Menu

SHOW BOAT, TEX AVERY, AND MORE: A DVD/BLU-RAY SURVEY

      SHOW BOAT (Criterion Collection) Show Boat is one of the landmarks of American musical theater, and director James Whale captured the essence of the Broadway show in this stylish 1936 film. Edna Ferber’s generation-spanning novel inspired an exceptional score by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, which is heard at its best in definitive performances by Irene Dunne as Magnolia, Allan Jones as Gaylord Ravenal, Charles Winninger as Captain Andy, Helen Morgan as Julie, Hattie McDaniel as Queenie, and Paul Robeson as Joe, among others. Universal produced a silent version of the book in 1929 and hastily added talkie musical numbers as it went into release. All of that is covered in this expansive Criterion Collection release. Shana L. Redmond discusses the treatment…

READ MORE >

NEW AND NOTABLE BOOKS – March 2020

  PHANTOM LADY: HOLLYWOOD PRODUCER JOAN HARRISON, THE FORGOTTEN WOMAN BEHIND HITCHCOCK by Christina Lane (Chicago Review Press) Just when you think you know all there is to know about the principal figures of Hollywood’s golden age, along comes this knockout of a book about the little-known Joan Harrison. Educated at Oxford and the Sorbonne, she answered a want ad for a secretarial job at Gaumont British Pictures in 1933 and within a few short years was collaborating with Alfred Hitchcock on the screenplays of Young and Innocent, The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca and Foreign Correspondent. She also became an indispensable colleague who traveled and lived with the Hitchcock family. In the 1940s she set off on her own as a producer when few women held that title, and…

READ MORE >

MALTIN MOVIE CLUB #2: LUCKY

Lucky (2017) is a remarkable film, a living testament to the talent and formidable screen presence of the late Harry Dean Stanton. It was written as a vehicle for the nonagenarian actor by his longtime assistant, Logan Sparks, and while it’s fictional it incorporates many facets of the actor’s life and personality. The film opens with a shot of a tortoise crawling through the desert and disappearing behind a rock—an arresting image, especially in a widescreen frame. On the soundtrack we hear a harmonica rendition of “Red River Valley,” and then learn that it’s being played by the main character, Lucky. What a fitting and poetic way of opening this character portrait. Lucky is an old man who lives by himself and follows a daily routine:…

READ MORE >

BLOW THE MAN DOWN: LIKABLY QUIRKY FARE

Blow the Man Down marks the feature-film debut for two female friends who’ve been on the New York filmmaking scene for a decade. After an exceptionally long gestation period, Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy’s quirky tale won the Best Screenplay award at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It was subsequently acquired by Amazon and begins streaming today. That’s a happy turn of events all around. Put simply, it’s about murder in a Maine fishing village where everybody knows everybody’s business and there are skeletons rattling in their collective closet. Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor play sisters who have just buried their mother, one of the pillars of the community. The siblings have different outlooks on life—and the prospect of running the family business, a fish…

READ MORE >

MALTIN MOVIE CLUB #1: THE CONFIRMATION

Searching for good movies to stream at home? Look no further. We will be spotlighting films that flew under the radar and didn’t earn the praise or the turnout they deserved. Let’s begin with a 2016 movie that sneaked up on me when it came out. It seems pleasant enough at the start but gets deeper and richer as it goes along. Only when it’s over do you fully realize how satisfying it has been. That’s the best way I can describe The Confirmation, which marks the directing debut of Bob Nelson, the Oscar-nominated writer of Nebraska. This is another small-town saga that takes an empathetic, clear-eyed look at working-class people. Clive Owen stars as a luckless finish-carpenter who’s trying to kick a drinking habit and clear…

READ MORE >

DISNEY BOOKS GALORE

  MARC DAVIS IN HIS OWN WORDS: IMAGINEERING THE DISNEY THEME PARKS by Pete Docter and Christopher Merritt (Disney Editions) Walt Disney was stingy with compliments, but he called longtime animator Marc Davis his “renaissance man” and meant it. As the production of animated films wound down in the 1950s, Disneyland and the upcoming New York World’s Fair consumed much of Walt’s time and nearly all of his energy. His Midas touch intact, Disney reassigned many of his artists to his WED operation, later renamed Imagineering. Davis brought his artistic talent and whimsical imagination to the task of world-building and left his mark on such enduring attractions as the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, The Enchanted Tiki…

READ MORE >

PIXAR SCORES WITH HEARTFELT ‘ONWARD’

With an uninspired title like Onward the newest offering from Pixar doesn’t do itself justice. Derived from director and co-writer Dan Scanlon’s experience growing up without knowing his father, this heartfelt film scores a direct hit on our emotions. Ian (voiced by Tom Holland) is a nice kid with no self-confidence. He can’t even muster the nerve to invite some classmates to his birthday party…unlike his gangly big brother Barley (Chris Pratt), who still believes in the magic and sorcery that used to rule their world. Barley convinces his sibling that by summoning a certain spell they can bring their father back—for just one day. This will require Ian to find the courage he’s never shown before, not to mention faith in the power of magic. Like…

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

October 2020
S M T W T F S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031