The Piano Teacher 09/23/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Trailers From Hell’s Charlie Largent gives high marks to The Piano Teacher, Michael Haneke’s 2001 film about a tortured academic who turns the meaning of “teacher’s pet” on its head. Starring a brilliant Isabelle Huppert as the troubled teacher. Is there really a relationship between perverse female sexuality and classical music? On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/23/17

The Champion: A Story of America’s First Film Town 09/23/17

The Milestone Cinematheque
DVD

Proving again that there’s always more to learn about film history, Marc J. Perez’s documentary tells the story of a major American film capital before Hollywood. Milestone surrounds it with a couple of hours of early silent films made in the cinema Mecca of . . . Fort Lee, New Jersey. On DVD Blu-ray from The Milestone Cinematheque.
9/23/17

Brigadoon 09/23/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray

Balletic, stylized and rather aloof, MGM’s biggest musical for 1954 still has what musical lovers crave — good dancing, beautiful melodies and unabashed romantic sentiments. Savant has a bad tendency to fixate on the inconsistencies of its fantasy concept — in which God places an ideal Scottish village outside the limits of Time itself.. On Blu-rayfrom The Warner Archive Collection.
9/23/17

The Flight of the Phoenix (Region B) 09/23/17

Masters of Cinema UK
Blu-ray

Forgotten amid Robert Aldrich’s more critic-friendly movies is this superb suspense picture, an against-all-odds thriller that pits an old-school pilot against a push-button young engineer with his own kind of male arrogance. Can a dozen oil workers and random passengers ‘invent’ their way out of an almost certain death trap? It’s a late-career triumph for James Stewart, at the head of a sterling ensemble cast. I review a UK disc in the hope of encouraging a new restoration.. On Region B Blu-ray from Masters of Cinema.
9/23/17

Savant Column

Saturday September 23, 2017

Hello!

Gary Teetzel comes across with the quality links today: a video piece from Talkin’ Toons with Rob Paulsen is self-explanatory: John DiMaggio Does Bender as HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. There’s no reason somebody can’t cut these lines into the film !

Gary also forwards this link (reportedly discovered by Steve Haberman) from the Les archives de la RTS page, to Films d’épouvante: Horror!, a twenty-minute film by Pierre Koralnik from 1964. Gary’s introduction says it all:

“Here’s a French docu on horror films with a ton of great, rare footage — the only drawback is it’s all narrated in the French language. It has an interview with Karloff, a brief chat with Roy Ashton (who speaks French), behind-the-scenes footage on the set of Roger Corman’s Masque of the Red Death, an on-set interview with Corman and Price, and behind-the-scenes footage from the making of The Gorgon, including Prudence Hyman being made up, and walking downstairs to the set carrying a long hose that, I imagine, controlled the snakes. It’s also nice to see a little of the physical layout of Hammer’s Bray Studios on film, instead of just in still photos. So grab a friend who speaks French.”

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Tuesday September 19, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Savant’s new reviews today are:

Erik the Conqueror 09/19/17

Arrow Video
Blu-ray + DVD

“And On The Eighth Day Bava Created Color.” That’s my sentiment with every new quality restoration of a Mario Bava picture. This amazing new disc of Il Maestro’s teeth-clenched Viking epic delivers stunning action scenes and eye-bending widescreen fantasy visuals. Arrow’s Blu-ray is spiked with a new Tim Lucas commentary plus both Italian and English soundtracks. Savant digs into the difficulty in ‘seeing through’ Bava’s special effect illusions. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from DVD from Arrow Video.
9/19/17

Hour of the Gun 09/19/17

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

It’s the one saga of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral that puts Western legend into proper perspective as to the nature of money, power and the law: Edward Anhalt’s vision is of a gangland turf war with sagebrush and whiskey bottles. James Garner is a humorless Wyatt Earp, matched by Jason Robards’ excellent Doc Holliday. It’s one of John Sturges’ best movies, with yet another impressive music score by Jerry Goldsmith. And I even offer an unsolicited idea for a more satisfying ending. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
9/19/17

Vampyr (1932) 09/19/17

The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray

Of all the legendary early horror films Carl Theodor Dreyer’s vampire nightmare was the most difficult to appreciate — until Criterion’s disc of a mostly intact, un-mutilated 1998 restoration. Nightmares, waking nightmares, demonic hallucinations are the order of the day, in a near-experimental film that relates its horror to the power of faith. Dreyer creates his fantasy according to his own rules — this pallid, claustrophobic dream movie is closer to Ordet than it is Dracula or Nosferatu. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/19/17

Savant Column

Tuesday September 19, 2017

Hello!

Thanks to correspondents for helping me straighten out a type size, font and darkness for the new CineSavant page. I use a new iMac screen with the scale blown up, so it looked fine to me at the smaller point size. When the web designer (I’ll use his name when I have permission) first previewed the page for me, everything looked too big. Three changes later, I think the choices made are finally nailed down.

It’s a nice launch for CineSavant. I think the changeover is going smoothly, without my losing too many readers. I spent the entire weekend writing emails, FB posts, and wrestling with HTML and wordpress. Right now the only extra content on the site is the three-part Review Index, which I like a lot — it finally reflects all of the Savant reviews, the newer ones at Trailers from Hell and World Cinema Paradise as well as the many years of posts at DVDtalk.


Onward —

Great news from The Warner Archive Collection: October tenth will be the premiere of a new Blu-ray of 1941’s The Sea Wolf, restored to its original theatrical length for the first time in over 75 years. This is the classic starring Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino and John Garfield. All we’ve ever seen on TV was a reissue version cut by a full fourteen minutes. Quote the WAC:

“Long thought to exist only in substandard form, Warner Bros. is proud to present this film as first released in 1941, restoring its original 100-minute running time from 35mm nitrate elements.”

Can’t argue with that, except to wish that the same fate could befall all of our film favorites. Warners keeps performing minor miracles, as if pulling rabbits out of a hat.

We can also chalk up the re-premiere of The Sea Wolf as yet another felicitous coincidence for the upcoming debut of the biography of the film’s director Michael Curtiz, by Alan K. Rode. I hope to review the book when it surfaces.


Are you a fan of Italian westerns? Are you sometimes befuddled by the confusing and sometimes incomplete info on the IMDB? I don’t expect this concern to be voiced at the United Nations, but I just learned about another online resource, a specialized Italian Western Database. Its maker has written a short article about it at the new Current Thinking on the Western page, edited by frequent Savant contributor Lee Broughton. The article about the database is brand new: Reflections on the Origins of the Spaghetti Western Database by Sebastian Haselbeck.


Among Criterion’s newly announced December discs are Alexander Payne’s painfully funny Election, and a new & improved iteration of Monterey Pop and associated concert movies.

Olive Films has some good stuff coming for October: Arthur Penn’s The Miracle Worker, Bob Rafelson’s Stay Hungry and two exotic cheapies from Republic and Monogram, The Vampire’s Ghost and Return of the Ape Man with Bela Lugosi.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Saturday September 16, 2017

 

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.


Welcome to the new home of what was formerly DVD Savant, now transmogrified into CineSavant. It will still be home to more review opinionizing tilted toward film fans that want the lowdown on what’s coming on (mostly) disc-borne home video. The new entity CineSavant is a stand-alone page, and new reviews will still premiere through the kind auspices of Trailers From Hell. Note the nifty new logo by Charlie Largent. The old name and logo isn’t going away either, mainly because it’s so well known. As you can see CineSavant comes in a new more bloggy format that’s going to be a lot less work.

I’ll be reviving old features and putting up new ones as fast as I can, as independence breeds plenty of rash, half-baked ideas! Already up are full review indexes (indices?) for the 5,500 Savant reviews and articles, including the ones posted at TFH and World Cinema Paradise from the last two years. Also note that there’s a new URL and a new email address to update. Wish me luck, fellow well-wishers! Thank you kindly — and please write!

Savant’s new reviews today are:

OSS 117 Five Film Collection 09/16/17

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

He’s fast on his feet, quick with a gun, and faster with the to-die-for beauties that only existed in the swinging ’60s. The superspy exploits of OSS 117 were too big for just one actor, so meet all three iterations of the man they called Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath . . . Kerwin Mathews, Frederick Stafford and John Gavin. Do I really gotta name all the titles again? OSS 117 Is Unleashed; OSS 117: Panic in Bangkok; OSS 117: Mission For a Killer; OSS 117: Mission to Tokyo,and OSS 117: Double Agent. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/16/17

Crime of Passion (1957) 09/16/17

ClassicFlix
Blu-ray

Witness the ‘fifties transformation of the femme fatale from scheming murderess to self-deluding social climber. Barbara Stanwyck redefines herself once again in Gerd Oswald’s best-directed picture, a searing portrayal of needs and anxieties in the nervous decade. With fine support from Raymond Burr, Virginia Grey and Royal Dano, but especially co-star Sterling Hayden, whose zero-to-sixty bruising physical assault is as believable as such scenes can be. Licensed from MGM, on Blu-ray from ClassicFlix.
9/16/17

Savant Column

Saturday September 16, 2017

Hello!

I haven’t read any web rants lately about the ‘death’ of disc media for home video, yet I give thanks to Michael Blanton of the Facebook Film Forum for this link to Danielle Kogan’s brief, positive web article from Courier Life’s Brooklyn Daily:  Disk connection: Film Noir Cinema still rents movies, hosts shows.  Being a Californian, ‘Leonard Street in Greenpoint’ means nothing to me, but wherever it is it sounds like the place to go.

On the  Warner Archive Collection’s Facebook page  appeared this well-written rebuttal to rumors that a new restoration of Howard Hawks’  The Thing From Another World  is on the way. I’m not sure it’s possible to link to an individual FB post, so I’ve copied it here, until I’m told to take it down. Is a new disc in the works? The answer is that it ain’t so, in no uncertain terms:

Looking back at the Wade Williams HTF post that started it all, a close reading convinces me that the post may have been a mistake, that it’s a repeat of a post from 2003: The ‘ten years ago’ reference makes sense with that timing, as does Wade’s reference to a new DVD coming out. I just thought I would undo whatever harm I’d done by passing on the ‘news’ of a new restoration … several readers were enthused enough to write in minutes after I’d posted last Tuesday.

And finally, critic-filmmaker David Cairns takes an amusing look at Tobe Hooper’s  Lifeforce  today (9/16), over at his  Shadowplay  page. David writes on a different plane of film criticism entirely.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Wednesday September 13, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Savant’s new reviews today are:

One Million B.C. 09/13/17

VCI
Blu-Ray

Leapin’ Lizards!  The original cavemen vs. dinosaurs saga is a winner — if viewer involvement trumps visual effects, it’s got a narrow lead over the Hammer/Harryhausen remake. Victor Mature, Carole Landis and Lon Chaney Jr. all made career hay out of their weeks spent running in loincloths, out in the desert. And the new is a terrific UCLA Archive restoration, with an informative commentary by Toby Roan. On Blu-ray from VCI.
9/12/17

The Big Sick 09/13/17

Lionsgate
Blu-Ray

This modern romantic comedy about stand-up comedians generates a genuine warmth about people, the ones-who-need-people kind. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s comic dramatization of the way they became a couple is a big winner, with heart-tugging performances from Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan, and fine characterizations by Holly Hunter, Zenobia Shroff, Ray Romano, and Anupam Kher. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate.
9/12/17

The Illustrated Man 09/13/17

The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-Ray

Ray Bradbury adapted to the screen is always something to check out; this Jack Smight- directed trio of stories bound together by a mystery man wearing the graffiti of the title at least works up a little ethereal-cereal excitement. Husband and wife Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom spout ominous dialogue as they face various futuristic threats. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/12/17

Savant Column

Wednesday September 13, 2017

Hello!

Gary Teetzel links us to the world today, starting with two Metropolis– themed items. A Smithsonian Magazine article by Matt Novak from 2012 takes a look at a vintage explanation of the film’s effects: 1927 Magazine Looks at Metropolis, ‘A Movie Based On Science’. Then, in Wired Magazine from the same year, Geeta Dyal displays another rare item: Recovered 1927 Metropolis Film Program Goes Behind the Scenes of a Sci-Fi Masterpiece. My only comment is about the method used to create the ‘electric bolts’ in the machine room — the article implies that they were shot live on the set, like a foreground miniature, when they were double-exposed at a later time. Just a detail. The second document was for years the main source of technical info on the film, so it’s nice that it was so carefully written.

Film collector Wade Williams, over at the Home Theater Forum, is saying that he’s contributed a film source to a Warners restoration of the long version of Howard Hawks’ The Thing From Another World, a show long in need of a visual reupholstering job. When the show plays on TCM now, the long-version scenes drop to a low-quality 16mm source. It would be nice if a smart new restoration were indeed on the way, but Williams’ note mostly clouds the issue. He says he loaned his print to WB ten years ago, and recently as three years ago I was told that WB still lacked decent elements with which to ‘fix’ the movie — a collector’s print might or might not be good enough, and WB has pretty high standards. When Williams says the film is ‘newly restored,’ is he saying that something new and unannounced has happened? Only when Warners issues a confirmation will we know.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Sunday September 10, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Savant’s new reviews today are: