My Dickens and Dostoevsky Bantam Classics

The Bantam and Signet go side by side.  Bantam is the classics paperback side of Random House just like Signet covers that for Penguin.  They are owned by two of the largest publishers and they publish many of the same books.  They are possibly the two best ways to get large library of classics in paperback.  They look great, they hold up well and they are a great bargain.

Bantam hasn’t been doing this as long as Signet – Signet, after all, has been around for decades, and I am not doing a whole history of Bantam.  These classics are the ones that began to be published around about 1981.  There were earlier Bantam Classics, but they seem to have set aside a large group of ISBN’s beginning in 1981 and they began to make them more uniform.  For a long time, they were all one solid color along the side – the Dostoevksy’s in the picture are a good example of what I love about them.  They also standardized the font on the front and spine, so they all look good together on the shelf. (more…)

my Norton Critical Editions

They are indispensable for serious literature students.  They are also great to have for those who love individual works.  Either way, they offer an amazing amount of information with each individual title.  They are a good addition to any library.

You can see a good selection of them here.  You can also find the full current list at the Norton website. (more…)

"You're gonna need a bigger boat."

My Top 20:

  1. Jaws
  2. Dog Day Afternoon
  3. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  5. The Man Who Would Be King
  6. Korol Lir
  7. Amarcord
  8. Barry Lyndon
  9. The Sunshine Boys
  10. The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser
  11. Three Days of the Condor
  12. Shampoo
  13. Love and Death
  14. And Now My Love
  15. The French Connection II
  16. The Story of Adele H
  17. L’Invitation
  18. Day of the Locust
  19. The Great Waldo Pepper
  20. A Brief Vacation (more…)

Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis won Oscars. Richard Burton and George Segal were nominated. They all win Nighthawk Awards for the best film of 1966: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

My Top 20:

  1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
  2. A Man for All Seasons
  3. The Professionals
  4. Morgan
  5. Red Beard
  6. Hamlet
  7. The Fortune Cookie
  8. Alfie
  9. The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming
  10. Loves of a Blonde
  11. You’re a Big Boy Now
  12. The Shop on Main Street
  13. Cul-de-Sac
  14. Blow-Up
  15. Georgy Girl
  16. Le Bonheur
  17. A Man and a Woman
  18. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  19. 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse
  20. The Sleeping Car Murders (more…)

Right. Like I was going to put any other picture here.

The 26th annual Academy Awards for the film year 1953.  The nominations were announced on February 15, 1954 and the awards were held on March 24, 1954.

Best Picture:  From Here to Eternity

  • Roman Holiday
  • Julius Caesar
  • The Robe
  • Shane

Most Surprising Omission:  Stalag 17

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Stalag 17

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #67 (more…)

my personal collection of the Viking Portable Library, organized by spine #

There are few publishing ventures as wonderful as the Viking Portable Library.  While the Modern Library, for a long time offered low cost hardcover classics, they were all separate works.  But in the Viking Portable Library, you could sum up great authors in the scope of one book.

If you followed the wits of the Algonquin Round Table, you know that Alexander Woollcott often got the short end of the stick (he was savaged as the lead character in The Man Who Came to Dinner and when he looked at one of his own books and sighed “Ah, what is so rare as a Woollcott first edition”, Franklin Adams quickly replied “A Woollcott second edition.”).  But in the first part of World War II, remembering his days as a soldier during the first World War, Woollcott decided to put together a book of pieces from various American authors for servicemen to read.  He proposed it to his publishing house, Viking.  It would be hardcover (a flexible hardcover for durability and making it easy to put anywhere), but also small, compact, though with a lot of pages.  They had light paper and small margins, but were compact, and most of all, portable.  After all, they were being designed for soldiers. (more…)

The amazing reunion scene in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) between Myrna Loy and Frederic March

The 19th Academy Awards, for the film year 1946.  The nominations were announced on February 9, 1947 and the awards were held on March 13, 1947.

Best Picture:  The Best Years of Our Lives

  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Henry V
  • The Yearling
  • The Razor’s Edge

Most Surprising Omission:  Brief Encounter

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Children of Paradise

Best Eligible English-Language Film Not Nominated:  The Big Sleep

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #41

(more…)

Mutiny on the Bounty is the only film to earn 3 Best Actor nominations, but I couldn’t find a picture with all three, so here are Charles Laughton and Clark Gable. Franchot Tone was the other.

The 8th Academy Awards, for the film year of 1935.  The nominations were announced on February 7, 1936 and the awards were held on March 5, 1936.

Best Picture:  Mutiny on the Bounty

  • The Informer
  • Les Miserables
  • Captain Blood
  • Top Hat
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
  • David Copperfield
  • Ruggles of Red Gap
  • Alice Adams
  • Naughty Marietta
  • The Broadway Melody of 1936

Most Surprising Omission:  Anna Karenina

Best Film Not Nominated:  The Bride of Frankenstein

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #67

(more…)

Orson Welles in Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Orson Welles in Chimes at Midnight (1965)

“Welles never approached such posterity again, although ‘Touch of Evil’ (1958) is a fine example of the then-fading film noir genre.”
Steve Persall ST. PETERSBURG TIMES (as syndicated in the San Diego Union Tribune)

First of all, when you’ve just explained that Citizen Kane is widely regarded as the greatest film ever made, obviously he never approached such posterity again. Neither did anyone else. That’s kind of the point. But in Persall’s article, he dismisses Welles among other directors that “once were giants.” What that misses is that Welles may have been forced out of the studio system, but he hardly failed to continue to be a giant (fat jokes not withstanding). (more…)

please make me into a film

please make me into a film

When I was still working at Borders, I once said “I own almost every Andrew Lloyd Webber musical on CD.” My co-worker Paul replied, “You might be the only straight male who could possibly say that.” I have always enjoyed musicals, both Broadway and on film. The strange thing is that my lists don’t overlap particularly well. I am a big fan of ALW musicals, but only Evita made a worthwhile film (I was so livid at what Joel Schumacher did with Phantom of the Opera that I actually screamed coming out of the theater). I love the Boublil-Schonberg musicals (Les Miserables, Miss Saigon), but no one has filmed them. One of the most enjoyable musicals is Return to the Forbidden Planet, but it requires audience participation and wouldn’t translate well to film. I love A Little Night Music, but the film is one of the worst ever made (though not as bad as Grease 2, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Back to the Beach or Human Highway, the worst of all Musicals). (more…)

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