Savant Column

Saturday August 19, 2017


I haven’t seen a lot of discussion on the The Good, The Bad and The Ugly disc I reviewed a week back, but I was pleased to read this The Edit Room Floor article on various versions of the film. It jibes closely with my own memories of what happened with the versions at MGM, and also agrees with my assessment on the film’s color. I have heard from a couple of European contacts that, in their opinion old IB Tech prints from Italy were a little more yellow — but that they were nothing like the 2014 Fox disc, with its green skies.

A couple of nice items from This Isn’t Happiness, a challenging image & ideas page I’ve been looking at almost daily for at least 13 years now. This item “Oh Boy” is a quote from an old ABC News broadcast, about the impending solar eclipse, but also about a future that happens to be our present.

The second This Isn’t Happiness item is Harry Frankfurt’s Bull****, a frank and concise appreciation of the difference between fact and baloney in modern discourse. Whups — those were two non-film related links, even though the second uses some prime film clips to make its case. My quota for the summer is now filled.

Is it true what correspondent Andrew LeBlanc tells me, that a particular Warner disc of King Kong Skull Island is now hitting astronomical prices online? The disc in question, says Andrew, is a Best Buy Exclusive, containing a 4K + 3-D + Blu-ray + Digital. Mine doesn’t have the 4K, so I guess I’m out of luck for the Big Payday.

And collectors have found out that Kino’s expected Blu-ray of William Dieterle’s Portrait of Jennie (due October 24) won’t be overloaded with extras, but will be favored with a new commentary from Troy Howarth. I’m hoping Troy supplies more insights into the film’s twisted, convoluted production and release history: I’ve been following it ever since reading an article in one of the very first Cinefantastique magazines. Actually, if Kino delivers a high-quality transfer and audio track, that will be more than enough to rock my jolly meter: The Wind Blows — The Sea Flows — No — bo — dy knows.

Over at the new page Current Thinking on the Western, Italo-western connoisseur Tom Betts has a new article up detailing the history of his ‘zine Westerns… All’Italiana!, from its origins in 1983, when typing and photocopying pages gave way to primitive first-generation home computers. Mr. Betts was an inexhaustible and generous resource for the documentary featurettes we cut on the Sergio Leone movies fifteen years ago, but I was only tangentially aware of the scope of his network of Italo western fandom. Tom’s terrific 21st century online ‘zine iteration, the Westerns… All’Italiana! webpage, goes into incredible detail on the genre and its colorful stars and filmmakers.

And Gary Teetzel closes out the column with a link to a new trailer for a thing called Godzilla: Monster Planet. You’re on your own, brave Kaiju fans…

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson