The latest on Blu-ray and DVD, including Boy Erased, Suspiria, The Sisters Brothers, Widows, and a Criterion edition of In the Heat of the Night.
Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront" has been discussed endlessly by film fans, critics and film historians. It's easy to see why, for "On the Waterfront" can be studied from various perspectives. On the one hand the film reflects a time in history when some Americans named names before the House of Un-American Activities Committee much like Terry Malloy does in court. It has also been argued to be Kazan's answer to Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible" or his redemption and justification for falling victim of Joseph McCarthy's witch-hunt of the 1950's.
It's the player piano roll, the 8-track cartridge, the Apple Newton, the Microsoft Bob (or Microsoft Sidewalk) of its day -- the 1981 RCA SelectaVision Capacitance Electronic Disc! Basically, it looked like a grooved black vinyl LP in a plastic sleeve, but it played video instead of music: "The magic of the RCA VideoDisc, a simple, affordable record that, like magic, can bring not just sound, but sound and pictures -- clear, beautiful pictures -- right into your living room! A record that can bring you 'Casablanca'... or Miss Piggy... or Woody Allen... or 'The Godfather'..." My favorite moment in the promo above is when Jesus approaches Rod Steiger and the chorus sings: "Bring the magic home -- with R-C-A!" Remember, too, RCA was the company that brought you the [ahem!] miraculous new Dynagroove and Dynaflex long-playing record formats.
Like its flat circular competition, the silvery 12-inch pre-CD/DVD optical storage disc systems known as DiscoVision or LaserDisc, you also had to turn it over to play, say, the "second side" of a feature film. Discs cost $15 and players between $299 and $500. Sans remote, apparently. None of these new LP-sized disc systems quite caught on with the general public. Soon, Compact Discs would set the standard for optical storage at a diameter of 122 mm (about 4.72 inches), which would also be used for CD-ROMs, DVDs, and DVD-Rs. The question of why digital information of any sort should be encoded onto a cumbersome physical object (requiring needlessly complex delivery systems including shipping, packaging, storage space, a player/recorder separate from the media itself...) is the a technological challenge "home entertainment" companies are still trying to figure out.
View image "Our master video tape has gone to Mastering Control..."
The above is a six-minute overview ("Bring the Magic Home" -- look for the trademark skip/stutter in the "Lady Sings the Blues clip), archived by databits, who offers quite a collection of ancient technology guides and promos at YouTube. To watch a guided tour of the SelectaVision production process (including a peek inside the lab with a guy in a shower cap), you can (as they used to say in the early days of the World Wide InterWebs), click here (for Part 1) and here (for Part 2).
"To the people behind the scenes, the people at RCA, it begins with raw materials as pure as those used in medicines -- plus a myriad of parts and procedures."
The seventh annual Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park will open with James Dean as a rebel without a cause, and end with Ferris Bueller as a rebel with one. The series of seven free Tuesday evening screenings, which draw crowds upward of 14,000, unspools starting July 18 at Butler Field, Monroe and South Lake Shore. The schedule of this year's festival, which is presented by the Mayor's Office of Special Events, Commonwealth Edison, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Film Office, was released today.
Rod Steiger, who lived with a laugh that filled a room and a depression that consumed a decade, died Tuesday. The actor, who played more than 100 roles over 55 years and won an Oscar and two nominations, was 77. The cause of death, pneumonia and kidney failure, would have disappointed him: "I want to die in front of the camera," he liked to say.
It is 2 a.m. in the disco on board the Holland-America cruise ship Ryndam, and Richard Corliss, the film critic of Time magazine, is onstage during the traditional karoke night of the 4th Almost Annual Floating Film Festival. To the tune of "Don't Be Cruel," he's singing his own lyrics, which involve recent developments in the Chinese cinema.
DALLAS -- "Oklahoma!" opens with one of the most familiar moments in all of musical comedy, as a cowboy comes singing out of the dawn, declaring "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!" I've seen that moment many times, and it never fails to thrill me, but I've never seen it quite as I saw it here last Monday night, when the movie played during the USA Film Festival.
They'd been waiting since eight in the morning, and now it was noon, and still there was no sign of Sylvester Stallone. The fans stood behind the police barricades around Sacred Heart Church, where a scene from Norman Jewison's "F.I.S.T", was going to be shot later that day.
Fourteen months we were trying to get someone to believe in that picture," Raymond Stross said. "We had our own money in it. All of our money. Everything except the house. And all the time people were telling us, make a Hollywood picture. Make a commercial picture. 'The Fox' will never make a dime."