Hangover Square 11/28/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

No, it’s not a the-day-after sequel to The Lost Weekend but a class-act mystery-horror from 20th-Fox, at a time when the studio wasn’t keen on scare shows. John Brahm directs the ill-fated Laird Cregar as a mad musician . . . or, at least a musician driven mad by a perfidious femme fatale, Darryl Zanuck’s top glamour girl Linda Darnell. With George Sanders and featuring a famous Guy Fawkes funeral pyre. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
11/28/1

Wolf 11/28/17

Indicator UK
All-Region Blu-ray

Aooowww — Woo! Jack Nicholson summons his inner dog — and dons the makeup and scary contact lenses — to go the Larry Talbot route. Unfortunately, his moon-howling nighttime life isn’t as interesting as the dog-eat-dog infighting in the publishing house where he works – where feral instincts and sharp lupine senses are a major aid to ‘getting a leg up’ on the competition. I know, cheap metaphors are the ruin of promising writers. With Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Kate Nelligan, Christopher Plummer, and Richard Jenkins. On All-Region Blu-ray from Indicator (UK).
11/28/17

Little Big Man 11/28/17

Koch Media (Germany)
Region B Blu-ray

Arthur Penn’s under-appreciated epic has everything a big-scale western could want — spectacle, interesting characters, good history and a sense of humor. Dustin Hoffman gets to play at least five characters as an ancient pioneer relating his career exploits — which are either outrageous tall tales or a concise history of the taking of The West. Also starring Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George, Martin Balsam, Richard Mulligan, Jeff Corey and Aimée Eccles. A German import on Region B Blu-ray from Koch Media (De).
11/28/17

The Wonderful Worlds of Ray Harryhausen Volume 2 1961-1964 11/25/17

Indicator UK
All-Region Blu-ray

From the bottom of the sea to the surface of the moon, and from Greek legend to the fabulous future of (gasp) 1966 – the Harryhausen/Schneer Dynamation features were pushing the limits of film fantasy. Mysterious Island, Jason and the Argonauts and First Men IN the Moon run the whole gamut of Harryhausen effects wonderment. Charlie Largent gives these all-time favorites a close inspection – they’re import discs but they play in Region A. On Blu-ray from Indicator (UK).
11/25/17

Scarecrow 11/25/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

We’re on the road again with a pair of eccentric new-age hobos, the kind that just can’t hack it in polite society. Gene Hackman and Al Pacino’s acting styles get a workout in Jerry Schatzberg’s tale of drifters cursed with iffy goals; Vilmos Zsigmond’s Panavision cinematography helped it earn a big prize at Cannes. With fine support from Dorothy Tristan, Ann Wedgeworth, Richard Lynch, Eileen Brennan, and Penny Allen. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
11/25/17

The Yellow Handkerchief 11/25/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

Ready for some full- on Japanese sentimentality? Superlative tough guy Ken Takakura takes us deep into heartbreak territory in search of a happy ending. Yoji Yamada’s Hokkaido road epic throws together a trio of ‘drifters of the heart’ to see if they can solve each other’s romantic dilemmas. Also starring Chieko Baisho, Kaori Momoi, and Tetsuya Takeda; this has to be the far-East equivalent of a three-hankie picture. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
11/25/17

Fritz Lang: The Silent Films — 12 Disc Set 11/21/17

Kino Classics
Blu-ray

“The Complete Silent Films of German Cinema’s Supreme Stylist.” Kino Lorber shows its faith in the Blu-ray medium with an extravagant collection of its entire silent holdings of the Fritz Lang library of silent classics. Mythical heroes, sacrificing heroines, criminal madmen and uncontrolled super-science are his themes; it’s a paranoid’s view of the first half of the 20th Century, expressed in fantastic creative innovations that literally re-write the rules of cinema. Metropolis, Die Niebelungen, Mabuse, Spies, Destiny — they’re all here in handsomely appointed packaging. On Blu-ray from Kino Classics.
11/21/17

Sayonara 11/21/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

“What are you rebelling against, Marlon?” This time Brando has more to say than merely “Whaddaya got?” Back when interracial marriage was a shady topic (are those dark days coming back?) the U.S. military had some adjustment issues. Full integration of the ranks didn’t remove the anti- Japanese bigotry. James Michener’s novel has been transformed into a big-scale romance, with Marlon Brando coming to terms with a split in loyalty between the flag and his private life. The big shock is that the Paul Osborn’s screenplay doesn’t let the military off easy. With Miiko Taka, Patricia Owens, Miyoshi Umeki and Red Buttons. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
11/21/17

Ulzana’s Raid 11/18/17

Explosive Media
All- Region Blu-ray + PAL DVD

Keine Gnade für Ulzana. Many great Blu-rays unavailable in the U.S. can now be found in Europe. One of the best westerns of the ’70s is this jarringly realistic cavalry vs. Apaches drama from Robert Aldrich and Burt Lancaster, which used the ‘R’ rating to get serious about the savage details. In this case it works — the genuinely scary movie is also a profound meditation on violent America. With Bruce Davison & Richard Jaeckel; written by fave scribe Alan Sharp. A Dual-Format edition on All-Region Blu-ray and PAL DVD from Explosive Media (De).
11/18/17

The Madness of King George 11/18/17

Olive Films
Blu-ray

It’s great when a fancy costume picture really has something to say — Alan Bennett’s crazy tale of a king’s episode of mental illness becomes a highly entertaining comedy of errors, but with serious personal and political ramifications. Nigel Hawthorne is exceptionally good as the sovereign whose brain has de-railed; Helen Mirren, Ian Holm, Rupert Everett and Amanda Donohoe try to help him — or steal his crown. Director Nicholas Hytner does a fine job on this one. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.
11/18/17

Attack of the Puppet People 11/18/17

Scream Factory
Blu-ray

All hail Bert I. Gordon, who singlehandedly carved out his own niche in ‘fifties monster folklore, and even won a battle or two against those sharpies at A.I.P.. His puppet people were originally just ‘Fantastic,’ but they had to be made into a menace with the “A” word usually reserved for icky poo Giant Leeches, Crab Monsters and 50-Foot Women. John Hoyt holds the movie up with his bare hands, like Atlas; John Agar and June Kenney look clueless and Laurie takes a bubble bath in a coffee can. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory.
11/18/17

The Sissi Collection 11/14/17

Film Movement
Blu-ray

Sissi / Sissi: The Young Empress / Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress How about “I Was a Teenage Empress?” The film trilogy tells an optimized version of the life of a 19th century Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. It’s fuzzy history designed to prop up German morale, but the film is graced with the incredible presence of a teenaged Romy Schneider, whose beauty and personality became a sensation in the European film world. Also starring Karlheinz Böhm. With two more added feature films. On Blu-ray from Film Movement Classics.
11/14/17

The Miracle Worker 11/14/17

Olive Films
Blu-ray

Why is this incredible movie fading into obscurity? Anybody that appreciates good theater and good moviemaking will be in awe of Arthur Penn’s marvelous visualization of this tale of a determined woman achieving the impossible — teaching a child that can neither see nor hear. The knock down, drag ’em out scenes between Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke are unique, to say the least. With Victor Jory and Inga Swenson. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.
11/14/17

The Last Laugh 11/14/17

Kino Classics
Blu-ray

The cream of German Expressionist filmmaking of the 1920s is increasingly accessible to modern audiences, the proof being this masterly restoration of F.W. Murnau’s expressionist masterpiece. It’s a beauty — we finally can experience the film in its full original form. Emil Jannings’ fine performance is matched by Karl Freund’s camerawork and Edgar G. Ulmer’s set designs. With exceptionally good (and educational) extras; on Blu-ray from Kino Classics.
11/14/17

Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me 11/11/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Charlie Largent looks back at David Lynch’s controversial feature prequel to his well-loved but short-lived tv show. The 1992 film, far more transgressive than its network incarnation, upset the fans then and may still do so today. Consider it a strange rumination on the doomed Laura Palmer’s unpleasant final days. The special edition contains ninety minutes of outtakes arranged by David Lynch: more conspiracy fuel for the Lynch faithful to theorize additional meanings in the new series. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
11/11/17

Cease Fire! – 3-D 11/11/17

KL Studio Classics
3-D Blu-ray

Not a bad choice for Veteran’s Day . . . here’s an Army recruiting booster that got way out of hand: it’s a semi-docu using real soldiers and filmed in Korea near actual combat zones – and in full-dimension 3-D. The soldiers, the equipment, everything is real — and the ammunition used is live, not blanks. The 3-D Film Archive’s proud restoration is flawless, and comes complete with General Mark Clark’s prologue introduction. Even the 3-D Paramount mountain logo is arresting. On 3-D Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
11/11/17

Le samouraï 11/11/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Jean-Pierre Melville’s now-classic tale of an emotionless killer is distilled to a narrative minimum. Alain Delon stars as Jef Costello, an imperturbable, ultra- slick hit man who follows a strict personal code. When a contract goes bad, he’s caught between irreconcilable compulsions. Following this Zen-like assassin through the mean streets of Paris never seems to get old. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
11/11/17

Willard and Ben — Region B 11/11/17

Second Sight
Blu-ray

You want rats? We’ve got rats. And if you’re not happy about it, Bruce Davison will show up with a big box o’ vermin and shout the magic words, “Tear ’em up!” UK correspondent Lee Broughton reviews the killer rat saga and its sequel, available as separate purchases. With Ernest Borgnine, Sondra Locke & Elsa Lanchester, and Lee Montgomery, Joseph Campanella & Arthur O’Connell. Separate purchases, on Region B Blu-ray from Second Sight (UK).
11/11/17

Desert Hearts 11/07/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

By 1985 Hollywood had still only dabbled in movies about the ‘shame that cannot speak its name,’ and in every case the verdict for the transgressors was sadness and misery, if not death. Donna Deitch’s brilliant drama achieves exactly what she wanted, to do make a movie about a lesbian relationship that doesn’t end in a tragedy. Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau make a fascinating couple; also starring Audra Lindley, Andra Akers, and Gwen Welles. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
11/07/17

He Walked by Night 11/07/17

ClassicFlix
Blu-ray

Do you think older crime thrillers weren’t violent enough? This shocker from 1948 shook up America with its true story of a vicious killer who uses special talents to evade police detection, and has a murderous solution to every problem. Richard Basehart made his acting breakthrough as Roy Martin, a barely disguised version of the real life ‘Machine Gun Walker.’ With Scott Brady, Whit Bissell and Jack Webb. On Blu-ray from ClassicFlix.
11/07/17

Battle Cry 11/07/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

James Jones, move over — Leon Uris clobbers the big screen with a sprawling adaptation of his WW2 combat novel, loaded down with roles for promising young actors. This is the one where twice as much time is spent on love affairs than fighting. War may be hell, but if Mona Freeman, Nancy Olson, Dorothy Malone, Anne Francis and Allyn McLerie are going to be there for comfort, sign me up. The big-star roster includes Aldo Ray, Tab Hunter, Van Heflin, and James Whitmore. On Blu-rayfrom The Warner Archive Collection.
11/07/17

Cannon for Cordoba 11/07/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

A middling entry in the genre of blow-it-up big action spectacles, Paul Wendkos’ Spain-filmed western gives us all the excitement promised by the poster, but with some cardboard characters and lumpy storytelling. George Peppard is on the job, however, and once again proves he can carry a big picture, flaws and all. With Raf Vallone, Giovanna Ralli, Don Gordon, and Pete Duel; on Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
11/07/17

The Pirates of Blood River 11/04/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

Can a pirate be a substitute monster? Why not? Hammer Films gives yet another genre a spin with this box-office winner that launched a sideline in costume adventures. The Hammer crew makes it work: Christopher Lee, Marla Landi, Marie Devereaux, Michael Ripper, Oliver Reed and Andrew Keir, plus yank assistance from Kerwin Mathews and Glenn Corbett. It’s the famous pirate picture where the pirates have to do without a pirate ship — but we’ve got killer piranha to compensate. Kids loved this one in ’62. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
11/04/17

I’ll Be Seeing You 11/04/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

This unusually sensitive, overlooked WW2 romance skips the morale-boosting baloney of the day. Two people meet on a train, each with a personal shame they dare not speak of. Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten are excellent under William Dieterle’s direction, and Shirley Temple doesn’t do half the damage you’d think she might. From Dore Schary and David O. Selznick, big creative egos that formed an admirably productive truce for several years in the late 1940s. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
11/04/17

The Green Slime 11/04/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Look out! Gamma Gamma Hey! It’s the attack of screaming, arm-waving green goober monsters from a rogue planetoid, here to bring joy to the hears of bad movie fans everywhere. Rugged Robert Horton, luscious Luciana Paluzzi and (add alliterative ‘J’ word here) Richard Jaeckel fight off an infestation on their wiggly-toy space station. Just make sure your partner is agreeably inclined before you make it a date movie — this show has ended many a good relationship, even before the immortal words, “We’ll never make it chief, it’s coming too fast!” On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
11/04/17