Medaska’s pick – #getTV Frank Sinatra birthday tribute!

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Hi All……it’s been a while since I submit anything to Citizen Screenings, but tomorrow is the 99th anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birthday and I can’t let that go by without alerting you that getTV is dedicating its primetime programming to my all-time favorite entertainer.

Here’s the entire getTV Sinatra schedule, which kicks off with “Happy Holidays With Bing And Frank” a 30-min Drama, Musical from 1957.

“Join Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra for a swingin’ holiday special featuring all of your festive favorites including Jingle Bells, Deck The Halls and the classic White Christmas 34all performed with the legendary duo’s inimitable charm. Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank was directed by Frank Sinatra himself, with the music conducted by the legendary Nelson Riddle.” – getTV

Not only do I think Frank Sinatra is one of the greatest entertainers there ever was, in my opinion he was THE greatest entertainer of all time.  So needless to say it’s thrilling to see that getTV is celebrating the important day by showing not only a few of Frank’s films, but also a television special.

In “Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank,” notice who is billed first – not Frank, which this was customary of him to do.   The special features some great classic yuletide songs.  Directed by Frank, this Christmas special takes place in Victorian England, with the 2 crooners going door to door, with some fellow songsters, cranking out some fabulous holiday tunes.   I believe – with the exception of the getTV airing a week ago – this has not aired since 1957 and it is a great way to 32celebrate and get into the holiday spirit.  There are many interesting items with regard to the show, if you have the dvd version you can see them on the extras.

Frank was a notoriously impatient TV and Film man who did as “little” takes as necessary.  Watch, in the opening number, as he drops the Christmas tree ornament and keeps right on singing (there would be no 2nd takes needed according to the director).  It also paints the 2 stars as bachelors, hanging out waiting for a few chicks to arrive.  The show has a very 1950s feel to it and for me that enhances the production quite nicely.  Among the many great songs featured are: “The Christmas Song,” “Santa Claus is coming to Town,” and “Away in a Manger”….all performed memorably.  Bing and 876Frank top the evening off by doing a duet of the eternal classic, “White Christmas.”

I should note that Bing was a big help to Frank’s career and the 2 worked together quite often despite being labeled as bitter rivals.  That’s something that could not be farther from the truth.  Bing helped Frank when he was down and out and in return Frank had Bing’s sons on his TV show to return the favor.  This is just one of dozens and dozens of examples of how, although rivals, artists can help to not only benefit their own careers, but others as well.

Thanks to getTV for providing me….and the world…with a great evening of Frank films and a very rare TV Christmas special.

This is Rob Medaska.  Thanks for your time and be sure to spend a few hours with (arguably) one of the greatest entertainers of all time on what would have been his 99th birthday.  You may also want to take part in a Twitter/Facebook event sponsored by getTV to celebrate the occasion…

Celebrate Frank Sinatra’s birthday with us and share your favorite Sinatra moments and memories on the getTV interactive fan page.  Use ‪#‎99ReasonsWeLoveSinatra‬ to join the party on Facebook and Twitter.

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#TCM – Medaska’s Pick of the Week

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Hi Guys….welcome back to my TCM pick of the week….

This week I have chosen a great horror tale….MAD LOVE (1935).   Directed by Karl Freund, an underrated director and master of the camera who was very much responsible for the look and feel of Tod Browning’s immortal DRACULA (1931).

MAD LOVE features one of the greatest character actors of all time in Peter Lorre. If that isn’t enough it also has a tremendous cast that includes both Colin Clive, (he of FRANKENSTEIN, 1931 fame) and Frances Drake, her with the very “hot” eyes.

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MAD LOVE is the tale of a surgeon who grafts the hands of a killer onto the arms of a famous concert pianist. The story itself is strange, yet perfect for the horror flicks of the 1930s. The performances are first-rate, led by Peter Lorre who walks the tight rope between sane and insane as Doctor Gogot.  Lorre is creepy and weird, yet you can’t take your eyes off him.

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So as Halloween approaches, take some quality horror time and tune into MAD LOVE airing on October 25 at 4:30 pm est…..and only on TCM.

Till next time, this is Rob saying thank you so much.

 

“I’ll be right here” – The SPIELBERG BLOGATHON weekend!

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The time has arrived to join in on the celebration.  He is not only one of the most influential filmmakers in film history, but an honest to goodness film fan.  In that spirit Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled, Michael of It Rains…You Get Wet and I celebrate the films of Steven Spielberg by way of the SPIELBERG BLOGATHON this weekend.

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Continue reading “I’ll be right here” – The SPIELBERG BLOGATHON weekend!

65 Million Years in the making…JURASSIC PARK

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“I’ve wanted to make a dinosaur picture all of my life and have always been a huge fan of Ray Harryhausen, but I could never find a realistic way to do dinosaurs – until Michael Crichton figured out a genius way to combine science and imagination.”  – Steven Spielberg

Continue reading 65 Million Years in the making…JURASSIC PARK

the SPIELBERG BLOGATHON Announcement

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For many, August signals the ending of summer. One of the fun ways this August celebrates summer is via sharks, sharks and more sharks. Sharknadoes came back with a sequel vengeance when “Sharknado 2″ aired on SyFy channel recently and became a national, albeit majorly campy, phenomena. On August 10th, Discovery Channel returns with its 27th season of the very popular “Shark Week” and “JAWS Week” just completed its swim on AMC Channel. With all this shark action on the little screen, one can’t help but consider how much Steven Spielberg kicked off a firestorm and created a national fascination due to his film JAWS (1975).

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Continue reading the SPIELBERG BLOGATHON Announcement

#GetTV – Medaska’s Lost Treasures

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Hello – this is Rob with this week’s GetTV Lost Treasure pick…

…Roy William Neill’s SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE WOMAN IN GREEN from 1945 greenscheduled to air on GetTV at 8am est Saturday July 19.

First let me say right off the bat that in my opinion there is no Sherlock Homes other than Basil Rathbone, the rest simply don’t measure up.  Of course this may be due to the fact that I grew up watching the old Universal Pictures Holmes movies starring Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.  All of those pictures had that great music, as well as eerie sets that helped to add and create a fantastic atmosphere for murder and mystery.

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Brooke and Rathbone

THE WOMAN IN GREEN features many of the great character actors that Universal employed around the time period, all playing up to their strengths.  The story is solid, revolving around murder and blackmail.  And the performances are all first-rate, especially that of Hillary Brooke, the film’s villain.  This movie is a bit longer than some of the other HOLMES films, but for me moves at a nice pace.  There are plenty of the usual twists and turns to the story,and the script has a nice ending.  As part of the Universal series of Sherlock Holmes films this is one of the better ones.  So, set the alarm, get breakfast in hand, set the channel to GetTV and be ready for a mysterious ninety minutes tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

Thanks for your time and remember if you look hard enough you will always be able to find a lost treasure.

– Rob

 

#TCM – Medaska’s Pick of the Week

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THE WASP WOMAN on TCM July 19th @ 12pm est

Hi Guys….

…welcome back to my TCM pick of the week….and what more can be said except THE WASP waspWOMAN from 1959 and directed by Roger Corman and Jack Hill, simply one of the worst B-movies of all-time.  It is so bad it is awesome.  

To celebrate THE WASP WOMAN”S awesomeness let’s start out with the buzzing bee sound throughout the beginning of the movie, a sound so loud you can barely hear anything else – fantastic!  Next, the almost nine minutes of bee-related material at the beginning, with very little dialog – stupendous!  Then w1there are the board room scenes, a big company that apparently works in a shabby office – inspiring!  Add the casting, the costumes and the conclusion….WOW!  THE WASP WOMAN must have been the PERFECT drive-in flick as it fit the mood of the times and delivery of film to a T. 

If you have not already seen this Roger Corman horror movie you must!  It is simply too “bad” to miss.

Till next week, this is Rob saying thank you so much.

 

#TCM – Medaska’s Pick of the Week

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Hi all,

Hoping everyone everywhere is having an enjoyable summer.

jewelMy TCM pick for this week is William Dieterle‘s JEWEL ROBBERY released in 1932. It stars Kay Francis and William Powell, one of their many starring vehicles around that time period.

In JEWEL ROBBERY Ms. Francis plays a wealthy wife who is looking for excitement in her life that is currently not there. Along comes Mr. Powell who plays a smoother than silk robber who sweeps the stones and Kay away in one fell swoop. The style of the film and chemistry between the two is outstanding. They have terrific interplay and Powell is at his masterful best wpplaying a scoundrel you just can’t help but like. This is no easy task.  In fact, it’s something that is extremely hard to pull off, but as usual Powell does it marvelously.

JEWEL ROBBERY is a briskly paced, 68 minute treasure trove of great lines and even better locations. Please try to stay up late….east coast time….12:15am, Monday night…actually Tuesday morning, July 15th.  You must catch JEWEL ROBBERY.

Till next week.

ROB

 

 

#GetTV – Medaska’s Treasures

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Hello gang,

Sorry no post last week, I was on a mental summer holiday.

The lost treasure airing on GetTV this week is Charles Barton’s AFRICA SCREAMS (1949) airing on Tuesday July 5th at 3:50am (this one is for insomniacs like me). The film stars the comedy team of afBud Abbott and Lou Costello, one the greatest of all teams ever put together (my favorites are Laurel and Hardy, but that’s a topic for another post.)

In AFRICA SCREAMS Bud and Lou encounter trouble (as usual) along their route, this time – as the title mentions – it’s in Africa where the duo searches for a wealth of diamonds. While this is one of their lesser vehicles, it is still something to see – two top-notch comedians giving it all they have. Along for the ride in this movie are Shemp Howard and Joe Besser, both a part of the Three Stooges at different times

Costello and Shemp Howard
Costello and Shemp Howard

(yet again a topic for another post).   AFRICA SCREAMS features some funny animal gags and as usual Costello gives it his all, despite his ever increasing poor health at this point and the fact that the business was wearing on him after all the years of hard work. Much can be learned on the way down, as can be on the way up.

AFRICA SCREAMS is a fascinating film and absolutely worth a look for anyone who is able to tune in.  Watching Abbott and Costello is never a waste of time, a team that left a tremendous mark on the history of film comedy.  Remember, it’s on July 15th at 3:50 am – only on GET TV.

May you always find what you are looking for…..

Rob

#GetTV – Medaska’s Treasures

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Hello gang,

Getting right to my lost treasure for this week on GetTV, Fred Zinnemann’s FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) airing on Saturday, July 5th,eternity back to back both at 7 pm and 9:40 pm est  (which is somewhat odd?).  FROM HERE TO ETERNITY is the film that garnered both Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed their first…and only competitive Academy Awards.  The film was nominated for thirteen Oscars, with a total of eight wins ( a very impressive feat).

For those of you not familiar with the film it is a take-off on the James Joyce novel of the same name.  However there have been many changes made from the novel, which I highly recommend, to the film.  Zinnemann’s movie has some of the strongest performances ever put on film and features some legendary stories.  For

montyinstance there’s the one about the ghost of Monty Clift still haunting the old Roosevelt Hotel in West Hollywood where it is said you can hear him practicing the bugle he plays in ETERNITY  in the room he once stayed in.

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY is a film for the ages with some all-time great performances.  Whether you’ve seen this movie before or not tune in…you do – after all – have two scheduling choices to catch it when it airs on GetTV this Saturday both at 7 pm and 9:40 pm est.

May you always find what you are looking for…..

– Rob

 

#TCM – Medaska’s Pick of the Week

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Hi all!

I’m back with my spotlight on a film I think all classic film lovers, like myself, should try to catch.  For this week I am choosing Joseph L. gMankiewicz’ GUYS AND DOLLS airing on TCM at 3 PM, est on July 5th.  GUYS AND DOLLS is a great film worthy watching if only to see Marlon Brando sing….but seriously the score is one of the great Broadway masterpieces.   With both music and lyrics written by Mr. Frank Loesser, GUYS is unlike any other musical, an over-the-top portrayal of the world it depicts making it the ultimate “show” musical.

GUYS AND DOLLS features one great character after another, played by some of the great character actors of all time including: Sheldon Leonard, Vivian Blaine, Stubby Kaye, and B.S. Pully just to name a few.  The film has great sets and costumes and features Frank Sinatra at the height of his powers.  He was IMO

Still of Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine
Still of Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine

correctly cast as Nathan Detroit…..Brando however is another story.  While Brando’s acting in the film is first-rate, as is most his vehicles of that time period, however there is no way on God’s green Earth he should have sung, it is brutal to say the least.  Frank made references many times on stage that it reminded him of a yak in heat.  Nonetheless, it is a great film, with a great cast, fantastic score and some of the greatest actors of their time…or for that matter any time.  Be sure to tune in to watch GUYS AND DOLLS on July 5th, a great way to relax after the July 4th festivities.

– Rob

#GetTV – Medaska’s Treasures

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Hi All…

I thought I’d add a pick of the week for GetTV, which if you’re not familiar with is a fledgling network that paloffers classic films all day long, many of which are pretty rare.  In any case as some of you may already know I’m a huge Frank Sinatra fan so it should come as no surprise that from the offerings scheduled on GetTV this week I am selecting George Sidney’s PAL JOEY, a 1957 musical starring Sinatra, Kim Novak and Rita Hayworth (whom Frank insisted have top star billing).  PAL JOEY is one of my favorite Sinatra films as he sings some of the finest songs ever written throughout the film:  “I didn’t know what time it was, There’s a small hotel, I could write a book, and Lady is a Tramp.”

PAL JOEY has a good storyline, with slight differences from the stage version (which starred Gene Kelly coincidently), and a first-rate cast.  The story takes place in San Francisco, also one of my favorite cities, and the locations are top-notch.  The movie is a tour de force of a fantastic American city and its landmarks.  For me this film is Sinatra at the height of his power in showbiz, he was still in top form, and since there was great music in it, he pal1wanted to make sure it was done with great attention.  Sinatra wasn’t always the most patient actor in the world, but when it came to his music he would work like a crazy man.  PAL JOEY is a film I highly recommend and when watching be sure to crank the sound way up so the neighbors can hear Sinatra at his best.

PAL JOEY is scheduled to air on GetTV today, Monday at 6:15 pm est.

This is Rob Medaska, thanks for your time, and remember if you look hard enough you will always be able to find a lost treasure.

pal joey triptych

 

#TCM – Medaska’s Pick of the Week

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Hi all!

I’m back with my weekly spotlight on a film I think all classic film lovers, like myself, should try to 1mcatch. For the coming week I am choosing “M” (1931) Directed by the great Fritz Lang, and starring the incomparable Peter Lorre.  This movie will it air on Thursday, June 26th at 6:15 AM est…..(set the alarm) on TCM.

“M” is a story set in the 20’s….yet is still (unfortunately) relevant today. It tells the tale of a child killer, on the loose, and unable to be captured by police. Because of the gravity of the situation, the killer is hunted down by fellow “social miscreants”, and eventually brought to “their justice”. The performance by Lorre is phenomenal, and very, very real. The direction by Lang is disturbing, and msets a mood that was, and forever will be disturbing to “normal” human beings. This is a film very under-discussed when speaking of some of the great and powerful early talking films. Some classify “M” as a suspense or crime drama, because of the subject matter, but I classify it as a powerful tale of true horror.

“M” is a film that strikes at the very core of a parent’s fears, and shows very little changes over the passage of time. It is as relevant today, as it was almost one hundred years ago. Coincidently, even though denied by Lang, it is considered to be a telling of the real-life horrors of the “Vampire of Düsseldorf”.   Please try to watch a film experience unlike many others, “M” this coming Thursday, June 26th at 6:15 am est.

Thank you so much.

Rob