Menu

PRESTON STURGES’ WATERLOO: ‘THE GREAT MOMENT’

You may have overlooked Kino Lorber’s February Blu-ray release of The Great Moment (1944), starring Joel McCrea and Betty Field. It’s not an especially well-known title from the Paramount library, but it inspired Constantine Nasr, who produces bonus content for many studios, to volunteer to add two features that would place the film in historical context. You see, this artistic and commercial failure torpedoed the career of Preston Sturges. It was a resounding flop, artistically and commercially. The filmmaker’s son, Tom Sturges, and the late Peter Bogdanovich join Nasr in a zoom conversation about the film as we see it and what might have been if Paramount had released the picture as Sturges intended it to be seen.  Nasr also offers an interesting lecture about the film’s…

READ MORE >

WHERE FILM BUFFS GET THEIR FILL

When I was a kid my incipient love of film history was fueled by the fact that local TV stations in the New York City area had hours of time to fill and stockpiles of old movies to do the job. One didn’t have to seek out a specialized channel like Turner Classic Movies: a flip of the dial revealed W.C. Fields or Humphrey Bogart on the morning movie or the late, late show. A dear man named Samuel K. Rubin, a furniture dealer in Indiana, Pennsylvania (birthplace of James Stewart), had an abiding love for silent films but no one to share it with. That’s why he started a modest publication called The 8mm Collector (which is still being published today as Classic Images) and launched the…

READ MORE >

THE GOOD BOSS: GOOD GOING

Javier Bardem essays the title role in The Good Boss, and that is how his character would describe himself. He inherited from his father a factory that makes scales—all sizes and kinds—and presides over a hundred or so workers that he regards as family. But the screenplay, written by director Fernando León de Aranoa, methodically reveals the truth that lurks behind the platitudes and industry awards Bardem is so proud of. The film opens with a gang of hoodlums beating up a man in a park. One of the miscreants is the son of a longtime employee, so Bardem takes time out of his Sunday to bail the young man out of jail and allay his worker’s concern by giving the boy a job helping his wife,…

READ MORE >

ABBOTT & COSTELLO, HARPO MARX AND MORE ON BLU-RAY

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (ClassicFlix) While I would never tout this as a great Abbott and Costello comedy, the vast array of bonus features on this release supersedes my interest in the film itself. Kudos to Bob Furmanek and the team at the 3D Film Archive for all the work they put into this production. An informative commentary track features recollections of the movie’s young costar David Stollery (better remembered for Walt Disney’s Spin and Marty serial) and Lou Costello’s daughter Chris. Jack Theakston explains the history and technology of CineColor, which reached its zenith with SuperCinecolor, as seen in this feature. The musical aspect of Jack is ably handled by Ray Faiola. A&C expert Ron Palumbo guides us through scenes that were cut from the final release print.…

READ MORE >

BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN

April Wright has made several good documentaries, includingGoing Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace(in which I appear)and Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie. The latter film is bathed in an understandable nostalgia for the kind of outdoor theaters that flourished in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Now Wright has gone Back to the Drive-In to pick up the story of how these “ozoners” (as Variety used to call them) made an unexpected comeback during the Covid-19 pandemic… and what has happened since. The film is loosely structured around cinema verité footage of drive-ins from coast to coast and informal interviews with their owners and managers, a doggedly determined breed of showmen and women who seem to be answering a calling. The Harvest Moon drive-in near Champaign, Illinois…

READ MORE >

BULLET TRAIN: GOING NOWHERE FAST

If you’ve seen Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, or Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, you’ll recognize David Leitch’s style of filmmaking. He focuses on hyperkinetic action and flamboyant violence with a heaping dose of smartass humor—a flashy showcase that often obliterates such niceties as story, motivation, and characterization. A former stuntman who doubled for Brad Pitt in years gone by, Leitch has borrowed heavily from the playbooks of Guy Ritchie, Quentin Tarantino, and Timur Bekmambetov, among others. Call it style over substance. Screen writer Zak Olkewicz used a Japanese book as his source material.  There is a premise, but it’s played mostly for laughs, even though the wildly exaggerated violence is sometimes too startling to shrug off. Brad Pitt is a professional assassin whose unseen supervisor speaks…

READ MORE >

NEW AND NOTABLE FILM BOOKS JULY 2022 – PART TWO

THE FAMOUS MR. FAIRBANKS: A STORY OF CELEBRITY by Richard Schickel (Felix Farmer Press) I was happy to reacquaint myself with this book, a lengthy essay about the nature of celebrity based on the first man who embodied its 20th century ideal, Douglas Fairbanks. (It was first published as His Picture in the Papers in 1973.) The fact that movies enabled us in the audience to admire and identify with such a person—to feel as if we actually knew him—was unprecedented.  Schickel’s hypothesis still holds true today, more than one hundred years after Fairbanks burst onto movie screens around the world while retaining the earmarks of a “regular fellow.” The premise wears thin when the author applies it to the specifics of Fairbanks’ later life and career, but…

READ MORE >

Subscribe to our newsletter

MERCH

Maltin tee on TeePublic

PODCAST

Maltin on Movies podcast

PAST MALTIN ON MOVIES PODCASTS

Past podcasts

PATREON

Maltin On Movies Patreon

APPEARANCES/BOOKING

Leonard Maltin appearances and booking

CALENDAR

November 2022
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930