Movies

2022 Viewing (Q1)

OK, so it’s 2022’s first-quarter viewings… Q4 of 2021 can be viewed here.

Have Gun Will Travel seasons 5-6 (DVD)
The Rifleman season 1 (DVD)
Batman and Robin 1949 serial (DVD)
Atom Man vs Superman 1950 serial (DVD)
Radar Men from the Moon 1952 serial (DVD)

A bit low on completed season viewings, but a very fond farewell to Have Gun Will Travel—things won’t seem the same without Paladin on the screen several times a week. On the other hand, Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain in Rifleman is a great stand-in… currently two-thirds through season 2, whilst also working through the spin-off series starring the excellent Michael Ansara, as Marshal Sam Buckhart—Law of the Plainsman. (You can view both series in their entirety on YouTube, if you’re so inclined.)

Chuck Connors & Johnny Crawford - Rifleman
Chuck Connors with co-star Johnny Crawford—publicity still for THE RIFLEMAN (1958).

And movies! We’ve watched some movies.

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Ray Harryhausen

As mentioned here, finally the post about Ray Harryhausen—not before time, as his work loomed large in my childhood!

(I’m assuming everyone knows who Ray is, and what stop-motion animation is…)

Stop-motion is, of course, long since deprecated, especially since the wonders of CGI took over everything and made the world of cinema so much more entertaining and lovely. Maybe I’m being a little facetious. Maybe I just prefer the human touch and don’t feel shiny perfection is the be-all and end-all of everything. How old-fashioned!!

Ray, like everyone else who saw it as a kid, became absolutely obsessed with the original King Kong (1933) when he got to see it during its original run. The ground-breaking visuals in Kong (especially the stop-motion work) inspired Ray to pursue the field himself. Unlike everyone else, he actually got to meet FX pioneer Willis O’Brien, who became his mentor.

Kong was my absolute fave as a little kid (still is, really). Well, how could you not love this fella?

King Kong

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2021 Viewing (Q4)

Finally—2021’s fourth-quarter viewings… Q3 can be viewed here.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents season 7 (DVD)
Wanted Dead Or Alive season 3 (DVD)
Have Gun Will Travel season 4 (DVD)
Star Trek: The Original Series season 3 (Blu-ray)
Naked City season 2 (DVD)
The Phil Silvers Show season 3 (DVD)
Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars 1938 serial (DVD)
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe 1940 serial (DVD)
King of the Rocket Men 1949 serial (DVD)
Batman 1943 serial (DVD)
Superman 1948 serial (DVD)
Hancock/Hancock’s Half Hour various of the surviving episodes (DVD)

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Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations 3

Continuing commentary on the Blu-ray set of Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations , following up on postings here and here.

Since the last post, I’ve viewed the shorts Hog Wild (1930), Come Clean and One Good Turn (both 1931), and the feature Sons of the Desert (1933). All have superb commentary tracks by Randy Skretvedt—whose L&H book is absolutely definitive (to overuse the word!). I bought the first edition paperback in early 1988, and this copy is still with me—and in surprisingly good shape! The newest edition is more of the same, only much more, but it’s an indispensible tome whatever edition you own. (I own both. I wouldn’t part with that first edition.)

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Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations 2

More on the Blu-ray set of Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations , following up on this post.

The two shorts Berth Marks (1929)—their second “talkie”—and Brats (1930) benefit from having their original soundtracks offered as an option, in addition to the more familiar 1937 reissue sound (different music cues and, in some cases, FX).

Picture-wise, neither come off as pristine as the first reel of Battle of the Century, but few things of this vintage do. I felt Berth Marks was the clear winner of the two—Brats seems, at best, occasionally a marginal upgrade on the DVD transfer, but some shots seemed a whole lot softer than I ever remembered them from back in the 1980s on TV and VHS. Neither are in brilliant shape, and sadly it seems they will never look any better. Of course, it is high definition, so is inherently stronger than previous releases, but the condition of the source materials does place limitations on some of these items. I do believe there are much stronger items to come in this set.

Brats

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2021 Viewing (Q2)

Continuing what is now a tradition, albeit a month late, and following the previous post back in April (sorry to be gone so long, but I promise there’s a bunch of new posts coming up!), here are the viewings from the second quarter of 2021… some of which were obviously started in Q1 but completed in Q2!

The Rebel (Johnny Yuma) season 2 (DVD)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents season 5 (DVD)
Have Gun Will Travel seasons 1-2 (DVD)
Department S series 1 (Blu-ray)
Star Trek: The Original Series seasons 1-2 (Blu-ray)

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2020 Viewing

I may write in more detail about some of the stuff I watched last year—undecided. Meanwhile, here’s a list of all the vintage episodic TV digested during those long 2020 months of deadly viruses and governments placing everyone under house arrest.

(And, of course, there is much vintage episodic TV being digested during the unfolding long 2021 months of deadly viruses and governments placing everyone under house arrest… but more on that later.)

2020 complete viewings…

Hawaii Five-O seasons 1-12 (DVD)
The Twilight Zone seasons 1-5 (Blu-ray)
Night Gallery seasons 1-3 (DVD)
The Outer Limits seasons 1-2 (DVD)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents seasons 1-4 (DVD)
Peaky Blinders series 3 (Blu-ray) (token non-vintage item!)
The Abbott & Costello Show seasons 1-2 (download)
Adventures of Superman seasons 1-4 (DVD)
House of Cards (1990) (Blu-ray)

Rod Serling

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The Defiant Ones (1958)

In Brief: this is the write-up of The Defiant Ones prepared for the on-off book on Lon Chaney Jr, Moonlight Shadows. Feedback is very welcome!

Defiant Ones Poster

Produced by Stanley Kramer for Lomitas Productions, Inc. Directed by Stanley Kramer. Screenplay by Nedrick Young & Harold Jacob Smith. Music score by Ernest Gold. Cinematography by Sam Leavitt. Edited by Frederic Knudtson. Distributed by United Artists.

Technical: 1.66:1, black and white, Westrex mono. Running time: 96 minutes. Production: late February to early April 1958. Premiere: September 24 1958 (NY).

With Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw, Lon Chaney, King Donovan and Claude Akins.

Two convicts—one white (Tony Curtis), one black (Sidney Poitier)—in a Southern chain gang are being transported in a van when the vehicle crashes. They escape, and what follows is a story of the tensions between the two, being forced to flee cross-country together―mostly through swamplands―until they find a way of breaking the four-foot chain that binds them.

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