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Three Sailors & A Girl
Three Sailors & A Girl
DVD ~ Gordon Mac Rae, Gene Nelson, Sam Levene Jane Powell
Price: $14.99
25 used & new from $9.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Jane Powell and Gordon MacRae make lovely music in an underrated movie gem, March 28, 2016
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This review is from: Three Sailors & A Girl (DVD)
How many film musicals are based around three sailors on shore-leave and their song & dance exploits in New York City? "On the Town" and "Hit the Deck" both immediately spring to mind. Squeezed in-between is the adorable THREE SAILORS AND A GIRL, from 1953.

In a rare loan-out to Warners, MGM’s blonde songbird Jane Powell plays Penny Weston, the leading lady of a struggling Broadway production, being produced by the unscrupulous Joe Woods (Sam Levene). Rehearsals are being held in an underground car mechanics shop and the star is a tone-deaf, halfwit opera singer (George Givot). In the right place and at the right time are three sailors (Gordon MacRae, Gene Nelson and Jack E. Leonard), with a sackful of back-pay, looking for a good investment. A Broadway musical, perhaps?

The plot is predictable but the performances are priceless. Warners knew how to throw together a fun musical (take for instance any of the Doris Day films from the same period), and THREE SAILORS… is no exception. Gordon MacRae, at the absolute peak of his good looks and strident voice, and Jane Powell, glowing and so pretty in her Moss Mabry costumes, pair beautifully here. It’s a shame that they spent the best parts of their careers at different studios – they work very well together. Gene Nelson’s dancing is sublime and he has a wonderful routine with Ms Powell too. Veda Ann Borg has a funny part playing the assistant to Levene.

Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: The Complete Series
Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: The Complete Series
DVD ~ Nick Bakay
Price: $32.99
16 used & new from $32.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The complete "Sabrina" for one magical price, February 20, 2016
Here is your chance to own all seven seasons of SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH in a single boxset. I've already reviewed the individual releases of each season, so here is a brief summary of what you can expect:

Season 1
Meet Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) as she discovers that she is a witch on her 16th birthday. Hello to aunts Hilda (Caroline Rhea) and Zelda (Beth Broderick), talking cat Salem (voiced by Nick Bakay), Sabrina's best friend Jenny (Michelle Beaudoin), arch-rival Libby (Jenna Leigh Green), boyfriend Harvey (Nate Richert) and teacher Mr Pool (Paul Feig). Stories swirl around Sabrina experimenting with her new powers, exploring the Other Realm and the trials of starting school at Westbridge High.

Season 2
Goodbye to Jenny (and hello to Sabrina's new bestie Valerie, played by Lindsay Sloane). Mr Pool is replaced by Mrs Quick (Mary Gross). Vice-Principal Kraft (Martin Mull) becomes Sabrina's biggest nemesis. Sabrina must study for her Witches' License and is visited throughout the season by her Quizmaster (Alimi Ballard). Sabrina also gets another would-be boyfriend in Dashiell (Donald Faison).

Season 3
Sabrina's new task is to uncover the mysterious Family Secret. Relatives visit throughout the season giving her clues on what it could be. Kraft starts dating Zelda and it's revealed that he used to be married to a witch. Sabrina battles a pancake addiction and flies a mini-spaceship into Libby's nose.

Season 4
Goodbye to Valerie and Libby. Hello to Dreama (an apprentice witch who Sabrina must mentor, played by China Shavers), along with Harvey's friend Brad (Jon Huertas), who turns out to be a witch-hunter. Hilda buys a Clock Shop and Kraft is promoted to Principal. Sabrina develops a crush on new guy Josh (David Lascher).

Season 5
Goodbye Westbridge High, hello John Adams College. Sabrina and Harvey come to a parting of the ways. New friends Roxie (Soleil Moon Frye), Morgan (Elisa Donovan) and Miles (Trevor Lissauer) come onboard. Zelda becomes a college professor and Hilda takes over the campus coffee shop.

Season 6
College life continues. Sabrina's relationship with Josh escalates. Harvey returns and begins to date Morgan. Hilda finds love and gets married.

Season 7
Goodbye to Hilda and Zelda, as well as Josh and Miles. College is over and Sabrina returns to the mansion, with Roxie and Morgan as housemates. Sabrina lands a journalist job at the music magazine "Scorch". Sabrina meets the handsome Aaron (Dylan Neal) and wedding bells are in the air... or are they?

The 24-disc set includes all 162 episodes as well as the made-for-TV movie "Sabrina Goes to Rome".
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 30, 2016 3:40 PM PDT

Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Final Season
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Final Season
DVD ~ Melissa Joan Hart
Price: $11.11
19 used & new from $9.67

4.0 out of 5 stars The end of the road for a no-longer Teenage Witch..., February 20, 2016
It’s taken me years to gather the courage to see the final season of SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH (after hearing and reading so many negative opinions of it). Having finally seen it, my opinion is more positive. It feels rushed, and many of the regular stars had moved on, but it still delivers the happy end that “Sabrina” fans want.

The season kicks off with the cliffhanger scene of Season Six, where we saw Sabrina turn into stone at Aunt Hilda’s wedding. With both aunts returning to live in the Other Realm, Sabrina moves back to the mansion and brings Morgan (Elisa Donovan) and Roxie (Soleil Moon Frye) along as housemates. The stories shift away from college (so farewell to Miles and Josh) as Sabrina gets her first full-time job as a journalist for music magazine “Scorch”. There’s a whole new roster of characters on-hand, but they all disappear mid-way through the season once Sabrina meets the man who finally pops the question… Aaron (played by Dylan Neal). Then the show races frantically to the big wedding episode… where Sabrina must finally choose between her new ‘dream man’ and teenage sweetheart Harvey (Nate Richert).

There is still enough of the classic “Sabrina” magic in the air, but I can tell that fatigue had started to set in by the time this final season rolled around. Shaking up the location yet again was a smart move, as the college stories had started to get a bit repetitive. The “Scorch Magazine” office adds a fun new dimension to the show – including a few real music stars in celebrity cameos - but it’s a shame that the new cast members (including Diana Maria Riva, John Ducey, Bumper Robinson and Andrew W. Walker) weren’t around long enough to really shine. In a surprise guest slot, Kate Jackson comes aboard as Roxie's mother in the annual Christmas episode.

The final episode was a missed opportunity to bring back some characters from seasons past (I can’t imagine why Jenny or Valerie wouldn’t attend Sabrina’s wedding). The stories rattle along at such speed, it’s as though the writers were trying to cram in as much as possible. Melissa Joan Hart (and Nick Bakay as the voice of Salem) remain the two constants as the show switches formulas, twisting and turning before reaching it’s final conclusion.

Total Sabrina Live
The Big Head
Call Me Crazy
Shift Happens
Free Sabrina
Sabrina Unplugged
Witch Way Out
It’s a Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot Christmas
Ping Ping a Song
The Lyin’, the Witch and the Wardrobe
In Sabrina We Trust
Sabrina in Wonderland
Present Perfect
Cirque du Sabrina
Getting to Nose You
Romance Looming
Spellman Slip
You Slay Me
A Fish Tale
What a Witch Wants / Soul Mates (Finale)

Pamela Tiffin Hollywood to Rome, 1961-1974
Pamela Tiffin Hollywood to Rome, 1961-1974
by Tom Lisanti
Edition: Paperback
Price: $39.95
29 used & new from $34.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back, Pamela Tiffin!, February 3, 2016
“Some thought I should be another Audrey Hepburn. Mr Wallis wanted me to be another Greta Garbo. The trouble comes when you don’t fit the image, then they try to superimpose the image over you. I don’t want to cut my hair. I don’t want to bleach my hair. I don’t want to wear Sandra Dee and Doris Day clothes” – Pamela Tiffin

Pamela Tiffin, the strikingly beautiful raven-haired actress of the Sixties, has her place in the niche of personalities from that colourful era. But what became of her career after she abandoned Hollywood? Tom Lisanti lifts the curtain on the still-elusive Tiffin in this meticulously-researched biography, which will be a must-read for the legions of baby-boomers who remember her fondly, and the new generations of fans who have discovered her delightful performances on cable and DVD.

Pamela Tiffin was content being a model – and a very successful one at that – before she was literally plucked out of the blue by director Peter Glenville and producer Hal Wallis for an important supporting role in the film version of Tennessee Williams’ “Summer and Smoke”. Almost immediately after that she was whisked off to Germany for Billy Wilder’s “One, Two, Three” – where co-star James Cagney praised Tiffin’s flair for comedy – and continued to do so for years.

For the rest of her career, Tiffin tried to chase projects that would equal the prestige and creative excitement of these two debut films – with limited success. The standard ingénue roles followed, like Margy in Fox’s ill-advised remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “State Fair”. She might have starred with Elvis in any number of his innocuous musicals of the Sixties but was wise enough to decline. Basing herself in New York instead of Los Angeles (which was quite bold and unheard-of at the time, which Lisanti points out) meant that Tiffin did not play the ‘Hollywood game’, but it also probably hindered her chances for all of the casting choices that might have come her way.

At the height of her career in Hollywood, Pamela packed up and headed for Italy, dying her hair blonde and virtually reinventing herself – it was a gamble that paid off, and Italian filmmakers, who loved adding Hollywood glamour gals to their casts, lined up to use the charming star. But the roles eventually dried up. Tiffin decided to quit while ahead, married and left the business.

Tom Lisanti’s book is less biography than career retrospective. Although written with the seal of approval from Pamela and her family, Ms Tiffin was sadly unable to contribute to the book, however Lisanti does draw from period interviews plus remembrances from cast and crew. By all accounts Ms Tiffin was a darling (and I’m sure still is). Lisanti devotes entire chapters to Tiffin’s films and provides enthusiastic plot synopses and lots of backstage tales that her fans will relish. There are many wonderful photos littered throughout as well. A wonderful book that I hope will stand as a tribute to one of Hollywood’s brightest Sixties stars.

Shirley Temple - Everyone's Little Princess
Shirley Temple - Everyone's Little Princess
DVD ~ Shirley Temple
Offered by Treasures4All
Price: $4.79
56 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Early Shirley a treat for fans, September 8, 2015
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If you already own all of Shirley Temple's major films from Fox, you should also consider buying this set as an extra "addition" to the Shirley library. This set has many of Temple's early pre-stardom film appearances, including her small supporting roles in "Red-Haired Alibi" (1932) and "Law of Vengeance" (1933, originally titled "To the Last Man"); the latter starring Randolph Scott, who, several years later, would play opposite Shirley in "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and "Susannah of the Mounties".

"The Little Princess" (1939), Temple's first Technicolor film at Fox is here, albeit minus the opening credits sequence. It's arguably Shirley's most popular movie, an adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic children's novel. During the height of the Boer War, little Sara Crewe (Temple) is left at an exclusive girl's boarding school while her widower father goes back to the front. When he's later reported as missing believed killed - on her birthday yet! - little Sara is forced to become a scullery maid in order to pay back the fortune which her father owed in tuition fees and board. Never once doubting her father is still alive, Sara clings to her faith that one day her daddy will return. Co-starring Cesar Romero (barely recognizable under an Indian turban and dark makeup), Anita Louise as kindly teacher Miss Rose, Richard Greene as her secret beau; and Mary Nash (a frequent Temple nemesis) as the witchy boarding school principal Miss Minchin, "The Little Princess" gave Temple one of her most demanding acting assignments, with a strong script from Ethel Hill and Walter Ferris that pulls no punches with some of the harsher, dramatic details from the original book-source. Sybil Jason is a delight playing Sara's best friend Becky, a cockney servant girl; and in a departure from her previous role in Temple's "Heidi" as sweet wheelchair-bound Clara, teenaged Marcia Mae Jones is the haughty Lavinia. Temple also shares a wonderful musical number with Arthur Treacher ("Knocked 'Em in the Old Kent Road").

This set also has many of the "Baby Burlesks" and "Frolics of Youth" short subjects, plus the vintage newsreel compilation "Biggest Lil' Star of the 30's" which has footage of Shirley riding her custom-made roadster on the Fox backlot. Adding some charm - but completely unrelated to Shirley Temple - are several "Our Gang" short subjects, in addition to a fabulous print of the delightful 1939 programmer "Nancy Drew... Reporter" starring Bonita Granville, Natalie Wood in "The Green Promise" (1949), "Mickey" (1948), "A Boy, a Girl and a Dog" (1946), and the 1955 TV version of "Miracle on 34th Street".

The Youngest Profession
The Youngest Profession
DVD ~ Virginia Weidler
Price: $14.99
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4.0 out of 5 stars MGM rolls out the stars in a sweet teen comedy, September 8, 2015
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This review is from: The Youngest Profession (DVD)
Based on a book by Lillian Day, THE YOUNGEST PROFESSION stars Virginia Weidler in her penultimate film, playing an autograph-obsessed movie fan who, when not tracking down her favourite stars, meddles in the marriage of her parents (Edward Arnold and Marta Linden) ... with comedic results. The film is mostly an excuse for MGM to roll out a roster of popular stars in cameo roles - Lana Turner, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Robert Taylor and William Powell - all good sports who deliver exactly what the script requires.

Sadly never quite fulfilling her true potential at MGM, Virginia Weidler's Hollywood career was almost over by the time she was assigned the lead in THE YOUNGEST PROFESSION. Ms Weidler only appeared in one more film at the studio ("Best Foot Forward", also in 1943) before leaving the movies and returning to her stage origins, retiring altogether just two years later. THE YOUNGEST PROFESSION also stars Agnes Moorehead as Weidler's meddling, money-grubbing governess, with Scotty Beckett as her younger brother, and lovely Ann Ayars as her father's secretary. A sweet little film.

Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell
Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell
DVD ~ Gina Lollobrigida
Price: $11.04
17 used & new from $11.03

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gina and a dream cast kick up their heels in Italy, September 1, 2015
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This review is from: Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (DVD)
A sparkling farce, BUONA SERA MRS CAMPBELL has radiant Gina Lollobrigida, an all-star supporting cast, and gorgeous Italian location photography. Carla Campbell (Lollobrigida) has carved out a respectable life and successful business for herself and her lovely daughter Gia (Janet Margolin) in the town of San Forino, but everything is about to come crashing down....

You see, some 20 years ago in the final chaotic months of WW2, a then-16-year-old Carla shared a house with three American G.I.'s, discoverd she was pregnant after their departure, and for the next 20 years has collected a monthly child support payment from each of them... Now those same three former G.I.'s (Peter Lawford, Telly Savalas and Phil Silvers) along with their wives (Lee Grant, Marian Moses and Shelley Winters) are headed back to San Forino for a grand reunion festival! Each man thinks he's Gia's father... and none of the wives know about their husbands' Italian wartime romance.

Director Melvin Frank had previously worked with Gina Lollobrigida in the 1965 comedy "Strange Bedfellows" and crafted this film as a showcase for her special comedic talents, but her co-stars often threaten to steal the spotlight, especially Lee Grant and Shelley Winters who both shine in some gleeful comedy moments. Costume designer Morton Haack dresses the gals in some fabulous clothes as well.

This movie was later adapted into the 1979 Broadway musical "Carmelina"; and also formed the basis for the smash hit ABBA musical "Mamma Mia".
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 9, 2015 6:01 PM PST

Party Girl
Party Girl
DVD ~ Robert Taylor
Price: $17.49
24 used & new from $11.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cyd Charisse and Robert Taylor - in their final MGM film - light up the screen in "Party Girl", August 30, 2015
This review is from: Party Girl (DVD)
The "party" was almost over when Cyd Charisse and Robert Taylor teamed up for PARTY GIRL, a glossy crime drama directed by Nicholas Ray. By 1958, with the studio in freefall, most of MGM's stable of stars had bought out their own contracts, or had their contracts terminated early by the studio. Others simply walked away. In contrast, Charisse and Taylor had both opted to ride out their deferred contracts, and PARTY GIRL signalled the end of an era for both stars.

Set in the 1930's-era Chicago and loosely based on the true-life story of Mob lawyer Dixie Davis, PARTY GIRL stars Robert Taylor as Thomas Farrell, a defence lawyer employed by Chicago Mobster Rico Angelo (Lee J. Cobb). Crippled in one leg, Farrell manages to successfully garner sympathy for his criminal clients by exploiting his own physical weaknesses in front of the jury-stand. When he meets and falls in love with nightclub dancer Vicki Gaye (Charisse), however, Farrell determines to change his ways, and, despite the dangers threatened by Rico, realises he must turn against the Mob...

PARTY GIRL is entertaining, and glossy in the "classic" MGM tradition, although the dance numbers performed by Charisse and company feel more like the Fifties in Vegas rather than the Thirties in Chicago. Charisse's husband Tony Martin sings the movie's Theme Song over the opening titles. Director Nicholas Ray manages to inject some darkness into the material and brings out a particularly fine turn from Charisse, in a rare dramatic change of pace for the dancing star.

Star Dust
Star Dust
DVD ~ Linda Darnell
Price: $18.84
20 used & new from $13.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Linda Darnell trails "Star Dust" in her own Hollywood fairytale, August 22, 2015
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This review is from: Star Dust (DVD)
1940's STAR DUST stars Linda Darnell and is loosely based on her own rise to fame in Hollywood. When talent scout Thomas Brooke (Roland Young) first encounters Carolyn Sayres (Darnell) on one of his annual trips to recruit young performers, he is sure of her immense talents. But there is the little matter of her age. No longer suitable for "child" parts and not yet equipped for adult roles, Carolyn nevertheless finagles her way to Hollywood, where she is taken under-wing by Brooke and acting coach Lola Langdon (Charlotte Greenwood), who become her biggest champions. The road will be tough and the competition tougher, but Carolyn, trailing star-dust in her wake, won't have to wait long for her own Hollywood happy ending.

Linda Darnell is luminous is this enchanting film, which was indeed based on Darnell's own experience in Hollywood. Barely a teen when she first arrived at Twentieth Century-Fox, Linda initially found herself in that awkward "in-between" phase, but soon established herself as one of Hollywood's brightest young ingenues. In perfect time capsule fashion, STAR DUST captures a bygone Hollywood era, with glamorous premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, slinky mink coats and spiralling klieg lights. In a sad footnote, Linda was actually watching STAR DUST on television on the night she died from horrific burns sustained in a house-fire, aged just 42.

Ms Darnell made many wonderful films in her short career, but STAR DUST stands apart with it's real-life connection to the star, and remains a cherished title for her fans.

Ice Follies of 1939
Ice Follies of 1939
DVD ~ Jimmy Stewart, Lew Ayres Joan Crawford
Price: $14.99
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joan Crawford and Jimmy Stewart lace up their skates!, August 21, 2015
This review is from: Ice Follies of 1939 (DVD)
Certainly one of the oddest films in Joan Crawford's canon, ICE FOLLIES OF 1939 nevertheless offers her fans the rare chance to see her in glorious, blushing Technicolor, on ice skates, and in a platinum blonde wig! "Everyone was out of their collective minds", the star later remarked. But it's one helluva fun movie.

Trying to gain financial backing to produce his own ice-spectaculars, Larry Hall (James Stewart) finds himself playing second-fiddle to his new wife, Mary McKay (Crawford), when newly-christened as Sandra Lee, she makes a huge splash in Hollywood. Split up for extended periods, chasing their own dreams, Larry and Mary are almost certainly headed for divorce... until film producers decide to bring their talents together for the screen.

Co-starring Lew Ayres, ICE FOLLIES OF 1939 was primarily a showcase for Crawford, and an attempt by MGM to cash in on the hugely-popular Sonja Henie films from rival studio Twentieth Century-Fox. The "Cinderella" ice-show performed as the movie's finale was lensed in sumptuous Technicolor - an absolute event for Crawford's fans, who'd never before seen her in colour on the screen. Despite the lush ice surrounds and Technicolor trappings this is still "B" territory - even for MGM standards - and this had to have irritated Crawford to the point where she campaigned and successfully landed one of the lead roles in the studio's next glittering prestige film "The Women", shortly after filming had wrapped on ICE FOLLIES.

If you enjoy Crawford you'll adore her on skates in ICE FOLLIES OF 1939. The Warner Archive disc is bare-bones except for the standard trailer.

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