4/26/2014

Lullaby 1960 - An interesting Don Appell drama on the small screen

Husband and wife: Eli Wallach & Anne Jackson

IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 7,0


Director: Don Richardson
Main Cast: Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Ruth White, Tom Carlin


"A 38-year-old truck driver and a weary cigarette girl from a nightclub elope and discover that they know very little about each other. The mama's boy's domineering mother gives them no peace or privacy on their honeymoon and soon the marriage turns into the eternal triangle - with his mother as the 'other woman'. This televised stage play was shown as part of the anthology series called Play of the Week in NTA Film Network Syndication."

DVD links:


Peter Pan 1960 - A television triumph three different times

Mary Martin as Peter Pan (1960)

IMDB Link
IMDB Rating: 7,4


Director: Vincent J. Donehue
Main Cast: Mary Martin, Cyril Ritchard, Lynn Fontanne, Maureen Bailey, Sondra Lee


"Mary Martin originally starred in the Jules Styne/Carolyn Leigh/Comden & Green musical version of James M. Barrie's Peter Pan on Broadway in 1953. On March 7, 1955, Peter Pan was restaged for television, live and in color, on NBC's Producer's Showcase. The telecast was so popular that it was repeated, again live, the following year. Blessedly, Mary Martin returned to commit Peter Pan to videotape in 1960; this version was first telecast on December 8 of that year. Forty-seven years old at the time, Martin is utterly enchanting as Peter Pan, the little boy who won't grow up and who whisks Wendy Darling (Maureen Bailey) and her brothers Michael (Kent Fletcher) and John (Joey Trent) out of their London nursery and off to Never Never Land. Song highlights include 'I've Gotta Crow', 'I'm Flying', 'I Won't Grow Up', 'Neverland', 'Ugg-a-Wugg' and 'Hook's Waltz'. As with the Broadway version, the staging and choreography was in the more than capable hands of Jerome Robbins. Cyril Ritchard shamelessly hams it up as the wicked Captain Hook, and also doubles as the more benign Mr. Darling. Both Martin and Ritchard re-created their Broadway roles, as did Sondra Lee as the incongruously blonde Indian princess Tiger Lily. Martin's daughter Heller Halliday also appears in the minor role of Liza the maid, while the whole wonderful package is narrated by Lynn Fontanne." - www.allmovie.com

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The consul 1960 - Cold war atmosphere with wonderful performances

American soprano Patricia Neway in The consul 1960

IMDB Link
IMDB Rating: 7,7


Directors: Bill Butler, William A. Graham
Main Cast: Patricia Neway, Chester Ludgin, Evelyn Sachs, Leon Lishner


"Movie fans who don't cotton to opera may find The Consul an exception. This rarity, filmed for TV in 1960, presents Gian-Carlo Menotti's searing opera in mostly uncinematic terms, it's true, but the intensely melodramatic and moving story that forms its core should be very attractive to fans of Cold War dramas and stories of intrigue. opera purists have tended to sniff a bit at The Consul, and it's true that portions are not as musically potent as might be desired. It's also true that the opera climaxes with the shattering "To This We've Come" aria in the second act, and that the lengthy nightmare sequence that comprises the bulk of the third act falls a little short of paying off. On the whole, however, the sheer power of the piece makes up for its musical or dramatic shortcomings. Having been shot for television pretty much from an on-stage vantage point, some may find it a trifle stagy and visually uninteresting. Fortunately, The Consul has an ace up its sleeve that renders this and all other complaints meaningless -- the shattering performance of Patricia Neway in the leading role. Neway is, in a word, magnificent, delivering a harrowing, wrenching performance that leaves the viewer drained. The rest of the cast is competent, sometimes more, but it's Neway that matters. This legendary performance alone makes The Consul worth seeing." - www.allmovie.com

DVD links:


The iceman cometh 1960 - Excellent television production with a stellar cast


IMDB Link
IMDB Rating: 7,6


Director: Sidney Lumet
Main Cast: Jason Robards, Myron McCormick, Tom Pedi, James Broderick, Robert Redford


"Done as part of WNTA's 'Play of the Week' series, Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh was a major television 'event' in its time, getting the seal of approval from The New York Times theater critic Brooks Atkinson, who introduced both halves of the presentation (it was done in two nights, a week apart). Sidney  Lumet got a dream cast here, starting with Jason Robards Jr., who recreates his success as Hickey from the 1950s off-Broadway revival (which is where the play became a success, in the hands of director Jose Quintero). Also present are Myron McCormick as Larry, and such names as James Broderick, Robert Redford, Roland Winters, and Michael Strong. Lumet proves adept at moving his actors and cameras in what is essentially a dramatic ballet. Those who know his film 12 Angry Men will love this production and the opportunity to experience the excitement that attended the broadcast. This is also a wonderful showcase not only for Robards, whose portrayal of Hickey was one of the highlights of his career, but also for Myron McCormick, a much-loved stage actor whose film work (including No Time for Sergeants) was only a shadow of his true dramatic range, his talent captured here about as well as it ever was." - www.allmovie.com

DVD links: 


4/20/2014

The scarface mob 1959 - Brutal, violent and a perfectly cast Robert Stack



IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 7,3



Director: Phil Karlson
Main Cast: Robert Stack, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Nichols, Pat Crowley, Neville Brand



"The Scarface Mob was the major two-part television event that ushered in the famed crime series, The Untouchables, in 1959. Phil Karlson - who had directed noted film noirs such as Scandal Sheet, Kansas City Confidential and 99 River Street - was the director of the two-part pilot for the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse production company, which, with Desi Arnaz, produced I Love Lucy. Referred to as The Untouchables: Part 1 and The Untouchables: Part 2, the TV episodes were later shown theatrically as one feature. Narrated by the resolutely earnest Walter Winchell, The Scarface Mob (and later The Untouchables television series) was a crisply black-and-white cops-and-robbers crime analogue with strong noirish stylistic flourishes and undertones. The Scarface Mob promised an entirely tougher, grittier television series for viewers."



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Meet me in St. Louis - 1959 - A charming remake of the classic version


IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 7,2



Director: George Schaefer
Main Cast: Tab Hunter, Jane Powell, Jeannie Crain, Patty Duke, Myrna Loy, Walter Pidgeon, Reta Shaw, Ed Wynn




"A television version of the beloved 1944 MGM classic film musical, Meet Me in St. Louis depicts the year before the 1904 World’s Fair in the life of the Smith family. The family is put into a tailspin when father Alonzo (Walter Pigeon) announces they will be moving to New York City without consulting his wife Anna (Myrna Loy) or the rest of the brood.  In the meantime, eldest daughter Rose (Jeanne Crain) is upset because her boyfriend Warren (Donald Symington) has not yet proposed to her. 17-year-old Esther (Jane Powell) is romanced by the boy next door (Tab Hunter), while little Tootie (Patty Duke) continues her preoccupation with death." 



Download links (Youtube 8 parts):


Brand 1959 - The BBC Television adaptation for World Theatre

Patrick McGoohan (playing Brand)

IMDB Link
IMDB Rating: 8,2


Director: Michael Elliott
Main Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Dylis Hamlett, James Maxwell, Patrick Wymark, Peter Sallis



"Henrik Ibsen’s Brand (1866) is rare amongst television adaptations of stage plays in that it was a drama never originally intended for theatrical production, but as an epic verse drama set out in dialogue as a script to be read. The play contains a scene of a storm at sea and concludes with an avalanche, both seemingly beyond the limitations of nineteenth century staging, and if performed uncut (as on its first staging in Stockholm in 1885). Patrick McGoohan stars in this adaptation ot the Henrik Ibsen play in which an uncompromising and ultimately tortured priest forces those around him to accept the only true path to God, including the residents of the village in which he was born. Through his fanatic beliefs he manages to cause the death of his wife, lose his son and eventually get exiled and stoned by the villagers."



Download links (Youtube 6 parts):


The world of Sholom Aleichem 1959 - Three sweet adaptations from classic Yiddish literature


IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 7,6


Director: Don Richardson
Main Cast: Zero Mostel, Gertrude Berg, Conrad Bromberg, Jack Gilford, Lee Grant



"Many people are familiar with the name of the Russian-born, Yiddish-language writer Sholom Aleichem (1859-1916), but today he is primarily recognized as the literary source that inspired the beloved musical Fiddler on the Roof. However, not too many people have actually read his stories, which detail the trials and tribulations of the Jewish communities in Czarist Russia.
In 1953, American playwright Arnold Perl sought to capture the spirit of Sholom Aleichem by creating an Off-Broadway play. The World of Sholem Aleichem was actually a bit of a cheat, since only one of its three acts was directly based on an Aleichem story. Nonetheless, the work offered a vibrant celebration of the author’s spirit.
In 1959, producer David Susskind arranged for Perl to adapt his work for broadcast on the weekly television series Play of the Week. This production of The World of Sholom Aleichem was remarkable at several levels, and by contemporary standards it remains a landmark of sorts."

DVD links: 




Kiss me, Kate 1958 - A Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation with Broadway's original stars

Patricia Morison & Alfred Drake in Kiss me, Kate (1958)

IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 8,0


Director: George Schaefer
Main Cast: Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Julie Wilson, Bill Hayes



"Not to be confused with the 1953 Kiss Me Kate - the big screen feature directed by George Sidney with assist from Bob Fosse - this 1958 television production actually constitutes a filmed version of the original stage play, loose adaptation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew by Sam Spewack, Bella Spewack and Cole Porter. The cast includes the original Broadway stars too: Patricia Morison , Bill Hayes, Julie Wilson and Alfred Drake. George Schaefer served as producer and director, Franz Allers handled musical direction and Ernest Flatt did the choreography. This was originally telecast on November 20, 1958 as part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame showcase." - www.allmovie.com

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The pied piper of Hamelin 1957 - An excellent musical fantasy for children



IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 6,0


Director: Bretaigne Windust
Main Cast: Van Johnson, Claude Rains, Lori Nelson, Jim Backus



"The Pied Piper of Hamelin was originally filmed as a television special, then released theatrically outside the United States. The story is the familiar one: the town of Hamelin, plagued by rats, hires a mysterious piper (Van Johnson) to rid the town of rodents. The piper does so, on the promise that he'll be paid a handsome fee. But the duplicitous burgomeister (Claude Rains), on the advice of his Laurel-and-Hardy council (Doodles Weaver and Stanley Adams), reneges on his promise. In revenge, the piper lures all of Hamelin's children off to parts unknown. In a departure from the original, there's a happy ending this time. Most of the dialogue is spoken in rhyme (quite amusingly by Rains), while the songs are adaptations of Edvard Grieg tunes." - www.allmovie.com



Download links:


https://archive.org/download/Pied_Piper/The_Pied_Piper_of_Hamelin.avi

Cinderella 1957 - The original TV musical written specifically for Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews in Cinderella (1957)


IMDB Link
IMDB Rating: 7,7


Director: Ralph Nelson
Main Cast: Julie Andrews, Ilka Chase, Edie Adams, Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, Jon Cypher



"On March 31,1957, composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein produced a live, made-for-television version of Cinderella, the classic rags-to-riches story of a young woman oppressed by her wicked step-family. Aired on CBS in what was widely believed to be the network's answer to NBC's Peter Pan, Cinderella starred Julie Andrews in the title role of Cinderella, John Cypher as the Prince, and Edith Adams as the Fairy Godmother. Though the musical was specifically written to showcase Andrews' famous vocal talents, all performances were well-received. Over 107 million television viewers tuned into this live adaptation of Cinderella, giving it the largest audience of the time." - www.allmovie.com


DVD links:  


Annie get your gun 1957 - A marvelous TV version with Mary Martin and John Raitt



IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 8,0


Director: Vincent J. Donehue

Main Cast: Mary Martin, John Raitt, William O'Neal, Reta Shaw



"In 1946, Irving Berlin’s musical Annie Get Your Gun opened on Broadway, with Ethel Merman starring as the 19th century sharp-shooter Annie Oakley. It was a major hit and Merman received endless praise for her performance. In 1957, the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Association decided to celebrate its 20th anniversary by staging two shows starring Martin. One was an obvious choice - South Pacific, arguably Martin’s biggest Broadway success. The other was something of a surprise - Annie Get Your Gun, which the association decided to present both in Los Angeles and in San Francisco, with a special live telecast produced for NBC. The TV version of Annie Get Your Gun was reconfigured to fit a two-hour time slot. In order to preserve as much of the Berlin score as possible, a good chunk of the show’s book was cut out. As a result, this production moves somewhat faster than the 1950 film version - and the transition times between songs is often abrupt. Annie Get Your Gun was telecast in color, though most homes in 1957 did not have color television sets. However, 60 million Americans tuned in for the broadcast, which was sponsored by Pepsi-Cola. The success of the program helped speed along an album featuring the cast, which was a best-seller."



Download links (Youtube 7 parts):



The lark 1957 - A live televised version of Jean Anouihl's play


IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 6,9


Director: George Schaefer

Main Cast: Julie Harris, Boris Karloff, Eli Wallach, Basil Rathbone, Denholm Elliott, Jack Warden



"Starring Boris Karloff, Bruce Gordon, Michael Higgins and Julie Harris reprising their roles from the Broadway play that ran 229 performances in New York beginning in late 1955! Karloff was nominated for the 1956 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Drama for 'The Lark' so now you can watch this rarely-seen and obscure film about the story of Joan of Arc, and the people who convincted and sentenced her to death."



Download links:


https://archive.org/download/HallmarkHallOfFameTheLark/TheHallmarkHallOfFame-theLark.avi


The anatomist 1956 - Concerning with moral and ethical dilemmas

Scene from TV movie, The anatomist (1956)


IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 6,0




Director: Dennis Vance

Main Cast: Alastair Sim, George Cole, Adrienne Corri, Jill Bennett


"Usually listed in reference books as a theatrical release made in 1961, this actually debuted on British TV (on the series ITV Play of the Week) in 1956 but may have played theatrically later on. It's yet another retelling of the famous real-life Burke and Hare West Port Murders. Burke and Hare were a pair of scuzzy, low-life Edinburgh grave robbers and murderers who supplied a medical doctor with fresh corpses for his experiments. The duo were the basis for at least a dozen other films and the story was and still remains very popular in the UK. One of the first film adaptations to touch on the subject matter was the classic Val Lewton production The body snatcher (1945)."

DVD links: 


The adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1955 - The second season opening of the Climax! TV show

John Carradine (who plays The Duke in the movie)

IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 6,4


Director: Herbert B. Swope Jr.

Main Cast: Charles Taylor, Robert Hyatt, Denise Alexander, John Carradine, Thomas Mitchell



"Those who know the Twain book by heart and newcomers alike will treasure this 'Climax!' TV adaptation of the story of free-spirited Huckleberry Finn (Charles Taylor), who is joined by best buddy Tom Sawyer (Bobby Hyatt) for daring exploits along the Mississippi. Also starring: Elizabeth Patterson, John Carradine, and Thomas Mitchell."


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4/18/2014

Eight witnesses 1954 - An interesting Cold War spy thriller


IMDB Link
IMDB Rating: 7,0


Director: Lawrence Huntington

Main Cast: Peggy Ann Garner, Dennis Price, Charles Jacquemar, Wolfgang B├╝ttner



"Eight Witnesses is a fast-paced mystery thriller with a twist. When a scientist carrying vital information on a secret formula is murdered, it is witnessed by no less than eight people. However, every one of them is blind, and the race is on to find the secret formula before it falls into the wrong hands. Dennis Price and Peggy Ann Garner star in this suspenseful whodunit."

DVD links: 


Babes in Toyland 1954 - Another rare glimpse into early live television



IMDB Link
IMDB Rating: 6,9


Director: Max Liebman

Main Cast: Wally Cox, Dennis Day, Dave Garroway, Jack E. Leonard, Ellen Barrie



"During the Christmas season a young girl (Joan) becomes lost in a department store. She finds comfort from a Santa Claus who tells her the story of an imaginary land where storybook characters come to life. As the girl dreams, the viewer is transported to Toyland where the adventures of Tommy Tucker are depicted as he attempts to romance Jane Piper against the wishes of Silas Barnaby, a villain who wants the lovely girl for himself."

DVD links (containing the 1954 and 1955 versions!):


Macbeth 1954, 1960 - A very good adaptation of Shakespeare's play


IMDB Link
IMDB Rating: 6,8


Director: George SchaeferMain Cast: Maurice Evans, Judith Anderson, House Jameson



"Breaking with their usual videotape tradition, the producers of NBC television's Hallmark Hall of Fame decided to commit its 1960 production of MacBeth to film. Maurice Evans stars as the fatally ambitious Scots warrior, with Judith Anderson as Lady MacBeth and Malcolm Keen as Duncan, whom MacBeth murders in order to further his own advancement. The production was a restaging of Hall of Fame's live presentation of the play, which was telecast in 1954. So impressed were Shakespeare scholars by Evans' interpretation of Macbeth that few complaints were made about the rather ruthless cutting of the Shakespearean text. This George Schafer-directed MacBeth was eventually released theatrically in Europe, its running time expanded by outtakes and newly filmed footage." - www.allmovie.com

DVD links: 


King Lear 1953 - A landmark broadcast production for Shakespeare lovers



IMDB Link
IMDB rating: 6,9


Director: Andrew McCulloughMain Cast: Orson Welles, Natasha Parry, Arnold Moss, Bramwell Fletcher, Beatrice Straight


"One of the first important distinctions to be made about this version of King Lear is that it is not the same version directed by Peter Brook in 1971. Brook was responsible for the staging of this 1953 version, but it was Andrew McCullough who put it to film. Orson Welles portrays the titular character, one of the most memorable and important characters from the Shakespearean canon. The story begins with the famous request Lear makes of his daughters: to express how much they love him. In exchange, Lear will divide his land and power amongst them based on the extent of their answers. Cordelia (Natasha Parry), the youngest and the one whom Lear loves the most, answers very modestly - yet honestly - and incurs the wrath of Lear, who not only withholds his gift to her, but banishes her as well. Lear divides his lands and power between the two older daughters, Goneril (Beatrice Straight) and Regan (Margaret Phillips), who intend to take swift and complete control of their father's power almost instantaneously. Lear is reduced to an angry, bitter man who realizes too late what has happened. After a series of indignities are inflicted upon him by his daughters, he retreats into a storm, vowing revenge. This film is an above-average adaptation with a very capable cast and a well-staged presentation. The subplot of Gloucester and his sons has been removed." - www.allmovie.com

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Amahl and the night visitors 1951 - A family favorite for Christmas

Scene from Amal and the night visitors (1951)


IMDB Link

IMDB Rating: 8,7


Director: Kirk Browning, Gian Carlo MenottiMain Cast: Chet Allen, Rosemary Kuhlmann, Andrew McKinley, David Aiken, Leon Lishner


"A Christmas opera, composed especially for television by Gian Carlo Menotti, about Amahl, a crippled boy who joins the three wise men as they journey to Bethlehem on the eve of the first Christmas."

Download links:

https://archive.org/download/AmahlNightVisitors12241951/Amahl_night_visitors_12_24_1951.mp4