Crash”) announced he’s leaving the church.

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