I have nothing novel or interesting to say about the original Romanoff’s…nothing at all. It was a famed Beverly Hills in-crowd restaurant that peaked in the ’40s and ’50s, and was frequented almost daily during this hallowed era by Humphrey Bogart, according to biographer Ezra Goodman. The owner, Michael Romanoff (1890 – 1971) was a character with a bit of a shady past. Some used the admiring, affectionate term of “con man”. He claimed to be descended from Russian royalty, but was actually born as Hershel Geguzin in Lithuania, worked as a Brooklyn pants presser, was deported to France in May of ’32 to serve time for fraud, etc. The movie crowd loved him. The first version of Romanoff’s, located at 326 No. Rodeo Drive (north of Wilshire), ran between ’41 and ’51; the second version (240 So. Rodeo Drive) ran from ’51 to ’62. Romanoff played a maitre’d in a studio simulation of Romanoff’s in A Guide for the Married Man (’67).
Posted on 9.11.20: Last night I watched the new 4K UHD Psycho Bluray disc, and I’m very sorry to report that portions of it are grainstormed all to hell, and I mean totally smothered in swarms of digital micro-mosquitoes.
There were complaints here and there about the previous Psycho Bluray (the 2010 50th anniversary edition) being overly DNR’ed (digital noise reduction), and so the Universal Home Video grain monks (i.e., “the grainmakers”) went into the control room and took their revenge.
The older DNR’d Psycho Bluray (which I can no longer find on Amazon) is much more pleasing to the eye. Yes, I know that the DNR’ed look isn’t what the film really looked like when it came out of the lab in ’60, and I couldn’t care less. All the surfaces and textures look clean and smooth and ultra-detailed, but now the Universal gremlins have injected hundreds of billions of throbbing mosquitoes into this classic Hitchcock film.
By the way: As noted earlier, the 4K Psycho includes some excised material that had never been available before, including a brief glimpse of Janet Leigh side-boob as Anthony Perkins watches her undress through a peephole.
Also: The knifing of Arbogast (Martin Balsam) at the bottom of the stairs now includes two or three extra stabbing strokes. Except the sound of Arbogast’s “arrhhwwghhhh!” is oddly delayed. The knife plunges in a couple of times, but he doesn’t go “arrhhwwghhhh!” until the third stab. Brilliant.
Note: The top video clip is an ECU of the Bates Motel parlor scene from the new 4K disc. The Egyptian mosquito grainstorm effect is obvious to the naked eye. The below video clip is an ECU of a scene from the 2010 Psycho Bluray — very little grain to speak of.
All I can tell you is that Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin‘s Tina (HBO Max, 3.27) instantly bored me. I could just feel an intention…actually a determination to be as kind and worshipful as possible…to go easy and paint an adoring portrait of a great pop superstar blah blah. So after watching for 15 or 20 I turned it off. So I don’t know anything except what I could feel coming around the corner.
Here’s a 5.16.21 review from someone who actually sat through it — i.e., The Spool‘s B.L. Panther:
“Just like the Whitney (’18) documentary before it, Tina begins with the intention of teaching us how to better appreciate its subject only to get caught up in the same drama it set out to avoid. As a result, we learn little else.
“There’s no real delving into her musicianship and development of sound/style during her solo years. The years in between Ike [Turner] and the Private Dancer album seem rife with explorations of LA cabaret scenes, how TV became instrumental in crafting celebrity stories/careers, and how Tina was discovering what it meant to be herself at that time.
“Indeed the discussions of Tina’s music largely take a backseat. Her later albums are unremarked upon. I want to know how and why Wildest Dreams sounds like it does. Does she have nothing to say about recording an iconic Bond theme? We learn nothing about how to better listen to Tina. No musical collaborators appear to talk about being with Tina in the studio/on set.
“This is a woman who toured and performed with the greats yet we hear nothing about how Tina fits within mutual exchanges of inspiration happening across the pond in the 70s and 80s. She’s ‘the woman who taught Mick Jagger how to dance’ yet we never hear that story or what it means for us. How does Tommy fit into the story of freedom in Europe she talks about in the documentary? We never learn why she settled in Europe and relinquished her American citizenship.
“Most of all I wish we could have understood more of how love has changed Tina’s life. There’s zero mention of how it saved her life. There was such a persistent void of love in her early life that an exploration of how Erwin Bach changed her and how love affected what she sang about or how she sang it. How did her Buddhist faith practice evolve once she found the love she’d been searching for? That questions like these still linger shows that there’s not enough follow-through with some of the other big motifs Lindsay and Martin set out at the beginning.
As part of its recent review of The Carole Lombard Collection 2 in 1080p, DVD Beaver has compared screen shots of an old Lombard collection on DVD vs. the new Bluray masters. Here, for example, are comparisons of a shot from Mitchell Leisen‘s Hands Across The Table (’35), which costarred Lombard and Fred MacMurray.
The brighter, sharper, more glistening image is from the 2006 DVD and the grayer, darker, murkier image is from the 4.6.21 Bluray.
Who in their right mind would even toy with the idea of buying the Lombard Bluray set? What Bluray technician in his or her right mind would say, “Okay, let’s see…we want the Bluray to deliver a ‘bump’ over the DVD — something that looks sharper, richer, more gleaming — so let’s make the film look grayer, duller and less contrasty…like it’s covered in light fog and muck sauce.”
Gary W. Tooze‘s DVD Beaver review excerpt: “The three films in this set were offered on DVD in 2006 as part of Universal’s ‘Carole Lombard — The Glamour Collection.’ The new 1080p image quality advances the presentation with more layered contrast, although the first two films can appear ‘lighter’ by comparison..”
More honest Tooze: “The Bluray has more information, of course, but it looks kinda shitty.”
Rifkin’s Festival is definitely among Woody Allen‘s worst films. (Here’s my 2.12.21 review.) But if Allen had included a scene in which the 77-year-old Wallace Shawn is knocked down and swept along by one of those rogue waves that routinely smash against the fortified San Sebastian coastline, it would have been a whole different thing. Just the thought of Shawn and costar Elena Anaya marvelling at the choppy seas and then…WHUHSHHH! Obliterated, devoured, soaked…both of them squealing like piglets. I hated Shawn’s crabby, gnomish septugenarian, you see, so his getting all-but-destroyed by a wave would have been…kinda perfect!
The San Sebastian waves are famous. It was derelict of Allen not to include such a scene.
Joe Biden slipped three times while boarding Air Force One, okay, but he didn’t do it like some frail nursing-home geriatric. He fell like a guy in good shape, like a marathon runner, like an old workout Nazi. He wasn’t “walking” up the stairs but almost jogging up them…springing along like an antelope or mountain goat. Then he turned and saluted. His stumble wasn’t even in the same ballpark as Gerald Ford‘s infamous Air Force One fall.
In short, it’s not if you fall (everybody slips occasionally) but how you do it…whether you fall with grace and style, and how quickly you recover.
Hollywood Elsewhere enjoys and approves of Covid altercations in which obvious sociopaths (i.e., those who inconvenience others by refusing to wear masks) are booed, jeered and wrestled to the ground when somebody takes a swing at a heckler.
It happened at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood airport; the offenders were three women from Chicago. They were kicked off a Chicago-bound plane for not wearing face masks, according to Miami’s 7News. While being led back to the terminal by security, an angry crowd began booing and heckling and then one of the women took a swing at a heckler, and shit quickly got real.