Targets 05/30/23

The Criterion Collection

The late Peter Bogdanovich ‘did good’ — great, in fact, with his first feature on which he took a directing credit. A Roger Corman initial effort, advised a bit by Samuel Fuller, put Boganovich on the map with one of the most clever exploitation trick plots of the ‘sixties. Horror icon Boris Karloff’s genteel scare image confronts the ugly new Speck-Whitman horror of meaningless slaughter. It’s one of the first artistic reactions to the new Age of Terror, and it still gets a grip on its audience. With excellent extras. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.

I Was A Teenage Werewolf 05/30/23

CineSavant Revival Screening Review
Not On Disc

Another ‘mild protest’ review of a mini-classic we can only see on inferior old transfers . . . . Gene Fowler Jr’s Lycanthrope Without a Cause holds up very well, with creative direction and a brooding performance from Michael Landon, and great lensing from Joseph La Shelle. Film history is made — it’s the first cinematic werewolf that drools as if foaming at the mouth with rabies. And the psychology behind his transformations is curious too — all that teen angst and aggression has to go somewhere. Charlie Largent tells it like it howls, for a much-desired film Not On Disc.

Clash by Night 05/30/23

The Warner Archive Collection

Fritz Lang’s wavering American career hit a high point in this adaptation of a Clifford Odets play with a four-cylinder star cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas, Robert Ryan and Marilyn Monroe, all billed above the title. It’s a tawdry love triangle in a fishing town, where infidelity brings violence to the surface. Monroe’s younger character — “Twenty, the age of miracles” — has a conflicting view of matrimonial harmony. Lang holds up his end, but the actors’ handling of the stylized Odets dialogue is what makes the movie work. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.

Essential Film Noir Collection 4 05/23/23

Viavision Imprint

Viavision Imprint’s 4th Noir collection is here, with two core examples of the classic style, one solid gangster film, an adventure-intrigue tale set in South Africa and two psychological ‘woman in peril’ thrillers. The male leads Burt Lancaster, Alan Ladd, Humphrey Bogart and Robert Ryan must contend with heroines Corrine Calvet, Jan Sterling, Phyllis Calvert and the great Ida Lupino, in Rope of Sand, Appointment with Danger, The Enforcer, Beware My Lovely and Jennifer. On Blu-ray from Viavision Imprint.

Serpico 4K 05/20/23

KL Studio Classics
4K Ultra HD + Blu Ray

Now in 4K: One of the hottest true-story exposés of its time, the traumatic tale of an ethical cop’s clash with NYC corruption cemented the star status of Al Pacino. It also became one of director Sidney Lumet’s biggest hits — even with such a grim story, it is strangely uplifting. It garnered two Oscar nominations, one for Pacino and one for co-screenwriter Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler. Director Lumet contributes to the disc extras; our own Charlie Largent is the honest, incorruptible and morally uplifting reviewer. In 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.

The Big Trail 70mm 05/16/23

20th Fox Home Video

  CineSavant takes a break to catch up with a ‘Wonder Movie of the Ages’ — from 93 years ago. Raoul Walsh led an enormous company all over the West to film an immense wagon train epic — in a short-lived 70mm film process called Grandeur. The vistas of pioneer action are staggering, and so is the film’s lead player . . . for this is the starring feature debut of none other than John Wayne, and he’s not at all bad. Fans of big format road show epics will be impressed: Fox also shot it in flat 35mm, and both versions are present on this Blu-ray from 2012. On Blu-ray from 20th Fox Home Video.

If I Had A Million 05/13/23

KL Studio Classics

Paramount’s nutty omnibus movie has seven directors and a fistful of top stars: Gary Cooper, W.C. Fields, Charles Laughton, Wynne Gibson, Charlie Ruggles, George Raft, Jack Oakie and Frances Dee. A dying millionaire divides up his fortune between eight strangers, each of whom mishandles their windfall inheritance. Joe Mankiewicz wrote four episodes. Ernst Lubitsch directed the Laughton sequence, a nicely sustained item with a one-joke payoff. Fields and Alison Skipworth use their fortune to lay a trap for eight road-hog bad drivers. Allan Arkush joins Daniel Kramer on Kino’s commentary. It’s pre-Code mirth, reviewed by Charlie Largent on Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.


Notre-Dame de Paris 05/09/23

Not on Region A disc
CineSavant Revival Screening Review

Another CineSavant Revival Screening Review, or in other words, it’s not yet officially available for English-language viewers. This French The Hunchback of Notre Dame may not be the cinematic masterpiece that is RKO’s 1939 version, but it has a literate script, good production values, color and CinemaScope — and it doesn’t mar the Victor Hugo original with a false feel-good ending. Anthony Quinn’s Quasimodo is a legit interpretation, and the late Gina Lollobrigida is excellent as Esmerelda. We need this in Region A, with English subtitles. NOT on Region A Blu-ray.

Never Say Die 05/06/23

KL Studio Classics

Sounds like a James Bond title, doesn’t it?  Never heard of this one before, but it’s hilarious. Preston Sturges is one of the writers behind a romantic comedy adapted from a play — Bob Hope is a guy with only a month to live, who runs out on his engagement and gets involved with Martha Raye, a crazy Texas heiress. Screwball complications ensue, with a dream cast of clowns: Andy Devine, Alan Mowbray, Gale Sondergaard, Sig Ruman, Monty Wooley, Hans Conreid. And don’t forget the original word puzzle: “There’s a cross on the muzzle of the pistol with the bullet and a nick on the handle of the pistol with the blank.”  Reviewed by Charlie Largent, on Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.

Deep Impact 4K 05/02/23

Paramount Home Video
4K Ultra HD + Blu Ray + Digital

🎶  “Have you heard . . . about the stars? . . . Ju-pi-ter could collide with Mars . . .”  🎶  A comet is on a collision course with Earth, a saga seen through a TV Network, the teenager who first discovered the astral threat, and the team of astronauts dispatched on a deep space mission to destroy it. The ‘humanist’ epic is really about man’s ability to adapt to new problems, even when the worst can’t be avoided. Steven Spielberg producers Zanuck & Brown and director Mimi Leder, plus a fine cast: Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Morgan Freeman, Maximilian Schell, Mary McCormack, Kurtwood Smith, James Cromwell, Jon Favreau and Leelee Sobieski. And it’s a knockout in a killer 4K encoding. On 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital from Paramount Home Video.