CineSavant Column

Tuesday May 21, 2019


Some fun new disc news in the last week … The Warner Archive Collection has announced a Blu-ray with both versions of Gaslight, George Cukor’s more familiar 1944 Bergman / Boyer / Cotten remake, and an SD encoding of the Diana Wynyard / Anton Walbrook English original from 1940.

The WAC also has something in the works for a different kind of fan — Jonny Quest, The Complete Original Series. Now I’ll finally get to see the episode with the walking eye-monsters (if there really is one). Since I haven’t seen the show in fifty years, maybe I’ll be surprised by the supposed Non-PC content I’m hearing about online?

Also announced as pending from the WAC: None But the Brave, Corvette Summer, and Popeye: The 1940’s Vol. 2.

Twilight Time just sent out a note revealing its July titles, for the 16th of that month: Fred Zinnnemann’s Spanish Civil War drama with Gregory Peck Behold a Pale Horse, J.Lee Thompson’s loopy Cold War cartoon The Chairman, also with Peck; Susan Hayward & Charlton Heston in the costume drama The President’s Lady, and Phillip Dunne’s Ten North Frederick with Gary Cooper and Diane Varsi.

I’m eager to review TT’s May titles, due in the door next week… they include Steve McQueen in Horton Foote’s Baby the Rain Must Fall and the superior Edward Dmytryk western with Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn, Warlock.

Gary Teetzel pointed me to a find from CD producer Ray Fiola: “Several years back, when producing the CD of the surviving King Kong music tracks, producer Ray Faiola came across a track he didn’t recognize. He thought it might be some sort of demo, because toward the end there is a snippet that seems to quote Kong’s Ann Darrow theme. Years later, Faiola has identified the track as Max Steiner’s main title for the lost 1933 RKO horror thriller The Monkey’s Paw.

So if you’ve ever wondered about Max Steiner’s score for this rarity, here’s a brief taste from Chelsea Rialto Studios: the Main Title for The Monkey’s Paw.

Well whaddaya know department: Correspondent Michael Draine informs me that the 1933 The Monkey’s Paw HAS been found … but only in a French Dub. Here’s a nice discussion board entry, with screen caps, at the Nitrateville Page. Thanks Michael!

Gary T. also sent along this photo from that old 1957 favorite The Monster that Challenged the World. (To see it larger, open it in a new window.) I thought, ‘How odd that an official still from a sci-fi horror picture should be a posed shot with a woman happily greeting the titular mollusk monster, as if it were an old friend.’ Then I had a thought about the identity of the lady on view, which Tom Weaver graciously confirmed: she is indeed none other than Pat Fielder, the screenwriter of Challenged and several other Levy-Gardner-Laven monster-thons.

This mini-revelation is probably old news to those that frequent online boards, but Ms. Fielder is a special case for me. In a decade with few or no opportunities for filmic advancement, especially for women, UCLA graduate Pat advanced from office assistant to screenwriter at L-G-L, racking up credits that made possible a career writing for TV. That’s the way good work and team loyalty is supposed to be rewarded. It makes the creators of Without Warning!, Vice Squad, The Vampire and The Return of Dracula seem like a great group of people.

And they even let Pat pose with Augie Lohman’s goopy sea-slug, just for fun. I hope Ms. Fielder knows she’s appreciated.

And from the talented Paul Gentry comes a little more news about Full Moon’s remaster of the 1980 Sci-fi Opus The Day Time Ended. If you want to get a jump on the disc before reading about the picture quality, here’s a link to the Amazon Page. I should be receiving it in a couple of weeks, to review; I only know it flat on television so am eager to see it for the first time in its wide Panavision framing.

I met Mr. Gentry briefly a couple of months ago when TDTE’s producer Wayne Schmidt flew down to record a commentary for the new disc. The movie’s effects were produced at the late David Allen’s shop out on Olive in Burbank. If memory serves, this was about the same time that several of our 1941 modelmakers were moonlighting there, building sets and miniature props for the proposed Charlie Band picture The Primevals.

When Greg Jein constructed a futuristic house model for The Day Time Ended I got to visit Allen’s shop, where Randy (Randall William) Cook was busy getting ready to do stop-motion animation. This is Paul Gentry’s photograph of Randy posing with the show’s two main monster puppets. Hey, Mr. Cook looks pretty good here — he could pass for a teenager, and no pictures of ME this old are as presentable. I was going to make a joke about other photos of Randy way back at my wedding, but instead want to congratulate him for a worthy honor: last Saturday, Randall William Cook was appointed an advisor to the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation!

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson