The Savage Innocents 06/28/17

Olive Films
Blu-ray

The original Quinn the Eskimo (no kidding) is another life-loving rough portrait from Anthony Quinn, in Nicholas Ray’s rather successful final spin as a writer-director. Despite some technical awkwardness, Ray’s sensitivity to outsider souls finds full expression. Humans don’t get any more ‘outside’ than Inuk, a primitive unequipped to deal with the modern world. With Yoko Tani as Inuk’s wife and partner for ‘laughing’; this also has one of Peter O’Toole’s first film appearances. Filmed in Technirama. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.
06/27/17

Hell and High Water 06/28/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

That wild man Samuel Fuller sure knows how to turn up the geopolitical tension, especially in a rip-roaring action picture. This provocative atom threat adventure movie might have caused problems, if anybody cared what movies said back when the Cold War was hot. Richard Widmark skippers a leaky sub to the arctic and discovers that the Chinese communists are going to start WW3 — and blame it on Uncle Sam. No, Quinn the Eskimo is not involved. It’s an insane comic-book adventure about very serious issues — and we love it. With Bella Darvi, Victor Francen, Cameron Mitchell and the absolutely essential gritty sub crewman, Gene Evans. Great atom-age special effects! On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
06/27/17

Hell in the Pacific 06/28/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Class-act director John Boorman continues to mix genre grit with European-flavored art cinema, and the result is another winner. Toshiro Mifune and Lee Marvin fight a miniature two-man war when they’re marooned together on the same tiny island. Boorman’s strong direction and Conrad Hall’s knockout cinematography insure a maximum visual impact; it’s great filmmaking all around. KL gives us terrific extras, including a John Boorman talk that’s even more fascinating than usual. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
06/27/17

They Live by Night 06/23/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Don’t look to this noir for hardboiled cynicism – for his first feature Nicholas Ray instead gives us a dose of fatalist romance. Transposed from the previous decade, a pair of fugitives takes what happiness they can find, always aware that a grim fate waits ahead. The show is a career-making triumph and a real classic from RKO — which shelved it for more than a year. Starring Farley Granger and Cathy O’Donnell, with a major assist by the great Howard Da Silva, and Marie Bryant singing Your Red Wagon. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
06/24/17

Running on Empty 06/23/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

These fugitives on the run aren’t innocent young lovers. Still wanted for anti-war violence from years before, an ex-radical couple struggles to remain free just as their children become old enough to think for themselves. Screenwriter Naomi Foner and director Sidney Lumet’s fascinating movie is a sympathetic look at an untenable lifestyle. Christine Lahti and Judd Hirsch star, with major portrayals from River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
06/24/17

Comfort and Joy 06/23/17

Studiocanal / BfI
Region B Blu-ray

You never heard of the Great Glasgow Ice Cream Wars? They weren’t exactly Armageddon, and the gentle director Bill Forsyth makes a radio personality’s involvement with two competing ice cream companies more of a plunge into amiable drollery. If you like Gregory’s Girl and Local Hero you’ll understand the odd, unhurried attitude of this oddball show from 1984. Likable Bill Paterson is a radio personality trapped in a rigid role, as ‘Dickie Bird,’ the morning wake-up guy. On Region B Blu-ray from Studiocanal / BfI.
06/24/17

Brother Can You Spare a Dime 06/20/17

The Sprocket Vault
DVD

It’s 1930s America as seen in the movies, through music, and the evasions of newsreels. Franklin Delano Roosevelt preaches prosperity while James Cagney slugs out the decade as a smart-tongued everyman — in a dozen different roles. Director Philippe Mora investigates what was then a new kind of revisionist info-tainment formula: applying old film footage to new purposes. The presentation includes a full hour of non-depressing Depression-era newsreels. On DVD from The Sprocket Vault.
06/20/17

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage 06/20/17

Arrow Video
Blu-ray + DVD

This time they may have gotten it right! If a knife or a straight razor won’t do, how about killing a victim with 500-pound metal artwork studded with spikes? Dario Argento distilled a new kind of slick, visually fetishistic horror who-dunnit thriller subgenre with this shocker, aided by the dreamy cinematography of Vittorio Storaro. With Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno, Eva Renzi and Umberto Raho. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-rayand DVD from Arrow Video.
06/20/17

Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy 06/20/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Rome Open City, Paisan, Germany Year Zero: Filmed mostly on the streets in newly-liberated territory, Roberto Rossellini’s gripping war-related shows are blessed with new restorations but still reflect their rough origins. The second picture, the greater masterpiece, looks as if it were improvised out of sheer artistic will. The disc set comes with more key-source extras than you can shake a grissinoat. From The Criterion Collection.
06/20/17

The Man from Planet X 06/20/17

Scream Factory
Blu-ray

The first visitor from outer space in the ’50s sci-fi boom is one very curious guy, dropping to Earth in a ship like a diving bell and scaring the bejesus out of Sally Field’s mother. Micro-budgeted space invasion fantasy gets off to a great start, thanks to the filmmaking genius of our old pal Edgar G. Ulmer. With Robert Clarke and the great William Schallert — and given a fine audio commentary by Tom Weaver and friends. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory.
06/17/17

Marcel Pagnol: The Marseille Trilogy 06/20/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Marius * Fanny * César No longer out of reach, Marcel Pagnol’s stunning 3-feature saga of love and honor in a French seaport is one of the great movie experiences — and the most emotional workout this viewer has seen in years. The tradition of greatness in the French sound cinema began with gems like these, starring legendary actors that were sometimes billed only with their last names: Raimu, Charpin. Those two, Pierre Fresnay and Orane Demazis are simply unforgettable — it’s 6.5 hours of dramatic wonderment. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
06/17/17

8 Million Ways to Die 06/20/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray + DVD

Tonight on ‘movies we really want to like’ we have Hal Ashby’s final feature, an L.A.- based crime saga with a great cast and spirited direction and . . . and not much else. It isn’t the train wreck described in Kino’s candid actor interviews, but we can see only too well why it wasn’t a big winner when new. Any day that a Jeff Bridges picture doesn’t shine, is a dark day in my book. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
06/17/17

Death Line 06/20/17

Blue Underground
Blu-ray + DVD

Aka Raw Meat. This early gore-horror picture has a remarkable emphasis on human values, believe it or not, with a ‘monster’ that nevertheless is a paragon of loving gentleness. Add Donald Pleasance as a surly, posh-hating police inspector, and the shock value makes the Hammer films of the early ’70s taste like weak tea. With David Ladd, Norman Rossington, Sharon Gurney, Hugh Armstrong. From Blue Underground.
06/13/17

The Lodger (1927) 06/20/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Hitchcock’s first self-professed ‘Hitch’ picture is still a silent-screen winner. Many of his recurring themes are present, and some of his visual fluidity – in this finely tuned commercial ‘shock’ movie with witty visual tricks from Hitchcock’s own background as an art director. And hey, he secured a real box office name to star as the mysterious maybe-slayer ‘The Avenger,’ Ivor Novello. As an extra we also get Hitchcock’s 1927 silent Downhill. From The Criterion Collection.
06/13/17

Good Morning (ohayo) 06/20/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

It’s Yasujiro Ozu in light mode, except that his insights into the human social mechanism make this cheerful neighborhood comedy as meaningful as his dramas. Two boys go on a ‘talk strike’ because they want a television set, a choice that has an effect on everyone around them. And what can you say about a movie with running jokes about flatulence . . . and is still a world-class classic?  On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
06/10/17

The Man in the Moon 06/20/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

Robert Mulligan’s late career gem is a beautiful, fad-free tale of teenage romance with universal appeal, famed for introducing Reese Witherspoon to the screen. She’s truly a sensation, as is the actress Emily Warfield as the older sister who ‘steals’ Reese’s beau. Photographed by Freddie Francis, this tops even Mulligan’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
06/10/17

Blast-Off 06/20/17

Olive Films
Blu-ray

An admiring nod to ’60s dream siren Daliah Lavi! American-International leaps into an epic Jules Verne comedy about a trip to the moon, a good-looking but slow and unfunny farce that must squeak by on the goodwill of its cast of comedians. Burl Ives is excellent casting as P.T. Barnum, organizing a Greatest Show OFF the Earth. Aka Those Fantastic Flying Fools and Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon; also starring Terry-Thomas, Gert Fröbe, Lionel Jeffries, Troy Donahue, Dennis Price, Hermione Gingold. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.

Joe Versus the Volcano 06/20/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

“May you live to be a thousand years old, sir.” Still the most widely unheralded great movie on the books, John Patrick Shanley’s lightweight/profound fable is an unmitigated delight. See Tom Hanks at the end of the first phase of his career plus Meg Ryan in an unacknowledged career highlight. How can a movie be so purposely insubstantial, and yet be ‘heavier’ than a dozen pictures with ‘big things to say?’ With Lloyd Bridges, Abe Vigoda and Robert Stack. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
06/06/17

Le désordre et la nuit 06/20/17

Pathé France
All Region Blu-ray

Lovers of hot-blooded French noir will love this 1958 B&W drama, which swaps violence for a dangerous sexual relationship between a cop and drug addict suspected of a murder. If this is a ‘lazy’ star vehicle for French superstar Jean Gabin, please bring us more — in his paunchy ‘fifties Monsieur Gabin takes on a beauty half his age, and convinces us that he can keep her. With Danielle Darrieux and Nadja Tiller. On All-Region Blu-ray from Pathé France.
06/06/17

The Paradine Case 06/20/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

This isn’t the only Alfred Hitchcock film for which the love does not flow freely, but his 1947 final spin on the David O. Selznick-go-round is more a subject for study than Hitch’s usual fun suspense ride. Gregory Peck looks unhappy opposite Selznick ‘discovery’ Alida Valli, while an utterly top-flight cast tries to bring life to mostly irrelevant characters. With Charles Laughton, Charles Coburn, Ann Todd and Ethel Barrymore. Who comes off best? Young Louis Jourdan, that’s who. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
06/06/17

The Gumball Rally 06/03/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-Ray

Cars! Cars! Cars! What climate accord, when we’re celebrating the internal combustion engine! One of the best of the breezy ’70s action comedies, this cross-country road race picture gave us early looks at Gary Busey and Raul Julia in the midst of an always-amusing ensemble of car crazies, out to go from Manhattan to the Pacific in less than two days, at speeds up 175 mph! No 55 speed limit, no catalytic converters! Starring Michael Sarrazin and a score of fast-fast-fast dream cars. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.

The Picasso Summer 06/03/17

The Warner Archive Collection
DVD

Yet another puzzle picture, that came out on DVD back with the first wave of WAC films in 2010. An expensive romance with Albert Finney and Yvette Mimieux, it was filmed in Europe, co-written by Ray Bradbury and bears the music of Michel Legrand, including an exceedingly well known pop song. Yet it sat on a shelf for three years, only to make a humiliating world debut on TV — on CBS’s Late Nite Movie. It was clearly one of those Productions From Hell, where nothing went right. On DVD from The Warner Archive Collection.

Spotlight for a Murderer 06/03/17

Arrow Academy
Blu-Ray + DVD

Pleins feux sur l’assassin. The uncanny Georges Franju strikes again, in an Agatha Christie-like thriller imbued with his special mood, the eerie music of Maurice Jarre and some great actors including Jean-Marie Trintignant, Pierre Brasseur, Dany Saval, Marianne Koch and Pascale Audret. If mood is the key, then Franju has found an ideal setting, a beautifully preserved castle — and then the murders begin. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Arrow Academy.