Monday, February 6, 2012

Strange as She Is, You'll Love Martha Ivers

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946); produced by Hal Wallis Productions and distributed by Paramount Pictures; USA Release Date: July 24, 1946, run time: 116 minutes; directed by Lewis Milestone; written by John Patrick, Robert Rossen and Robert Riskin; costumes by Edith Head; cast - Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas, Judith Anderson, Roman Bohnen, Darryl Hickman, Janis Wilson and Mickey Kuhn.

*Spoiler Alert!*

One of the many great film-noir movies of the 1940s The Strange Love of Martha Ivers showcases a knockout performance by Barbara Stanwyck and an interesting screen debut for Kirk Douglas. Like so many films of the '40s, the plot focuses on two people who have committed and/or been witness to a horrible crime.  Their knowledge is what holds them together, but is ultimately their undoing. This storyline is evident in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Double Indemnity (1944) and Out of the Past (1947). What makes Ivers unique is that it is one of only a handful of film-noir movies to be nominated for an Oscar.

The story opens in Iverstown, 1928, Young Sam Masterson (Hickman) and Martha Ivers (Wilson) are planning to run away together. Martha is quickly stopped by the police, but Sam escapes. Martha is the niece of the evil Mrs. Ivers (Anderson), the town matriarch. The police take Martha home, where she, her aunt and Martha's tutor, Mr. O'Neil (Bohnen), exchange harsh words.

Martha is sent up to her room where Mr. O'Neil's son Walter (Kuhn) is waiting for her with her cat. Sam sneaks in through a window to tell Martha he's leaving town. But before Sam can go, Martha's cat runs downstairs. Sam goes after the cat, but he's forced to hide when her aunt comes into the stairway. Mrs. Ivers hates cats so she begins to beat the tabby with her cane. Martha rushes towards her, grabs the cane and gives her aunt a blow to the head. Her aunt falls down the stairs and breaks her neck.

When Mr. O'Neil hears the commotion he comes running from a room downstairs. Martha tells him that a strange man came in the house and attached her aunt. Walter, who witnessed the murder, lies to his father by verifying Martha's story. Mr. O'Neil suspects what really happened and uses that to his advantage by taking the place of Mrs. Ivers.

Eighteen years later Sam (Heflin) gets in a car wreck just outside Iverstown and is forced to remain in town for a few days. Much to his surprise, he learns Martha and Walter are married and the two of them own most of the town. His first night in town, Sam meets Toni, a down-and-out recent parolee (played by the vastly under-rated Scott). Sam is content to romance Toni while he waits for his car to be fixed, but Martha and Walter have other plans.

Walter and Martha are convinced that Sam, who's a professional gambler with a long police record, has blown into town to blackmail them for the murder of Mrs. Ivers. Contrary to their beliefs, Sam never witnessed of had knowledge of the crime. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game of intrigue and murder. The ending is bittersweet, which is usual for this type of story, but the writers added an interesting twist not seen before, or since.

Watching Douglas you'd never guess this was his first film. His depiction of Walter gives strength to an overall weak character. This character is unlike Douglas' later tough guy roles, but he pulls it off beautifully. Originally he was slated to play the part of Sam, but when Van Heflin returned from WWII, Douglas was told he could play Walter instead. To add insult to injury, the studio insisted that Douglas do a screen test against four other actors for the part. The actors, who all had stage experience but had not yet made films were John Lund, Montgomery Clift, Richard Widmark and Wendell Cory.

Stanwyck is fascinating as Martha, an unconscionable femme fatale. Many film historians have compared this role to her portrayal of Phyllis in Double Indemnity, but Stanwyck's exploration of Martha goes much deeper than that of Phyllis. Martha displays resentment about the marital trap in which she has found herself, but she also seems as though she wants the love that Walter offers her.

Seeking love and understanding, she throws herself at Sam, but when he rejects her, she attempts to kill him. Martha is still the young girl who thinks that any problem can be solved with murder.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Best DVD Media

As every classic movie fan knows there are many wonderful oldies broadcast on TCM, Fox Movie Channel and other networks and many of us like to record these films so we can watch them later. But what's the best media to use that ensures you will get a good quality, long-lasting recording? Below are some tips LTC has compiled to help you choose a better quality of media.

These are the most important things to know about blank DVD (or CD) media:
  • The best media can have a 95%-100% success rate. We've found #1 Taiyo Yuden (JVC) to be the best so far.
  • The worst media we've tested can have a 0%-50% success rate.
  • The best media will ensure your copies will last for years, and have the most successful burns.
  • The brand printed on the disc package tends not to make much difference

What is the best quality DVD media?

Blank CD and DVD media is quite different. Most people assume it's all just about the same, and purchase it based on price. Do NOT do this! We've learned that not all blank media is good. In fact, a large portion of it is bad. There are a lot of companies that import cheap blanks from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other locations that have poor production standards. These days, blank media is fairly low cost. It's not worth the few cents you may save on cheaper discs since you never know what your getting if you switch brands a lot. Most people don't realize how much difference there is in blank CD or DVD media

Brand does not necessarily indicate who actually produced the discs. However, you can look for a media ID to determine the origin. As it turns out, the media brand means very little. Interestingly, there are few factories that actually make blank CDs and DVDs. To find the origin of a sample blank CD or DVD, you can check the Media ID. This show the disc maker.

Media ID and Quality

This chart shows several blank media and their associated media ID. #1 Taiyo Yuden JVC is the best (they invented CD disc technology). We've compiled this list from several sources:

Highest quality media: Very reliable:
Media ID
Taiyo Yuden (JVC)
Medium quality - Its Acceptable:
Prodisc Media

Questionable to low quality

Where do I buy the best quality blank cd and dvd media?

We trust these sites and have personal experience buying and using media from all of these sites:

Curious about what makes blank media different?

Improvements in Technology: Manufacturing methods are always improving. However, the basic process is as follows;
  1. Plastic is put down on a mold
  2. A metal reflective foil is placed on that
  3. Dies and ink are then added. Usually, you'll see DVDs are purple, and CDs are green, and Blu-ray discs are bluish
  4. Finally, the disc is spun at high RPMs to spread out the dye.

What can go wrong:
  • Disc Balance: when a circular object spins, it's moving faster on the outside compared to the inside near the center. The disc is most unsteady on the outside, so burns with large data amounts tend to fail more often because the disc becomes worse the further out you get from center.
  • Burning too fast: Try burning at 1/2 the speed you blank media is rated for. It may take a little longer, but you can rest assured you'll have the least burn errors.
  • Player compatibility: We recommend purchasing CD-R or DVD-R blank media.
  • User Error: Yes, even you can help improve the burn process. It's best to burn on a computer that's not running a lot of other programs. store your burned DVDs CDs in a dust free place out of the sun 

Information courtesy of

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hollywood History Jan. 29th - Feb. 4th

January 29
1964 - Stanley Kubrick's thriller turned satire Dr. Strangelove, starring Peter Sellers, debuts in the U.S.The film would go on to be nominated for 4 Oscars, but lost to My Fair Lady in 3 categories and Becket in the 4th.

January 31
1974 - Heart failure claims producer Samuel Goldwyn at the age of 74. Famous for his film work and his "Goldwynisms" such as "include me out" and "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."

February 1
1929 - The Broadway Melody debuts in the U.S., becoming the first musical with an original score.

1937 - In a publicity stunt/birthday party for Clark Gable Judy Garland sings "You Made Me Love You", which she later sings to a picture of Gable in the film Broadway Melody of 1938.

February 2
1922 - Paramount Pictures director William Desmond Taylor is found slain in his Hollywood bungalow. Actress Mary Miles Minter and her mother, Charlotte Shelby, were prime suspects in the murder, but no one has ever been charged for the crime. 

1969 - Renowned horror actor Boris Karloff dies or respiratory disease at the age of 81.

1996 - The world loses the creative genius of dancer, actor and choreographer Gene Kelly when he passes away at the age of 83.

February 4
1970 - Fox's Patton premiers in New York. George C. Scott ultimately won the Best Actor Oscar for this role, but refused to accept it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Holy Additions, Batman!

We've added over 125 new titles to our site this week and there will be plenty more to come! Our What's New page is updated every Sunday, but you can always see some of the Latest Products on our main page.

For those of you looking for good deals our Remarkable Remakes and our Film Series sections are growing too. Get multiple movies for up to 30% off their regular prices!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Desert Bandit (1941)

Today's Deal of the Day - Desert Bandit (1941)

Great western flick by famed director George Sherman. Personally I think this is an above average B western with plenty of good action scenes. Tom Ewell, best known for his role as the husband in The Seven Year Itch, has a bit part as one of the Texas Rangers. This film was remade in 1943 as Riders of the Deadline, which I have seen, but if anyone has I'd love to hear your opinions on it.

Starring Don 'Red' Barry, Lynn Merrick, William Haade, James Gillette, Dick Wessel
Directed by George Sherman

Print: black/white
Runtime: 56 min.
Genre: western
Print Quality: B

Hatfield has his henchman Largo and gang smuggling guns across the border. When guns
are smuggled past Ranger Martin, Martin is jailed. The Sheriff, a crony of Hatfield, lets Martin
out, shoots him, and blames the escape attempt on Bob Crandall. Kicked out of the Rangers,
Crandall joins Largo's gang.