Hammer Volume One: Fear Warning! 10/31/17

Indicator UK
Blu-ray

Just in time for Halloween, Charlie Largent sinks his educated fangs into a quartet of rejuvenated Hammer pix, and the good news is that the transfers/encodings are excellent. On tap for this Volume One are Maniac (mind that blowtorch), Fanatic / Die! Die! My Darling! (mind the scissors), The Gorgon (why don’t Stheno and Euryale ever get a movie?) and The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (you wuz my brother! you shoulda took care of me!). The discs are all-region. On Blu-ray from Powerhouse / Indicator (UK).
10/31/17

The Vampire’s Ghost 10/31/17

Olive Films
Blu-ray

Is it a classic? Well, not exactly, but it’s also not a typical disappointing ’40s Z-picture. Screenwriter Leigh Brackett pens a nice twist on the Dracula motif, and little-known actor John Abbott is genuinely impressive as what is surely the most low-key vampire on the books. Plus a sexy dance from Adele Mara! On Blu-rayfrom Olive Films.
10/31/17

S.O.S. Tidal Wave 10/31/17

Olive Films
Blu-ray

Republic raids an early RKO talkie for a fantastic special effects sequence, and you won’t believe how it’s used — in a story about a TV personality (in 1939!) taking on a corrupt political mob. New York crumbles and is then washed away — sort of. It’s yet another Blu-ray debut of a title that not long ago we couldn’t see to save our cinema-curious souls. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.
10/31/17

How Much Shock Can You Stand? 10/28/17

CineSavant Halloween Triple Bill #1
Boo-Ray

Charlie Largent’s nostalgic Halloween offering looks at a trio of high-toned horrors — two venerated classics that evoke chills through sophisticated & subtle means, and a fine haunted house ‘Boo!’ thriller that’s still guaranteed to scare up a cauldron of shudders. These ‘fantasy triple bills’ were inspired by the three- and four- feature multiple bill ads in old newspapers — which we happily imitate.
10/28/17

Hypnotic Chill! Monster Thrill! 10/28/17

CineSavant Halloween Triple Bill #2
Too Scary

A second dose of movie memories swings the other way — this second fantasy trio of shockers will always be inseparable from the experience of first viewing, for different reasons. What was the first movie you saw as a kid, where you were scared to death and couldn’t understand why adults were letting you watch? What horror picture became the backdrop for a memorable hot date? Savant recalls what it was like, back in the day.
10/28/17

Dawson City: Frozen Time 10/28/17

Kino Lorber
Blu-ray

Imagine that, a disc review, of a fascinating hybrid of experimental film and historical documentary by Bill Morrison of Decasia fame. Lost film history and the vanished era of the Dawson Gold Rush blend into one story — all touched off by the discovery of tons of rare silent film, buried in the cold ground of the Canadian Yukon. And Donald Trump’s in there too! In the show, not the snow. On Blu-rayfrom Kino Lorber.
10/28/17

Captain from Castile 10/28/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

One of the best Hollywood historical epics takes Technicolor to Mexico for a Production Code version of La conquista: the Inquisition is bad, but the Church is removed from the equation. Likewise with the invasion — Cesar Romero embodies a marvelous Hernán Cortés, substantially less murderous than the one that appears in accurate history books. Tyrone Power is the heartthrob hero, and newcomer Jean Peters the lowborn girl who loves him. The magnificent scenery is matched by the music score of Alfred Newman. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
10/28/17

In this Corner of the World 10/24/17

Shout! Factory
Blu-ray + DVD

Away from Hollywood’s stifling commercial limits, Sunao Katabuchi’s historical drama makes stunning use of animation. Fumiyo Kouno’s manga about a young bride in wartime Japan has no illusions regarding the human price of war. Young Suzu takes in a new family, endures the hardships of a militarized country and wartime privations, but nobody is ready for what’s coming. This show’s delicate art and brilliant storytelling stick with one, days later. It’s not for small children. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Shout Factory.
10/24/17

Blood Feast 10/24/17

Arrow Video
Blu-ray + DVD

Charlie Largent takes a look at Herschell Gordon Lewis’s influential atrocity of 1963 and finds that, as far as the State of the Union goes, the times they are definitely not a’ changing. Starring the bug-eyed Mal Arnold and Playboy’s dizziest Playmate, Connie Mason; filmed in Florida in glorious color, mostly red. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
10/24/17

The Killer is Loose 10/24/17

ClassicFlix
Blu-ray

Psycho killers long ago lost their novelty, but in 1956 Budd Boetticher and Wendell Corey gave us Leon ‘Foggy’ Poole, a screen original with limitless appeal. Imagine a time when ‘normalcy’ was so taken for granted that any weird behavior was enough to give us the chills? Foggy carries this crime potboiler with a refreshing new idea: his dangerous maniac looks more normal than normal people. Joseph Cotten and Rhonda Fleming get top billing but this is actor Wendell Corey’s finest hour. On Blu-ray from ClassicFlix.
10/24/17

Play Dirty 10/24/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

In a war film, what’s the difference between nasty exploitation and just plain honest reportage? André De Toth made tough-minded action films with the best of them — this nail-biting commando mission with Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport is simply superb, one of those great action pictures that’s not widely screened. To its credit it’s not ‘feel good’ enough to be suitable for Memorial Day TV marathons. With Nigel Green and Harry Andrews as a dastardly pair of corrupt commanders. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
10/24/17

City of Industry 10/21/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Harvey Keitel takes center stage as a double-crossed crook goes for blood after a major jewel heist turns sour — and bloody. Timothy Hutton and Stephen Dorff are in on the split for one late- ’90s crime caper that’s not a stylistic hijack of Quentin Tarantino. With Famke Janssen, Wade Dominguez and Elliott Gould; filmed in Palm Springs and various grungy locations around Los Angeles. Directed by John Irvin. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
10/21/17

Nest of Vipers & Tails, You Lose… 10/21/17

Wild East
DVD

UK Guest Reviewer Lee Broughton is back, with another Italo Western double bill DVD review of two obscure and wholly idiosyncratic genre entries from 1969. One is a decent entry starring a surprising choice, Luke Askew, with Luigi Pistilli, Magda Konopka and Chelo Alonso. The other is an eroticized gunslinger saga with John Ericson and Edwige Fenech. On DVD from Wild East.
10/21/17

Hell on Frisco Bay 10/21/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

I tell you it’s rough out there on Frisco Bay, especially when you say the word ‘Frisco’ within earshot of a proud San Francisco native. The cast is the draw — this Alan Ladd racketeering tale also stars Edward G. Robinson, with Joanne Dru, William Demarest, Paul Stewart, Perry Lopez, Fay Wray, Rod(ney) Taylor, and Jayne Mansfield. In Warner Color and CinemaScope. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
10/21/17

Porky Pig 101 10/17/17

The Warner Archive Collection
DVD

Reviewer ‘B’ makes his CineSavant debut with an in-depth report on everyone’s favorite Looney Tunes swine, P-p-p-porky P-p-p-pig. The multi-disc, voluminous saga of porcine fun and folly starts with a stuttering walk-on and rises to Warner Bros. fame and glory, waving the flag, surviving Daffy Duck, the works. ‘B’ handles Porky’s story like a detective case, sizing up the suspects animation directors that took this choice ham off the supermarket shelf and made him a household word. Not ‘bacon.’ On DVD from The Warner Archive Collection.
10/17/17

Orson Welles’ Othello 10/17/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Charlie Largent charts the chaos surrounding Orson Welles’s years-in-the-making 1952 production of Othello, which nevertheless survives as a visionary work of art and one of the great director’s finest films. Filmed in and around Morocco, Venice and Rome; with Suzanne Cloutier and Micheál MacLiammóir as the unknowable Iago, whose race-baiting demagogue feels unnervingly contemporary. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
10/17/17

Topper 10/17/17

VCI
Blu-ray

They’re non-corporeal cut-ups, rich folks on the town with nothing better to do than spice up the love life of Roland Young’s harried, henpecked bank president. Hal Roach’s screwball hit did good things for everybody concerned, especially star Cary Grant and bit player Arthur Lake. But the nostalgic heart of the show is Billie Burke, with the tinkle-y-glass voice. Also starring platinum blonde Constance Bennett, Alan Mowbray and Eugene Pallette. On Blu-rayfrom VCI.
10/17/17

Junior Bonner 10/17/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Sam Peckinpah was a fine director of actors when the material was right, and his first collaboration with Steve McQueen is an involved character study about a rodeo family dealing with changing times. Prescott, Arizona is the backdrop for a 4th of July, and McQueen is the aging star that wants to ride the roughest bull in the bullpen. Joe Don Baker and Ben Johnson shine, but the movie belongs to Ida Lupino and Robert Preston. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
10/17/17

The Old Dark House 10/14/17

The Cohen Group
Blu-ray

It’s a genuine Universal horror classic that to my knowledge has never been available in a decent presentation — but The Cohen Group has come through with a nigh-perfect Blu-ray, both image and sound. Karloff is creepy, Gloria Stuart lovely, and Charles Laughton amusing, with Ernest Thesiger at his most delightfully fruity. Can I say ‘fruity?’ The potato lobby should be pleased, too. On Blu-ray from The Cohen Group.
10/14/17

The Sea Wolf 10/14/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Now restored to perfection, this genuine classic hasn’t been seen intact for way over sixty years. Michael Curtiz and Robert Rossen adapt Jack London’s suspenseful allegory in high style, with a superb quartet of actors doing some of their best work: Robinson, Garfield, Lupino and newcomer Alexander Knox. An amazing 100% restoration, too. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
10/14/17

T-Men — Special Edition 10/14/17

ClassicFlix
Blu-ray

Found: a must-see Film noir in all its brutal glory, restored to a level of quality not seen in years. Anthony Mann and John Alton made their reputations with ninety minutes of chiaroscuro heaven — it’s one of the best-looking noirs ever. With extras produced by Alan K. Rode. With Dennis O’Keefe Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford and Charles McGraw. On Blu-ray from ClassicFlix.
10/14/17

Lost Horizon (1937) 10/10/17

Sony / Columbia Pictures
Blu-ray

It’s a wonder movie from the 1930s, a political fantasy that imagines a Utopia of peace and kindness hidden away in a distant mountain range — or in our daydreams. Sony’s new restoration is indeed impressive. Ronald Colman is seduced by a vision of a non-sectarian Heaven on Earth, while Savant indulges his anti-Frank Capra grumblings in his admiring but hesitant review essay.. On Blu-ray from Sony / Columbia Pictures.
10/10/17

Superman: The Movie – 2-FIlm Collection 10/10/17

Warner Home Video
Blu-ray

I guess there are plenty of adults now too young to remember when Christopher Reeve made his debut as The Man of Steel. It was a massive hit across the full spectrum of moviegoers. Warners is taking good care of everyone’s favorite undocumented visitor from Planet Krypton, and has assembled two separate cuts of his big-screen premiere. On Blu-ray from Warner Home Video.
10/10/17

The Hidden 10/10/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Reviewer Charlie Largent takes on Jack Sholder’s freewheeling alien police pursuit, in which a creature from another world possesses a fast string of hosts to help him make a getaway on terra firma. Starring Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Nouri. Why does this movie seem like a dream that Agent Dale Cooper would be having in Twin Peaks? On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
10/07/17

Portrait of Jennie 10/10/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

David O. Selznick’s marvelous romantic fantasy ode to Jennifer Jones was almost wholly unappreciated back in 1948. It’s one of those peculiar pictures that either melts one’s heart or doesn’t. Backed by a music score adapted from Debussy, just one breathy “Oh Eben . . . “ will turn average romantics into mush. With Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Ethel Barrymore and Cecil Kellaway. On Blu-rayfrom KL Studio Classics.
10/10/17

Personal Shopper 10/07/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Reviewer Charlie Largent takes on Olivier Assayas’s metaphysical thriller from 2016, a haunting mix of existential mind games and Hitchcockian horror with a riveting performance from Kristen Stewart. Can a pact to communicate after death be kept through text messages? Is this high-fashion slice of melancholia a ghost story, or a study in delusion? It certainly divided critical opinions. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
10/07/17

Avanti! 10/07/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Need a break from violence, misery, and injustice? Or maybe just the network TV news? Billy Wilder’s last great comic romance is an Italian vacation soaked in music, food, scenery and sunshine. It’s the best movie ever about Love and Funerals. Jack Lemmon is the ugly American who learns to mellow out; Juliet Mills the London manicurist that shows him how, and Clive Revill as the best comedy support since Edward Everett Horton went on to his heavenly reward. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
10/07/17

Big Business Girl 10/07/17

The Warner Archive Collection
DVD

What does a working girl have to do to get ahead, when all she has is an incredible face, a lavish wardrobe, and a pair of legs to make any executive wolf howl? Loretta Young juggles two egotistical swains, while Joan Blondell shines as an enticing all-pro home wrecker. Pre-Code pictures just seem to be more exciting these days . . . you know, when sex really meant something. On DVD from The Warner Archive Collection.
10/07/17

The Lure 10/07/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

No jokes about fish and visitors please — Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s horror fantasy musical is indeed about delectable creatures from the deep, but these particular mythical misses have their own agenda, and woe to the man who trifles with their affections. What’s today’s catch? A Polish phantasmagoria seemingly teleported from the glitzy 1980s. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
10/07/17

Barry Lyndon 10/03/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Stanley Kubrick’s contribution to great cinema of the 1970s offers his vision of what an epic should be. Transported by images that recall great paintings of the period, and Kubrick’s new approaches to low-light cinematography, we witness a rogue’s progress through troubled times. And even Ryan O’Neal is good! With Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Krüger, André Morell, Gay Hamilton & Marie Kean. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
10/03/17

Titanic (1943) 10/03/17

Kino Classics
Blu-ray

In 1942, with the war going fairly well for Germany, Joseph Goebbels green-lit a lavish, technically complex account of the sinking of the Titanic, one with a decidedly different viewpoint. All blame falls on Evil British plutocrats, and a decent, ethical German officer is the only competent man on the bridge. Kino’s features a game- changing extra — a superb commentary that explains everything about this crazy picture. On Blu-ray from Kino Classics.
10/03/17

Don’t Torture a Duckling 10/03/17

Arrow Academy
Blu-ray

Charlie Largent takes a look at gore-meister Lucio Fulci’s surprisingly sanguine giallo from 1972, starring two mesmerizing but polar opposite actresses, Barbara Bouchet and Florinda Bolkan. No zombies this time, and no gates to Hell. . . just grisly murders in rural Italy. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy.
10/03/17

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef 10/03/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

Pity the poor exhibitors in 1953 that splurged on 3-D equipment, only to see the payroll soar and the profits fall. Nope, Anamorphic Widescreen was the innovation that swept the world. It proved perfect for stories with scenic grandeur, such as Fox’s very early mini-epic shot on Florida locations. Thanks to Bernard Herrmann’s impressive music score, this one’s not going away. With Robert Wagner, Terry Moore, Gilbert Roland, J. Carrol Naish & Richard Boone. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
10/03/17