Friday, March 22, 2019

A few random notes

So Disney's purchase of Fox is complete. I have no idea what it's going to mean for FXM, or for the movies that were in Fox's vault. Disney has already closed one of Fox's smaller studio divisons, so it's natural to worry about the other niche divisions.

A factoid I would have thought I mentioned before but according to a search of the blog haven't. Somebody over on the TCM boards recently mentioned watching an old movie starring British comic actor Norman Wisdom, who in my opinion is part Jerry Lewis, part Mr. Bean, and part George Formby without the ukulele. Anyhow, his well-meaning but bumbling character who always seems to be getting it over on his boss at the end was noticed in, of all places, Communist Albania. They apparently thought Wisdom's movies were making trenchant commentary about capitalism's exploitation of the worker, so this was one of the few forms of western entertainment allowed in the country during the Communist era. Audiences saw it for what it was, and when the wall fell and Wisdom was able to visit Albania, he was beloved. When Wisdom died in 2010, the BBC interviewed the Albanian ambassador to the UK about Wisdom's legacy:

I mentioned watching Edward, My Son recently. When TCM ran it, they included extra time in the schedule, which was used to show the Oscar-nominated short Main Street Today. This one is from 1944 and credits John Nesbitt with the narration, but there's no Passing Parade title card or music. The short was a propaganda piece about trying to add a third shift at a factory in Anytown, Midwest to make a certain weapon for the military. It was supposed to get people to do more of their part, but watching it 75 years on, what I noticed was just how much control over every aspect of our lives the Roosevelt administration took during World War II. I couldn't find Main Street Today as an extra anywhere, and a search also suggests that while various batches of shorts from MGM have been put on box sets, the Passing Parade series is one that hasn't yet.

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