CineSavant Column

Tuesday September 22, 2020


It’s been up for a while but I still strongly recommend Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Trailers from Hell trailer commentary for 55 Days at Peking. Trenchard-Smith times his words artfully, hits all the important points of Nicholas Ray’s film pro and con, has the historical context down pat, and even talks against a terrific-quality scan of the trailer.

I particularly like the show & tell Trenchard-Smith does with a clip from his first feature film, explaining how his personal awareness of the historical Boxer Rebellion underwent an on-the-set ‘adjustment’ via sensitivity training from his Hong Kong star Jimmy Wang Yu.  I don’t like one shot in the movie that’s also in the trailer: the child actress carries a tot out of a room as explosions are set off behind her… It doesn’t look like a good idea, no matter who said it was safe. Then, cough, cough, there’s always my homegrown 55 Days disc review to foist on innocent readers.

Oh, Brian knocked another review commentary out of the park just yesterday, for our favorite Zulu Dawn. What, you want to read CineSavant’s coverage of that movie, too?


Next up, longtime correspondent and advisor Darren Gross offers a good link to a pair of new web encodings of a short-lived 1945 radio show called Stay Tuned for Terror. Darren says that the show featured adaptations of stories written for Weird Tales magazine by none other than horrormeister Robert Bloch. No episodes were believed to exist until recently, when two turned up (courtesy of a certain David Lennick) and have been uploaded for your enjoyment. The Boogey Man Will Get You and Lizzie Borden Took an Axe are each fifteen minutes in duration. I like the organ accompaniment: Swan Lake! … also fun is watching the moving audio graph that helps one anticipate the loud music stings.


And let me finish up by promoting two eagerly anticipated disc releases due out about a month from now. Arrow video has the elusive Japanese science-fiction show Warning from Space aka Uchûjin Tôkyô ni arawaru (‘Unknown Satellite Over Tokyo,’ October 13), which ought to be something special … it appears that with this show the Daiei company got the jump on Toho for outer space- related thrillers. I was reminded of it yesterday because filmmaker and scholar David Cairns informs us that he’s done a featurette for the disc about the various dubbing and re-dubbing versions of the film, presumably in different foreign territories. It will carry a full commentary by a second old friend, Stuart Galbraith IV, who is definitely the right man for the job.

Warning from Space is easy to order here in the states, but I’m split on how to best obtain a reasonably on-time copy of the BFI’s Dementia aka Daughter of Horror (October 19). says it won’t deliver to the United States, so I guess my next option is our importer Diabolik DVD, which doesn’t gouge with its prices and did well by me with last Spring’s The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse. However, their page only says that the import Dementia Blu-ray is ‘coming soon.’ What’s an impatient and unreasonable Yank reviewer to do in this situation?  Concerns like this are healthy for my blood pressure, as they keep my mind off the Supreme Court.


Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson