June Prompt: Twilight Time Goodbye….Hello

In May it was announced that Twilight Time would no longer be in business (though some of this remains hazy after ScreenArchives.com announced it will be purchasing the distributor and continuing operations — to what extent? We’ll find out in July).

Twilight Time was a boutique physical media label started in 2011 by Nick Redman and Brian Jamieson with the intent of releasing classic films unavailable on Blu-ray. They teased open studio catalogs with the promise that each disc would be limited to 3000 units, after which the rights would revert back to the original holder.

The announcement of the label’s closing proved disappointing for physical media collectors, although not entirely unexpected. After the unfortunate passing of Nick Redman last year and Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox (a studio upon which TT had relied for many of its releases), Twilight Time’s fate appeared sealed.

Twilight Time was my first deep dive into the world of collecting physical media. It introduced me to a lot of classic films, some of which have become my all time favorites. The company — based on its distribution model — also caused me learn more about the business side of physical media and branch out into other boutique labels. If it wasn’t for Twilight Time, I would have never discovered other labels such as Arrow, Indicator or even learned about the nefarious practice of region-locking (and how to overcome it). 

While my wife would have been happy for me not discovering this world, it has brought me a lot of joy and entertainment. While my bank account has not necessarily benefited, I’ve brought new ammunition into the debates over the future and utility of physical media. Twilight Time’s education has been well worth the dent in my wallet. 

At Cinema Shame we wanted to send some love to the Twilight Time label. For the month of June, Cinema Shame’s moviewatching prompt focuses on releases from Twilight Time. With a catalog of 380 films, spanning a large variety of genres, there are certainly some classics waiting for your first-time watch. To give you a starting point from my own Twilight Time adventures, my highest recommendations would be: Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) featuring a career-defining performance from Warren Oates.

Warren

My second pick is Walter Hill’s The Driver (1978), which opened up a new world of Bruce Dern.

the drive

What will be my first selection for Cinema Shame from the Twilight Time catalog? An easy question with an embarrassing answer. I will be selecting a film that was actually part of my first order of Twilight Time releases from way back in 2013: the 1964 film Zulu. Michael Caine’s first major film role.

michael

Next will be Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979) which I picked up two years ago from Amoeba Music in San Francisco because of its appearance in Danny Peary’s “Guide for the Film Fanatic.” Next, John Boorman’s Zardoz (1974), which will hopefully provide some context for Sean Connery’s amazing fashion in this film.

Zardoz

If you haven’t ever purchased a Twilight Time release, check out their current sale. Titles are growing more limited by the way, but fantastic films remain with amazing prices. I’m sure I will probably place another order before it is over as I discovered they have a giallo with Barbara Bach called Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971) that clearly deserves a watch.

Share your selections this month by emailing us at cinemashame@gmail.com or on twitter @Cinemashame.

Don’t forget to check out the recent podcast episodes of Cinema Shame, where James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble) and Trey Lawson (@T_Lawson) discuss Quarantine Comfort films.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts / Stitcher Radio / Spotify / Google Podcasts

Direct download (right click, save as): https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/cinemashame/CinemaShame_GodzillaGigan.mp3

Until next month–

@campbelldropout

The Shame of a Film Archivist

So, by day I work in a film archive which specializes in saving old theatrical films. Silent movies, international cinema, animation, classic Hollywood, etc. I have been working with film since I was in college getting my Economics degree and wondering how could I follow my passion for cinema. What happens to them after they play in the local theater?

Fast forward 22 years and here we are. Growing up in the days where I purchased my first VCR for $450 (yes, I still have it and it works) and the cable channel AMC had a ‘Film Preservation Festival’ to raise money and awareness for restoring movies (does anyone remember that?) I found my way to a career that allows me to work with celluloid every week and gives me access to lots and lots of movies. For this, I am very grateful.

Yes, I have seen a lot of movies. But mostly these are from the early year’s of movies to about the 1950’s. Why? Well, that is what I normally work on all day. Nitrate film, that flammable stuff that can burn when mishandled (more on this another time). My viewing then picks up again around 1991 to the present, but I have to admit it is mostly American Cinema with some of the big International titles thrown in if they can be easily found and conveniently watched.

So my friends, this leads to a large gap, where my list of 2020 Cinema Shame films mostly resides. Please comment and let me know what you think. Some will be easy to find (a few of those large DVD box sets at home where I purchased it for two titles and the other five are still sitting there, unopened, are listed) others will be a bit harder. Yes, it is a long list, but winter here in Western New York is long and I can always say I am improving my work skills instead of cleaning the house, right?

In order by decade:

Within Our Gates (1920)

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

Destry Rides Again (1939)

Le jour se leve (1939)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Secret Beyond the Door (1948)

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

Forbidden Planet (1956)

The Defiant Ones ( 1958)

Jalsagher [The Music Room] (1958)

Meghe Dhaka Tara [The Cloud-Capped Star] (1960)

Hanyeo [The Housemaid] (1960)

One-Eyed Jacks (1961)

Lolita (1962)

Closely Watched Trains (1967)

Easy Rider (1969)

Mean Streets (1973)

Annie Hall (1977)

My Brilliant Career (1979)

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Diner (1983)

The Big Chill (1983)

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

The Natural (1984)

Out of Africa (1985)

The Fly (1986)

Broadcast News (1987)

Reversal of Fortune (1990)

Boyz ‘N The Hood (1991)

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Xi yan [The Wedding Banquet] (1993)

The Last Seduction (1994)

Dead Man (1995)

The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” Makes History and Our February Prompt

BongJoonHo
Happiness

 

History was made on Sunday night at the 92nd annual Academy Awards when Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” became the first non-English film to win the coveted Best Picture award. It was an exciting event to watch, especially for me who thought that the front runner would fall short when it came to the Academy voters. I was wrong and in order to celebrate this milestone, for the month of February we will be focusing on films that have won or been nominated for Best Foreign Language film. I’m not saying the Academy is the end all and be all of selecting foreign cinema but as with the other Oscars categories, I believe they can be a good starting point when diving into the vast world of cinema. Prior to 1956, the 29th Academy Awards, there was no official Foreign Language award, only some honorary/special awards had been giving out in the past, this included classics such as “Rashomon” and “Bicycle Thieves,” two previously conquered Cinema Shames. 

Below are my selections for the month of February.

  1. Roma – 2018 (91st Academy Award Winner)
  2. 8 ½ – 1963 (36th Academy Award Winner)
  3. The Battle of Algiers 1966 (39th Academy Award Nominee)

BattleofAlgiers

     4. Betty Blue – 1986 (59th Academy Award Nominee)

     5. Cinema Paradiso – 1989 (62nd Academy Award Nominee)

 

CinemaParadiso

Let us know your selections this month by emailing us at cinemashame@gmail.com or on twitter @Cinemashame.