History, Legacy & Showmanship

Paint Your Wagon is remembered as a standalone oddity in the careers of Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood.” — 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 Paint Your Wagon, the Oscar-nominated cinematic interpretation of the Lerner and Loewe stage musical which starred Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou, Point Blank), Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry, Unforgiven) and Jean Seberg (Pendulum, Airport).

Paint Your Wagon — directed by Joshua Logan (South Pacific, Camelot) and which also featured Harve Presnell (The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Fargo) and Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian, Fast Times at Ridgemont High) — opened 50 years ago this month. For the occasion, The Bits features an historical reference listing of the film’s major-market roadshow engagements and a Q&A with film historian Matthew Kennedy, who discusses the film’s virtues, shortcomings and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...]

We’ve got a bunch of new disc reviews coming over the next week or so, starting with a couple later today. So be sure to watch for them.

We do have a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate today, celebrating the 50th anniversary of TV’s classic The Brady Bunch. It features a new interview with historian Herbie J. Pilato, and is well worth a read if you’re a fan. You’ll find it here.

Meanwhile, we’ve got a bunch of release news to report today, so let’s get started...

First up, our friends at The Home Theater Forum have revealed that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is going to be releasing Farscape: The Complete Series – 20th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray on 11/19. The set will include all 88 episodes of the series along with 15 hours of extras and – at long last on BD here in the States – the series finale miniseries Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. The aspect ratio is 1.33 for most of the series, but the last season and film are 1.78. Audio will be DTS-HD MA 5.1. Extras will include audio commentary, featurettes and documentaries, director’s cuts, TV promos, etc. We don’t know if this will be a complete carry-over of the previous DVD and BD extras, but we’ll have to wait and see. You can see the cover artwork at left. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

The Brady Bunch is ’comfort TV’ to the highest degree.” — Classic TV historian Herbie J Pilato

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the premiere of The Brady Bunch, the classic family sitcom which originally ran on ABC from 1969 to 1974 and starred Florence Henderson as Carol/Mom, Robert Reed as Mike/Dad and Ann B. Davis as housekeeper Alice.

The series (and ultimately franchise) — created by Sherwood Schwartz (Gilligan’s Island, It’s About Time) and featuring as the memorable Brady kids Barry Williams (Greg), Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Christopher Knight (Peter), Eve Plumb (Jan), Mike Lookinland (Bobby) and Susan Olsen (Cindy) — premiered 50 years ago this month, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with classic television historian Herbie J Pilato, who offers some recollections and insight into the timeless series. [Read more here...]

We’ve got some quick but interesting release news for you today, but first...

Our own Michael Coate has posted his History, Legacy and Showmanship retrospective on the James Bond film Licence to Kill, in honor of its recent 30th anniversary. The piece includes a roundtable discussion with film historians Thomas A. Christie, John Cork, and Andrew McNess. Enjoy!

Now, let’s get right to that news...

It appears that Criterion is about to announce their long-awaited Godzilla: The Showa Era Blu-ray box set, based on a leaked listing that appeared on Target.com (see link here). SRP for the set is expected to be $149.99. The Showa Era (1954-1975) would include essentially the first 15 films in the series, including Godzilla, Godzilla Raids Again, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster, Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, All Monsters Attack, Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, and Terror of Mechagodzilla. This could be Spine #1000, but we’ll have to wait and see when Criterion makes their official announcement. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

“With his wealth of dramatic stage experience, Timothy Dalton seemed ideally suited to this harsher take on Bond, bringing both depth and sensitivity to the character while creditably articulating his quiet rage and single-mindedness. This was Bond, but not as we knew him — now much closer to the tone, if not the setting, of the original Fleming texts.” — Thomas A. Christie, author of The James Bond Movies of the 1980s

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 30th anniversary of the release of Licence to Kill, the 16th (official) cinematic James Bond adventure and second (and final) entry to feature Timothy Dalton as Agent 007.

Our previous celebratory 007 articles include Moonraker, Quantum of Solace, From Russia with Love, Never Say Never Again, Live and Let Die, Octopussy, Casino Royale (1967), Tomorrow Never Dies, Die 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 film historians and James Bond authorities who discuss the virtues, shortcomings and legacy of 1989’s Licence to Kill. [Read on here...]

All right, we’ve got more interesting news for you today...

But first, Tim Salmons has posted some new Blu-ray reviews here at the site (yesterday and this afternoon), including his own thoughts on Weird Science from Arrow Video and Quartermass and the Pit from Scream Factory, as well as Dennis’ take on Michael Radford’s 1984 from the Criterion Collection.

We’ve also updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, anytime you order literally anything from Amazon after clicking through one of our links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

And tomorrow morning, be sure to watch for a new History, Legacy and Showmanship column from Michael Coate here at The Bits, this one honoring the recent 30th anniversary of the James Bond film License to Kill. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’re starting today with a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate, featuring a look back at the James Bond film Moonraker, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary (on June 26th). Michael’s put together a great roundtable discussion on the film featuring Mark A. Altman, John Cork, and Lee Pfeiffer. Enjoy!

Also here at the site today, we’ve got some new disc reviews for you, including Tim’s look at Universal’s Us in 4K Ultra HD, Scream Factory’s Night of the Creeps: Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray, and Warner’s The New Scooby-Doo Movies: The (Almost) Complete Blu-ray Collection.

And speaking of Scream Factory... Bits editor Bill Hunt (yours truly) will once again be moderating the Shout!/Scream panel at San Diego Comic-Con later this month! Inside an Indie Studio: Shout! Factory will be held from 8-9 PM on Saturday, July 20th in Room 23ABC. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

“I remember thinking as Bond tumbled out of the airplane that this was going to be the greatest film ever. And then, moments later, Jaws flapped his arms falling toward a circus tent. I felt my own internal seismograph plummet. I was for the first time in my life, embarrassed for the filmmakers of a James Bond film.” — John Cork, co-author of James Bond Encyclopedia

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of Moonraker, the 11th (official) cinematic James Bond adventure and the fourth of seven to feature Roger Moore as cinema’s most popular secret agent.

Our previous celebratory 007 articles include Quantum of Solace, From Russia with Love, Never Say Never Again, Live and Let Die, Octopussy, Casino Royale (1967), Tomorrow Never Dies, Die 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 film historians and James Bond authorities who discuss the virtues, shortcomings and legacy of 1979’s Moonraker. [Read on here...]

Sorry for our absence yesterday. We’ve been dealing with various and sundry server issues over the weekend and we’re just starting to get back to normal. Honestly, it’s a wonder the Internet still works at all these days. So anyway, thanks for your patience.

We have a bunch of title announcements to cover today, but first, today marks the 20th anniversary of our friends Robert Meyer Burnett and Mark A. Altman’s film Free Enterprise. So we wanted to call your attention to Michael Coate’s retrospective on the film from its 15th anniversary back in 2014. You can read Still Loving Long & Partying: Remembering Free Enterprise on its 15th Anniversary right here. The film isn’t on Blu-ray yet and so it’s always surprising how many people haven’t see it. But if you’re a fan of classic Star Trek, pop culture, and actors William Shatner and Eric McCormack, we think you’ll really enjoy it.

Meanwhile, we’re starting to get back to reviews. I still have two more Batman 4Ks coming, plus Tim and Dennis have some Blu-rays they’ve reviewed for you too. I’ve also got a trio of science fiction Blu-ray releases I’m going to try to cover soon as well. So be sure to watch for those. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got a couple interesting things for you this afternoon before we get to today’s release news...

First up, reviews... I’ve posted my in-depth thoughts on Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) in 4K Ultra HD here at The Bits and will have reviews of Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin in 4K over the next few days. The upshot of this first Batman film in 4K is that Warner’s new transfer and Atmos mix are terrific, but the HDR may take a little getting used to and a few of the sound effects have been changed for reasons explained in the review. You can read that here.

Also, Tim has posted a review of Archer: Danger Island – The Complete Season Nine on DVD from Fox and Dennis has looked at Isn’t It Romantic on Blu-ray from Warner.

And some of you may know that this past weekend was the 40th anniversary of Ridley Scott’s original Alien (1979). So our own Michael Coate has posted a new History, Legacy, and Showmanship retrospective column looking back at the film’s theatrical release. It includes a great new roundtable of experts to discuss the film, including authors Chris Barsanti, Paul M. Sammon, and J.W. Rinzler (whose new book The Making of Alien is coming in July). You can read the piece here and if you’re a fan of the film, I think you’ll really enjoy it. [Read on here...]

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