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October 31, 2011

Savant's new reviews today are:

Travels with my Aunt

George Cukor escapes from a troubled production with a charming and graceful comedy. Maggie Smith's eccentric, immoral Aunt Augusta drags her confused adult nephew across Europe on a dubious mission of mercy: the ransoming of one of her many old lovers. Alec McCowen, Louis Gossett and Robert Stephens compete with outstanding art direction and color cinematography in this last salute to classic moviemaking. Newly remastered, from The Warner Archive Collection.
11/01/11

The Left Hand of God

A mysterious priest in war-torn China is a big success with the local peasants. Neither the mission doctor nor his nurse suspect that he's anything other than what he says he is. One of Humphrey Bogart's last films, this also stars Gene Tierney, Agnes Moorehead and Lee J. Cobb. With an Isolated Score track of Victor Young's music, from Twilight Time.
11/01/11

and

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
Blu-ray

Pier Paolo Pasolini's horrid statement about political oppression and ideological perversion is one of the most difficult-to-watch films ever. Writing about it is no picnic, either. Italian Fascists vent their sick desires on a group of helpless captives. A despairing and negative personal statement of... what, contempt for humanity? In Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
11/01/11





Greetings!

It's actually October 31st at the moment of this writing, and we're pulling up the drawbridge and heating the oil in anticipation of Halloween visitors. I've got a couple of links today and other info offered by helpful corresondents.

The extras on Criterion's disc of Island of Lost Souls include a photograph of a startling beast-man makeup that I thought was unseen in the film -- a feral monster with a jarring asymmetrical face with one leopard-eye seemingly grafted onto one side. Well, correspondent Mark Cheney spotted this "Picasso face monster" and pinpoints where to find it: "He appears in the shot immediately preceding the first shot of the beast-men breaking into the sterile-cabinet, at the right-hand edge of the frame. He opens his mouth wide just after Lugosi says "little knives!" -- it's quite effective."

So the weird monster is there after all. I wonder how many more grotesque makeups were put together but not featured... this is comparable to the half-dozen or so unseen mutant men in World Without End, pointed out by Bill Warren in his sci-fi book.

Old associate and writer Mark Bourne points me to this pretty darn wonderful trailer for a web show called Danger 5. Mark's reaction was, "Oh yes, please."

In lieu of an eight-city whirlwind promotional tour for my new book Sci-Fi Savant, I've decided to offer up this interesting new marketing invention called a ban-ner (sp?). It's even in color. I will of course be steering captive Savant readers to whatever real notices and mentions that I can cook up surface online, as they appear.

Have a fun Halloween! Thanks for writing, Glenn Erickson



October 28, 2011

Savant's new reviews today are:

Cry Terror!

Rod Steiger plants bombs in planes and terrorizes James Mason and Inger Stevens. With Angie Dickenson as the sexiest woman alive in 1958. Andrew and Virginia Stone's realistic, by-the-numbers suspense thriller has a cast that can't be beat. With Jack Klugman, Neville Brand and Kenneth Tobey. From The Warner Archive Collection.
10/29/11

The Fuller Brush Girl

As close to a Warners cartoon that a live action comedy can get, Frank Tashlin's script has Lucille Ball and Eddie Albert running from crooks and the cops that want Lucy for a cold-blooded murder. Written differently it could be a film noir, but instead it's a crazy farce with plenty of visual puns and slapstick silliness. From Sony Screen Classics by Request.
10/29/11

Top Banana

Hey, find out what real Burlesque was all about. This Broadway stage show (with music and lyrics by Johnny Mercer) was filmed just as it was performed on the stage, with Phil Silvers, Frank Albertson and Rose Marie showing off their impeccable stage timing in 1,001 of the oldest (and still funny) Burlesque gag routines. Bouncy showgirls, garish costumes and comics in baggy pants -- what more can one ask for? In color, from the MGM Limited Edition Collection.
10/29/11

and

The Phantom Carriage

From Sweden -- 90 years ago -- comes a fantasy classic that's part horror story and part film blanc morality tale. The last person to die before midnight on New Year's Eve must serve as Death for the entire next year, traveling the world in a ghostly coach to collect the souls of the dead. A genuine masterpiece from the greatest Swedish director before Ingmar Bergman, Victor Sjöström. A silent masterpiece, in Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
10/29/11






Greetings!

Today's a big day for me personally, as I get to announce a new book. My new Science Fiction Film Reader adapts and extends some of my DVD Savant reviews of Sci-Fi films and adds quite a few more, for important titles I either never covered or thought were important and aren't on disc. Although it isn't a comprehensive study, Sci-Fi Savant attempts to express the full appeal of the Sci-Fi genre. It concentrates heavily on the classic era of the 1950s and '60s, and then discusses significant selected titles going forward. It's the kind of book that can be read a little at a time, skipping around, or in chronological order. I run into younger Sci-Fi and fantasy fans that think that Sci-Fi began with Blade Runner; Sci-Fi Savant is intended as a guide to the core gems of the genre, epics of spaceships, robots, alien invaders, time travel, technological conspiracies and the End of the World. Some of the most wonderful discoveries are the most obscure. Expect some fan-oriented content, production background and political context when relevant. And a little humor.

I cover 116 titles in all, including extended essays on Invaders from Mars and Until the End of the World. Some of the titles newly discussed are Red Planet Mars, Gog, The Blob, Nebo Zoyvot, Gorath, and Gattaca. Now that so many exotic foreign productions are available in their original versions, it is finally possible to assess Sci-Fi fantasies from Japan, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and the former Soviet Union. Sci-Fi film history has changed radically in the past ten years, and Sci-Fi Savant is an expert guide to the new 'star map.'

Published by Point Blank Press / Wildside (as was my previous review reader), Sci-Fi Savant is available now.

Thanks for putting up with the sales spiel, a once-every-five-years tradition here at DVD Savant! -- Glenn Erickson



October 24, 2011

Savant's new reviews today are:

Valerie

Gerd Oswald's underfunded programmer has been described as a sagebrush Rashomon. Rancher Sterling Hayden shoots his own wife Anita Ekberg, and conflicting testimony may not clear up what actually happened. Co-starring Anthony Steel, this is a good example of a fine director struggling with a story too big for the production resources. From The MGM Limited Edition Collection.
10/25/11

Great Italian Directors Collection

Kino tosses us a trio of top Italian pix directed by big names, starring big names: Story of a Love Affair, the intriguing first feature by Michelangelo Antonioni; Boccaccio 70, a portmanteau film with important episodes by Luchino Visconti and Federico Fellini, and the talented Mario Monacelli's Casanova 70, one of the better sex farces of the 1960s. With Lucia Bosé, Massimo Girotti, Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren, Romy Schneider, Marisa Mell and Virna Lisi. From Lorber Films.
10/25/11

and

The Disembodied

Allison Hayes fans can't resist the '50s exploitation icon. Ms. Hayes tosses her torso as a Voodoo Queen while scheming to murder her way out of her unhappy jungle homestead. A young Paul Burke is the sober white adventurer who almost falls for her evil spell. Beautiful, seductive women always equal rank Evil... when will the handsome heroes ever learn? This super-clean vault goodie is a fine party picture, from its non-PC attitudes to Allison's Dragon-Lady costume. It escaped last year from The Warner Archive Collection.
10/25/11




Greetings!

Today's review offerings just happen to adhere to a theme, like when three oranges line up on a Vegas slot machine. Allison Hayes and Anita Ekberg feature in low-budget '50s attractions, and then Ekberg reprises Hayes' famous 50 Foot Woman character (screen left, making an atypical obscene gesture) in Federico Fellini's episode of Boccaccio 70. This was completely accidental, but it makes me wonder how the programmers over at Trailers from Hell manage to come up with themed, coordinated trailer combinations every week.

Gary Teetzel has prompted me to offer some Halloween viewing suggestions. Let me go over the wealth of horror and horror-inflected Sci-fi discs released this year so far. First up is the brand-new Criterion Island of Lost Souls, which might be my favorite disc of the year. But you might also consider the wild alien combat in Attack the Block, the cockroach monsters of Mimic, the kiddie killer of The Bad Seed, a score of killer jungle cats in Black Zoo, the mutating astronaut in The Quatermass Xperiment, the cyborg terror of The Colossus of New York, diabolism in academia (or should I say, more diabolism in academia) in Burn, Witch, Burn, Boris Karloff vs. Jack Nicholson in The Terror; Luana Patten vs. the business end of an axe in Coppola's Dementia 13; Dennis Hopper vs. space vampire Florence Marly in Curis Harrington's Queen of Blood, Coffin Joe running amuck in the Brazilian Embodiment of Evil; Deborah Kerr threatened by devil worshippers in Eye of the Devil, Patricia Neal vs. a psycho lover in The Night Digger, Harry Belafonte facing oblivion in The World The Flesh and The Devil, Ron Perlman searching for a vampiric scarab ornament in Cronos; the socko Roger Corman Triple Feature Not of This Earth, Attack of the Crab Monsters, War of the Satellites; Hammer's eccentric Vampire Circus and the supremely spooky battle between Robert Mitchum and a gun-toting Lilian Gish in Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter.

Finally, for those of you interested in The Traveling Executioner, I've amended the Savant review with a couple of good correspondent notes, both of which offer additional information about the weird Warner Archive release.

Thanks for reading! -- Glenn Erickson



October 22, 2011

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Traveling Executioner

Rescued from undeserved oblivion, this sleazy / macabre / wonderful drama posits the terrific Stacy Keach as a specialist in electrified executions in the South of 1918, charming his victims with visions of heaven before throwing the switch. But he makes a big mistake when he falls in love, and breaks the rules of his profession to spring the fetching Marianna Hill from death row. A bizarre, wholly successful black comedy, newly remastered by The Warner Archive Collection.
10/22/11

The Quatermass Xperiment

The touchstone feature that launched Hammer Films as a major player and jump-started a tradition of fine British science fiction. It is still being remade (its concepts, anyway) in countless monster movies. A parasitical cosmic contagion transforms the first astronaut into a shape-shifting mess, a thing that absorbs and combines other life forms to become -- what, exactly? Brian Donlevy is the belligerent Professor Bernard Quatermass and Richard Wordsworth the haunted, zombie-like host for the biological invasion. Newly remastered, from The MGM Limited Edition Collection.
10/22/11

Cosmic Journey

The 1936 Stalin-era Soviet sci-fi rarity Kosmitcheskiy reys: Fantasticheskaya novella surfaces in region one from a reliable (I ordered it myself) web vendor on Amazon. A jovial elder scientist, his secretary-researcher and a Communist Youth League Scout hijack the first rocket to the moon, cavort on its surface and solve a serious technical debacle. The vast, intricate miniature models and stop-motion animation effects are startlingly advanced -- for sci-fi fans this is an absolute must-see. From Video Dimensions.
10/22/11

and

City of Life and Death
Blu-ray

Director Lu Chuan tackles an epic, mind-blowingly awful historical war crime, the annihilation of an entire Chinese city of 300,000 in the late 1930s. Restricting his filmic viewpoint to a group of directly involved characters -- Chinese Army defenders, Imperial Japanese invaders and the staff of an ineffectual Safety Zone established by a sympathetic Nazi diplomat, Chuan negotiates a mire of PC and revisionist attitudes. Although almost exclusively about mass killing and appalling rape, his film does not collapse into an exploitative mess. Modern 'entertainment' easily exceeds Chuan's B&W visions of carnage and outrage, yet viewers curious about a chapter in history untouched by Western filmmakers will be impressed by the film's intelligence and clarity. In Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.
10/22/11



Greetings!

Another packed Savant week saw the arrival of many more discs to review, some of them significant upgrade opportunities over older DVDs. The review lineup today has some prime sci-fi content, including Cosmic Journey, which completely floored me when I saw it on a big screen at the Cinematheque in 2006. Effects specialist and serious sci-fi researcher Robert Skotak helped engineer the traveling exhibition. The last I heard, he is still planning a book or a documentary on these Soviet space films, which I'd certainly love to see.

I don't think my review of Criterion's Island of Lost Souls will make it in time for Halloween (it will go up first at Turner Classic Movies) but I can't recommend it highly enough. As a UCLA student I got to see Paramount's glorious silver-screen nitrate studio print several times. Its hazy, gauzy surface was evidence of the Paramount 'house style' as established earlier by Joseph Von Sternberg. The Charles Laughton film makes H.G. Wells' controversial story more commercial, but also retains the full measure of the concept -- the godless manipulation of biology to create men from animals. The puritan, church-driven Production Code eliminated intelligent horror films from Hollywood mainly because it wouldn't tolerate their "dangerous" mix of sex and the supernatural, or sex and science.

As you can tell, I'd like to review Island right now ... I'll get today's posting out and get right to work. Thanks for reading! -- Glenn Erickson



October 17, 2011

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Complete Jean Vigo
Blu-ray

All together, and all restored: Jean Vigo's one feature, one short feature and two short subjects are assembled here in their full glory: À propos de Nice, Taris, Zéro de conduite and L'atalante. Like a fountain of cinematic creativity, Vigo is one amazing filmmaker: Zéro de conduite is the soul of anarchism and L'atalante a romantic poem on film. With an informed set of extras. In Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
10/18/11

A Better Life

Chris Weitz tells the moving story of a Los Angeles gardener whose entire life is threatened by an immigrant-on-immigrant crime simply. The tense, beievable tale tells the truth and keeps the politics out of the picture. With a stirring performance by Demián Bichir, this was a critics' favorite last Spring. From Summit Entertainment.
10/18/11

Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy
Blu-ray

All three impressive Jurassic Park pix are together in a beautifully mastered collection, a 3-ring dinosaur rally on John Hammond's Costa Rican research islands. Plenty of vintage extras and a new, long documentary tell the whole story of an effects film that changed the course of movie special effects. In Blu-ray from Universal.
10/18/11

and

Black Zoo

A bona fide Halloween hoot from Herman Cohen, the king of teenaged horror. This time it's hammy Michael Gough loosing his menagerie of unusually loyal and obedient big cats to tear up a succession of perceived enemies. Good goofy Guignol fun in a near-perfect color & Panavision Remastered Edition. From The Warner Archive Collection.
10/18/11






Greetings!


It's a busy week, as Savant is deep into an editing job by day and writing by night. It's strange, and lucky, how one activity doesn't sap the energy for the other -- I wrote DVD Savant like this all the time for almost seven years. Anyway, the extra adrenalin helps. I foresee no slowdown in reviews, assuming that nothing happens to take more of my time away. In addition to a new selection of Warner Archive Collection discs, the MGM Limited Edition Collection choices came in today: Top Banana, Valerie, The Music Lovers and The Quatermass Xperiment. Gerd Oswald's Valerie is the only one I haven't seen, so I hope it's good!


I'll be at the West Coast Premiere of Alpha Omega's restored 1922 silent Egyptian epic The Loves of Pharaoh at the Egyptian Theater Tuesday night (tonight) ... if you happen to be there and see me, please say hi!

Thanks for reading -- Glenn Erickson



October 14, 2011

Savant's new reviews today are:

Orpheus
Blu-ray

Jean Cocteau defines the Poet's relationship with Death in this amusing, mysterious and elegantly filmed transposition of Greek Myth, one of the greatest fantasies ever filmed. With Jean Marais, María Casarès and François Périer. From The Criterion Collection.
10/15/11



Two Tickets to Broadway

A lively Technicolor musical from RKO gives us entertaining personalities and funny comedy. Stars Tony Martin, Janet Leigh, Gloria DeHaven, Barbara Lawrence, Ann Miller and Eddie Bracken are in fine form. Technically and musically it's as sharp as a tack, with choreography by Busby Berkeley. A terrific Remastered Edition From The Warner Archive Collection.
10/15/11



Death Rides a Horse
&
It Can Be Done... Amigo

UK Correspondent Lee Broughton takes on two separate Spaghetti Western releases, including a notable actioner starring Lee Van Cleef and John Phillip Law. NTSC Region 0, from Wild East.
10/15/11



The Bad Seed
Blu-ray

Child star Patty McCormack is back, slaying foolish adults left and right while asking for baskets of kisses and hugs. The shocking stage adaptation of the 1950s is now a Camp hoot eclipsed only by Mommie Dearest. The extras include a commentary with actress McCormack and enterainer Charles Busch. From Warner Home Video.
10/15/11

and

The History of Mr. Polly

H.G. Wells lampoons his own social background in this comic tale of a draper's apprentice who just can't figure out what he wants in life. Pushed this way and that by relatives and society's demands, he determines to escape by killing himself. But even that doesn't work out as he expects. Great performances by John Mills, Betty Ann Davie, Megs Jenkins, Sally Ann Howes and Finlay Curie. From VCI.
10/15/11






Greetings!

I've been buried in new discs to review, including Blu-rays of the Jurassic Park Trilogy, Going Places, Robber, Harakiri, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 40th, City of Life and Death, Island of Lost Souls and Giorgio Moroder's version of Metropolis. I've also got some very attractive new Warner Archive Collection discs, including a couple of the Halloween-themed titles. Thanks for all the positive feed back on last week's Attack the Block review... a lot more readers are aware of the show than I thought.

And this just out -- in January, Criterion will be releasing its own Blu-ray double bill of the original 1954 Gojira with the re-cut 1956 American Godzilla. Why is this news to Godzilla fans? Well, we're hoping that the transfer will be the much improved latest restoration, which looks much better than any version shown before (I've seen a bit of a Japanese disc at Steve Ryfle's place). Sounds great!

My background in movie miniatures makes me marvel (mellifluously) at a link sent by Gary Teetzel, Ted Thornhill's illustrated article Honey, I Shrunk the Flughhafen. The site links to a very slick video of the miniature airport in operation, as well.

I saw The Ides of March a couple of nights ago, which should have been a great movie. None of the characters is particularly likeable, and the eventual story of the corruption of a 'good' political strategist isn't all that illuminating (several feelers in other directions get lopped off). The movie positions itself to say something about our political quagmire but opts for some observations about ruthlessness in careers. Some well-written small talk is interspersed with more obvious statements of how bad things are. I'd say it's for Ryan Gosling fans.

Alpha Omega's restored 1922 silent Egyptian epic The Loves of Pharaoh has a West-Coast Premiere at the Egyptian Theater (itself built in 1922) next Tuesday night, with a live orchestra conducted by Robert Israel. I'll be curious to see the big event. A promo teaser for Pharaoh can be seen on YouTube.

Thanks for reading! -- Glenn Erickson



October 10, 2011

Savant's new reviews today are:

Attack the Block
Blu-ray

Finally, a FUN sci-fi monster show that gives us a break from cookie cutter stupidity and / or social pretension. This obvious crowdpleaser wasn't given a big enough theatrical push. A gang of teens and pre-teen London punks battle for their lives against a horde of ferocious alien monsters. Besides some real excitement and scary thrills, the whole enterprise is funnier than Hell. Jodie Whittaker and Nick Frost get the billing attention but the big surprise is John Boyega, the spitting image of a 15 year-old Denzel Washington. Should've been the sensation of the Summer but it's still a major kick on home video. Highly recommended! In Blu-ray from Sony.
10/11/11

Beautiful Boy
Blu-ray

Maria Bello and Michael Sheen suffer through a parent's worst nightmare (which then becomes even more terrible...) and communicate well the psychological forces that drive them to despair, depression, alienation and rage. The film's focus on this intimate ordeal means that other story elements and obvious issues that nag the audience are not addressed, however. The carefully crafted film is excellent as far as it goes, but we're way ahead of it, and want more. In Blu-ray from Anchor Bay.
10/11/11

The Guns of Navarone
Blu-ray

The much awaited HD restoration of Columbia's big action spectacle of 1961 is quite impressive, even if not perfect. Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn's miraculously successful wartime mission silences them there big guns and saves the day for the Allies. With a rousing music score by Dimitri Tiomkin, now sounding all the better in 5.1 DTS Master Audio. Tons of extras. In Blu-ray from Sony / Columbia.
10/11/11

and

The Revolutionary

A very young Jon Voight plays a sort of "everyman" intellectual activist in an unspecified country who drifts from one revolutionary organization to another, until he's tapped to perform an act of armed resistance. An obscure but respectable tale of the radical's way, co-starring Seymour Cassel, Robert Duvall and Jennifer Salt. From The MGM Limited Edition Collection.
10/11/11





Greetings!


I'm, heh, heh, a little later than usual today. I too heard the news from The Digital Bits that Twilight Time will be releasing more Columbia Sony product on Blu-ray in 2012: Bell, Book and Candle, Pal Joey, Bite the Bullet, The Big Heat and, and Major Dundee. Yes, yes, that means you'll probably have to either read or avoid another thousand words about what for some strange reason is Savant's most personal favorite film. As well as put up with more images from time to time. Gee, I've written about Major Dundee so much already, this go-round I can just psychoanalyze my compulsion to watch it at least 3 times a year.


Two quickie links before I run to catch up on more reviews ... everything promised will be here sooner than later. Craig Reardon sent in a unique bicycling video that he has unofficially but accurately retitled "Anybody Get the Plate Number of that Truck ... ?"


Then, I actually found an interesting link all on my own (imagine that) while researching my favorite subject of arcane vintage science fiction movies. What I turned up was a Youtube encoding of the entire 1937 German short subject (30 minutes or so) entitled Weltraum-schiff 1 startet... (literally Spaceship 1 Launches...). It's pretty phenomenal from a special effects point of view, even though I had to guess at a lot of the German dialogue (no subs). The pictorial designs in George Pal's space movies really owe something to this one, as well as the enormous launching ramp used to launch the "Weltraum-schiff". If you get bored, jump to the beginning of part two and then part three, where all the impressive effects are. Of course, they don't show how a spaceship as big as a dirigible can possibly land...

Thanks for reading! -- Glenn Erickson



October 07, 2011

Savant's new reviews today are:

Stagecoach

One of the biggest "big mistake" remakes of all time, Gordon Douglas's colorful CinemaScope revisit of John Ford's 1939 classic showcases a mixed bag of star talent: Bing Crosby, Ann-Margret, Van Heflin, Michael Connors, Red Buttons, Keenan Wynn, Bob Cummings, Stephanie Powers, Alex Cord and Slim Pickens. It's all enlivened by beautiful Colorado scenery and a music score by Jerry Goldsmith. From Twilight Time.
10/08/11

The Purple Gang

Robert Blake is Honeyboy Willard, leader of a teenaged mob that runs wild in Prohibition-era Detroit. The 1959 retro-gangland mini-epic skips most of the period flavor in favor of a statement about juvenile deliquency. You have to hand it to these punks - their favored mode of execution is dropping snitches and enemies into Lake Michigan, chained to anchors or in a coffin filled with concrete. From The Warner Archive Collection.
10/08/11

Jackie Brown
Blu-ray

Quentin Tarantino's only "straight" crime thriller is a masterful adaptation of an Elmore Leonard tale, played by adults at an adult level. Terrific, murderous intrigues among a choice group of thieves and hangers-on. Starring Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton and Bridget Fonda, all of whom look better than ever. Not a movie to miss! From Miramax.
10/08/11

and

Dressed to Kill
Blu-ray

Brian De Palma plugs an art museum scene from one Hitchcock movie into the entire thematic - visual framework of another Hitchcock movie, adds a lot of voyeuristic sex and comes up with one of his biggest hits. Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson and Nancy Allen have a fine time with the twisted thriller format, in a very attractively filmed show. From MGM / Fox.
10/08/11




Greetings!

An interesting and potentially frustrating development ... reader Ted Haycraft informs me that some new DVDs and Blu-rays of anamorphic (2.35 and 2.40) movies are being cropped to 1.78 to better fit widescreen TVs. It sounds altogether too much like a repeat of frustrating practices back in the 1980s, when video companies seemed determined to do anything to avoid properly letterboxing movies. They show examples from DVD Beaver and mention the titles Thor, X-Men First Class, Pirates of the Caribbean and Green Lantern. Anybody else aware of this creeping menace? Any thoughts? I remember hearing complaints from UK readers several years ago that all their TV channels were showing 'scope movies cropped to 1.78. Apparently they eventually came to their senses over there. (Note: I've received an email from David Bunch saying that the Blu-rays of Thor, X-Men First Class and Pirates of the Caribbean are properly 2:35.)

This video sent by Craig Reardon may be old news (I never know) but it's quite intriguing ... a good way to herd cattle if you don't mind running them too much. The cows seem as curious and affable as puppy dogs! Is that why they call them doagies?

Finally, Kit McFarlane sent me this link to his Pop Matters article Jean-Teddy Filippe's 'Forbidden Files': Found Footage Lost (and Found Again), about a practioner in the "Blair Witch" subgenre of film styles (and other topics). It comes with several video examples. The 13 'forbidden files' mentioned in the article can be accessed here.

Oops, not quite finished ... the upcoming Twilight Time Blu-ray of Mysterious Island now has a cover design, illustrated above. Thanks for reading! -- Glenn Erickson



October 03, 2011

Savant's new reviews today are:

Ill Met by Moonlight

"The Archers" Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger voyage to the island of Crete to tell the true war espionage tale of a pair of adventurer-spies that dare to kidnap a German general from within his own command. Utterly realistic, funny and suspenseful, the show stars Dirk Bogarde, David Oxley, and Marius Goring, and features great music by Mikis Theodorakis. From Hen's Tooth Video.
10/04/11

Robocop 2
Blu-ray

Never rescued from its reputation as an underperforming loser, this first RoboCop sequel nevertheless stays true to the original's cynical, violent satire on corporate America's economic makeover of the country. Robo #1 battles the new model, a gigantic cyborg killing machine powered by the brain of a crazed drug czar. The movie is the last pre-CGI 'organic' stop-motion effects monster bonanza, with heroic work by Phil Tippett and Rob Bottin. If it had a heart, it might have clicked with the public. In Blu-ray from MGM / Fox.
10/04/11

Go West
&
Battling Butler

Blu-ray

Buster Keaton takes a step back from gigantic physical set-pieces and conceptual cinematic games to play a couple of endearing character comedy roles: a lonesome cowpoke who falls in love with a steer on its way to market, and a clueless scion of the rich who impersonates a heavyweight champ to win a lovely mountain girl. Keaton never disappoints in this pair of superior silent comedies. In Blu-ray from Kino International.
10/04/11

and

The Last House on the Left
Blu-ray

Wes Craven & Sean Cunningham were true horror visionaries back in 1972: they converted a porn film into a gut-wrenching, all-too-credible ordeal of torture and murder. The first and most notorious transgressive horror shocker is still a powerful display of sadism and despair. In Blu-ray from MGM / Fox.
10/04/11





Greetings!

What? Where's the respect for Hollywood history? Forget about bidding for the contents of John Wayne's wastebaskets... Not a single bidder has surfaced to compete for the actual original prop from the film Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. This means that you, dear reader, still have a chance to obtain this priceless curio for display on your dining room table, or perhaps to adorn the top of a pike in front of your house! And I'm sure you'll agree that the price is reasonable. Thanks to Gary Teetzel for the head's up on this one. Dry ice, perfume and flies not included.

Reviews coming soon at DVD Savant: DVD coverage on Stagecoach, The Purple Gang, Two Tickets to Broadway, The History of Mr. Polly, The Fuller Brush Girl, Story of a Love Affair, Snuff Box, The Revolutionary, A Better Life and Kosmitcheskiy Reys; Blu-ray review essays on Jackie Brown, Casanova 70, Boccaccio 70, The Complete Jean Vigo, Orpheus, Dressed to Kill, Le Cousins, The Phantom Carriage, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 40th, The Bad Seed, and The Guns of Navarone. May your discs never rot, go in Peace.

Finally, a press release from the disc company Severin tells us that they're prepping a Blu-ray of one of Savant's all-time favorites, Zulu Dawn. That's great news for epic fans and a release I'll certainly be looking for. We're also keeping an eye out for Severin's Horror Express Blu-ray, due on November 29.

Thanks for reading! -- Glenn Erickson


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

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