CineSavant Column

Saturday September 7, 2019

Hello! Fun links and announcements today — !

Twice in one week I’m steering you back to John McElwee’s Greenbriar Picture Shows. John has followed up his piece on American-International Pictures marketing strategies with more eye-opening good info about A.I.P. and the ‘colorful’ honchos James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff; the date for part 2 is September 5.

As is usual, McElwee’s distribution-centric insights are highly educational — he avers that 1959’s color & ‘scope Horrors of the Black Museum was the attraction that showed A.I.P. a path into the 1960s, with more expensive, more adult color horror pix to replace the cheapie B&W double bills that were beginning to fade. In other words, the profits from Herman Cohen’s London-based production inspired A.I.P. and Corman to roll the dice on the Poes.  I like that theory, it’s a good theory, I’m behind that theory a hundred percent.

Valued pal and former fearless editorial leader Richard A. Smith sends along this cheery Guardian article that tells us that Carol Reed’s The Third Man is packed with insights on the Brexit debacle: Why The Third Man is an essential primer for no-deal Brexit.

Since Guardian seems to be celebrating all things Third Man at the moment, here’s another page with several fresh BTS images of serial thrills from “Harry Lime versus the Pure Penicillin League”: The Third Man: behind the scenes of the film noir masterpiece — in pictures. Thanks Richard!

And the Blu-ray shoe finally dropped yesterday with Indicator’s announcement of a fourth Hammer Horror set for November: Hammer Horror Four: Faces of Fear. They’ve saved some of the best for last: Terence Fisher’s The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll; Seth Holt’s Taste of Fear, which is surely Jimmy Sangster’s best Joe Stefano imitation; my favorite of the Hammer Frankensteins The Revenge of Frankenstein, directed by Fisher and starring Peter Cushing; and a deluxe presentation of Joseph Losey’s science fiction masterpiece (These Are) The Damned, with Viveca Lindfors and Oliver Reed.

We’ve been whining for a decent The Revenge of Frankenstein for years now, so hopefully Indicator’s new scan will be a beauty. And it may, just may, have an amazing extra I’ve been writing about for twenty years. And I can’t wait to see what extras are attached to (These Are) The Damned — the company’s disc for Stranglers of Bombay is a wonderment.

This has been a terrific summer for Brit sci-fi, with Quatermass 2 and Quatermass and the Pit finding good Region A releases, plus the earlier stand-alone German disc of These are the Damned. And Val Guest’s The Abominable Snowman is coming in November. I suppose we could beg for worthy exotica like The Trollenberg Terror in HD, but soon the only English sci-fi biggie not available in Region A will be Guest’s The Day the Earth Caught Fire.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson