Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A Guy Named Joe (1943)

Beautifully-made romantic drama about a fighter pilot (Spencer Tracy) who dies in combat and returns as a spiritual guide to a young aviator who happens to fall in love with the woman whom Tracy left behind. Directed with real sincerity and understated but powerful emotion by Victor Fleming. Tracy never hits a false note in his performance and the entire film works in large part thanks to his masterful skill.

Annie Oakley (1935)

Barbara Stanwyck as ANNIE OAKLEY (1935)
The life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley is an interesting subject for a biopic, although it's made routine and predictable with the fictionalized, imposed romance plot that drives this picture. Barbara Stanwyck is excellent in the title role, however, and brings the right mix of charm and energy to the film that helps carry it through its dull moments. The supporting cast includes Preston Foster as her sharpshooter lover, Melvyn Douglas as the "other man", and Moroni Olsen in a colorful performance as Buffalo Bill.

It's in the Bag (1945)

Adapted from Ilf and Petrov's story about a fortune hidden inside one of a set of chairs. Fred Allen is a flea circus owner who comes in to a fortune -- but he has to find it first, and sets out on a mad hunt through New York City to locate the chair containing the money. Typical of Allen's acerbic, absurdist style of comedy. Contains fun cameos including his old radio rival Jack Benny.

Monday, May 27, 2019

My Ebook "Return to the Kingdom of Shadows" is Now Available

I realize that things have been pretty quiet on this blog for the past few months. That's because I've been working on putting together my first ebook, "Return to the Kingdom of Shadows", a collection of my writing on film that I have done over the years from this blog and other outlets that I have written for. After almost 15 years of writing about film online, I decided it was time to collect a selection of my favorite writings in one place.

This book is a celebration of cinema, from the earliest experiments of Edison and the Lumiere Brothers, to the independent cinema of today. Among the pieces collected in this book are selected film reviews, essays and articles I have written for various online outlets over the years, as well as this blog. With an eye toward both film history and the new directions in which the art of cinema is continually evolving, this book is a tribute to some of my favorite films -- movies that continue to inspire and entertain.

The ebook can be purchased at Lulu, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

I was recently interviewed by Zekefilm about my book, in which I talk about the importance of early film, studying film history, and the significance of the book's title. You can listen to the interview here.