New Releases 6/30

Movieswhile were young
While We’re Young
Get Hard
Five Easy Pieces
A Woman
Still
House of Cards season 3

Music
Venus by Joy Williams
Freedom by Refused
About to Get Real by Easton Corbin
In Another Life by Bilal
Summertime ’06 by Vince Staples
The Monsanto Years by Neil Young & Promise of the Real silenced

Audiobooks
The Silenced by Heather Graham*
Kiss Me by Susan Mallery*
The English Spy by Daniel Silva
Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King
Summer Secrets by Jane Green

*in the MP3-CD format

Leave a comment

Filed under New Releases, Audiobooks, Music, Movies

Robert Wise

When I realized that three of my top 12 movies were made by the same person and that a fourth was in my top 25, I concluded that Robert Wise must be my favorite director.  Where does Wise rank in Hollywood history?i_want_to_live

Four-time Academy Award-winner John Ford is generally considered the Hollywood director against whom all others must be measured.  Orson Welles is said to have responded to the question of who was the best director with, “John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford.”  William Wyler, Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, George Cukor, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, Frank Capra, Michael Curtiz and George Stevens would be high on the list, and Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg would doubtless get votes today.  But Robert Wise has one of  the best averages for helming exceptional movies.  In The Illustrated Who’s Who of Hollywood Directors:  The Sound Era, Michael Barson observed that Wise was a chameleon because he couldn’t be pigeon-holed and thus was not accorded the respect that accrued to the auteur, the director who presumably controlled all aspects of a film’s production.  Nevertheless, Barson said Wise deserved accolades for succeeding at least once in every genre he attempted.

Changing genre to type, the best of these are:

Curse of the Cat People (1944, horror)

The Body Snatcher (1945, horror)

Blood on the Moon (1948, western)

The Set-Up (1949, boxing noir)The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, science fiction)

Executive Suite (1954, drama)

Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956, boxing)

Tribute to a Bad Man (1956, western)

Until They Sail (1957, war drama)

Run Silent, Run Deep (1958, war)

I Want To Live! (1958, drama)

Odds Against Tomorrow (1959, crime/race)

West Side Story (1961, musical)

The Haunting (1963, horror)

The Sound of Music (1965, musical)

The Sand Pebbles (1966, historical)

The Andromeda Strain (1971, science fiction)

George Cukor was always known as an “actor’s director.”  Likewise, Wise guided through their paces a distinguished group actors and actresses:  Robert Mitchum (twice), Robert Ryan, James Cagney, Paul Newman (twice), Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Susan Hayward (won Oscar), Natalie Wood, Julie Andrews, Steve McQueen, Eleanor Parker, William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, Julie Harris, Shirley MacLaine and Fredric March.

Wise began his Hollywood career as a sound effects editor, graduating to editor on such films as citizen kane 2Bachelor Mother (1939), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), and My Favorite Wife (1940).  Then came what in retrospect was the editing assignment of a lifetime:  Orson Welles’  Citizen Kane (1941).  When the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, a U.S. agency, sent Welles to South America as a goodwill ambassador, Wise was tagged to direct additional scenes for Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) after preview audiences were unimpressed with the original version.  Some people attacked Wise rather than RKO for tampering with Welles’ vision.  Wise himself said it was a problem film because it was made  before the U.S. entry into World War II:  “Audiences just didn’t have patience for this story of the Amberson family in Indianapolis, early in the century, and their problems.  The changes were not a plot against Orson.  We had a problem picture and he wasn’t here to help us….I think the fact that it has come down through the years as a classic in its own right means that we didn’t destroy everything that Orson did.”

Wise’s first directing assignment occurred when he replaced Gunther Von Fritsch on The Curse of the Cat People (1944).  Von Fritsch was not keeping the production on time, which as Gregory Mank observed in The Very Witching Time was a cardinal sin for a B-movie.  Given the task of mopping up, Wise was fast and Curse became known as a topflight horror film.  The Body Snatcher (1945) followed and gained a heady reputation.  Both were made for legendary producer Val Lewton, who eschewed in-your-face horror for mood, atmosphere, and the unseen.  Until Raging Bull in 1980, Wise’s The Set-Up (1949) was often reckoned the best of all boxing movies.  It is distinctly different, however.  It is not a biopic, rather a grim noir with Robert Ryan an almost-has-been who refuses to throw a match and suffers the consequences from the local hoods.executive suite

Come 1951, two major films addressed the concern over what might be visiting us from space.  The Thing from Another World featured a vicious, bloodthirsty alien.  In Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still the alien was more benevolent although he did promise a scorched earth if humans spread war into the cosmos.  From top to bottom, superstar to character actor, Executive Suite (1954) had perhaps the best power cast ever:  William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, Fredric March, Walter Pidgeon, June Allyson, Paul Douglas, Louis Calhern, Shelley Winters, Dean Jagger, Nina Foch.

Wise turned his attention to another boxing movie with 1956’s Somebody Up There Likes Merun silent run deep This time around he was dealing with real-life champion Rocky Graziano as interpreted by Paul Newman.  It won Academy Awards for Black & White Cinematography and Art Direction.  Nineteen-fifty-eight saw the release of a topnotch submarine movie, Run Silent, Run Deep.  Once again, two superstars took the helm:  Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster.  The same year Wise took on capital punishment in I Want To Live!  After four previous nominations, Susan Hayward finally won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Barbara Graham, sent to the gas chamber for her part in a robbery and murder.  In the following year’s Odds Against Tomorrow, Wise tackled the issue of race in the guise of a noir heist film with Harry Belafonte and Robert Ryan, working together in crime but hating each other’s guts.

Wise was on a role and tookhaunting on the film version of the Broadway smash West Side Story.  He co-directed with WSTs choreographer Jerome Robbins, and they shared the directing Oscar, the movie taking Best Picture and many other Oscars.  An interlude between musicals had Wise directing another Broadway-to-Hollywood item, Two for the Seesaw, with Shirley MacLaine and Robert Mitchum.  That was not a success and it was back to low-key horror for 1963’s The Haunting, sometimes considered the best of all haunted house films.

Perhaps the most important of his films in the public’s estimation camesound of music next:   The Sound of Music.  He and male lead Christopher Plummer worked to keep it from becoming saccharine.  Once again a Wise musical won Best Picture, and he heard of his second Oscar for directing while working on The Sand Pebbles in Taiwan.  That epic was based on a bestselling novel about a U.S. gunboat in nineteen-twenties China.  It received 8 Oscar nominations, including Wise for director and Steve McQueen for actor.  It did respectable business but not what one would expect.  Possibly because the large movie theaters in center city Philadelphia were booked with other reserved-seat roadshows, Sand’s initial release in the Delaware Valley was in Cheltenham, which was bound to confound suburbanites.

In 1971 Wise once more succeeded with science fiction.   The Andromeda Strain was based on Michael Crichton’s bestselling novel of a plague from space.  Wise finished the decade with another science fiction film.  Star Trek:  The Motion Picture (1979) was aimed at the Star Wars (1977) audience in addition to Trekkies.  However, it didn’t have the flash and dash and has been labeled, probably unfairly, the least of the Star Trek films.

I met the 82-year-old Wise at the FANEX convention in Baltimore in July, 1996.  He signed my I Want To Live! soundtrack and responded positively when I asked how he liked working with Susan Hayward.  An attendant asked me not to take Mr. Wise’s picture, but I had done so before the request.

By Kim

References

Barson, Michael.  The Illustrated Who’s Who of Hollywood Directors:  The Sound Era.  New York:  Noonday Press, 1995.

Leeman, Sergio.  Robert Wise on His Films:  From Editing Room to Director’s Chair.  Los Angeles:  Silman-James Press, 1995.

Mank, Gregory William.  The Very Witching Time of Night:  Dark Alleys of Classic Horror Cinema.  Jefferson, NC:  McFarland, 2014.

Plummer, Christopher.  In Spite of Myself—A Memoir.  New York:  Vintage, 2012.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

New Releases 6/23

Moviesripper street
The Loft
Seventh Son
Garfunkel and Oates season 1
Ripper Street season 3
House of Cards season 3
The Bridge
Spike Island
If You Build It
Deli Man
Timbuktu

Musicdark before dawn
Dark Before Dawn by Breaking Benjamin
Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves
Unbreakable Smile by Tori Kelly
Rest and Be Thankful by Linden
Bones by Son Lux
The Other Side of Desire by Rickie Lee Jones
Still by Richard Thompson
Payola by Desaparecidos
Coming Home by Leon Bridges

Audiobooks melody lingers on
Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton
Truth or Die by Howard Roughan & James Patterson
The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark*
Ever After by Jude Deveraux
Grey by E. L. James
*also on order on Playaway

Leave a comment

Filed under Audiobooks, Movies, Music, New Releases

Free YA Audiobook Week Eight

It’s Week Eight of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until July 2nd, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 8th free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

Monster
By Walter Dean Myers
Performed by a Full Cast
Published by Listening Library

Summary: Steve Harmon is a teenage boy in juvenile detention and on trial for his supposed role in the fatal shooting of a convenience store owner. But was Steve really the lookout? Or was he in the wrong place at the wrong time? In this innovative novel, which is written as though it were a screen play at times, the reader becomes both a witness and a juror in Steve Harmon’s life.

Lord of the Flies
By William Golding
Read by William Golding
Published by Listening Library

Summary: A modern classic about a group of ordinary boys marooned on a coral island. At first it seems as though it will be great fun- there are no adults to guide the boys or set rules. But before long life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death.

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Free YA Audiobooks Week Seven

It’s Week Seven of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until June 25th, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 7th free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

Rose Under Fire
By Elizabeth Wein
Read by Sasha Pick
Published by Bolinda Publishing

Summary: Rose Justice is captured by the Nazis while attempting to fly an Allied fighter plan from Paris to England. She is sent to Ravensbrock, the notorious women’s concentration camp, where Rose must find hope in the impossible.

Anne Frank Remembered
By Miep Gies, Alison Leslie Gold
Read by Barbara Rosenblat
Published by Oasis Audio

Summary: For more than two years Miep Geis and her husband helped to hide the Frank family from the Nazis. While millions have been moved by Anne Frank’s diary, this is the story of Miep’s life, from her remarkable childhood as a WWI refugee to the moment she places a small diary in Otto Frank’s hands. Miep remembers her days with honesty and clarity.

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

New Releases 6/16

Movies
Chappie welcome to me
The Lazarus Effect
Unfinished Business
Run All Night
Two and a Half Men season 12
The Newsroom season 3
Welcome to Me
Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman season 5
Wild Tales
The Weather Station

Music
Before This World by James Taylorcovered
The Original High by Adam Lambert
The Fool by Ryn Weaver
The Last Don II by Don Omar
Covered by Robert Glasper
Dopamine by Third Eye Blind
Deja-Vu by Giorgio Moroder
Breathe In. Breathe Out. by Hilary Duff

Audiobooks
Invasion of Privacy by Christopher Reichinvasion of privacy
The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand
The President’s Shadow by Brad Meltzer
Country by Danielle Steel
Under Fire by Tom Clancy & Grant Blackwood

Leave a comment

Filed under Audiobooks, Movies, Music, New Releases

Free YA Audiobooks Week Six

It’s Week Six of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until June 18th, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 6th free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

The Living
By Matt De La Pena
Read by Henry Leyva
Published by Brilliance Audio

Summary: Shy Espinoza is 11 days into his summer job on a luxury cruise line when “the Big One” hits California, hurling massive tsunamis into the ocean and tearing our contemporary romantic plotline to bits, as Shy and an unexpected companion are forced to survive in churning, shark-infested waters. The tsunami sequence is a straight-up tour de force, a breathless, horrifying dash into the void.

The Perfect Storm
By Sebastian Junger
Read by Richard Davidson
Published by Recorded Books, Inc.

Summary: It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high—a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it “the perfect storm.” In a book that has become a classic, Sebastian Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched..

Perfect Storm

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

Leave a comment

Filed under Audiobooks, eAudiobooks

New Releases 6/9

Moviesblackhat
Blackhat
Project Almanac
Kingsman: The Secret Service
The Duff
Rizzoli & Isles season 5
Serena

Musicbeneath the skin
Drones by Muse
Beneath the Skin by Of Monsters and Men
Folks Like Us by Montgomery Gentry
FFS by FFS

Audiobooks
Fictionall the single ladies
The Fixer by Joseph Finder
Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton
All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank
Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky
Nonfiction
I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam

Leave a comment

Filed under Audiobooks, Movies, Music, New Releases

Free YA Audiobooks Week Five

It’s Week Five of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until June 11th, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 5th free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

A Corner of White
By Jaclyn Moriarty
Performed with a Full Cast
Published by Scholastic Audio

Summary: Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop. Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.

They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.

Dracula
By Bram Stoker
Performed by a Full Cast
Published by Naxos AudioBooks

Summary: Bram Stoker’s famous Gothic horror that introduced the character of the vampire Count Dracula. The novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. The novel touches on themes such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexual conventions, immigration, colonialism, and post-colonialism.

Dracula

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

Leave a comment

Filed under Audiobooks, eAudiobooks

New Releases 6/2

Movies
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water black sea
Jupiter Ascending
McFarland, USA
Black Sea
Focus
New Worlds
Pretty Little Liars season 5
Falling Skies season 4
Parks & Recreation season 7
Justified season 6
Spring
The Dog Who Saved Summer
Blindsided
Eastern Boys
Sriracha

Musicyou shall live
You Shall Live by Marvin Sapp
Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U by Diplo & Skrillex
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence + the Machine
Under One Sky by The Tenors
Silverball by Barenaked Ladies
Everything is 4 by Jason Derulo

Audiobooks
Fictionjanson equation
Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews
The Fateful Lightning by Jeff Shaara
Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Robert Ludlum’s The Janson Equation by Douglas Corleone
Cash Landing by James Grippando
Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume*
Nonfiction
Once Upon a Time in Russia by Ben Mezrich
* also on order in the Playaway format

Leave a comment

Filed under Audiobooks, Movies, Music, New Releases