LOUIS B. MAYER MEETS JOHN HUSTON

By J.M.E. | December 27, 2018

    As we all know Louis B. Mayer was head of MGM studies from 1925—when the company was founded—until 1951 when he was forced out by the Nick Schneck, President of Loews Inc. MGM’s parent company. Mayer was not a picture maker. He knew how to run a studio which meant that he managed the physical plant, knew talent when he saw it, paid top dollar for that talent and gave it the best resources then available to make movies. Nevertheless, Mr. Mayer was…

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AFI 7-THE PHILADELPHIA STORY

By J.M.E. | December 24, 2018

    Let me just say this from the beginning. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY is not one of my favorite films. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great confection—a film in which style far outweighs content.  But first my history with the film. Truth is I don’t remember when I first saw it. It was probably on New York’s WCBS late show—mostly likely Saturday Night when the better films were first shown—as WCBS was licensing pre-1940 MGM film packages. But truth is that this…

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AFI 6-THE WIZARD OF OZ

By J.M.E. | December 24, 2018

I am of the generation who first saw the WIZARD OF OZ on TV in 1956 when it was shown on CBS for the first time. As we did not have a color TV—for me—the movie was in B&W from beginning to end. Despite that I found the film to be magic and thinking back to this first showing, and to the others that followed, I don’t remember commercials being any sort of annoyance or mitigating my enjoyment of the film. The pull of the…

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AFI 5-LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

By J.M.E. | December 14, 2018

    LAWRENCE is number 2 on my all-time favorites list. But this happened over time. As I was too young to travel into the city on my own I was not able to see LAWRENCE after it premiered on December 16th 1962 at the Criterion as a 70MM Super Panavision Roadshow. This was during New York City’s great newspaper strike which lasted for months and because if it—at least in New York City—film reviews soon became a staple on Radio and Television. Thus, I learned bout…

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AFI 4-GONE WITH THE WIND

By J.M.E. | December 12, 2018

PART ONE: THE FILM             I first saw GWTW (as its producer David Selznick liked to call it) with my mother in 1954 ( and the first film I remember seeing) and then on my own in 1961 at the time of the films 5th re-e-release. I was fortunate as the first-run showings used “metro color” prints which were made using Eastman-Kodak mono-pack stock. But since the “by Technicolor” prints used in the 1954 re-release remained in good shape, these…

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THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD P4 of 4

By J.M.E. | December 11, 2018

Every frame of THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD is a painting.  It is without question one of the most beautiful movies ever made.  These are frame enlargements that were used to promote the DVD a number of years ago.  Consequently, the color is a off – a tad too much red while on the blue-ray the color is perfect – but it is the best that I could find on the web.  Nevertheless, the framing still stands and, although the color is not what should be, you should be able to…

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THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD P3 of 4

By J.M.E. | December 9, 2018

THE PREMIERE                                                           THE SOUVENIER PROGRAM                                                                     THE REVIEWS                              …

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THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD P2 of 4

By J.M.E. | December 8, 2018

George Stevens was producing THE GREATEST STROY EVER TOLD through “The George Stevens Company.”  Initially, he was to release through 20th Century Fox as the company had just released THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.   As it was an immense production, eventually, due to the  overages on CLEOPATRA, Fox had to withdraw.  Stevens then set up financing and release through United Artists and decided to film entirely in the United States .                              …

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THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD P1 of 4

By J.M.E. | December 7, 2018

    When George Steven’s massive roadshow production The Greatest Story Ever Told premieredat the Warner Cinerama in February 15, 1965 it was met with mixed reviews and, eventually, less than satisfactory box office. Filmed over an 8 month period from October 1962 through August 1963, it was an extremely troubled production that went over schedule, over budget  and landed up costing between 18 and 20 million dollars but wound up bringing in only 8 million in rentals losing United Artist over thirteen million dollars. Many…

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THE GREAT WALTZ 1938

By J.M.E. | December 5, 2018

Last New Years I was watching the Vienna State Orchestra playing Strauss Waltzes in PBS and on came Tale Of The Vienna Woods.   It was terrible and it was terrible because I am a fan of the 1938 MGM film THE GREAT WALTZ since I first saw it on the WCBS Late Show on the late 1950s. Before I talk about the film’s Tale Of The Vienna Woods sequence let’s get a few things out of the way. First, the film itself is not the…

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