Correspondent Louis Helman reminds me that the Warner Archive Collection will be dark for releases in February, but has announced a six-title Blu-ray slate for March ’23. The selection leans entirely on star-driven vintage films from MGM and Warner Brothers.
The lineup is impressive — I think I’ve reviewed all but one of these six titles on older DVDs. From MGM comes the classic Greta Garbo feature Camille, which ought to glow in HD — we once saw a nitrate studio print at UCLA. I’ll Cry Tomorrow is one of Susan Hayward’s tearful melodramas, based on the biography of ’30s star Lillian Roth. And Neptune’s Daughter is one of Esther Williams’ biggest hits, that ought to look terrific remastered in HD.
The Warners pictures are just as stellar. Confessions of a Nazi Spy is an excellent choice; the first studio picture to openly challenge Naziism has scary connections to our own current events. Flamingo Road is one of Joan Crawford’s over-the-top ‘sensational’ thrillers, the one where Joan’s cooch dancer from the wrong side of the tracks pointedly tells Sidney Greenstreet, ‘you just wouldn’t believe how much trouble it is to dispose of a dead elephant.’ And The Prince and the Showgirl gives us Marilyn Monroe opposite Laurence Olivier. A digital remaster should do wonders with that movie, too.
Career Home Video manager extraordinaire George Feltenstein is busy with big plans to exploit new restorations at The Warner Archive Collection, and promises that this year ‘the discs will flow.’
Last Saturday, sage CineSavant friend and advisor Craig Reardon attended a memorial service for his friend Brent Armstrong, a talented artist and sculptor who died late last year. Brent worked for the past 40-odd years in various makeup labs / effects shops, primarily as a utility sculptor; he was described as almost exclusively a behind-the-scenes artist.
In later days Brent started his own business creating collectibles such as these examples of fan favorites. Peter Jackson purchased Brent’s impressive portrayal of Karloff’s Im-Ho-Tep in his sarcophagus, Craig was told. Sarah Karloff admired his portrayals of her immortal dad and sent her eloquent condolences to the memorial.
Brent Armstrong lived and breathed horror, science fiction, and fantasy movie imagery, especially the monsters. On display at the memorial were several pieces he created to pay tribute to monster creators and their creations.
↖ One enormous piece commemorates King Kong’s last stand. The original included a big piece of the Empire State Building as well, at this oversized scale. These images all enlarge if zoomed or opened in a new window. In the first and third can be glimpsed Brent’s larger than life portrayal of Chaney Sr.’s enraged Phantom of the Opera. He’s rendered in monochrome, just like the B&W movie.
↗ The second example honors the work of famed ’50s monster maker Paul Blaisdell. It’s a medley of monster imagery, featuring the most memorable designs. ← The third photo shows the backside of the piece. Brent didn’t neglect to include a likeness of Blaisdell’s fan, friend and assistant Bob Burns, portrayed later in life.
In Craig Reardon’s words: “I don’t think Brent’s family would be other than pleased if you were to feature these pictures. They are all very proud of of him and his work. Brent was a good-hearted and faithful friend. He will be missed by all who knew him, me included.” — Craig
Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson