Image of the Day: Le Rouge et le Noir

14 comments on November 22, 2010 by Steve Simels

From The Hunchback of Notre Dame (William Dieterle, 1939): The screen's most gorgeous redhead -- the then 19 year old(!) Maureen O'Hara -- makes her American debut in a film with the kind of gorgeously detailed black-and-white photography that recalls nothing less than the engravings of Gustav Doré. The ironies, as they say, abound.

There was a Hollywood joke back in the 50s about Forrest Tucker (yes, him): He was handsome the hard way, people said -- without makeup. On the basis of the still above, I think it's pretty obvious something similar could have been said about O'Hara and monochrome.

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Video Event of the Week: Might Fox's just released and latest (still not in 3D, but with an optional soundtrack without the swearwords) DVD version of Worst Movie Ever Made™ Avatar be what we're talking about, perchance? Is it conceivable that Paramount's Blu-ray of The Last Airbender, the latest mishegass from increasingly preposterous fantasy/horror auteur M. Night Shyamalan, could actually get the nod? Or is it even remotely credible that Disney's various new disc versions of the Robert Zemeckis/Jim Carrey adaptation of A Christmas Carol are, by some strange quirk of fate, The One(s)?

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So yesterday, I was once again immersed as is my wont in the great comforting warm bath that is the New York Times Arts and Leisure section when the following interesting and alarming item caught my eye:

Could there eventually come a day when our popular culture’s disposition toward all things zombie-related goes from fixation to saturation, from saturation to revulsion, and from revulsion to a point where people are actually persecuted for showing zombie movies? Richard Wolstencroft, the director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival in Australia, might argue that the day is already here. But then again the zombie movie he tried to show at his festival over the summer is not exactly your ordinary horror flick.

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Monster's mate Elsa Lanchester does a final adjustment on her eye makeup before her coming out party in Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935).

I'm assuming this was a goof photo from an otherwise serious makeup test or studio still session at Universal (and Lanchester HATED working with Universal make-up genius Jack Pierce).

But strictly on its own terms, it's one of the most astounding glam shots from the Golden Age I've ever seen.

As Gloria Swanson says in Sunset Boulevard -- they had faces then.

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Well, I just got finished watching Shout! Factory's newly restored version of director Ivan Reitman's 1973 debut film Cannibal Girls, the long-standing cult flick favorite starring future SCTV icons Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin. I've somehow missed this one over the years, probably because there's a part of me whose nose gets out of joint at the thought of deliberately crappy Midnight Movie wannabes (I'm talking to you, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! Bite me, just about everything ever made at Troma!). But since Reitman h...

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Well, I just got a peek at the forthcoming 2011 edition of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, the venerable and invaluable work of film scholarship that has been, justifiably, a beloved fixture on the home entertainment center coffee tables of both fans and critics since its first appearance in the dim dark days of 1969.

But I'm a little puzzled, I've got to say -- while skimming the new volume, I chanced across a whole bunch of interesting-sounding movies that I've somehow managed to miss over the years.  So I thought I'd share a few of them, along with Maltin and company's famously snappy descriptive blurbs. Meanwhile, you should probably try and keep a lookout for these if they show up on Turner Classic Movies sometime soon.

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Video Event of the Week: Might Universal's DVD of Scott Pilgrim VS The World, the charming update of Walter Mitty as a nerdy video gamer starring the (admittedly overexposed) Michael Cera be what we're talking about? Is Criterion's Blu-ray of Antichrist, the latest laugh riot from reliably depressing director Lars von Trier, even remotely in the running? Or -- and I think this is at least likely -- are Sony's various newly remastered versions of David Lean's still stunning The Bridge on the River Kwai actually, you know, The One(s)?

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