CineSavant Column

Saturday July 4, 2020

Hello! Happy July 4, you lockdown celebrants…

Trailers from Hell for July 3 features an Italian trailer for a movie that raises my curiosity — Vittorio de Sica’s Il Giudizio Universale (The Last Judgment). It’s an ‘end of days’ fable with fifty of the oddest international stars possible, as if Mike Todd had made ‘Around the End of the World in 80 Days.’ I like the way that commentator Joe Dante says that it was a flop, that nobody wanted it, that it was never exported from Italy… and admits that he likes it anyway. I’d likely enjoy it no matter how terrible it is, as I have a soft spot for all Cold War nuke parables: Ladybug Ladybug , Invasion, U.S.A. , A Short Vision.

The legendary Cesare Zavattini was the screenwriter. He must have been a sincere ban-the-bomb moralist, as the previous year he wrote the Yugoslavian movie Rat (War) aka Atomic War Bride. It’s a pre- Dr. Strangelove nuclear satire that mixes terror and slapstick. My review tries to sort it out, but the dubbed version available on DVD doesn’t work very well.

Film culture will not be deterred by a little pandemic!  With the American Cinematheque’s theaters out for the count until public film performances are once again viable, the Internet is taking up some of the slack. On August 2 at 5:PM the Cinematheque will hold a virtual event called AC Bookclub: Michael Curtiz – A Life In Film. To me it sounds like a book fair meet ‘n’ greet without a downside. Author Alan K. Rode will be talking about his career bio of the great director. The official tagline is, “Join Author Alan K. Rode Online for a Discussion About the Life and Work of Legendary Director Michael Curtiz.”

The event sounds especially friendly because it’s not limited just to people who happen to live in Los Angeles. Latvian fans of Michael Curtiz can be directly involved, through a Q&A segment that one registers for. Alan is good company in person or on video, and I assume he will be just as interesting in this ‘virtual event’ concept. According to the full details given at the AC page, the event will use Zoom, a program that has made me into a loyal fan..

Another Dick Dinman DVD Classics Corner audio show is now up, this time featuring the Warner Archive’s George Feltenstein to help Dick discuss two new WAC releases, Doris Day’s first film Romance on the High Seas ( ) and the Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney musical Strike Up the Band. It’s clear that the two of them worship Doris Day; the discussion is as much about Day and her amazing voice as it is Warners’ impressive new Technicolor restoration.

And finally, Kino Lorber has announced its releases for August. There are so many, we can’t help but wonder when are Kino is going to run out of movies to put on Blu-ray. Hopefully not before all my favorites are surface.

Available in August will be collections with Tony Curtis (The Perfect Furlough, The Great Impostor, 40 Pounds of Trouble), Carole Lombard (Fast and Loose, Man of the World, No Man of Her Own) and Audie Murphy (The Duel at Silver Creek, Ride a Crooked Trail, No Name on the Bullet).

Out as singles will be Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies, Richard Attenborough’s Cry Freedom, Jean-Jacques Beineix’s Diva, Brian Trenchard-Smith’s The Quest, Emmanuelle Beart & Phoebe Cates in Date with An Angel, Cary Grant & Carole Lombard in The Eagle and the Hawk, John Farrow’s Wake Island ( ), Budd Boetticher’s Red Ball Express, Richard Burton in Raid on Rommel, John Sturges’ Backlash, Ralph Nelson’s Soldier Blue, Joan Tewkesbury’s Old Boyfriends, Douglas Sirk’s All I Desire and There’s Always Tomorrow, Joseph Strick’s The Balcony, Clint Eastwood’s Breezy, Cecil B. DeMille’s The Sign of the Cross, Ben Affleck in Hollywoodland, and the John Ford-Harry Carey silent Hell Bent. It’s a real problem — I really want to review at least two-thirds of these.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson