Technology has moved so rapidly over the past decade… We take much for granted that we once waited for patiently (or not so patiently). Case in point: movies. I just noticed an announcement for the Blu-ray release of Midnight Special next month. I saw the film in the theater just last month. Not so long ago, we used to have to wait at least six months for a film to make the journey from the theater to home video. Of course there are now services that will allow you to watch current theatrical releases at home for a fairly hefty fee.
Back in the pre-dawn days when I was young (before VCRs), if you wanted to see a movie, you had to go to a theater or try to find films on cable or late night TV. Fewer films were available, but there was something special about seeing a film that you’d been anticipating for a long time.
I think we can still have that feeling of delayed gratification, of anticipation fulfilled. I also recently saw that one of my favorite lesser-known movies from the 70s is getting an August Blu-ray release, Laslo Benedek’s The Night Visitor (1971) starring Max von Sydow. (I’m sure this is not the final art, since the cover is clearly from an older DVD.) I first saw this film on TBS over 30 years ago and have been waiting ever since to see it again. (30 years – That’s some delayed gratification.)
Our access to films is – for the most part – so immediate these days, especially if you’re willing to shell out a few bucks in order to make that access happen. I certainly like the fact that many of the films I want to see are just a click or two away (whether streaming or purchasing). But there’s something about those days, weeks, months and years of anticipation that I miss…
If you missed the previous installments of The Beckie Project, or are wondering what the heck it is, you can get caught up with Part I and Part II. Continuing now with Part III:
Beckie’s pick for me: King Corn (doc. 2007) directed by Aaron Woolf
My pick for Beckie: Fish Tank (2009) directed by Andrea Arnold
Yesterday I briefly mentioned hearing the guys from the Criterion Close-Up podcast discussing Plain Archive, the South Korean boutique Blu-ray company. If you’re not familiar with the terms “boutique label” or “boutique company,” no worries. Such companies are those that produce independent and/or specialty, genre, or niche DVD/Blu-ray editions of films.
Man, you take a weekend off, travel out of town, and then realize all the things you have coming up. Tonight I have a presentation at my library called What Are Graphic Novels? followed by our first Anne Arundel County Public Library Comic Con on Saturday.
As far as movie news…
I get asked from time to time about my first movie memory. (You probably do as well.) You’d think that as much as I love, talk and write about movies that I’d have that answer ready to go on the tip of my tongue, but I don’t. The first movie I saw in the theater (which would’ve been the Town Theater in Forest, Mississippi, where I grew up) was probably a Disney animated film. The first image I remember is from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). No, I wasn’t part of any 1937 audience (as some have actually asked me); I’m not that old. Films – especially Disney films – got rereleased all the time, so I’m guessing this would’ve been when I was four or so, around 1966.
My Friend Irma Goes West (1950) Hal Walker
Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection Vol. 1 DVD (1:31)
My Friend Irma Goes West is more enjoyable than its predecessor My Friend Irma (1949) in that it’s shorter and features much more of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. It’s a bit embarrassing that ditzy Irma (Marie Wilson) is relegated to a supporting role in her own movie, but producers Cy Howard and Hal Wallis recognized that Martin and Lewis were clearly on the rise. Giving them more screen time was a no-brainer even Irma could figure out (eventually).
If you’re late to the party, you can catch up on Part I and Part II. After that, here’s how April ended for me:
I’m still working on the last few films I watched in April. Here are the titles you can look forward to reading about in the next few days:
Key Largo (1948)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
Man in the Middle (1964)
Rod Serling Studio One Dramas: The Arena (1956), The Strike (1954)
Don’t Bother to Knock (1952)
Directed by F.W. Murnau
Written by Gerhart Hauptman, Hans Kyser, based on the play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Produced by Erich Pommer
Cinematography by Carl Hoffmann
Edited by Elfi Böttrich
Universum Film (Germany), MGM (US)
Amazon streaming (1:47)
Continuing my Blindspot 2016 series, inspired by The Matinee: