Thursday, August 31, 2006

Obit: Glenn Ford, 90, star of Blackboard Jungle, Gilda, and The Big Heat

The films of Glenn Ford available in Media Services:

The Big Heat DVD 758
Blackboard Jungle DVD 1232
Gilda DVD 1604

Ford always struck me as a likable journeyman. With a few exceptions, including his role in Gilda, he usually found himself playing easy-going sympathetic characters. Of the 85 or so films he made, only the above-mentioned titles, along with the yet-to-be -released-on video Human Desire, are among the few that made the cut as classic films. Ford made more than his share of westerns. Some good and many forgettable but a personal favorite worth seeking out is The Sheepman (1958 and currently out-of-release). It's a fresh light-hearted take on the tired range war theme that had become so common in the Western genre.


Obit: Naguib Mahfouz, 94, Egyptian Novelist

Mahfouz is the only Arab to have ever been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and was also the oldest living recipient of the award. A critic of Egyptian society and Islamic Fundamentalism, in 1994 Mahfouz, then 82, was stabbed in an assassination attempt over perceived blasphemy in his 1959 novel Children of Gebelawi.

Media Services has a good documentary about his life and views of society - Naguib Mahfouz: The Passage of the Century VHS 5365

Monday, August 28, 2006

Portal to public domain videos online

This website provides nice orderly links to streaming videos of old films that reside at Google Video, Dumpalink, iFilm, and YouTube. The collection is a combination of works that are out-of-copyright (public domain), orphaned (obscure videos that are still under copyright but probably forgotten by their owners), and some that are more recent and possibly released by the rightful owners for free internet distribution. There are hundreds of titles to browse through here. You say you want some examples. How 'bout Daffy Duck in Duck Amuck, Freaks, and dozens of recent political documentaries. Some of the more provocative titles include Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror, The Future of Food, and The Yes Men.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Appreciate old-time radio? Here's a site with 11,000 programs online

The quality ranges from good to microphone-to-a-radio-speaker bad, but on balance this is a remarkably rich resource. If you've ever listened to comic geniuses Bob and Ray, represented here with a scant seven programs, you'll recognize many of the programs they satirized in their skits. A few of the nuttier titles include Mr. Keen: Tracer of Lost Persons, Jack Armstrong: All-American Boy, Strange Doctor Weird, Luke Slaughter of Tombstone, and Dimension X. Another personal favorite is Vic and Sade.