December Preorders / Here...Here, Sweet Agnes
Romantic tales abound to enliven holiday hi-def movie binging this December from the Twilight Time dream factory. Woody Allen delivers madcap Big Apple fun and fantasy. Otto Preminger provides Old World Hollywood glamour and royal intrigue for a notorious lady’s resplendent 70th anniversary in gorgeous 1080p. From the pen of Emily Brontë comes an unfairly neglected version of her immortal tale of two star-crossed lovers. For those who like their seasonal cheer laced with absurdist outrage or poignant soul-searching, the formidable Paddy Chayefsky offers a caustic view of the state of healthcare while the luminous Leslie Caron supplies her most lauded screen performance as a woman seeking community and commitment in a shabby London rooming house. Preorders open today at 4 PM EST/1 PM PST for the December 19 TT hi-def Blu-ray debuts of Alice (1990), Forever Amber (1947), The Hospital (1971), The L-Shaped Room (1962) and Wuthering Heights (1970) at www.screenarchives.com and www.twilighttimemovies.com.
Upon examination of the list of five TT December movies, had the gods of casting and lifespans allowed, the versatile and valuable Agnes Moorehead (1900-1974), born 117 years ago today, would have found a welcome home in the ensemble of all of them. Imagine her as any of the following: a dotty Manhattan sophisticate that Mia Farrow’s wistful Alice encounters in her magically-manipulated adventures; a conniving aristocrat at the court of King Charles II that might cast a skeptical eye on the rise of Linda Darnell’s Amber; an alternately befuddled or jaded bureaucrat at George C. Scott’s chaotic medical institution; a fellow lonely boarder with a checkered past at Jane Follet’s downmarket Notting Hill digs; or a repressive manor lady or saucy senior servant contending with the roiling emotions generated by the Earnshaw and Linton households on the edges of Ms. Brontë’s Yorkshire moors. She was that remarkable and adaptable an actress. TT fans, however, can content themselves with one of her most entertaining and spirited performances – which netted her a Golden Globe Award and her fourth Oscar® nomination – as Velma, the slovenly and sarcastic housekeeper enmeshed in the Grand Guignol goings-on between Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland in director Robert Aldrich’s overripe thriller Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). She nails the gravelly tenderness beneath the frazzled, white-trash exterior of this suspicious, truth-talking and – because of those traits – ill-fated eccentric, and holds her own with demented distinction among other cast veterans (including Joseph Cotton, Cecil Kellaway and Mary Astor). So today’s Preorder Opening Date is dedicated to awesome Aggie, birthday honoree and the subject of Moira Finnie’s Streamline: The Filmstruck Blog career-encompassing interview with the actress’s biographer; read it here: http://streamline.filmstruck.com/2008/12/10/5687/. Catch her delicious Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte work on a lively, extras-filled TT hi-def Blu-ray, available here: http://screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/32214/HUSH-HUSH-SWEET-CHARLOTTE-1964/.