Saturday, January 27, 2024

Film Albums: T.V. Themes - 101 Strings Orchestra

These days, you rarely come across an album that includes a selection of popular television themes, especially not one performed by an orchestra! But albums like this were quite common in the 1960s and 1970s, and one rare gem is "T.V. Themes" by the 101 Strings Orchestra, released by Alshire records (S-5323). This 1975 release includes themes from some of the most popular shows at the time - Kojak, Hawaii 5-0, Ironside, All in the Family, and Theme from M.A.S.H - all played in lush string arrangements. 

It would have been nice to see the theme from Laverne and Shirley included on this as well, but I'm complaining since they included three real groovy non-television themes in this line-up: Run Alice Run, Concrete Forest and the upbeat Mystery Magazine

Click here to listen to the album in full via Youtube.

Track Listing

Side A

Hawaii Five-0

F.B.I Theme

Ironside Theme

Mystery Magazine

Run Alice Run

Side B


Theme from M.A.S.H.

Theme from All in the Family

Little House on the Prairie

Concrete Forest

Top Music Picks: Hawaii Five-O, Mystery Magazine, Theme from MASH, Little House on the Prairie

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The Savage Innocents (1960)

This is not a family film. This is not a movie you would see on a date-night or enjoy with friends. This is a movie you would most likely watch by yourself when you are in the mood for a docudrama ...or if you just happened to catch it late at night on television. I can't imagine sitting in a theater enjoying it; unless you are a couple who walked into a dark theater to neck and stayed to watch the film through. 

The narrow potential audience of The Savage Innocents made it a risk for producer Maleno Malenotti so, to cut his chances of having a complete box-office failure on his hands, he decided to put a Hollywood "name" on the marquee - Anthony Quinn. This as an unfortunate move because the film is about "the savage innocents" - Eskimos. It is about their social and living habits: how they hunt, how they build, how they mate, dance, eat, fight, feel and their viewpoints on birth and death. This is quite fascinating and, if The Savage Innocents was an Omnimax presentation, it would be a memorable documentary....but the Eskimo himself is what would make this film special, not a white man playing the part of an Eskimo. Especially not a tall, Italian-American such as Quinn. The Eskimos were indeed a savage but innocent race of people and innocence cannot be feigned. Anthony Quinn couldn't pull it off and, unfortunately, that one flaw turns what would be an otherwise enjoyable docudrama into an pretentious Hollywood production. 

The cinematography in The Savage Innocents is magnificent. It was filmed on location in northern Canada and Greenland and the second unit film crew captured the striking raw beauty of the arctic territory in sweeping wide vista shots, filmed in Super Technirama 70. Angelo Francesco Lavagnino's music is lovely, too, but these aspects were not enough to save the picture. 

Stateside, The Savage Innocents froze at the box-office. Director Nicholas Ray (Rebel without a Cause, Johnny Guitar) co-scripted the film which featured a simple story but one that allowed him to stamp with his personal touches. Ray loved movies that dealt with social issues and this film certainly had issues. 

The story follows the life of Inuk (Anthony Quinn), a lonely Eskimo who is anxious for a mate. Male Eskimos generally would accept any woman as a wife, but Inuk finds favor with Imina. Before he has a chance to pay her mother Hiko (Anna May Wong) for her hand in marriage, another man, Kiddok, weds her. Hiko offers her other daughter Asiak (Yoko Tani) to Inuk but he is enraged and decides to persue Kiddok to get his woman back. He takes Asiak and her mother with him on the journey so that he can trade them for Imina when he finds Kiddok, but by the time he reaches Kiddok he realizes he wants Asiak for his wife after all. 

Inuk, Asiak, and her mother, then journey on, continually following the nearest source of food to hunt and building igloos along the way. At nights, Inuk and Asiak "laugh" together (have sex) and in the day Inuk hunts. 

Inuk's hunting is another reason this film found disapproval among some critics and its audience. The film, an Italian-French-Anglo co-production, did not flinch from showing the plight of animals at the hands of Eskimos. Before the credits even roll, a polar bear is shown happily swimming in the water when a spear is thrown off-camera and it suddenly dies. This production cannot claim that "animals were not harmed in the making of his film". It is indeed savage. 

For Eskimos, however, hunting was - and is - their only means of survival and, as the narrator exclaims in one scene, "[they accept] without bitterness Nature's eternal tragedy: that the flesh must perish so that the flesh might live." They sacrifice their old and injured and sick to the animals of the land so that the animals may live and one day be food for others. This is what becomes of Hiko, who willingly waits to become food for a hungry polar bear. 

When they stop at a white man's settlement, Inuk offers his wife to a missionary in a gesture of kindness, but the white man is shocked by this and Inuk accidently kills him in their ensuing argument. According to Eskimo law, Inku committed no crime but in the law of the white man, he is a murderer. After Inuk leaves to return to his land, two troopers (Carlo Giustini and Peter O'Toole) are sent to pursue him and bring him back to "civilization" for execution. 

This finale of the lawmen chasing the criminal throughout the Arctic added excitement to the film, but once again, it featured some visually disturbing scenes that could have been omitted. The Wild North (1953), featuring a similar plot set in Canada, is a better film.

As one of the troopers, Peter O'Toole gave a memorable performance in his first screen role. If his distinguished English voice sounds different than usual, it is because he was dubbed by an Italian who was attempting a gruff American accent. He plays a determined law-enforcer but his notion of what is right and wrong is tested when Inuk saves his life. 

The Savage Innocents is one of those films that could have been something wonderful but falls short. Real Eskimos should have been cast in the leads and the animal slayings need not have been shown on camera. Nanook of the North (1922) and MGM's Eskimo (1933) featured unknown Inuit actors in the lead roles and both were profitable at the theaters so, in spite of Bob Dylan's praise of "The Mighty Quinn", his presence in this film was unnecessary. 

The Savage Innocents is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and also by streaming via Amazon Prime.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

British Pathe: Matchstick Models (1941)

British Pathe released a number of entertaining short pieces on arts and crafts and some of the best featured talented model-makers. One of these was Harold Gough, a 16-year-old (in 1941) whose hobby was building mansions made of matchsticks. The rainy season in England must indeed be long! Never mind that Harold looks closer to 30 than 16, he is a very creative lad. In addition to building houses of matchsticks, he even constructed a double-decker bus.

Click here to watch: Matchstick Models (1941)

Young Terry Summers is another talented miniature carpenter, aged 16. He constructed the entire British Houses of Parliament buildings out of balsa wood. They measure one yard long and are built to scale. Impressive indeed! 

Click here to watch: Model Houses Of Parliament (1951)

The most entertaining of all is Model Villages, a 2:52 minute clip showing T.F. Dobbins, designer of a model village in Southport, Merseyside. Tiny visitors enjoyed this outdoor "Land of the Little People" for years before it was demolished to make way for a supermarket. 

Click here to watch: Model Villages (1962)

Other similarly themed British Pathe shorts:

House of Commons Model (1949) - 2:08 minutes

Bristol Model (1951) - :35 minutes

Model Houses (1954) - :52 minutes

Gannymeade Model Village (1967) - 1:03 minutes

Friday, January 19, 2024

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

This month's Impossibly Difficult screenshot is quite colorful! And there are a few clues in this shot that might help you guess which film it is from. (Yes, sometimes we can be kind... )

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules of the Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie game or the prize, click here!

GAME OVER. Congratulations to Damsbo for correctly identifying this screenshot from "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" (1965). In this scene, a reporter is excitedly conveying by radio the latest positions of the racers as they fly over the English Channel. 

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Tubi Picks for January

This month, the Tubi streaming app has posted a number of really good films. There is a focus on musicals and comedies of the 1940s as well as a great selection of Bette Davis classics including Jezebel and Mr. Skeffington

We've perused their offerings and picked out some of the best films they are currently airing here in January. Just search the title on the Tubi app to watch them for free, or go to to watch any of these films online. 

Arrowsmith (1931)

42nd Street (1933)

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Libeled Lady (1936)

A Day at the Races (1937)

Fire Over England (1937)

Nurse Edith Cavell (1939)

The Women (1939)

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Suspicion (1941)

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Now, Voyager (1942)

Woman of the Year (1942)

Forever and a Day (1943)

Millions Like Us (1943)

We Dive at Dawn (1943)

A Canterbury Tale (1944)

Anchors Aweigh (1945)

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

On the Town (1949)

The Third Man (1949)

Kiss Me Kate (1953)

The Killing (1956)

Gigi (1958)

North by Northwest (1959)

The Music Man (1962)

Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Bullitt (1968)

Ice Station Zebra (1968)


The Flintstones (1960)

Supercar (1961)

The Real McCoys (1963)

Jonny Quest (1964)

Stingray (1964)

Classic Doctor Who (all seasons)

Hart to Hart (1979)

Scarecrow and Mrs. King (1983)

Friday, January 12, 2024

TCM's Big Screen Classics Schedule 2024

TCM has announced the line-up for their Big Screen Classic series for 2024 and there is quite a nice selection of films that are well-worth seeing on the big screen. First off, the series is no longer called "TCM's Big Screen Classics" but is now going by the name "Fathom's Big Screen Classics Series"....same films, same host, just a different name.

Many of the titles included are films that are celebrating an anniversary, such as The Wizard of Oz which is 85 years old this year (!), and Blazing Saddles which turns 50. 

Here is the complete line-up including show dates (which may change): 

The Wizard of Oz - Jan. 28th, 29th and 31st

My Fair Lady - Feb. 4th and 5th

Labyrinth - March 6th and 10th

Gone with the Wind - April 8th, 9th, and 10th

Steel Magnolias - May 5th and 8th

The Muppet Movie - June 2nd and June 3rd

South Park - Bigger Longer and Uncut - June 23rd, June 26th

The NeverEnding Story - July 21st and July 22nd

Rear Window - August 25th and August 28th

Blazing Saddles - September 15th and September 18th

Mean Girls - October 3rd and October 6th

The Fifth Element - November 17th and November 20th

White Christmas - December 15th and December 16th

Click here to view the schedule on Fathom's website. 

Friday, January 5, 2024

From the Archives: Vengeance Valley (1951)

Burt Lancaster and Robert Walker co-star as warring half-brothers in the western drama Vengeance Valley (1951). In this scene, one can clearly see who the "baddie" is by his dark-colored shirt! 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store: