CineSavant Column

Tuesday January 18, 2022



A great new post at Greenbriar Picture Shows suggested by Correspondent ‘B’ — John McElwee really goes to town on Ted Tetzlaff’s ‘kiddie jeopardy’ epic: The Window Goes Places New To Noir.

John’s marketing & promotion angle always brings out a new appreciation of classic film. And his half-Varietyspeak, half-shorthand writing style is something I look forward to every week. My review of The Window from last November is here.



The news has been out for half a week but it’s still important: the company Deaf Crocodile has announced that it will be releasing remastered Russian fantasy films under a new Russian Fantastika branded line. First up will be 4K restorations of Aleksandr Ptushko’s Ilya Muromets (1956 aka The Sword and the Dragon) and his Sampo (1959 aka The Day the Earth Froze), along with a 2K restoration of Karen Shakhnazarov’s satirical Sci-fi feature Zerograd (1988 aka Zero City).

The Ptushko films are entirely different items from what we remember on flat dubbed TV presentations with terrible color; the art direction and pre- CGI production values often stagger the eye. Zerograd is less well-known here; Deaf Crocodile describes it as ‘half Agatha Christie, half Monty Python.’

The three discs are planned for summer ’22 release. An impressive Trailer for Deaf Crocodile’s Ilya Muromets is online. We certainly hope this arrangement continues — there’s still Ptushko’s Sadko to be hoped for in a definitive presentation, along with several terrific 1950s-1960s Russian science fiction films.



Last week reviewing the immortal The Mighty Peking Man, a reader-comment by ‘Killer Meteor’ showed me how little I knew about Hong Kong cinema, saying that there existed a Shaw Brothers ‘Blob Movie’ and giving it a name: The Oily Maniac.

A reader-comment by John Simpson then took the next step, sending along a link to the Oily Maniac Trailer. It looks terrible . . . how could I have lived without this?

This is the best frame I could find of the Hong Kong monster man … I’m scared already.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson