“Pioneers of African-American Cinema” featured on TCM, and releasing on DVD/Blu-Ray PLUS Special Offer for CMH Fans

Paying Tribute to the Vital Works of America’s First African-American Filmmakers…

As you probably already know, CMH is giving away five copies of “Pioneers of African-American Cinema” this month (through July 30), courtesy of Kino Lorber.  This historic 5-disc set features significant, but long overlooked, achievements of early, independent African-American filmmakers — films that not only starred African Americans, but were funded, written, produced, directed, distributed, and often exhibited by African Americans as well.  There’s about 20 hours of material in the set, including feature-length films, shorts, fragments, trailers, and interviews with influential historians and archivists — plus an 80-page booklet of essays, photos, notes and more.  It’s really an incredible collection that allows us valuable insight into vital film history as well as the legacies of film pioneers Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, James and Eloyce Gist, and more.

Oscar Micheaux, Pioneers of African-American CinemaPioneering Director, Oscar Micheaux

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That said, we have some good news to share…

First of all, we are very happy to say that TCM will be paying tribute to ‘Pioneers of African-American Cinema’ by airing some of these extraordinary films on two Sunday nights — July 24th and July 31st. These primetime events (starting at 8PM EST and running into late night/early morning) will be hosted by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz with co-host Jacqueline Stewart who is a Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at The University of Chicago. Seven films and eight shorts will be showcased from the ‘Pioneers’ collection including Oscar Micheaux’s Within Our Gates (1920), Richard Norman’s Regeneration (1923), Frank Perugini’s The Scar of Shame (1929), and Micheaux’s Birthright (1939).

But that’s not all. In celebration of the DVD/Blu-Ray release of ‘Pioneers of African-American Cinema’ on Tuesday (July 26), Kino Lorber has created a special 25%-off coupon code CMHS16 JUST for CMH fans — that can be used to purchase ‘Pioneers’ AND/OR any other DVD/Blu-Ray products at KinoLorber.com from now until July 31, 2016!

Kino Lorber coupon code for Classic Movie Hub Fans 25% off dvds until July 31 2016Take an additional 25% off your online order at KinoLorber.com. Apply coupon code CMHS16 during your online checkout. Valid through July 31, 2016.

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And for your reference, here’s what the ‘Pioneer’s DVD/Blu-Ray Collection includes:

* New digital restorations of over a dozen feature films, plus shorts, fragments, trailers, documentary footage, archival interviews and audio recordings

* Contemporary interviews with historians and film preservationists

* 80-page booklet with essays and detailed film notes

* Musical scores by DJ Spooky, Max Roach, Alloy Orchestra, Samuel Waymon, Makia Matsumura, Donald Sosin and others

Disc One (Total Running Time 282 minutes): Two Knights of Vaudeville Ebony Film Co., 1915. 11 minutes. Music by Donald Sosin Mercy the Mummy Mumbled (BLU-RAY ONLY) Ebony Film Co., 1918. 12 minutes. Music by the Alloy Orchestra. A Reckless Rover Ebony Film Co., 1918. 14 minutes. Music by Donald Sosin. Within Our Gates Oscar Micheaux, 1920. 73 minutes. Music by Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky. The Symbol of the Unconquered: A Story of the KKKOscar Micheaux, 1920. 59 minutes. Music by Max Roach. By Right of Birth Lincoln Motion Picture Co., 1921. 4 minutes. Music by Donald Sosin.Body and Soul Oscar Micheaux, 1925. 93 minutes. Music by Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky.Screen Snapshots (Micheaux footage, 1920, 1 minute) Bonus: An Introduction (7 minutes) Bonus: The Films of Oscar Micheaux (8 minutes)

Disc Two (Total Running Time – 259 minutes): RegenerationRichard E. Norman, 1923. 11 minutes. Music by Donald Sosin.The Flying Ace Richard E. Norman, 1928. 65 minutes. Music by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. Ten Nights in a Bar RoomCPFC, 1926. 64 minutes. Music by Donald Sosin. Rev. S.S. Jones Home Movies Rev. Solomon Sir Jones, 1924-1926. 16 minutes. Music by Andrew Simpson. The Scar of Shame Frank Peregini, 1929. 86 minutes. Music by Makia Matsumura Bonus: The Color Line (5 minutes) Bonus: Ten Nights in a Bar Room – An Introduction (4 minutes) Bonus: About the Restoration (8 minutes)

Paul Robeson as Sylvester in Oscar Micheaux's Body and Soul (frame enlargement), courtesy Kino LorberPaul Robeson as ‘Sylvester ‘in Oscar Micheaux’s Body and Soul (frame enlargement), courtesy Kino Lorber

Disc Three (Total Running Time – 253 minutes): Eleven P.M.Richard Maurice, 1928. 60 minutes. Music by Rob Gal. Hell-Bound Train James and Eloyce Gist, 1930. 50 minutes. Restored by S. Torriano Berry. Music by Samuel D. Waymon.Verdict Not Guilty James and Eloyce Gist, 1934. 8 minutes. Restored by S. Torriano Berry. Music by Samuel D. Waymon.Heaven-Bound Travelers (BLU-RAY ONLY) James and Eloyce Gist, 1935. 15 minutes. Restored by S. Torriano Berry. Music by Samuel D. Waymon. The Darktown Revue Oscar Micheaux, 1931. 18 minutes. The Exile Oscar Micheaux, 1931. 78 minutes.Hot Biskits Spencer Williams, 1931. 10 minutes.

Disc Four (Total Running Time – 272 minutes): The Girl from Chicago Oscar Micheaux, 1932. 70 minutes. Ten Minutes to Live Oscar Micheaux, 1932. 58 minutes. Veiled AristocratsOscar Micheaux, 1932. 48 minutes. Birthright Oscar Micheaux, 1938. 73 minutes. Bonus: Veiled Aristocrats Trailer (4 minutes) Bonus: Birthright Trailer (4 minutes) Bonus: We Work Again(BLU-RAY ONLY) – WPA Documentary (1937, 15 minutes)

Herb JeffriesHerb Jeffries as ‘Bob Blake’ in Richard C. Kahn’s The Bronze Buckaroo (1930), courtesy Kino Lorber

Disc Five (Total Running Time – 243 minutes): The Bronze Buckaroo Richard Kahn, 1939. 58 minutes. Zora Neale Hurston Fieldwork Footage (excerpt) Zora Neale Hurtston, 1928. 3 minutes. Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940 (excerpt) Zora Neale Hurston, 1940. 15 minutes. The Blood of Jesus Spencer Williams, 1941. 56 minutes. Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A. Spencer Williams, 1946. 60 minutes. Moses Sisters Interview Pearl Bowser, 1978. 32 minutes. Bonus: Texas Tyler Promo Film with Ossie Davis (1985, 6 minutes) Bonus: The Films of Zora Neale Hurston (2 minutes) Bonus: The Films of Spencer Williams (7 minutes) Bonus: The End of an Era (4 minutes)

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A Big Thank You to Kino Lorber for creating this important, historic collection (and for offering a special discount to our fans), and of course to TCM for airing some of these landmark films!

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

Posted in Articles, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“TCM Big Screen Classics: Animal House” Movie Event Ticket Giveaway (July 22 – Aug 6)

Win Tickets to see “Animal House” on the Big Screen!
In Select Cinemas Nationwide August 14 & August 17!

CMH is thrilled to announce the next of our monthly movie ticket giveaways this year, courtesy of Fathom Events! This month, we’ll be giving away SIX PAIRS of tickets to see “TCM Big Screen Classics: Animal House” on the Big Screen!

The film will be playing in select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day-only event on Sunday, August 14 and Wednesday, August 17 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time. (check theater listings hereplease note that there might be slightly different theater listings for each date)

That said, here’s how you can enter to win a pair of tickets:
In order to qualify to win a pair of movie tickets via this contest, you must complete the below task by Saturday, August 6 at 10PM EST.

We will announce the winner(s) on Twitter on Sunday, August 7, between 6PMEST and 7PM EST. If a winner(s) does not have a Twitter account, we will announce that winner(s) via this blog in the comment section below.

Animal House Big Screen Classics

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ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, August 6 at 10PM EST…

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

THE QUESTION:
Although Animal House isn’t a classic-era classic movie, what is it about the movie that you consider ‘classic’? Or, if you haven’t seen it, why would you like to go see it on The Big Screen?

2) Then TWEET* (not DM) the following message:

Just entered to win tickets to see “Animal House” on the Big Screen courtesy of @ClassicMovieHub & @FathomEvents #TCMBigScreen 

NOTE: If for any reason you encounter a problem commenting here on this blog, please feel free to tweet or DM us, or send an email to clas@gmail.com and we will be happy to create the entry for you.

*If you do not have a Twitter account, you can still enter the contest by simply answering the above question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog — BUT PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU ADD THIS VERBIAGE TO YOUR ANSWER: I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message.

About the film: National Lampoon’s® Animal House stars comedy legend John Belushi and is the ultimate college movie filled with food fights, fraternities and toga parties! Follow the uproarious escapades of the Delta House fraternity as they take on Dean Wormer (John Vernon), the sanctimonious Omegas, and the entire female student body. Directed by John Landis (The Blues Brothers) and considered by many to be the most popular college comedy of all-time, the film also stars Tim Matheson, Donald Sutherland, Karen Allen, Kevin Bacon, Tom Hulce and Stephen Furst along with Otis Day and the Knights performing their show-stopping rendition of Shout. This is a college party you’re not going to want to miss!

IMPORTANT NOTE for all prizing: This is a special two-day-only event at select theaters nationwide on Sunday, August 14 and Wednesday, August 17 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time. Winners will be responsible for their own transportation to the Event. Only United States entries are eligible. Please click here before you enter to ensure that the Event is scheduled at a theater near you and that you are able to attend.

Please note that only United States residents are eligible to enter this giveaway contest. (see contest rules for further information)

BlogHub members ARE also eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States (as noted above).

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Contests & Giveaways, Fathom Events, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | 8 Comments

Don Knotts: Three Fine Summer Flicks

Born July 21, 1924, Don Knotts… 

Don Knotts played Barney Fife, the bumbling deputy on The Andy Griffith Show, so well and so memorably that the part would come to define the man.

Don, who would have turned 92 today, July 21, spent the rest of his career trying to escape Barney’s long, slender shadow. And he very nearly succeeded. Today, Don is probably as well-known for his film work as he ever was for his tenure in television’s Mayberry. In autumnal appearances at conventions and book-signings, Don’s theatrical identity varied from fan to fan. Many remembered him as Barney Fife, but others knew him mostly through his work with Tim Conway in Disney’s Apple Dumpling films, while others would cry out “Attaboy, Luther,” in homage to his character in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.

don knotts and andy griffith in the andy griffith show, barney fife and sheriff taylorSheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) and Deputy Barney Fife (Don Knots)

By my count, Don starred in nine films, from the partially animated fantasy The Incredible Mr. Limpet in 1964 through the 1980 Sherlock Holmes spoof The Private Eyes, the last Conway-Knotts feature. Counting them is tricky; for example, my list of nine does not include The Apple Dumpling Gang, in which Don was not credited as a lead actor, but it does include The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, in which he was.

Don Knotts, The Incredible Mr LimpetDon Knotts, The Incredible Mr. Limpet

Don played supporting roles in many other films – - and such is Don’s star power that his face now appears front and center on the DVD covers for all or most of those films. To prove my point, I need only remind you that neither Conway nor Knotts was the star of The Apple Dumpling Gang: They are listed third and fourth in the credits, after Bill Bixby and Susan Clark.

Very few actors have the star power to carry even one film, let alone nine. But Don proved, early on, that his films could make money – - even those films in which he played a minor role, such as Gus, an absurd Disney feature about a football-playing mule. Don doesn’t do much in Gus, but it’s his face (and the mule’s) that adorns the DVD cover, and the film is marketed now as part of Walt Disney’s “Don Knotts Collection.”

Don Knotts, The Ghost and Mr. ChickenDon Knotts, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

Don’s movies were low-budget fare, sometimes released in tandem with other, truly schlocky features, generally to little fanfare. Yet, they always seemed to make money. And while none of them is a classic along the lines of Bringing Up Baby or even The Bad News Bears, most of Don’s films enjoy a fairly strong reputation today among film buffs. Don never starred in a bad film.

Several of Don’s films debuted in the lazy months of summer. Today, to celebrate his birthday, we remember three of them.

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The Shakiest Gun in the West, Don Knotts, movie poster

1. The Shakiest Gun in the West, released July 10, 1968.

This film was Don’s fourth as leading man and third under a five-film contract to Universal, which had established a successful formula with two previous entries, Mr. Chicken and The Reluctant Astronaut.  Shakiest Gun was a loose and ultimately successful remake of Paleface, a Bob Hope hit from 20 years earlier.

Don loved shooting a cowboy movie. He brought his children to the Shakiest Gun set to play extras.

The Shakiest Gun in the West, Don KnottsDon Knotts, The Shakiest Gun in the West

At 42, Don found himself acting opposite Barbara Rhoades, a tall, voluptuous redhead two decades his junior. Slackening Hollywood mores permitted the writers to script a memorable seduction scene. Barbara slinks into Don’s chamber and coos, “I’m sorry to bother you like this, but I have a terrible toothache,” as Don’s gaze drifts down toward her cleavage. He finally stammers, “Is it in your mouth?”

Don stumbles and fumbles around his patient, finally dropping his dental mirror into her dress. She grabs his wrists and pulls his face toward hers. “You know what I think?” she purrs.
“Mmm-mmm.” he replies, in a tiny voice.
“I think you’re very nice.”
“You know what I think?” he sputters weakly. “I think I might faint.”

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The Love God, Don Knotts, poster

 2. The Love God, released August 1969.

Don’s fourth Universal film, The Love God, strayed even farther from the G-rated Americana of The Andy Griffith Show. The story is a farcical commentary on the hypocrisy of the American sexual revolution. Don portrays the provocatively name Abner Peacock, publisher of  a bird magazine. A Larry Flynt-styled pornographer manages to dupe poor Abner into retooling Peacock as smut.

In perhaps the film’s finest scene, the curvaceous new editor of Peacock, played by screen beauty Ann Francis, tortures Abner by beseeching him to stay on as publisher while she rocks back and forth on a swivel-back chair in a hip-length mini-dress, as Abner rolls his eyes desperately skyward. One wonders whether this scene inspired another, immortalized by actress Sharon Stone two decades later in the film Basic Instinct.

The Love God, Don Knotts
Don Knotts, The Love God

The Love God pays only faint homage to Don’s Griffith Show past. As the camera pans across Abner’s hometown near the start of the film, the choir at Peacock City Community Church sings “Juanita,” the song Barney Fife had warbled over the telephone line to his unseen waitress paramour in more innocent times.

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The Apple Dumpling Gang, Don Knotts, poster

3. The Apple Dumpling Gang, released July 1, 1975.

By this time in his career, Don had every reason to believe his film career was over. He hadn’t headlined in three years, and the family comedy genre that had spawned The Shakiest Gun seemed to have played out. Then came a call from Disney, a studio that was almost singlehandedly sustaining the family genre.

It’s easy to forget now that Don Knotts and Tim Conway are secondary characters in The Apple Dumpling Gang, a story that revolves around a trio of orphaned children taken in by a reluctant gambler in the Old West. Happily, much of the comedy rests on Conway and Knotts as the bumbling robbers who attempt to relieve the urchins of a gold nugget before conscience intervenes.

Don Knotts and Tim Conway in The Apple Dumpling GangDon Knotts and Tim Conway in The Apple Dumpling Gang

Don hadn’t had a real partner since he left The Andy Griffith Show, nearly 10 years earlier. Conway, the resident maniac on television’s The Carol Burnett Show, was a far cry from Andy Griffith. Don was nearly a decade older than Tim and, at 50, just a notch slower on the draw than in his Barney Fife heyday. Now, for the first time, Don would be working with a comedian more highly caffeinated than himself.

Don and Tim ad-libbed much of their way through Apple Dumpling and three subsequent films, often with Tim leading the way. Here is a typical exchange:

Tim: How much money you figure that dude’s got in front of him?
Don: About $500.
Tim: That’s $500. Wow. That’d be… that’s $200 apiece.

The film’s comedic highpoint is an agonizing scene depicting Amos and Theodore laboring to remove a ladder from a firehouse without waking the fireman or his dog. The two actors improvised a clumsy ballet of silent-comedy tension.

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–Daniel de Visé for Classic Movie Hub

Daniel de Visé is Don Knotts’ brother-in-law and author of Andy and Don, a lively and revealing biography, and the definitive work on the legacy of The Andy Griffith Show and two of America’s most enduring stars. The book features extensive unpublished interviews with those closest to both men and a wealth of new information about what really went on behind the scenes. Click below to purchase Andy and Don on Amazon.

Posted in Posts by Daniel de Vise, TV Roles | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Max Fleischer Universe: Swing You Sinners

Born July 19, 1883 Max Fleischer…

As I write this blog on the very day that would have been MAX FLEISCHER’S 133rd birthday (Max was born in Krakow on July 19th 1883) I am here to sing the praises of what is to me the absolute apogee of FLEISCHER STUDIOS’ creative output — a groundbreaking landmark in the history of cinema, a celestial signpost in the history of surrealism.

I refer of course to that ever so curious transmaniacal one-off Talkartoon that sports no beloved Popeye or Betty Boop, but instead stars that mischievous deviant canine Bimbo (Betty Boop’s sometime boyfriend).

A stand-alone quirky testament to the rugged individualism and visionary genius that was the hallmark of the animation emanating from 1600 Broadway — ladies and gentlemen, I give you “SWING YOU SINNERS”:

“Swing You Sinners” 1930

Once you have absorbed this masterpiece you will never look at animation again as a medium pitched for children.

Basically this is the tale of Bimbo as a chicken thief on the run from the cops, who gets his come-uppance locked inside an anthropomorphic graveyard where he’s tortured and bedeviled by all sorts of variegated spooks and monsters on the Highway to Hell.

This  fascinating multifaceted gem was restored a few years ago, with the ubiquitous Dave Fleischer being given credit at the top as director. As chief gag-writer and schtick-meister Dave really shines here — this cartoon sports more inventive visual tropes than “Fantasia”. Willard Bowsky and Ted Sears are the listed animators, yet further research indicates that Fleischer mainstays George Cannata, Shamus Culhane, Al Eugster, William Henning, Grim Natwick, and Seymour Kneitel (my friend — and Max’s granddaughter — Ginny Mahoney’s Dad) also lent their considerable talents to animating it.

In this particular posting I am going to focus on the sensational music as heard throughout the cartoon — I will leave the awesome visuals and quirky mise-en-scene for another time.

The question haunting us Fleischer-philes for years is — who exactly provided the fantastic musical cues and spooky soulful voices heard throughout the cartoon? No musical entities are credited, and no one who is still among the living (this was made in 1930 remember) seems to definitively be able to recall. “Damned!!” as they say in the cartoon.

With the help of swing band leader Vince Giordano and jazz historian Will Friedwald, I have been able to fill in a few blanks here. Other facts I’ve unearthed about this cartoon are the result of sleuthing on the internet over many years.

Like many of the original Fleischer soundies, this animation does not seem to contain any original music per se composed especially for it, but instead uses medleys of popular songs somewhat transformed for the purposes of providing maximum merriment to the Fleischer’s general audience. Many in the audience would recognize these songs as they rolled quickly past them while becoming caught up in the dazzling visuals.

The title music (and the title of the cartoon itself) itself is a gloss on the hit foxtrot “Sing You Sinners”, with music by W. Franke Harling and lyrics by Sam Coslow, published by Famous Music (Paramount’s music publishing company — Paramount as you recall was Fleischer Studios’ distributor). Here it sounds like it is being sung by a Harlem gospel choir or black vaudevillians working at the Cotton Club.

You sinners, drop everything
And let that harmony ring
Up to Heaven
And sing, swing you sinners

Just wave your arms all about
And let the Lord hear you shout
Pour the music right out
And sing, swing you sinners

Whenever there’s music
The Devil kicks
He don’t allow music
By the river Styx

You’re wicked and you’re depraved
And you’ve all misbehaved
If you wanna be saved
Well, sing, swing you sinners

Max Fleischer Swing You Sinners 1930From “Swing You Sinners”

This song was already becoming well known and had been successfully recorded by the Harlem Hot Chocolates (a Duke Ellington small group) with vocals by Duke’s manager Irving Mills, as well as by Jewish Broadway star Lillian Roth in the 1930 Paramount film “Honey”:

Lillian Roth, “Sing You Sinners”

Lillian Roth actually made a Fleischer Screen Songs “Follow the Bouncing Ball” cartoon for Max Fleischer a few years later in 1933′s “Ain’t She Sweet”:

Lillian Roth, “Ain’t She Sweet”

At 1:36, the jaunty strains of the jazz classic “Down South” composed by William Middleton and originally released on Edison Records in 1927 by B.A. Rolfe and his Palais d’Or Orchestra is heard accompanying the antics of the strutting and squawking chicken being choked.

At 2:16 to 4:20 we hear the funereal strains of early jazz composer Rube Bloom’s award-winning piece ”Song of the Bayou (Spirituelle or Damon)”, which you can enjoy here in a version sung by Ben Bernie with his Orchestra released on Brunswick Records (also owned by Paramount):

Ben Bernie and his Orchestra, “Song of the Bayou”

In “Swing You Sinners” the lyrics “Oh Lord, please take away the darkness/ Oh Lord please take away the rain” have been changed to “Goodbye/ this is your finish brother/ You’re never gwine to get away — You’ll never rob another hen house/ You’ve sinned and now you must be damned” etc.,  reflecting the punitive measures in Hell about to be meted out to the chicken-stealing Bimbo as sung by the sepulchral offstage choir.

Swing You SinnersFrom “Swing You Sinners”

(By the way, at 3:32 the stereotypical bowler-hatted Jewish ghost in the graveyard who splays out both hands in front of Bimbo the thief and shrugs “You needed it?” in reference to the imminent loss of Bimbo’s soul is a reference to the famous dialect comedian Monroe Silver, who had a long career in vaudeville and as a comic recording artist, actually recording sides as Casey and Cohen with the voice of Bimbo (and all around Fleischer utility voice-over guy) Billy Murray.

Monroe Silver “Cohen at the Telephone”
Bill Murray
Swing_You_Sinners_1930_21_monroesilverFrom “Swing You Sinners”

The remainder of the soundtrack is simply the wildest ride, a hysterical variation on the “Sing You Sinners” verse and chorus melodies with pumping tubas, tail-gating trombones, and other manic Dixieland swing passages courtesy of Joe Tarto tuba, Bob Effros trumpet, and the great Tommy Dorsey trombone, along with other great NYC jazzers as yet unidentified. According to Vince, Jelly Roll Morton and Chick Webb sideman Ward Pinkett is probably also on trumpet on this session (and is possibly one of the scat singers).

There is also a breakdown section with Reverend Ike-ish testifying call and response sections from the choir and male soloists– fantastic comic vocal interjections on the order of “Brother you’re gonna get your face lifted!! And a permanent shave!!  Ha! Ha!! Ha!!! ” and “Where you want your body sent?” ” Body? Huh! There ain’ gonna be no body!! Ha! Ha!! Ha!!!”

The quality of the writing and wordplay in these sections is just astounding, at once both accessible and avant-garde (something I’ve always aspired to in my own music).

Brothers and sisters,
Come on get hot.
We’ll amputate your vo-do-dee-oh
And tie your bones in a knot.

Swing_You_Sinners_1930_41_razor2

swing-tombstone

swing-grave-1

swing-hatghosts

swing-nobodyFrom “Swing You Sinners”

I could go on, but you really have to experience it for yourself. I have seen “Swing You Sinners” dozens of times, and never grow tired of it. Part of it is the musical soundtrack. Despite it being muffled in places (blame this on primitive recording studios and techniques), fully assembled and constituted by Lou Fleischer of the Fleischer Studios Music Department it drives and swings like anything, the themes and sections going to major and minor keys many times back again throughout the soundtrack –with a final exultant major key resolution by the choir at the end as Bimbo gets swallowed up by a giant skull: SWING YOU SINNERS!!!

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–Gary Lucas for Classic Movie Hub

Swing You Sinners, skull, Fleischer cartoon 1930

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Dubbed “one of the best and most original guitarists in America” (Rolling Stone), Gary Lucas is a Grammy-nominated songwriter and composer, and an international recording artist with over 25 solo albums to date. As a fan of classic cinema, Gary tours extensively, playing live accompaniments to legendary horror films including Dracula, Frankenstein, and Vampyr among others. He has also recently released two classic-related albums: “Gary Lucas’ FLEISCHEREI: Music from Max Fleischer Cartoons” featuring 2015 Tony nominee Sarah Stiles as Betty Boop, and “Cinefantastique,” a collection of themes and incidental music from classic films, ranging from South Pacific to Psycho! You can learn more about Gary at GaryLucas.com or by following him on twitter @lucasgary.

 

 

Posted in Cartoons, Posts by Gary Lucas | Leave a comment

Announcing the Classic Movie ‘Hub Club’…

Join The Hub Club where you can
Get Exclusives, Earn Points and Win Prizes… yes, and it’s Free :)

CMH is sooooo happy to announce the launch of our ‘Hub Club’ – where fans can go to share content, earn points and win fun prizes — every month.  This is the perfect place to stay up-to-date on new CMH articles and our monthly contest promotions — as well as earn points to win even more prizes (that you can’t win here on this blog).

We’d love it if you’d check it out, and we’d also love to hear your feedback, as it is a work-in-progress.

And a Big Thank You to everyone for their continued support. We really appreciate it!

Join the Classic Movie Hub Club for your change to earn points and win prizes

And here are some of the Hub Club prizes you can win over the next few months…

Join the Classic Movie Hub Club for your chance to win these fun DVDsFor every 100 points you earn each month at The Hub Club, you will be automatically entered into our monthly Hub Club Sweepstakes. So, the more points you earn, the more entries you gain!

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

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“TCM Big Screen Classics: Planet of the Apes” Movie Event Ticket Giveaway (July 1 – July 16)

Win Tickets to see “Planet of the Apes”
on the Big Screen!
in Select Cinemas Nationwide July 24 & July 27!

CMH is thrilled to announce the next of our fabulous monthly movie ticket giveaways this year, courtesy of Fathom Events! That said, this month, we’ll be giving away SIX PAIRS of tickets to see “TCM Big Screen Classics: Planet of the Apes” on the Big Screen!

The film will be playing in select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day-only event on Sunday, July 24 and Wednesday, July 27 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time. (check theater listings hereplease note that there might be slightly different theater listings for each date)

That said, here’s how you can enter to win a pair of tickets:
In order to qualify to win a pair of movie tickets via this contest, you must complete the below task by Saturday, July 16 at 10PM EST.

We will announce the winner(s) on Twitter on Sunday, July 17, between 6PM EST and 7PM EST. If a winner(s) does not have a Twitter account, we will announce that winner(s) via this blog in the comment section below.

TCM Big Screen Classics: Planet of the Apes …..

ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, July 16 at 10PM EST…

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

THE QUESTION:
Why would you like the see “Planet of the Apes” on the Big Screen?

2) Then TWEET* (not DM) the following message:

Just entered to win tickets to see “Planet of the Apes” on the Big Screen courtesy of @ClassicMovieHub & @FathomEvents #TCMBigScreen 

*If you do not have a Twitter account, you can still enter the contest by simply answering the above question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog — BUT PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU ADD THIS VERBIAGE TO YOUR ANSWER: I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message.

About the film: Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall star in this legendary science fiction masterpiece. Astronaut Taylor (Heston) crash lands on a distant planet ruled by apes who use a primitive race of humans for experimentation and sport. Soon, Taylor finds himself among the hunted, his life in the hands of a benevolent chimpanzee scientist (McDowall).

IMPORTANT NOTE for all prizing: This is a special two-day-only event at select theaters nationwide on Sunday, July 24 and Wednesday, July 27 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time. Winners will be responsible for their own transportation to the Event. Only United States entries are eligible. Please click here before you enter to ensure that the Event is scheduled at a theater near you and that you are able to attend.

Please note that only United States residents are eligible to enter this giveaway contest. (see contest rules for further information)

BlogHub members ARE also eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States (as noted above).

You can follow Fathom Events on Twitter at @fathomevents

Can’t wait to win? You can buy tickets here:

Fandango - Movie Tickets Online

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Contests & Giveaways, Fathom Events, Posts by Annmarie Gatti, TCM Big Screen Classics | Tagged , , | 51 Comments

TCM Star of the Month: Olivia de Havilland

 

Turner Classic Movies: Star of the Month
Olivia de Havilland

 A lot can happen in a century. Between 1916 and 2016, there have been two world wars, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, the advent of the internet along with the rapid rise of globalization. Yes, the world has changed quite a bit in the last 100 years and TCM star of the Month, Olivia de Havilland has been around every step of the way.

Olivia de HavillandHappy 100th Birthday!

Born on July 1st, 1916, Olivia de Havilland is considered by many to be the last living star of Hollywood’s most golden of ages. She entered the magical world of movie making at age 18, with her screen debut in the 1935 low budget comedy Alibi Ike. However, it would be her two subsequent films that would shoot de Havilland into the realm of stardom. First she appeared in the star-studded, big-screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the film she played Hermia (In Love with Lysander-obviously). The film not only demonstrated the young actress’ abilities to “play with the big boys,” as her co-stars were towering Hollywood figures like James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, and Dick Powell, but showed her acting chops as the endearing ingenue, a role she would become synonymous with. Yes, de Havilland certainly made an impressive splash onto the scene, but her next role would prove to be even greater – helping to create one of the most memorable on-screen partnerships of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Olivia and ErrolLook at these two cuties

De Havilland’s final film of 1935 was as the leading lady in the Michael Curtiz action/adventure flick Captain Blood. To play the titular role of the enslaved medical doctor-turned-pirate captain, Warner Brothers decided on the then-unknown, Errol Flynn. The gamble of casting two relative newcomers as the leads in a large scale, million-dollar production proved to pay off, as the film went on to become one of the studio’s biggest money makers of the year. A large part of that success was, of course, the pairing of de Havilland and Flynn. Their natural chemistry and easy charm practically radiated off the silver screen, causing many in the public to assume they were a real-life item. They were not but, Warner Brothers knew they struck gold.

Their reign as the proverbial Prince and Princess of Hollywood would span eight films over the course of six years and include titles such The Charge of the Light Brigade, Dodge City, They Died with Their Boots On, and their most famous pairing, The Adventures of Robin Hood. But of course, de Havilland was much more than “Errol’s leading lady,” and wanted the world to know it. She would go on to prove her dramatic acting chops outside of the pair’s legendary union in her most famous of films, Gone with the Wind. 

Gone-With-The-WindThe most epic of love-triangles

As the kindly and gentle Melanie Hamilton Wilkes, de Havilland played the cinematic foil to the fiery and fierce leading lady, Scarlett O’ Hara. Every time I watch the film (which is at least once a year), I am always blown away by her performance. Yes, she could be described as just another ingénue but in de Havilland’s care, Melanie becomes something more. De Havilland’s delicate balance of Melanie’s physical frailty and spiritual tenacity give the character a strength equally as strong, but quite different, from O’Hara’s. Sure, you want Scarlett on your side in a bar fight, but it’s Melanie you approach to heal your wounds and tell you everything is going to be alright, even if you’ve just been shot. It is de Havilland’s ability to project a wisdom and maturity far beyond her years that adds layers of complexity to a seemingly simple character such as Melanie.  After each and every viewing I always think to myself. “Man, I wish Melanie was my BFF”. Scarlett just didn’t know what she had until it was gone.

De Havilland didn’t just play strong characters on the big screen, she was quite the force herself. In 1941, when her contract with Warner Brothers expired, the studio informed her that she still had six more months at the company due to her previous suspensions. At that time, studios had a contract clause that stated they were allowed to suspend any actor due to either refusal to take a certain role or for generally uncooperative behavior, and add that period of suspension onto the end of their contract period. While most actors accepted the terms, de Havilland decided she had enough of the big studios’ dictatorial control over their actors and went on to sue the studio for breach of contract.

Although an uphill battle that had been lost by many before her, including Bette Davis, de Havilland rallied the Screen Actors Guild behind her and won the case. The victory was one of the most important legal decisions in Hollywood history, taking away significant power from studios and giving their contract plays more control over the fate of their careers. To this day the ruling is still referred to as the “de Havilland Law.” To think that was over 70 years ago!

So, let us celebrate this lovely lady’s 100th birthday by tuning into TCM on Friday, July 1st at 9:15pm EST. We can all watch Gone with the Wind together, followed by The Adventures of Robin Hood (at 1:15am)! And, if that’s not enough Olivia for you, remember that, as TCM’s Star of the Month, you can watch her movies every Friday night in July on the channel.

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–Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Birthday Legends, Posts by Minoo Allen, TCM | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

“George Sanders: Memoirs of a Professional Cad” Book Giveaway Facebook/Blog Contest (July)

“George Sanders: Memoirs of a Professional Cad” Book Giveaway!
Qualifying Entry Task for Facebook/Blog Contest

Okay, now it’s time for the Facebook/Blog version of our “George Sanders: Memoirs of a Professional Cad” Giveaway contest! This time we’ll be giving away TWO copies of the book, courtesy of Dean Street Press. And, remember, we’re also giving away TEN MORE copies via Twitter this month as well, so please feel free to enter that contest too…

In order to qualify to win one of these prizes via this Facebook/Blog contest giveaway, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, July 30 at 9PM EST. We will pick two winners via a random drawing and announce them on Facebook and here on this Blog the day after the contest ends (Sunday July 31).

If you’re also on Twitter, please feel free to visit us at  @ClassicMovieHub for additional giveaways — because we’ll be giving away TEN MORE books there as well! (Click here for twitter contest details as well as more information about the book.)

george sanders autobiography giveaway

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ENTRY TASK to be completed by Saturday, July 30, 9 PM EST — 

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

THE QUESTION:
What do you love most about George Sanders? 

NOTE: if for any reason you encounter a problem commenting here on this blog, please feel free to tweet or DM us, or send an email to clas...@gmail.com and we will be happy to create the entry for you.

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About the Book: What might we dare to expect from an actor’s autobiography, even one from a star as personable as George Sanders? In the case of Memoirs of A Professional Cad, we possibly get more than we deserve. George Sanders undoubtedly led a colorful, glamorous and even action-packed life, spanning the peak years of Hollywood’s golden age. But the greatest joy of his memoirs is how funny they are, and how penetrating their author’s wit. Endlessly quotable, every chapter shows that the sardonic charm and intelligence he lent to the silver screen were not merely implied.

George’s early childhood was spent in Tsarist Russia, before he was obliged to flee with his family to England on the eve of the Russian Revolution. He survived two English boarding schools before seeking adventure in Chile and Argentina where he sold cigarettes and kept a pet ostrich in his apartment. We can only be grateful that George was eventually asked to leave South America following a duel of honor (very nearly to the death), and was forced to take up acting for a living instead.

Memoirs of A Professional Cad has much to say about Hollywood and the stars George Sanders worked with and befriended, not to mention the irrepressible Zsa Zsa Gabor who became his wife. But at heart it is less a conventional autobiography, and more a Machiavellian guide to life, and the art of living, from a man who knew a thing or two on the subject. So we are invited to share George’s thought-provoking views on women, friendship, the pros and cons of therapy, aging, possessions, and the necessity of contrasts (Sanders’ maxim: ‘the more extreme the contrast, the fuller the life’).

Previously out of print for many decades, Memoirs of A Professional Cad stands today as one of the classic Hollywood memoirs, from one of its most original, enduring and inimitable stars.

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Click here for the full contest rules.  

Please note that only Continental United States and Canadian entries are eligible.

And — BlogHub members ARE eligible to win in eligible territories (as noted above).

And if you can’t wait to win the book, you can purchase it on amazon via this link (or click on image):

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Good Luck!

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Books, Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , | 26 Comments

Mini Tribute: Moroni Olsen

Born June 27, 1889 Moroni Olsen

Moroni Olsen made his professional acting debut on Broadway in 1920 portraying Jason in Medea. He worked on Broadway until 1935 (with an 11 year break between 1922-1933), and then made his feature film debut as Porthos in The Three Musketeers opposite Walter Abel as d’Artagnan and Paul Lukas as Athos. Over the course of 20 years (1935-1955) he appeared in over 105 films, playing his share of doctors, preachers, lawyers and even corrupt villains. Some of his more ‘familiar’ roles include the voice of the Magic Mirror in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Herbert Dunstan (Buckley’s dad) in Father of the Bride (1950) and Father’s Little Dividend (1951), Robert E. Lee in Santa Fe Trail, Inspector Peterson in Mildred Pierce, Walter Beardsley in Notorious — and the Senior Angel who sends Clarence down to earth in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Moroni Olsen, as himself and as the Magic Mirror in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

“Over the seven jeweled hills, beyond the seventh fall, in the cottage of the Seven Dwarfs, dwells Snow White, fairest of them all.”
- Moroni Olsen as the Magic Mirror in Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs

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It's a Wonderful Life, beginning scene, Moroni Olsen, angels talking

Senior Angel (Olsen): Yes, Clarence. A man down on earth needs our help.
Clarence (Henry Travers): Splendid. Is he sick?
Senior Angel: No worst. He’s discouraged. At exactly 10:45 pm earth time, that man will be thinking seriously about throwing away God’s greatest gift.

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Mini Tributes, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Max Fleischer Universe: Brother Dave Fleischer

Dave Fleischer, the Creative Soul of the Fleischer Studios…  

In addressing the phenomenon of legendary Max Fleischer and his pioneering animation empire, it is hard not to give the biggest of props to Max’s younger brother Dave – the listed director (although more often the actual producer, as the lead animators were often the main directors) of hundreds of Fleischer’s Out of the Inkwell, Inkwell Imps, Ko-Ko Song Car-Tunes, Betty Boop, Popeye, and Superman cartoons.

He was known as an outrageous cut-up and wit, a shpritzer and a tummler as they say in Yiddish, in contrast to Max Fleischer’s dapper, upright and avuncular persona — and is credited as the chief gag-writer and basically show-runner of the studio’s influential and massive creative animation output during the Golden Age of Fleischer Studios.

Dave Fleischer  in the Chaplin-authored film "Trocadero" (1944)Dave Fleischer  in the Chaplin-authored film “Trocadero” (1944)

There were four  Fleischer brothers in all, originally hailing from Krakow Poland, sons of a Jewish tailor, who evinced notable creative sparks in their youth before emigrating to America in 1887 and growing up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. All were keen students of American popular culture, no more so than the two most famous Fleischer brothers, Max and Dave Fleischer.

In 1914, Max perfected the Rotoscoping process, tracing over live footage to produce a smoothly articulated animation, using his brother Dave as his model. Dressed in a clown’s suit and cavorting on camera in the Fleischer garage,  Dave “was” Koko the Clown, and became the living persona of this beloved character, after Max had created 2500 drawings and put in a year’s work on the cartoon. Max’s test reel was the most impressive innovation in animation history for the time, and duly received a US government patent in 1915.

Dave Fleischer in Koko the Clown get-up for the first rotoscoped cartoon 1914

Dave Fleischer in Koko the Clown get-up for the first rotoscoped cartoon 1914

These Koko the Clown cartoons became very popular during the silent film era as part of the Fleischer’s early Out of the Inkwell series, transitioning into the early sound cinema. Here’s one of the best, 1919′s “The Tantalizing Fly” featuring Max Fleischer himself on camera and his brother Dave rendered as the Koko the Clown cartoon character:

And here is “Koko’s Earth Control,” the most avant-garde of the Out of the Inkwell series (re-titled Inkwell Imps eventually):

FYI, I have performed a live National steel guitar soundtrack live to this most psychedelic and apocalyptic of all the early Fleischer cartoons:

Gary Lucas performing with his 1926 National steel guitar a live soundtrack to "Koko's Earth Control" at the AFI Silver Theater Feb. 2016

Gary Lucas performing with his 1926 National steel guitar a live soundtrack to “Koko’s Earth Control” at the AFI Silver Theater Feb. 2016

Segueing into the sound-driven era of racy, quasi-adult-themed early Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons,  madman Dave inexorably became the creative soul of the Fleischer Studios cartoon enterprise, tirelessly driving his animating team to achieve new heights of innovation in design and story lines, spontaneously inventing new gags and bits of business on the spot that make these cartoons the ne plus ultra of hip, gritty, and sophisticated animated fare while maintaining a kind of wily NYC-based Jewish street-smarts (the Fleischer Brothers did hail from Brownsville Brooklyn after all, home of infamous Jewish tough guys Louis “Lepke” Buchalter and Abe “Kid Twist” Reles). If Dave was the creative soul of the organization, Max was definitely the heart as the composed gentlemanly public face of the company.

Dave Fleischer, composer Sammy Timberg, and Lou Fleischer, head of Fleischer Studios Music. Dept., at the piano

Dave Fleischer, composer Sammy Timberg, and Lou Fleischer, head of Fleischer Studios Music. Dept., at the piano

Max Fleischer’s ongoing feuds with his brother Dave are the stuff of legend, the result of two temperamentally mis-matched siblings trying to run a creative enterprise together. When Fleischer moved their operation outside Miami in the late 30′s to begin work on their first feature-length animation “Gulliver’s Travels” (a success d’estime and a critical hit, including a rave review in the NY Times — but bombs-ville with the paying audience — although stories of under and non-reported overseas and domestic box-office receipts on this and other Fleischer meisterwerks continue to haunt the Fleischer narrative), they took out a hefty 2 million dollar loan from their distributor Paramount to finance the move south and set up shop in a spiffy new animation complex the size of a full city block:

Fleischer new animation complex

From all accounts, Dave was a complete handful and a thorn-in-the-side to his straight-laced brother Max during this southern sojourn, and legends of Dave’s personal stock ticker-tape machine in his office, adulterous affair with his secretary, and frequent trips to the track further compounded their communication breakdown, resulting in the brothers not speaking to each other in Miami.

Word eventually filtered back to the Paramount front office, and, with “Gulliver’s Travels” tanking in theaters, in a bloody coup Paramount called in their 2-milliion dollar marker about 8 years earlier than had been promised to the hapless brothers.

With the Fleischers unable to make their payroll (their sizable workforce included veteran animators from NYC and Disney’s operation on the West Coast, as well as wet-behind-the-ears kids straight out of Miami art-schools), Paramount swooped down and re-organized the company as Famous Studios. Max, heart-broken, up and left straightaway in Dec. 1941, while Dave lingered on to oversee completion in Hollywood of their second animated feature, “Mr. Bug Goes to Town”:

Dave Fleischer overseeing animated rendering of one of the models deployed for "Mr. Bug Goes to Town" (1941)Dave Fleischer overseeing animated rendering of one of the models deployed for “Mr. Bug Goes to Town” (1941)

Dave stayed in LA to become president of Screen Gems for Columbia Pictures, followed by a stint at Universal, while Paramount re-organized Fleischer Studios as Famous Studios under animator Seymour Kneitel and other key production people, who oversaw completion of their excellent “Superman” cartoon series.

In 1969 Dave Fleischer retired to Woodland Hills Ca., where my former mentor Captain Beefheart’s legendary “Trout Mask Replica” album was rehearsed and partially recorded that same year in a little cabin in the woods not that far from Dave’s retirement home.

I like to think that some of Dave’s creative genius seeped into fellow creative art genius Don Van Vliet (a/k/a Captain Beefheart) by proximity.

Dave Fleischer died of a stroke on June 25th 1979 – an animation pioneer who should be a lot better known today.

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–Gary Lucas for Classic Movie Hub

Dubbed “one of the best and most original guitarists in America” (Rolling Stone), Gary Lucas is a Grammy-nominated songwriter and composer, and an international recording artist with over 25 solo albums to date. As a fan of classic cinema, Gary tours extensively, playing live accompaniments to legendary horror films including Dracula, Frankenstein, and Vampyr among others. He has also recently released two classic-related albums: “Gary Lucas’ FLEISCHEREI: Music from Max Fleischer Cartoons” featuring 2015 Tony nominee Sarah Stiles as Betty Boop, and “Cinefantastique,” a collection of themes and incidental music from classic films, ranging from South Pacific to Psycho! You can learn more about Gary at GaryLucas.com or by following him on twitter @lucasgary.

 

Posted in Cartoons, Posts by Gary Lucas | 2 Comments