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Columns




July 25, 2010

Some progress has occurred just yesterday but, 16 days after the problem began, my ability to upload new reviews to DVD Savant still hasn't happened yet. The problem is obviously frustrating but not something I can explain. Besides, you navigate here to read video reviews ... all I can say in the way of apology right now is that there is plenty of reading to be found in the Savant Review Index.

I have reviews ready for Black Narcissus, Dark City, Union Station, Five Star Final, Trouble in the Sky, Brewster McCloud, Shogun Assassin 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition, the Errol Flynn Adventures disc set and No Orchids for Miss Blandish... and no way to post them. I've also received an improved European DVD edition of Fritz Lang's Hangmen Also Die! that deserves a new review -- it's completely uncut, something I've waited who knows how long to see.

Then again, DVD Savant is becoming kind of a waiting thing ... I can't even post an image to go with the text of this daily column.

Gary Teetzel sends a link to a National Public Radio Interview with Roger Corman. Joe Dante has been circulating this interesting Videogum post that claims that the movie Inception ripped off Scrooge McDuck and the Beagle Boys!

Thanks for (not?) reading ... Glenn Erickson.


Saturday July 31, 2010

MY UPDATE for today is ready to go, but I can't post it myself (an appointment to be shown that process has been delayed for a week) and the work-around fix that I've been using for two weeks isn't functioning either. I have reviews for you for Trouble in the Sky, Five Star Final and the Blu-ray of Black Narcissus ... let's hope we can get DVD Savant functioning again. Glenn Erickson.


Tuesday July 27, 2010

Alibi Ike

Joe E. Brown wins ball games and woos Olivia de Havilland (in her first film) in this funny baseball comedy, with William Frawley, Roscoe Karns and a number of actual big league ball players. And wait 'til you see Brown's insane pitching style -- ! From the Warner Archive Collection.
7.27.10

and
The Girl-Getters

Oliver Reed leads a pack of enterprising young men who use "The System" to sweep girls off their feet at a summer seashore resort. But Reed meets his match in Jane Merrow, a thoroughly modern "thrush" with her own ideas about using people. Michael Winner's excellent Brit teen picture features adult themes and terrific B&W cinematography by Nicolas Roeg. From VCI
7.27.10


Greetings! Starting my third week of uploading weirdness but by now the review treadmill is back in operation. Have been getting updates on ComicCon from my friend. He reports a stabbing incident at a panel yesterday that interrupted big presentations for new pictures, and surprise appearances by stars like Robert Downey Jr. and even Harrison Ford.

Correspondent Gordon Thomas sends links to Harry Lee Green's blog called Hairy Green Eyeball, which has posted entire vintage Dell & Charlton movie tie-in Comic Books. The first examples offered are The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Gorgo and The Vikings.

On September 21 Kino is releasing the "Complete Saga" of the original Louis Feuillade Fantomas serials from 1913 and 1914. I've seen a couple of chapters of this great show, which is preserved quite well -- Inspector Juve pursues but never seems able to capture the master criminal Fantomas on the streets. That's where much of the show is filmed, so the serial is also a rather uncanny time machine back to pre-WW1 Paris!

I've also just received another batch of Warner Archive Collection discs, so will be reviewing a number of titles of interest in the next few weeks: Al Capone, Best of the Bad Men, Carny, Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues, The Grasshopper, The McConnell Story, Tiger Shark, Cass Timberlane, Brewster McCloud and Verboten! The early Edward G. Robinson newspaper tale Five Star Final is next, but If anybody would like me to review any particular title sooner than later, let me know. Thanks for reading, Glenn Erickson



July 22, 2010

Savant's new reviews today are

Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 5

Some really great noir gems in this new collection, with eight titles from MGM, Warner Bros., RKO and Allied Artists: Cornered, Deadline at Dawn, Desperate, Backfire, Armored Car Robbery, Dial 1119, The Phenix City Story and Crime in the Streets. All are restored and Phenix City Story is the long version. Crime in the Streets is a revelation -- after viewing the first scene you'll be convinced that the makers of the Broadway play West Side Story cribbed from it! Warner Home Video.
7/22/10

and
Two Films by Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu's first talking picture The Only Son and a wartime drama he made six years later, There Was a Father, are two similarly-themed masterpieces of parental sacrifice and commitment. Terrific Japanese classic cinema from Criterion.
7/22/10


Greetings! Well, we're looking at day 12 of the uploading problem, but I'm told it might be solved and done with tomorrow. Sorry to make these Savant Columns so grim. I have news of interesting releases coming in and even some fun links, but the scramble to get reviews up in the roundabout way I'm doing them now takes a lot of time. I also admit that some of this is my own doing -- a self-imposed format change that's only two weeks old -- it's different enough to be confusing, routine-wise.

I have a close friend down at Comic-Con; his reports are so amusing that I might ask to post them under an assumed name! But I have to contact him first and he's running a long schedule down there.

Thanks ever for reading ... hang in there ... maybe on Sunday I'll be back with a lot more fun stuff. Glenn Erickson



July 17, 2010

Am hoping for an uploading fix by the end of the week --- thanks for checking in. -- Glenn Erickson

Sunday July 18, 2010

Savant's new reviews today are

The Witches of Eastwick

Spooky times in the boudoir as Jack Nicholson juggles the amorous triumvirate of Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer. A Warner double bill Blu-ray, with Practical Magic. Warner Home Entertainment.
07/18/10

The Red Shoes

Powell & Pressburger's cinema/dance masterpiece almost scorches the eyeballs with color, in a new Blu-ray of a celebrated new digital restoration. Moira Shearer will clearly be the immortal image of the ballerina, enshrined in this most cinematic of dance films, a backstage musical that's more a horror film than a musical comedy. From Criterion.
07/18/10

and
Appointment with Danger

Alan Ladd investigates a murder and robbery for the U.S. Mail, but behaves like a proto-James Bond. A good noir programmer co-starring Jack Webb, Phyllis Calvert and Jan Sterling. Olive Films.
07/18/10


Greetings!

No, my uploading issues aren't resolved yet, but the webmaster in charge of DVD Savant is manually uploading some items for me, which means that this update may be readable! Hopefully a real fix will follow soon.

Gary Teetzel alerts us to classic AIP pictures now available to view at AMC Online: Voodoo Woman, Cat Girl and Roger Corman's The Undead. These Arkoff Estate titles haven't been released on disc here in Region 1.

And another interesting note ... Sony may still be polling readers as to which Harryhausen movie they'd like to see remastered on Blu-ray next. They're only offering three choices, and I'm promoting votes for Mysterious Island. It should look much better than the other two in High Definition anyway. So pop over to the Columbia Classics Page and vote soon! The Poll is near the top, in the center, where it says "poll".

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



July 09, 2010

A POSSIBLE SOLUTION?
Just received a note saying that a solution to the problem might come today. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

LOCKED OUT!
Webmasters are working on the problem, but once again I am unable to upload or edit DVD Savant pages online -- so I don't know when DVD Savant will be running again. Some good progress has been made. I hoped this post wouldn't be necessary, but now it looks like the very soonest Savant will be up and running will be tomorrow, Wednesday.

Reviews of The Witches of Eastwick and Appointment with Danger are ready to go, and I hope this doesn't turn into a ten-day misery like last year. This time a reliable webmaster is on the case, and the problem will hopefully be solved sooner than later.

Thanks for your Patience! Glenn Erickson

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Savant's new reviews today are

New York Confidential

Hired killer Richard Conte becomes a big wheel in Broderick Crawford's Syndicate, while mobster's daughter Anne Bancroft wants to escape to a decent life. VCI's disc brings a long-missing key noir title back unto the fold. With a commentary by Alan K. Rode and Kim Morgan.
07/10/10

and
Crack in the World

Dana Andrews ruptures the earth's mantle in search of an infinite supply of energy, while Kieron Moore and Janette Scott rush to keep the entire planet from splitting apart. Exciting, underrated ecological disaster sci-fi with terrific color special effects and a stirring music score. From Olive Films.
07/10/10



Greetings! A pair of very interesting titles for you today, while I rush to do review justice to some very worthy releases. As you can see, a little Windex goes a long way to cleaning off a gummy DVD -- I can return my friend's copy of Crack in the World in perfect condition. Here are some links to peruse:

Correspondents "B" and Jaci Spuhler have both sent in this link to a Slate Article about Lost Silent Films that offers readers a peek, in the hopes that someone out there can identify them -- recognize a great-grandfather starring in any of these ancient shows? It's an informative article as well.

Joe Dante sent around this link to a video of the weirdest owl you ever saw. The way this bird changes its appearance, you'd think special effects were involved. Pretty creepy.

Finally, over at American Music Preservation.com, Steve Vertleib offers top-ten lists of Film Music Review's picks for the most influential motion picture themes and songs of all time, compiled by Steve along with Roger L. Hall and Steven A. Kennedy. See if you agree (you have to scroll down a bit.)

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



July 07, 2010

Savant's new reviews today are

Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics II
DVD

This round-up of Classic Period noirs shows the encroachment of alienation and paranoia on the style: Fritz Lang's Human Desire, Richard Quine's Pushover, Phil Karlson's The Brothers Rico, Jacques Tourneur's Nightfall and the quirky City of Fear. Variously starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Kim Novak, Richard Conte, Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft and Vince Edwards. Beautiful B&W transfers. Sony.

and
Confessions of a Police Captain
&
Summertime Killer

DVD Double Bill

UK Correspondent Lee Broughton covers a pair of Italian thrillers from the 1970s, starring Franco Nero, Martin Balsam, Karl Malden, Olivia Hussey and Raf Vallone. They're recommended as top-rank Euro crime titles. Directed by Damiano Damiani and Antonio Isasi. From Wild East.



Greetings! Where has DVD Savant been all week? I had the opportunity to spend several days in Mexico City with good friends, and had a great time. As I'm the original stay-at-home person, this bit of travel amounts to a rare vacation excursion.

Yes, DVD Savant is back in action once more. Thanks to UK correspondent Lee Broughton I have a pair of reviews for today and will be back again very soon with more. Most of the discs I've been waiting for showed up so we'll be getting into them post-haste: VCI's New York Confidential, Warner Bros.' Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 5, with Cornered, Desperate, The Phenix City Story, Deadline at Dawn, Armored Car Robbery, Crime in the Streets, Dial 1119 and Backfire; a group of Warners Blu-ray Double Bills; and Criterion DVDs of two Rare Ozu features and their much-awaited Blu-rays of Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes.

After my trauma with a cracked copy of Crack in the World, a sympathetic fellow reviewer sent me his copy to peruse -- and it showed up with a smear of stubborn adhesive across its. If the first copy was "Crack in the Disc", this one may be "Crack in the World: The BP Edition". Actually, more than one correspondent has written to tell me that they see a Gulf Oil Spill parallel in Crack in the World -- my job will be to keep that in mind while resisting slipping into Savant diatribe mode. Too much to do right now so will attempt to clean the disc tonight or tomorrow.

Thanks for all the emails -- I'm almost caught up -- and I'll try to be back very quickly with more to read. Glenn Erickson


Don't forget to write Savant at dvdsavant@mindspring.com.

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