Anne of the Thousand Days 12/29/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

A movie for people who don’t normally like costume dramas about kings and queens, this adaptation of Maxwell Anderson’s play is great entertainment from head to toe. Richard Burton gives one of his better late-career performances, and Geneviève Bujold is a dynamo in a tiny package. It’s an impressive portrait of male power run amuck. With Irene Papas, Anthony Quayle, John Colicos and Michael Hordern. On Blu-rayfrom Twilight Time.
12/29/18

Notorious 12/29/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Alfred Hitchcock’s nearly perfect romantic spy thriller teams Cary Grant with Ingrid Bergman to yield just what audiences wanted in 1946, an adult drama with menacing political themes… and an unusually adult approach to a perverse sex relationship! With the marvelous Claude Rains, Louis Calhern, Madame Konstantin, and Reinhold Schunze; photographed by Ted Tetzlaff. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
12/29/18

Dracula: Prince of Darkness 12/25/18

Scream Factory
Blu-ray

How to shake up a mid-sixties slump at Hammer Films? It’s back to basics time, with Christopher Lee returning in a most unusual way: there wasn’t much left of Dracula at the finish of his first outing as the number one supernatural public enemy. Terence Fisher is also back, enlivening the third film in the series with some surprisingly excessive gore. Barbara Shelley’s superb performance makes her Hammer’s most self-possessed heroine.. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory.
12/25/18

Disney Classics On Blu-ray 12/25/18

Disney Movie Club
Blu-ray

The resourceful Charlie Largent surveys a swath of Disney classics available on Blu-ray only through a special club, and discovers perhaps not classics but ‘boomer perennials’ that deserve a second look: Davy Crockett, Old Yeller, Treasure Island and Pollyanna! It’s a great article that acknowledges that the cultural effects of these Disney landmarks are more lasting than the films themselves. With interesting thoughts on Robert Newton, Fess Parker and Hayley Mills. But we aren’t shills for the club — you’ll have to find that for yourself. Blu-ray from Disney Movie Club.
12/25/18

The True Story of Jesse James 12/22/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

Nicholas Ray’s CinemaScope detour into outlaw Americana is yet another sincere artistic effort muffled by studio interference. Ray sought to examine a legend in terms of folklore and celebrity; Fox gave him Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Hope Lange and spectacular scenes repurposed from a 1939 Tyrone Power movie. Yet it still shows director Ray working his magic, in a revisionist western years before Sam Peckinpah — it has a violent robbery set piece that looks forward to The Wild Bunch. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
12/22/18

The Sea Hawk 12/22/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Grand action entertainment bursts forth on the high seas, showing us how much production value Golden Hollywood could lavish on an exciting, artful swashbuckler. Errol Flynn is at his glorious best, backed by greats like Flora Robson, Henry Daniell and Claude Rains in fine form. The special effects and full-sized ship sets impress in ways that computer generated images never will. And the rousing music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold seals the deal — the term ‘Timeless Classic’ was invented for marvels like this. Co-starring the underrated Brenda Marshall. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
12/22/18

The Magnificent Ambersons 12/18/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Hollywood’s most tragic ‘mangled masterpiece’ gets a new lease on life with this special edition of what could have been Orson Welles’ greatest film, had RKO not intentionally destroyed it to obliterate the stature of the unlucky Boy Genius. The movie can’t be reconstructed but its reputation can be restored — the story of the demise of a powerful industrial family would have been a dramatic powerhouse, perhaps more impressive than Citizen Kane. Terrific acting work here, from Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Ray Collins, Anne Baxter and particularly from Agnes Moorehead and Tim Holt. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
12/18/18

True Stories 12/15/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

It’s a film straight from the incredibly creative & earnestly searching mind of musician-composer David Byrne, complete with marvelous songs, bizarre staging, John Goodman, Spalding Gray, Annie McEnroe, Swoozie Kurtz, Jo Harvey Allen and other weird personalities from the wide expanses of Texas — the kind of people that answer the telephone. Intrepid TFH reviewer Charlie Largent insists that this isn’t a rental car. It’s a privately owned automobile. I think David Byrne and David Lynch need to meet, like Alien vs. Predator. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
12/15/18

The Atomic Cafe 12/15/18

Kino Classics
Blu-ray

Duck and Cover! And while you’re down there, enjoy a Flaming Atomic Cocktail! Loader, Rafferty and Rafferty’s influential documentary-satire uses authentic ’50s films and songs to illuminate the lies and myths about Cold War civil defense. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be like children in the face of a horror being promoted as an inconvenience to Americans insufficiently willing to Love the Bomb. And don’t forget to SING: “Nobody’s worried ’bout the day my Lord will come, When he’ll hit, great God a-mighty, like an atom bomb!” Included are a number of very impressive uncut ‘atomic’ propaganda films. On Blu-ray from Kino Classics.
12/15/18

Dark of the Sun 12/15/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

It’s tendon-biting combat, with guns, planes, trains, chainsaws, and an indestructible all-terrain vehicle (that still couldn’t stand the potholes in the street of Los Angeles)! Rod Taylor, Jim Brown and Yvette Mimieux blast their way through one of the roughest of the ’60s action spectacles, as mercenaries on a mission of mercy that’s really a venal grab to ‘rescue’ a fortune in diamonds. Director Jack Cardiff pushed the limits of acceptability on this one — legends persist about longer, more egregiously violent cuts. With Kenneth More and André Morell. It sparkles, booms and bleeds on Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
12/15/18

De Niro & De Palma The Early Films 12/11/18

Arrow Video
Blu-ray

No 1960s film student had more on the ball than Brian De Palma, who enlisted a smart group of collaborators to pull together his voyeuristic student-filmmaking, Alfred Hitchcock-worshiping early experimental pictures — especially budding actor Robert De Niro. In these three early features The Wedding Party, Greetings and Hi, Mom! we can feel the director being influenced in multiple directions — do ensemble comedy and Godard-esque minimalism have a future? Jill Clayburgh, Gerrit Graham, William Finley, Charles Durning, Jennifer Salt, Allen Garfield, Paul Bartel and Rutanya Alda think so. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
12/11/18

Sawdust and Tinsel 12/11/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Ingmar Bergman’s ‘sad comedy’ finds desperation and adultery in his favorite milieu, the theater. He also gets to to contrast the self-important thespians with those dubious circus nomads, even as both groups are shunned by civilian society. Ake Grönberg and Harriet Andersson star as married performers considering ditching each other for a more secure future. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
12/11/18

Sunshine 12/08/18

Redwind Productions
Blu-ray

Before TV movies were dissed with the put-down phrase ‘disease of the month,’ this 1973 film surprised and moved audiences with the realistic story of a young mother facing a fatal illness. It’s directed by the great Joseph Sargent and graced with the music of John Denver, but its impact rests upon the remarkable, affecting performance of actress Cristina Raines, then just twenty years old. With locations in the ‘country roads’ of British Columbia, and co-starring Cliff De Young, Meg Foster, Brenda Vaccaro, Bill Mumy and Corey Fischer. On Blu-ray from Redwind Productions.
12/08/18

Mamie Van Doren Film Noir Collection 12/08/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Charlie Largent looks back at three crime-themed shows featuring the platinum blonde bombshell Mamie Van Doren. In The Girl in Black Stockings she’s a possible target for a serial killer at a Utah resort. Guns Girls and Gangsters sees her involved with high-stakes armored car robbery. And in Vice Raid she’s a good-time-gal trying to protect her younger sister from nasty hoodlums. I guess there’s some noir in there somewhere!  Plus an interview with Mamie herself — where she discusses bullet bras and reminds us that she once played opposite Clark Gable! 3 features on Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
12/08/18

Horror of Dracula 12/08/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

The best of all Hammer horror pictures finally comes to Region A Blu-ray, with a bright transfer made to look like original Technicolor prints. This is where Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing came into their own as international stars, as the undead Count Dracula and the no-nonsense vampire killer Van Helsing. It’s the bridge between old-school gothic horrors and the modern age of sex and gore, and it’s as exciting as a breakneck action serial. Also starring Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh, Janina Faye and Michael Gough, whose performance is unfairly dissed. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
12/08/18

The Thing from Another World 12/06/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

An EXTRA off-day special review!  Intrepid soldiers and scientists battle a bloodsucking alien invader at the top of the world! The Warner Archive Collection releases Howard Hawks’ incomparable Science Fiction thriller, a long-desired favorite. Long handicapped by missing scenes, this RKO classic is intact again, complete with its nerve-rattling bombastic Dimitri Tiomkin music score. CineSavant lays on a full review essay. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
12/06/18

The Outer Limits Season Two 12/04/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

It’s here, the second half of the science fiction TV series from the 1960s, restored and remastered. It’s really only half a season and the creative team has been swapped out, but several gems are every bit as good as episodes from year one. Plus acting disc producer David J. Schow ladles on the extras like thick gravy … including promos and TV spots not seen since 1963 and ’64. This season includes the Harlan Ellison episodes Soldier and Demon with a Glass Hand, and the double episode The Inheritors. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
12/04/18

The Puppet Masters 12/04/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Robert Heinlein’s frighteningly brilliant sci-fi horror novel was a conceptual original that spawned an entire generation of biological invasions from outer space. Director Stuart Orme’s faithful, authorized 1994 adaptation has a lot going for it, including sensationally good, gloppy special makeup effects, and a commanding performance from a dour, authoritative Donald Sutherland. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
12/04/18

A Coffin for the Sheriff & Blood at Sundown 12/04/18

Wild East Productions
DVD

Guest reviewer Lee Broughton returns with more vintage Spaghetti Westerns. Prolific Italo western star Anthony Steffen shoots first in Alberto Cardone’s gothic vengeance drama Blood at Sundown, and plays the revenge game straight up in Mario Caiano’s A Coffin for the Sheriff. The double bill disc also features appearances by genre stalwarts Gianni Garko, Erika Blanc and Eduardo Fajardo. On DVD from Wild East Productions.
12/04/18

Hallelujah the Hills 12/01/18

Kino Classics
Blu-ray

Adolfas Mekas made his mark in American independent filmmaking with this avant-garde comedy that shook up film festivals circa 1963. Although it is said to have inspired Andy Warhol, it’s its own animal entirely, eighty minutes of cinematic frivolity that’s too sincere to be a parody of the filmic conventions it so happily celebrates. With rare extras, including a 1963 TV discussion between Adolfas Mekas, Richard Roud, Amos Vogel and Joseph Losey. On Blu-ray from Kino Classics.
12/01/18

Gosford Park 12/01/18

Arrow Academy
Blu-ray

At least twenty fine actors and stars make Robert Altman’s period piece about a party in a big English country house into a gala occasion. The show is also a fascinating entree into a classed world of masters and servants. The drama of manners could also be described as a mystery who-dunnit. Either way, we’re floored by excellent work from a stellar cast: Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, Eileen Atkins, Emily Watson, Clive Owen, Michael Gambon, Alan Bates, Derek Jacobi, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jeremy Northam, Bob Balaban, Kelly Macdonald. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy.
12/01/18