The Blue Lamp 05/11/21

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

It’s the granddaddy of British cop dramas of the modern era. The most popular English picture of 1950 introduced PC George Dixon, a warm-hearted constable who would become a staple on BBC TV for 21 years. T.E.B. Clarke’s screenplay of a murder manhunt is stocked with actors American fans know well — Dirk Bogarde, Bernard Lee — and some we should know better — Jack Warner, Robert Flemyng, Dora Bryan. The show was made by the top craftsmen of Ealing Studios, and its fast pace and Brit sensibility will definitely impress. And remember — the Bobbies on the beat don’t even carry guns. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
05/11/21

Nightmare Alley 05/11/21

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

One of the most glamorous / unsavory films noir ever, this creepy tale of a master con-man undone by warped ambition was planned as a career-altering role for the big star Tyrone Power. Power plumbs the depths of personal degradation in terms that even today skew to the squeamish side of human experience. Almost as fascinating are the women Power uses, arrayed in dynamic contrast by Coleen Gray, Joan Blondell and Helen Walker. Yes, this is the movie about ‘The Geek’… Hollywood hadn’t been this intimate with the seamy underside of carnival life since Tod Browning’s Freaks. The disc extras include top contributions from James Ursini and Alain Silver, Imogen Sara Smith and even Coleen Gray. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
05/11/21

Donnie Darko 4K 05/11/21

Arrow Video
4K Ultra HD

The 4K Ultra HD crowd has a treat in store, for Donnie Boy is back for theatrical quality home screenings. Richard Kelly’s dreamy/morbid teen fantasy has gained in stature in the twenty years (gasp) since the nasty bunny-man ‘Frank’ raised his ugly chrome head… and young Donald’s psychic sci-fi ordeal seems more relevant than ever. Arrow’s 4K-only release shows the label once again proving its mettle in the hard media video biz, with full-res encodings of both the theatrical and director’s extended cuts. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Patrick Swayze, Holmes Osborne, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Drew Barrymore, Katharine Ross. On 4K Ultra HDfrom Arrow Video.
05/11/21

Smile 05/08/21

Fun City Editions
Blu-ray

Near the pinnacle of director-driven ’70s cinema is this marvelous comedy about an ‘American Miss’ contest, and the swirl of personalities that come to support, promote and ogle the teen beauties just learning the ropes of the good old U.S. hype machine. Bruce Dern, Barbara Feldon and Michael Kidd are just wonderful as the adults in charge of the pageantry; Annette O’Toole, Joan Prather and Melanie Griffifth are among the hopefuls, learning an early lesson in a time honored, entirely bogus Americana ritual: as Michael Kidd says, he teaches these sweet kids to dance and behave like Vegas showgirls. It’s deceptively, distractingly funny — and as true as the day is long. With Eric Shea, Geoffrey Lewis and Nicholas Pryor. On Blu-ray from Fun City Editions.
05/08/21

They Won’t Believe Me 05/08/21

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

The Warner Archive’s latest major restoration premiere restores a full 15 minutes of scenes to this classic-era domestic film noir about the havoc wreaked by a lousy husband on three unfortunate women. There’s no accounting for love, and the lesson taught by the cad Robert Young carries a murderous sting. All that Susan Hayward, Rita Johnson and Jane (swoon) Greer need to explain to me, is what they saw in Robert Young in the first place. It’s top-flight RKO noir, beautifully remastered; CineSavant spells out exactly which scenes are newly restored. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
05/08/21

The Dungeon of Andy Milligan Collection 05/04/21

Severin Films
Blu-ray

Fearless Charlie Largent pries back the dungeon doors to give a full report on yet another exhaustive Severin box o’ gore devoted to a horror filmmaker on the margins of cinematic validity. More squeamish than Al Adamson!  More appalling than William Grefe!  Meet the man who showed 42nd Street grindhouses a new bottom below the bottom of the barrel!  Charlie took the time to sort out the fourteen features and innumerable extras on the eight Blu-rays in the box, with titles like The Ghastly Ones, Bloodthirsty Butchers, Fleshpot on 42nd Street and that nostalgic tearjerker The Rats are Coming! The Werewolves are Here!   I tell you, even the face pictured on the box top looks like the work of a police artist, drawn from the memories of Milligan’s victims!  On Blu-ray from Severin Films.
05/04/21

Columbia Noir #3 05/04/21

Powerhouse Indicator
Region B Blu-ray

Witness six noir heroes, doing what noir heroes do: one crooked gambler, one psycho, another psycho with access to a gun, a dope railroaded into a prison sentence, and an even bigger dope who doesn’t realize he’s poisoning himself. That’s only five, but the sixth is a cop, and not a particularly compromised one, the way we like ’em in noir. Johnny O’Clock, The Dark Past, Convicted, Between Midnight and Dawn, The Sniper and City of Fear can boast name directors, beautiful HD transfers and some fascinating short subjects as extras. With Dick Powell, Nina Foch, William Holden, Edmond O’Brien, Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford, Marie Windsor, and Vince Edwards; on Region B Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
05/04/21

The Night of the Following Day 05/01/21

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Hubert Cornfield’s smoothly directed, moody kidnapping story is mysterious, engaging and well acted, but opts for an anti-thriller vibe with a curiously unsatisfying ending. Was this really the plan, or did the irksomely capricious Marlon Brando just not want to cooperate with the director?   Brando is terrific anyway (and in great shape, too). The well-cast Rita Moreno, Richard Boone and Pamela Franklin are short-changed by directorial and editorial decisions that don’t give us enough of a purchase on the characters. The overcast weather on the French coast is a plus, but not the director’s choice of a downbeat, arty finish. On Blu-rayfrom KL Studio Classics.
05/01/21

Broadway Melody of 1940 05/01/21

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

For his first teaming sans Ginger, Fred Astaire hot-foots it to MGM and the waiting tap & sweep partner Eleanor Powell, already a terrific box office draw in her own right. These were the days when the caliber of talent in Hollywood justified the exalted, glamorous aura of star status. The story is a backstage mixup with sidebar singing and joke acts, decent dialogue and not much else. But when these two alight on a dance floor — not just ‘a’ dance floor but an enormous expanse of glittering glass — Hollywood hits a too-glamorous-to-be-real peak. The music by Cole Porter includes Begin the Beguine. Just-okay George Murphy is the third wheel on this musical bicycle, with Frank Morgan serving as fuddy-duddy comic relief. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
05/01/21