CineSavant Column

Saturday September 1, 2018


I’ve long ago learned not to lose sleep over knucklehead decisions by Home Video Companies — remember, I worked for one back in the boom years. At my place of business consumers were deemed a disease to be kept at arm’s length, and anybody who cared enough about the product was dismissed as a ‘DVD Weenie.’ By that definition I qualified as an in-house weenie, I guess. I no longer get steamed up over things I can’t control, having realized that home video isn’t baby food and lives aren’t at stake . . . but sometimes as a reviewer I speak up.

I’ve added my voice to the rancor over Universal’s cheap formatting of the 3-D and 2-D Revenge of the Creature. I think the discontent is justified: it’s sold as an HD Blu-ray but Universal has fudged the specs, making both presentations of the title play no better than DVD. That’s a ploy that a tiny boutique might do if they got caught in a jam. I try to write the whole thing up in a fair manner in my review. I refrain from waving a pitchfork and telling consumers to return discs, etc.. But every fan can decide for themselves if the reported issues are for them a deal-killer. I do think Universal ought to replace the Revenge discs.

Because the resolution of Revenge is technically greater than DVD, I suppose they can claim that the disc is HD. I don’t buy it. It says Blu-ray on the box and the buyer has a right to a consistent product, in the full- resolution format like the other two titles.

I’ll be curious to find out how Uni Home Video handles this. The rest of their very desirable Legacy Series is superb, and we’re very grateful that they’re supporting the 3-D Blu-ray format… in theory.

Phil Hall usually writes about really obscure film items at his The Bootleg Files. This time he examines an old Warners cartoon that was never banned, but merely shoved into a dark corner, perhaps for its violent content. He gives Rabbit Every Monday a good going-over, contrasting the personalities of Bug Bunny’s hunter foes Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam. If that analysis isn’t national news-worthy, what is?  Phil Hall is the pro writer and encouraging gent that helped get me into the OFCS seventeen years ago; I still read him every week.

Charlie Largent tipped me off to this striking cover for an awaited Blu-ray of Hammer’s Dracula Prince of Darkness from Scream Factory. I at first thought it was a photograph, but it’s artwork by Mark Maddox. Very classy stuff, there… Scream ought to include a poster, or sell reproductions on the side. (Actually, I’m told that a poster is indeed involved in the promotion.) And who knows, the disc of this Techniscope (read: grainy) Hammer opus might be a happy surprise. Pal Wayne Schmidt may finally get to see a decent transfer of his favorite Chris Lee picture.

As for me, the movie is always a reminder of an insult we film students sometimes directed at a particular Hollywood laboratory: “Movielab: Prints of Darkness.” The slurs we invented for the lab C.F.I. were for a long time unprintable in polite company. Samples available on request.

And let me end with a self-serving side note — more readers are clicking on the unidentified photo atop each bi-weekly CineSavant Column — and then writing me about the older reviews they find. Remember that all my reviews from 20 years of The MGM Video Savant, The DVD Resource Page, DVD Savant, Turner Classic Movies,, World Cinema Paradise and CineSavant/Trailers from Hell are fully indexed, in the right hand column here. I encourage email contact — I just had a nice exchange today over the delightful Technicolor Frank Tashlin comedy Susan Slept Here. I know that eMail is old school now, but it allows me to keep a record of interested correspondents. I give out no identities, do no marketing and would not otherwise betray a confidence. (Savant bares teeth) You can trust me!

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson