"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Jan 072016

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES (1934) When a young Dawn Paris assayed to play Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved heroine Anne Shirley, she emerged from the experience with a new name, Anne Shirley, and an instant classic. When elder siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert (O.P. Heggie and Helen Westley) send for an orphan boy to help around their homestead, they mistakenly receive a ginger girl whose giant-sized dreams are only eclipsed by her indefatigable optimism. And it’s an optimism that will be tested in the years to come, when Anne’s heart goes to a boy (Tom Brown) whose family Marilla hates. Directed by George Nichols, Jr.

bad-boyBAD BOY (1949) Farmboy-turned-American-war-hero Audie Murphy makes his motion picture debut in this sensitive depiction of redemption for the un-redeemable. Part of the growing slate of ‘Juvenile Delinquency’ pictures being produced at the time, Bad Boy differs from its brethren due to being co-produced by a real-life children’s charity, the Variety Club. As such, the film makes an impassioned plea for patience when dealing with troubled children. Audie’s audacious performance as the title teen proves an accurate harbinger of his screen career to come. The all-star supporting ensemble includes Lloyd Nolan, Jane Wyatt and James Gleason. Directed by Kurt Neumann.

MY PAL, WOLF (1944) Sharyn Moffet makes her screen debut in this heart-tugging tale of a wagger gone AWOL. Lonely little rich girl Gretchen Anstey (Moffett) is struggling with her strict new governess’ (Jill Esmond) draconian rule when she finds Wolf trapped in a well. But this wolf turns out to be a German Shepherd soldier and Gretchen enlists an army of tykes to help bring Wolf’s case to War Secretary himself. Alfred L. Werker directs.

SNOWFIRE (1958) Dorrell and Stuart McGowan, part of the creative team behind TV classic Sky King with Kirby Grant, produced this quirky girl-and-her-equine tale of a different color. Snowfire is a pure white wild horse who’s as brave as he’s smart. Mike McGowan (Don Megowan) and Carol Hampton (Claire Kelly) are the neighboring ranchers competing to see who will be the first to break the colt. Standing between the two is Mike’s youngest daughter, Molly (Molly McGowan), who shares a special bond with Snowfire… and a secret. Snowfire talks to Molly, or so she thinks… 16×9 Widescreen.

THE LITTLEST HOBO (1958) Snowfire co-creator Dorrell McGowan pens this equally unique animal tale featuring two of the most astonishing animal performances ever captured on film. The titular vagabond is no tiny man but a grey and white German Shepherd who rides the rails. Drifting into Los Angeles, the peripatetic pup encounters a pet sheep bound for the slaughterhouse and dedicates himself to saving the lamb and reuniting her with the orphan (Buddy Hart) that raised her. Part classic kiddie tale, part animal Rome Open City, this one-of-kind dog story would later inspire two iconic Canadian TV series. Directed by Charles R. Rondeau. 16×9 Widescreen.

Morgan & Carson: A Pair of Good Ol’ Boys

THE TIME, THE PLACE AND THE GIRL (1946) Warner Bros. mainstays Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson team up for this culture clash feast of musical froth, featuring songs by Arthur Schwartz and Leo Robin. Morgan and Carson play a pair of wannabe music hall impresarios facing stiff opposition to their pop culture stylings from their long-hair classical opera loving next door neighbors (Martha Vickers and S.Z. Sakall). But con becomes pro after a little bit of song and woo, and a Broadway show is born faster than you can belt out “Quid Pro Quo.” Janis Paige co-stars as Morgan’s leading lady. Directed by David Butler.

TWO GUYS FROM MILWAUKEE (1946) Morgan and Carson take the “Road to” approach in this non-musical comedy about a cabbie and a king penned by future Billy Wilder collaborator, IAL Diamond. Morgan plays the prince facing an uncertain ascension in a Balkan state who goes AWOL among the masses while touring the USA, Carson plays the hack from Milwaukee, playing Virgil to Morgan’s Dante, aiding the prince in his quest to find out what this American Democracy is all about – and meet his own Beatrice, Lauren Bacall. Co-starring Joan Leslie, Janis Paige and S.Z. Sakall. Directed by David Butler. And yes, there is a surprise cameo.

TWO GUYS FROM TEXAS (1948) In this musical sequel, Morgan and Carson take the “Road to” the Lone Star State as a couple of Eastern sugarfoot showmen playing ranch and romance, while getting in a mess with the local sheriff (Forrest Tucker). Dorothy Malone plays the cowgirl that all the men fight over, while Penny Edwards plays the singing galpal waiting in the wings. A certain wascally wabbit makes his first feature film guest spot, thanks to a segment directed by the fabulous Friz Freleng. Directed by David Butler.

APRIL SHOWERS (1948) James V. Kern take the directorial reins for this Jack Carson solo vehicle in a mirth and melancholy blend about a musical clan. Carson plays Vaudevillian patriarch Joe Thyme, leader of the Happy Thymes. Thanks to the immense talent of the smallest Thyme (Robert Ellis), the act drifts towards Broadway, but the pressure leads Joe to slip inside the bottle, stranding the Happy Thymes on the shores of dysfunction and despair. Although some verbal trickery (as voiced by an uncredited Mel Blanc) temporarily helps the family fortunes, only with an interloper (Robert Alda) taking over to two-step with Momma Thyme (Ann Sothern) do they get back on track. And it’s a cut-in that Joe Thyme thinks is for the best …

NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection, WB Shop.com, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 Posted by on January 7, 2016  Add comments

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