History, Legacy & Showmanship

“While Octopussy may always be fated to be best remembered as the Bond film that went head-to-head with Never Say Never Again, its real legacy was to reaffirm the relevance of the series to an increasingly sophisticated international audience that was being presented by a resurgent action movie genre which was offering whole new levels of cinematic spectacle and excess.” — 007 historian Thomas A. Christie

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 35th anniversary of the release of Octopussy, the thirteenth (official) cinematic James Bond adventure and the sixth (of seven) to star Sir Roger Moore as Agent 007.

Our previous celebratory 007 articles include Casino Royale (1967), Tomorrow Never Dies, Die Another Day, Dr. No, The Living Daylights, The Spy Who Lived Me, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, Casino Royale, For Your Eyes Only, Thunderball, GoldenEye, A View to a Kill, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Goldfinger, and 007… Fifty Years Strong.

The Bits continues the series with this retrospective featuring a Q&A with an esteemed group of James Bond historians who discuss the virtues, shortcomings and legacy of Casino Royale (1967). [Read on here...]

Here’s a quickie post with some quick bits of news because... you know... Solo tonight.

First up, in honor the Star Wars theme, our own Michael Coate has just posted a great new film retrospective in his History, Legacy & Showmanship column celebrating the 35th anniversary of Return of the Jedi! It’s features a new look back at the film and a great new roundtable interview as well with historians Michael Kaminski (The Secret History of Star Wars), Mark O’Connell (Watching Skies: Star Wars, Spielberg and Us), and Craig Stevens (The Star Wars Phenomenon in Britain). It’s a great read, so be sure to give it a look.

Also today, I’ve posted my review of Sony’s The Patriot in 4K Ultra HD (it’s a terrific disc) and Tim’s also posted a review of The Bloodthirsty Trilogy on Blu-ray from Arrow Video. Note that Universal’s Jurassic Park 4K Collection has finally arrives, so I’ll be diving into that tomorrow. Enjoy! [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

“With its dramatic and satisfying conclusion of the overall plot and its upbeat finale, Return of the Jedi set the future of the Star Wars brand on an extremely sure footing and ensured that the trilogy would be regarded as one of the greatest of all time.” — Craig Stevens, author of The Star Wars Phenomenon in Britain

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 35th anniversary of the release of Return of the Jedi, the concluding chapter of George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy, which featured Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher reprising their popular roles of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia, respectively.

Tying up all of the loose ends of the previous chapter and showcasing a galaxy’s worth of creatures, robots and visual effects, Return of the Jedi opened to record-breaking box-office thirty-five years ago this week. [Read on here...]

2001 is Kubrick’s crowning achievement. It’s the movie that launched him into ’superstar’ status that placed him alongside the likes of Welles, Bergman, Fellini, Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Ford...” — film historian and author Raymond Benson

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s acclaimed science-fiction adventure starring Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood.

Featuring groundbreaking visual effects and memorable usage of classical music (and decades of analysis), 2001 premiered 50 years ago this week, and for the occasion The Bits features a compilation of statistics and box office data that places the movie’s performance in context; passages from vintage film reviews; and a reference/historical listing of the movie’s limited-market 70-millimeter and roadshow engagements. [Read on here...]

We begin today with the usual bit of site business here, which includes a trio of new disc reviews...

Tim has checked out Umbrella Entertainment’s region free Blu-ray of The Land That Time Forgot (1975) and I’ve turned in my thoughts on 20th Century Fox’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Murder on the Orient Express (2017) in 4K Ultra HD. All three titles are work a look, and Murder on the Orient Express is straight-up 4K demo material if you’re looking for such. Watch for my review of Sony’s The Dark Crystal in 4K soon as well.

Also here at the site today, our own Michael Coate has just posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship retrospective featuring a 55th anniversary celebration of NBC’s classic TV series Mr. Novak. Michael is joined by author and historian Chuck Harter and their discussion is worth your time [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

“The Mr. Novak series is among the finest programs to be produced in the 1960s. It ranks with The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Defenders and others as an absolute pinnacle of television production.” — Chuck Harter, author of Mr. Novak: An Acclaimed Television Series

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 55th anniversary of the premiere of Mr. Novak, the acclaimed but little seen television series starring James Franciscus (Beneath the Planet of the Apes) and Dean Jagger (Twelve O’Clock High) which ran on NBC from 1963 to 1965.

Highly influential on the education community, the series featured still-timely themes, some early-career directing by Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon) and Mark Rydell (The Rose, On Golden Pond) and a bevy of now-recognizable guest stars including Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant), Beau Bridges (The Fabulous Baker Boys), Tony Dow (Leave it to Beaver), Walter Koenig (Star Trek), Martin Landau (Mission: Impossible, Space: 1999), June Lockhart (Lost in Space), Burgess Meredith (Batman, Rocky), and Marion Ross (Happy Days). [Read on here...]

“Horror movies are often overlooked or seen as being ‘less than’ other genres, but Suspiria truly is a work of art. Visually and sonically, it’s a beautiful piece of cinema.” — Vincent Pereira, Synapse Films’ Suspiria Blu-ray Original 4.0 LCRS Audio Supervisor/Producer

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of Suspiria, Dario Argento’s influential “giallo” (Italian horror) film starring Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini and Flavio Bucci.

The acclaimed film, and first entry in Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy, recently turned forty, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with Vincent Pereira, who discusses the film’s virtues and influence as well as his involvement with the recently issued Blu-ray release (reviewed here). [Read on here...]

“It’s hard to overstate the influence of Planet of the Apes on the sci-fi film genre. Until then, sci-fi didn’t get much respect, but the one-two punch of that film followed by Kubrick’s mind-blowing 2001 would cause critics and audiences to reevaluate the genre as something more than hapless earthlings trying to repel creatures with ray guns.” — Lee Pfeiffer, Cinema Retro editor-in-chief

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Planet of the Apes, the science fiction classic starring Charlton Heston (The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur) and Roddy McDowall (The Black Hole, Fright Night).

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (Patton, Papillon) and based upon the Pierre Boulle novel, Planet of the Apes also featured Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, and Linda Harrison.

The popular film turns fifty this month, opening initially in New York before a staggered spring rollout across the country. [Read on here...]

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