James Maitland Stewart
(May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997)
Jimmy Stewart, surely one of the greatest movie actors of all time, was born 111 years ago today.
Having just finished a commentary for Kino Lorber’s upcoming Blu-Ray of Anthony Mann’s Thunder Bay (1953), and Bend Of The River before that, I’ve been marveling at Stewart’s craft — over and over again. Nobody underplays quite like he does, and nobody uses their own personal quirks to such a huge advantage.
But, of course, it doesn’t stop at the movies. Stewart also flew in the Air Force during World War II and beyond — something he rarely spoke about, and never waved around to bring attention to himself. They guy was a real national treasure.
Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring James Stewart, Joanne Dru, Gilbert Roland, Dan Duryea
Always liked Thunder Bay (1953), and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that all its technical stuff is where a lot of my enthusiasm comes from. It was shot for 1.37, but Universal-International made it their first widescreen film — cropping it to 1.85, giving it stereophonic sound and making a very big deal about it all.
It’s turned up on DVD in various parts of the world in both 1.37 and widescreen. Not sure how the upcoming Kino Lorber Blu-Ray will be presented, but one thing’s for sure — I’m working a commentary for it. They’ve got it listed as an “early 2019” release.
From The New York Daily News, May 15, 1953.
“Hello, this is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message. I’ll get back to you.”
Mill Creek has announced a Blu-Ray set of the complete run of The Rockford Files (1974-80), coming in June. To me, this is one of the greatest things to ever turn up on TV. Jame Garner was perfect for this show, or maybe it’s the other way around — the perfect show was put together around him.
There isn’t anything about this show that isn’t cool — Rockford’s trailer and Firebird; his dad, Rocky (Noah Beery, Jr.), and his GMC pickup; the answering machine and theme song.
The LA locations are always a lot of fun to study, so it’ll be great to see em in high definition. Not that I (or you) really need a reason to go through this show yet again. Essential.