Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Warner Archive Wednesday ~ The Wrath of God (1972)

The Wrath of God (1972) is a Western filled with fake blood, guns, whiskey and dust. Based on a novel by James Graham, the film stars Robert Mitchum  as Father Van Horne, a gun-toting Catholic priest from the Boston Diocese, or so he says, traveling Central America looking for a bottle of booze to drink, a cigar to smoke and people to bless. It's the 1920s and Prohibition makes whiskey smuggling a profitable venture. Irishman Emmett (Ken Hutchison) thinks he is smuggling whiskey for Jennings (Victor Buono) but really he's smuggling guns. Emmett saves a local Indian girl Chela (Paula Pritchett) from being raped by a bunch of local gangsters. But when the gangsters hold Emmett and Chela prisoner, it's assault rifle toting Father Van Horne who comes to save the day.

Caught with the smuggled guns, Emmett and Father Van Horne are thrown in jail along with Jennings who was already caught. Instead of being executed, Colonel Santilla (John Colicos) gives them a mission. This Unholy Trinity, the father (Robert Mitchum's Father Van Horne), the son (Ken Hutchison's Emmett) and the Holy Ghost (Victor Buono's Jennings) are to assassinate the corrupt leader of the city of Mojata (not 100% sure of the name), Thomas De La Plata (Frank Langella). De La Plata has been terrorizing his people, creating a ring of terror with lots of executions of his people. His death would help ease the tensions in already terrorized nation. Any priest to step foot in Mojata will be killed and anyone helping the priest will also be executed which makes things difficult for Father Van Horne.

The Unholy Trinity set out a plan to settle in Mojata and lure De La Plata so they can kill him. Emmett and Jennings pretend to be business men interested in the town's mining industry and Father Van Horne does what he does best.

This is Rita Hayworth's final movie. She plays Senora De La Plata, the terrorizing leader's mother who finds solace in the idea of a Priest helping the town. She delivers a fine performance even with her early struggles with Alzheimer's.

Despite so many interesting characters, this is really Robert Mitchum's movie. It's all about the Father Van Horne, his religious savvy and his guns. He's a bad ass priest who is looking to kick some dictatorial butt and take names.

 (Anyone know why the scene in which Father Van Horne provides religious services to the town is grainier than the rest of the film? It's as though a filter was added on purpose. The best I could come up with is that the filter is like the screen in a priest's confessional).

The Wrath of God is an action-packed Western with some humorous moments and a little bit of a love story. It explores the oppression of people by the suppression of religion and the paralyzing of civilians by the instillment of fear through widespread executions, many which happen publicly. The film starts off a bit slow but once the Unholy Trinity are assigned their mission and as we see Robert Mitchum's Father Van Horne lead the pack, the pace of the story picks up. I'm usually not a big fan of Westerns but I really did enjoy this one.

Warner Archive Wednesday - On (random) Wednesdays, I review one title from the Warner Archive Collection. I received The Wrath of God (1972) from Warner Archive for review.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Love With the Proper Stranger (1963)

Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) is a darling film. Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen star as Angie and Rocky two Italian-Americans living in New York City who are in a bit of a quandary. Their recent passionate rendezvous has resulted in an unwanted pregnancy. Angie, a Macy's shop girl, searches for Rocky, a jazz musician, to tell him the news. He barely even remembers her but now they are inextricably linked with the growing consequence of their previous actions. Angie and Rocky plan to seek an abortionist but decide against it when it comes to the actual event. What do they do now? Get married? Move on?

This film is really two stories. First it's the story of Angie and Rocky seeking an abortion. The second is their complicated love story. Despite the heavy and controversial subject of abortion, which at the time was still illegal, this is a very sweet and gentle story about two young people in the city finding themselves thrown together in an interesting story.

I very much enjoyed the performances of Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen. Wood was a lot more subtle in her role as Angie as she had been in some other films of hers I've seen. Seeing this side of Natalie Wood was a lot more palatable for me that's for sure! Out of the two, Steve McQueen's character Rocky was my favorite. It's very easy to develop a little crush on Rocky when you watch him become protective and caring of Angie.

Tom Bosley has a supporting role (his movie debut!) as Anthony Columbo, the restauranteur boyfriend of Angie that her mom and brothers picked out for her. I really adored his character. He genuinely cares for Angie and I loved the opposing scenes in which he finds himself being very clumsy when visiting Angie's family and Angie finds herself being very clumsy when she visits Anthony's family.

Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) is just the sort of quiet movie I really enjoy. It doesn't have some big message, it's not trying to fulfill some grandiose purpose and it's not trying to be something huge. It's just a simple human story that makes you feel and makes you think all while entertaining you.
I would vote for this film to NOT be a part of any discussion of abortion. I think it's just a love story and it should be left at that. It's from a different time and circumstances were different so it's really not an appropriate film to use in the modern day debate on abortion. Also, do not think this is an abortion movie because it's not. It's a love story!

This film is not available on DVD. It's a Paramount film and most of us know how difficult it is to get our hands on some of the films from that studio! Maybe Love with the Proper Stranger is part of the 600 Paramount films Warner Bros. acquired distribution rights for (see that news here). For now, it can be occasionally seen on Turner Classic Movies.

A BIG THANK YOU to Paul from Art, Movies, Wood and Whatnot who sent me a recording of this movie from a TCM broadcast. I am forever indebted to him for so graciously sending me this film! Thank you!

An aside:
To those of you who are bakers, I did find a goof in the scene in which Anthony is baking a cake. He takes the cake out of the oven and Angie helps loosen it from the bundt pan. At one point she burns her hand. She runs her hands under cold water but Anthony's mother slaps butter on her hand. Funny thing is that the cold water would have helped her infinitely more so than the butter! The cold water helps stop the burning. Once you burn yourself, your flesh continues to burn until it cools down. Anyways, a few moments later, Anthony brings out a perfectly frosted cake to serve to Angie, his mom and his sisters. Earlier in the scene I proclaimed to Carlos " I hope he's not thinking of frosting that cake while it's hot!". In timing, he would have had to frost a hot cake in order to have brought it out so quickly. Any baker knows that a cake needs time to cool before frosting. Otherwise the frosting will melt and you'll end up with a gloopy glaze rather than smooth frosting!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Catching Up with Quelle (14)

January, a Month of Liars - During this month of January, several liars have been publicly exposed. First there was Lance Armstrong's doping scandal and televised confession to Oprah, then it came to light that Manti Te'o's dead girlfriend wasn't a real person, Beyonce may have lip synced the national anthem at the President's inauguration and Jodi Arias, accused of murdering Travis Alexander, lied twice and a jury in Arizona is trying to figure out if her third story is a lie or the truth. (My thoughts on Beyonce and my thoughts on Jodi Arias)

Classic film fans on Twitter found themselves face-to-face with another liar. Someone pretending to be Shirley Temple on Twitter. I fell for it and so did a lot of other people. Shirley Temple wouldn't be the first classic film star on Twitter. Both Shirley MacLaine and Debbie Reynolds have accounts. For a few folks, Shirley on Twitter was too good to be true and her tweets were deemed suspicious. Reps of the retired actress confirmed that the account was a hoax and it was quickly turned into a SPAM account. I guess having a major figure of film history on Twitter is too good to be true. If you ever see a Mickey Rooney or Deanna Durbin account on Twitter, don't believe it! (Watch Ben Stiller explain Twitter to Mickey Rooney).

Recording of Cary Grant on the Phone with his daughter - Posted by Warner Archive on their Tumblr, this is absolutely charming. Listen to it here.

I highly recommend the memoir Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father by Jennifer Grant. You can read my review of the book here.

Hats, Hats, Hats! - The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA currently has an exhibition devoted to Hats. And I just love hats so it was imperative that I attend. For the occasion I wore my best cloche hat, a cream and black wonder made by the San Diego Hat company and acquired from Kate Gabrielle. I got so many compliments on my hat and someone even asked to take my picture. Wow!

We all know hats were an important accessory in classic movies. Hats are not as appreciated today as they were back then but that should change! I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside the exhibit unfortunately. We did get to see hats worn by Charles Boyer, Marlene Dietrich and a couple 1940s toppers from model and burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese's collection. It wasn't the best exhibit and there were an unfortunate paucity of men's hats but I still had a great time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Warner Archive Wednesday ~ Dancing Co-Ed (1939)

What a rush it is to discover a movie that becomes a new favorite. I love that feeling, the moment of discovery, the wash of pleasure that passes over you and the settling in of contentment.

Dancing Co-Ed is from the golden year of 1939. There must have been something magical in the water in Hollywood in 1939 because it was consistently a good year for movies, even B ones.

Dancing Co-Ed (1939) is an MGM production starring Lana Turner, Richard Carlson, Ann Rutherford (she was the last surviving cast member when she passed away last year) and features popular musician Artie Shaw, Lana Turner's soon-to-be first husband.

The Dancing Tobins are a married dancing duo who are famous for their movies. When ToddyTobin announcing she's expecting their first child, it leaves Freddy Tobin without a dance partner for their upcoming movie Dancing Co-Ed. Producer Joe Drews (Roscoe Karns) has promised Patty (Lana Turner) a part in the picture but now it all seems unlikely. Drews, under pressure to make the film without a major star, comes up with the idea of a college contest in which unknowns try out for the part in the movie. They'll send Artie Shaw and his Orchestra to perform at the college and it would get the movie studio great publicity. But Joe Drews and Freddy Tobin don't want to risk the movie being a flop so they chose a dancer to replace Mrs. Tobin and plant her at a college so she can pretend to be a student, enter the contest and win. And that dancer is Lana Turner's Patty.

It's a "potato of an idea"! Joe Drews sends Patty with his secretary Eve (Ann Rutherford) who will accompany her as a student, keep an eye out for her and help her with all the academic stuff. At the college they meet Pug Braddock (Richard Carlson), a college student and editor of the school's newspaper The Porcupine. He thinks the contest is a scam and is investigating it. But he also has a crush on Patty not knowing she's the contest's plant. While rehearsals and auditions are going on, Patty has to keep Pug off her back. She comes up with a new potato of an idea that she'll "help" Pug with his investigation so that she'll be ruled out. It all becomes a lovely complicated mess as the big contest date looms.

Dancing Co-Ed is charming and fun. It has collegiate culture, dance, music, romance, a little bit of drama and a delightful, light-footed and well-dressed Lana Turner. I love the conceit and the actors are all wonderful especially Lana Turner, Ann Rutherford and Leon Errol who plays Patty's showbiz father. It's hard for me to articulate why I adore this movie so. I'm still trying to pinpoint my decade long love affair with Bachelor Mother (1939) so I imagine this one will not be easy either.

This movie reminds me a little bit of The Disenchanted, the Budd Schulberg novel I recently reviewed, with it's Hollywood meets College campus theme. 

Dancing Co-Ed (1939) is available on DVD from Warner Archive. I rented this film from Classicflix but I'm going to buy it on my next Warner Archive purchase.

The Jelly Jar seems like a jivin' place to be! 

Pug: Go on, you heard what the man said. Get hysterical.
Patty: I can't, it gives me hiccups.

Lana Turner, Sweater Girl

Pug to Patty: You look like you swallowed a sunset.

Warner Archive Wednesday - On (random) Wednesdays, I review one title from the Warner Archive Collection. I rented Dancing Co-Ed (1939) from Classicflix.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Catching Up with Quelle (13)

Happy Sunday! How are all of you? I am finally getting around to another edition of Catching Up with Quelle.

TCM Classic Film Festival - It looks almost certain that Carlos and I will be attending the TCM Classic Film Festival in April. We have our tickets and our hotel booked. All we need is to buy plane tickets. There is still a chance we won't be able to go but it looks more certain that we will than it did before. I am excited to go, to see Hollywood, to meet a lot of classic film fans and of course to watch some great movies!

New Robert Mitchum iPhone Case - Remember the Robert Mitchum iPhone case I had custom made in September? Well it broke. I have a tendency to drop my iPhone a lot. So I got a new one and am determined to not abuse my iPhone as much so I can keep this case a lot longer. Otherwise this will be an expensive new hobby of mine!

I like this iPhone case better than the last one. It's a great colorful of image of Robert Mitchum's 1953 visit to Hawaii. If you want to create your own custom iPhone case, I recommend using CafePress. You can get one made for $25 but I suggest you wait for a sale or a good coupon code. I ended up getting a few dollars knocked off the price with a custom iPhone case sale.

Sidney Poitier's letter to President Roosevelt - I love the blog Letters of Note which shares real letters from notable figures. They include a scan of the real letter along with the text typed out for those who may not be able to read the handwriting. I have read some of the most fascinating and endearing letters on that blog. Recently they posted a letter from a young Sidney Poitier to President Roosevelt. Poitier wrote the letter before he became a famous actor and when he was poor living in the U.S. and hoping to get a loan from President Roosevelt so he could go back to his family in Nissau. It's a very intriguing letter given the time period and also how Poitier became such a successful actor in the U.S. afterwards. You can find it here:

Classic Film Books on Goodreads - Do you love books on classic films as much as I do? Please come join me on Goodreads and add to my Classic Film Books list and vote for your favorites. I'm thinking of starting a book club but am not sure if there is enough interest. So I thought I'd start off with a list to see how it goes:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

5 films you can watch for free on

Did you know that TCM (Turner Classic Movies) has 5 full-length feature films from the 1930s available to watch for free on their website? I have listed the films below and have included the video. The links are to the IMDB pages and the Media Room - TCM page for each movie.

This is nothing new. These films have been available for years in the Media Room of the TCM website but I am not sure how many people are aware of them. So I thought I'd post them here. They are free and available to watch at anytime. I'm not sure about country restriction but these should be available for anyone in the U.S. at least.

I highly recommend Double Harness (1933). I have seen that film a couple times and it's a good pre-code starring William Powell and Ann Harding. Also, Topper (1937) is just a delight and I enjoyed Living on Love (1937) too.

I hope TCM will consider posting a few more of these in the future!

Update: I tried to embed all the movies on this page but it wasn't working. So I left up just one of them: Double Harness.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Do and I Don't by Jeanine Basinger

I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies
by Jeanine Basinger
Alfred A. Knopf (Random House)
On Sale: January 29, 2013

Find the book on:
Barnes and Noble

“... the traditional role for both the marriage movie and the divorce movie is to tell the audience to keep on going. ‘I do, and I don’t, but I do.’ – that’s the story of the American marriage movie.” – Jeanine Basinger

When you think about love in the movies, the first thing that might come to mind is courtship. The game in which two people fall madly in love and want to be together but something gets in their way. The story of this lovestruck couple ends with a happily ever after or in tears. Marriage is just as important a theme as courtship in classic film but is often overlooked. In I Do and I Don’t, film historian Jeanine Basinger takes a close look at those movies that focus on the marriage aspect of a relationship. Her sharp focus on this particular type of movie spans the length of film’s history but primarily rests upon the time period of the 1920s to the 1960s when marriage was more culturally significant. The influence of this is reflected in the various marriage (and divorce) movies that resulted from the era. This book is not intended to be a scholarly text nor is it intended to be anything other than a general study of marriage movies in the film industry.

Basinger writes in her Author's Note:

"...this book is an overview of how commercial movies told the story of marriage, and how they used it to draw audiences into the theater. The book is descriptive, historical and personally speculative.It's about what the average person saw and heard at the movie theater. Nothing more and nothing less."

So what is a marriage movie exactly? The key here is to look at films which deal with marriage. Either the problem in the marriage is the crisis of the plot or the story happens to a married couple. Basinger identfies 7 different types of problems in marriage movies:

1) Money
2) Infidelity/Adultery
3) In-Laws and Children
4) Incompatibility
5) Class
6) Addiction
7) Murder

In the beginning of the book, Basinger discusses marriage in the movie at length, its significance, the difficulty filmmakers had using it as a plot device and the audience desire to see the “I do” or “I don’t but I do” situation played out. Audiences went to the movies for escape but also wanted to be able to relate to the characters and the difficulties they were experiencing. Marriage was a good plot device to achieve just that whether it was in a good comedy or drama.

As the book progresses, Basinger goes on to look at the 7 different types of marriage movies closely. She uses many examples and explains how each demonstrate that particular marriage problem in its own way. Spoilers are a necessary evil in these book as it is very important to look at the entire workings of a plot to extrapolate the meaning as well as to exemplify the role of marriage in the movie. If you are a film buff who has an extensive movie viewing history or you don't care as much about spoilers and are interested in the film industry, then you will not have any problems reading this book. I found myself skipping a few of the movies discussed primarily because the first couple sentences captured my interest and I didn’t want to ruin the movie with spoilers. I wrote those films down to watch them later. My advanced readers copy did not have an index but I am assuming the final book does which will help in going back to particular films in the future.

The book has a lot of footnotes. This disrupts the reading quite a bit, as footnotes normally do, and I think with some clever editing a lot of the footnotes could have been worked into the main text. There are numerous photographs included with fun explanatory captions. Where photos appear, they are paired in twos and threes and for the most part relate to one another. They often compare two or three different movies, show different situations in a story (for example: before and after) or show different themes. I think these work incredibly well and I was happy to see them.

The last part of the book focuses on how TV took over the marriage story as it worked beautifully for the TV format. It also looks at modern cinema and it’s current trouble with the marriage story. I very much enjoyed how Basinger looked at Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s on screen and off screen marriage as a sort of parallel story to the history of marriage in TV and film.

I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies is a well organized and enlightening book; a must-read for any film buff who wants to enhance their knowledge of film history.

Here are some notable films that were discussed in the book:

Woman of the Year (1942)
Cass Timerlane (1947)
Two for the Road (1967)
The Thin Man (1934)
Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
We're Not Married (1952)
They Died With Their Books On (1941)
Blondie serials
Ma & Pa Kettle serials
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
Brief Encounter (1945)
The Facts of Life (1960)
No Room for the Groom (1952)
The various adaptations of The Painted Veil
The Painted Veil (1934)
The Seventh Sin (1957)
The Painted Veil (2006)

Jeanine Basinger is the author of books about classic film including The Star Machine (highly recommended!) and Silent Stars.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader’s copy from Alfred A. Knopf (Random House). It had black and white interior with no index in the back.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Weddings and Movie Stars

Weddings and Movie Stars
by Tony Nourmand and Graham Marsh
Hardcover, 287 pages
Reel Art Press
April 2011

Find the book on:
Barnes & Noble

Weddings and Movie Stars is a beautiful coffee table book available from the experts in quality photography books, Reel Art Press.

In June of last year, I attended Book Expo America, a big book industry trade show held every year in New York City. I saw a sign for a company called Reel Art Press, a small indie UK publisher I had never heard of. I thought I'd stop by their booth and check out the Kennedy coffee table book they had been advertising. When I arrived at their booth, I was pleasantly surprised to see multiple high quality classic film related coffee table books including one called Weddings and Movie Stars. I was about to get married in a few weeks and it just seemed like kismet that I found out about this publisher and the book. As soon as I got back home, I ordered the book and had so much fun reading it and looking at the wonderful photographs. Since one of my wedding's themes was Classic Hollywood, it was nice to own this.

Weddings and Movie Stars is a huge book! It is 11.75 inches wide and 13.75 inches tall and clocks in at about 7 pounds in weight (I measured it and weighed it myself). The quality photographs are a mixture of black and white and full color and they are gorgeous making this book total eye candy. The images are mostly from real life movie star weddings but also include on screen weddings. You'll see images from the Hollywood elite of the 1920s through to the 1970s with a few modern images. It ends with a somewhat odd tribute to The Graduate (1967) which I think they could have done without.

The photographs in this book are stunning. Some take up a single page or fill up a two page spread. Other pages have a couple images on one page. Basically what I am trying to say is that these are big luscious pictures that you will want to look at over and over again. Each photograph comes with captions which provide detail information about the couple and the wedding. There are lots of great anecdotes and stories as well as trivia bits about the designer of the gown, the circumstances of the wedding, and the inevitable quips about the various divorces that followed.

This book is $79.95 which is quite pricey but Weddings and Movie Stars is a collector's piece and worth the investment. This would make a really nice gift for a new bride especially one like myself who appreciates the style of the 20th century. It would also make for a great addition to anyone's coffee table. When storing it, lay it flat on its back or spine side down if you are putting in a book case, make sure it's spine side down. I made the mistake of putting the book on a book shelf sideways with the spine up and the heavy pages pulled at the spine ripping it a bit. It's a heavy book so make sure you take care of it!

Some notable couples in the book include:

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart (cover)
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III
Gene Tierney and Oleg Cassini
Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles
Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg
Dorothy Dandrige and Harold Nicholas
Sammy Davis Jr. and May Britt (some never before published pictures are included!)
Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra
Jimmy Stewart and Gloria Stewart
Ginger Rogers and Lew Ayres
Elizabeth Taylor and Various (tee hee)
and many more

There is some juicy gossip, most of it well-known and not anything very shocking. There is a very interesting pairing photographs with a picture from Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher's wedding (with Elizabeth Taylor in attendance) followed by Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher's wedding. Eek. Awkward! I did find one small error in the book. They listed Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as getting married in 1930 when the correct year was 1940. Oops! Also there are several non-movie star weddings including all the members of the Beatles but for the most part it sticks to actors and actresses.

Here are some pictures of the book. You may not find Weddings and Movie Stars at your local bookstore but you can find it online at various bookstores and for sale at Reel Art Press.

Note - If you want to find out if any of your favorite stars are in this book, just email me and I'll look it up and let you know.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Michael Douglas: A Biography by Marc Eliot

Michael Douglas: A Biography
by Marc Eliot
Hardcover, 352 pages
Crown Archetype (Random House)
September 2012

Find the book on:
Barnes & Noble

Thank you to my husband Carlos for submitting this book review of Marc Eliot's latest biography on actor Michael Douglas!

My wife knowing how much I admire Michael Douglas secured a copy of his biography and suggested I review it.

From the time I saw Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone (1984) he became one of my favorite actors. I have seen 22 of his movies, with Wall Street (1987) as my favorite movie for his acting and The Game (1997) as my favorite for the plot.

As I read the book, I came to realize how complicated Michael is as a person and how his life evolved. He was very much a product of his famous father, Kirk Douglas. Not only did he only did he follow his father’s footsteps in his profession but also in his relationships with women. They were both married twice, had numerous affairs and his mother’s name and first wife’s name are almost identical (Diana and Diandra respectively). They both have been awarded accolades for their vast bodies of work over many decades. Unlike his father Michael was involved in drugs and alcohol for a time.

Michael’s first acting break was the television series, The Streets of San Francisco, with Karl Malden. However it was not acting that made Michael famous, it was producing. Michael’s big producing break came courtesy of Kirk. Kirk was acting in a play called One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for several years. Several attempts were made over the years to take play from the stage to the screen with no success. There was a growing interest in the book and he wanted to capitalize on it. Kirk was practically giving the movie away to anyone just as long he had the main part. No studio would touch it due to the depressing and sad story. Finally Michael interjected and convinced Kirk to let him take over the project. This is where Michael’s life would change forever. Now it had been several years and Kirk was looking for film work. Kirk assumed that since Michael was now producer that he would get the role of McMurphy as he did in the play. The only glitch in the project was that Kirk Douglas was deemed to old for that role. Michael agonized about this decision and the role ultimately went to Jack Nicholson which would win him his first Oscar.

After the monster success of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the subsequent Oscar for Best Picture, the movie industry was at Michael’s feet. He now had the power to star and/or make any movie he wished. Then in 1986 he starred in his definitive role of Gordon Gecko, in director Oliver Stone’s Wall St. His command performance of the financier would win him his second Oscar, this time for Best Actor.

His life was marred by personal setbacks and tragedy. He suffered the incarceration of his son, Cameron, for drug possession and the death of his half-brother, Eric, to a drug overdose. His first marriage ended in a contemptuous divorce. He even had a brush with stage IV throat cancer. Although through all the tribulations he did manage to find love again with fellow actor, Catherine Zeta-Jones. They married in 2000 and have two children.

Michael Douglas: A Biography by Marc Eliot is an engrossing and intimate look into the life of one of the most popular contemporary actors. The biography details the childhood of Michael growing up with a famous father and how his fragmented upbringing shaped him. The biography moves chronologically through childhood, college, starting in movies, having a child, divorce, and remarrying. Mr. Eliot details the ups and downs of Michael's life with concise thoughts. This book is an informative read for any movie buff or anyone looking to learn more about the famous actor. I was also impressed with Mr. Eliot's biography of Steve McQueen.

You can find my husband Carlos on his blog Live Fast Look Good or on Twitter @livefastlookgd .

Disclaimer: Thank you to Crown Archetype for sending a copy of the book for my husband to review!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Catching Up With Quelle (12)

Pillow Talk (1959) - My boss gave me a B&N gift card for the holidays and Carlos and I used it to have a date night at our local B&N store. We had some drinks at the cafe and had fun browsing through the DVD/Bluray section. I bought Pillow Talk (1959) on BluRay. It's a restored anniversary edition and what I liked about the package was that it came a BluRay, DVD and access to a digital download and also a fun 4-color booklet inside. The booklet is not removable so you can't lose it! I already had an old DVD of this but the quality was so poor that I am glad I made the upgrade. I played the BluRay on our HDTV and there was a noticeable improvement! But for some reason I couldn't watch the film all the way through. Something about it annoyed me. I think I need to distance myself from the film for a while so I don't fall out of love with it.

Have you ever fallen out of love with a classic movie? Have you upgraded one of your old DVDs to a restored DVD or BluRay?

Downton Abbey Rant - Downton Abbey's Season 3 premieres tonight in the States. However, the entire season has already aired in the UK and a DVD will be available with limited access fairly soon. Why is it that we in the United States, as rabid Downton Abbey fans as we are, cannot get access to the series when it airs in the UK? Why can't it be a simultaneous premiere on both sides of the pond?

I want to make the case to ITV in the UK to allow PBS's Masterpiece Series to air the episodes simultaneously for season 4. My first reason is to reduce piracy. I already know of a few American bloggers who have watched the full third series before it aired in the US and they did this by getting access to pirated copies. I didn't do this myself because I like PBS and would rather support them. Not that I'm above accessing pirated copies of shows, I had to do that with Mad Men when I didn't have cable (I'm both sorry and not sorry about that).

My other reason is that a lot of UK shows are supported heavily by American audiences. I would like to offer two case studies.

From what I have heard in the past, this show was marginally successful in the UK but a huge hit on PBS in the US. It was especially popular around Christmas time and I remember seeing lots of episodes on PBS during the holiday season. The series continued on primarily because US audiences wanted more. I wish I could quote a source on this and if I find it I will link or quote it here! We helped keep this show going! And while I adore the Vicar of Dibley, it's full of very odd references to UK culture that we just don't get. In fact at one point, I started making a glossary of names and references so I could better understand the show! But audiences in the US still love it for it's quirky characters, funny jokes and overall charm.

I was watching a fundraising special on PBS some years ago (after the series had ended) and on the special were actress Moira Booker, she plays Judith, and Philip Bretherton, who plays Alistair. Both Booker and Bretherton said on the fundraising special that the support of American fans was one of the main reasons this series lasted so long. TV shows like these do not have very long lives in the UK and the longevity of this one was a result of the support of PBS and American audiences. I absolutely adore this show and my repeat viewings and the fact that I own EVERY SINGLE DVD IN THE SERIES is definitely part of that support. Both Booker and Bretherton had also mentioned that they came to the US with the other actors in the series for some public event and were wowed by how much support there was here for the show and how much audiences here loved it.

Why do we love British shows so much? Because they are so well done, we are sick of all the reality crap and want something well-done and entertaining like Downton Abbey. Please do not punish us! Let us be a part of the experience by doing a simultaneous release for Downton Abbey Season 4!

Will you be watching Downton Abbey tonight? Have you already seen season 3? (NO SPOILERS PLEASE)

UPDATE: Thanks to Twitter I found out that the delay in Downton Abbey being aired in the U.S. was a decision made by PBS and not by ITV or by any rights issues. I think that decision on PBS' part is stupid and I hope they'll reconsider in the future.

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