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Monday, June 23, 2008

Cagney's Chaney Sees the Light of Day After a Decade

I thought I'd point out today that James Cagney's excellent Lon Chaney biopic The Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) is being released to DVD tomorrow. The late Cagney classic has been out of circulation since 1998, when it was initially released at the dawning of the digital video age. Since then, it's become very hard to come by, so if you've never seen it, nows your chance.

Although in my opinion the finest leading man of the Hollywood studio era, Cagney grew weary of the endless gangster roles he was so damn good at. And so this project was close to his heart, a chance to stretch his acting chops and show moviegoers all he could do. Some balk at the schmaltziness and general whitewashing of Chaney's career (par for the course for most biopics at the time), but for my money this is one of Cagney's best performances, and that covers a lot of ground.

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Well, I don't know about you folks, but I've been spending most of the night on YouTube immersed in the national treasure that was George Carlin. It's become cliche when a public figure passes to say that the world will be a little emptier without them, but in this rare case it is literally and irrefutably true. We've really lost something here--one of the greatest humorists in American history, in point of fact. Carlin was scheduled to receive the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this November, and I don't think it's any stretch at all to imagine that ol' Sam Clemens would be damn proud of George Carlin and his body of work. Enjoy:

1 comment:

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