Amoeblog

Noir City Xmas, 12/19

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 9, 2018 07:57pm | Post a Comment

Ring in the holidays with a Cruel Yule! Join the Film Noir Foundation on Wednesday, December 19, 7:30pm at San Francisco's Castro Theatre for the annual Noir City Xmas. This year's feature is Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955). The holiday season is the perfect time to share this timeless noir fairytale about the eternal human struggle—between avarice and atonement, sinners and saviors, good and evil. Robert Mitchum gives a legendary performance as a vile and conniving ex-con masquerading as a man of the cloth. He's not about to let two innocent children come between him and a long-hidden bounty. Shelley Winters may be a gullible mark for this faux preacher, but spinster Rachel Cooper (a memorable portrayal by Lillian Gish) knows the devil when she sees it. Actor Charles Laughton created a stunning work of magical realism, the only picture he'd ever direct. Why not quit while you're ahead? This is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

In addition to bearing gifts of compelling cinematic artistry at Noir City Xmas, host Eddie Muller will reveal the program for the upcoming Noir City 17 festival, which runs January 25-February 3, 2019 at the Castro Theatre. Plus, for your holiday shopping pleasure, we'll have Noir City 17 Passports (all-access passes) for sale, along with select FNF merchandise, on the Castro mezzanine.

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Would You Like A Cheese Puff?: The Art Of The RCA SelectaVision Videodisc CED

Posted by Mark Beaver, January 13, 2015 04:20pm | Post a Comment
 For a brief moment in time (1981-1986, to be exact) there existed a film delivery system based on needle/groove technology, just like a record player.



Launched by RCA and dubbed the CAPACITANCE ELECTRONIC DISC (CED), it was quickly supplanted by both commercially available VHS tapes and Laserdiscs, the precursor to the DVD, which read the information with light beams.

Ultimately, it was a clunky, inelegant technology prone to problems and RCA lost about $600 million on it, but there was a curious upside to its brief arc through the collective consciousness...the cover art.

For many of the CED packages, promotional artwork was commissioned for the face of the cartridge that was singular for the release of the RCA SelectaVision format. 

Below I have displayed a gallery of some of the cover art from that time, in most cases, different images than were ever seen on the more popular VHS, Laserdisc or DVD releases of the same films. 

Enjoy the beauty!








    
































































































































































































































































































































Love and Hate—The Night of the Hunter

Posted by Chuck, March 30, 2011 05:00pm | Post a Comment

There’s an overriding feeling to 1950s films that everything is happy to the point of sedation. The men have fine posture and slick hair; the women are always starched, enthusiastic and dressed for appearance; the children are trite Osh Kosh cutouts. Such play-acting is a perfect backdrop for something leery, an underexposed set-up that precious few directors back then made use of. Yet, that’s why Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter (1955) can’t help but slip into our times as a cult classic.

As with such forgotten films that warrant recirculation, Criterion has brought the film back out on DVD and Blu-ray, and it’s a good thing (one of our staff's fave picks in this issue of Music We Like). There are remarkable things at play, such as it being the only time Laughton (an actor) sat in the director’s chair. As sometimes happens with one-offs, he made it count by forever parting ways with ordinary. It was no small feat. He got Robert Mitchum—the kingpin of film noir—to deliver one of his best performances. Some might argue it was his best work. It’s one of the reasons the film was protected by the National Film Registry.

The movie is an adaptation of Davis Grubb’s book of the same name, published two years earlier. Mitchum plays Reverend Harry Powell, a minister of divine word and adage who yet has a criminally black heart. While spending time in the clink, he learns that a cellmate, set to be hung for murdering two people in the act of a bank robbery, has a stash of $10K hidden back at home. With the slithery suave of a seasoned conman, Powell goes about pursuing this treasure upon his release by moving in on the freshly executed man’s family. What he encounters is a guilt-riddled widow, Willa—played excellently by Shelley Winters—and two children who alone share the secret of the money’s whereabouts (sworn to secrecy by their dead father). Enter darkness.

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