LAST REPORT FROM CINESATION 2012
The Great American Broadcast is a 1941 black and white Fox musical set in the days of the beginning of radio as national entertainment. Alice Faye is completely believeable. She makes even this formulaic script about three friends hoping for a national break seem real. John Payne sings very well. Too bad he gave that up. (Were his bowed legs a problem for musicals? I was very conscious of them this time. Sorry, John.) I always think I am tired of Jack Okie, but he protrays a real human being here.
There are several brief cameos at the opening of the film: Kate Smith, Rudy Vallee, Walter Winchell, Fred Allen, Paul Whiteman, Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny.
The score is forgettable, but the Ink Spots sing. And the Wiere Brothers are, well, weird. And the Nicholas Brothers dance. At the end of their act there was live audience applause at the Lincoln Theatre in Massillon, Ohio. Interactive cinema, 70 years after the fact, and a festival highlight.
THE GREAT AMERICAN BROADCAST
A RUSSIAN CLASSIC, AND EXTRAS
I am not one to wax ecstatic over so-called extras on DVDs. Some reviewers seem more interested in them than in the film itself. Usually, I would rather watch the film again than watch someone talking ABOUT it. But the Criterion Collection’s DVD of Anrdei Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood (1962) is exceptional. There is discussion from Vida T. Johnson, co-author of The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky: a visual fugue; an interview with Vadim Yusov, photographer; and even an interview with Nikolai Burlyaev, a mature adult who, in the film, gave one of the great juvenile performances of all time. The Criterion transfer of Tarkovsky’s first feature is a beautiful one. (You may know this film under the title My Name Is Ivan.)
RICK’S JOURNAL (My Film Career)
SCARLETT AS VIVIEN LEIGH: In Sandra-Bell Lundy’s Between Friends, Friday’s Woman (today, November 2) is Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara, “summoning inner strength.” The Scarlett in today’s comic srip is wearing the black dress and even the large brooch from the last three scenes of the film. Vivien Leigh LIVES!
NEXT FRIDAY POST November 9
See you at the movies,