History, Legacy & Showmanship

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang should be fondly remembered as the bastard child of Mary Poppins and James Bond.” — John Cork, co-author of James Bond Encyclopedia

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the musical-fantasy adaptation of Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel starring Dick Van Dyke (The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Poppins).

Produced by Albert R. Broccoli (the James Bond series) and directed by Ken Hughes (The Trials of Oscar Wilde, Cromwell), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was highlighted by Irwin Kostal’s score and musical numbers by The Sherman Brothers, including their Oscar-nominated title song. Co-stars included Sally Ann Howes (Brigadoon stage production), Lionel Jeffries (The Trials of Oscar Wilde), Gert Frobe (Goldfinger), Anna Quayle (A Hard Day’s Night), Benny Hill (The Benny Hill Show), James Robertson Justice (The Guns of Navarone), and Robert Helpmann (The Red Shoes). [Read on here...]

Funny Girl’s legacy and value is as a recreation of Streisand’s one-for-the-ages turn in the stage version, now preserved as long as we can watch movies.” — Matthew Kennedy, author of Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Funny Girl, the motion picture adaptation of the stage musical featuring Barbra Streisand’s Academy Award-winning performance as comedienne Fanny Brice.

Produced by Ray Stark (Annie, The Way We Were) and directed by William Wyler (The Best Years of Our Lives, Ben-Hur), the award-winning film also starred Omar Sharif (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago) and Kay Medford (BUtterfield 8, Ensign Pulver). The Library of Congress in 2016 selected Funny Girl for preservation in the National Film Registry. [Read on here...]

The Odd Couple is one of the great Neil Simon comedies — if not the all-time-great Neil Simon comedy!” — Rob Edelman, author of Matthau: A Life

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of The Odd Couple, the popular Neil Simon comedy about two divorced men with clashing personalities who become roommates.

Featuring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in their memorable roles as Oscar Madison and Felix Unger, respectively, and directed by Gene Saks (Cactus Flower, Brighton Beach Memoirs), The Odd Couple opened fifty years ago to box-office success and critical acclaim.

For the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with author, film historian and Walter Matthau biographer Rob Edelman. [Read on here...]

Night of the Living Dead is a classic that has inspired countless imitators, and spawned a sub-genre that continues to be exploited today in film, television, books and video games.” – John Scoleri, author of Latent Images: Night of the Living Dead

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero’s influential and franchise-spawning horror film about a group of characters trapped in a Pennsylvania farmhouse who are stalked by flesh-eating zombies.

Night of the Living Dead – co-written by John Russo and featuring Judith O’Dea, Duane Jones, Marilyn Eastman, Karl Hardman, Judith Riley, and Keith Wayne – opened fifty years ago this autumn, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with author and film historian John Scoleri.

John Scoleri is the author of Latent Images: Night of the Living Dead (Dreams and Visions Press, 2019), and several books on artist Ralph McQuarrie, including The Art of Ralph McQuarrie: Archives (Dreams and Visions Press, 2015). He was co-editor (with Peter Enfantino and Robert Morrish) of The Scream Factory Magazine (Deadline Press, 1989-1997) as well as the 600+ page greatest-hits collection, The Best of The Scream Factory (Cemetery Dance, 2018). [Read on here...]

2001 is Kubrick’s crowning achievement. It’s the movie that launched him into ’superstar’ status that placed him alongside the likes of Welles, Bergman, Fellini, Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Ford...” — film historian and author Raymond Benson

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s acclaimed science-fiction adventure starring Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood.

Featuring groundbreaking visual effects and memorable usage of classical music (and decades of analysis), 2001 premiered 50 years ago this week, and for the occasion The Bits features a compilation of statistics and box office data that places the movie’s performance in context; passages from vintage film reviews; and a reference/historical listing of the movie’s limited-market 70-millimeter and roadshow engagements. [Read on here...]

“It’s hard to overstate the influence of Planet of the Apes on the sci-fi film genre. Until then, sci-fi didn’t get much respect, but the one-two punch of that film followed by Kubrick’s mind-blowing 2001 would cause critics and audiences to reevaluate the genre as something more than hapless earthlings trying to repel creatures with ray guns.” — Lee Pfeiffer, Cinema Retro editor-in-chief

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Planet of the Apes, the science fiction classic starring Charlton Heston (The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur) and Roddy McDowall (The Black Hole, Fright Night).

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (Patton, Papillon) and based upon the Pierre Boulle novel, Planet of the Apes also featured Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, and Linda Harrison.

The popular film turns fifty this month, opening initially in New York before a staggered spring rollout across the country. [Read on here...]

“The first art house action film.” —Dwayne Epstein, author of Lee Marvin: Point Blank

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of Point Blank, the neo noir crime classic starring Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou, The Dirty Dozen) and Angie Dickinson (Police Woman, Dressed to Kill).

Directed by John Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur) and based upon the crime noir novel The Hunter, Point Blank also featured Keenan Wynn (Annie Get Your Gun, Dr. Strangelove) and Carroll O’Connor (All in the Family, In the Heat of the Night) — and striking San Francisco locations. The film recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its release, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with film historian Dwayne Epstein, who discusses the film’s virtues and influence. [Read on here...]

So today’s post is a quick one, but it’s a very, very good bit of news, especially for catalog and 4K fans…

Retail sources have begun telling us that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is preparing to release a 4K Ultra HD version of director Stanley Kubrick’s landmark science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is something we’ve actually known was coming for a few months now, having heard it off the record directly from studio sources. Now that we’re finally hearing the first word from retailers we feel comfortable confirming it. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Casino Royale is the Star Wars Holiday Special of James Bond films.” — 007 historian John Cork

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of Casino Royale, the James Bond comedy spoof starring Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Orson Welles and Woody Allen.

Our previous celebratory 007 articles include Tomorrow Never DiesDie Another Day, Dr. No, The Living Daylights, The Spy Who Loved Me, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, Casino Royale, For Your Eyes Only, Thunderball, GoldenEye, A View to a Kill, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Goldfinger, and 007… Fifty Years Strong.

The Bits continues the series with this retrospective featuring a Q&A with an esteemed group of James Bond historians who discuss the virtues, shortcomings and legacy of Casino Royale (1967). [Read on here...]

“It’s clear in retrospect that Camelot began the extinction process of old school Broadway musicals extravagantly transferred to the screen.” — Matthew Kennedy, author of Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Camelot, the Oscar-winning cinematic interpretation of the King Arthur legend and the Lerner and Loewe stage musical which starred Richard Harris (Cromwell, Unforgiven) as King Arthur and Vanessa Redgrave (Blow-up, Julia) as Guenevere.

Camelot — directed by Joshua Logan (South Pacific, Paint Your Wagon) and which featured Franco Nero, David Hemmings and Lionel Jeffries in supporting roles — opened 50 years ago this past autumn. For the occasion, The Bits features an historical reference listing of the film’s major-market roadshow engagements and a Q&A with film historian Matthew Kennedy, who discusses the film’s virtues, shortcomings and legacy. [Read on here...]

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