Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!! How about some Frank Sinatra kissing and getting kissed by lots … and lots … and lots … of women.
Norma Shearer in The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)
SEARCH: THE COMPLETE SERIES (1972-73) Hugh O’Brian, Doug McClure and Tony Franciosa rotate leads as elite high tech espionage operatives for Probe Division of World Securities Corporation in this spy-sensational SF-flavored actioner from Leslie Stevens (creator, The Outer Limits) and Robert Justman (Producer and one of the guiding lights of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation). Each agent, dubbed a “Probe”, is wired for worldwide surveillance thanks to a Scanner (miniature video camera) and dental/ear implant. Tracking their telemetry and giving real-time mission advice is a team of specialists at Probe Control directed by the brilliant, irascible V.C.R. Cameron (Burgess Meredith). O’Brian plays Lockwood, Probe One, an ex-astronaut. McClure plays CR Grover, Standby Probe, brilliant beachcomber goofball. Franciosa plays Nick Bianco, Omega Probe, a street savvy ex-NYC cop tasked with organized crime capers. The Probes hunt stolen moon rocks, missing agents, a deadly Probe defector and more alongside special guest luminaries like Stefanie Powers, Bill Bixby, Mary Ann Mobley, Sebastian Cabot, Barbara Feldon, Mel Ferrer and Joanna Cameron. Three very different agents, one very out-of-this-world show. Newly Remastered
DEAR HEART (1964) The immortal Geraldine Page stars in this uncommon love story about love among the common. Page plays postmistress Evie Jackson, experienced in passion but innocent to real love. Evie is in the big city for the annual postmasters convention and the other conventioneers—especially the married men—expect Evie to keep up her party girl postmaster patronage. Meanwhile, slick womanizing ad exec Don Draper Harry Mork is in town apartment hunting for his new instant family, hot tomato Phyllis (Angela Lansbury) and her son Patrick (Michael Anderson, Jr.). Harry’s eyes may be on the buxom hotel newsstand girl (Barbara Nichols) but fate and his soul steer him towards the perplexing, raw, and enchanting Evie. Full of solid, stolid performances from the stellar support cast led by Lansbury and Ford, the film is Page’s all the way as she steals the picture’s heart, as Evie was meant to. Directed by Delbert Mann. The film’s smash hit theme song by Henry Mancini, Ray Evans and Jay Livingston led to an immediate name change for the film from The Out-of-Towners. A name that would later be put to good use, indeed. 16x9 Widescreen Newly Remastered
SMILIN’ THROUGH (1932) Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin’s classic intergenerational romantic drama receives its first sound adaptation courtesy of Sidney Franklin, the helmer of the 1922 Silent version. For this version, Franklin recruits a titanic triple threat trio to portray the triangle at the heart of Smilin’ Through—Norma Shearer, Fredric March and Leslie Howard. Howard plays Sir John Carteret, content to live with the occasional ethereal visitation from his murdered fiancée Moonyeen (Shearer). Fate tosses some life his way with an orphaned niece, Kathleen (also Shearer). But John’s hatred of Jeremy Wayne (March), the man who cost him his bride, extends to his son (also March), the man Kathleen wants to marry. And it’s a hate that threatens his celestial connection to Moonyeen, helpless to steer Sir John away from his ruinous hatred. Newly Remastered
THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET (1934) One of the most famous love stories of the 19th Century—and the inspiration for one of the most enduring love sonnets of all time—comes to vivid life in this stirring romantic melodrama drawn from the life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Beset by a series of mystery afflictions, Elizabeth (Norma Shearer) lives the garret life of an invalid. But her mind and heart, through the instrumentality of her poetry, escapes her confines to capture the love of eccentric, impetuous wordsmith Robert Browning who will let nothing stand in the way of his quest to save her. Because standing at the dark core of her affliction is her own father (a chilling Charles Laughton), whose twisted grip on her may prove stronger than all the world’s lyricism and love combined. Newly Remastered
ROADBLOCK (1951) Gravel-voiced granite man of noir Charles McGraw stars in this classic flick of crime and passion, taken and shaken with a twist. McGraw plays “Honest” Joe Peters, a Los Angeles based insurance detective gifted with a mind for graft but a soul for the straight and narrow, making him a natural at his job. It all starts to go south when a lithesome low-time chiseler (Joan Dixon) uses him as a soft touch to take an airline for a ride. Joe falls hard for the dame, but she’s shooting for the World Series and he’s pitching for the bush leagues. Faster than you can spell “Walter Neff”, Honest Joe is cutting a deal with local racketeer Kendall Webb (Lowell Gilmore) and laying out the greatest train heist of the 20th Century. Unfortunately his insurance detective partner (Louis Jean Heydt) is a straight shooter and Diane’s heart hides some unexpected turns.
NOCTURNE (1946) Tinseltown tough guy supreme George Raft (Scarface) stars as a rogue detective obsessed with finding the fatale inside a rogue’s gallery of eye-popping pin-ups after a composer’s supposed suicide. Successful songsmith Keith Vincent is a serial seducer of women—all brunettes, all dubbed “Dolores”—and he displays his long line of conquests in a series of portraits on the wall. While composing a kiss-off tune for his latest fling, the haunting “Nocturne”, Vincent learns the true meaning of lady killer. But when all the evidence points to suicide, dogged homicide dick Joe Warne (Raft) isn’t buying it and willing to go to any lengths to prove it’s murder. His fixation only deepens when he encounters Vincent’s most recent flame, Frances Ransom (Lynn Bari), who appears to command a very high price. Produced by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Joan Harrison.
RED LIGHT (1949) George Raft plays Johnny Torno, a tougher than asphalt character careening between religion and revenge in this taut crime noir character drama produced and directed by Roy Del Ruth. Torno thinks everything’s jake, thanks to the safe return of his brother Jess (Arthur Franz), a young priest, from a POW camp. But trouble’s brewing in the form of ex-employee embezzling book keeper Nick Cherney (Raymond Burr) serving time for sticking his hand into Johnny Torno’s trucking company’s till. Cherney tasks fellow con Rocky (Harry Morgan) with a vengeful plan that sends Joe out to the streets, desperately searching for a missing Bible. Mixing jolts and soul, Red Light features one of Raft’s most nuanced tough guys, buoyed by a stellar support staff including Virginia Mayo, Gene Lockhart, and Barton MacLane.
MYSTERY IN MEXICO (1948) A young Robert Wise (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Sound of Music) directs this mystery noir shot in Mexico City and Cuernavaca. When a diamond necklace goes missing in Mexico, so does the insurance investigator tasked with its retrieval. A second investigator, Steve Hastings (William Lundigan), is summarily dispatched south to retrieve them both. Hastings sets his sights on the missing agent’s sister, Victoria (Jacqueline White), and gets an eyeful—and how! Not sure where her loyalties lie, Steve sticks close while trolling the backstreets in search of clues thanks to the aid of an ever-so-helpful local driver and guide, Carlos (Tony Barrett). But the land of the Azteca mixes menace and enchantment and Steve and Victoria find themselves swept up into the seductive world of a wealthy night club owner (Ricardo Cortez at his duplicitous best) and his sultry chanteuse (Jacqueline Dalya).
BROTHER RAT (1938) William Keighley brings John Monks, Jr. and Fred F Finklehoffe’s smash hit Broadway play about a trio of Brother Rats—cadets at the prestigious Virginia Military Institute—to the screen, aided by Richard Macaulay and Jerry Wald’s robust adaptation and the retention of original stage lead Edward Albert (in his film debut). Albert’s Bing has to keep his undercover matrimony and soon-to-be-paternity under wraps until commencement with an assist from Ronald Reagan and Wayne Morris. Jane Wyman and Priscilla Lane play the lovelies that distract the pair of guardian rats from their plans just long enough to land Bing in the really hot water.
BROTHER RAT AND A BABY (1940) This follow-up film finds new father Bing (Edward Albert) in the running for head baseball coach at old alma mater VMI, up against Harley Harrington, nemesis of Brother Rat. Not one to spoil a plot by behaving sensibly, fast talking pal Billy Randolph (Wayne Morris) summons Bing, bride and baby to the Big Apple so he can cinch the deal. Sensible Dan Crawford’s advice (Ronald Reagan) is ignored while Billy cinches the noose around all three of their necks. And just who will entertain a lovely pair of graduates (Jane Wyman and Priscilla Lane) celebrating in New York? Not… Harley Harrington?
GLICKMAN (2013) Before Marv Albert and Bob Costas, there was Marty Glickman. A gifted Jewish-American athlete who was denied the chance to represent the U.S. at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he went on to become one of the most revered and influential sportscasters in history by pioneering many of the techniques, phrases and programming innovations that are commonplace in sports reporting today. Glickman is the first documentary from writer, producer and director James L. Freedman, who produced Glickman’s late-night sports program on New York radio as a high-school senior. Featuring archival footage and interviews with such notables as Marv Albert, Bob Costas, Bill Bradley, Jim Brown, Frank Gifford, Larry King, Jerry Stiller, New York Giants co-owner John Mara and others, the film tells the story of a man who overcame prejudice to forge a remarkable career and set the gold standard for sports broadcasters past, present and future. 16x9 Widescreen
THE CHESHIRE MURDERS (2013) Featuring exclusive interviews and spanning half a decade, The Cheshire Murders reveals the untold dramas behind the notorious triple homicide that rocked the town of Cheshire, Connecticut. In this quiet suburb, Jennifer Petit and her two daughters, age 11 and 17, were brutally murdered in a home invasion; husband William Petit was the only one to survive. Award-winning filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner interviewed many directly involved with the case who reveal the deep impact of the crime and explore what it means to deliver justice in the wake of such loss. Framed by the media as a parable of good versus evil, the case and its perpetrators became a rallying cry for the death penalty. However, much of the story has been hidden, including systemic breakdowns that failed to prevent the tragedy.
We added lots of feature films to our Warner Archive Instant streaming service recently, many in 1080p HD for the first time anywhere! If you like the kinds of films we cover in this newsletter every week, we guarantee you will not only find some familiar favorites, but new discoveries ready to stream on your iPad, Roku or PC/Mac. Try it FREE for 2 weeks.