Schlock 05/03/18

Turbine Media Group (Germany)
Blu-ray + DVD

John Landis made his first dent in Hollywood with this hilarious parody of Z-grade monster movies, and it was big enough to launch a film career. The kudos go to Landis’ comic monkey-man performance, wearing a Schockthropus ape suit by the 20 year-old self taught makeup whiz Rick Baker. Only monster movie fans will understand, but they’ll be charmed. This foreign edition is stacked with schlock-thropic extras. With Saul Kahan, Eliza Garrett, Joseph Piantadosi and Harriet White Medin. On All Region Blu-ray and DVD from Turbine Media Group.
5/02/18

Ruby Gentry 05/03/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

Prepare to let your jaw drop: Jennifer Jones and Charlton Heston’s sleazy bucolic ‘romance’ comes off as two-way sex harassment, with suggestive one-liners that make us cringe. Are there other pictures like this? Is this where dolts came to believe that women wanted to be treated like stupid squeeze toys? The great King Vidor directed, with no sign of intentional satire — the bizarre, eventually violent Southern-set melodrama is a one-of-a-kind grotesque spectacle. Co-starring Karl Malden, Tom Tully, James Anderson, Josephine Hutchinson, Phyllis Avery and Barney Phillips. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
5/02/18

Savant Column

Thursday May 3, 2018

Hello!

Quite a while ago Gary Teetzel forwarded a good link to clips from the film library of the late special effects artist Wah Chang. A new clip has shown up, of Chang and Gene Warren photographing effects shots of the submarine the Hydronaut cruising and diving for the Ivan Tors movie Around the World Under the Sea. I guess the blue background must not be a blue screen for matting purposes, because the submarine itself is partly painted blue — it’s just a dry-for-wet underwater sub shot. Other views of the Project Unlimited effects shop reveal the Albatross from Master of the World sitting abandoned on a shelf. As one might suspect, the miniature is not very big, at least not this particular model.


Joe Dante circulated a nice link to Ron Hutchinson’s Vitaphone article about Warners’ notorious ‘lost’ 1933 pre-Code comedy Convention City, Where is Convention City Hiding?  The article has some nice photos, and comes to the conclusion that a print of one kind or another is likely out there somewhere, ready to be discovered. Hutchinson also reminds us that, despite its reputation as an un-see-able item, the movie is almost certainly no more racy than other WB pre-Codes of the day. But with that look in Joan Blondell’s eye, we can dream, can’t we?


 Gary again scores with more research from trade magazines. Here he uncovers a vintage Spanish language ad for Warners’ Boris Karloff thriller The Walking Dead (1936). Gary’s not sure the picture was ever released with this title ‘De mis verdugos me vengue’, because ad art does exist for the Spanish title Los Muertos Andan (‘The Dead Walk’). But sometimes the foreign titles differed between markets in Mexico, Spain and South America. To me ‘De mis verdugos me vengue’ (‘I took vengeance on my executioners’) sounds like a classy sell for Buenos Aires or Madrid.


Just in from the web: Indicator has announced for July 23 their boxed set Hammer Volume 3 Blood and Terror: The Camp On Blood Island, Yesterday’s Enemy, The Stranglers of Bombay, and The Terror of the Tongs. It looks like they’ve put all their potentially PC offensive and racially insensitive titles in one basket. Stranglers is a definite favorite, and the rarely-seen Yesterday’s Enemy is one of the most honest pictures about real warfare that I’ve seen.


 Here’s something my broker and I found during the long attic search for vintage movie poster paper — a four-sheet for one of my favorites, the 1952 Sci-fi propaganda head-scratcher Red Planet Mars. I think it’s a four-sheet, because it’s in four pieces, meant to be pasted on a wall by a professional paperhanger. If there is another like this in existence, I’d be surprised, as it’s a rare item indeed. Now to find a wall big enough to hold it a buyer more nuts about the movie than I am.

Also rejected by my broker is the bottom half of an original Woodstock two-sheet. The missing top two thirds was just a big blurry image of a crowd, and this bottom half has plenty of the same graphic, plus a big representation of the credit block and famous logo. Anyone interested?

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Tuesday May 1, 2018


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CineSavant Column

Tuesday May 1, 2018

I wasn’t kidding about being late last Saturday: CineSavant has no new reviews today. We’ve been doing a mass inventory of the old movie posters from up in my attic. Many have been there for forty years. I’ve compiled a list with the aim of selling a bunch of them a little later on. I’ll report on them here, if that comes to pass. Part of starting up CineSavant as my own page was to make evil mercenary profitable ideas like this possible — I might be able to sell them directly through the page. My unwritten contract with disc providers is that I don’t re-sell review discs, but I’ve been collecting other stuff since the 1970s.

I do have a couple of reviews done but I think I’ll delay them at least another day. Hence this collector’s photo of the chaos, inventory-wise, at CineSavant Central.

Thanks for reading! Glenn

Saturday April 28, 2018


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CineSavant’s new reviews today are:

No Down Payment 04/28/18

Twilight Time
Blu-ray

The blacklist strikes back as both writer Ben Maddow and director Martin Ritt examine the booming ’50s phenomenon of The Suburbs. No money up front will get you into an ‘estate’ of your dreams, provided you’re white. Possibly a little too direct in its messaging of sickness in the American dream, much of what we see in the ticky-tacky subdivision of Sunrise Hills will ring true to those of us who lived it. And the cast can’t be beat: Joanne Woodward, Sheree North, Tony Randall, Jeffrey Hunter, Cameron Mitchell, Patricia Owens, Barbara Rush and Pat Hingle. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
4/28/18

Down 3 Dark Streets 04/28/18

ClassicFlix
Blu-ray

“It’s under the Big ‘W’!”  A smart cop show goes all ‘Dragnet’ on a trio of criminal cases in the good old City of the Angels. To figure out who gunned down a top detective, rough tough FBI agent Broderick Crawford must get to the bottom of three separate dramas, each involving a beautiful woman: Ruth Roman, Martha Hyer, Marisa Pavan. The producers know how to get attention for their show — the climactic shootout takes place under the Hollywood Sign. With Kenneth Tobey. On Blu-ray from ClassicFlix.
4/28/18

And God Said to Cain & Twice a Judas 04/28/18

Wild East
Spaghetti Western Collection Volume 45 Double Bill DVD

Guest reviewer Lee Broughton returns to shine a critical light on a double bill Spaghetti Western disc, two features starring the world’s favorite acting fiend, Klaus Kinski. The prolific German actor racked up credits in more than twenty Euro-Westerns, some of which amounted to brief-if-worthy guest spots. These two Italian productions feature the German actor up front in starring position, and both are pretty good genre entries to boot. Also starring Antonio Sabato and Peter Carsten. A double bill DVD disc from Wild East.
4/28/18

CineSavant Column

Saturday April 28, 2018

Hello!

The news this week is that Janus films, The Academy Film Archive and the Film Foundation have restored Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour, the most celebrated ‘B’ noir on the books. The Criterion website describes the restoration process thusly:

“The restoration team began by examining potential sources, including: a 35mm dupe negative from The Museum of Modern Art, which was incomplete and riddled with jump cuts; a 35mm safety composite print from the Cinematheque Française; and a 35mm nitrate print from the Cinematheque Royale de Belgique. That print, thought to have been made from the original camera negative, was clearly the best element in terms of image clarity, contrast, and density, but had never been considered as a source for preservation because it contained burned-in French and Flemish subtitles.”

“This obstacle was overcome by scanning all of the print elements to 4K, then compositing frames from the MoMA print over the matching subtitled frames from the Belgian print. Where frames from the MoMA print were missing, and in shots that contained significant movement within the frame, the subtitles were removed by dedicated and talented digital artists using digital painting techniques.”

I’ll be very interested in seeing how that process works — we need to see that enormous grimy coffee cup in the Reno diner looking perfect, jump cuts and all. The Academy’s Michael Pogorzelski says he’s been keen to restore Detour for quite awhile. Official rights for the old PRC feature may have been established by now. Previously it was my understanding that it is a Public Domain title, and that the big problem with earlier restoration efforts has been that some of the better film elements have been tied up with private collectors.

The full story can be read at Ryan Gallagher’s Criterion article, Janus Films to Tour New 4K Restoration of Edgar G. Ulmer’s DETOUR.


Dick Dinman has another timely DVD Classics Corner On the Air show online, this time about two new Warner Archive Collection releases: Dick Dinman & Eddie Muller dispense a double dose of Dana. In other words, Dinman and Muller talk about Dana Andrews’ career with special emphasis on the new WAC Blu-rays of Fritz Lang’s While the City Sleeps and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

A set of links to other Dinman DVD Classics Corner On the Air shows is at this address.


I’ll be Out of Action this weekend, doing an inventory in the depths of the CineSavant vaults, with a friend driving in from out of state to help make it happen. So expect new reviews from myself, and I think Charlie Largent, perhaps next Wednesday.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Tuesday April 24, 2018


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CineSavant’s new reviews today are:

Little Murders 04/24/18

Powerhouse Indicator
Region B Blu-ray

The blackest of black comedies confronts us with an urban worst case scenario — Jules Feiffer’s ‘social horror’ movie is like a sitcom in Hell, with citizens numbed and trembling over the unending meaningless violence. What was nasty satire in 1971 now plays like the 6 o’clock news. Too radical for its time, Feiffer and director Alan Arkin’s picture is more painfully funny, and frightening, than ever. A sensational cast: Elliott Gould, Marcia Rodd, Vincent Gardenia, Elizabeth Wilson, Jon Korkes, John Randolph, Doris Roberts, Lou Jacobi, Donald Sutherland, Alan Arkin. On Region B Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
4/24/18

The Three Stooges Collection Volumes 1 and 2 04/24/18

Mill Creek Entertainment
Blu-ray

Spread out you knuckleheads, the Stooges have finally hit HD home video in fine form, with more head bonking and eye-poking than you can shake a Curly at. Charlie Largent reviews two budget-friendly packages that bring together the fan favorites Have Rocket, Will Travel, The Three Stooges Meet Hercules, Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze, The Outlaws Is Coming! and a pair of tune-filled comedies from their ’40s heyday, Time Out for Rhythm and Rockin’ in the Rockies. Don’t forget to donate to your local hospital’s Three Stooges ward. Separate releases on Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment.
4/24/18

Hope and Glory 04/24/18

Olive Films
Blu-ray

Where Were You in ’42? If you were little Johnnie Boorman in 1940, you might have been squatting in dank bomb shelter with your Mum and sisters, waiting out an air raid alert. Writer-director Boorman’s personal memory of what for some kids was a glorious time when working-class Brits endured adverse conditions: it’s warm & fuzzy affectionate and frequently hilarious, with a keen eye toward slightly bawdy family humor. Sarah Miles and Ian Bannen star. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.
4/24/18

CineSavant Column

Tuesday April 24, 2018

Hello!

We lead off with some vintage French artwork for The Day of Triffids, which looks like a poster but is not. I recognize the layout format from publications in Spanish and Italian, but to be sure asked Michael Hyatt, who confirms that it is a photo-novelization of the movie.

Hyatt also told me that back in the day this item was the only way the French could ‘see’ the movie: import quotas prevented a theatrical release there in the first place! That, in spite of the fact that a good third of Triffids takes place in France, and the co-star is French. Mike collects Triffids posters; I’m guessing that he likely figured this out when no French poster existed to be found.

A trailer rarity at Trailers from Hell yesterday — The Folks at Red Wolf Inn, with a snappy commentary by David DeCoteau.

Twilight Time for July has been announced: director Roger Spottiswoode’s epic The Children of Huang Shi, the 1965 costume pic Genghis Khan, Mark Rydell’s delightful Cinderella Liberty and Raoul Walsh’s The Revolt of Mamie Stover with Jane Russell as a ‘fallen woman’ in Honolulu who ends up owning half the real estate on Waikiki.

Only a couple of years ago I finally figured out that a number of B&W ‘Mexican’ effects scenes in Kurt Neumann’s sci-fi thriller Kronos were achieved by adding animated effects to color Hawaii-set scenes from Mamie Stover, mainly, a giant robot and electromagnetic ‘force waves.’ I think adding a giant robot and electromagnetic force waves is a good way to improve most any travelogue landscape photo.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Saturday April 21, 2018

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CineSavant’s new reviews today are:

Blaze 04/21/18

KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray

It’s hard to know much exaggeration is used in movies about crazy Suth’un politics, when some of the serious movies resemble Julius Caesar with mint juleps. This true story is about an old-school populist Louisiana governor who falls for a nationally-known stripper, the famous Blaze Starr, and is told from the stripper’s POV. Paul Newman is at his late-career best, and Lolita Davidovich lights up the screen. The governor can get away with most anything except what he wants to do most — pass some color-blind laws about hiring and voting. With Jerry Hardin, Gailard Sartain, Richard Jenkins, Jeffrey DeMunn, Robert Wuhl, Garland Bunting, Brandon Smith. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
4/21/18

The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre 04/21/18

Powerhouse Indicator
Blu-ray

Roger Corman’s ferocious gangster epic (more squibs!) bounces back in a UK Region B edition, noisier and bloodier than ever. Jason Robards, George Segal, Ralph Meeker and a couple of dozen top-notch hoods replay the ugly events that led up to the notorious 1929 gangland slaying. The actual crime now almost seems tame — where gun massacres are concerned, today ‘Every Day Is a Holiday.’ Starring Jason Robards, George Segal, Ralph Meeker, Jean Hale and a tall stack of Corman regulars and gangland favorites. On Region B Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.
4/21/18

CineSavant Column

Saturday April 21, 2018

Hello!

A very interesting link reached me through Joe Dante, about one of the oldest Hollywood missing-film mysteries on the books — the legendary Giant Vampire Attack scene that was cut out of the 1936 Tarzan Escapes, almost at the last minute. Bill and Sue-On Hillman’s Edgar Rice Burroughs-zine has an excellently researched article with new information that makes it seem possible that the missing scene might someday be located in a foreign archive or film exchange. As this third MGM feature is the first Tarzan to be considered a ‘kid’s picture,’ the scary scene was cut after preview audiences thought it unsuitable for children.

BUT — the scene was reinstated for a 1954 release, before disappearing once again. The author of the full article saw the reissue as a kid, and his description makes it sound as extreme as the fantastic horrors in Tarzan and His Mate. Trailers from Hell’s Charlie Largent did a newspaper research snoop followup on the article’s claim, and did indeed come across the ad for the Dec. 22, 1954 double bill that Bill Hillman saw (above)!

Charlie noted that filming the flying bat creatures on wires, that swoop down and carry off helpless victims, likely gave MGM needed engineering experience for when it came time to film the flying monkeys of The Wizard of Oz, three or four years later.


Gary Teetzel has also been scouring old industry newspapers, this time for information about the 1932 horror classic Island of Lost Souls. He found a score of interesting blurbs about possible casting, and the talent search for a ‘Panther Girl’ for the movie. This first clipping has an odd list of stars attached to the project, though obviously not permanently: Nancy Carroll, Fay Wray, Irving Pichel, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Noah Beery. If you know the picture it’s not difficult to guess what the actors’ roles would be:

This second clipping is a good reminder why studios didn’t make more shocking, transgressive horror pictures. You can’t buy a review this negative, as they used to say. I think this particular blurb ends up being funny, due to its final two words:


And it’s another DVD Classics Corner On the Air show, this time about the new Kino 3-D release: Dick Dinman & Bob Furmanek Survive the Horror of the 3-D The Maze. I made sure I got the basic tech facts right in my CineSavant review last week, but Dinman’s interview with Bob Furmanek goes into more detail about “the challenges inherent in restoring not only 3D picture but 3 Channel Stereo Sound to this much requested creep-fest.” The disc arrives next Tuesday.

I always keep forgetting to say it, but Dick Dinman’s half-hour shows always cover more topics as well. A set of links to other DVD CCOA shows is at this address.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Tuesday April 17, 2018

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CineSavant’s new reviews today are: