Archive for the ‘Decade: 1970's’ Category

The Partridge Family on Prime

September 17, 2022

Amazon Prime is currently streaming all four seasons of The Partridge Family (1970-1974). Take a wild ride back in time to that psychedelic bubblegum bus which transported all of us to a Friday night escape from some very dark times. I chose the cruise episode where Laurie goes on a date with a fabulist. And the Lauriebelle episode where Keith convinces Laurie to impersonate a southern belle and pose as his fake date to impress a girl he’s interested in. That initial scene with Keith, Danny, and Laurie cracks me up every time I watch it. Whatever you watch, have fun!

The Partridge Family currently streams on Amazon Prime.
Read Reel Charlie’s 50th Anniversary of The Partridge Family from 2020.

Merchant Ivory Restorations: August 2022 Quad Cinema, NYC

July 29, 2022

There’s five Wednesdays in August 2022 and the Quad Cinema in NYC features a different restored Merchant Ivory film each week. From the Quad,

From the Vault: Cohen Film Collection

Every Wednesday in August — Gorgeous restorations of Merchant Ivory films!

New 4K digital restorations of Howards End, The Bostonians, and more.

Up first is one of my all-time Merchant Ivory favorites and definitely my top favorite films of all-time, Howards End. From the Quad,

One of Merchant Ivory’s undisputed masterpieces, this adaptation of E.M. Forster’s classic 1910 novel is a saga of class relations and changing times in Edwardian England. Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson) and her sister Helen (Helena Bonham Carter) become involved with two couples: a wealthy, conservative industrialist (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife (Vanessa Redgrave), and a working-class man (Samuel West) and his mistress (Niccola Duffett). The interwoven fates and misfortunes of these three families and the diverging trajectories of the two sisters’ lives are connected to the ownership of Howards End, a beloved country home. A compelling, brilliantly acted study of one woman’s struggle to maintain her ideals and integrity in the face of Edwardian society’s moribund conformist values. A Cohen Film Collection release 4K restoration!

Check out the Quad’s website for more information.

Little Women (1978)

July 21, 2022

The 1978 TV movie version of Louisa Mae Alcott’s Little Women may not be the best version, but for pop culture fans from the late 70’s, it’s a virtual Who’s Who cast featuring:

Susan Dey (The Partridge Family; L.A. Law) as Josephine ‘Jo’ March
Meredith Baxter Birney (Bridget Loves Bernie and late-life out lesbian) as Meg March
Eve Plumb (Jan Brady) as Elizabeth ‘Beth’ March
Ann Dusenberry as Amy March
Dorothy McGuire (Gentleman’s Agreement) as Marmee March
William Schallert (Patty Duke’s Dad) as Jonathan March
Greer Garson (Mrs. Miniver) as Aunt Kathryn March
Robert Young (Father Knows Best; Marcus Welby, M.D.) as Grandpa James Laurence
Richard Gilliland (Designing Women; Jean Smart’s husband) as Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence
William Shatner (Captain Kirk) as Professor Friedrich Bhaer
Cliff Potts as John Brooke
Virginia Gregg as Hannah
Joyce Bulifant (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) as Mrs. Kirke

The show went on to win a 1979 Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Series. It’s absolutely beloved by fans like me who memorized 70’s television. I always miss my dearly departed first partner Joe Greenwood who would have suggested sitting through all 194 minutes of this mini-series long before I pulled the DVD out. Few since then have that obsession and understanding. The show came in last place in The Hollywood Reporter’s list of the best Little Women adaptations, mostly because of

“Jo’s grinding narration or the Easter-colored set design/costuming, which deflate this misstep even further..”

which of course isn’t Susan Dey’s fault. Oprah Daily was a bit kinder. Corrine H. Smith’s blog, The Little Women Project: Reviews of all of the Movies digs a bit deeper,

“My favorite character to watch is Robert Young, who portrays Mr. Laurence. What an inspiring choice for this role! He plays the kindly gentleman perfectly. I like to hear his voice and to watch his interactions with the girls. And he looks great with his full head of white hair and his bushy mustache. Not Marcus Welby-like at all.

I have to admit that Susan Dey grew on me, as Jo. I didn’t expect her to succeed in the role, and she does, at least in my opinion. But the oddest part of this show comes when she meets Professor Friedrich Bhaer, who is at least 15 years older than she is. Someone decided to fill this spot with William Shatner. C’mon! Laurie Partridge meets Captain Kirk? Really? And he has to put on a fake German accent too, to boot? Geesh. We can only suspend our disbelief so far, you know. In spite of this mis-match, I like most of this movie. I would watch it again. Especially since I know who will show up near the end.”

This network television mini-series proves sweet and sincere. I thought in particular Susan, Eve, and Ann did a great job. And of course Dorothy and Greer were channeling their inner Violet Crawley. Edith Head did the costumes and Elmer Bernstein did the score. Bravo to NBC for sinking their teeth into this classic novel’s adaption, one of fourteen adaptations! 3 out of 5 for this ode to the 1970’s.

Little Women (1978) is available on DVD. It currently does not stream anywhere.
The blog Everything Susan Dey featured a large amount of stills from the mini-series.

Susan Dey as Jo in Little Women (1978).

Memorial Day 2022

May 30, 2022

There are all types of films about war – the war itself, the aftermath, the consequences, those left behind. War after war after war. I hope we can achieve world peace in my lifetime. I have always thought that was attainable. I have to think it’s possible. What other way is there to live? Meanwhile, we honor and celebrate those who died in service with a variety of war-related films Reel Charlie gives high marks.

5 Broken Cameras
The Best Years of Our Lives
Good Morning Vietnam
Home Fires
The Hurt Locker
Joyeux Noel
Judgement at Nuremberg
Poster Girl/Iraq Paper Scissors
The Tilman Story

Releases on Blu-ray

May 21, 2022

Shout Factory just released the television series, The Six Million Dollar Man on Blu-ray. Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with releasing this Lee Majors show from the 70’s. But now that they’ve done it, I have a list of really great films and television begging to be remastered for quality viewing:

9 to 5
First Love
The Watermelon Woman
You Can Count on Me
Muriel’s Wedding
Station Agent
Lilies (all John Greyson)
Walk on Water – (all Eytan Fox)
TV: The Golden Girls, Queer as Folk(U.S. 2000), and Six Feet Under

Since keeping this list for the past few years, I will say a few made it to Blu-ray. Hurray for:

Suddenly Last Summer (Indicator)
Secrets and Lies (Criterion)
Hairspray (Warner Bros)

Please, please, please continue releasing great films and television on Blu-ray and 4K. Meanwhile, what are your gems you’d like to see remastered in Hi-Def?

Visible: Out on Television

March 26, 2022

Finally able to watch the outstanding and important 5-part docu-series, Visible: Out on Television about LGBTQ representation in television. Not to sound all smarty pants, but even I learned a number of new facts. From the 50’s to 2020 (when it was released), Visible: Out on Television packs a powerful punch with episodes devoted to:

Episode 1: The Dark Ages – 50’s and 60’s
Episode 2: Television as a Tool – 70’s and 80’s
Episode 3: The Epidemic: 80’s and 90’s
Episode 4: Breakthroughs: late 90’s forward
Episode 5: The New Guard

Love, love, love this outstanding and necessary look at the journey television has taken depicting LGBTQ people and our communities. Bravo to Executive Producers Wilson Cruz, Wanda Sykes, Jessica Hargrave, and Ryan White for making this happen. 5 out of 5. Must-see and a fascinating look at the history of television and the queer community. Stands tall on the shoulders of Vito Russo’s work.

Visible: Out on Television currently streams on Apple TV+.

Pet Set

February 1, 2022

Several Betty White gems have been circulating and with her recent death, these old shows have become treasure troves into a life well-lived. In 1971, she and husband Allen Ludden produced Pet Set, a talk show format television show with an emphasis on celebrity pets and other exotic and farm animals. Each week a different guest showed up with their pet(s) in tow. The theme of the week revolved around the celebrity and the particular pet. Pet Set showcased Betty’s gigantic love and care for animals, a lifelong passion. The show itself is a time capsule of low budget television programming in the early 1970’s. The set is simple and most of the show is non-scripted. Some of the non-celebrity guests are a bit awkward. It reminds me of cable access television from the 80’s and 90’s. And I say that in the most sincere, respectful way possible. These kind of DIY shows can surprise you with their intimacy and charm. And like the Lucille Ball radio show that’s been remastered as a podcast, Let’s Talk to Lucy from the mid-60’s, these shows are also a great glimpse into a woman’s place in the world – how they saw themselves and each other. Pet Set‘s a great look back on a one-year project in Betty’s life which exhibits her colossal love of animals. 3.5 out of 5 for this funny, heart-warming show.

Pet Set streams on IMDbTV free with commercials and on DVD from your local public library.

Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story

January 31, 2022

Brought home the DVD from the library of the new documentary, Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story. Frid was a talented actor who gained fame playing Barnabas Collins in the gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows which aired in the U.S. from 1966 – 1971. The series didn’t gain momentum until Frid’s Barnabas was introduced 10 months into the series. After that it became a huge success. I remember meeting Jonathan at Penn State in the late 70’s when he was touring with a theater production. He was gracious and unassuming. I had no idea Frid was gay until recently and it’s mentioned briefly towards the end of the documentary. Frid came of age when being gay was illegal and according to a friend never spoke about it. Everyone around him knew, but he never had any relationships – at least none his family or friends knew about. Although he acted on stage before and after the soap opera, he never dissociated himself with Dark Shadows. He embraced his fans and appreciated what it gave him. This is a quiet documentary meant for fans of Frid and the show. 3.5 out of 5.

Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story is available streaming on Amazon Prime for a rental fee or free on disk from your local public library.

#1 Christmas Album 50 Years Ago (1971)

December 24, 2021

It’s been 50 years since The Partridge Family released their 1971 holiday album, A Christmas Card. The record became the highest selling Christmas LP of the year! Part of what continues to make this album timeless are the producers and background vocalists who added a very distinctive sound to the songs. From an article on WSAU,

Only Cassidy and Jones sang on the records and none of the group actually played their instruments. That was The Wrecking Crew, the crack group of LA studio hands including Hal Blaine, Max Bennett and (on this record) Dennis Budmir and Louie Shelton on guitars. The background vocals were from a quartet featuring brothers Tom & John Bahler, Ron Hicklin and Jackie Ward.

What makes this not your run of the mill Christmas album are the arrangements of Wes Farrell who worked on most of their hits as well. He took the classic songs we all know and did them differently. White Christmas is faster than you remember…Rockin Around The Christmas Tree slower. They do Santa Claus is Coming To Town as a mid-tempo tune and Frosty The Snowman as a slow, bluesy piano ballad.

Cassidy sings most but Jones gets her turn on The Christmas Song and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, a song that was featured on the TV show in 1971.

I agree. And even though I’m more than a bit biased, the album really holds up beautifully 50 years later. I continue to play it each holiday season. The album pairs beautifully with the only holiday episode, “Don’t Bring Your Guns to Town, Santa” (December 17, 1971). Below find a few of the songs from YouTube, including the original My Christmas Card to You.




June 11, 2021

This nearly lost 1972 documentary, F.T.A. focuses on the Free Theater Associates, an anti-war variety show offering up an alternative to Bob Hope’s sexist revue as F.T.A. performs at Pan Pacific U.S. military bases. The idea came to Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland after finishing the film, Klute. The other players included Pamela Donegan, Len Chandler, Michael Alaimo, Holly Near, Paul Mooney, Rita Martinson, Peter Boyle, Steve Jaffe, and Yale Zimmerman. I found this film to be a fascinating historical capsule of what it was like when anti-war entertainers met with active military personal. Yes there was entertainment, but there was also a lot of dialogue and conversation around how the military felt about their part in the Vietnam war. We rarely hear about these two sides coming together. Great perspective and worth seeking out. 4 out of 5.

F.T.A. currently can be streamed on various platforms for a rental fee and is available on disk from your local public library.

F.T.A. remastered trailer from Kino Lorber on YouTube:

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