The Seven-Ups 03/24/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

Forget All Singing! – All Dancing!  Tonight’s bill of fare is wall-to-wall high grade crime action. Roy Scheider leads a great cast in an all-New Yawk tale of gangsters, kidnapping and betrayal. The police tactics of Scheider’s special felony crime squad would today land them all in jail, but they’re all stand-up guys. And buckle up for one of the best, most realistic pre-CGI auto chase scenes ever filmed. With Tony Lo Bianco, Victor Arnold, Jerry Leon, Ken Kercheval, Larry Haines, Richard Lynch, Bill Hickman and Joe Spinell. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
3/24/18

A Trip to the Moon 03/24/18

Flicker Alley / Lobster Films
Blu-ray

What a great way to discover the fabulous French magician-turned-pioneer-filmaker Georges Méliès! Trailers from Hell’s Charlie Largent examines the incredible restoration of the original tinted color version of the 1902 movie sensation. Arguably the first science fiction film, its story ideas were filched from Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, but transformed into a crazy theatrical extravaganza that could only work on the new medium of film. Only fifteen or so minutes in duration, the restoration is accompanied by Lobster Films’ excellent career documentary, on both the brilliant Méliès and the restoration’s one source, a roll of film petrified into a solid block of celluloid. Forget Hugo — this is the best introduction to filmdom’s first master of fabulous eye-candy fantasy. On Blu-rayfrom Flicker Alley / Lobster Films.
3/24/18

Otley 03/24/18

Powerhouse Indicator
Blu-ray

Not many oddball spy movies were big successes. This amusing Brit effort sank without a trace, perhaps taking with it the career of the talented Tom Courtenay as a leading man. The comic tale pits an underachieving, cheeky London lad against an intelligence conspiracy that wouldn’t be doing anybody much harm — if they didn’t insist on murdering people. Romy Schneider leads a quirky supporting cast, with Freddie Jones, Alan Badel, James Villiers, Leonard Rossiter, James Bolam, Fiona Lewis, James Cossins and Ronald Lacey. On Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
3/24/18

Basket Case 03/24/18

Arrow Video
Blu-ray

Classic Midnite Cult movies were a mini-phenomenon chosen by the public, created only by word of mouth approval. Frank Henenlotter’s wild ‘n’ weird ‘separated at birth’ story is a thematic mashup of horror ideas, plunked down in the middle of America’s sleaze capital, 42nd street in the early 1980s. The audience-pleasing telepathic siblings Duane and Belial look fantastic in a new MoMa restoration, and the extras let the flamboyant director recount a great making-of story. His first distributor decided to ‘fix’ the movie by removing most of the gore! Starring Lance VanHentenryck, Terri Susan Smith and Beverly Bonner; on Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
3/24/18

CineSavant Column

Saturday March 24, 2018

Hello!

The newest Film Noir Foundation Noir City E-mag #23 is out and up for purchase. And at the Film Noir Foundation Site and its news page one can read up on the expanded calendar of festivals and screenings — it looks if they’re presently in the middle of a new six-film Noir City screening festival in Denver.

Here in my hometown, the 20th Hollywood Noir City festival is slated for a full week, April 13 through 22. at the American Cinematheque. They appear to be concentrating on titles not available on disc, which makes some of these very attractive to yours truly:

Down Three Dark Streets, Dragnet, The Turning Point, The Scarlet Hour, Jealousy, M (1951), The Big Night and Night Has a Thousand Eyes.


The ever-searching CineSavant correspondent and advisor Gary Teetzel reports on a radio show he heard:

“I happened to catch part of a 1944 episode of the radio show Suspense titled The Dark Tower. Orson Welles plays a vain, hammy actor. At one point, commenting on a play for which he is preparing, he quotes one of his favorite lines from the play’s Act II, his response when another character asks him why he doesn’t stop drinking:

“What?! Would you have me subsist entirely on food, and reach the gargantuan proportions of an Orson Welles?” That ought to needle the boy wonder, eh Ben?”

The show is adapted from a 1933 play by George S. Kaufman and Alexander Woolcott. 1933 is too early for a Welles joke, so perhaps the line originally referenced someone else, and was updated. Orson may have been the one to suggest making himself the butt of the joke; he enjoyed poking fun at himself and his ‘boy genius’ reputation on radio shows.

Later in the show, there is another inside joke of sorts when Orson is rattling off the names of actresses who could take the lead in the play, He ends with Mercury veteran Agnes Moorehead.

You can listen to the full episode here. — Gary

My only question is, did Orson Welles really have ‘gargantuan proportions’ in 1944? I didn’t know he was gaining weight that early on. Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Tuesday March 20, 2018


Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

CineSavant’s new reviews today are:

Underworld U.S.A. 03/20/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

Sam Fuller turns the crime film inside-out with this tale of on infiltrator taking down the syndicate. Vengeful Cliff Robertson uses both the mob and the cops to wipe out the hoods that killed his dad, with the help of two women, one of them a hooker with a heart of gold. The show feels like a ’30s throwback with a precociously violent streak, spiked with a healthy helping of what the critics would call Fuller’s ‘Cinema Fist.’ With Richard Rust, and Dolores Dorn as ‘Cuddles.’ On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
3/20/18

Ingrid Bergman’s Swedish Years 03/20/18

Eclipse Series 46
DVD

No, the movie star Ingrid Bergman was never a starlet with a seven-year contract, and her stellar career didn’t begin opposite Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. It all happened in Sweden, where she turned herself into a screen sensation in just a couple of years. Eclipse’s six-disc set shows the immediate success of the daring Bergman, but also her acting range — her sterling qualities seem fully formed even in her first features. On DVD from Eclipse.
3/20/18

The Colour of Pomegranates 03/20/18

Second Sight UK
Region B Blu-ray

Guest reviewer Lee Broughton assesses the Armenian director Sergei Parajanov’s poetic and metaphor-filled biopic about his countryman Sayat Nova, the Armenian poet-troubadour. This new disc edition offers both versions of the picture, Parajanov’s original and the Soviet-approved version cut by seven minutes. As we learn, if a Soviet film director found favor internationally, they often landed in trouble back home. On Region B Blu-ray from Second Sight (UK).
3/20/18

Savant Column

Tuesday March 20, 2018

Hello!

Joe Dante sends along this four-minute Slate YouTube piece called Meep Meep! The Surprising History of Classic Cartoon Sound Effects. Although it spends most of its time off the subject at hand, there’s some good info here.

This second YouTube link is floating everywhere, but Savant’s source is Charlie Largent. It’s six minutes of fairly amazing vintage film footage, given the self-explanatory title Dec 7, 1929 – Driving Through Broadway At Daytime, NYC (real sound). Just seeing the people is fascinating, but we get scores of marquees touting ‘all talking, all singing’ movies, plus the names of stars like Jean Arthur, Rudy Vallee, George Arliss, etc., up in lights. Instant time machine!

It starts with a shot of a marquee plugging Hearst Movietone News, so the reel was probably filmed to test a new camera setup. The sync sound is amazing, really adding to the effect. We can even hear the cameraman yelling to the driver: ‘Slow!’

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Saturday March 17, 2018

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

CineSavant’s new reviews today are:

Women in Love 03/17/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Finally — a satisfying home video edition of Ken Russell’s absorbing, argument-starting classic, in which D. H. Lawrence’s quartet of bohemians attempt to live out their progressive theories about love and sex. The intellectual arguments may be cold but the characters are warm and vivid. Exceptional performing from all — Alan Bates, Glenda Jackson, Oliver Reed and Jennie Linden, and outstanding cinematography from Billy Williams. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
3/17/18

Liquid Sky 03/17/18

Vinegar Syndrome
Blu-ray

Remembered as a briefly hot quasi- avant-garde title, then a cult item, Slava Tsukerman’s brightly colored movie is said to capture a New York fashion ‘n’ drugs scene that could be called Neon Punk. It certainly extended model Anne Carlisle’s fifteen minutes of fame. Oh . . . technically it’s also a Science Fiction movie. On Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome.
3/17/18

Robert Altman’s Images 03/17/18

Arrow Academy
Blu-ray

Do we sometimes ‘grow into’ movies? This one now seems a minor masterpiece. ’70s auteur Robert Altman proves himself an expert practitioner of psychological hallucinations, in the intense tale of a schizophrenic children’s author who can’t keep her husband and two (imagined?) lovers sorted out. It’s one of the best, and best-looking puzzle pictures ever. It’s a top title for Susannah York, and features Rene Auberjonois, Marcel Bozzuffi and Hugh Millais. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy.
3/17/18

Savant Column

Saturday March 17, 2018

Hello!

Super-associate Gary Teetzel has been snooping doing valuable research, and has come up with a couple of interesting web finds on the subject of The Outer Limits, which is on a lot of collectors’ minds these days. Gary writes:

“A couple of Outer Limits- related magazine articles, just for fun: This trade ad for the show specifically mentions the Cliff Robertson-JFK connection, and Stefano’s work on Psycho:

A Face only Millions of Science Fiction Fans Could Love

And this article cites the high ratings for sci-fi movies on TV for encouraging ABC to make The Outer Limnits. They say that even the relatively feeble Invisible Invaders out-performed its competition on the TV dial:

Other-World TV Series Shoots for New Fall Ratings Orbit

–Gary”

It’s a sunny Saturday here after a day of rain, so I’m lookin’ to get outdoors a bit. Am awaiting Twilight Time titles, the Warner Archives’ remastered The Black Scorpion and some other desired goodies … happy St. Patrick’s Day and see you Tuesday.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Tuesday March 13, 2018

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

CineSavant’s new reviews today are:

The Outer Limits Season One 03/13/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Where were we in ’63? Wow — we finally have a quality Blu-ray set of an entire generation’s favorite Sci-fi / monster TV show, an attraction that lit up our humdrum lives. Respected stars and good writers contributed to a weird-oh winner that can boast at least fifteen classic hours of Sci-fi delight, in velvety black and white. Thirty-two hourlong episodes on seven discs, with informative new audio commentaries. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
3/13/18

The Passion of Joan of Arc 03/13/18

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

This time around Criterion pulls out all the stops to offer an ‘Ultimate’ La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, even going so far as to present it at two frame rates. Carl Dreyer’s ultra-intense study of martyrdom and the human condition is known for eliciting rapturous responses — don’t be intimidated by its lofty cinematic reputation. The newly remastered 24fps version has been given three music scores, and new essays, interviews and video pieces, including one on its ‘versions history.’ The immortal Renée Falconetti stars; Michel Simon is one of her inquisitors. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
3/13/18

Dragonwyck 03/13/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

Before Vincent Price haunted houses, he chalked up plenty of experience as a Broadway star and a versatile character actor. This superb Joseph L. Mankiewicz gothic romance assigns him major leading man duty as a ‘dark and troubled’ soul — the kind that intimidates cowering leading ladies. The show is technically a vehicle for Gene Tierney, with fine work by Walter Huston, Vivienne Osborne, Spring Byington, Jessica Tandy, Anne Revere and Glenn Langan. With typical good humor, Price called it the first of his ‘dead wife’ movies! On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
3/13/18

The Drowning Pool 03/13/18

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

‘Harper Days Are Here Again,’ reads the advertising tag line for this worthy follow-up to Paul Newman’s first outing as Ross Macdonald’s jaded private eye. The movie is certainly worthy, but how did the producers let the terrific song Killing Me Softly with His Song get away? Newman’s fine cast is topped by Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa, Murray Hamilton, Gail Strickland, Melanie Griffith, Linda Haynes and Richard Jaeckel. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
3/13/18