Saturday Double Feature: Proud Mary (2018) and…

Another Saturday means another Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

Let’s talk 70s blaxploitation movies for a minute, shall we?

Yes, I know, in today’s world the concept might seem more than a bit odd, but back in the day it was definitely a thing, One f the things that you have to keep in mind is that during this time period many movies were not given the huge national release that seemingly every film has today, nor were they expected to bring in huge audiences from all across the spectrum. Nor were all theaters the vast multiplexes with 824 screens that litter the landscape today. (And no, I’m not going to diatribe about how those 824 screens all seem to be showing the same seven movies – at least not today, anyway. We’ll save that for some other time.)

Instead, most theaters were small, one-screen affairs locate in various neighborhoods throughout the city, and ofttimes those theaters (many independently owned and programmed) would show movies that they thought would appeal to the local clientele. Quite often, for those theaters located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, this meant movies which featured black actors in the lead role. Films such as Shaft, Uptown Saturday Night, and, yes, Blacula, are all examples of what became known as the blaxploitation genre.

By the way, I feel I should point out that for lovers of the films of the period, blaxploitation is not meant as a derogatory term. Instead, it’s more of a play on the broader exploitation cinema genre which was huge back then.

Anyway, even before I saw the first trailer for the new movie Proud Mary, upon just seeing the poster, I was immediately taken back to those days and that genre.

You see, there was even a further sub-genre within the blaxploitation realm which featured the bad-ass black woman who not only had to fight against racial prejudice, but also against male supremacy. Often these movies would feature the lead taking revenge against gangs or other people who had wronged her or someone close to her.

The undisputed queen of this sub-genre was Pan Grier, who starred in many movies including Foxy Brown, and is perhaps best known today as the lead in Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 Jackie Brown. She’s also the lead in the flick I picked for today’s double feature, Coffy.

In Coffy, Grier stars as a nurse who sets out to seek revenge for her sister’s drug addiction and to fight the drug relate violence that is infecting her town, This leas to her taking on both gang lords and the mob, an eventually sees her going undercover as a prostitute and eventually taking out a number of drug dealers in increasingly violent ways.

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with Proud Mary? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

Saturday Double Feature: The Greatest Showman (2017) and…

Hey, it’s Saturday, and that means the return of the Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

The Greatest Showman may just as well have been called The Greatest Bullsh!tter, because not only was P.T. Barnum a master of the art, but the movie is also completely full of it when it comes to Barnum’s life and business practices. Nonetheless, it does go a long way to showing once again why Hugh Jackman is one of our most muli-faceted and greatest living showmen today.

Of course, The Greatest Showman is not the first movie to be set at a circus, nor is it even the first to feature Barnum’s circus. In 1952 famed director Cecil B. DeMille brought the actual Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus to the big screen for the movie The Greatest Show on Earth. Starring Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, James Stewart, Dorothy Lamour, and Gloria Grahame, the film also incorporated the real circus’ 1951 troupe with its complement of 1400 people, hundreds of animals, and 60 carloads of equipment and tents. The movie went on to win two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Story, and was nominated for Best Costume Design, Best Director, and Best Film Editing. It also won Golden Globe Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture – Drama.

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with The Greatest Showman? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

Saturday Double Feature: Noah (2014) and…

Saturday on the blog means Saturday Double Feature, right? Remember, the basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

By the way, if you’re a fan of these double features, be sure to check out this post, which has the details of the new Saturday Double Feature Guessing Game. Be a winner! Show off your movie knowledge! Maybe even win an Actual Prize!

Of course, the big movie opening this week is Darren Aronofsky‘s semi-biblical epic Noah. I say semi-biblical, because from all that I’ve heard (I won’t, unfortunately, be getting to see the flick until later in the week) and considering what we’ve seen from the trailers and the special disclaimers that have already been put forward concerning its biblical origins, it’s likely to be rather controversial in certain circles. Of course, director Aronofsky has never been one to shy away from making daring choices in his movies or from challenging his audiences, and I consider all of those to be positive signs that this might very well be a movie worth plunking down the ducats for.

Of course, when one thinks about special-effects-laden biblical epics, there is one movie that immediately comes to mind, and that is Cecil B. Demille‘s 1956 big-screen spectacle The Ten Commandments, and that’s the one I’m going with for this week’s double feature:

Actually, I’m very curious to hear people’s responses and opinions on the new flick  Are you looking forward to or have you already seen Noah? Do you have any other ideas for pairing films with it? if so, let me know below. And also let me know of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

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Old Time Radio Thursdays – #007: Lux Radio Theatre (1934-1955)

The short intro: For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Old Time Radio is the phrase generally used to refer to the time when radio was (mostly) live, and was full of a variety of different shows, as opposed to simply being a means for record labels to use robots to promote the top records of the day. Old Time Radio Thursdays is my chance to explore some of those old radio shows, their connections (both old and new) to movies, and hopefully to encourage some of the rest of you to take a look at a probably unfamiliar source of entertainment that I truly love. If you want more info on OTR, and some examples of the variety of shows that were made, be sure to check out this introductory post.

luxadThe soap brand Lux is probably unfamiliar to most American consumers today. Instead, they are likely more familiar with manufacturer Unilever’s other product, Dove. This was not always the case, however, as it was not only once one of the top-selling American brands, but also the sponsor of one of the longest-running and most popular shows on the radio.

Lux Radio Theatre actually began its life in New York in 1934. At that time it broadcast hour-long adaptations of popular Broadway plays. The way the show was set up was to begin with an introduction and interview with the show’s stars conducted by the “producer”, a fictional character known as Douglass Garrick. Garrick was initially portrayed by John Anthony, before the role was taken over in 1935 by Albert Hayes who stayed in the role until the middle of 1936.

Lux Radio TheaterOn June 1, 1936, the show took a very dramatic turn. At that point, it moved from its New York base to Los Angeles, and began adapting movies instead of plays. Also, the role of the producer changed, and instead of being the fictional Garrick, it was taken over by real-life producer and director Cecil B. DeMille.

DeMille would remain in that role until 1945 when he, and the rest of radio, were rocked by a clash with the American Federation of Radio Artists over closed-shop union rules. After that, the show had a number of different hosts, but none of them were as well-known, nor as popular, as DeMille.

The show was, as is evident from its longevity, extremely popular, as it was a great chance not only for Hollywood to promote very popular pictures, but for audiences to feel as though the stars were actually there in their homes and performing just for them. The format of the show also provided a way for the stars to connect with their audience and to promote not only the film they were there to perform that night, but whatever upcoming projects they might have.

lux3As far as the adaptations themselves, they were generally very well done, and the hour-long format provided just enough time to give the radio audience a good taste for the film without making them feel as though they had already seen it if they eventually did catch it in their local theater.

A total of 926 shows were produced during the show’s nearly 20 year run, and a list of all of the plays and movies adapted can be found here. Most of the shows have survived, and can be found in various formats at different sites that focus on old time radio. Fortunately, quite a few of them have also been uploaded to YouTube. I’m only going to give you a small sampling today, but trust me when I say there are many, many more to be found.

Of course, since the heyday of both radio and Hollywood overlapped so much, Lux was not the only show providing adaptations of popular films, and next week we’ll take a look at another, quite similar show with a more Award winning focus.