And Hope to Die 01/12/21

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Director René Clément brings an entertainingly eccentric David Goodis crime story to the screen in high style. A big score is being prepped by an odd gang, played by a terrific lineup of talent: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Robert Ryan, Aldo Ray, Lea Massari and the elusive Tisa Farrow. Only partly an action thriller, this one is weird but good — lovers of hardboiled crime stories can’t go wrong. Studiocanal has restored the original version, a full forty minutes longer than what was briefly shown here. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
01/12/21

Cinema Paradiso 4K 01/12/21

Arrow Academy
4K Ultra HD + Blu Ray

Giuseppe Tornatore’s romantic ode to the movies charmed America, convincing theater-goers that little Italian kids are the cutest in the world. Little Salvatore Cascio grows up in a projection booth under the life-tutelage of kindly Philippe Noiret. Arrow presents the theatrical version of this Best Foreign Picture Oscar winner in 4K Ultra HD. The (greatly) extended version is on a second Blu-ray — it plays like a different movie entirely. Also starring Jacques Perrin, Brigitte Fossey and Leopoldo Trieste. On 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray from Arrow Academy.
01/12/21

Three Films by Luis Buñuel 01/09/21

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

All hail the cinematic delights of Luis Buñuel, a world-class directing genius whose work ranges from insightfully impish to point-blank outrageous. Driven from Spain by Fascists and from New York by commie hunters, he found a cinematic haven in Mexico, adapting his surreal mindset to popular film forms. His final three French features show him bending the ‘popular film form’ back in the direction of his surreal roots, where a coherent narrative is optional. Buñuel’s pictures are the real deal: high art that overturns our ‘rational’ world and that shocks simply because it’s so honest. With Fernando Rey, Adriana Asti, Ángela Molina, Stéphane Audran, Carole Bouquet, Delphine Seyrig, Jean-Claude Brialy, Bulle Ogier, Adolfo Celi, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Michael Lonsdale, Michel Piccoli, Jean Rochefort, and Monica Vitti. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
01/09/21

Beach Red 01/09/21

KL Studio Classics

Cornel Wilde’s directorial follow-up to his superb The Naked Prey was hot stuff in its day, a war movie with an unexpected emphasis on brutality and gore. Rip Torn bears down too hard on his stock character, while Wilde’s attempts to pull off associative thought memory montages come off as amateurish. But the movie has a firm fan base among lovers of movie combat, and the new transfer bests all previous video encodings. With Jaime Sánchez, Dale Ishimoto, Jean Wallace, Burr DeBenning, and Patrick Wolfe. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
01/09/21

Captain Newman, M.D. 01/05/21

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

This show has everything going for it, in fact, it has TOO much going for it: tragic drama, silly comedy, bland heart-tugs and saucy romance. Everybody’s working across purposes, with ‘stunt’ guest star Bobby Darin preening for awards attention. Angie Dickinson, Tony Curtis and Eddie Albert are terrific but are acting in different movies; and Gregory Peck seems out of his depth altogether. Does it keep our attention?  You bet. Does it work?  I’m not so sure. With Robert Duvall, Bethel Leslie, Dick Sargent, James Gregory, Larry Storch, and Jane Withers; on Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
01/05/21

The Valdez Horses 01/05/21

Powerhouse Indicator
Region B Blu-ray

What we know as Chino is a Charles Bronson star vehicle all the way, and less interesting as a western than for explaining the state of the film business in the early 1970s. A good coming of age story is reshaped to appeal to Bronson fans, while the formerly front rank director John Sturges is frustrated by star demands and producer re-shoots. The extras on PI’s disc show what a free-for all the set must have been — even the writer sees fit to boast about how he told Sturges where to head in. With Jill Ireland, Vincent Van Patten and Marcel Bozzuffi. On Region B Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
01//21

Inner Sanctum Mysteries 01/02/21

Mill Creek Entertainment
Blu-ray

Charlie Largent rings in the New Year with Universal’s sextette of ‘Inner Sanctum’ chillers, all starring Lon Chaney Jr. in interesting character roles: Calling Dr. Death, Weird Woman, Dead Man’s Eyes, The Frozen Ghost, Strange Confession and Pillow of Death. The reputation of these spook shows has been on the rise, and I’m curious — I can remember not watching a single one of them when they showed up on weekend TV horror/sci-fi movie slots in the 1960s!  I’ll be reading with interest — I think these are split between creepy murder stories and quasi-supernatural tales, and I know that one of them is based on the same story from which Burn, Witch, Burn was derived. On Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment.
01/02/21

Where Were You in ’62, A.I.P.? 01/02/21

CineSavant Article
with Bill Shaffer and Gary Teetzel

Collector Bill Shaffer reaches into his vast horde of exhibitors’ publicity ‘paper’ and comes up with some samples from an American-International Pictures preview flyer touting the year’s upcoming releases, circa January of 1962. The three samples given cover a Hollywood production that was re-titled, an Italian import that changed the name of its muscleman hero several times, and a science fiction / romantic comedy acquisition promoted as ‘coming soon’ but that morphed into something entirely different. Helping to follow the clues through the trade papers is Gary Teetzel. We answer some questions and guess at the rest… but it’s fun to see how A.I.P. in the 1960s wanted to shift from exploitation hucksterism to something a little more mainstream. We’re hoping this kind of arcane archive snooping is of interest — the vintage graphics are pretty cool!  Plus, it was a nice break from reviewing movies.
01/02/21