Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive Instant - Family Picks: GOOD-BYE, MY LADY, IT'S A DOG'S LIFE and RAINBOWBRITE ""

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Warner Archive Instant - Family Picks: GOOD-BYE, MY LADY, IT'S A DOG'S LIFE and RAINBOWBRITE

GOOD-BYE, MY LADY (1956; William A. Wellman)
I discovered this wonderful and touching film via Warner Archive's DVD release a few years ago. It actually came recommended from one of their podcast gang and it was a home run for me. It's up there with OLD YELLER and WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS as 'boy and his dog' movies go. It's pretty wonderful. In fact, it's on my short list of the best dog movies ever made. Brandon de Wilde is excellent (as the young boy) as are Walter Brennan, Sidney Poitier and Phil Harris (most known for his Disney voice-acting). I adore the relationship between de Wilde and Walter Brennan in this film. Just delightful. And a film from William A. Wellman who I have come to really appreciate over the past 5 years or so. Such a fantastic and diverse filmography. A truly great and overlooked filmmaker. 
GOOD-BYE MY LADY was one of my favorite discoveries of 2012:

IT'S A DOG'S LIFE (1955; Herman Hoffman)
Speaking of great dog movies, this one is played out entirely from the point of view of a male bull terrier. He even narrates the whole film (voiced wonderfully by a young Vic Morrow!). It's a charming, but at times gritty story of a New York City waterfront dog who ends up ok a journey from there to the Bowery to high society. Along the way he encounters Edmund Gwenn (Santa Claus himself) and Hammer film favorite Dean Jagger (in what is certainly one of his best performances). This gets a high recommend to dog lovers, though there are some plot bits involving dog fights (which are handled with great care and never shown), just FYI. It's just a remarkable little fable of a film, with many humorous and clever details and nice storytelling touches thrown in. One of my favorite discoveries of 2014 so far.
Bonus Recommendation:
RAINBOW BRITE AND THE STAR STEALER (1985; Bernard Deyries/Kimio Yabuki)
Before the internet, social media and other contemporary marketing tools, toy companies had to work a little harder to sell toys (not to say that it is easy for them now). They used to make whole theatrical motion pictures as well as Saturday Morning cartoons to do it. The result, especially in the 1980s tended to be some sonewhat clunky, but often decidedly odd movies and animated shows. 
I have a very specific memory of RAINBOW BRIGHT AND THE STAR STEALER from when I was a kid. My family was not a first-adopter when it came to home video, but circa 1986 or so, I know we had our first VCR. It was a Betamax machine. I remember going to our local video store (which in iur case was contained in a large local supermarket) and picking out the first movies we ever rented with my family. I'm pretty sure one of my younger sisters chose it, but RAINBOW BRITE AND THE STAR STEALER made it into the group. It stands out in my memory not for being an amazing movie, but because it was the first thing we ever watched in this exiting new home video format.

I for one would love to see more kid friendly animated fare like this come to WAC Instant. I know they've put out quite a bit of Hanna-Barbera product on disc and I adore those releases (see my myriad reviews), but I think it's always nice to be able to share these old cartoons with my kids and I'm guessing Warner Archive has some interesting stuff accessible to them. I've been pleasantly surprised to see that my daughter has resounded quite favorably to old cartoons (she likes them as much as new ones almost).
RAINBOW BRITE never looked anywhere near this good on that old Beta tape as it does here let me tell you. As you might imagine, Rainbow Brite is a very colorful character and her world is equally pretty in that respect. It's a nice choice for Warner Archive Instant's HD 1080p streaming and is quite pleasant to look at this way. I love seeing old animation in high-definition, it always brings it up to another level.

 As mentioned above, all these titles are currently streaming via Warner Archive Instant:
(which has a 2 week free trial if you haven't jumped on board yet)


Caftan Woman said...

William Wellman wrote that the lack of success for "Goodbye, My Lady" always perplexed him. Perhaps now is the time when appreciate for the truly fine film will grow.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Such a wonderful film!