THE LAST HURRAH : Essential Movies – THE BIG SLEEP (1946)

“Do you like orchids?”

“Not particularly.”

“Nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men,  Their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.”

—From Drector Howard Hawks’ noirish paradigmatic film, an essentional framework of noir, 1946’s THE BIG SLEEP starring the first pairing of the immortals, Bogart and Bacall.

 

It was a film that was so convoluted that not even the screenwriter or director were able to tie up all the knots. However despite this, the power of the performances, direction, and charisma of the leads carries it over any lapses of plot.

Their on screen sparks, the 20 year old Bacall and the married 45 year old Bogart [they filmed THE BIG SLEEP in 1944 but it was not released until 1946], mirrored their off-screen sparks. They would be married three months after filming wrapped, and it would cement a love affair that would transcend both their lives.

One of the must watch films of the 20th century.

Click the image below to  get the Blu-ray. I generally only purchase films if they include special features and audio commentaries. But I make an exception for this film, it is worth having even with this relatively bare-bones release.

 

THE LAST HURRAH : Ten Greatest Film Noirs of the 20th Century and their best physical releases here in the 21st Century!

I have not put CASABLANCA or THIRD MAN on this list, because although they have noir elements, there is an A picture scope to them in terms of not just budget but aspiration, that transcends the conventions of the noir, they ultimately tell larger tales than the fall or redemption of a single man, which is the heart of the noir aesthetic.

With that caveat aside, onto the list.

  1. MALTESE FALCON (1941)

  2. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)

I don’t love the cover art for the Eureka release of Billy Wilder’s DOUBLE INDEMNITY (I think they should have gone with the art used for DVD and other releases) , but the film itself is magnificent, one of the greatest film noirs of all time. And a very good Blu-ray release. It is currently the must own version of this film.

3. MURDER MY SWEET (1944)

4. KISS ME DEADLY (1955)

5 DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS (1995)

Walter Mosley’s DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS remains a watershed book, in many ways improving on the pulp noir and film noir roots laid by writers like Hammett And Chandler. As someone who has read the book, listened to the audio book, and seen the film, Director and Screenwriter Carl Franklin’s take on DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS is just as watershed a film. With a stellar cast, the film is Noir distilled, while being one of the most beautiful color films, and is endlessly watchable and compelling. Indicator Films finally releases this film on Blu-ray, with Booklet and one newer special feature… a charming 2018 Interview– Carl Franklin: DANCING WITH THE DEVIL. That said I do wish they had sprung for new interviews and commentaries to go along with the ported features from the original 20 year old DVD; but that aside this is a must own limited-special edition release, that is  25 years in the making.

6. LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1947)

7. THE BIG HEAT (1953)

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8. THE BIG SLEEP (1946)

9. I WAKE UP SCREAMING (1941)

While ostensibly 1941’s MALTESE FALCON is recognized as the first FILM NOIR, this film, I WAKE UP SCREAMING, made at the same time as MALTESE FALCON, actually is the first film to put together all the iconic elements we would later associate with film noir.

In addition to the Femme Fatale, and the morally challenged protagonist, this film adds the heavy use of shadows, the Venetian blinds, the stylish dutch and off-center shooting angles, in essence the visual language of film noir shows up first in this least heralded of films. And with a winding script that keeps you shifting your belief of “who done it” from one character to another, and some strange and compelling performances and laudable direction, you end up with a film that deserves to be better known.

 

10. RAW DEAL (1948)

Being the single best of Anthony Mann’s and John Alton’s magnificent collaborations makes RAW DEAL a must for any top ten list. This special edition, complete with booklet  is a must own release.

Well, that’s it my top 10 list.

2020 saw all ten of these films available on quality, feature rich Blu-Ray releases (eff barebone, questionable quality 4K releases — I despise the “no interior artwork, lacking new artwork” 4k releases. I also blame 4k for the further fragmentation and dwindling of a market, that can not survive anymore fragmentation. If you are going to do UHD releases, release them with the Blu-Ray and/or DVD in multi-packs. You eliminate having to have a DVD market and a Bluray Market and a UHD market, and the associated expenses of trying to package for 3 different formats ) for the first time in the relatively short history of physical media. And arguably by the end of 2021 these ten movies will never again all be available in quality, feature rich, physical media versions.

I hope that will not be the case, but hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

If you want these films in physical media, pick all ten up today, while they are still in stock. Click the images to be taken to the movies in question.

If  you have enjoyed this post, then like, subscribe and come back for more of our coverage of physical media and the… Last Hurrah.

Amazon Deals of the Day : Recommended Complete CRIMINAL Collection Available!

 

I like the dayglo covers of the above reprint editions (the first two are reprint editions, the last two are new printings). However, I like the covers of the original Icon editions  (shown below) a little bit better. The contents and build of both editions are almost identical, I just think the below Icon Editions have covers that are more in keeping with the noirish, slow-burn, content of the interiors. Price being no object I would get the below editions. However the below editions are out of print, and going for multiple times the cost of the new reprints. So unless you get the first editions cheap, or are well off and buy what you want… get the above reprints. Cick the images to view more and/or purchase.

The GREATEST multi-part FANTASTIC FOUR comic book stories—- EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Start with the  FANTASTIC FOUR OMNIBUS 1,2, & 3. A great way to get into the early issues. Click the images to see more on the titles covered.

 

They were visionaries. Explorers. Imaginauts. They were Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. And like the Fantastic Four, they continually strove to overcome the impossible and achieve the extraordinary. Now, the first three years of their landmark run are collected in one oversized volume. This keepsake edition also includes all original letters pages and pinups, critical commentaries, a historical overview, and other DVD-style extras.

COLLECTING: FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #1-30, FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL (1963) #1

 

Collecting the greatest stories from the World’s Greatest Comics Magazine in one, massive collector’s edition that has been painstakingly restored and recolored from the sharpest material in the Marvel Archives.

COLLECTING: FANTASTIC FOUR 31-60, ANNUAL 2-4

These are some of the greatest adventures of all time! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #61-93 and ANNUAL #5-7, and material from NOT BRAND ECHH #5-7. All Ages

 

Celebrate 60 years of the World’s Greatest Comics Collaboration! Stan Lee and Jack Kirby conclude their record-setting tenures on the FANTASTIC FOUR, the book that birthed the Marvel Universe! In Kirby’s final issues, Doctor Doom lurks in the shadows, the FF save Apollo 11 from an alien threat, and the Sub-Mariner and Magneto team up to attack our heroes! Then, Stan Lee is joined by Marvel art legends John Romita Sr. and John Buscema to forge a new future for Marvel’s first family! Along the way, the Thing battles the Hulk, the Surfer is taken captive by Galactus, and the Overmind menaces Earth — leading to the strangest event in Marvel history: Doctor Doom joins the FF?! Guest-starring Black Panther, the Inhumans and more!

COLLECTING: Fantastic Four (1961) 94-125, Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure (2008) 1, material from Fantastic Four Annual (1963) 8-9

 

Okay now onto the issues you can afford to pick up in issue form, and the ones i recommend having:

FANTASTIC FOUR 161,162,163,164- These issues completely wowed me as a kid, and continue to entertain me as an adult. Simply great work by the team of thomas, buckler and sinnott.

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FANTASTIC FOUR 164,165– Great covers, Great issues!!!

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FANTASTIC FOUR 168,169,170 More Thomas, Buckler greatness!!

 

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FANTASTIC FOUR 242,243,244 -Comics (and Comic Book Covers and Artwork) do not get any better. Just genius issues!!!!

 

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FANTASTIC FOUR 249,250

https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/905357.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/794987.jpg For my money John Byrne invented the concept of wide-screen entertainment with his seminal early work on AVENGERS 164 thru 166. This is him a decade later, showing he is still the bar, by which super hero action will always be measured.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR 251-265

 

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Without argument John Bryne was one of the best writers and artists on Fantastic Four (Right up there with Stan the Man Lee, Jack King Kirby, John Buscema and Roy Thomas ), but until you go back and revisit his lengthy run on The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine’you forget exactly how good he was. Issue 251 thru 265 is really one large, fluid story about— families lost and families found.

It was the world’s greatest comic magazine – again! Not since the days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had a creator so perfectly captured the intense mood, cosmic style and classic sense of adventure of Marvel’s First Family. Fresh off an earth-shattering and reputation-making run as penciler on UNCANNY X-MEN, John Byrne proved his writing talent was every bit the equal of his art as he pulled double-duty on FANTASTIC FOUR, launching Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny into realms of imagination and wonder into which few creators before had dared to travel. From the four corners of the globe to the farthest reaches of space to the deepest depths of the Negative Zone, the FF face off against foes old and new – including the Dr. Doom, Galactus and Annihilus! Plus: The FF aid the Inhumans, bid farewell to the Baxter Building, don new costumes and celebrate their 20th anniversary in style as Byrne reminds us all there’s a family at the heart of this team of adventurers!

Collecting: MARVEL TEAMUP (1972) #61-62; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #50; FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #215-218, #220-221, #232-262 and ANNUAL #17; PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #42; AVENGERS (1963) #233; THING (1983) #2; and ALPHA FLIGHT (1983) #4.

Superstar John Byrne’s legendary run concludes with one of the most innovative periods in Fantastic Four history! The sensational She-Hulk replaces the Thing, Sue Richards becomes the Invisible Woman, and Mr. Fantastic is tried for crimes against the universe! Also featuring the return of Dr. Doom, the fate of Reed and Sue’s unborn child, the resurrection of Jean Grey, and more — as the FF confront deadly foes including the Mole Man, Dr. Octopus, Terminus, the Beyonder, Mephisto, Psycho-Man and Annihilus! Plus: the unfinished “Last Galactus Story,” reprinted for the first time!

COLLECTING: Fantastic Four (1961) #261-295, Fantastic Four Annual #18-19, Alpha Flight (1983) #4, Thing (1983) #10 and #19, Avengers Annual #14, and material from Secret Wars II #2, Epic Illustrated #26-34, What If? (1977) #36, What The -?! #2 and #10, Thing (1983) #7, Fantastic Four Roast and Fantastic Four Special Edition — written by John Byrne, Mark Gruenwald, and Roger Stern; and illustrated by John Byrne, Mark Bright, Ron Wilson, and Jerry Ordway.

The original first run of the FANTASTIC FOUR ran 416 issues. For my money you can stop reading with the recommendations in this post. The series never gets better or as good as the issues listed above.

 

Well this post was a good amount of work. If you enjoyed, then please like, subscribe, comment, email, and use the links. It is all apprecaired! Hope all you gals and guys are doing great!!!

Song of the Day: HALLELUJAH by the late, great Jeff Buckley

One of the reasons I love the Snyder Cut Trailer, despite the fact I do not think a reedited film will make that C-/D+ movie substantially any better ( though I would love to be pleasantly surprised, the trailer does look great), is simply because I love the song HALLELUJAH. Many years ago I listened to the Jeff Buckley version, and my –appreciation– for that song remains undiminished, regardless who sings it. But for that song at its best, you have to go to the Jeff Buckley version, of the Leonard Cohen classic.

First let’s start with the OG, Leonard Cohen.

Now let’s move on to the version that made me a fan of the song:

And finally this live performance video is not Buckley’s best performance of the song. It is tired and worn and imperfect, and tortured, but for all those reasons, it is an essential glimpse at Jeff Buckley before his untimely passing, and an essential inspiration to all of us, in what it means to perform, even when you are not sure if you have anything left to perform with.

 

 

 

After doing this post I checked and to my dismay realized I did not have the Legacy CD version of GRACE. For a physical media head like me, that’s an unforgivable omission.

Come the beginning of the world or the end of it there are a few things every man or woman of note should have: A good pickup truck, a good shotgun, a good knife, some good books, some good movies, some good CDs, and a portable DVD player to platy them all on.

Jeff Buckley’s GRACE should be one of those cds.

Get yours by clicking the image above.

And get a decent portable player, as well as the headphones I recommend, here:

 

 

Jeff Buckley Lyrics

“Hallelujah”
(originally by Leonard Cohen)

Well, I heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this:
The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing HallelujahHallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Well, baby, I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor (you know)
I used to live alone before I knew ya
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Well, there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do ya?
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah…
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah…
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

KINO LORBER Boutique Blu-ray Label Overview PART 2: FIVE FOR FRIDAY

Last installment I covered some recommended titles from Kino Lorber’s ‘While Supplies Last’ sale. This time I just wanted to cover five titles in general that caught my attention and are on my ‘to buy’ list.

Without further ado, here they are!

p.s. As a hint I generally do not purchase films that do not offer special features. At a minimum I need a film commentary.  Physical media should give you more than you can get from just watching it on streaming, or why pay for it.

So yeah if I own it, or recommend it, it has special features. The only exception for that is titles that may not be available streaming, or 3D titles, or other scarce titles, where we are just lucky to still have the film.

Okay, now we get to it!

 

 

Very interesting sounding film from the Director of DUEL AT DIABLO. And since I have that film, I have to get this one.

This one just sounds bonkers in all the right ways. Not because the movie is going to be great, I have my doubts about that. But just the backstory behind it, namely getting relatives of famous stars to star in an exploitation movie. The commentary on this one seems poised to be full of amazing Hollywood anecdotes and backstory.

This movie sold me on its names. Name One: Director Budd Boetticher, I am now interested in seeing more of his films after picking up Arrow’s sold out FIVE TALL TALES boxset. Name Two: Jeff Chandler who has never given a bad performance and was great in a jaw dropping performance in TEN SECONDS TO HELL Name Three: Sidney Poitier. Hell you could have led with that. I have picked up every single Kino Lorber release with the great Sidney Poitier (DUEL AT DIABLO, almost sold out, Gals and Ghouls! 🙂 ). So yeah, this one is a must buy.

I love the films of John Sturges, and not only have I never seen this film, I have never heard of this film. And another film that is sold by its names: the aforementioned John (MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) Sturges! Richard (One of my favorite Movie and radio actors ever) Widmark! And Borden (I wrote two of the best westerns ever, RED RIVER and WINCHESTER 73) Chase!! What?!!! This is an easy must buy.

I did not love this film the first time i saw it, however it is possible i did not give it the attention it deserved. And considering this is one of the most ‘special feature’ rich releases, from the typically bare bones Kino Lorber, this is a must buy, for the special features alone.

Honorable Mentions:

I can not recommend this Blu-ray because it does not have any commentary or special features, but it sounds incredibly interesting. I’m going to look on streaming for this one. I really want to see if it is as good and interesting as it sounds.

 

I do not currently have an affiliate link with Kino Lorber, however you can click on the images above and they will take you to the item on Amazon. If you use the link you get a great item, and this blog gets a very appreciated couple of pennies. A win-win!

Amazon Prime DEAL of the Day! SOLAR POWER GENERATOR

After hundreds of hours of research here is my recommendation for a sub $400 Solar Accepting Generator to purchase. I should not have to sell you on the need for having a generator or multiple generators.

 

LOOKING AT THE WORLD OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR  SHOULD DRIVE HOME THE NEED TO BE … PREPARED.

Our DEAL OF THE DAY is:

Now Ideally if money is no object you want something that will support as many watts as possible, at least a 1000 watts. However most of us, can not “fly into flying”, to take a line from COMING TO AMERICA; Meaning most of us have to start smaller and more affordably.

In that case the BEAUDENS is a nice starter system for a few reasons. Most notably is the type of battery it uses, LiFePO4 will last for more charges than conventional lithium-ion batteries. You arguably will get a third more life out of this unit than comparable units using the more conventional Lithium-ion batteries found in other generators.

The other thing is it uses pure sine wave circuitry, meaning sensitive DC equipment running off the beaudens’ DC circuitry is not in danger of being under-powered.

AND CHARGING WISE, YOU CAN CHARGE IT FROM THE INCLUDED POWER ADAPTER OR A SOLAR PANEL (NOT INCLUDED) OR IN A PINCH FROM YOUR CAR’S CIGARETTE LIGHTER. SPEAKING OF THE SOLAR PANEL IT HAS A BUILT IN MPPT CONTROLLER MEANING IT IS MORE EFFICIENT AT CONVERTING AND USING THE ENERGY IT GETS FROM YOUR SOLAR PANEL, COMPARED TO A SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT HAVE A BUILT IN MPPT CONTROLLER.

AND LASTLY I DID MY HOMEWORK AND RESEARCHED THE FEEDBACK ON PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY PUT THIS GENERATOR THROUGH ITS PACES.

ADD ALL THAT UP, ALONG WITH THE COMPETITIVE PRICE THIS IS SELLING FOR,  AND IN MY OPINION THIS IS A MUST BUY.  THIS IS NOT WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND FOR YOUR REFRIGERATOR OR INDUCTOR BASED KITCHEN EQUIPMENT (I WILL CREATE A SEPARATE POST FOR A GENERATOR TO SUPPORT YOUR KITCHEN EQUIPMENT), HOWEVER TO KEEP IN YOUR LIVING ROOM OR BEDROOM IN ORDER TO POWER YOUR LAMPS, OR PHONES, OR RADIOS, OR  TV OR ROUTER OR LAPTOP IN THE EVENT OF A POWER OUTAGE; WELL THIS BEAUDENS IS GREAT TO OWN AND KEEP CHARGED UP FOR JUST SUCH AN EMERGENCY.

IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, KEEP ONE CHARGED UP IN EACH MAIN ROOM OF YOUR HOUSE, AND ONE IN YOUR CAR. BUT I WOULD RECOMMEND AT LEAST OWNING ONE.

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