CineSavant Column

Tuesday March 16, 2021



Yes, just for novelty’s sake, we have real disc announcements here at CineSavant today, some less than a hundred hours old!

This must be the day for The Film Detective. The disc boutique has been announcing and leaking upcoming disc news from the Wade Williams Collection, with the online film board help of Tom Weaver. We got a rather good Blu-ray of Giant from the Unknown back in December-January, with the hope that the other three Richard Cunha horror/sci-fi thrillers would follow.

But first, the word is that on June 20 TFD will release a Blu-of the 1951 Monogram thriller Flight To Mars, produced by Walter Mirisch and starring Cameron Mitchell and Marguerite Chapman. It’s the first of an unofficial trilogy, with Allied Artists’ later World Without End and Queen of Outer Space. All three share shots of the same swept-wing space rocket miniature.

The announcement touts a new 4K restoration made from the original 35mm Cinecolor separation negatives. That bodes well — as the show is from 1951 this ought to be the SuperCinecolor camera system and special process, which was also used on Invaders from Mars. Wade Williams’ DVD release looked pretty beat-up so we’re hoping for visual brilliance. The special edition will have video extras by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures.

According to Tom Weaver, Williams / Film Detective Frankenstein’s Daughter Blu-ray has encountered Covid-related delays. It is now expected to be released around Halloween. Other Wade Williams titles are “already in the pipeline.”



Meanwhile, I’ve received direct word that more Film Detective fantastic disc-ery is on the horizon, coming even earlier.

The epic sword-and-sandal adventure Hercules and the Captive Women is due to arrive on Blu-Ray & DVD from the company on April 13th, ‘with a stunning 4K restoration and exclusive special features.’ The original Italo title of the 1961 Vittorio Cottafavi movie is Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide, (Hercules Conquers Atlantis) and it stars Reg Park (Hercules in the Haunted World) and Fay Spain (Teenage Doll). In addition to extras from Daniel Griffith and Ballyhoo, this one will have a commentary by Tim Lucas.

Not everything is perfect — the disc will contain the American version released in 1963, presumably dubbed and with no Italian-language audio track. The original was seven minutes longer. Filmed in Super Technirama 70, in Italy the show was released in 70mm. I’m hoping for an early review on this one.



And finally, this Japanese NHK TV show might have turned up on your Facebook feed as well: It’s 3/11 – The Tsunami: The First 3 Days. Edited from on-the-spot NHK video coverage, the nicely produced docu tells the story from a generalized public-concern POV. It keeps saying that disturbing video is coming up, but they avoid the more violent video that I watched firsthand in 2011, where we witnessed what looked like people being swallowed up by the onrushing waves — on foot, in cars.

What we see is plenty disturbing anyway, all of it you-are-there reaction on the ground before, during and in the two days after the earthquake and tsunami. The scenes of rescue work are very moving, even simple shots of the Japanese evacuees in shelters. After waiting for over a day for any kind of emergency food they politely express gratitude instead of outrage or threats of lawsuits. It’s a really good show, I wish it were available in better visual quality.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson