ANNOUNCEMENT: Athletes in Film Blogathon

It’s almost spring, and the blogathons are blooming like crazy! Here’s another tasty one for your perusal!

Once upon a screen...

Today I consider myself the luckiest woman on the face of the Earth.  Well…OK.  Maybe that’s overselling this a bit, but I am thrilled to be co-hosting a blogging event with my friend and colleague Rich from Wide Screen World.  The event is the Athletes in Film Blogathon and we look forward to your participation.

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The Athletes in Film Blogathon will focus on former athletes who became actors.  Examples are Charles Reisner, Johnny Weissmuller, Esther Williams and Sonja Henie.  You can also choose to write about films that feature athletes with obvious examples being Pat and Mike (1952), The Pride of the Yankees (1942), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), and Raging Bull (1980) among others.  There are many movies and characters to choose from and we hope you get creative.  In hopes of getting a wide range of submissions we will not be accepting duplicate topic entries.  Also, films from all eras…

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ANNOUNCING “THE ANIMALS IN FILM BLOGATHON”

‘Tis the season for fun blogathons. Here’s another one!

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood.

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What do Lassie, Black Beauty and Rin Tin Tin have in common? They are all animals that disseminate cuteness into a movie and make audiences fall in love with them.

Animals have been enchanting movie-goers world wide for decades with their charm, cuteness and lovable companionship. Whether they are dogs, horses, cats, dolphins, you name it, they are all amiable living creatures who belong in this world and are entitled to a fair go of life.

In most movies these animals possess adorableness that you just want to cuddle them, but in some cases the animals have proved to be downright villainous which make the characters run for their life.

My family and I have always been animal lovers. My Mum grew up with two German Shepherds, while my Dad’s childhood and teenage years were memorable whenever he was surrounded by the many German Shepherds that his family owned. I also inhabit…

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Announcing…the Reel Infatuation Blogathon (and Pop Culture Platform)!

Unique idea for a movie blogathon!

A Small Press Life

Reel Infatuation Banner-Clara Bow

Fictional characters. Sometimes you like them, sometimes you loathe them, and sometimes you’re half in love with them. Want to get to know someone in a hurry? Swap character crush stories; it’s the ultimate icebreaker!

Reel Infatuation is a reader participation virtual cyclopedia of character crushes. It’s a symbiotic, interactive platform built on the old-fashioned notion of give-and-take. We want to hear all about your film, television, and literary loves! Are your stories sweet, silly, embarrassing, or seemingly inexplicable? Share ’em! First crushes, old crushes, new crushes? Bring ’em on! You show us yours, and we’ll show you ours!

Reel Infatuation Banner-Jagger

Our goal is to share as many character crush stories with as many people as possible. Think of it as a continuing conversation joined by thousands of voices from around the world: you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll occasionally be totally confused. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Reel Infatuation is comprised of…

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THE INCREDIBLE JEWEL ROBBERY (1959) – The Marx Brothers’ day at the finish line

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Today is the 57th anniversary of the TV broadcast of the Marx Brothers’ final filmed appearance together. (Whew, that was a mouthful!)  Harpo and Chico Marx appeared as Harry and Nick, two inept thieves who try to pull off a jewelry heist, in “The Incredible Jewel Robbery,” an episode of “General Electric Theater,” a CBS anthology series that was hosted by future U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

(From here on in, this blog entry is one big SPOILER, if you care.)

The episode is primarily noted for its cameo appearance by the stars’ brother Groucho at the end. The episode is played completely without dialogue until the final scene, where Groucho joins his brothers in a police line-up and says, “We don’t talk until we see our lawyer!”

CBS’ press release for the show stated, “If you watch the show you’ll see a familiar face equipped with mustache and leer. Because of his contract terms [Groucho was still doing ‘You Bet Your Life’ on NBC], his name can’t be mentioned, but he is not Jerry Colonna.”

I was 11 years old when I first read about this TV episode, and I felt as though I’d have given anything to see it. Now it is readily available for viewing on YouTube — it’s embedded below, in two parts — and it couldn’t be more disappointing.

First, the entire premise is played out at such a literal level that even a kindergartener would be rolling his eyes at it. At one point, Harpo is trying to paint a police-car logo onto his car to make it look like a cop car. The logo is circular, so Harpo gets a spare tire, holds it up to the car, and traces the outside of it with his paintbrush in order to paint a circle. Haw-haw.

Second, the silent-movie conceit would be a lot more enjoyable if the show was truly silent. The episode’s musical score is loud and intrusive, and worse, there’s a laugh track all the way through the show to tell us when we’re supposed to guffaw. Since when do the Marx Brothers need a laugh track to tell us they’re funny?

Sadly, this is a show for comedy completists who feel as though they have to see everything their heroes ever did, rather than having entertainment value on its own. Once you’ve viewed “The Incredible Jewel Robbery” one time, your curiosity will be more than satisfied.

Here’s Part 1:

And Part 2:

 

 

#SatMat Live Tweet movie for Sat., Mar. 19: VIOLATED (1953)

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Violated isn’t really as bad as it looks. It also isn’t as good as it looks. What it mostly proves is that Ed Wood wasn’t the only guy with minimal talent and a clouded view of social issues to get hold of a movie camera in the 1950’s.

The movie purports to be about New York policemen trying to track down a psychopath who inexplicably scalps each victim he kills. But the movie’s viewpoint is nearly as deluded as that of its lead murderer. It has gritty, on-location photography that gets you hopeful for a ripped-from-the-headlines ’50s expose movie, only to let you down with pasty-faced non-actors looking as though they’re reading off cue cards.

And for a movie that presents itself as a cautionary tale, it has some weirdly nonchalant characters. There’s an aspiring model who falls hook, line, and sinker for a total stranger’s story that he’s a professional photographer who wants to boost her career. And when the girl goes home to tell her mother about the guy, the mother is strangely unhesitant about letting her daughter go off with him…which starts to leave you with little doubt as to the basis for the movie’s title.

(And let us pay tribute to Tony Mottola’s astounding musical score, played entirely on guitar and sounding like Django Reinhardt after a bender.)

So join us on Twitter.com this Saturday for some grindhouse giddiness. Heck, it’s only 67 minutes of your life wasted!