THE SPANISH MAIN (1945) Frank Borzage’s unusual choice of the normally staid Paul Henreid to play a dashing sea-faring scallywag becomes clear when Henreid’s Dutch sea captain sets sail against pirates, Spanish aristocrats, and politicians all while romancing a pulchritudinous piece of plunder played by Maureen O’Hara. Also stars Walter Slezak, Binnie Barnes and Fritz Leiber, Sr. (father to Fritz Leiber, Jr, author of the fantastic Tales of Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser.) RKO’s first foray into the multi-hued world of Technicolor.
SINBAD THE SAILOR (1947) Maureen O’Hara returns — along with Walter Slezak — for another round of romance and ripostes in this Munchausean take on the Arabian Nights. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. delights by channeling Senior’s definitive take on the swashbuckler. Under the direction of Richard Wallace, this version of the Sailorman is more notorious for his tall tales than his derring-do but puts his scimitar to the sail when he finds a secret map to the lost treasure of Alexander the Great. O’Hara plays Shireen, a scarlet-tressed pearl of Persia, while Anthony Quinn slips into the slippers of a greedy despotic sultan. Also features Batman’s Alfred, Alan Napier.
THE CIRCLE (1925) Already a highly seasoned cinema vet, Frank Borzage tackled this silent screen adaptation of Somerset Maugham’s scandalous hit play with aplomb and charm. Thirty years after a family is torn asunder thanks to an adulterous spouse, events are set to re-occur, but this time it will happen to the son the adulterer abandoned. The son’s roving eyed wife invites her husband’s estranged mother and the man she ran away with for an extended stay at the scion’s estate, in order to see what deleterious effects occur post-desire’s defeat of virtue. But the father of the groom returns too soon and a battle of supercilious seduction and stiff-necked superiority ensues. Starring Eleanor Boardman and Malcolm McGregor. Keep your eyes peeled for a very young Joan Crawford as the straying spouse in the film’s prologue sequence.
THE SHOW (1927) Before making the sensational skyscraper drama Fast Workers, cinema titans John Gilbert and Tod Browning (Freaks) teamed up for this circus set sensation. Gilbert plays a womanizer stuck at the center of a triangle of crime, desire, and murder surrounded by a sideshow of faux freaks and real rogues. Cock Robin (Gilbert) enjoys double duties as ballyhoo man and John the Baptist stand-in for the sideshow’s Salome (the arresting Renée Adorée). Following his seduction of Salome, Cock Robin’s head is on the platter of homicidally jealous show runner, The Greek (Lionel Barrymore). Full of Browning’s signature cinematic flourishes — including a killer reptile and a top-notch cast of performers — The Show’s pot-boiler pulp is a heady stew of art high and low.
BOBBY JONES: HOW I PLAY GOLF/HOW TO BREAK 90 — THE COMPLETE SHORTS COLLECTION (1931-33)
In between winning his legendary Grand Slam in golf and the Masters tournament, Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones, Jr. shot a series of ground-breaking theatrical instructional shorts for Warner Bros, “How I Play Golf” and “How to Break 90”. As directed by George Marshall, the Bobby Jones shorts combine instruction with narrative to create a one-of-a-kind cine-sensation featuring a true Hollywood who’s who of students: James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, WC Fields, Joan Blondell, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, and Glenda Farrell. This complete collection will be eagerly enjoyed by sportsmen and film fans alike.
NIGHT COURT: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON (1989-90)
Status quo is MIA as the seventh season begins with a visit from Harry’s estranged dad, former mental patient Buddy (recurring guest John Astin) that results in the two shacking up. Meanwhile, Dan (John Larroquette) begins a season long quest for new lodgings — a quest complicated by Judge Harry’s (Harry Anderson) new roomie. Making the case for comedy in season seven are the visitor from the future, VHK 937 (Michael McManus), Roz’s (Marsha Warfield) visiting aunt (Della Reese), and a return visit from Mel Torme. Upping the stakes with a dash of drama, Dan faces disbarment, Christine (Markie Post) faces motherhood as a wedded single mom (Don’t ask, just watch it!), Buddy gets engaged and Yakov Smirnoff seeks asylum. Grab your gavel and go!
MADAME CURIE (1943) Basking in post-Mrs. Miniver afterglow, Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon re-up for a classic tale of romance and radium in a stirring bio-pic about one of the greatest breakthroughs in fin de siecle science.
THE CLOCK (1945) Judy Garland sets aside her show-stopping songbird stylings to personify the pedestrian side of city life in this simple and affecting romance. Garland plays the level-headed Alice who’s thrust into a whirlwind romance when she literally runs into Joe, a G.I. on a two-day pass, and falls heart-over-heels in love. A small flick from some big talents including producer Arthur Freed, director Vincente Minnelli and co-star Robert Walker.
TEN LITTLE INDIANS (1966) Swinging sixties-style screen adaptation of the Agatha Christie suspenser set in a Swiss chalet. Credited as a proto-slasher by some, no doubt due to the metronomic procession of inventive murders, Hugh O’Brian and Shirley Eaton dazzle as they draw us deeper into the mystery of U.N. Owen. And worry not, cinephans — we’ve preserved the heart-stopping mystery minute “Who-dun-it Break”!
THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER (1968) Alan Arkin is simply astounding in this heartfelt adaptation of the Carson McCullers classic playing a deaf mute who moves to a sleepy Southern town to be near his hospitalized friend (a serious turn from Chuck McCann (Far-out Space Nuts)), a brain-damaged man-child. Singer’s silent kindness draws to him others broken in body and spirit. Also stars Sondra Locke, Cicely Tyson and Stacy Keach.
CORVETTE SUMMER (1978) Well before Pee-wee’s had his big adventure seeking a stolen red bicycle, Mark Hamill set off on a cross-country trek in pursuit of a kidnapped customized red sports car. Hot off of Star Wars, Hamill jumped straight into seventies hot rod reinvention in this MGM adventure flavored by Corman flicks. Annie Potts co-stars as a wanna-be streetwalker who can’t make the cut.
THE DISH (2001)Sam Neill stars in this audience favorite, as a crew of quirky antipodeans pool their efforts to ensure their satellite dish is the one that broadcasts Neil Armstrong’s historic first words uttered upon the moon.