CineSavant Column

Saturday July 6, 2019


Well, I’ve been inundated (submerged?) by inquiries about how I got the new Blu-ray of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea without joining a subscription club. Copies of Leagues are being sold on Ebay for big $, I am told. First, I have to assure the reader that I tout movies in general, and besides waving a link to certain outlets, I don’t do what every other page has done since the dawn of DVD, collect $ for referral links and hits. I’ve never had any contact with The Disney Movie Club and I have no beef with it. My jokes about Dalt Wizzy date back to an old Mad magazine comic that lampooned the amazing Walt Disney as an extraordinary money magnet.

I got my copy by leaning on a friend (begging, whining) to order one for me, which ended up being a considerable inconvenience on his part, so I’m not asking for any more favors. My advice is to get lucky and find a pal with kids that are big on Disney and might have sprung for the club membership.

I know that’s not very helpful. I don’t know if this means anything, but everyone I’ve talked to that glommed a copy of the new Blu-ray, expressed elation at its quality — and then complained about its complete lack of extras. I have so far received five notes asking if I think the show will be available in a ‘normal’ disc release. I haven’t a clue — that’s not Disney’s present battle plan. I was told that a digital version can be purchased online, if you don’t mind it being withdrawn someday. Cheerful, huh?

Hey, there’s more Blu-ray 3-D coming to get excited about, and this time the feature was directed by one of them there high-toned name directors, Douglas Sirk. Filmed all over Utah, Taza, Son of Cochise has a fine cast led by Rock Hudson and Barbara Rush and was released in full Technicolor 3-D.

The restoration was performed by the 3-D Film Archive, and hopefully the encoding will be good. Most of the Archives work looks sensational on Blu-ray 3-D, which has been partly discontinued in the U.S. but is still going strong in other regions. What a shame — competition doesn’t always make the product better or the market more inclusive. Anyway, this title has good chances of being a winner. Douglas Sirk is a fine action director, so I’m looking forward to it.

Last minute nooz: Gary Teetzel reports that Kino Lorber is going to release Frank and Eleanor Perry’s Ladybug Ladybug, the 1963 atom drama about the tragedy that ensues when a nuclear alert is received at a rural public school. It’s long been a favorite, ignored by MGM and UA, and only available in a feeble 16mm copy; I was traumatized by it at age 13 when it hit television. You can’t call it fully successful but it is unforgettable — a liberal picture overflowing with humanist angst and cruel irony. Perry doesn’t do well with some of the kids, but the adult cast is terrific — William Daniels, Jane Connell, Richard Hamilton, Kathryn Hays, Judith Lowry, Estelle Parsons and Nancy Marchand.

The joke with Ladybug Ladybug is, I’m afraid, that for the past 30 years I’ve been asking Gary when it’s coming out on DVD and later Blu-ray, knowing that the only MGM pix less likely to receive special attention are Operation Kid Brother (OK Connery) and Fearless Frank (Frank’s Greatest Adventure). Now I’m bullish on Fearless Frank! How about a special edition with a commentary by Philip Kaufman, Jon Voight and Joan Darling?  I’ve got an original poster (and boy is it ugly)!  In any case, It’s going to be something special to see the nearly forgotten Ladybug Ladybug in HD Blu-ray.

And I’m personally happy because I’ve finished a big photo exchange with collector Mike Siegel — in regard to my still-favorite film Major Dundee. I’ve nabbed one more image from a deleted scene, I think. Later this summer, should things work out, I’ll have a minor, ‘Major’ announcement regarding that favored show…

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson