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Friday, December 29, 2017

Love For Sale in Acapulco

Love Has Many (Familiar) Faces (1965)  

Lana Turner, stood against a process screen, is gored by a bull. This may be your idea of unforgettable. It is certainly mine. At left is an ad I clipped from The Charlotte Observer in 1965. Something told me even then that this was not a sort of picture they would be making much longer. Lana Turner in a swimsuit and drawing on a cigarette put me on notice that here was adult entertainment. There was also the little box at lower right about Lana's "Million Dollar Wardrobe By Edith Head," this when fashion in films still meant something. Women not working outside the home would attend matinees of Love Has Many Faces, sometimes in groups, this occasional relief from bridge parties or garden clubs. Most of that would crash down by decade finish, as did themes like Love Has Many Faces explored. It was shot in Acapulco and Mexico City, those aspects sold hard. Men and women of the cast had to buff up for abbreviated attire issued them on location. Middle-age-by-then Cliff Robertson (42) and Hugh O'Brian (40) likely spent weeks in gyms or steam room before depart (way) south. Lana Turner would later admit, "I really should have taken a few weeks of training for the role." She is at least caressed with Doris Day-ish filters to make her early 40's seem not so much. As for Edith Head's wardrobe, however, I wouldn't hang most of it on a draft horse.

Heiress LT has a tragic secret that makes her drink too much and be mean to "bought" husband Robertson. She is also horned by that bull after gigolo O'Brian tries a same maneuver in her own marital bed. There was still a Code in 1965, but Love Has Many Faces pushes it all which ways. Pic scribe Marguerite Roberts was lately off HUAC shite-list, gave Love good moments, later would roar back with True Grit and further assignments from Hal Wallis. Director Alexander Singer did few features, mostly TV, as in tons of TV. Supporting cougars-on-prowl (not a known term then) are Ruth Roman and Virginia Grey, their stud hunt ensnaring Hugh and a comparative youth (Ron Husmann) he's tutored to fleece tourists. O'Brian had been Wyatt Earp on television, but was more believable when shifty. He had a face like that, with teeth that could read sharkish (in fact, he wears a shark tooth necklace in LHMF). There was actually a countrywide "Hugh O'Brian Friend Club," chapters in most states (but not North Carolina, which I guess was just us behind the curve again). O'Brian was an interesting guy who gave time to charities and was tireless for visiting troops in Viet Nam. There was also time clocked with pal Hugh Hefner at peak of Playboy debauches (the 70's).

You can get eye-burn just watching Love Has Many Faces (last call for those Riviera Sunglasses!). It especially blisters on HD like TCM ran for their just-ending Lana month. There is fascination in these dinosaurs making 60's way toward extinction. Sobering is much of a cast, bronzed and healthy then, gone now. Made me wonder how much longer I get to stay bronzed and healthy. Stephanie Powers is the only one left (oh wait, so is Ron Husmann). There is a weird scene where Powers and Turner face other and strip down, a sort of Here's what I can offer your husband by Steph, and Here's what I've still got to give him, by Lana. LT had to be nervous going into that contest (Powers her junior by almost two decades). I babble on about age because that is what Love Has Many Faces is about. Women fret over how much longer men can be lured, as gigolos ponder their own sell-by date ... all to lovely scoring by David Raksin, which is mainly why I revisit Love Has Many Faces. Raksin got too little work in the 60's, a H'wood agent telling me once that truculence (DR's) was what formed the ice. Had I been a producer, he could have insulted me the live-long day and still scored all my movies.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Just Before Cinemascope's Wave Hit ...

Dangerous Crossing (1953) Boards A Familiar Ship

Out just weeks before The Robe opened and swept 20th away from B/W flat features, Dangerous Crossing was shipboard suspense traveling second class, its negative cost a puny $519K, from which Fox still lost money. Was there no hope for commonplace programmers in this new age of television? Studios had to do cheapies to feed distribution and keep overhead down. Ongoing double feature policy at most theatres supplied a market, but diminishing. These B's, even where solidly mounted, weren't enough to part customers from coin where nearly-as-good entertainment could be had for free at home. Zanuck saw the problem, and Cinemascope as its solution. He'd replace a Dangerous Crossing that would play but days with The Robe and others of wide persuasion that could run weeks, maybe months, to full seating.

Fox had 39 feature releases in 1953. Most bled red. New York chief Spyros Skouras sent continuous wires that the shop would go broke if a fix wasn't found. 20th touted upcoming Cinemascope to the trade for nearly a year's run-up to The Robe, this against backdrop of humbler output to excite no one. Fox "hits" for the period were relative, profits nothing like what rolled in once-upon 40's flush, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Titanic, and White Witch Doctor averaging quarter-million to the good, best pay-out of the year's pre-Cinemascope lot being Niagara, which came off $939K ahead. If the company had a savior beyond wide screens in development, it was Marilyn Monroe, a sole star under contract who seemed a guarantor of profit. She certainly stole thunder from Fox ingĂ©nues that prospered over a decade past, Monroe graduating to high-profile projects as Jeanne Crain, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, fell to lower-tier, or left the lot. Dangerous Crossing was near an end for Crain at Fox, slipping status as clear to her as it was to a public bored with familiar faces in all too familiar vehicles. So many below highest star placement rode the sled from company contract to what free-lance or TV work could be had.

For such dispirited effort, Dangerous Crossing does have pluses. Director Joe Newman gets a maximum with borrowed resource, using sets left over from Titanic (the focal transatlantic ship) and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (a swim pool immediately recognizable). While The Bad and The Beautiful had its fun with filmmaker Kirk Douglas cribbing backdrops for B's, Newman was doing the deed for real and getting handsome result. His Dangerous Crossing looks economical, but never cheap. The yarn derives from a radio play, Jeanne Crain gaslighted by what appears to be a whole ship's crew. The set-up has since been duplicated enough so that we might guess its outcome, but that won't deter pleasure in a story efficiently told, even if greater fascination lies in Dangerous Crossing as soon-to-be-discarded mode of Fox production. It would but faintly be remembered. NBC passed on a network run, one of few from 50's Fox not so honored on Saturday, or later Monday, primetime, Dangerous Crossing set upon syndication wave by 1963. There is a DVD from Fox as part of its Noir line, which some might call mislabeling, but where's harm, so long as it's out. Best means of current viewing is FXM rotation (frequent) in HD, Dangerous Crossing a most pleasing visual voyage since 1953 theatrical dates.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Hollywood Offspring Give A Try

The Young Land (1959) Finishes Up The Whitney Trilogy

Publicity For Young Leads in The Young Land
Looked at this on Amazon Prime. Quality was poor, ratio wrong, but how else to see last of C.V. Whitney's "American Trilogy," which had begun with The Searchers? (middle one The Missouri Traveler) The Young Land came of Merian C. Cooper development, but he'd drop out, producer reins handed to Patrick Ford, son of John. Pat was gone by start of editing, the yarn bought in 1955, finessed through '56, put before cameras in summer 1957. Other of Hollywood offspring was lead Pat Wayne, teenaged and handsome chip off block that was John Wayne, creative group figuring maybe another Rick Nelson or some such could be forged, minus singing. Trouble was Pat's inexperience, lack of Dad's charisma, kid's voice and delivery a poor match for size and athleticism otherwise (he does a good fight with Ken Curtis, an almost sole highlight).

Lay Aside Your Hopes, As There's No Such Scene In The Young Land

Whitney put up cash, many suggestions, but otherwise stayed clear of day-to-day. He had a deal with Buena Vista to distribute The Missouri Traveler, was photographed with Walt Disney in fact, the two set upon pic-making teamwork it seemed, but Missouri did nothing, and The Young Land, for a while called Frontier Frenzy, got the go-by once Disney had a look. Warners considered releasing it, also did a pass. The thing sat around nearly two years with no one willing to distribute. Smell got in Variety's nostril when Columbia finally took a flyer in Spring 1959. The review saw little good to The Young Land. Not that it was cheap --- a border village was built in toto, Dimitri Tiomkin did a muscular score, with a title song, but these made poverty of ideas stand out starker. I've suspected that John Ford helped out to at least partial degree on both The Missouri Traveler and The Young Land, judging by relationships he had with almost everyone involved. Outcome would have obviously been very different had he directed. Could Whitney's American Trilogy by John Ford have resulted in three features at Searchers level rather than just the one?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Lift A Glass, and Then Another Glass

Have Yourself A Merry Little Thin Man Christmas

Ladies First Was Emphasis of Thin Man Merchandising
I've seen it pointed out, but not enough, that William Powell is one of the most enduring of all Classic Era stars. But audiences must see him first, and there is the rub for viewers not currently situated at TCM. Powell's is the wit that does not date, even where story-situations might. He will beguile even those with most ingrained cooler-than-you attitude. But again, they must experience him first. Powell was a name unknown to a college class I took where the prof ran movies of his 30's youth. It was month long daily dose of double features, mostly 16mm rented from Films, Inc. To say this was heaven would be understating, as here were films I had but dreamed of seeing --- the Fredric March Jekyll and Hyde, Tarzan, The Ape Man, Fury, the list went on to thirty titles, all of which were received like "old" movies until came The Thin Man, which none of us had seen as of January 1973. Of all players our group was exposed to that month, accumulation of which you can imagine, there was but one to earn rank beside our so-highly developed sensibilities. William Powell and The Thin Man needed no allowance for dating back a then-thirty nine years. The laughs came on equal footing with any clever line uttered in current movies/TV. More so, actually, because nobody in 1973 had or would have anything like Powell's panache. He seemed modern despite pencil mustache, formal dress, and diction not to be duplicated in any corner of human experience. What I'll not forget is delighted surprise the class expressed for this man who was fun departure from balance of way-back folk they were obliged to sit patiently through.

It's forty-five years later and I submit Powell has the same effect on untried crowds. His humor stays somehow fresh as a daisy, more so even than Cary Grant to my estimate. Of course, the vehicle has to be right, and so then is The Thin Man, first and certainly best of that series of six. I watch it often, certainly around the holidays, as there's not a more pleasing ornament to hang. The Thin Man is a three days-of-Christmas story, the mystery unfolding on Yule eve, deepening on Xmas morn, then resolving with a dinner party the evening after. The holiday is constant backdrop, but not stressed. Nick and Nora Charles open their presents, then proceed with unwrap of killings that don't pause for Noel observance. The Thin Man is too caustic for caroling, a holiday film for those who don't like their Christmas force-fed. It never runs risk of Yule-exhaustion. Illustration in seminal book The Movies by Griffith and Mayer had Bill Powell shooting tree trims with an air pistol, which gave me childhood notice of The Thin Man as irreverent and not a Christmas story to miss.

I'd say the Thin Man series accomplished more than a generation's worth of marriage counseling. How many couples were persuaded by Powell and Loy's example to give their union one more try? The Thin Man was a best endorsement for mature wedlock offered by movies so far, and that should have got applause right along with comedy and mystery sold hardest. Ads did stress appeal for women and how "they took this romantic story for their very own." The Thin Man was a hypo for men and wives tired of it all, and specifically each other. They could do worse than go home and emulate Powell and Loy. Maybe there was positive influence in movies. Director W.S. Van Dyke wrote in 1937 (for Stage magazine) that "romance actually can exist happily among more matured married persons." Was this fruit of his own experience? (Van Dyke was wed twice, had three children) To Thin Man writers Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich he'd say, "I don't care anything about the story; just give me five scenes between those two people (Powell and Loy)."

If Any Movie Could Sell Cocktail Glasses, The Thin Man was It.

W.S. Van Dyke Directs a Metro Chorus Line
Van Dyke had come to movies from he-man background. Some accounts said he had been a "mercenary" on occasion. You could imagine from hard-guy studio portraits that maybe he killed a man once in some gold field dispute. Film school would be for sissies by Van Dyke reckoning. He built mythology around The Thin Man after it hit big, claimed it was "such a natural" that he'd pitch and instigate filming from the Dashiell Hammett novel. Van Dyke finishing in sixteen days, plus two for reshoots, is true enough. His need for speed took deepest root here, The Thin Man bespeaking hurry-up and avoid of Metro polish that could weigh down other of the company's output. Audiences came for the mystery, Powell a long-standing Philo Vance after all, but stayed for the mirth, which took The Thin Man into stratosphere of profit none of whodunits realized before. Van Dyke was right that detection details mattered not. The best mysteries would henceforth salt clues with comedy. Straight sleuthing was for B category, which the Thin Mans never sank to. The characters of Nick and Nora would not be played in features by anyone other than Powell and Loy. Remakes have been floated, only to collapse in pre-production. Maybe ones who aspired to Powell's part got a look at him and realized futility of measuring up.

James Wong Howe At Left With Camera as W.S. Van Dyke (seated) Directs

Van Dyke's disdain for multiple takes (as later confirmed by Myrna Loy) made The Thin Man seem like life being lived rather than studied performance. I don't know a film with action so spontaneous. The Thin Man was released just ahead of strict Code enforcement. A few months later would have taken ginger out of it, sequels an attest to that. There were revivals and an early 60's reissue. Was there at any time Code-cuts made? I'd hate to think what we're seeing is in any way incomplete. One forfeit had The Thin Man come later would be its drinks consumed to almost farcical excess. Nick and Nora take alcohol for every meal, in fact drinks instead of meals. He only mentions eating once, when they phone down for suite service "with lots of onions." The Thin Man is no encouragement for problem inbibers; in fact, it argues against any sort of moderation. There is no consequence for over-use past a mild hangover Nora has, and for which Nick prescribes a cocktail as cure. The Thin Man was timed perfectly to let off steam of deeply unpopular Prohibition that finally had been lifted. People got a crucial freedom back and they liked to see their favorite stars enjoy it. Movies had never given up the drink habit, but now it could be something other than basis for crime, or as forbidden fruit among private partiers. How refreshing it must have been for first-run patronage to open with Nick Charles having multiple quaffs at a crowded hotel bar. The Thin Man as influence to both movies and private life cannot be overstated. Along with It Happened One Night, it led 1934's biggest impact.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wallis Gets Away With Murder

The Accused (1949) Drops a Net on Loretta Young

Used to come on television, not so lately, as in twenty or so years, thanks to Universal pulling rug on The Accused along with bulk of pre-49 Paramounts they own. An old complaint I know, but one that should be renewed until this backlog is put before us again. In the meantime, bootlegs are comfort, provided we don't watch on too large a screen. The Accused is another Hal Wallis crackerjack --- shouldn't we crown him Producer King Of Noir? Ones he did (and so many) were always my favorites of the genre. Many still are. Loretta Young is this time top-lined (notice how often women are focal point of Wallis thrills?). The producer made narrative policy of tightening nets, be it guilt, complicity, femme fatale-ing. Often it was Stanwyck stirring pots, which was intent for The Accused, but she was elsewhere, thus Loretta Young, who actually works better thanks to more vulnerable persona. Stanwyck would have gotten out of her murder fix in a walk, maybe committed a few more to dispose of unhandy witnesses.

I had The Accused on while Ann computer-played. As Facebook interest wound down, she glanced up to ask recap of action so far. Well, I said, Loretta kills this guy in self-defense when he tries raping her, then she throws him off a cliff into the surf, but first has to pump water into his lungs so it will look like drowning. Like Joel Cairo, I felt "distinctly like an idiot" making this all seem credible, but isn't that often the lot of noir webs the 40's wove? Anyway, Ann's interest perked when Robert Cummings showed up as romantic assist (she, like millions, loves that Bob). Young spends The Accused trying to brazen out the killing and play innocent. In other words, phony as Loretta Young in any number of perfs. Maybe a best impression is Wendell Corey's, never a major star (though Wallis tried), but standout aspect in a number of noirs the producer did. Directing is William Dieterle, known by Wallis from Warner years, and probably had at a price here, for HL didn't pay generous once he went independent and was obliged to pony half or more production costs with his own bank loans (Paramount fronting the rest, but at front of the line to recover theirs from the gross). Most of Dieterle paychecks after the war were signed by Wallis, however modest. Is it time too to recognize Dieterle as an outstanding noir helmsman?

Brilliance of The Accused lies with clever evasion of Code edict, the one saying murderers must pay (beware spoiler ahead). We know Loretta Young kills Douglas Dick --- we see her do it --- but no way should she answer for the act with gaol time, let alone inconvenience of a gas chamber. Wallis saw this as spine of the story that had to be cracked, but how to lick censorship's most inviolate rule? First torture your lead lady with heaviest sledge of guilt, seasoned by utter futility of beating the rap, detective Corey and lab expert Sam Jaffe (very good) seeing to that --- then last reel confession, so we know she knows she did wrong, then rabbit from procedural hat of trying her for first-degree murder, which under these factual circumstances, no jury could convict her on. Acquittal is a sure thing, even though it will happen after the end title, as neat a trick of beating the PCA as could be managed in still repressive year that was 1949. All of an audience, especially Wallis and Paramount bookkeepers, could go home happy. Never mind far-fetchedness of how we got there. The Accused has style, some suspense, wall-to-wall Victor Young scoring, and all of what Wallis delivered best. This one should at the least be on TCM's next lease list from Universal (the network ran it before, but long ago).

Sunday, December 17, 2017

For Happy 1957 Holidays ...

Clouds Form Over Raintree County

It was MGM president Joe Vogel's first meeting with gathered press. He had been installed a few months before to replace deposed Dore Schary, who was himself a sub for sacked Louis Mayer. This, then, was windmill spun at Loew's, parent corp of MGM, a lion roaring fainter what with viewer loss to TV and better things to do than see movies. Hopeful toward plugging the dyke was Raintree County, tabbed for Fall 1957 release on roadshow basis, a six million dollar job, according to Vogel's June estimate (couple weeks follow-up in Variety adjusted the figure to $5.4 million). Expense was due in part to 65mm lensing, said Metro's chief, the enlarged show to premiere late September in Louisville, Kentucky, near which location photography took place. There was question as to whether prints would be struck in the larger format, conversion costs in excess of $10,000 for theatres inclined to project 65mm. Still, said Leo, the 35mm scope prints, reduced from the oversized negative, would register sharper than Cinemascope, so everybody wins. Being this was a most colossal project since Gone With The Wind, and with similar backdrop ("In the Tradition Of Great Civil War Romances"), MGM sales put exhibition on notice that "the basic deal ... will be a 90-10 arrangement," which meant Lion's share, by thick margin, would go to the Lion. Question, then, for run-up to September: Would autumn-arriving Raintree County live up to Vogel's summer forecast?

A 1957 show world was drunk on roadshows. They fairly spat money from still-running hits The Ten Commandments and Around The World In 80 Days. Then too were the Cineramas, one after other that came to towns and stayed for year minimum, or to whenever a next of the ultra-travelogues was ready. Roadshows were based on two-a-day principle, reserved seats, "theatre parties" with patronage there by busloads. It took an event movie to stir such interest, but what was Raintree County, if not an event? For dollars spent and starry cast (top-lined Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor), it seemed a cinch for record attendance. Metro had bagged six key dates beyond the Louisville bow, "New York, Chicago, L.A., Boston, Philadelphia, and Frisco," according to Variety in June '57 reportage. Whether one of more would use 65mm depended on a TODD-AO house being cleared after Around The World In 80 Days, but that one didn't look to go away for long times yet. Loew's stayed giddy on 65mm, however, pledging it for their Ben-Hur remake, set for '58 filming overseas.

Kansas City Has Raintree County In Its '57 Christmas Sock
Initial theatres would get three trailers, hope being that other first-run houses in respective cities would run the peeks, this a courtesy observed in spots where showmen from time-to-time helped boost one another's product. MGM was using 80 Days for a blueprint, and why not for success Michael Todd's extravaganza enjoyed? Theatre parties and "block-tix" was action Leo wanted in on, but Raintree County was heavier dose than fun-for-all Around The World, latter delivering like further dose of Cinerama, only with stars around each corner. A concern was Raintree County length, over three hours, past even Quo Vadis that had socked over so well for Metro in 1951. To roadshow front came more warriors, 20th Fox with South Pacific, Columbia and The Bridge On The River Kwai, both these figured sure-fire for long runs and advanced admissions. Others had been more conservative. Warner Bros. sent out Giant the previous year on grind basis, would do a same with Sayonara in 1957. Both these were "specials," got in on money for pre-release bookings, but otherwise played as normal attractions.

Louisville, Kentucky Makes A Holiday Of Raintree's World Premiere

Montgomery Clift Joins Edward Dmytryk At The Los Angeles Opening

Cincinnati Promised a Roadshow ... Settled For Grind
"Special" was the operative word, for in the end, it was quality of your offering that dealt the outcome. "Less than true-epic product," said some, "may well kill the goose that laid the golden egg." Danger lay in unworthy films wanting to be a next Ten Commandments or Around The World In 80 Days for holidays 1957 and into 1958. "What a lot of people are apparently forgetting is that these two pictures had something to sell. They deserved the label of a 'show'," said one ad exec. "But the minute we throw everything into the pot, and attach the label indiscriminately, the magic will fade, and the public will just lose its faith again." Chicago showmen were unhappy with distribs and their roadshow intent for too many films, as these left outlier and neighborhood venues at tail end of distribution, too long after public interest in a new title had cooled. They'd wait to negotiate on Raintree County until boxoffice vote came in from opener engagements. Promise being great, however, caused showmen to join lines for roadshow placement. No one wanted to be left out should Raintree County break big. Cincinnati's RKO Grand Theatre manager Joe Alexander told local columnist Dale Stevens that the film would run on roadshow basis, starting Christmas. This was before November 12 and sudden reverse of policy by Loew's, a result of cold splash Raintree County got when critics and a less-than-expected public got their first look at it.

"So-so" was biz in Chicago, said Variety, and L.A. was "dull." Boston reported "okay" attendance, while not unexpected crowds greeted Raintree County in Louisville. The scramble for alibis was on, Metro's Raintree failing to bloom, they said, because venues were still tied up with Around The World In 80 Days and couldn't make room for a next blockbuster. Variety counseled that "the roadshow is not necessarily the avenue to wealth it's cracked up to be." And yet distribs kept laying across tracks for another Ten Commandments or 80 Days. Unspoke truth was most features not being good enough to pack gear of extended runs and hard tickets. Certainly not forthcoming A Farewell To Arms from Fox, Desire Under The Elms out of Paramount, or Metro again with The Brothers Karamazov, each of these floated as possible roadshows. One unnamed insider put it blunt: "Our good pictures can make good money, but not if we try to sell them as three-ring circuses, or for more than they're really worth." Worse embarrassment came of trumpeting your biggest of big, only to shuffle it off to grinds after public and critics turned thumbs down. Not that Raintree County was especially disliked, but neither was it Gone With The Wind for a next generation. Cooler heads should have seen that and moved accordingly, but this was a money business, and where there's that, especially at MGM level of investment, there's also panic. The November 12 announcement came not a moment too soon. Raintree County would be available for the holiday season as a regular booking with continuous shows. Seventeen minutes would be cut to get it below onus of three hour length that grind houses deplored. Revenue, after all, turned on how many seats they could flip throughout a day. And it wasn't like anyone would be so concerned with Raintree County as uncut specimen roadshow audiences had seen.

A Rarity Book Thicker and More Detailed Than What Sold For Souvenirs in Roadshow Lobbies

MGM sales manager Charles M. Reagan said his company was acting in accord with showman request, which would be marvelous if they had done that all along, but showmen knew what crock such a statement amounted to. Variety, on the other hand, put things more honestly: "It's no secret ... that the pic did not win the critical acclaim that had been anticipated and that b.o. results to date have not met expectations. In addition, Metro faced some difficulty in obtaining theatres for hard-ticket runs because of the critical reception." To hand Raintree County over to grinds was admission of defeat at a time Leo could not afford to be humbled. There was enough of that going on at boxoffices for majority of MGM product, success for the season counted in single digits (sole hits for '57, as in cracking a million in profit: Jailhouse Rock and Don't Go Near The Water). To re-label a roadshow "can be costly in terms of ... trade and public prestige," observed Variety, but wait, three locales wanted Raintree County for Christmas, and on hard-ticket basis. These were St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis, each with their own reason to believe the show could sell at premium rate. Los Angeles, on the other hand, put Raintree County in saturation after letdown of the Fox-Wilshire roadshow. Eight locations played shortened prints during January 1958, and by trade accounts, did surprisingly well. Maybe this was how customers preferred Raintree County after all.

Lunch Break On The "Atlanta Street" Built For Raintree County

Back in Cincinnati on 2-27-62 
Final tally saw Raintree County doing biggest biz of all MGM releases that year, $9.5 million in worldwide rentals, which would have been a historic smash if only they hadn't spent final tally $5.7 million on the negative. Ink ran red, but not by (comparative) much, $368K lost. Raintree County then, should not be remembered as a flop, because people did go to it, especially in general release, and presumably had a good time. Certainly they revere it in hindsight. I don't know many titles for which there is more anxiety for a Blu-ray release. Trouble is an ongoing perception of Raintree County as a stiff. Fact is, digital rescue would yield a stunner, as there's no reason to believe elements are gone or damaged. As with much of oldies, it is money that keeps proper preservation at bay. Warners probably realizes that this would at most be a Blu-Ray release from their Archive series, and where is recovery of six figures in that? Solace is barely had in TCM runs of a whiskered transfer, or a worse laser disc where you can find it. Meanwhile, fans formed by the 1957-58 run are going with their own wind. Who among present day decision-makers would move Raintree County to top of digital priority lists?
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