The Movie Poster Art Of Dark Victory

Dark Passage is a 1939 movie drama starring Bette Davis. Let me state how much I love this movie.  Many fans, myself included, would be in agreement that Dark Victory contains one of her best acting performances.  The movie is extremely well written and has an excellent cast.  Some of Bette Davis’ co-stars include the incredibly likable George Brent, a young Ronald Reagan and Humphrey Bogart in one of his more interesting supporting roles.

Instead of focusing on the movie itself I instead want to look at the film’s movie poster art. Like many movies Dark Victory inspired quite a diverse collection of movie posters.  Some of them accurately captured the mood of the film.  I have chosen to highlight just a few.

I belive this is the poster that is  most associated with the movie.  It is a very colorful illustration that nicely features those wonderful Bette Davis eyes.  It really does not say much about the film.  Based on this image, as wonderful as it may be, it is unclear as to what the film is about.

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I love this absolutely beautiful watercolor illustration taken from the Italian movie poster for the film.  This is my favorite image from the group. The poster features an incredible image of Bette Davis, however it may be just a bit too sad. There is a sadness to the film, but that is not the whole story. Tramonto translates to sunset or nightfall, both words could be fitting titles for the film.

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I really like the artwork in this Spanish movie poster.  The sentiment is very tender and loving.  However, the likeness of the two lead actors, especially Bette Davis, is not great.  Despite this it is still a fantastic poster that more accurately conveys the feel of the movie. Amarga Victoria translates to Bitter Victory.

This one is very different, and features another great image of the film’s star.  Perhaps this one is a bit melodramatic, but then again it is a melodramatic movie.  Overall this poster  does not relate enough to the movie.

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Here’s another poster with a great image of Bette Davis.  But this image is a bit too melodramatic and melancholy.  Despite the sadness present in the film there is still quite a bit of laughter and light throughout.

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This French movie poster is quite different.  The likeness of George Brent is nicely done. But the depiction of Bette Davis is not very accurate or flattering. Overall it is a very artsy poster. Victoire sur la Nuit translates to Victory On The Night or Victory Over The Night.

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This last one is different, but it is the least interesting of the batch. Although it does display various emotional states of the main character, it does not convey much about the true essence of the movie.

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It is amazing how many drastically different posters can be produced for a single movie. I consider Dark Victory to be a work of art.  Revisiting some of the movie posters  and seeing how various artists depicted the film has been fascinating.  I do not think any of the posters featured here accurately depict the overall tone of the movie.  I do understand, it is an emotionally complex movie. Creating a single image to convey the mood and essence of the film would have been a tall order.  Some of the posters work better than others and that is fine.  They may be works of art, but their ultimate purpose was the promotion of the film.  This collection of movie posters, along with many others, were created to inform the world of a new Bette Davis film, Dark Victory.

Troy T.

Casablanca: The Bond Of Friendship

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One of my favorite aspects of the classic movie  Casablanca is the relationship between Rick Blaine and Sam. Obviously the movie is of its time. When Ilsa Lund arrives at Rick’s Cafe Americain she inquires about Sam asking about “The boy who’s playing the piano.” It was not said in a condescending or malicious way, it was just how things were at that time.

With that being said Rick and Sam are obviously much more than employer and employee. It is quite apparent that there is history, trust and deep friendship between these two men. Their interaction with one another is that of mutual respect. Both look out for one another throughout the movie. Between Paris and Casablanca I am sure that they went through a great deal together.

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Casablanca is first and foremost a war time drama with a romantic subplot.  These two themes intertwine to give the movie its main storyline.  But the bond of friendship between Rick and Sam is definitely one of the movie’s most interesting and least mentioned subplots.

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Casting An X-Men Movie, My Way

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I am a big fan of the X-Men movie franchise, especially the first two X-Men movies.  They are far from perfect movies, but overall they are quite enjoyable. Director Bryan Singer and his crew did a lot of things right. However, there were a lot of missed opportunities and many questionable decisions across the whole X- Franchise. Although some of the casting was perfect, enough of the choices were suspect.

Take a journey with me across time as I attempt too cast a better X-Men movie.  This  version would feature a slight variation on one of the team’s classic lineups.  It would feature Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Sprite. Although he has been overused in the X-Men movie series I would go with Magneto as the villain.

In order to cast this movie properly I would require a time machine. Not only would the casting depend on certain actors.  It would also depend on them at different stages of their careers.

To really do this great comic book franchise justice on the big screen I would bring in The Russo Brothers to direct.  They have proven with their work on the Captain America movies that they are fully capable of handling extreme action sequences as well as serious drama.  I do love a lot of what Bryan Singer did with the franchise. His involvement would add so much to this movie as well. Now, on to the cast.

Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine

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There is no change needed here, Hugh Jackman is the perfect man for the job. To this day I still find it hard to believe that Dougray Scott was originally cast in this role. For this film I would opt for Jackman as he appeared in The Wolverine movie from 2013.  He was at his peak physical condition in this film.

Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier/Professor X

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Patrick Stewart was born to play this character. As great as he was on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Captain Picard, I know many were thinking the same thing that I was. This man absolutely needed to play Professor X one day. Is there a better example of perfect casting?

Iman as Ororo Munroe/Storm

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From the moment that I saw her in Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country, I thought to myself, “That’s Storm”. Many felt that Angela Bassett would have portrayed a great Storm. I am sure she would have done great in the role. But my perfect Storm would be Mrs. David Bowie

Rutger Hauer as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto

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I love Ian Mckellen’s performances as Magneto. He was one of the highlights of the X-Men movies. However, I feel that Rutger Hauer embodies Magneto so much more, especially physically. In the 1980’s watching Hauer in movies like Blade Runner and Ladyhawke I always envisioned him as Magneto. For this film imagine Hauer in his early 60’s, but as fit as he was in Blade Runner.

Brent Spiner as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler

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While watching Spiner portray Data on The Next generation two thoughts always crossed my mind: 1) Data was this Star Trek’s Spock and 2) Spiner would be the perfect Nightcrawler. Picture a leaner, meaner 1980’s Spiner.

Jonathan Frakes as Scott Summers/Cyclops

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I really enjoyed James Marsden’s portrayal of Cyclops. However I do not feel that the character was written properly and he was under utilized. Once again all those years ago, as I watched Jonathan Frakes on The Next Generation I thought, he would be a great Cyclops.  In the X-Men comic books Cyclops led the team with a commanding presence.  This was never really the case in the movies.  I always liked the dynamic on The Next Generation between Captain Picard and Commander Riker.  It reminded me of the dynamic between Professor X and Cyclops, in the comic books.  Picture a lean and mean 1980’s Frakes.

Daniel Cudmore as Piotr Rasputin/Colossus

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The all to brief appearance of Colossus in X2 is one of the highlights of the entire X-Men movie franchise. The fact that he was not utilized more in X2 is criminal. I always found it odd that Colossus was not cast in the X-Men movies from the start.  Cudmore was perfect as he appeared in X2.

Margot Robbie as Jean Grey/ Phoenix

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Of all the characters here, this was the hardest one for me to cast. No actresses really stood out to me as an obvious choice. After much thought I do believe that Margot Robbie would be great for the role. Femke Janssen was a really good Jean Grey and Phoenix, but she lacked a strong physical presence.

Natalie Portman as Kitty Pryde/Sprite

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Obviously I’m going with a very young teenage Sprite, as she appeared when she first joined the X-Men in the comic books. Imagine a very young Natalie Portman from the early 1990’s.

There you have it, my X-Men cast. Thank you for taking the time to indulge my X-Men fantasy.  Overall this is a movie franchise that should be amazing. But in reality the overall results have been mixed. With Hugh Jackman retiring his claws and the lackluster X-Men: Apocalypse the future is not looking very bright.  This is a movie franchise in need of an X-treme makeover.

Troy T.

Bad Sister: Bogart And Bette Davis Together For The First Time

I recently watched the movie Bad Sister and I must say that I really enjoyed this film. At sixty eight minutes it is short and sweet. Released in 1931, it is Humphrey Bogart’s fouth film and Bette Davis’ film debut.

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The film is basically a light drama, with some added touches of comedy. The story revolves around the Madison family and their four children. Sidney Fox, as Marianne Madison, plays the title role. I guess that would make Bette Davis’ Laura Madison the Good Sister. Humphrey Bogart is fantastic as Valentine Corliss, in a supporting role. He arrives into their small town and forever changes their lives.

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For me it was great to see a young Humphrey Bogart, before he was a major star. He was just a young, good looking actor slowly climbing the ladder of success in Hollywood. Here in just his fourth film he is already a polished actor. It interesting that he is given fourth billing, below Bette Davis and Sidney Fox. Both actresses making their film debut. Bette Davis, here in her early 20’s, is solid in her role. One can detect her acting ability. However the shy, passive character that she portrays only allows for a small range of emotions.

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The whole cast is very enjoyable. Special mention should be given to ZaSu Pitts as Minnie the family maid and child actor David Durand as Hedrick, the youngest Madison sibling. Pitts is quite funny as the crabby, cantankerous maid. Durand, as Hedrick, has some funny moments. But at times his character borders on being one of the most annoying children that I have ever seen in a movie.

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Bad Sister is not a Humphrey Bogart movie, he is clearly a supporting character. He has more screen time  than I expected and he makes the most of every minute. Nor is it a Bette Davis movie. She has decent screen time, but this is really Sidney Fox’s movie. Fox has second billing but she is clearly the star of the movie.

It is very surprising that this film has not been released on DVD or Blu-ray in America. It features two of the biggest stars of old time Hollywood together early in their career. As a fan of both actors this movie did not disappoint. Including Bad Sister, Bogart and Davis appeared in six films together. The other films are Three On A Match (1932), The Petrified Forest (1936), Marked Women (1937), Kid Galahad (1937) and Dark Victory (1939). I do hope that someday soon Bad Sister will get a proper release.

Dr. Jones, Meet Han Solo

Occasionally I come across artwork or a photograph so good that I just have to share it.  This great illustration featuring Indiana Jones and Han Solo is one that I felt compelled  to share.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back are two of my favorite movies.  Harrison Ford is one of my favorite actors.  I am also a big fan of movies and art so everything about this illustration is a win for me.

There are other images on the internet depicting Indiana Jones and Han Solo together, but this one is by far my favorite.  A great deal of thought went into this concept. There are so many fantastic illustrations available depicting scenes from movies, or portraits of movie characters. I can really appreciate an artist who digs deep into their imagination to create a truly unique image based on beloved movie characters.  This well crafted illustration was created by artist Terry Peppers.

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Troy T.

Why I Have Not Watched Humphrey Bogart’s Last Movie

I consider myself to be a huge fan of Humphrey Bogart’s movies. Of the seventy plus movies that he appeared in I have watched all but six of them. I own quite a few of his movies as well, including The Harder They Fall, his last movie. I must confess that there is a part of me that refuses to watch The Harder They Fall. I have owned the DVD for a few years now. I was fortunate to have found the DVD at a great price online.  But it remains in it’s case waiting to be watched.

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My initial intentions were that I would view The Harder They Fall once I had seen all of Bogart’s previous films. On the surface this was not an unrealistic goal since I had seen the majority of his movies at that point. However I ran into a bit of a problem. Some of his earliest movies are not available on DVD. In many of these movies Bogart  had third, fourth  or fifth billing.  This was not an issue for me, I wanted to view the films and see his evolution as an actor. Over time I realized that this quest may not come to a completion. I watched as many of his movies as I could, with the intention of one day watching The Harder They Fall.

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A few years have passed and I have yet to watch his last film. You might ask why.  Well it’s a bit silly. Part of me feels that if I watch The Harder They Fall then it will be over. I know that Humphrey Bogart  died in 1957, so his career has been done for a long time. So what exactly will be over? I suppose it’s the thrill of discovering and viewing his filmography, that will be over. Although I regularly re-watch many of his films, once I watch The Harder They Fall there will not be any unseen movies starring Humphrey Bogart for me to discover. It all sounds a bit silly, but I’m being honest.  In those very early films he was just a costar or a supporting player.  He may appear in the movies but they are not Humphrey Bogart movies.

I will watch The Harder They Fall one day, I would say that it is well overdue. The other films that he costarred in that I have not seen are Up The River, A Devil With Women, Body And Soul , Bad Sister (Bette Davis’ debut movie) and A Holy Terror.  Hopefully one day I can complete my quest of watching Bogart’s entire filmography.  It would be fantastic if a company  released them all in a DVD collection, The Unseen Bogart Films. For now at the start of the new year perhaps I should resolve to watch The Harder They Fall in 2017.

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Troy T.

 

My Highlights Of 2016

As the year comes to a close various top ten and  best of  lists will be published. Many of these lists can be fun to read. This is not really a true top ten list, plus it contains eleven items.  It is an brief overview of some entertainment highlights that come to mind from 2016.

Unfortunately 2016 was a year full of far too much bad news, negativity, hate and division. At times during 2016 the world seemed like a very dark place. At the end of the year it’s good to reflect on some of the entertainment that brought some light into my life in 2016.

Phil Collins’ Reemergence

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Phil Collins’ slow and steady reemergence from retirement. Not one event, but a series of live appearances, interviews and the release of his autobiography Not Dead Yet. All of this is leading up to some large scale concerts in 2017. At 65 years of age Phil Collins may look a little rough around the edges. But he is still one of my favorite musical artists. The man’s music has brought a lot of light to my life over the years.

Xiphea – Once Upon A Time

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Xiphea are a fantastic symphonic metal band out of Germany. They call their brand of music Fairytale Metal. With song titles like Beauty And The King, Masquerade, Cinderella and Power Of The Dwarfs one can understand the label. Do not let the song titles fool you, this is a serious and heavy band.  Once Upon A Time is Xiphea’s third release.  So far they have released one EP and two full length albums.  The future looks bright for this band.   I plan on writing more about them in a future blog.

The Genesis Show

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The Genesis Show are an absolutely amazing and talented Phil Collins era Genesis tribute band that, for now, focuses on Genesis live circa 1976-1977. Tribute bands can be hit or miss, either really good or downright silly. The Genesis Show are a serious band that are passionate about playing the music of Genesis. I had the great pleasure of seeing them live this year. As a huge Genesis fan since 1981 I was extremely impressed by The Genesis Show. The musicianship on display was incredible. I highly recommend seeing them live.

Kansas – The Prelude Implicit

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I count Kansas among my top 20 favorite bands. Their newest release, The Prelude Implicit, is a strong argument for classic bands continuing to record new music. I would definitely place The Prelude Implicit on my top ten favorite Kansas albums list. The band’s new singer Ronnie Platt has some incredibly big shoes to fill. He does so quite well. I look forward to more new music by this great band.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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A very, very good Star Wars film that falls short of being great by playing it too safe in the second half of the movie.  But I will say that the movie contains one of my absolute favorite scenes from any Star Wars movie. I just hope that the success of this film will allow for more ambitious Star Wars movies in the future.

Arrow: Season Five

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A fantastic rebound from the disappointment of season four. It would seem that in the off season the creative team revisited the things that made the show great in the past. Half way through season five and  I would say that Arrow is back on track.  Stephen Amell, in the title role, continues to play this character with such conviction.

Metallica…Hardwired To Self-Destruct

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It’s been eight years since Death Magnetic, but overall it was worth the wait. The double disc release showcases a collection of fast and heavy songs by a rejuvenated band. Unfortunately all of the songs are not equal. I would say that if the band had trimmed the fat and lost two songs they would have had a killer single disc.

Captain America: Civil War

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A movie that contained not only great action, but also great drama. Civil War and the prior Captain America movie The Winter Soldier have really brought superhero movies to a new level. There is a lot going on in this movie, but the performances of Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. provide a solid foundation and help keep the movie grounded.

Doctor Strange

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Doctor Strange is Marvel’s latest superhero movie.  It stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.   Benedict Cumberbatch joins the ranks of actors  like Hugh Jackman, Christopher Reeve, Harrison Ford and Patrick Stewart. What do they have in common?  It seems that they were born to bring to life certain iconic characters. Wolverine, Superman, Indiana Jones, Professor Xavier and in Cumberbatch’s case Doctor Stephen Strange. A great movie with a fantastic performance by Cumberbatch.

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

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I know it had it critics, but I loved this movie. Henry Cavill is super as Superman. Ben Affleck really nails the true essence of Bruce Wayne/Batman. His portrayal of Bruce Wayne is my favorite of any actor to date. I love Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Gal Gadot’s fantastic performance as Wonder Woman may be my biggest and most pleasant surprise of the year. The only real downside for me was Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor.  His was a different take on the character that did not really work for me.

Epica – The Holographic Principal

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I feel that Epica, a symphonic metal band out of the Netherlands, are the best band in their genre. The Holographic Principal is their seventh studio album and it is phenomenal. Epica continues to grow and evolve with each new album. Their unique and dense mix of thrash metal, opera, progressive rock, classical music, death metal and soundtrack scores continues to delight this metal fan a great deal.

Troy T.