CineSavant Column

Saturday December 8, 2018


First off, don’t forget that I snuck in an EXTRA review this Thursday, for the Warner Archive Collection’s The Thing from Another World. The chance came to post it early, and several readers were asking after it.

While writing up a review for a new Brian De Palma disc set from Arrow Films, I learned that the director’s early feature Greetings just happens to have been the very first feature assigned an “X” Rating by the Motion Picture Code and Rating Administration. About twenty minutes later, in came a link circulated by Joe Dante, to an article by Jason Bailey for New York Vulture. “A Brief History of the X Rating” actually goes over a number of ratings issues, including a rating category that one of Joe’s films helped bring about. It seems that, if CARA had just thought to trademark the “X”, the history of de facto film censorship might have been very different.

Disc collectors have a lot to look forward to in February. Twilight Time lists some big titles for the 19th: Lewis Gilbert’s The Admirable Crichton, with the eclectic cast of Kenneth More, Diane Cilento, Sally Ann Howes, Martita Hunt and Peter Graves; Peter Cook and Dudley Moore plus Raquel Welch and Eleanor Bron in Stanley Donen’s original, hilarious Bedazzled, Frank Tashlin’s Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter with Tony Randall, Jayne Mansfield and Betsy Drake (just above), and Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio, with Eric Bogosian and Ellen Greene.

Powerhouse Indicator announced new-to-Blu-ray titles for February as well: Charles Crichton’s The Third Secret with Pamela Franklin, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins and Richard Attenborough; Alexander Singer’s Psyche 59 with Patricia Neal, Curt Jurgens and Samantha Eggar; and Dick Clement’s adaptation of Iris Murdoch’s controversial A Severed Head, with Ian Holm, Lee Remick, Claire Bloom and Richard Attenborough.

In addition to Tarantula and The Deadly Mantis for March 19, Scream Factory has announced for March 26 the Val Lewton-Robert Wise The Body Snatcher, with its terrific teaming of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Henry Daniell. When the popular horror classic was screened at an RKO festival in the 1970s we were told that it had been all but printed to death, so we’ll be eager to see the new disc for quality. The encouraging news is that Warners’ restoration program has become even more aggressive in the last few years… could WB/Turner have located a quality source element?

My review of the Warner Archive Collection’s impressive disc of the Michael Curtiz-Errol Flynn The Sea Hawk should come shortly. We checked, and yes, the ‘Panama’ sequence is indeed rendered in glorious Sepia Color! As I’m sure I’ll be gushing in a couple of days, the disc really showcases the terrific Erich Wolfgang Korngold music score.

Call Me Unreliable:  A shaky rumor began circulating on Thursday that the Warner Archive had a disc in the works of Eugene Lourie’s stop-motion animated The Giant Behemoth. As with other critical national issues that affect us all, that assertion that has neither been confirmed nor denied. I know that it’s pretty flaky to repeat such iffy ‘news’ here at the CineSavant Column, but hey, we can’t have ethics and integrity all the time. If it’s a hoax, the WAC may learn something about Behemoth’s sales potential. Alas, it has been determined for certain that Behemoth has no music score by Erich Wolfgang.

All of a sudden I’m wondering if I’ll be able to whip up a ‘best-of’ list this year… that task may have to wait until the space just before New Years. Meanwhile, Dick Dinman’s Holiday Show has his ‘best of’ for the year, as gift-giving advice. Plus, his interviewee is writer Jeremy Arnold, whose new Christmas in the Movies book for TCM is being heavily publicized. I have rudely stolen Dick’s attractive holly graphic — we’ll get some Christmas spirit going here if it kills us.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson