Saturday, June 9, 2012

Reviews of Round 1!

A few weeks ago Festival Films released the first two DVDs in our Lost & Rare series -- Lost and Rare TV Pilots and Sports Immortals.  Four specific new releases are in the active planning stage, to be discussed in the weeks ahead, but we are now in a "beta test" phase to determine how best to promote, price and improve the current format prior to beginning a monthly release pattern in the Fall. 

Here are Victoria's opening comments:

As a writer, it’s always fun to discover something new. In this case, what’s new is actually old but that makes it even more fun. A new series has been released on DVD called Lost & Rare Film and TV Treasures. The first from the series to be released is Lost & Rare Vol. 1: Television Pilots—five half-hour shows featuring some serious Hollywood talent from the 1950s golden age of television. For those who don’t know, a pilot is a sample episode shown to a potential sponsor or aired on a network to test audience response.

It’s hard to say which pilot is the biggest treasure—Maggie, featuring a 23-year-old Margret O’Brien in her fourth appearance with Leon Ames as her fictional father? Meet McGraw, with Frank Lovejoy delivering a snappy film noir tight enough to be a movie? The shaggy and bumbling Munroe is utterly unlike the suave Lassie and is a foretaste of other military/buddy sitcoms. Ed Wynn is also a bit shaggy and bumbling, which is what makes The Ed Wynn Show so appealing.

I can't recommend enough the fascinating film articles and lively discussions found weekly at Movies Unlimited's Movie FanFare.  This is basically a blog section written by an army of informed film fans and enthusiasts.  My Facebook friends often post a link to their latest article that has appeared at Movie Fanfare.  A week ago Victoria Balloon wrote a review of Lost TV Pilots for Movie FanFare that has received 32 comments so far.  One of the odd comments was that the writer could not find the DVD for sale on  It is for sale at Amazon, but of course they read about the release at the Movies Unlimited website, and might have thought to look for it there!  Movies Unlimited does not use their FanFare section to blatantly promote videos they sell, but common sense says to check with them first.

Lost and Rare TV Pilots is also for sale at where it has received a favorable review especially for Munroe:  All of the shows were really good, but the standout for me was the episode of a show called 'Munroe'. Munroe is the name of a dog in the K9 corps, and I was totally impressed with this show. Why it was not picked up, I do not have any idea. If it were picked up, I think I would have preferred it to Gomer Pyle

A major review just appeared by Editor Jef Burnham at the highly recommended Film Monthly.  Please follow that link for the complete review.  I reprint here Jef's comments about 1936 Olympics Highlights:

Although I’m sure those four pieces will greatly appeal to serious sports enthusiasts, the final piece in the collection, 1936 Olympic Highlights (1936), is in fact a significant historical text outside of any athletic context and, in my eyes, fully worth the price of admission. If you don’t already know, the Nazi Party in fact hosted the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, a mere three years before the Invasion of Poland. Thus, this piece constitutes a significant historical record. 1936 Olympic Highlightsincludes footage from the opening ceremony, in which the German National Anthem played over the march of the United States’ athletes and the Hindenburg flew overhead, as well the games themselves, which prove to be quite amusing in context. For although the Nazis obviously intended the event to serve as propaganda for the Aryans’ superior athletic abilities, 1936 Olympic Highlights reveals that the good old U.S. of A. ultimately trounced the Nazi Olympians at virtually every turn.

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