The System (The Girl-Getters) 09/28/19

Powerhouse Indicator
All-region Blu-ray

Michael Winner got the England Swings scene off to an early start with this beach-set tale of ‘clever lads’ that cooperate to score with vacationing girls. Oliver Reed gives a sterling performance as Tinker, a photo-snapper who takes on a tall target — an independent, posh model with her own amorous agenda. The romance proceeds in a positive direction… or is Tinker fooling himself? The swingin’ ’60s were more than A Hard Day’s Night, the Mersey Beat and slapstick in the street with Rita Tushingham. Co-starring Jane Merrow, Barbara Ferris, Julia Foster, and a young David Hemmings. On All-region Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
09/28/19

Gremlins 4k Ultra HD 09/28/19

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
UltraHD + Blu-ray + Digital

The exclusive 4K Ultra-HD club welcomes a worthy new member, Joe Dante’s evergreen horror comedy (and Christmas delight) about a cute furry critter and its 2nd-generation horde of scaly, impish demons. These aren’t Gremlins from the Kremlin, but homegrown domestic terrorist monsters, and Dante contrasts their killer antics with a sentimental parody of small town America. No CGI … You will believe that the animatronic rascals can multiply like rabbits, break dance, and run amuck! Starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Keye Luke, Frances Lee McCain, Dick Miller, Jackie Joseph, Judge Reinhold, Polly Holliday and Belinda Balaski. On 4K Ultra-HD + Blu-ray + Digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
09/28/19

Popeye The Sailor the 1940s Volume 3 09/28/19

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

From reviewer Charlie Largent: the third and last installment of the softer, color Popeye of the 1940s comes to BD fully restored — some are even in Polacolor, an alternative system to Technicolor. The slur-talking swab is back trading punches with Bluto over the hand of Olive, in colorful locations. She even runs for President in one cartoon. WAC says these 17 cartoons were released in 1948 and 1949. With Laurence Olivier and Eleanor Roosevelt as the voices of Popeye and Olive, respectively (is anybody there?). On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
09/28/19

The Major and the Minor 09/28/19

Arrow Academy
Blu-ray

This can’t-lose comedy is ace writer-director Billy Wilder’s first solo directing credit; he and writing partner Charles Brackett concoct a side-splitting crowdpleaser guaranteed to secure his Hollywood future. Ginger Rogers was never more adept, playing a fake 11 year-old in a farce that’s both code-iffy and censor proof; Ray Milland shines as well with the limitlessly clever and witty screenplay. Don’t forget to ask why Charles Boyer hates women… and look out for Diana Lynn, the terrific teenage comedienne that Wilder found before Preston Sturges did. With Rita Johnson and Robert Benchley; on Blu-ray from Arrow Academy.
09/28/19

The Tall Men 09/24/19

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

The legendary director Raoul Walsh hits The Big Trail one more time for a CinemaScope & stereophonic ‘big star’ cattle drive movie, dodging most cliches but taking a few squarely between the eyes. Star chemistry is what keeps them dogies movin’, with Clark Gable making it look all too easy. Frisky Jane Russell fares well, but not our favorite Robert Ryan: despite the high-profile billing, he pulls S.O.B. duty yet again. There’s no doubt about it, pilgrim … I see a whole lotta cows in this one. TT includes an isolated track for the Victor Young music score. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
09/24/19

The Mind Benders 09/24/19

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

This strange picture goes forth in search of a genre, mainly because its theme — the destruction of the human personality — had previously seen light only in movies about brainwashing and alien possession. The Michael Relph and Basil Dearden team may not be as slick as The Archers, but they do peg this sober Isolation Chamber drama — even if we wonder if Dirk Bogarde will start talking like Paddy Chayefsky, and then shape-shift into an ape man. The real issue here is scientific ethics, of which Bogarde’s associates seem to have zero. Taking acting honors is Mary Ure, with John Clements, Michael Bryant and Wendy Craig providing support. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
09/24/19

Local Hero 09/21/19

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Charlie Largent is just the latest to extol Bill Forsyth’s timeless tale of a transplanted Texan befriended by a smorgasbord of Scottish eccentrics (the innkeeper’s wife might be on the menu too). Animal House’s Peter Riegert is the lonely executive who finds love in a storybook fishing village and Burt Lancaster is his comet-crazy boss. Forsyth offers up a beautiful mermaid in the bargain. With Peter Capaldi, Denis Lawson and Jenny Seagrove as the might-be mermaid. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
09/21/19

Touchez pas au Grisbi 09/21/19

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

‘Hands off the Loot!’ Jacques Becker’s crackling Paris crime tale is a time machine to an age of Parisian tough guys in double breasted suits, who never show their cards, and mistreat women in ways the Hollywood production code would never allow. Old thief Jean Gabin’s ill-gotten wealth is threatened by the newcomer creep Lino Ventura, thanks to the treachery of a very young Jeanne Moreau; the struggle revives weapons and tactics not used since the Occupation. One of the GREAT Euro crime classics is now looking terrific in Kino/Studio Canal’s restoration. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
09/21/19

Jezebel 09/21/19

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Which Bette Davis movies qualify for greatness?   Her flawed character doesn’t conquer all in this costume picture, and it’s historically more sensitive than Gone With the Wind. It’s also William Wyler at the top of his form, creating in just 104 minutes a rich image of a long-gone world. Southern Belle Julie Marsden is a contrary troublemaker, a flip coquette who shoots her whole life to hell with just a couple of social gaffes. The story is ‘bigger than Bette’ – the apocalyptic finale is just a side event in a fable about the nature of chivalry and honor in a flawed social structure. With Henry Fonda, George Brent, Margaret Lindsay & Fay Bainter. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
09/21/19

Cluny Brown 09/17/19

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Reviewer Charlie Largent is quite taken with the uncommon graces of Ernst Lubitsch’s gentle comedy of romance and women’s roles. Lowly plumber’s daughter Jennifer Jones fixes the pipes in a big mansion and becomes an important person in everyone’s life, especially European refugee Charles Boyer. This is the movie with the cosmically daffy dialogue line about ‘nuts to the squirrels,’ or ‘squirrels to the nuts’ or something. What an endearing, excellent choice for a Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
09/17/19

Soldier of Fortune 09/17/19

Explosive Media GmbH
Region B Blu-ray

(Treffpunkt Hongkong)   Two-fisted Crown Colony racketeer Clark Gable goes out on a limb to recover Susan Hayward’s husband, held prisoner in Red China. In a literal pirate vessel armed with a stolen cannon, Gable literally goes to war, risking his smuggling empire by half-kidnapping Michael Rennie’s Hong Kong cop. This lush CinemaScope action-travelogue-romance now comes off as comfort food movie viewing: familiar stars doing what they do best. It’s a German import from a Hollywood Studio whose library titles may soon no longer be licensed to hard media home video. On Region B Blu-ray from Explosive Media GmbH.
09/17/19

A Bucket of Blood 09/17/19

Olive Signature
Blu-ray

Roger Corman’s ‘sick sick sick!’ horror comedy is still a delight, and Olive’s Signature edition accompanies it with some excellent Elijah Drenner extras, including a video interview with the beloved star Dick Miller. Walter Paisley is the patron saint of underachieving artists everywhere, and this special edition has director Corman and writer Charles B. Griffith on tap to sing his praises. It is by will alone that I set my mind in motion: “Be a nose!”  On Blu-ray from Olive Signature.
09/17/19

Circus of Horrors 09/14/19

Scream Factory
Blu-ray

Four out of five psychologists agree that something rotten is alive and well between the sawdust and the high wire in the delirious Circus of Horrors. Lame big-top horror pix are common enough, but this fiendishly entertaining delight would inspire the voyeur-sadist in MisterRogers. Anton Diffring is the steely-eyed medical maniac with a mission to populate an insane circus exclusively with cosmetically-enhanced prostitutes and criminals. And I won’t turn that into a White House joke. On Blu-ray from Scream Factory.
09/14/19

90° in the Shade 09/14/19

Powerhouse Indicator
Blu-ray

Sordid Noir in Czechoslovakia: a one-of-a-kind Czech/Brit coproduction teams fine British actors (Anne Heywood, James Booth, Sir Donald Wolfit) with the home-grown star Rudolf HruSinsky, and the result is neither murder nor mayhem, but a real everyday tragedy that might happen anywhere. The bright B&W images chart an unhappy illicit romance, and a petty crime with awful consequences.. On Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
09/14/19

Noir Archive 9-Film Collection Volume 3 09/10/19

Mill Creek / Kit Parker
Blu-ray

Mill Creek and Kit Parker have raided the Columbia vault once again in search of Noir Gold from the ‘fifties. Their selection this time around has a couple of prime gems, several straight crime thrillers and domestic jeopardy tales, and also a couple of interesting Brit imports. They aren’t really ‘Noir’ either, but they’re still unexpected and different. The top title is Don Siegel’s incomparable The Lineup, but also on board is a snappy anti-commie epic by André De Toth. Get set for a lineup of impressive leading ladies: Diana Dors, Arlene Dahl, Anita Ekberg — and the great Colleen Dewhurst as a card-carrying Red! On Blu-ray from Mill Creek / Kit Parker.
09/10/19

Who Saw Her Die? 09/10/19

Arrow Video
Blu-ray

Giallos run hot and cold, but this one has plenty to recommend it — a serious outlook, a focus on elements other than gore, beautiful cinematography on terrific locations in Venice, and committed performances from Anita Strindberg, Adolfo Celi and an unusual choice, ex- 007 George Lazenby. Director Aldo Lado takes this one in a different direction than Giallo maestro Dario Argento — with a humanistic bent and a compelling performance by child actress Nicoletta Elmi. Plus a piercing music score by Ennio Morricone, sung by a children’s choir. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
09/10/19

Fists in the Pocket 09/07/19

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

You think YOU’VE got mentally unstable relatives? Marco Bellocchio’s debut film made a big splash in ’65 with its tale of a family packed with serious problems, where the relationships have an air of sickness about them. Lou Castel’s brilliant but twisted brother likes to float preposterous ideas, but his latest creepy brainstorm is to start murdering his siblings. This one feels like it should be an allegory for something … but what? Reviewer Charlie Largent knows sick drama when he sees it, and gives us the Euro-thriller low-down. Music by Ennio Morricone! On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.

Dinosaurus! 09/07/19

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Were movie folk blind in 1960? We kids were so dino- crazy, ANY movie about dinosaurs would have cleaned up at the box office. We’re told that Jack H. Harris didn’t do badly with his third turn at the wickets, despite thunder lizards with a complexion of Jurassic Pla-Doh. The Romper Room dramatics didn’t offend my eight-year-old sensibilities, either. The movie had a caveman for comic relief and a klutzy villain that all but eliminates himself, so kid-safe it is even if people are being devoured alive. And hardly any kissing scenes, Ma. With Ward Ramsey, Kristina Hanson, and Paul Lukather. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
09/07/19

Magnificent Obsession 09/03/19

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

One of the strangest ‘uplifting moral tales’ of the 1950s was a huge hit, and launched Rock Hudson as a major star. Criterion’s deluxe presentation puts it on a par with world cinema, mawkish Kitsch-O-Rama and all. Comes with a restored copy of the slightly less head-spinning 1935 version, too. Co-stars Jane Wyman, Barbara Rush, Agnes Moorehead, and Otto Kruger, whose moral guidance has something to do with ‘contacting one’s power source.’ On Blu-rayfrom The Criterion Collection.
09/03/19

Death Ship 09/03/19

Scorpion Releasing
Blu-ray

From the golden age of Canadian tax shelters comes a horror movie about a fiendish, fearful freighter fraught with frills, I mean, chills. A notable cast — George Kennedy, Richard Crenna, Sally Ann Howes, Kate Reid — shows up for paycheck duty, and must have gone through real torture getting this one in the can. It’s got a reputation, and if being ripoff-remade is a marker of success, then it’s earned its place on the horror map: SEE George Kennedy apparently really doused in awful oily bilge water! On Blu-ray from Scorpion Releasing.
09/03/19