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Great news for vintage movie fans - from Jan 5th BBC2 !


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Old 31-12-2012, 01:51
RayRidley
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From next Saturday it appears that BBC2 will schedule movie double bills from 6 and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and around 8.45 a.m. on weekdays. Now that the simulcast of CBeebies has been dropped BBC2 has at last decided to use the huge archive of RKO movies that it owns and treat the legion of fans of black and movies out there.

Saturday opens up with a double bill of Katherine Hepburn movies, Sylvia Scarlett and the rarer The Little Minister from 1934. Sunday sees a double bill of Anna Neagle movies, then 7 films featuring Fred Astaire and/or Ginger Rogers over the next 4 days. Magic Town, Badman's Territory and Bombadier fill out the rest of the week. As a bonus, there's a rare screening of Of Human Bondage - vintage Bette Davis from 1934 - on Saturday afternoon. I hope this is to be a permanent feature and not just a post-Xmas treat.
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Old 31-12-2012, 04:51
Fio Montoya
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Excellent! I really want to see the Betty Davis film in particular, will keep an eye on those.
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Old 31-12-2012, 10:15
Walter Neff
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From next Saturday it appears that BBC2 will schedule movie double bills from 6 and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and around 8.45 a.m. on weekdays. Now that the simulcast of CBeebies has been dropped BBC2 has at last decided to use the huge archive of RKO movies that it owns and treat the legion of fans of black and movies out there.

Saturday opens up with a double bill of Katherine Hepburn movies, Sylvia Scarlett and the rarer The Little Minister from 1934. Sunday sees a double bill of Anna Neagle movies, then 7 films featuring Fred Astaire and/or Ginger Rogers over the next 4 days. Magic Town, Badman's Territory and Bombadier fill out the rest of the week. As a bonus, there's a rare screening of Of Human Bondage - vintage Bette Davis from 1934 - on Saturday afternoon. I hope this is to be a permanent feature and not just a post-Xmas treat.
That is good news, even if I have seen most of them before.

RKO films were the first to be shown on UK TV back in 1956, and I well remember the excitement of seeing my favourite stars on TV for the first time.
Long before videos I used to record the soundtracks of these films with my reel to reel tape recorder.
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Old 31-12-2012, 10:22
RayRidley
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Bad news, I'm afraid...a poster in the Broadcasing thread is saying this only goes on till the 13th Jan...
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Old 31-12-2012, 15:40
Walter Neff
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Bad news, I'm afraid...a poster in the Broadcasing thread is saying this only goes on till the 13th Jan...
I thought that it was too good to be true, but at least there is a new series starting next Saturday afternoon before Of Human Bondage.

"Talking Pictures" is the first of a six part series, this features Bette Davis and is introduced by Sylvia Syms. It looks like it is concentrating on her TV appearances.

I don't know whether this will be interviews or TV shows.
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Old 31-12-2012, 16:14
heart break kid
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Did anyone see the Arena programme last night about silent film star Clara Bow? It was excellent. Off to see if I can buy or rent It and Wings

Shame this series is so short, RKO made some absolutely cracking stuff. I really like the gritty B-pictures like Armored Car Robbery starring the totally underrated Charles McGraw, would love it if some of that stuff got dusted off.

Last time I watched Of Human Bondage the print was shocking! Not good enough for TV imo so will be interesting to see if the bbc have something better.
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Old 31-12-2012, 16:35
Walter Neff
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Did anyone see the Arena programme last night about silent film star Clara Bow? It was excellent. Off to see if I can buy or rent It and Wings

Shame this series is so short, RKO made some absolutely cracking stuff. I really like the gritty B-pictures like Armored Car Robbery starring the totally underrated Charles McGraw, would love it if some of that stuff got dusted off.

Last time I watched Of Human Bondage the print was shocking! Not good enough for TV imo so will be interesting to see if the bbc have something better.
Ye, I did watch it and thoroughly enjoyed it. She was very modern for the time, but sadly she aged rather quickly, so I doubt whether she would have had a lasting career even if she hadn't retired.

The BBC have been showing the same RKO prints since 1956, and I doubt if any of these showing next week have been digitally remastered.
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:23
intruder2k
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Sat 12th is a particularly interesting morning, starting from 6am with a trilogy of film noirs/thrillers: The Hitch-Hiker, On Dangerous Ground & Armored Car Robbery (which someone mentioned above).
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:29
Walter Neff
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Sat 12th is a particularly interesting morning, starting from 6am with a trilogy of film noirs/thrillers: The Hitch-Hiker, On Dangerous Ground & Armored Car Robbery (which someone mentioned above).
On Dangerous Ground stars the great Ida Lupino, and The Hitch-Hiker is directed by that talented and underrated lady.

Both well worth watching!
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Old 11-01-2013, 13:15
RayRidley
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Just a heads up for Saturday 19th when BBC 2 continues to mine the RKO archive with a Rosalind Russell double bill, Flight To Freedom and Sister Kenny. Looks like films at the weekend will be part of the regular schedule now, with a double or triple bill on Saturdays and one (or maybe two "quickie" features") on Sundays.


Thank you BBC 2 !
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Old 11-01-2013, 13:19
RayRidley
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Did anyone see the Arena programme last night about silent film star Clara Bow? It was excellent. Off to see if I can buy or rent It and Wings

Shame this series is so short, RKO made some absolutely cracking stuff. I really like the gritty B-pictures like Armored Car Robbery starring the totally underrated Charles McGraw, would love it if some of that stuff got dusted off.

Last time I watched Of Human Bondage the print was shocking! Not good enough for TV imo so will be interesting to see if the bbc have something better.
I watched Of Human Bondage last week and it looked fine to me. The Little Minister, shown earlier that day looked like a brand new print to me. I hadn't seen this Hepburn movie before, she looked utterly stunning. What a crazy film though - could they have shoehorned anymore Scottish stereotypes into one movie?

...and it was great to see That's Life's "Odd Ode" man Cyril Fletcher (who died in 2005 at the grand old age of 92) in his film debut (in 1944 !) in the Anna Neagle WWII thriller Yellow Canary the following day ! Pin back your lug 'oles...
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Old 17-01-2013, 15:18
heart break kid
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Ye, I did watch it and thoroughly enjoyed it. She was very modern for the time, but sadly she aged rather quickly, so I doubt whether she would have had a lasting career even if she hadn't retired.

The BBC have been showing the same RKO prints since 1956, and I doubt if any of these showing next week have been digitally remastered.
Yes, she did seem to age quite quickly after she retired from the movies. Certainly on the candid photos and films clips she didn't look as good as she did in her films. I wonder if it was partly to do with the movie magic / lighting / make up as well? What a great, expressive face though. It was a really interesting programme. Shame not many of her movies are available to buy on dvd for a reasonable price.

I caught On Dangerous Ground, loved it! I'm a big Robert Ryan fan, he has a certain darkness that appeals to me (see Crossfire). Liked the snowy setting too, gave it a bit of a different vibe.

Seen any other good classics over the holiday period? I treated myself to a few Jules Dassin films and I'm just starting on the Universal horrors from the 30's. Have you seen 'The Uninvited' with Ray Milland? That was a real treat, a good British ghost story from ... '44 I think.
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Old 28-05-2013, 23:42
Grabid Rannies
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God, I can't believe it's over four months since I missed the screening of The Little Minister, which if memory serves me correctly hadn't been shown for donkey's years before that - at least not since about 1991 or 1992, if it did occur at all. In that spirit, I have to give a shout out to 'The Mad Miss Manton' having been shown last weekend, and the truly remarkable scheduling in store for this current weekend, with a synopsis of a post I've already made elsewhere. Sorry if that's a bit spammy, but as a vintage film fan I truly believe this knowledge and awareness deserves to be out there

Today I pick up next week's TV mag and, in utter amazement, I find not just one - but FOUR - movies from the same 30s/40s period as the seemingly unusual screening of The Mad Miss Manton scheduled for what seems like the now-established early morning movie slot for weekends on BBC2. Commencing 6.40am, on Saturday 1st June, we have:

Curtain Call (1940)
Footlight Fever (1941)
Sing And Like It (1934)

And if that wasn't enough, on Sunday morning at 7am we have 1933's 'Melody Cruise'.

By my own rather sad admission, I have a pretty photographic memory when it comes to 'vintage' films screened on UK TV since about 1991; when a serious interest in the TV and Radio Times first took hold; and to my knowledge and awareness, the above four titles have not had an outing in that period!

Granted, these films will probably be of rather ropey print quality, and it's a gamble as to whether or not they'll have much 'entertainment' value now. Certainly in the case of the first two, I gather they involve some third-rate comedy duo that by all accounts make The Three Stooges seem sophisticated. At least however Sing And Like It showcases ZaSu Pitts, who is always good value; and the now completely obscure Melody Cruise was apparently one of RKO's very top earners of its year. The point is that they're being shown AT ALL - I can hardly believe it, and still now wouldn't be entirely surprised if they suddenly got pulled, such is their apparent rarity.

Whilst I've had a general appreciation for the gesture of BBC2 running an early-morning weekend film slot(s) since the New Year, it had become dogged by the inevitability of firstly it all being from the RKO catalogue, or otherwise of 'Public Domain' status, which indicates as much as anything that the principle is 'cheap filler' as opposed to a genuine interest in wanting to show a diverse range of movies. Certainly there was an over-familiarity from previous screenings of the titles selected thus far.

I sincerely hope that this is the start of the BBC delving right back into their RKO catalogue without prejudice to either the age of the films, or whether they star 'notables' (ie John Wayne/Bob Mitchum et al). If they do indeed hold limitless lights to the entire library, which seems to be the case, then there are literally hundreds of titles they could resurrect that haven't otherwise had a screening in at least my living memory. To go from the Duke's 'Flying Leathernecks' for the umpteenth time one week, to one of Barbara Stanwyck's most sublime but yet cruelly rarely seen the next, was something that required at least two rubs of my eyes to believe was true!!
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Old 29-05-2013, 07:19
Walter Neff
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The fact that they screened The Mad Miss Manton at 5.30 am showed that the BBC didn't expect it to attract many viewers. Nevertheless, with many of us having Sky+ it was a rare treasure to record and watch later. This was the first of three films to star Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda, and just a warm up for the sublime The Lady Eve, in which I consider she gave her greatest ever performance.
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Old 29-05-2013, 07:35
jeff_vader
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On Dangerous Ground stars the great Ida Lupino, and The Hitch-Hiker is directed by that talented and underrated lady.

Both well worth watching!
I caught The Bigamist on tele a few years ago. Very impressive and striking for period it was made in.
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Old 29-05-2013, 13:09
Walter Neff
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I caught The Bigamist on tele a few years ago. Very impressive and striking for period it was made in.
That was another film in which that multi talented lady not only starred in, but directed as well.

My favourite Ida Lupino film is Road House, in which she played a torch singer, also starring Richard Widmark and Cornel Wilde. She does her own singing in this film in a such a unique croaky style that Celeste Holm comments, "She does more without a voice than anyone I have ever heard."
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Old 30-05-2013, 15:50
RayRidley
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God, I can't believe it's over four months since I missed the screening of The Little Minister, which if memory serves me correctly hadn't been shown for donkey's years before that - at least not since about 1991 or 1992, if it did occur at all. In that spirit, I have to give a shout out to 'The Mad Miss Manton' having been shown last weekend, and the truly remarkable scheduling in store for this current weekend, with a synopsis of a post I've already made elsewhere. Sorry if that's a bit spammy, but as a vintage film fan I truly believe this knowledge and awareness deserves to be out there

Today I pick up next week's TV mag and, in utter amazement, I find not just one - but FOUR - movies from the same 30s/40s period as the seemingly unusual screening of The Mad Miss Manton scheduled for what seems like the now-established early morning movie slot for weekends on BBC2. Commencing 6.40am, on Saturday 1st June, we have:

Curtain Call (1940)
Footlight Fever (1941)
Sing And Like It (1934)

And if that wasn't enough, on Sunday morning at 7am we have 1933's 'Melody Cruise'.

By my own rather sad admission, I have a pretty photographic memory when it comes to 'vintage' films screened on UK TV since about 1991; when a serious interest in the TV and Radio Times first took hold; and to my knowledge and awareness, the above four titles have not had an outing in that period!

Granted, these films will probably be of rather ropey print quality, and it's a gamble as to whether or not they'll have much 'entertainment' value now. Certainly in the case of the first two, I gather they involve some third-rate comedy duo that by all accounts make The Three Stooges seem sophisticated. At least however Sing And Like It showcases ZaSu Pitts, who is always good value; and the now completely obscure Melody Cruise was apparently one of RKO's very top earners of its year. The point is that they're being shown AT ALL - I can hardly believe it, and still now wouldn't be entirely surprised if they suddenly got pulled, such is their apparent rarity.

Whilst I've had a general appreciation for the gesture of BBC2 running an early-morning weekend film slot(s) since the New Year, it had become dogged by the inevitability of firstly it all being from the RKO catalogue, or otherwise of 'Public Domain' status, which indicates as much as anything that the principle is 'cheap filler' as opposed to a genuine interest in wanting to show a diverse range of movies. Certainly there was an over-familiarity from previous screenings of the titles selected thus far.

I sincerely hope that this is the start of the BBC delving right back into their RKO catalogue without prejudice to either the age of the films, or whether they star 'notables' (ie John Wayne/Bob Mitchum et al). If they do indeed hold limitless lights to the entire library, which seems to be the case, then there are literally hundreds of titles they could resurrect that haven't otherwise had a screening in at least my living memory. To go from the Duke's 'Flying Leathernecks' for the umpteenth time one week, to one of Barbara Stanwyck's most sublime but yet cruelly rarely seen the next, was something that required at least two rubs of my eyes to believe was true!!
Just as an addendum to my comments to your post in the Broadcasting forum, I wonder if either Sing And Like It or Melody Cruise will begin with the National Recovery Administration's "Blue Eagle" logo and the phrase "We Do Our Part" just before the trademark radio mast of RKO is shown? Both films are of about the right vintage for this to be included.

The NRA was an organisation set up in 1933 to guide the US out of the depression and their logo appeared on many RKO films in 33/34.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Eagle
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Old 30-05-2013, 16:11
RayRidley
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And here's a translation of the morse code at the start of those RKO classics...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtrPWlZ-Nes
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Old 30-05-2013, 17:01
RayRidley
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Just a repost of what I just posted in the Broadcasting section for those who don't frequent that part of the site...all 3 RKO films on Saturday June 1st on BBC Two are UK TV premieres !

I can confirm that according to the Film Review section in the latest edition of Radio Times that Sing And Like It is receiving its UK TV premiere a mere 79 years after its production ! It's listed as a premiere in the Film Review section but not noted as such in the listings for the day.

Curtain Call and Footlight Fever (from 1940 and 41) are premieres too ! (not reviewed in Radio Times)

I think this is the problem with having reduced daytime listings in the RT, info like this often gets omitted due to space restrictions.

I strongly suspect that Melody Cruise on Sunday 2nd June could be a premiere too (there is no review of the film in RT).

I wonder how many previously unseen films from this studio are held by the BBC in their archive? I would think there must be several dozen at least.
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Old 30-05-2013, 17:23
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What time are those on on Saturday?
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Old 30-05-2013, 17:27
RayRidley
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What time are those on on Saturday?
Showing on a TV screen near you from 6.40 a.m. - 10 a.m.
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Old 30-05-2013, 17:40
grimtales1
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Thanks!
It may be just me but the synopsis for Curtain Call reminded me of The Producers for some reason
Because it says in the story they acquire a truly awful play that (I would guess) winds up being a hit?
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Old 30-05-2013, 18:27
RayRidley
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Thanks!
It may be just me but the synopsis for Curtain Call reminded me of The Producers for some reason
Because it says in the story they acquire a truly awful play that (I would guess) winds up being a hit?
Indeed, one of the reviewers on IMDB wonders if Mel Brooks saw this as a kid. Another reviewer calls it "a little-known gem". I'm looking forward to seeing this even more now !
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Old 31-05-2013, 13:29
RayRidley
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Saturday 8th June - Room Service (The Marx Brothers) and Star of Midnight (Ginger Rogers, William Powell).

Sunday 9th June Christopher Strong (Katharine Hepburn).

Always good to see The Marx Brothers on terrestrial TV. Christopher Strong has been scheduled many times before.

Star of Midnight is an RKO 1935 mystery - William Powell was allowed a temporary move from MGM to work with Rogers on this one. Another premiere?
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Old 05-06-2013, 19:19
Grabid Rannies
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I'm quite sure I've seen Star Of Midnight in the very dim and distant past on Sky Movies, in the mid 90s, as the title is sure saying something 'familiar' to me. I seem to remember having written a 'review' of it (as a self-opinionated teen I wrote a few hundred such things, which I still have somewhere, to my embarrassment). It doesn't seem to fit though that Sky would have been showing an RKO title.

Nevertheless, another three 30s films over the coming weekend, hurrah!

Christopher Strong, I'm not sure that has actually been on that many times. I certainly and distinctly remember it was premiered in autumn 1994 as part of BBC2's 'Lost And Found' season (which kicked off with the restored Technicolor version of Becky Sharp (another premiere), and included rare showings/premieres of titles such as Bertolucci's Before The Revolution, Val Lewton's The Ghost Ship, Michael Mann's The Keep, and the extended version of Garland's A Star Is Born). Granted I'm not sure how often it's been shown since as I didn't pay much heed to film on TV in the late 90s to mid/late 00s period. I do remember that the film is 'celebrated' in the sense that it was one of Dorothy Arzner's directorial efforts.
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