I have to admit that hard video media continues to follow positive trends — good old Kino Lorber has announced that it’ll be releasing a 4K Ultra HD disc set of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil this summer. So far the news about the disc is all good. I was just thinking about pulling out my (very good) Blu-ray of the show and thought, gee, if they do put this on 4K it will probably just be the re-thought and re-edited 1998 version. Nope, Universal and Kino are going to give us all three variants, which means my favorite (#2, the long 1958 cut) will be there. And once again I’ll get to boast about seeing it just as it was discovered at UCLA, around 1972 or 1973.
Touch of Evil is on the short list of American films so unique in style and approach, they stand out as special successes — Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter is another that comes to mind. Not being appreciated when new adds to the ‘legendary’ cachet as well.
In researching films by Philip Yordan and Samuel Bronston and to keep up with Hollywood blacklist history I finally read the career autobiography of Bernard Gordon, entitled Hollywood Exile, or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist. Gordon offers detailed background information on the production of The Day of the Triffids, which he wrote although Philip Yordan took the credit.
We also learn much about the making of Gordon’s other movies, from The Zombies of Mora Tau to 55 Days at Peking, and there’s even a mention of Philip Yordan’s crazy ‘Utah’ films produced in the early ’80s on which my friends Steve Nielson and Wayne Schmidt worked as editors. Gordon’s a good writer, too. But somebody tell me: why has the official IMDB page for The Day of the Triffids started listing it as Invasion of the Triffids, or sometimes, Revolt of the Triffids? I think somebody’s pulling a fast one.
Next, correspondent Keith West sent in this link to a truly unusual comic book tie-in for MGM’s 1951 Quo Vadis … a ‘Komik’ book with art reminiscent of that seen in classic Prince Valiant comics … and apparently only released in the Philippines, in the Tagalog language.
And finally, we’ve got another pre-order announcement guaranteed to burn a hole in the wallets of EuroHorror fans: Severin Films has something completely unexpected coming up on May 25 and available for pre-order now: a 9-disc ‘EuroCrypt of Christopher Lee’ boxed set containing five of his European features (Crypt of the Vampire, Castle of the Living Dead (↑), Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (↓) and Challenge the Devil) — plus a full Polish horror anthology TV series Theater Macabre hosted by Lee.
The plentiful extras include the short documentary HORROR! containing behind-the-scenes footage from Masque of the Red Death and The Gorgon, plus audio commentaries, a CD soundtrack for Castle of the Living Dead and an 88-page book. Details for the set are at the Severin Films page; the release date is May 25. Also offered is a very limited, extra pricey ‘bundle’ that will include a signed copy of Tony Dalton’s forthcoming biography of Terence Fisher, an enamel pin and a poster. Here’s a link to the entertaining four-minute Official Trailer for Severin’s The EuroCrypt of Christopher Lee.
Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson