CineSavant Column

Tuesday April 17, 2018


It’s a buncha links day. Following the trail of a related Joe Dante link steer, I ran into a Rocky and Bullwinkle compilation reel on YouTube that has the initial,’origin’ episode of Peabody’s Improbable History where Mr. Peabody adopts the human boy Sherman and they go on their first adventure. The episode I’m talking about begins at just under eleven minutes in, with the ‘Roman parade.’

Gary Teetzel forwards a link and a note. The link goes to “Strange New World”, an episode of an old radio show called The Mysterious Traveler. Since he brings up a relevant observation, I’ll let Gary continue in his own words:

“The show involves a couple of fliers that crash in the Pacific and end up on a desert island near the Bikini Atoll. There, they come across giant crabs that, they conclude, are a byproduct of nuclear testing. The broadcast date was February 19, 1952. The big question is . . . does that date make this radio show possibly the first science fiction dramatic work featuring giant monsters that grew to enormous size due to atom bomb tests? I can’t think of any features using the theme that pre-date it, although I suppose another radio show may have beaten The Mysterious Traveler to the punch. Again, the link to listen on-line is “Strange New World.”

Plenty of disc announcements, that might be new news to somebody: Criterion’s Blu-ray roll call for July is phenomenal: Ron Shelton’s Bull Durham, the martial arts picture Dragon Inn, Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies and videotape (videotape, what’s that?), a new 4K restoration of Powell & Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death — AND — a Dietrich and von Sternberg in Hollywood collection, with all six of their Paramount collaborations Morocco, Dishonored, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress and The Devil is a Woman. That’s quite a lineup.

The Warner Archive Collection is touting their upcoming Blus as well. We already know about Jack Cardiff’s Dark of the Sun and Sergio Leone’s The Colossus of Rhodes, but we’re also being told that coming down the line will be Vincente Minnelli’s Two Weeks in Another Town, and Joseph H. Lewis’s noir classic Gun Crazy. The last disc has a commentary by me, my first actually. The credit identifies me as an Author & Film Noir specialist. Well, a noir specialist in commentaries, maybe.

The Warner Archive’s standard DVD announcements are just out as well, and they include two titles that should interest special collectors. The gangster-musical production The Lights of New York (1928) is one of the very first all-talkies, the kind with Lina Lamont primitive microphones hidden in the scenery. It is also said to be the first time the phrase “Take him for a ride!” was heard in a movie. A Notorious Affair (1930) keeps popping up in reference to star Basil Rathbone — his fans wish he had more opportunities to play leading men. It’s also described as the breakthrough picture for actress Kay Francis.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson