Category Archives: Paramount

Bob Dylan In In Harm’s Way?

From an interview posted on BobDylan.com —

Bill Flanagan: You met John Wayne in 1966. How did you two hit it off?

Bob Dylan: Pretty good, actually. The Duke, I met him on a battleship in Hawaii where he was filming a movie, he and Burgess Meredith. One of my former girlfriends was in the movie, too, and she told me to come over there. She introduced me to him and he asked me to play some folk songs. I played him “Buffalo Skinners,” “Raggle Taggle Gypsy,” and I think “I’m a Rambler, I’m a Gambler.” He told me if I wanted to, I could stick around and be in the movie. He was friendly to me.

Love that poster art by Saul Bass!

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Filed under 1965, Bob Dylan, Dana Andrews, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Paramount, Saul Bass, Slim Pickens

A Million Feet Of Film: The Making Of One-Eyed Jacks.

A Million Feet Of Film: The Making Of One-Eyed Jacks is the story of Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks, his first, and only, time as director and a picture that may be better known for its troubled production than its merits as a film.

More than three years from contracts to premiere. Six months of shooting. Almost 200 miles of negative exposed. A revolving door of personnel, including Rod Serling, Sam Peckinpah and Stanley Kubrick — all gone before the first frame was shot. A budget that ballooned from $1.8 million to $6 million. And the eventual takeover of the film by Paramount. Click the cover to order.

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Filed under Ben Johnson, Elisha Cook, Jr., Marlon Brando, Paramount, Rod Serling, Sam Peckinpah, Stanley Kubrick, Timothy Carey

Blu-Ray Review: Jack The Ripper (1959).

Produced, Directed & Photographed by Robert S. Baker & Monty Berman
Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster
Music by Stanley Black (UK); Jimmy McHugh & Pete Rugolo (US)
Film Editor: Peter Bezencenet

Cast: Lee Patterson (Sam Lowry), Eddie Byrne (Inspector O’Neill), Betty McDowall (Anne Ford), Ewen Solon (Sir David Rogers), John Le Mesurier (Dr. Tranter), George Rose (Clarke), Philip Leaver (Music Hall Manager), Barbara Burke (Kitty Knowles), Anne Sharp (Helen), Denis Shaw (Simes), Jack Allen (Assistant Commissioner Hodges), Jane Taylor (Hazel), Dorinda Stevens as (Margaret), Hal Osmond (Snakey), Paul Frees (narrator, US version)

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I’m sure I’m not the only kid who caught Jack The Ripper (1959) on TV and has had a fascination with the murders ever since. Back then, researching a subject wasn’t as simple as typing a few words into Wikipedia, and I’ve got a stack of Ripper books to prove it.

Since Jack The Ripper was never caught, a book or movie or whatever can go wherever it wants, presenting its own theory of what happened — or just using the basic story as a springboard for a bit of violence and sex. This movie sticks to the usual path, and its “solution” is in line with some of the common theories from the “experts.” The Ripper scenes are very well done, and they do a pretty good job of concealing the fact that they walk along the same Whitechapel street set over and over again — the fog machine guy sure worked overtime.

My favorite Ripper picture is Murder By Decree (1978) and this one comes in second. Its Hammer-ish feel — courtesy of writer Jimmy Sangster and producers/directors Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman, who’d done Blood Of The Vampire the year before — suits the subject matter perfectly.

I’ve never seen Jack The Ripper look good, so I was really eager to see how the Severin Blu-Ray turned out, knowing they’d gone to great lengths to find some nice material to work with. And I was hoping to get a lesson in how the various versions of the picture came to be. And while this isn’t a shining example of everything a Blu-Ray can be, it does show what dedication and hard work can accomplish.

So here’s the back story. Joseph E. Levine made a fortune buying foreign films, sprucing them up for American release, and filling theaters through masterful advertising campaigns. Two of his biggest successes were the US versions of Godzilla, King Of The Monsters (1956) and Hercules (1958). Jack The Ripper was given the same treatment.

Wth the Severin Blu-Ray, you get the British cut of the picture, looking pretty good, but cropped to 1.33. Then there’s the US version in its proper aspect ratio, transferred from a vintage, well-used print found in the Library Of Congress. (Wow, Congress is good for something!) It’s got some lines and splices, and the color insert is there. (I actually like seeing an old movie look like it’s been run a few times — that’s how they usually looked when I first saw them.) In short, Severin did a very nice job with somewhat compromised material.

Of the two, I prefer the US one. The widescreen framing is a huge plus, it’s cool to hear Paul Frees over the Paramount logo, and the music is the score I know from the soundtrack LP.

There was a third version — a cut for the rest of Europe with some extra violence and a bit of nudity tossed in for good measure. Some of those scenes are included in the supplemental stuff. You also get a nice little documentary, the US trailer, an expert interview and a still gallery. A nice package.

But for me, however, the real treat is bringing this Ripper out of the fog after all these years. For that, I’m certainly grateful. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1959, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Paramount, Severin Films

DVD/Blu-Ray News #204: Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1.

Well blow me down! The DVD sets of the Fleischer Popeye cartoons have been crown jewels in my DVD collection for years, and I’ve always wondered if more would ever show up. Our friends at Warner Archive have done it again with their upcoming Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1. And they’ll be available on both DVD and Blu-Ray this time around!

Popeye spinach

Who’d eat any other brand?

By 1943, Max and Dave Fleischer had been forced out of their own cartoon business — 1942’s Baby Wants A Bottleship was their last Popeye picture, and their animation studio became Paramount’s Famous Studios. The whole Fleischer-Paramount-Famous Studios saga is a tragic mess.

But the Popeye The Sailor series stayed afloat — powered by spinach, no doubt, and the cartoons are wonderful. This set includes shorts produced from 1943 to 1945: Her Honor, The Mare; The Marry-Go-Round; We’re On Our Way To Rio; The Anvil Chorus Girl; Spinach Packin’ Popeye; Puppet Love; Pitchin’ Woo At The Zoo; Moving Aweigh; She-Sick Sailors; Pop-Pie A La Mode; Tops In The Big Top; Shape Ahoy; For Better Or Nurse; and Mess Production.

Warner Archive is promising 4K masters from the original nitrate negatives. These’ll look strong to the fin-ich for sure.

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Filed under Cartoons, DVD/Blu-ray News, Paramount, Warner Archive

Blu-Ray News #177: Sangaree (1953) In 3-D.

Directed by Edward Ludwig
Starring Fernando Lamas, Arlene Dahl, Patricia Medina, Francis L. Sullivan, Charles Korvin

Kino Lorber Studio Classics and the 3-D Film Archive have announced the upcoming 3-D Blu-Ray release of Sangaree (1953).

Sangaree was to be another Pine-Thomas picture, but Paramount picked it to be their first 3-D production. Shooting was underway when the 3-D decision was made, so some scenes had to be re-shot. Be sure to read all about it here and watch for the Blu-Ray in September.

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Filed under 1953, 3-D, DVD/Blu-ray News, Edward Ludwig, Kino Lorber, Paramount, Pine-Thomas

RIP, D.J. Fontana.

Dominic Joseph “D.J.” Fontana
(March 15, 1931 – June 13, 2018)

Elvis’ drummer D.J. Fontana has passed away at 87. He was the last of the Blue Moon Boys.

Here’s (above, L-R) Scotty Moore, D.J., Elvis and Bill Black in Loving You (1957), Elvis’ second movie — and certainly one of his best.

To see these guys tearing it up in Technicolor and VistaVision (shot by the great Charles Lang, Jr.) is really something to behold. Elvis even drives a really cool 1929 Ford hot rod (mounted on a ’32 frame). This movie’s got everything.

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Filed under 1957, Elvis Presley, Paramount

Blu-Ray News #151: Jack The Ripper (1958).

Directed by Robert Baker and Monty Berman
Starring Lee Patterson, Eddie Byrne, Betty McDowall

Our friends at Severin Films have put together a killer Blu-Ray edition of the 1959 exploitation classic Jack The Ripper (1959) — that includes three versions of the movie: the British Version from a 1080 telecine, the U.S. Version from a 2K scan of an archival print, and on a bonus DVD, the European Version pieced together from the British Version and the only known tape source of the racier/gorier scenes (the original film elements have evidently been lost).

There’s also a slew of extras. Oh, that bonus DVD is part of a limited (1,500 copies) Black Friday edition, so put down the Thanksgiving leftovers, stay away from the mall, and be sure to order one before they’re gone. David Gregory has been working on this title for quite a while, and it’s gonna be terrific.

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Filed under 1959, DVD/Blu-ray News, Paramount, Severin Films