New Releases 4/15

Movies
Black Nativitybletchley circle
Philomena
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Bletchley Circle season 2
Anger Management vol 3
The Making of a Lady
Murder on the Home Front
Flowers in the Attic
Mobius
Great Expectations
The End of Time
JFK: A President Betrayed

Music
The Both by The Bothlights out
Fear in Bliss by Horse Thief
Do to the Beast by The Afghan Whigs
Lights Out by Ingrid Michaelson
Savages by Breathe Carolina
Fly Rasta by Ziggy Marley
Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo
Billy’s Back on Broadway by Billy Porter

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New Releases 4/8

Moviesaugust osage county
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Homefront
Grudge Match
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
August: Osage County
A Touch of Sin
EarthFlight
Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded
Everyday
Norman

Musiccelebrate
Welcome to the New by Mercyme
The Future’s Void by EMA
Celebrate by James Durbin
Going Back Home by Roger Daltrey and Wilko Johnson

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Too Late Blues

Historically, John Cassavetes might be the first American actor-director of what we now term “independent films.” That is, Cassavetes was a compelling performer (Edge of the City, Our Virgin Island, The Dirty Dozen, Rosemary’s Baby) more interested in crafting movies on his own terms, and he did so with such items as Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, Husbands, and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. His wife was Gena Rowlands, complimented by some as the greatest American actress not to have an Academy Award. Cassavetes starred in the TV series Johnny Staccato in ’59-’60. Rowlands guested.)

too late bluesToo Late Blues (1961) was Cassavetes’ second feature as director. Bobby Darin plays John “Ghost” Wakefield, jazz pianist heading up a nominally-talented group of musicians playing small gigs and benefits in parks. At a party he meets Jess (Stella Stevens), a self-described amateur songstress whose agent is the same as Ghost’s, the weasly Benny Flowers (Everett Chambers). Ghost wants to add Jess to his quintet despite her protestations: “My name’s Polanski.   That’s my name. Jessica Polanski. And don’t start telling me how much you can do for me or my career ‘cause there isn’t any career, and you can’t do a thing for me. Understand?” Such sentiments only endear her to him and he convinces her to join his quintet for an unexpected recording session that just might land them a hit. But life throws Ghost, Jess and the rest of the band a curve ball. A pool hall brawl initiated by the brutish Tommy (Vince Edwards) reveals a singularly damaging character flaw that sabotages Ghost’s relationship with both Jess and the band. It is painful to watch.

The film is emblematic of its era: musicians, especially the jazz types, are labeled “dope fiends” with needles in their pockets with which to inject girls. The band members wear ties during performance and make it a point to maintain their natty attire at an after-hours party.

hell is for heroesToo Late Blues is a successful early attempt by Bobby Darin, the teen singing idol (“Splish Splash,” “Mack the Knife,” “Beyond the Sea,” “Dream Lover “) to succeed as an actor. As evidence of that and Cassavetes’ script, he doesn’t even sing. (The following year Darin would give an outstanding performance as a G.I. on the Siegfried Line with Steve McQueen in Hell is for Heroes. In 1964 he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his mental patient in Captain Newman, M.D.)

Like Darin, Stella Stevens was transforming herself from a blonde bombshell (Playboy Playmate of the Month, January, 1960)) into a more than capable actress and occasional comedienne. In 1964 she received exemplary reviews for her three-episode guest spot on TV’s medical show hit, Ben Casey, in which Vince Edwards had his career-defining role.

Too Late Blues is a small film, but it provides a career preview for Darin, Stevens and Edwards, a look at director Cassavetes’ early style, and a peek at a time between the beat and hippie generations.

By Kim

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New Releases 4/1

Moviesanchorman 2
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Down by the River
At Middleton
Lost Islands
An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story
Best of Nature Collection

Music
Head or Heart by Christina Perri
Where it All Began by Dan + Shay
Turn It Up by Josh ThompsonA dotted line
Education, Education, Education and War by Kaiser Chiefs
Here and Nowhere Else by Cloud Nothings
Ronnie James Dio: This is Your Life by various
Salad Days by Mac Demarco
White People Party Music by Nick Cannon
Off the Grid: Doin’ It Dylan by The Charlie Daniels Band
Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne by various
Life Journey by Leon Russell
A Dotted Line by Nickel Creek

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The Struggles with eBooks in Libraries

This is a time of great change in the library world. eBooks have now become one of the most popular new services offered at the library. The Chester County Library System is now able to offer eBooks and eAudiobooks to our patrons from the comfort of their own home, 24/7. The service that we use is called OverDrive (overdrive.ccls.org), and it allows for downloads eBooks and eAudiobooks to eReaders, smart devices, and computers.

Many of our patrons that have used this service may have realized that we are missing many titles which are in popular demand. There are a few reasons for this, one of which is definitely not a lack of knowledge of what our patrons want. The first problem is that there are some publishers who refuse to sell their eBooks to libraries, so we are unable to provide titles by authors such as, Philippa Gregory, Jennifer Weiner, Mary Higgins Clark, and Stephen King. Aside from publishers who won’t sell to us, many have put restrictions when purchasing their titles. For example, the publisher of titles such as The Fault in Our Stars, And the Mountains Echoed, and The Silent Wife, will only let us keep a book for up to one year, before we have to repurchase the same title. Other publishers only allow 26 downloads before we have to repurchase the title. And, there are still other publishers who do not place time, or download restrictions, but they do charge libraries a hefty price for eBook use rights. For example, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, would cost $9 if a consumer were to purchase the eBook through an outlet like Amazon, but the library would be charged $75 per copy. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith is also a very popular title that the average consumer would be able to purchase for around $7, and the price for libraries is $78 dollars per copy. This puts a considerable strain on the library budget when we have to purchase multiple copies of popular titles with exorbitant prices, as well as having to repurchase titles over and over again.

There is also some confusion as to why the digital books are not always available, and why holds must be placed on titles. This is a restriction all publishers have placed on eBooks. Another frequently asked question we receive is, “Why are some titles available in eAudiobook format, but not available in eBook form?” A book like The Hunger Games is available as an eAudiobook, but not as an eBook, because while the publisher decided they want to have a working relationship with libraries on the digital front, they do not want to offer their titles in the more popular eBook format. Often there are no concrete reasons publishers give when they make these decisions, but it generally always comes down to the possibility of lost revenue if they sell to libraries with no use restrictions. The publishing world is experiencing the same issue the music industry experienced after Napster, and other free music downloading sites grew in popularity. The music industry is now in a much better place, and hopefully the publishing world will follow shortly.

Chester County Library is very optimistic when it comes to these changing times in the digital world. Along with the entire library community, we hope that the publishers soon realize the importance libraries have in lifelong reading. We have embraced eBooks, and hopefully in the future we will be able to bring more digital services to better serve our communities.

By Stephanie Sharon

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The League of Alternate Superstars: Jeanne Crain

Jeanne Crain (1925 – 2003), was not, as so many biographies andStarfair1945 obituaries report, Miss Long Beach of 1941 and a Miss America finalist or runner-up. The Miss Long Beach Pageant was not instituted until 1950. Jeanne was actually crowned Miss Pan-Pacific in Los Angeles’ Pan-Pacific Auditorium in 1941. (That was an all-purpose venue for speeches and shows.) One assumes 20th Century-Fox’s PR department and/or studio head Darryl Zanuck spun the facts. Did “Miss Long Beach” sound better that “Miss Pan-Pacific.” To further complicate matters, Jeanne is said to have been Miss Camera Girl for 1941.

In any event, Jeanne Crain had the looks and appeal to obtain a Fox contract. She had a few film roles for the studio before her official introduction in 1944’s Home in Indiana. In that homespun saga of a troubled youth (Lon McCallister), Jeanne played tomboy Char who along with the sulkies gave McCallister a purpose in life and served as a role model (“People being sorry just makes other people mad,” offered Char).

In 1945 Crain was again living the idealized, cornfed, Middle-American life in the musical State Fair opposite Dana Andrews, with whom she would pair in three more movies. That same year she was third-billed in the film version of Ben Ames Williams’ popular novel, Leave Her to Heaven. Once denigrated as too melodramatic, with Gene Tierney portraying the sociopathically jealous Ellen Berent Harland, it has in recent times become admired as film noir—and a majestically color one at that. Playing Tierney’s sister, Jeanne’s character was driven to distraction.

If Crain had a signature role it came in 1946. As Margie she once more tackled the trials and tribulations of a young woman coming of age. In this one she kept losing her bloomers and—unthinkable now—fell in love with and married her teacher. The famous September 30, 1946 cover of Life featured Jeanne in her Margie bathtub, playing with huge bubbles created via helium forced upward from the drain into water supplemented with soap and glycerine.

Apartment for Peggy (1948)apartment for peggy was more than met the eye. Nancy Spellman wrote, “While the film contains many comic aspects, especially the at-times extremely funny performance of Jeanne Crain, the treatment of these issues is both serious and intelligent.” Those issues included the generation gap, a younger generation’s optimism, materialism, and problems faced by women, often caught in tedious jobs while the husbands took advantage of the GI Bill to, as Spellman noted, “attend classes with attractive and better-educated coeds.” The mournful landlord played by Edmund Gwenn, your favorite Kris Kringle from the previous year’s Miracle on 34th Street, provided the apartment. His pessimism about the human race’s prospects became infectious until Crain berated Holden: “Oh no! You too! That’s what half the people around here are saying: The world’s gonna die, nobody’s got a chance, it’s no use living, might as well commit suicide!”

Next up was a plum dramatic role:pinky the African-American passing for white in Pinky (1949). Crain received her only Academy Award nomination for this Elia Kazan movie that was typical of 20th Century Fox and its production chief Darryl F. Zanuck penchant for tackling significant social issues.

Zanuck must have been pulling his hair out when his very popular star began having babies, which would total seven during the next decade. Obviously this cost Crain some roles, apparently the leads that went to Jennifer Jones in Carrie, Deborah Kerr in Quo Vadis and Jean Simmons in The Robe. Presumably Jeanne would have been on loan-out from Fox for the first two, a Paramount and MGM production, respectively.

A Letter to Three Wives (1949) included Jeanne, Linda Darnell and Ann Sothern. One of them had a husband (Kirk Douglas, Paul Douglas, Jeffrey Lynn) who ran off with a mutual friend. The film won Joseph L. Mankiewicz Academy Awards for writing and direction, a feat he’d duplicate the following year with All About Eve, which featured Anne Baxter as the title character. Jeanne had been up for that role.

Cheaper by the Dozencheaper by the dozen (1950) featured Jeanne as the eldest of the Gilbreth children, their father (Clifton Webb) the noted efficiency expert. Getting billing over Myrna Loy, Crain also narrated. Without Webb, the sequel Belles on Their Toes was merely average.

People Will Talk (1951) is one of the more obscure Cary Grant films despite its quality and the director, once again Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Grant was a mysterious professor and gynecologist who befriended a student (Jeanne) about to become an unwed mother. Like Pinky, it was ahead of its time.

If there was any downside to some of Crain’s later films at Fox and when she became “independent,” it was her leading men. Some, like Scott Brady, her co-star in 1951’s The Model and the Marriage Broker, who was once labeled the next John Wayne, were expected to become major stars. That didn’t happen. Ditto with George Nader, Jeanne’s co-star in The Second Greatest Sex.

O. Henry’s Full House (1952)O Henry's Full House was a compendium of selected O. Henry short stories. The last and best was “The Gift of the Magi,” with Jeanne as the wife who sold her glorious hair to buy a watch fob for her husband (Farley Granger). The husband, in the meantime, sold his watch for combs for his wife.

Times were changing and Hollywood, having experienced a mini-golden age after the war, was now in a state of tumoil. Accused of price fixing and “block booking” (theater owners took one studio film but had to take specified others whether they wanted them or not), under the Supreme Court’s 1948 “Paramount Decree” the studios began to lose their monopolies. Add to that the inroads of TV and severely curtailed theatrical attendance by a population with more entertainment options. Scrambling to stay afloat, studios started dropping stars and their star contracts. It was a far cry from the recent “golden age” when studios locked up stars for years. Perhaps Olivia de Havilland’s win in 1945 started this ball rolling. Others had tried but De Havilland won when the California State Supreme Court ruled that she did not have to work an extra 24 weeks for Warner Bros. The 24 weeks were those she had been suspended for when she refused film assignments.

Like Richard Widmark, also at Fox, Jeanne was anxious to spread her wings and go independent. That became a double-edged sword for many stars. No longer under the aegis of a particular studio, they were required to handle a plethora of new activities: selecting scripts, publicity, dealing with distributors, negotiating foreign film contracts.

Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955) was the sequel to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. Fox had released Blondes but this was released by United Artists. Again, neither Jeanne nor Jane Russell had top-of-the-line male co-stars. Scott Brady was back and Alan Young essayed the milquetoast. It did give Jeanne a chance to look great in sequins and dance. She had matured from girl-next-door to sexy—and voluptuous—temptress.

One of the better Jeanne vehicles after she left Fox was Man Without a Star (1955). Hearkening back to Margie but this time in a western setting, Jeanne had another significant bathtub scene (once a Hollywood staple if not a cliché). She was a tough customer this time, running a ranch somewhat unethically and causing foreman Kirk Douglas to turn on her. It was the farmers vs. cattlemen scenario.

Jeanne signed on for some foreign films: Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile (1961) and Invasion 1700, aka Daggers of Blood (1962). Back in the States, she guested on TV series and made some less than earthshaking films. One wonders how much influence her long-time husband had on script selection. Did he, like Susan Hayward’s second husband, direct her toward vehicles that were bound to detract from her luster?

All in all, Jeanne Crain had a sterling resume that would have been even better if the classical Hollywood studio system hadn’t decayed. She had a decade of excellent roles and films. Most generally acknowledged superstars don’t exceed that.

By Kim

References:
Finler, Joel. The Hollywood Story. New York: Crown, 1988.

Long Beach Public Library email. February 28, 2014.

Parish, James Robert. The Fox Girls. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1971.

Spellman, Nancy. “On Video: Apartment for Peggy.” Film Ex (Winter 1992): 6-7.

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New Releases 3/25

Movies
Delivery Man girl on a bicycle
Walking With Dinosaurs
The Wolf of Wall Street
Veep season 2
Californication season 6
The Great Beauty
The Truth About Emanuel
Girl on a Bicycle
Gordon Family Tree
Viola
Let the Fire Burn
A Musicares Tribute to Bruce Springsteen

Music
Just Because by The Belle Brigadehelp campbell
Gold Fever by Little Hurricane
Pulses by Karmin
Out Among the Stars by Johnny Cash
May Death Never Stop You by My Chemical Romance
Rio 2 Soundtrack by various
Night Songs by Barry Manilow
Heaven is For Real by various
High Noon by Jerrod Niemann
Shakira by Shakira
Gravitas by Asia
Remember Me by Sage the Gemini
This is What I Do by Boy George
Help by Erica Campbell
Strangers by Simone Felice

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New Audiobooks!

Below are some of our new Audiobooks:
Fiction
After I’m Gone by Laura Lippmanafter i'm gone
Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
Blindsided by Fern Michaels
Cell by Robin Cook
Concealed in Death by J. D. Robb
The Counterfeit Agent by Alex Berenson
Do or Die: Reluctant Heroes by Suzanne Brockmann
Fear Nothing: a novel by Lisa Gardner
Graveyard of Memories by Barry Eislerlost lake
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
The Luminaries: a novel by Eleanor Catton
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith
Moving Target: a novel by J. A. Jance
The Museum of Extraordinary Things: a novel by Alice Hoffman
On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee
The Outcasts: a novel by Kathleen Kent
The Pagan Lord: a novel by Bernard Cornwellpagan lord
Private L.A. by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
Ripper: a novel by Isabel Allende
Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood
Runner by Patrick Lee
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
The Short Victorious War by David Weber
Somerset by Leila Meacham
Standup Guy by Stuart Woodsworthy brown's daughter
Still Life With Bread Crumbs: a novel by Anna Quindlen
Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster
The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison
The Way of All Fish: a novel by Martha Grimes
Worthy Brown’s Daughter by Phillip Margolin

Nonfiction
Autobiography by Morrisseyautobiography
The Blood Sugar Solution 10-day Detox Diet: Activate Your Body’s Natural Ability to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Fast by Mark Hyman
George Washington’s Secret Six: the spy ring that saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
My Planet: finding humor in the oddest places by Mary Roach
Operation Paperclip: the secret intelligence program to bring Nazi scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen
A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus

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New Releases 3/18

MoviesFROZN_014M_G_ENG-GB_70x100.indd
Frozen
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
American Hustle
Saving Mr. Banks
Reasonable Doubt
Yogawoman
Atlantis season 1

Music
Supermodel by Foster the Peoplesupermodel foster the people
Sex + Love by Enrique Iglesias
Underneath the Rainbow by Black Lips
Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs
Sisyphus by Sisyphus
Mirrors the Sky by Lyla Foy
Summer Number Seventeen by Ronnie Milsap
Happiness Is by Taking Back Sunday
The Romance of Rachmaninov by Lang Lang
Wow Gospel: the 2000s by various
Muppets Most Wanted soundtrack by various
Symphonica by George Michael
Kiss Me Once by Kylie Minogue
Me by Jo Dee Messina

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New Releases 3/11

Moviesscience of measurement
The Book Thief
The Best Man Holiday
Out of the Furnace
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Time Being
The Science of Measurement

Music
Loco De Amor by Juanes
Rise of an Empire by Young Moneywow worship
Into the Fire by The Falls
The Truth by Ledisi
Slow Me Down by Sara Evans
Wow Worship by various
Stereolithic by 311
Lift Your Spirit by Aloe Blacc
Divergent soundtrack by various

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