CineSavant Column

Saturday January 18, 2020


So far no complaints about the Explosive Media All-Region Blu-ray of Major Dundee with my commentary. A long list of purchasers have asked me for the English original of my insert essay, which in the disc booklet is translated into German. I believe the commentary is the first fully-explained guide to the original continuity, taken straight from Sam Peckinpah and Oscar Saul’s shooting script. I’ll continue to send .pdfs of the insert essay to purchasers that email me, copying the first line of the essay, or its title, in German!   Remember, the Twilight Time release is out of print, and has no original audio version.

Criterion’s April titles include Blu-rays of the classic Marlene Dietrich/James Stewart western Destry Rides Again ( ↑ ) and Juraj Herz’s creepy Czech political horror movie The Cremator, plus a reissue of Jean-Pierre Melville’s great tale of the occupation resistance, Army of Shadows.

Correspondent Brendan Carroll has steered me to a VCI page announcing a new Library of Congress restoration of the excellent 1932 pre-Code Lewis Milestone/Joan Crawford/Walter Huston drama Rain. The movie was heavily cut to be reissued under the Production Code, but The Mary Pickford foundation possesses an intact full-length uncut negative. A 4K restoration is underway; a disc release is projected for mid-2020.

Kino Lorber has a terrific April Blu-ray lineup. Spread out across the month is a long string of desirables that include Henry Hathaway’s The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935), Lewis Milestone’s The General Died at Dawn (1936), William Wellman’s Beau Geste (1939), the Victor Halperin/Carole Lombard horror mystery Supernatural (1933), Ernst Lubitsch’s Angel (1937), George Marshall’s Murder, He Says (1945), Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s Nazi-era Paracelsus (1943), as well as his silent masterpiece The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927) ( ↑ ); a combo of Memphis Belle (1944) and The Cold Blue (2018), William Wyler’s wartime documentary and a new documentary about Wyler; Vittorio De Sica’s Woman Times Seven (1967), George Cukor’s TV movie Love Among the Ruins (1975), a new restoration of Paul Wegener’s silent The Golem (1920), Karl Malden’s Time Limit (1957), Andrew L. Stone’s 65mm musical Song of Norway (1970), John Schlesinger’s comedy Billy Liar (1963), and Karel Reisz’s eccentric Morgan, A Suitable Case For Treatment (1966). That’s quite a list!

Correspondent Jonathan Gluckman tipped me off to a series of Museum of Modern Art new restorations being screened this month. The delights include Gustav Machatý’s notorious Ecstasy with Hedy Lamarr; Michael Curtiz’s horror classic in two-strip Technicolor Mystery of the Wax Museum; The Corman/Price/Roeg horror classic Masque of the Red Death ( ↑ ); and Raoul Walsh’s silent Loves of Carmen with Gloria Swanson. And that’s just the titles I’m familiar with. Hopefully some well-deserved Blu-rays will follow.

Note, just prior to posting: Correspondent Marc Hampton just saw the restored Mystery of The Wax Museum last night at MoMA. He writes: “I remembered you mentioned the restoration last month, and always agreed with your criticism of DVD version. Wow…it looks terrific. Like the best segments in King of Jazz, almost 3-D in their 2-color weirdness. I’ve never seen the film look this good. Or sound this good. The lady introducing the film told us how fantastic this restoration would sound, and she wasn’t kidding.

Despite the 25 degree evening, an almost packed house. Can’t gush enough, as this is one I’ve been waiting for a looooong time. Best, M”

Finally, Dick Dinman has another good podcast discussion with Warners VP George Feltenstein, this time celebrating the recent Warner Archive Blu-ray of The Bad and the Beautiful, Vincente Minnelli’s Hollywood-On-Hollywood classic.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson