CineSavant Column

Tuesday October 1, 2019


Am happy to chime in with praise for Powerhouse Indicator’s fast work to get the ‘missing outtake reel’ from The Revenge of Frankenstein on their upcoming Hammer collection. They did act fast … hearing that arrangements had stalled, with the clock running out, I got the ball rolling with a squawk announcement on this column, back on September 7. That prompted PI’s Head of Production Anthony Nield to write me to ask what I was talking about. A few days later, the extra was in the works again, all parties happy.

It’s a reel of 35mm outtakes and stage waits from one scene in The Revenge of Frankenstein. Besides simple curiosity, it has value because it shows quite a bit about how Terence Fisher directed. Conserving film stock appears to be a major concern — Peter Cushing doesn’t waste a frame with ‘dead time’ waiting around. Doing a blooper ‘fun bit’ is unthinkable. When we saw this screened back in 2000, we were impressed by the professionalism it displayed. I believe that we see a clapper-boy several times. Somebody should interview him — the Klemensen Corps. surely knows the name of the local Bray newspaper delivery boy. Powerhouse Indicator lists the reel as 12 minutes in length, which seems extra-long in my memory. Perhaps they’ve freeze-framed or slowed down some of those brief stage wait blips, to give us a better look. We remember seeing Terence Fisher in at least one of them.

It’ll be something to look forward to — my memory after one showing 20 years ago isn’t all that precise.

This year Turner Classic Movies for October saves the traditional parade of Halloween horror fare for the last couple of days, and for that they’ve scheduled mostly the old-dependable evergreen hits. I’m taking time out to list a number of titles on the new schedule that attract me personally. Whether I watch TCM depends on how well my local Spectrum service here in Los Angeles is working. Sometimes the compression is extreme, but that’s nothing compared to their continuing mis-formatting of non-HD material … it’s all messed up with repeated or skipped frames, as if somebody didn’t set up the right signal switching. Many movies are unwatchable.

Anyway, these are the pictures that initially grabbed my attention: The featured marathon of Godzilla movies has been given plenty of publicity, and I might tune in. The buzz online is also positive for an Oct 3 airing of Argento’s Suspiria. Joseph Losey’s once-rare “M” plays again on the 5th, followed by Eddie Muller’s premiere presentation of Trapped, a very good, recently recovered noir with Lloyd Bridges. The thriller’s heroic ‘James Bond’ investigator character is played by — John Hoyt. On Oct. 6th, I can recommend Irma Vep as a kick for jaded superhero hipsters.

On the 9th is an AndrĂ© De Toth / Randolph Scott western I’ve never seen, Riding Shotgun. I’ll be kicking on the DVR on the 10th for the Hammer She (’65), as you never know when an improved transfer might appear. The same night we get Eye of the Devil, for fans wishing to catch up on their Sharon Tate movies. She has a small role but is quite good; it might be her first movie. The 16th brings Detour; we’ll see if the cable compression negates the quality of the new restoration. The 17th brings the recommended Japanese cat-horror classic Kuroneko, and the 18th follows with ‘presidential horror’ in the prescient Gabriel Over the White House. It’s not grouped with the horror films but maybe the TCM programmers have a sense of humor.

On the 21st I’ll set the DVR in search of a decent copy of Our Town — someday it will happen. On the 26th I don’t want to miss Eddie Muller’s noir lecture on Force of Evil. The end of the month brings a flurry of the usual horror suspects, but on the 27th will arrive the rather fresh Japanese shocker The Living Skeleton. Go forth in justice and peace.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson