BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
"Deathtrap never had a widescreen master, that’s one of the reasons we selected it," said George Feltenstein, Warner Home Video's senior vice president of Classic and Theatrical Marketing. "That makes the purchase more appetizing. It’s such a popular movie. You’ve got fans of the movie. You’ve got Michael Caine fans. You’ve got fans of Christopher Reeve."
Warner Archive, launched in 2009, was among the first major DVD-on-demand services. The first releases had barebones jacket art, generic chapter stops every 10 minutes and advised consumers that most films were not remastered. Eventually, the DVD-R releases began to rival standard pressed discs in quality and looks.
Now, Warner Archive has entered the Blu-ray market.
Gypsy, starring Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood and Karl Malden, is based on the Broadway hit about stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.
The movie, filmed in widescreen Technirama, is a dual-layer disc with a very high bit rate, Feltenstein said. "We really wanted to show this off, it’s a really snazzy, high-budget film."
Feltenstein said he has "a fondness for this picture."
Many theater fans were shocked when Ethel Merman, who starred in the original Broadway production, was replaced in the Hollywood version by "Auntie Mame" Russell.
"It still has a controversial aspect to it, because of the casting," Feltenstein said, adding that Russell "really tried to deliver the goods in this movie." Most of her songs were dubbed by Broadway singer Lisa Kirk (Kiss Me, Kate).
The Gypsy and Deathtrap Blu-rays ($20 each) have been mastered in 1080p with subtitles and DTS Master Audio. (Gypsy is presented in stereo.) Although both films have chapter stops, neither has a chapter menu, making it difficult to find specific scenes.
The old Monogram Pictures produced 48 Bowery Boys films from 1946 to 1958. The short movies (some barely an hour long) ran for decades on weekend television, gaining a cult following.
"They were the predecessor of the sitcoms," Feltenstein said.
The Bowery Boys evolved from the 1937 Humphrey Bogart film Dead End, which featured young actors including Gorcey and Hall. Both actors also appeared in a '40s series known as East Side Kids comedies.
Six Bowery Boys films made it to VHS in the early 1990s and several were shown on Turner Classic Movies. Last month, Warner Archive released 12 of the films on DVD. Three more volumes are planned, Feltenstein said.
These are the 12 films included in Bowery Boys, Vol. 1 ($40):
- Live Wires (1946)
- In Fast Company (1946)
- Bowery Bombshell (1946)
- News Hounds (1947)
- Fighting Fools (1949)
- Hold That Baby! (1949)
- Master Minds (1949)
- Blonde Dynamite (1950)
- Lucky Losers (1950)
- Blues Busters (1950)
- Crazy Over Horses (1951)
- No Holds Barred (1952)
It took years for Bowery Boys to come to DVD because the film elements were in such bad shape, Feltenstein said.
One of the films had “30 splices just in the main title,” he said.
Warner Archive created "all-new masters" for the films, according to Feltenstein. "We brought in elements from all over the world. Boatload of reels from England."
For example, the Warner film master for Bowery Bombshell was missing 46 seconds from the sixth reel.
"We had audio and no picture," Feltenstein said. "We knew there had to be picture somewhere, so we brought it in from England."
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois Senate Democrats are delaying a vote on a plan that would make the state the 10th in the nation to legalize gay marriage.
A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton tells The Associated Press the proposal to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples will get a committee hearing Thursday but there aren't currently enough votes to pass it on the floor.
Spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon says she doesn't know how many votes there are for the plan or when it might be called. Some Democrats were not in attendance Thursday. Phelon says no Republicans supported it.
Cullerton's Democrats have 35 seats in the Senate - five more votes than needed for passage.
The Legislature is in lame-duck session until Jan. 9, when the new session is sworn-in.
Patti Page, who died New Year's Day in California at age 85, was the best-selling female singer of the 1950s. Her biggest hit was The Tennessee Waltz, which simultaneously became No. 1 on the pop, country and R&B charts.
Other big hits: I Went To Your Wedding, Doggie in the Window, Mockin' Bird Hill, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and Allegheny Moon.
Emailed Thursday from Victory Fund:
Earlier today Tammy Baldwin raised her hand and swore an oath to "well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office" she was about to enter. Now we can officially call her Senator Tammy Baldwin. LGBT Americans have finally broken through a glass ceiling that held firm for more than two centuries.
This is real progress – a victory for us all. And this is a moment to smile, celebrate and raise a glass to toast a record number of out federal lawmakers.
We'll be celebrating tomorrow evening at a reception in Washington that's growing larger and larger by the day. More than 500 are now expected to applaud Senator Baldwin and her six openly gay and bisexual colleagues who were sworn in as members of the House of Representatives today. We hope you can join us.
If you can't make it, I hope you will send your congratulations by signing our card right now.
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
An upcoming Supreme Court decision on whether a woman must pay inheritance tax on her late wife’s estate could also determine whether Coral Gables newlyweds Daniel Zavala and Yohandel Ruiz get to stay together in the United States.
Zavala and Ruiz, along with thousands of other gay and lesbian binational couples, face separation because of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex spouses.
“I should not have to leave the country to be with the person I love,” said Cuban-born Ruiz, an American citizen who grew up in Hialeah. “I should be able to sponsor my husband, Daniel, to stay in the country.”
Zavala, now 27, visited Miami from Mexico about two years ago on a tourist visa. He met Ruiz, now 37, one night in Score nightclub on Lincoln Road in South Beach. He commuted between both countries during their courtship. The men wed in Washington, D.C., on May 1, 2012. Two days later, Zavala’s tourist visa expired.
“We didn’t want to break any laws so we decided to get married,” Ruiz said. “I petitioned for Daniel, like any normal spouse would do. We were denied.”
In November, Ruiz received a letter from the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services.
“Both you and the beneficiary are male,” an Immigration officer wrote to Ruiz, after he petitioned to sponsor Zavala. “The [U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act] does not specifically define the term ‘spouse’ with respect to gender, but Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) states for purposes of eligibility for federal benefits, ‘marriage’ means ‘only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife’ and the word ‘spouse’ refers ‘only to a person of the opposite sex who is not a husband or a wife.’”
The letter from Missouri infuriated the men. “We don't even have the decency of getting an interview. If you’re going to deny me, deny me to my face. I want them to tell me that in person,” Ruiz said. He and Zavala are fighting the written ruling and still seeking an in-person interview.
“We want them interviewed and scrutinized like all other green-card marriages to determine that, except for DOMA, they meet all the requirements for approval,” said the men’s attorney, Lavi Soloway, who specializes in same-sex immigration cases.
Studies have shown there are about 40,000 same-sex binational couples living in the United States, Soloway said.
Soloway, who with law partner Noemi Masliah heads The DOMA Project: Binational Couples Fight For Equality, said Immigration has treated same-sex couples inconsistently.
“There are gay and lesbian spouses who have been interviewed, they receive employment authorization, they receive the benefit of lawful status of pending green card applications,” Soloway said. “They're eligible for Social Security cards, can open bank accounts, get driver’s licenses.”
Zavala, who has a degree in international relations from a Mexican university, cannot legally work in the United States or drive a car. He fears that if he leaves the United States, he won’t be able to return. He couldn’t attend his grandfather’s recent funeral in Mexico and his mother, being treated for cancer, had to visit Miami so she could see her son.
Ruiz, an interior designer who graduated from Design and Architecture High School in Miami and Florida International University, could move to Mexico with Zavala, where their American marriage would be recognized.
Zavala says that’s an unfair choice. “He shouldn’t be pushed away from his family because his country doesn’t recognize our marriage,” he said.
The DOMA Project recently posted a seven-minute video about Ruiz and Zavala to YouTube, Yohandel & Daniel: DOMA Threatens Young Love.
“We spoke with the lawyer and he asked if we were willing to participate and be advocates in his organization,” Zavala said. “It’s a better idea to do something than to sit and wait for something to happen. We thought this video would put some pressure to move things forward.”
Gay marriage equality is now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, Argentina, much of Mexico, parts of Europe and South Africa. Thirty-eight states, including Florida, have anti-gay marriage laws or constitutional amendments banning recognition of same-sex weddings.
There is a movement in Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which also permits states to not recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere. South Florida lawmakers Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson are among 156 co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act, according to Freedom to Marry, a New York-based gay-rights group.
Before Congress ever votes on full repeal of DOMA, a portion of the law might be tossed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Last month, justices agreed to hear the case of Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old New Yorker who got hit with $363,053 in inheritance taxes after her wife, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. Windsor and Spyer, together 44 years, were married in 2007 in Canada and their home state recognized the marriage, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Windsor sued the U.S. government and last October a federal appeals court sided with her and declared DOMA unconstitutional.
When the Supreme Court agreed to hear Windsor’s case, justices said they would focus exclusively on DOMA’s Section 3 — the very section used by Homeland Security to deny residency for same-sex spouses.
“The law is clearly in a state of flux,” Soloway said. “It’s headed for its ultimate decision, ultimate ruling in June.”
January 03, 2013 in Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Immigration, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Palm Beach County, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0)
BY JOHN HANNA, ASSOCIATED PRESS
TOPEKA, Kan. -- The state of Kansas is trying to force a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple to pay child support, arguing that the agreement he and the women signed releasing him from all parental duties was invalid because they didn't go through a doctor.
Under Kansas law, a doctor's involvement shields a man from being held responsible for a child conceived through artificial insemination. At least 10 other states have similar laws, including California, Illinois and Missouri, according to the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
William Marotta and the couple he helped have a daughter didn't go through a doctor, so the department is asking a state court to hold him responsible for about $6,000 that the child's biological mother received through public assistance - as well as future child support.