Buster Keaton films on TCM on 8/19/19

TCM will be showing a big selection of both his silent and sound films:

Silent films: Battling Butler, The Cameraman, The General, Sherlock, Jr., Seven Chances, Steamboat, Bill, Jr., The Navigator

They’re all great. The General is considered the best. I am partial to Steamboat Bill, Jr. which has the amazing stunt of the house front falling down around him (see below). The Cameraman was his first film for MGM and is as good as his earlier films which were made without studio restrictions. I have seen rumors that it will be released by Criterion.

The rest are sound films. I haven’t seen the ones from the 1930s that were made for MGM but they are not nearly as well thought of as his silent features.

TCM is also showing the excellent recent documentary, The Great Buster.

His pre-MGM films have been released on Blu-ray and DVD by Kino Lorber. Cohen has begun issuing Blu-rays with new transfers. The MGM films from the 1930s have been released on DVD by Warner Brothers.

Keaton at Yankee Stadium in The Cameraman
from Steamboat Bill, Jr.

The Great McGinty on TCM 8/13/19 at 8 pm

The Great McGinty (1940) was the first film directed by Preston Sturges and it’s one of his best.

Blobfest 2019

I went to Blobfest for the fourth time on July 13, 2019. I saw a double bill of The Blob and Forbidden Planet. The audience is like the people who attended The Rocky Horror Picture Show events. They really know the movie and clap along with the rhythm of the theme song. For the first time that I have seen, the audience laughed at the end when the blob is taken to the Arctic because it is frozen. We know that it is thawing because of global warming.

I also posted YouTube videos I found about this year’s Blobfest.

It’s great to see the movie in the theater that is in the movie – see this clip from The Blob. There is now a plaque near the windows of the projection booth.

Pretty Poison

“Pretty Poison” (1968) is well worth seeing. I think you will get more out of it if you are familiar with the careers of the stars Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld. Their prior films (especially Perkins in “Psycho”) give the audience expectations about which of the two characters is really crazy. It’s a real shock when you realize the true answer.

This article is about “Pretty Poison” and “Gun Crazy”, movies with similar relationships between the main characters.

Kurosawa on the Criterion Channel

The Criterion Channel subscription service is showing 27 films by the great Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa.

Where to begin? I would start with Yojimbo, a samurai film that has lots of action and is surprisingly funny. The good guy is so tough and the bad guys are so inept and weak. It’s sequel, Sanjuro, is not as good but also worth seeing. I prefer them to his better known earlier epic Seven Samurai.

Among his dramatic films set in the Japan of the 1950s and 1960s, I suggest Ikiru, which is about a terminally ill bureaucrat. I also recommend High and Low which is about a ransom effort and police investigation.

Kurosawa’s 100 favorite films