Yep, we only watched two films this week. Much of our viewing time has been spent with the new TV season, including Last Resort, 666 Park Avenue, and the already cancelled Animal Practice (not a fantastic example of sitcom artistry, sure, but we always dig the funny animals). We also started watching season five of Mad Men, the first season of British public school drama Waterloo Road (a DVD Talk screener pool selection), along with episodes of Warehouse 13 on Netflix. On my own time, I watched the Frontline productions on Texas high schools and Mitt Romney/Barack Obama this week. Plenty busy!
Broadway (1929). This splashy early-talkie musical probably should have been the focus of Criterion’s recent Lonesome/Paul Fejos release. Though it’s not a particularly outstanding example of filmmaking, it’s very evocative of the ’20s and Hollywood’s rush to capitalize on sound. Considered a lost film for several decades, Broadway‘s appearance in semi-complete form on Lonesome came as an unexpected surprise. The film is a typical, razzle-dazzle affair with hoofers, gangsters, con-men, an intrepid detective, a virginal chorine and an ambitious vaudevillian. There are some fun if dated numbers and good performances from now-forgotten names like Glenn Tryon (Lonesome‘s lead) and silent star Evelyn Brent. The real star of the show is the gargantuan set for the film’s entertainment venue, The Paradise Club, and its awesome craning shots filmed from atop an unprecedented, giant crane (one of the blu-ray’s extras explains the origins of this crane, apparently a huge deal in the 1920s, and its ignoble fate on the Universal Pictures backlot). Director Paul Fejos still displays some of his inventiveness and playful spirit on this one, but it’s also apparent that filmmaking was becoming routine to him. Shortly after Broadway premiered, he returned to Hungary and pursued his first love in anthropologist studies.
Pete’s Dragon (1977). Yeah, I saw this one four years ago. I saw it again this weekend, however, when DVD Talk sent the blu-ray for me to review (my first for that site!). It’s still a bloated, overlong mess. I still enjoyed it, however (nostalgia getting in the way?). My complete review will be posted there in a few days.
DVD Talk reviews:
Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1969-1982 (2011) – Recommended
The Kathy Griffin Collection: Red, White + Raw (2009) – Recommended