Lindsay Ellis on The Wicked Witch of the West and MGM's copyright "The Wicked Witch of the West is the ultimate archetype for the modern witch, so everyone wants their own version of her. Too bad MGM holds the copyright to the one everyone knows."
Mickey Rooney the former child star, who made his stage debut at the age of 18 months and was in show business for over 8 decades, died Sunday, aged 93. He was known for his relationship with MGM where he played such roles as Andy Hardy and starred in several pictures with Judy Garland. For a period of two years, he was considered the top star in Hollywood. [more inside]
The world of science fiction is filled with strange tales of alternate futures where one minor event reshaped the entire history of the world. In our world, one minor event in 1935 could have changed the world of animation and science fiction ushering in an era of adult animation. But, alas, that did not happen and is the topic of our sad story today. Though Bob Clampett is often remembered for his Warner Brothers cartoons, including some surreal shorts, he could have been known for bringing John Carter of Mars to life in animation. [more inside]
After 14 years, a movie and 17 seasons Stargate has left our screens forever- falling ratings dooming it's latest incarnation, Stargate: Universe, just as the series was finding it's feet. But what would have happned had the series continued? (contains spoilers for show you probably didn't watch)
Early in 1903, the success of the New York production of the musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz got composer Victor Herbert and librettist Glen MacDonough thinking. They thought that it might be possible to duplicate that success by applying a Christmas theme to Baum's story and then sprinkling in a few Mother Goose characters. Later that year the resulting show, Babes in Toyland, was a rousing success. Thirty years later it was made into a movie starring two of the greatest motion picture actors of the era, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, produced by Hal Roach. But this post isn't about either of those productions; it's about the worst production. [more inside]
SLNPRA (Single Link NPR Audio) on the MGM bankruptcy. Will Bond succumb to a "lack of shelf space"? [more inside]
Is James Bond past his sell-by date? What’s the difference between ’suspended indefinitely’ and officially dead? When it comes to James Bond and the planned twenty-third movie featuring the character, it can be difficult to tell. We’ve known for months that EON Productions had suspended development on the film thanks to MGM’s financial troubles, but now there’s a report circulating that the film is officially dead. But is it really? [more inside]
From 1929 to 1931, MGM produced a series of short comedic films that featured an all-dog cast. Ladies and Gentlemen, The All-Barkie Dogville Comedies. The Big Dog House, Part 1 The Big Dog House, Part 2 [more inside]
Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high, There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby. The MGM musical version of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz turned 70 this week. It wasn't the first time it was a movie, nor the last time it was a movie or a movie musical. [more inside]
Pauline Kael called it "a huge, jerry-built, crumbling ruin of a movie". Roger Ebert called it "such a silly and stupid movie... our immediate reaction is pity". Few directors of Michelangelo Antonioni's stature have followed a film as acclaimed as Blowup (1966) with one as reviled as Zabriskie Point (1970). [more inside]
Joan Crawford's Letty Lynton is currently available for viewing on YouTube. 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 [more inside]
Hochbetrieb [Nuts & Bolts] is a 2003 short from Germany that utilizes live actors and computer-generated effects in tribute to influences ranging from silent comedies to Charles Ebbetts' images of construction crews atop the GE Building, along with a cat & mouse cartoon from MGM guest-starring a baby and a Warner Brothers piece about an amphibian.
Back in 1940, a young singer called Virginia O'Brien made her debut in the LA production of "Meet the People" when she was seized by a paralyzing case of stage fright. The policeman daughter nevertheless bravely kept on singing while the audience roared with laughter. Surprisingly, her frozen-faced delivery, far from cutting her career short, created a unique niche for her instead (her wide vocal range and stunning looks also helped). Within short, she'd be appearing as deadpan "featured singer" in a number of golden-age MGM comedies, such as the "In the Storehouse", "Panama Hattie", or, most memorably, "Du Barry was a Lady". It's a bit sad that such a singing and acting talent was reduced to a novelty act, but, damn, what an act!
Cyd Charisse passed away today at 86. Part of the MGM Golden Age, she first started out in minor roles usually as a dancer (1:52). It wasn't until the Gotta Dance routine with Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain did she begin to get meatier roles. [more inside]
Advanced Animation by Preston Blair, "the best 'how to' book on cartoon animation ever published." Blair, a Disney and MGM animator, put the book together in 1947 to illustrate the various basic principles of animation, only to have the book pulled from shelves after the rights to use some of the characters were revoked. Animation historian Jerry Beck has been hunting for a first edition of Blair's landmark book for many years. He finally found a copy and is sharing high-quality scans on the Animation Archive. (Archive previously linked in this thread; discovered via this thread.)
In a sardonic new editorial, the Register asks whether the EFF is harming the very causes that it's supposedly fighting for. This isn't coming out of left field. The EFF has lost numerous cases that could have been won, and in doing so is helping to creating precedents that make fights for civil liberties harder to wage.