CineSavant Column

Saturday October 3, 2020



Roving researcher Gary Teetzel saw that ‘HBO Max’ is showing the Hammer- Terence Fisher The Curse of Frankenstein, took a look, and found that the eyeball close-up, missing on the Warner DVD, is has been restored. ( ) We do note that a ‘newly remastered’ movie that was on HBO Max last month (Sunrise at Campobello) is suddenly on the WAC release schedule. Does that maybe mean that… ?   I haven’t heard about work being done on the Cushing/Lee classic, but it’s well known that we at CineSavant are quick to leapfrog to conclusions, especially optimistic ones. I’m not pretending I don’t know something either: if I had secret info I wouldn’t risk the connection by speculating like this.

I can think of five unpleasant things this bit of viscera might really be, but I’d never guess a human eyeball.


Yes, we admit it, it’s a slow news day … so I dug up some old Boxoffice reviews that I collected a number of years ago — I’ll spread them out over two or three columns. Nothing can be more head-scratching than seeing an original ‘capsule’ review for American exhibitors. As always we like unusual movies the most, but reviewers have trouble handing ‘different’ when communicating to theater owners. Then again, if they don’t like something, they make their opinions known loud and clear.

Two notes: You may need to open these in new windows to read them. I’m pretty sure that the letters ‘A’ and ‘F’ designate American or Foreign in origin.

Let me start with the movie just discussed, The Curse of Frankenstein. The reviewer fixates on all the severed body parts, as if he can’t believe that movies have sunk so low. But even he communicates the buzz that this would be an audience pleaser.


Much earlier, this reviewer seems to have thought Val Lewton’s Cat People was sick psychology and little else. Yet he seems to admit that it works.


But some smart cookie responded well to Edgar G.’s Detour. Was this reviewer extra-hip to the movie’s fatalistic on-the-road vibe, or did somebody at P.R.C. just pay him off?


Here’s something they clobbered, and took a couple of extra paragraphs to do the job right: The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues. “Hodgepodge, perfunctory, inconsequential” — I don’t think those are compliments.


And finally for this first batch, a surprising review that goes against the grain. Daily Variety dismissed Enemy From Space aka Quatermass 2 as an incoherent waste of energy. But Boxoffice clearly digs it, big-time: “One of the best.” And they mention Bryan Forbes, ‘a likable youngster!’


I clipped out enough of these things to keep it up for a bit, so let me know if seeing more is a good idea ..Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson