CineSavant Column

Tuesday May 25, 2021


Hello!    . . .    What We’re Watching.

Not every Column day is greeted with obvious ‘newsy’ links or jokes or whatever, so we’re forced to improvise. I’ve done something different this week, going after discs recommended to me by friends and readers — and (gasp) even ordering older discs and ones not offered by companies for review. A Facebook post alerted me to the existence of a disc for the Michael Caine film A Shock to the System, which I loved seeing as an in-flight movie. My mistake was enthusiastically showing it to my mother, not knowing that the non-airline version would have a lot of profanity, for which my mom never had much tolerance. It seems that most every time I did show her a film, something like that happened.

Next, a Mick Garris FB post reminded me that Joe Dante’s great picture Explorers comes out today; by the time you read this I might already have it in my greedy little hands. My kids adored this picture growing up; I remember fumbling one of my few talks with Mr. Dante by criticizing it … bad form that anybody with better judgment would have avoided.

Then, friend Wayne Schmidt recommended a mystery-horror show with Richard Gere called The Mothman Prophecies, a title I do have in a new [Imprint] release, so I’ll definitely give it a spin. Every movie viewing doesn’t have to be specifically for review… although if it’s good I’ll rush to write it up.



Second up is a reminder from ‘Australia mail’ that this month’s Viavision [Imprint] releases are on the way. That means that they’ll arrive no later than five weeks from now!  This batch has some real winners — when I first contacted ViaVision they asked if I had any requests from the Paramount library. I jumped at Alfie and The President’s Analyst, each of which to me is a superlative picture. I think Alan Rode has a commentary on the elusive Columbia horror pic The Face Behind the Mask, a show I saw only on the old “Z” Channel and then had to wait decades for a single TCM cablecast. The last time through I wasn’t that impressed by the storyline, but a scene in the middle definitely gave me the chills. The incredible Peter Lorre was rarely used to his full potential. I’ll be giving special reviews to several of these Viavision [Imprint] releases.



Finally, a link that has nothing to do with disc collecting — it’s a handsome rendition of the timeless song Guantanamera with contributions from all over the globe … present-day Habaneros and expatriates living in other countries. All the verses save for the last come from José Martí’s 1891 poem Versos sencillos.

The performances and the images here are quite moving — a little hunchbacked woman dances near the beginning, and near the end, a child. It’s a good time for this patriotic but universal sentiment. The song has been adopted by Cubans of every political stripe, which makes it an anthem for a hopeful reconciliation. So I’m playing the “I like it” card as a reason to post it here. Maybe next time I’ll have a more film-related link …

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson