Olive Films’ Operation Petticoat Re-Issue Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time

Courtesy: Olive Films

Courtesy: Olive Films

Cary Grant and Tony Curtis’ 1959 military-based rom-com Operation Petticoat is a wonderfully entertaining story that any true lover of film will appreciate. And now thanks to the people at Olive Films, audiences get to see for themselves just why this classic is a must see for audiences new and old alike. That is because Olive Films re-issued the classic comedy earlier this week. This classic comedy could not have come along at a better time. In an era when originality and creativity in Hollywood have become all but extinct, this re-issue serves as an economic and entertaining alternative to all of the prequels, sequels, and remakes currently polluting theaters across the country. The first and most obvious reason that Operation Petticoat works so well is its script. And the acting especially on the part of Curtis and Grant makes for more than its share of laughs. Lastly, audiences will appreciate in this re-issue that the movie looks exactly as it did in its original premiere. These three factors together make this new re-issue of Operation Petticoat an absolute must-have for any true classic movie lover even without any bonus material.

Military movies and rom-coms were two of the most prominent genre of films released in the golden era of Hollywood’s major studios. Unlike in the current era of movies though, those movies actually served a purpose. That aside, few studios even then could boast films that blended both genres into one work. There were military dramas that mixed in a romantic drama. But finding one that mixes the rom-com and military is difficult to say the least. Enter Operation Petticoat. Co-writers Stanley Shapiro and Mauriche Richlincrafted a story with their script that successfully blends both genres into one. The success comes mainly in the ability of both writers to have balanced the elements of both genres without letting one overpower the other. Even with part of the story being a rom-com, the romance is kept to an extreme minimum. Yet there is still a slight level of romance there that some audiences will appreciate. The script’s comedic element is more prominent and will most certainly have audiences of all ages laughing uproariously. Audiences won’t be able to help but laugh as Grant and Curtis face off against one another, and even have to deal with the women brought on board by Lt. JG Nicholas Holden. Their ability to interpret the script makes the movie even more worth watching.

Cary Grant (Arsenic and Old Lace, North By Northwest, Notorious) and Tony Curtis (Some Like it Hot, The Defiant Ones, The Great Race) make Operation Petticoat even more enjoyable thanks to their ability to interpret Shapiro and Shiplin’s script for this movie. Neil Simon’s famed buddy comedy The Odd Couple was still some nine years away when Operation Petticoat premiered. Yet Grant and Curtis become their own Odd Couple of sorts as they face off. Audiences will find themselves laughing hysterically at the contradiction of Holden’s naïve yet rather devious personality set against Grant’s far more straight-laced Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman. And as straight-laced as Sherman shows himself to be, he has his own wit about himself that will have audiences laughing just as much. This is especially obvious as he takes Holden’s personal belongings to make up for Holden stealing a man’s pig at one point. This is one of the most entertaining of the duo’s moments on screen together. He also breaks up an attempt by Holden to woo one of the women that Holden brings on board, making for another of so many wonderfully entertaining moments tossed into the movie. Audiences will find plenty more such moments when they purchase this DVD for themselves. It isn’t the last of the positives that audiences will appreciate in this new re-issue, either. Last but not least of this re-issue’s positives is the overall look of the film.

The overall presentation of Operation Petticoat in its re-issue from Olive Films is the last piece of this movie that audiences will appreciate. Watching the movie, audiences will see that it looks just as it did in its original presentation some fifty-five years ago. And thanks to today’s technology, its DVD presentation is automatically upconverted on any Blu-ray player. It is available on both DVD and Blu-ray. But those that purchase the DVD will be just as impressed with the movie’s look when it is upconverted. Audiences can spot every little nuance of the original movie’s quality whether on DVD or Blu-ray. It’s like watching a movie on Turner Classic Movies without having to turn on the television. Even without any bonus material, the movie’s overall look alongside the acting on the part of its lead actors, and the script collectively make Olive Films’ re-issue of Operation Petticoat a true must see for any true lover of classic films.

Olive Films’ brand new re-issue of Operation Petticoat is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Olive Films’ online store at http://www.olivefilms.com/?s=Operation+Petticoat&submit=. More information on this and other titles available from Olive Films is available online at http://www.olivefilms.com, http://www.facebook.com/olivefilms and http://twitter.com/twitter.com/olivefilms. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Corman’s Wasp Woman Is A Classic In Its Own Right

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

Our world is obsessed with youth.  The pressure to be young and attractive is even greater on women than it is on men.  This pressure seems to be even greater today than ever before.  Because it has been such a prominent topic for so long, it’s also been great fodder for movies.  One of the most notable movies that tackles that pressure is the 1992 movie, Death Becomes Her, starring Meryl Streep.  In that movie, Streep plays a woman who discovers a treatment that will keep her young and beautiful for eternity.  As funny as it was, it wasn’t the first movie to go after the pressure facing women.  One of the earliest is a B-movie headed by famed B-movie director Roger Corman call The Wasp Woman.

The Wasp Woman is one of Roger Corman’s best B-movies.  As cheesy as it was, it was also really great in its own right.  In this movie, beauty company head Janice Starlin becomes increasingly obsessed with her looks after a male member of her company’s board mentioned to her that the company’s sales were beginning to fall off because the company tried to use a face other than hers to market its products.  So hearing this, she enlists the aid of sort-of mad scientist Eric Zinthrop (Michael Mark), who is testing the effects of queen jelly from the queen wasp in rejuvenating subjects’ youth.  At first things seem to go okay.  But then things go horribly wrong, leading Starlin to become the hideous Wasp Woman.

The Wasp Woman outfit is cheesy beyond belief.  But that’s beside the point.  It’s not really what makes this flick so fun.  What makes the flick so fun is that whether or not it intentionally made commentary on the impact of the beauty industry and society as a whole, that commentary exists even in this totally funny B-flick that’s perfect for a Halloween party.  That the subject behind the story is very real, it makes suspension of disbelief that much easier.  And the ability to suspend one’s disbelief goes a long way toward making this movie one of Roger Corman’s greatest classics.

Now fans can watch this classic B-Flick any time they want as it’s been included in Mill Creek’s new 100 Greates Sci-Fi Classics double box set.  It’s available in stores and can be ordered online at http://www.millcreekent.com

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The Little Princess Is One of The Greatest Family Films Of All Time

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

The 1939 adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book by the same name is a cinema classic.  Given, the movie doesn’t go entirely by the book.  But it still has more than enough charm to make it a favorite among families nearly three quarters of a century after it first debuted. 

While the big screen adaptation of the book doesn’t go entirely by the book, the script and the acting more than make up for the fact that there are some differences between the book and the movie.  Shirley Temple’s take on Sara makes her character an entirely sympathetic character.  While fellow actress Mary Nash makes Amanda Minchin an absolutely vile character that audiences will love to hate.  That means that Nash more than did her job in the role.  The cast’s ability to interpret the story, along with directors William Lang and William A. Seiter makes the movie even better.  The story is one of triumph over great adversity.  Here we have a young girl who goes from being pampered to perpetually punished by the vile Miss Minchin when her father is believed to have been killed in the Boer War.  Throughout all of the adversity, Sara is able to persevere and come out on top.  She’s a relatable character.  Yes she starts out with money.  But even with money, Sara was still a good hearted person.  In being persecuted so harshly by Miss Minchin, audiences are reminded that similar persecution still goes on today around the world.  It isn’t at the same kind of level by any means.  But it does happen.  The average middle-class person is still looked down on by those in higher social classes just because they aren’t rich.  That alone is a big part of what makes this movie still so beloved to this day. 

The primary story in The Little Princess is one of overcoming great odds and defying those would try to hold others down just because of something as minor as not having money.  But there is also a secondary story tied into the main one.  That additional story centers on the power of family, friendship, and personal faith.  Sara continued to maintain the faith that her father hadn’t really been killed, which not to give too much away, proves true at least in this take on the classic tale.  How that is revealed won’t be told here for the sake of those who haven’t seen the movie.  And if not for the friendship of Becky and Ermengarde, getting through her daily harassment from Miss Minchin would have been unbearable.  It was that power of friendship that helped Sara to keep the faith and keep pushing through her seemingly insurmountable odds.  By the story’s end it would be a surprise if any audience is left dry-eyed.  Yes, the final sequence is that saccharine.  But it can be forgiven as audiences will be rooting for Sara throughout the movie.

This take on the classic literary work is a wonderful family film.  It serves as a reminder of everything that is still so great even today about classic movies.  Some movies have been made in the same vein as the Little Princess.  But none since have been able to capture the magic created by this adaptation.  That magic will continue to keep it a family favorite for another seventy plus years as long as families remember and protect it and continue to pass it down to future generations.

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House On Haunted Hill Is Scary Fun For The Whole Family

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

B-flick or not, House on Haunted Hill is one of the greatest horror movies of all time.  It’s also one of Vincent Price’s finest moments.  It’s one more piece that shows the importance of classic movies.  Rather than being over worn by unnecessary violence, special effects and sex, this black and white classic relies on storytelling and acting to grab and hold the audience’s attention.  The storytelling itself is perhaps the most interesting factor in House on Haunted Hill.  Being that this story is an ensemble piece, one would automatically think that it will have its share of problems, story-wise.  But somehow the planets aligned just right for writer Robb White.

The mood is expertly set from the story’s opening moments, with both Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) and Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook, Jr.) setting the stage.  Pritchard is up first, telling audiences the ghost story centered on the mansion to which Loren has invited his guests, Pritchard included.  Loren makes the story even creepier with his delivery, explaining why each one of the guests has been invited to stay in the house.  Price’s delivery as Loren will send chills up any first time viewer’s spine.  Of course, the reality of why everyone has been invited is revealed at the end, making the ghost story a little less scary.  It’s only a little less scary because the door is left wide open for audiences to wonder about the house, even as the credits roll.  Could it be that the house really is haunted?  That’s up to the audiences.

Writing is at the base of every good (and bad) movie ever written.  That writing doesn’t just include dialogue.  It also includes little nuances such as lighting, acting, etc.  Those nuances were captured equally well through the direction of William Castle and William Malone.  The entire cast’s acting kept the scare factor on the high end throughout the movie.  The entire cast plays off of Pritchard and Loren perfectly, some of them believing Pritchard’s story.  Some not so sure.  The mixed reactions serve to make the story that much more believable.  Their reactions to things such as the organ playing and the lights going on and off make it all the better.  And best of all is the screams of Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig).  At first her screams are believable.  But the more she does it, the funnier it gets.  And it’s not the only comedy to the story, either.  Audiences will have to find out for themselves what other silliness is in store.  What the inclusion of all this funny business means is that while the movie has a good scare level, it has enough comedy to keep it from being too scary at the same time.

House on Haunted Hill has even more that could be discussed among any classic film buff or even a film studies class.  Keeping in mind that it has so much going for it, it goes without saying that B-flick or not, it’s still a great horror flick that everyone should see at least once in their lives.

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D.O.A. Shows Even B-Flicks Can Be Fun

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

D.O.A. is one of the most underrated crime thrillers ever written.  This 1950 film, written by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene is considered by some to be little more than a B-flick.  But in a weird way, it manages to keep its audience’s attention from beginning to end.  And in comparison to its 1988 re-make starring Dennis Quaid, is far better.  As with so many movies of that era, it didn’t rely on special effects, violence and sex.  It relied on good acting and storytelling.  And through that, it was a success.

The story behind D.O.A. is, as noted, simple.  CPA Frank Bigelow goes on a little vacation to San Francisco.  While there, he is poisoned one night by an unknown assailant while spending an evening at a bar.  As a result, he is left with very little time to live.  So he has to find out who poisoned him and why.  How and why this happens will keep viewers watching throughout the movie’s near ninety-minute run time.  The oddity of this movie is that in a strange way, one can’t help but make some slight comparisons to the likes of the 1998 Will Smith/Gene Hackman movie, Enemy of the State.  The story and action style are very similar.  Odds are, there likely is no link between the two, stylistically.  But it makes for an interesting discussion.  Both have that standard ordinary guy gets unwittingly wrapped up in a big conspiracy, with fast paced action results.  The only difference is the story.

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

D.O.A. sadly is not one of the most memorable crime thrillers ever written.  Sure it isn’t the top notch style movie that others have been over the years.  But audiences must remember that B-movies are classic in their own right, too.  Some of them are awful.  That’s a given.  But then some, like this movie, aren’t that bad, actually.  Any viewer who has any interest in the history of crime thrillers and dramas will easily find this movie a nice addition to their library.  And thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment’s brand new 100Greatest Mystery Classics side-by side double box set, it can be watched any time, along with loads of other classic B-flicks. 

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