CineSavant Column

Saturday April 4, 2020



The world of commerce is certainly taking a hit right now, with much of the retail workforce at home where it belongs — we’re Doing The Right Thing. Blu-rays are hardly essential goods, and some may be a bit hard to come by until science gets the upper hand on that which has forced us all to self-isolate. Actually, I’ve been getting reports that readers are receiving ordered discs, even if the turnaround time is no longer just a day or two … meanwhile, Amazon appears to have stopped delivering foodstuff items, at least in Los Angeles.

As this is primarily an entertainment website, we’ll continue to review discs as they come in, even items that may not be easily purchased. Discs keep arriving, and if they dry up we’ll have fun reviewing whatever films appeal. I’ve already endorsed Charlie Largent’s idea to backtrack and cover some of his favorite horror items. Companies are still announcing discs, even if ‘current events’ are likely sabotage some of the schedules. Various pundits and the usual yack-track suspects tell us they’re still being commissioned for new commentaries. Life will go on; the Earth will abide — and most of us have much bigger concerns…!


We’re hoping that Scream Factory’s discs for April, May and June stay in the pipeline: Danger: Diabolik!, Day the World Ended!  Meanwhile, they’ve optimistically announced six more titles for July: the Hammer chiller Kiss of the Vampire (a Wayne Schmidt favorite), Roman Polanski’s The Tenant, the faux-kinky Tattoo with Maud Adams and Bruce Dern, Stephen King’s Graveyard Shift, Bert I. Gordon’s crazy War of the Colossal Beast (with its high-voltage color finale?), and Herman Cohen’s opus teenagerus How to Make a Monster (with its Paul Blaisdell mask gallery in color?). I think I should lean on Craig Reardon to help review How to Make a Monster — it’s about a studio makeup man, and I’m sure it’s re-e-a-lly accurate.


Sony/Columbia just wrote to tell us about a lavish Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection, appointed with “six top titles from the Sony catalog making their 4K debuts, + a host of great bonus features including a hardcover book.” The titles are certainly impressive: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Strangelove, Gandhi, A League of Their Own ( ↑ ) and Jerry Maguire. Sony says that the last two titles were selected via an entertainment poll; I strongly approve of the choice. The eighty-page book will have an extensive essay written by the much-valued Julie Kirgo. The formidable list of extras includes a Blu-ray copy of each title, and the home video premiere of a Columbia 50th Anniversary TV show from 1975, that includes input from ‘Frank Capra, Phil Silvers and Orson Welles.’


We’re told that review discs are on the way from the UK for Powerhouse Indicator’s upcoming slate of titles, three of which are Blu-ray debuts. Jack Garfein’s The Strange One is the odd film out, followed by four of John Ford’s Columbia titles: The Whole Town’s Talking, The Long Gray Line ( ↑ ), The Last Hurrah and Gideon’s Way.


Finally, correspondent Jonathan Gluckman forwards this Brainstuff video with Jonathan Strickland, explaining a term I’ve certainly used too much without knowing exactly what it is, The Mid-Atlantic or Transatlantic Accent: Why Do People In Old Movies Talk Weird?  The casual talk is not exactly Gospel from the Mount, but I did learn a thing or two.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson