Madigan 11/16/19

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Don Siegel’s powerful cop saga shows the way for police stories of the ’70s — it has traces of TV movie cheapness, and then barrels forward with its story of rotten crooks a desperate detective and an elitist Police Commissioner. A strong cast gets powerful roles — Richard Widmark, Harry Guardino, Inger Stevens, James Whitmore — and Henry Fonda is cooly forbidding. The bang-bang finale was celebrated for its violent editing: Siegel’s blunt-force cutting effects make it feel extra-intense. For warped screen villainy, Steve Ihnat’s Barney Benesch has no equal — he has less than three minutes of screen time, but you’ll never forget him. Kino gives the show a strong commentary by Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
11/16/19

The Far Country 11/16/19

Arrow Academy
Blu-ray

Did star James Stewart and director Anthony Mann corner the market on upscale ‘A’ ’50s westerns?  This beauty sends Stewart, Ruth Roman and Corrine Calvet on a breezy trek over a Canadian glacier, with Walter Brennan as a folksy, ditsy sidekick — not very original but endearing. John McIntire saves the day as a charmingly malevolent self-appointed Judge Roy Bean-type swindler and murderer — he’s so hilariously evil, even Stewart’s character is amused. The special edition has two aspect ratio versions, a full commentary and two film history featurette-docus. With Jay C. Flippen, Harry Morgan, Steve Brodie, Robert J. Wilke, Chubby Johnson, Royal Dano, Jack Elam and Kathleen Freeman. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy .
11/16/19

Konga 11/16/19

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Ah yes!  It’s not exactly I Was A Teenage Gorilla but it comes close. Herman Cohen’s made-in-England monster opus has Michael Gough chewing scenery to put something exciting on the screen. Other fine actors sort-of bring to life the tale of a really nasty scientist’s revenge plan using a chimp pumped up with his super-duper growth serum. The lecherous Gough has a field day, and every fifth special effect looks pretty good — the entire ‘sensational’ action climax consists of one stroll in London Town. I was little when this came out and we all thought it was shocking, fantastic and incredible — but all I saw was the poster. Perhaps Reynold Brown’s artwork is the best thing about the picture — which finally looks tip-top in HD and good color. Trailers from Hell’s Charlie Largent gives it a warmly nostalgic look-see. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
11/16/19

The 3-D Nudie-Cuties Collection 11/12/19

Kino Classics
3-D Blu-ray

CineSavant chooses its reviews with discretion, knowing that attending to readers’ spiritual needs is a top priority. So get ready for a blistering, too-too spicy duo of ‘adult movies’ (read: they cater to dirty old men) created in the prehistoric days before humanity was transformed by X-rated porn. The first show THE BELLBOY AND THE PLAYGIRLS may be the professional screen directing debut of Francis Coppola, moonlighting from UCLA. It’s something of a wreck, but he was not one to miss an opportunity to write and direct. The second picture ADAM AND SIX EVES, in gorgeous color and eye-popping 3-D, is so good as to suggest an art revival, if today’s PC culture wasn’t so likely to condemn a vintage girlie entertainment out of hand. But then again, the sub-genre is supposed to be forbidden and Taboo. Blu-ray 3-D conquers all! On 3-D Blu-ray from Kino Classics.
11/12/19

They Made Me a Fugitive 11/12/19

Powerhouse Indicator
Region Free Blu-ray

Sinister stabbings, women kicked and beaten, perverse hoodlums selling cocaine and murdering street-beat bobbies: what happened to civilized English crime?   Cavalcanti’s vicious postwar Brit Noir shocked critics for The Times and had to be cut to ribbons for American distribution. A disillusioned, bored RAF hero turns to smuggling and skullduggery.  This fully restored crime classic gives us Trevor Howard, Sally Gray and Griffith Jones in one of the best — and most brutal crime pix of its day. Plus attractive PI extras! On Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
11/12/19

Great Day in the Morning 11/12/19

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Jacques Tourneur’s ‘big sky’ western gives us the beauty of Colorado mountains plus stunning color images (originally Technicolor & Superscope) of his attractive cast: Robert Stack, Virginia Mayo, Ruth Roman. North-South antagonisms break out in Denver City, before the Civil War begins, and Robert Stack’s loner opportunist must choose a side. The WAC’s disc includes four Jacques Tourneur short subjects, with mystery themes. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
11/12/19

Spirited Away 11/09/19

Shout! Factory
Blu-ray

Hayao Miyazaki’s animation masterpiece, a truly wondrous flight of fantasy and imagination, returns to Blu-ray in a beautiful boxed special edition, similar to last May’s Princess Mononoke. Reviewer Charlie Largent turns his admiring eye to sing its praises, and reflect on the special edition’s contents, which include a lavishly illustrated forty-page book. “There. Your body matches your brain.” On Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.
11/09/19

The Man Between 11/09/19

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Critics compare this sophisticated spy thriller to Carol Reed’s earlier Triumph set in Vienna with Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles — but it’s a different story altogether, not about black-market evil but the perils of moral compromise in a divided Berlin. James Mason and Claire Bloom are stunningly good together, in a moody suspense that’s completely serious — no comic relief or ‘fun’ jeopardy to distract from the fascinating, you-are-there setting, a Berlin trying to rebuild itself. With Hildegard Knef, and an extended, beautifully filmed nighttime chase that seals an unlikely romance. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
11/09/19

Eegah 11/09/19

The Film Detective
Blu-ray

Mean-spirited ‘Bad Movie’ satirists forget that production values aren’t everything, even if the collected works of Barry Mahon and Coleman Francis say otherwise. This threadbare backyard production has ‘endearing’ written all over it. The Last Time We Saw Arch Hall (we never saw him a first time), he may have been cooking up a sequel to his maladroit teenage caveman epic … if only he hadn’t killed off the main character. But this Turkey actually performed in release: Eegah would rate its niche in film history even if Richard Kiel hadn’t become a star in James Bond movies. Co-starring Arch Hall, Jr. and Marilyn Manning; Gary Teetzel contributes a gallery of vintage Trade Paper notices for the picture. On Blu-ray from The Film Detective.
11/09/19

Operation Crossbow 11/05/19

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

‘Mission impossible’ wartime sabotage fun takes on an authentic, dramatic episode of WW2 — the onslaught of futuristic V-Weapons on London — and then veers into fictional fantasy (think big explosions). George Peppard toughs it out to get free of his MGM contract. Lili Palmer and Barbara Rütting do the heavy lifting, while Sophia Loren is in as a glamorous sidebar. Weirdly, the movie all but lionizes the Germans that develop, test and fire the V-Weapon rockets at England … exaggerating their scientific progress and giving them a strange kind of ‘Right Stuff.’ The fast moving film features a galaxy of name actors as righteous heroes and tech-savvy villains: Trevor Howard, John Mills, Richard Johnson, Tom Courtenay, Jeremy Kemp, Anthony Quayle, Paul Henreid, Helmut Dantine, Richard Todd, Patrick Wymark, Ferdy Mayne and Anton Diffring. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
11/05/19

Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory 11/05/19

Severin Films
Blu-ray

Italian horror from the early 1960s covers a wide quality range, from eerie hauntings to tacky, lurid vampire romps. For one of his first major credits, ace giallo scribe Ernesto Gastaldi cooks up Lycanthropus, a murder mystery in which the savage slashing committed by a drooling maniac with a hairy face, wild eyes and saber-toothed fangs. You saw the poster out front, kid — do you think it might be … a werewolf?  Director Paolo Heusch’s thriller is no classic, but neither is it stupid — and the original Italian language option on this disc reveals good work by a spirited cast. Dreamy Polish starlet Barbara Lass is a much more assertive, independent female than what we expect from conventional Italo horror fare. We also get to discuss a musical milestone added to the film’s U.S. release, the rather clever pop novelty song The Ghoul in School. On Blu-ray from Severin Films.
11/05/19

Hammer Volume Four Faces of Fear 11/02/19

Powerhouse Indicator
Blu-ray

PI’s fourth collection of Hammer attractions shows no sign of compromise — three out of four titles here are superb tales of fright and science fiction. Thanks to the company policy of leaving no gravestone unturned, the exclusive special extras never stop. We have alternate title sequences for two films, a gallery of censor alterations for another, and an entire second release version for yet another. Plus, Powerhouse re-premieres a new remastered copy of a prime Hammer classic, one that until now hasn’t been looking so well. Get set for The Revenge of Frankenstein, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, Taste (Scream) of Fear, and The Damned (These Are the Damned). On Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
11/02/19

Seven Days to Noon 11/02/19

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Is this ground zero for Atom-fear science fiction?  The Boulting Brothers assemble the very first movie about a nuclear terror plot, without cutting corners or wimping out. The incredibly dry, civilized André Morell must track down a rogue scientist who threatens to nuke London; the entire city must be evacuated. Barry Jones is the meek boffin with a bomb in his satchel. This impressively produced thriller won an Oscar for Best Story; it’s practically a template for the ‘docu-real’ approach of the first Quatermass films. It’s also the link between ordinary postwar thriller intrigues and the high-powered, science fiction- canted terrors to come. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
11/02/19

The World The Flesh and The Devil 11/02/19

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

The world could come to an end in a lot of ways, but 1950s sci-fi was fond of making it end like a One-Act play. Harry Belafonte’s personal project soon drops the spectre of annihilation to cozy up to a statement about race relations. Despite the fact that his co-star Inger Stevens likely had the courage to take the material way, way farther, the last man and woman on Earth don’t even share a kiss. Can’t offend those distributors in Alabama, by golly. The film’s amazingly realistic vision of NYC abandoned after an atomic gas attack is stunning in HD — the show hasn’t lost its appeal, even if it deserts its second theme in favor of a rifle-toting showdown between Belafonte and Mel Ferrer’s villainous third-wheel survivor. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
11/02/19