27 May 2011

Diary of a Madman and Twice Told Tales

Diary of a Madman and Twice Told Tales Good and Spooky
By Kristin Battestella

I know I know.  Spring blooms fresh fragrances and gentle breezes carry the promise of summer barbecues and crispy delectables galore.  And what am I doing? Indulging away from the sunshine with some more spooky Vincent Price treats like Diary of a Madman and Twice Told Tales.  Sue me.

Diary Of A MadmanIn Diary of a Madman, Magistrate Simon Cordier (Price) leaves a fantastical diary account to be read upon his funeral.  After sentencing a prisoner to death for murder, the mysterious and non-corporeal but clearly evil Horla that haunted the prisoner attaches itself to Cordier with invisible tricks, corrupt ideas, and deadly possessions.  In an attempt to curb the Horla’s preying on his mind, Cordier returns to his art and sculpting work.  He hires model Odette Mallotte (Nancy Kovack) to pose for him, but the Horla (voiced by Joseph Ruskin) insists she is not as charming as she seems.  The malevolent entity works to ruin the romance, and Cordier vows resistance as the Horla’s crimes increase.    

Loosely adapted from several short stories by Guy de Maupassant, director Reginald Le Borg (Voodoo Island, Joe Palooka) and screenwriter Robert E. Kent (Rock Around the Clock, Tower of London) craft this 1963 film with a frame of mystery, mind control, and an early air of science fiction horror.  Truly, the only thing that hinders Diary of a Madman is the obvious Anglo takeover of what is clearly a French tale. The costuming, styles, and set design look more like Victorian New York thanks to the standard, bebustled fashions and reusable stock buildings. The fact that there are also no European accents to go along with names like Odette and Cordier doesn’t help, either.  There are a few bad effects and some over the top if atmospheric music- but those are part of the old-fashioned sixties horror charm.  Though familiar, the spooky house sets have plenty of great staircases and appropriately cobwebbed attics, too.

Vincent Price (House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum) begins Diary of a Madman as a reputable judge. Thanks to his mellow delivery, strong stature, and proud presence, we believe his good guy origins despite our built-in over the top bad guy viewer meter. Unfortunately, that same meter just knows things are going to get creepy!  He’s charming to those around him, but Cordier slowly unravels in private thanks to his lone witness of the Horla’s trauma.  Price shows both the strength needed to combat the invisible entity and the cracked weakness as the Horla takes over.  Although I must again ask- why are the women in these films always so much younger than Big V? Nancy Kovack (Jason and the Argonauts, Bewitched) is the pretty face, yes, but Odette has a fast look and somewhat husky style that seduces Cordier. Though abstract, long time television actor Joseph Ruskin’s vocals carry plenty of evil onscreen weight and conversational foil with Price as well. Through his dialogue and the invisible hijinks, the audience can indeed believe in this deadly malignance.  Yes of course, it can be somewhat silly.  Diary of a Madman, after all, is in its simplicity ninety minutes of Vincent Price shouting at thin air! Despite the leap of faith for some contemporary viewers, the cast, suspense, and a scare or two win.

Though not often considered a literary horror grandfather like frequent Price film adaptee Edgar Allan Poe, 1963’s Twice Told Tales takes its cue from the dark and thought provoking stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne (oh but I do despise The Scarlett Letter!).  Also written for the screen by Robert E. Kent, director Sidney Salkow (The Last Man on Earth) clearly has a small budget with which to work.  Some of the transformation effects hold up very well, but the photography is dark or somehow drab with a plain palette and ill-lit scheme.  The sound is also quite poor. Fortunately, even with these technical quibbles, the cast and drama deliver spooky and ironic entertainment nonetheless.

In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” Big V helps a wonderfully bittersweet Sebastian Cabot (Family Affair) get over the death of his tragically long deceased wife Sylvia (Mari Blanchard, McLintock!) - with drastic measures of course.  Again, some of the crypt sequence is a little too dark.  However, the Victorian fashion and decor fits the period bill; spooky lightning and depressing portraits add to the lost youth and desperate desires.  Yes, this debut segment is a little mellow to start, but it’s nice to see Price as the disbelieving friend rather than the over the top madman we expect.  Of course, all is not what it seems, either, and the juicy twists are, well, juicy.

As the possessive father in “Rappacinni’s Daughter,” Price is again on form, as are Brett Halsey (Return to Peyton Place, The Godfather Part III) and Joyce Taylor (Atlantis: The Lost Continent).  Again, the Venetian setting is a little plastic in its stage like scheme. However, the period setting with foul things afoot comes across just fine.  There’s just something about dramatis personae and a spooky tale to tell that trumps minimal design- and most certainly bests recent horror slice and dice remakes that place visual shock over performance substance.

Twice-told TalesBeverly Garland (My Three Sons, Scarecrow and Mrs. King) joins Price and Jacqueline de Wit (Tea and Sympathy) for a touch of Salem in this third and final segment based on the famed “House of the Seven Gables.” It’s a bit more romantically over the top than I usually prefer, but the family secrets, ongoing witchy, and accursed houses make for a stylized mix of classic dramatic piece with a hint of gothic flair. Though contemporary audiences may dismiss these shorts from an obscure sixties horror anthology film, or at the least desire feature length, full blown gothic treatment; Twice Told Tales is a fine piece of Twilight Zone- esque bizarrity, performance, and moral examination.

But of course, Diary of a Madman has only recently become available on DVD, and is not currently available with online rental or streaming services.  Twice Told Tales also suffers from elusive DVD prints and variously affordable editions, usually double billed with Tales of Terror. The occasional late night television airing can be good for a fun family scare, but the editing and cut material can hamper the viewing for a super enthusiast.  Yes, the overly comical, too brief, and of the time low budget horror sixties glory may be too much for today’s younger audiences.  Fans of Price and this particular genre, however, will find Diary of a Madman and Twice Told Tales fine, entertaining fair for an indulgent, stormy spring evening.


26 May 2011

Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean

Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean Simply Hysterical
By Kristin Battestella

I’ve been watching the nineties British funnyman Mr. Bean for years, so when my husband offered to sit down and watch the entire series set Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean, I settled in and laughed until I cried all over again.  Only afterwards did my usual thought process dawn on me: watched it, now review it!

Mr. Bean - The Whole Bean (Complete Set)Though seemingly an intelligent and respectable man doing trigonometry or going out on the town, the mostly silent or mumbling Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is a little inept at socialization, to say the least.  Always wearing the same tweed jacket, brown pants, and slim red tie, he often misunderstands human subtleties and behaviors. Bean generally does simple tasks in absurd, roundabout, Rube Goldberg ways, and can be downright nasty to those that interfere with his person- the driver of a three- wheeled blue Reliant, for example, or a magician who takes his watch for a trick.  As a direct result of his selfish and erroneous ways, Bean- whose first name and origins are not entirely known- has an unusual romance with Irma Gobb (Matilda Ziegler).  He does, however, seem to love Teddy, his aptly named teddy bear - but that doesn’t save the stuffed animal from some of Mr. Bean’s most disastrous actions.

Writers Robin Driscoll (who also penned the feature films Bean and Mr. Bean’s Holiday), Robin Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually), and star Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder, The Thin Blue Line) create a fun and even lovable little man who is somehow also an unforgivably destructive, cruel, and near vindictive character. Thanks to superb comedic timing in “Mr. Bean in Room 426” and “The Return of Mr. Bean,” the simplest of ironies from the debut episode “Mr. Bean,” and great physical performance in “Mr. Bean Goes to Town” and “The Curse of Mr. Bean;” it’s the absurdity of impending disaster at which we laugh and enjoy.  To this day, my mother cannot make it through the dentistry hysteria in “The Trouble with Mr. Bean.” Some American audiences may find Mr. Bean slow, even boring and totally unfunny, particularly by the series’ final two episodes “Hair by Mr. Bean of London” and “Goodnight, Mr. Bean”.  However, it is the slow build up of layering stupidity that sets the series apart from other gag or gross out comedy.  How far will each sketch go? What is he going to do next? I can’t believe he just did that! Wait, wait for the topper! Mr. Bean’s mumbled speech and garbled reactions make it all the more amusing when he does say something of note as well.  Once we know his humorously disturbing ways, we forget Mr. Bean is a largely silent program relying mostly on visual performance and physicality alone to achieve each punch line.  Audiences of numerous languages around the world can enjoy The Whole Bean, because the tickling examination and absurdity of humanity gone awry is a hysterical rapport until itself.

After watching again with Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean, one must wonder how Rowan Atkinson did all the twisted things he did as the titular man himself.  Appearing in a beam of light at the beginning of each show and sometimes being sucked back into the light at the end of several episodes; it is strongly implied Bean is of alien origin.  We see Atkinson do the things he does as Bean in “Mr. Bean Rides Again,” witness his complete selfishness and utter disregard for others in “Back to School, Mr. Bean.”  It makes us ask ourselves, ‘How can he not know the basics of human life?’ Perhaps it is cruel to say, but there are times Atkinson does look alien indeed; his voice, appearance, style, and mannerisms are absolutely awkward and incredibly funny.  Sometimes, despite his ignorance, we even feel sorry for Mr. Bean thanks to Atkinson’s sad face and drooped shoulders.  Who knew the laughter he caused could be so endearing? Even though it is incredibly ridiculous that a grown man would have a teddy bear, much less think it is a real pet, Bean’s askew abuse amid his devotion to Teddy helps create attachment for the viewer.  Likewise, Bean’s woefully mistaken and immature relationship with Matilda Ziegler’s (Eastenders) Irma is great fun.  What on earth could she possibly see in him?

Of course, a few saucy parts or humorous nudity may mean Mr. Bean: The Animated Series is better for super young viewers, but the series here is relatively tame compared to shows today.   More things about Mr. Bean have become iconic instead; the great music and Latin lyrics by Howard Goodall (Red Dwarf, The Vicar of Dibley) for example.  Oh, the Mini Cooper and good old Teddy are always there despite whatever disasters- like being run over by a tank or shrunk in the dryer- befall them. Bean also seems to have a different apartment every time we see it, yet he is perpetually short of money, or at the very least, extremely frugal or just a tightwad and cheapskate.  Naturally, though a fairly recent video release, Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean looks old now to modern audiences. The series’ drab and cardboard design may be too poor and nineties Brit for some. However, the simplistic outdoor locations or sparse stage design are beside the point.  Mr. Bean is about the purity of irony and comedy with as little else as possible.  By making the simplest task or most familiar object comical, Mr. Bean remains fresh amid the contemporary gross out sequels and formulaic teen drivel.  

The Whole Bean is actually a relatively short compilation.  The series’ 14 half hour episodes, plus the extras and features on the set can be found for purchase affordably or rental and streaming for a quick one or two day marathon. Serious enthusiasts may go after the VHS versions or UK releases and other DVD editions, as ironically, there are several noticeable scenes missing from The Whole Bean – namely the guessing the weight of the turkey bit from “Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean.”  Annoying yes, but Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean suffices for its overall Bean fix. I feel like I’ve written so little on The Whole Bean, yet I’ve used a lot of big, abstract words in doing so.  Truly, perhaps the written word can’t describe Mr. Bean.  He has to be seen to be believed. New or young audiences can enjoy for the first time, and old school fans can revisit The Whole Bean again.  Behold the man who is a bean, indeed.

17 May 2011

May Mysteries, Thrillers, and Intrigue

May Mysteries and Thrillers
By Kristin Battestella

There’s nothing like a sudden Spring thunder buster to get one in the mood for some intellectual foils and heart pumping thrills! Here are a few old school staples, modern mysteries, and some foreign intrigue to shock and delight your inner whodunit.

Classic Must Sees

Strangers on a Train (Two-Disc Special Edition)Strangers on a Train – Passengers Robert Walker (Since You Went Away) and Farley Granger (Rope) plot to switch crimes in this slightly unloved but oft studied 1951 Alfred Hitchock (Psycho, people, I’ll just stop there!) thriller.  All the complex atmosphere and psychological analysis needed is here in duplicate.  Do we all have it in us for the anonymous kill?  What can drive a man to take such latent impulses into action? Infidelity? Shame?  Peer pressure?  Where does the wronged Average Joe end and the sociopath begin- and which of our men is which? How far can one take such crime and battles of seemingly pure versus the corrupt and expect to get away with it? Hitchcock’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel offers plenty of dual debate and subtextual suspense for the enthusiast as well as the uninitiated viewer. And on a side note, it’s so nice to see a fine DVD presentation and subtitles for the classics!

3 Days of the Condor [Blu-ray]Three Days of the Condor Sure, the music is a little dated, and you need some knowledge of seventies politics and sentiments of the time.  But this 1975 spy thriller directed by Oscar winner Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, Out of Africa) and starring Oscar nominee Robert Redford (The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Best Actress Faye Dunaway (Network, Mommie Dearest), Actor nominee Max von Sydow (The Exorcist), and Best Actor Cliff Robertson (Charly) is still intelligent, taut, well played, and mentally entertaining.  Whew! On a visual note, it’s great to see the young cast. Both the 70s bad- look at those huge glasses!-  and good- the World Trade Center figures significantly in the plot- are a lot of fun. The end is a little abrupt, but that is also kind of the point.  You’ll also notice I’ve said nothing about the plot itself.  That’s the point, too.

The Wrong ManThe Wrong Man – Academy Award winner Henry Fonda (Grapes of Wrath, Mister Roberts, On Golden Pond, 12 Angry Men) is accused of a crime he did not commit in this 1953 Hitchcock thriller ripped from the headlines of the day.  Also starring Vera Miles (Psycho, The Searchers), Fonda- though Italian- is a little as miscast as his mixed up everyman titular role- Emanuel Balestrero, really? We don’t actually think of Fonda as ethnic or a young musician, do we? But of course, he’s effing Henry Fonda, so despite the WASPness and stereotypical Italian implications, we root for him to get out of the downward law and order spiral nonetheless.  Besides, a case of disastrous mistaken identity is the point, isn’t it? Ah, the unreliability of eye witness testimony! Oh the hysteria, and if everyone would just calm down, and how we’re all caught up in the system and can never get above the bills!  Hitch keeps it all too close for comfort then and now, and we’re still on the edge of our seats, cringing at every turn as the hole gets deeper and deeper.

Decent Recents

Arlington RoadArlington Road (1999) – Are Jeff Bridges’ (Crazy Heart) nice, new neighbors Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption) and Joan Cusack (Working Girl) really terrorists up to no good?  Though both very nineties and a potentially touchy view in today’s global climate, director Mark Pellington (The Mothman Prophecies) and his fine cast keep the suspense on form and the doubt high.  Once you’ve already seen this one a few times, it can loose its luster, yes.  However, rewatching with a virgin viewer adds new intrigue and debate. Comparing what folks could get away with then that they can’t now or observing the preposterous impossibilities of film is also fun, too- especially against the scary notion of how easily we can be fooled, used, and abused.

The MachinistThe MachinistBefore he starved himself into Oscar glory, Christian Bale’s (Newsies, people, Newsies!) disturbingly skinny abilities stole the show in director Brad Anderson (Transsiberian) and writer Scott Kosar’s (The Crazies) 2005 thriller. Yes, it is a bit predictable, even obvious to seriously observant viewers.  However, this one really is about from where Bale is coming and how he gets to where he needs to be.  The subjective viewing; the muted, dreamlike palette and design; the clues for a careful viewer to find; and the intelligent interpretation keep The Machinist captivating despite the skeletal distractions- and yes, I was finally made to watch this one after praising that other skinny-fest, Hunger.  

ResurrectionResurrectionOkay, so there needs to be a built-in explanation for his French accent just like Jean-Claude Van Damme, but Christopher Lambert (Highlander) is wonderfully compelling here as a conflicted and faithless Chicago cop investigating a seriously twisted and disturbingly religious serial killer.  You wouldn’t know this was just a 1999 HBO original movie thanks to the fast paced look, sickeningly glorious crimes, and solid support from Leland Orser (The Bone Collector), Robert Joy (CSI: NY), and Rick Fox (you know, the former L.A. Laker, who knew?).  Even once you figure out this complex and intelligently referenced and written caper, the viewer can watch again for the emotion and strong character intensity and depth.

Brit Suspense

Agatha Christie's Poirot - After the FuneralPoirot: After the FuneralI hadn’t seen Agatha Christie’s famed Belgium detective in quite awhile - in fact, my sister always preferred the series more to my favored Columbo. However, this 2006 TV installment has been the first film to totally fool me in a looooong time!  While tight and complete in its presentation and intellect, After the Funeral takes at least three viewings to fully catch all the great wit and subtleties of crime and character. The thirties period style is also excellent and Sachet is in charming form along with a wonderful supporting ensemble including Geraldine James (Little Britain), Robert Bathurst (The Pillars of the Earth) and a young but no less juicy Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class).

Red RoadRed Road After enjoying her sophomore Cannes success Fish Tank, I took in a viewing of writer and director Andrea Arnold’s 2006 debut.  Though quiet to start and seemingly routine and mundane; taut, distorted, and intimate camerawork turns what seems so innocent into something wonderfully intriguing but no less voyeuristic and perverse.  The lines that normally define the viewer and players Kate Dickie (Prometheus, Game of Thrones) and Tony Curran (Underworld: Evolution) are blurred.  We just know this unsolved drama is going to take us some place as ugly, dangerous, and as seedy as the downtrodden Scottish landscapes.  The videotape usage and payphones also provide old familiarity to go along with the trapped monotony.  Red Road’s kinky is definitely not for kids, and may seem slow or confusing to Americans.  However, the seriously good story trumps our commonplace expectations for typically action packed thrillers that place shock and awe over the heartfelt realism here.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk StockingSherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk StockingThough it has been some time since I read me some Arthur Conan Doyle, it seems there have been several competing, rebooting, and/or capitalizations of Sherlock Holmes again recently.  In this 2004 BBC television production, Rupert Everett (An Ideal Husband) portrays Holmes as a bit of an ass- but somehow keeps him witty and likeable all the same.  Ian Hart’s (Dirt) Dr. Watson and his rapport with Everett’s titular detective are also great fun.  There’s no glossing over of Holmes’ dark side, drug use, or egotistical ways, either. And also, again I simply have to say the youthful charm and thespian abilities of Michael Fassbender shine here, too. The period London production is what we’d expect, and though important, the onscreen fog is annoying.  Thankfully, the detective work is a good mix of modern sensibilities in keeping with Edwardian expertise.  This is an original story from Allan Cubitt (who also penned the 2002 BBC adaptation of The Hound of Baskervilles) but the fun twist here works nicely in the culminating act and definitely captures the spirit of the famed detective. 

The Woman in WhiteThe Woman in White (1997) The ladies Tara Fitzgerald (I Capture the Castle), Justine Waddell (Dracula 2000), and Susan Vilder (Trainspotting) in this Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ novel are a little wooden, yes. Thankfully, James Wilby (Lady Chatterley), Simon Callow (Shakespeare in Love) and Ian Richardson (House of Cards) are far more interesting.  The atmosphere is also a little lightweight, but perhaps I expected more gothic brooding and melancholy then warranted.  The mystery, of course, is juicy and delightful, with the viewer an outsider speculating on all the hidden questions.  The Victorian style and English locales are great as well.  Though perhaps a little slow for Americans- especially until the final half hour- all the revelations come in due time and are well worth the wait.

And One to Avoid…

Dorian GrayDorian Gray (2009) – Despite a fine ensemble cast including recent Best Actor Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, Bridget Jones’s Diary), Emilia Fox (Merlin, Silent Witness), and Ben Chaplin (The Truth About Cats & Dogs) along with a finely stylized Victorian production; this remake of Oscar Wilde’s famous tale falls flat in character appreciation and psychological analysis.  Weak lead Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia), stereotypically modern direction from Oliver Parker (Othello), and more confusion than care ruin what is usually such a fine and timeless story. 

01 May 2011

I Married a Witch

I Married a Witch a Trickster Delight
By Kristin Battestella

While many adore the subsequent Bell Book and Candle or Bewitched, have had Peek A Boo hairstyles, or even know of Veronica Lake thanks to her sexy Oscar winning look-alike Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential; it seems not many today appreciate the 1942 magical romp that started it all, I Married a Witch.

Burned at the Salem Witch Trials thanks to the testimony of Jonathan Wooley (Frederic March), Jennifer (Veronica Lake) curses Wooley and all his male descendents to be unlucky in love.  Centuries later when lightning strikes a tree and frees their spirits, Jennifer and her father Daniel (Cecil Kellaway) continue to interfere with politician Wallace Wooley (also March), his campaign for governor, and his impending marriage to socialite Estelle Masterson (Susan Hayward).  Jennifer plans to make Wally fall in love with her just to ruin him.  Unfortunately, when she is injured, Wally mistakenly gives her the love potion she intended for him.  Now that she’s in love with a mortal, Daniel disastrously interferes on his daughter’s behalf.  Jennifer, however, has bigger plans now: using witchcraft to save Wally’s campaign.

I Married a Witch [Region 2]I’ll get the bit of the bad out of the way first, for only the dated production here hinders I Married a Witch.  The black and white looks somewhat unrestored, dark and tough to see sometimes.  The historical montage opening the film also has poor period stylings or seems quick and on the cheap.  Modern audiences might also be a little lost on some of the thirties mannerisms and dialogue, and the sound is often tough to hear.  While kids might enjoy this partial inspiration for the television series Bewitched, viewers with short attention spans might groan at early scenes with only smoke, fire, and old speaketh voiceovers. However, having said all that, the light-hearted comedy and hijinks of love story from director Rene Clair (The Flame of New Orleans, And Then There Were None) and writers Robert Pirosh (Combat!) and Marc Connelly (Captain Courageous) win with magical charm and innocent fun. 

Well then, let’s talk about that peek a boo queen herself, Veronica Lake. Although the diminutive star of Sullivan’s Travels and This Gun for Hire doesn’t actually appear for the first fifteen minutes, we like the off-screen witch Jennifer when we hear of her fun curses.  Despite her initial vengeance and maliciousness, we enjoy her vocal tricks and thus are thrilled when we finally do get so see those famous blonde tresses.  Lake may seem a one trick pretty, but her witchy ways are delightful and her comedic dialogue is right on time.  Though the pair seem visually at odds and she spends most of the time being carried by March; Lake has the sardonic match and onscreen weight to be a 290-year-old witch testing Wallys’ heart.  Jennifer’s supposed to be bad, purely a spiteful witch causing love trouble for the sake of a long ago wrong, yet she’s whimsical and adorable all the same.  Likewise, Oscar winner Frederic March (Best Years of Our Lives, Death of a Salesman, The Desperate Hours) proves he’s more than the straight, heavy, and serious dramatic leading man we so often enjoy.  Wally’s wedding day hysterics are almost side splitting- caught in a repeatedly false starting ceremony and running ragged over two women!  March would be the exceptional straight man indeed- if not for his perfect balance of witty, proper performance and humorous presence.

While Lake’s luster may have fallen over the decades, the budding and future Best Actress Susan Hayward (I Want to Live, Reap the Wild Wind) is wonderful as the snotty socialite set to marry Wally.  Any other time, we’d love to pedestal Hayward, but in I Married a Witch, the audience can’t help but appreciate her bearing the brunt of Jennifer’s tricks.  Dads Cecil Kellaway (The Postman Always Rings Twice) and Robert  Warwick’s (The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex)  J.B. Masterson are also great fun as the at odds parents who similarly enough have their daughters- and thus their own- best interests at heart.  Classic fashion and style lends a wonderful visual support, too. Not to be outdone by slim cut suits or tilted fedoras, the pre-war ladies’ costumes here are glorious.  The lengthy gowns and puffy sleeves just add an extra touch of class not often found in today’s recreations.  I Married a Witch was contemporary at the time, but now it is a wonderful period piece to us with great music, sweet looking cars, and great old houses.  Sure, some of the flying brooms and objects moving by themselves look hokey, but most of the smoke and mirror effects are simplistically good.  Thanks to a fine story and great performances, fancy effects aren’t required to suspend the belief needed for I Married a Witch.

Fans of the old school cast, classic films aficionados, or families looking for some wholesome witchy fun can certainly find a short 80 minutes for I Married a Witch.  Naturally, it is full of pre-war magical innocence rather than proper Wicca motifs, but again, the delight here wins against any datedness of the time.  And but of course, it doesn’t seem like we’re yet privy to a proper Region 1 DVD release, either.  Typical!  Hang on to your VHS, catch a TCM airing, and fall in love again with I Married a Witch