Savant Column

Saturday October 14, 2017


It’s a full links weekend, to accompany a full house of hotly desired restorations. Over at The Passionate Moviegoer, Joe Baltake comes up with a relevant film clip to prove that zealots altered the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag in 1954, tweaking our vanishing separation of Church and State. Baltake’s article is called Harold and Maude, Donald & Cary.

Meanwhile, correspondent Stefan Anderssen sends a link to something that’s been around for a while but might have slipped one’s attention: a split-screen comparison of the Horror of Dracula reel found in Japan, versus the U.K. 2012 restoration: Hammer Dracula side by side comparison. The new bit with the disturbing ‘Dracula Cries’ shot commences at about 2:44. I’d like to see a comparison between Warner Home Video’s excellent color and the U.K.’s sharper but frustrating bluey-bluey tweaked transfer. Stefan reports that the German company Anolis is doing a new Blu-ray version of the Fisher Dracula. They might not be able to incorporate the recovered disintegration footage, but if they restore the film’s authentic Technicolor palette, I’ll be a vocal booster.

Savant correspondent Lee Broughton will be contributing another review soon. His new page Current Thinking on the Western just put up a short article by John Nudge recounting The History of the Spaghetti Western Web Board. The board has been the go-to destination for Italo western research since 1998 or so.

Gary Teetzel has been scouring vintage magazines and keeps coming up with gems, like Boris Karloff’s acting ads from the early 1920s. One even lists Mr. K’s Hollywood street address. Yesterday Gary came up with this Forrest Ackerman fan letter from a 1931 issue of New Movies magazine. It should be fairly self-explanatory. That’s Forry for you — leading with an emotional opinion, and already boasting of his collecting habit: “among the many that I possess.” Ray Bradbury famously wrote about, when he was a kid, soliciting Dietrich’s autograph on the sidewalk outside CBS on Sunset. I wonder if Ackerman was envious?

Gary also found something that’s been on the Web awhile that I missed, a collection of home movies from the Original ILM special effects facility out at 6846 Valjean Ave. in Van Nuys. I visited three times but only once in the daytime when the whole staff was there. At night we saw Richard Edlund and other happy cameramen taking a break while filming motion control spaceships. A poster over the front desk, originally printed to announce ‘The Star Wars, Coming Summer 1976′ had been altered to ‘Coming Summer 1977’, and that alteration updated to ‘Maybe in 1978?’

And finally, just announced by Twilight Time’s Nick Redman, their Blu-ray releases for January, all with a ship date of January 23: Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives with Mia Farrow (1992), Paul Mazurzky’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice with Natalie Wood & Robert Culp (1969), Henry Koster’s My Cousin Rachel with Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton (1952) and Joseph Mankiewicz’s Dragonwyck with Gene Tierney and Vincent Price (1946).

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson