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September 27, 2013

Savant's new reviews today are:

3 Films By
Roberto Rossellini
starring Ingrid Bergman

Blu-ray

Italian Roberto Rossellini used his collaboration with Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman to make three marvelous films about what this disc set's program notes call "rational humanism." Bergman plays three very different women, to express Rossellini's philosophical ideas and issues from their own unusual situation. The film masterpieces Stromboli, Europe '51 and Journey to Italy are finally viewable unmolested by censors and 'improvers' of every stripe. Criterion's battery of extras is phenomenal -- the disc fills in the blanks in a big piece of film history. A four-disc set in Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/28/13

Angel and the Badman
Blu-ray

John Wayne's first film as producer is a charmer, a gentle pacifist western in which a budding outlaw (da Duke) is steered back to the side of good by an angelic, incredibly seductive Quaker pioneer girl (lovely Gail Russell, with those to-die-for eyes). Harry Carey and Bruce Cabot are on hand; the copy on view from the Republic Library is nearly flawless. Sick of lousy Public Domain releases? This looks great. In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
9/28/13


House of Wax
3D + Blu-ray

Warners is going to make a lot of 3D enthusiasts happy with this snappy restoration of the first and most popular 3D attraction from the year 1953. Vincent Price flexes his horror talent for the first time in the tale of the wax museum owner who compensates for his burned hands by putting real corpses on exhibit. With new extras -- a handsome long docu -- and an SD encoding of the original, phenomenal Lionel Atwill / Fay Wray Mystery of the Wax Museum. In 3D + Blu-ray from Warner Home Video.
9/28/13

and

Alamo Bay

Frenchman Louis Malle nails an All-American mix of economic frustration and racial bigotry with this saga about a small Texas fishing port that declares war on the immigrant Vietnamese that are providing unwanted competition. Amy Madigan and Ed Harris are lovers on opposite sides of the dispute, while Ho Nguyen portrays a new arrival eager to make good in the Land of Opportunity. It's a superior comment on a familiar state of affairs: wherever blue collar workers feel the pinch, radical opportunists step in. The Klan's new tactics have been learned, a spokesman says, from Martin Luther King. With Ry Cooder's Isolated Score Track. From Twilight Time.
9/28/13





Hello! A number of interesting items to report today.


Dick Dinman's latest radio shows center on Marilyn Monroe, actor Don Murray and the film Bus Stop. In three separate parts, interviewee Murray discusses filming with Monroe and working with Paddy Chayefsky, Fred Zinnemann, Henry Hathaway, Michael Anderson, James Cagney, Dennis Hopper, Alan Ladd, Otto Preminger; the film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and The Peace Corps. The shows: Part 1, Part 2. Part 3.


One of the few times Savant has critically trounced a Blu-ray was an earlier edition of Max Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels that offered a wretched non-restored image and had the further temerity to crop the film to fit a widescreen TV. A couple of years ago I reviewed a disc from a little company called Thunderbean called Stop Motion Marvels! Reader Eric Wilson has tipped me that Thunderbean's Steve Stanchfield is now remastering a new Blu-ray of Gulliver's Travels from what is described as a much better print and is making many digital fixes. Impressive frame grabs from the work in progress are viewable on the IAD Forum and at Amazon's pre-order listing. Steve says he's aiming to make the disc available in November. I hope the final product looks as good as those frame grabs ... !


I received a couple of dissenting notes on my comment about John Carpenter's music for Halloween. Gary Teetzel has forwarded a link to a terrific BBC radio show about Louis & Bebe Barron's Electronic Tonalities for Forbidden Planet, an electronic 'score' that I would call real innovative film music art. Interestingly, Bebe claims that they didn't do more Hollywood feature work because it wasn't appreciated -- MGM boss Dore Schary classified their work as non-Guild "non-music", after which the closed Hollywood shop made sure that they were no longer employable.


Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



September 23, 2013

Savant's new reviews today are:

God's Little Acre
Blu-ray

What in the plu-perfect hell kept the Production Code from stopping this film cold, is still a mystery. It's sultry sex in the sweaty South courtesy of Erskine Caldwell's 'hot' novel, director Anthony Mann and an eye-opening cast: Robert Ryan, Aldo Ray, Tina Louise (her debut), Fay Spain, Buddy Hackett, Jack Lord, Vic Morrow and Michael Landon. Ty Ty Walden digs up his homestead looking for gold, angry Will Thompson vows to personally open the closed textile mill and practically everybody lusts after the inescapably sexy Griselda. Things get a little excessive in the hick dialogue department ("Well dog my cats!") but the story stays on a serious footing, even when a naked Fay Spain talks a nervous Buddy Hackett into pumping some water for her bath - in the outdoor water trough. Dog my cats! In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
9/24/13

The Fugitive

Graham Greene wrote a controversial novel about a tragically flawed Mexican Priest searching for Faith, during a brief bit of revolutionary history when the Church was outlawed and priests were being executed. John Ford casts Henry Fonda as the soulful sufferer but whitewashes his character beyond recognition; cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa then soaks the entire film in ceaseless stylized Christian imagery. The picture still has power, but audiences may be confused. With Dolores del Rio, Pedro Almendáriz, Ward Bond and J. Carrol Naish as a transparent Judas figure. From The Warner Archive Collection.
9/24/13

and

John Carpenter's
Halloween
35th Anniversary Edition

Blu-ray

This umpteenth video iteration of John Carpenter's breakthrough horror hit may be the one that finally gets the film's look right -- Dean Cundey supervised the transfer. Carpenter's careful suspense games still work, and Jamie Lee Curtis still charms as the babysitter stuck on guard duty when you-know-who comes back to town. With a new Carpenter-Curtis commentary and a new featurette following Curtis as she attends a fan convention. In Blu-ray from Starz / Anchor Bay.
9/24/13




Hello!

A couple of sci-fi items tonight. The first is a positive note courtesy of Gary Teetzel. Savant is a rabid fan and promoter of the 1963 Czech space exploration movie Ikarie XB-1, which was chopped up and released here by A.I.P. under the equally poetic title Voyage to the End of the Universe. A UK outfit called Second Run DVD just issued a Region 2 PAL disc of the show, which follows up on the Czech disc I reviewed back in 2006. From the descriptions I have read, the transfer might be the same, with some additional digital clean-up. Some of the extras sound identical. Anyway, I wanted to let folks frustrated know about the availability of the movie, even if it's a UK disc. Can a Region 1 release be far away? Maybe Criterion would be interested in the most cerebral, humanist-oriented space picture yet made? It tops Star Trek for heart and seemingly inspired some aspects of 2001.

The other bit of news is from helpful reader Ben Gart, who took a chance on ordering an Italian DVD (PAL again, of course) of the hotly desired Sci-Fi sort-of classic The Day of the Triffids. It's available from a company called Passworld under the title Il giorno dei Trifidi. I've been receiving a fairly constant flow of email inquiries asking about the prospect of a disc release of the restored-to-film Triffids that I've reported on from time to time at Savant. I have to say it's been a year since I've heard from the owner and presently don't know the status. Ben Gart reports that despite misleading info at Amazon (which has subsequently been fixed) the Italo Trifidi is nothing more than a digitally pumped flat-letterboxed encoding that looks suspiciously like the inferior Cheesy Flicks release from a number of years ago. The upshot is, there's still no release of the restored version. The one from Italy is a no-go.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



September 21, 2013

Savant's new reviews today are:

Lost & Found American Treasures
from the New Zealand Film Archive

Found, refurbished and reformatted from prints found in Kiwi archives, this collection of rare silents contains some real discoveries. Mabel Normand's earliest-directed film yet found is a Keystone comedy short subject; Alfred Hitchcock wrote, art directed edited and assistant directed a 1924 feature film, and an entire 1927 John Ford light comedy has been resurrected from the "lost" lists, a story of a boarding house for actors called Upstream. All nicely annotated, with fascinating program notes. From The National Film Preservation Foundation.
9/21/13

The Frozen Dead

Twisted Nazi medico Dana Andrews has thousands of frozen German soldiers to revive, but he's having trouble bringing their brains back to tip top condition. With a pair of Nazi ideologues breathing down his neck, he decides that there's only one way to solve his problem -- cut off the head of his daughter's best friend, keep it alive on a metal plate, and start conducting more brain experiments. This bizarro exercise in dubious taste was released by Warner Bros. in America in B&W, showing how much faith they had in it; its reputation has never waned. More high art from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/21/13

and

Iron Man 3
Blu-ray

The most consistently entertaining (even I like it) of the new comic book franchises hits a bull's eye with this third adventure of the vain, cocksure and utterly charming Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr. brings unbreakable star quality and the knack of making throwaway dialogue sound inspired. Fun action, interesting characters and a touch more humanity than we expected from the Stark character, and 2013's biggest picture is a winner. A 3D disc is available, but I've been given a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy to review, from Marvel / Disney.
9/21/13






Hello!

No stack of links this weekend -- have just received Criterion's three-title Rossellini-Bergman Blu-ray set and am devouring the ample extras. So far it's really good. The three features Stromboli, Europa '51 and Journey to Italy are presented in versions I've not seen before.

I'm also anxiously waiting a new batch of Olive Films, as I can't wait to see an uncut, Regalscope copy of Hubert Cornfield's noir caper flick Plunder Road. And although I'm not eager to see September slip away too quickly, October will bring all the promised Halloween-related releases. I hope to review every one of them.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



September 17, 2013

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Fly
(1958)

Blu-ray

The sci-fi classic '50s original, newly restored on film and encoded in HD. Andre Delambre invents a matter transmitter, which proceeds to re-invent him via an instantaneous, horrible transformation. Vincent Price lends a touch of class to a tale that's both a housewife's nightmare and a surreal trip into bizarre concepts: "Once it was human, even as you or I". With Patricia Owens, David Hedison and Herbert Marshall. In Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Studio Classics.
9/17/13


Frankenstein and the
Monster from Hell

For his last film Terence Fisher directs Peter Cushing in his final outing as the Baron Doctor, who is once again playing mix 'n' match with body parts in a hidden locale. And what better place to hide such nefarious doings as an insane Asylum? Lots of privacy and plenty of victims donors to choose from. Cushing is excellent as ever, sided by Shane Briant, Madeline Smith and David Prowse; plenty of mad surgery to keep the gorehounds occupied. A Hammer-in-sunset almost-classic, from The Warner Archive Collection / Paramount.
9/17/13

and

From Here to Eternity
Blu-ray

Fred Zinnemann's all-star film version of Jim Jones' saga of the peacetime Jock Strap Army still holds up as a solid adaptation. The cast is sensational: Montgomery Clift, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and Ernest Borgnine. Savant looks at the film's resonance in the context of military families that lived through the era, and to some extent were formed by it. With a number of extras, including an entertaining new enhanced trivia track. In Blu-ray from Sony Home Video.
9/17/13




Hello!

After a brief break it became warm again here in Los Angeles, and now a bit foggy and damp in the mornings. It's been a nice week overall. Thanks to the 3D Festival I was able to make contact with some formerly web-only friends, as well as reconnect with several nice folk that I haven't seen much since the late 1970s -- all of them have had distinguished careers post- Close Encounters. Even better, a very deserving close friend is back in town on a permanent basis, after being hired by a major studio. Otherwise life is enjoying fellow writers as they promote themselves on Facebook, and other good folk sending photos back from their lavish European vacations.

Am finishing up a Twilight Time review of a really great disc, and trying to convey the special qualities of the American Treasures from the New Zealand Film Archive disc (at left). We're looking forward to special items from Olive Films, Criterion (which has just announced Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion for December), Shout! Factory, Milestone, Kino Lorber and more Twilight Time.

Take care out there -- it's a dangerous country. --- best, Glenn Erickson



September 14, 2013

Savant's new reviews today are:

Where Are Your Children?

It's 1944. While the parents work in the war factories, America's youth runs wild drinking liquor, stealing cars, committing brutal crimes and ... jitterbugging. Jackie Cooper is the true blue Navy recruit and cute Gale Storm is the girl being pressured by the cops: "Everything's closing in on me!" This Monogram concoction has music, good acting and plenty of sassy non-PC content -- like a delinquent hellion she-cat starting a rumble in juvie detention. Great stuff! From The Warner Archive Collection.
9/14/13

Penny Serenade
Blu-ray

George Stevens' bittersweet story of newlyweds weathering difficult times to establish a family strikes a note of sincerity, thanks to terrific performances from Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. Stevens' highlights include a Japanese earthquake, an impressive non-comic performance by Grant, and a delightful one-take give-the-baby-a-bath scene. Once seen only in dreary Public Domain copies, now looking great in Blu-ray from Olive Films.
9/14/13

and

The High Bright Sun

Cyprus, 1964 -- American Susan Strasberg is suspected of complicity with the occupying English by her own relatives, and marked for death by lawyer-terrorist George Chakiris. She isn't telling British Major Dirk Bogarde anything, but it doesn't matter when she's set up for murder. What does one do when one's extended family are desperate revolutionaries? Beautiful location shooting and good acting keep this one interesting. Actor Denholm Elliott (looking younger than we're used to seeing) plays an alcoholic intelligence agent, who keeps showing up to save the day. From VCI.
9/14/13




Hello!

It's radio week again at Savant, as Dick Dinman has three new interview shows up and ready to be heard. The first two concern one of his favorite pictures, Shane, which Savant reviewed a few weeks back. Both Part One and Part Two see Dick talking to George Stevens Jr., who discusses his father's enormous production and the star personalities involved in great detail.

The third Dinman show is an interview with Nick Redman of the Blu-ray label Twilight Time. The company is expanding into new licensing territory -- with MGM product on the way -- and maintaining its collector's limited edition short run policy. Hey, I'm a big fan of Twilight Time even after what happened to Major Dundee. The company has found its niche in the iffy disc market, and it's good to see them pursuing a quality product when some other companies are going cheap. Redman's voice is familiar from numerous audio commentaries; we'll be hearing him again (with TT's accomplished scribe Julie Kirgo) on a commentary for the upcoming Drums Along the Mohawk.

Gary Teetzel actually found a Star Trek item that I thought amusing: The Traveling Star Trek Transporter Promo Stunt. A clever idea!

FInally, for all you lovers of things daring and subversive, I'm curious to find out if a certain new "fight the power & throw down the gauntlet" stolen-visuals feature is an opportunistic hit & run job, or something genuinely inspired. Ever since early Mad Magazines joked about "Dalt Wizzy's" benign takeover of American entertainment, I've been a curious observer of the many marvels as well as some of the sinister implications of the giant Disney organization's influence (see later parts of this old Savant review). I'm so attuned to certain images being untouchable, that the poster with the bloody Mickey mitt makes me feel uneasy, as if a holy symbol were under attack. Here's a trailer, finally, for Escape from Tomorrow. It may not be the perfect co-feature for Disney's new Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson history-lite movie about the making of Mary Poppins.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



September 09, 2013

Savant's new reviews today are:

Two Men in Manhattan
Blu-ray

Jean-Pierre Melville's personal ode to film noir, New York and the French Resistance concerns an engagingly odd nighttime quest through the seamier side of NYC circa 1958. Docu exteriors and studio interiors are highlights, as is the jazz score and the interaction of a reporter and a tabloid photographer as they seek a missing French delegate to the United Nations. With Pierre Grasset, director Melville and a score of beautiful women; it's a tale of professional ethics. In Blu-ray from The Cohen Film Collection.
9/10/13

The Great Santini

A superb performance from Robert Duvall spearheads this dead-on accurate look at the military mindset at its least attractive. A Marine Corp pilot tries to run his family like a fighting unit, wreaking havoc with his wife (Blythe Danner), his oldest son (Michael O'Keefe) and his daughter (Lisa Jane Persky). This is the one where Duvall bounces the basketball off his son's head: "You gonna cry, crybaby?" From The Warner Archive Collection.
9/10/13

and

Me and My Gal

What a treat! Raoul Walsh has a blast directing smiling Spencer Tracy and game gal Joan Bennett in a funny, charming tale of life among the cops crooks, workers and drunks on the docks. Detective Tracy 'romances' his girl Joan some of the best PreCode dialogue heard so far, along with arcane vocabulary like "beezok". Joan chews gum, rolls her eyes and strikes a match on her backside. Great comedy plus some clever crime thriller tricks. AND, a very good restored transfer from the 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives.
9/07/13




Hello!

Well, I did make it to Saturday's 3D screening of The Maze with Savant collaborator and good friend Gary Teetzel, and had a fine time. The experience got off to a good start when I went to the proper booth to pick up the tickets set aside for me -- the cashier in charge at first gave me a series pass, good for every screening for the whole week. I returned it like a good Scout. How come things like that never happened when I was a starving student? Hollywood's a great place for 'movie vacations', what with Cinecon and TCMfest.

The Maze was doubly interesting. Director William Cameron Menzies is of course a brilliant production designer, so I wanted to see how he would handle the 3D issues. As I suppose a more Menzies-focused observer might have guessed, the 3D is used architecturally. The film has mostly simple, modest sets, so doorways, arches and staircases are set off against foreground objects and people. The depth effect is mostly understated, so as to pop out at us the one or two times that Menzies decides to use it. I felt very little eyestrain -- so many of these pictures are eager to throw depth dioramas at us -- and was able to follow the story without distraction. The film's mystery aspects are fine. The story works, but is a hoot anyway. Strange doings occur in a Scots castle, yet the show is really about BAD houseguests. After being told that her engagement is off and to stay away from her ex-boyfriend's castle, the leading lady invites herself and an escort anyway. She tells a lie to extend her stay. Without first telling her host, she then invites four more people. They show up expecting to be provided food, drink and lodging. This must have been the kind of situation that inspired the building of torture dungeons.

Executive producer Walter Mirisch spoke after the show. He'd just hired Richard Carlson to star in the war movie Flat Top, which I recently reviewed. Veronica Hurst carries most of the movie, and Mirisch was right in saying that her career didn't take off -- she looks familiar but none of her credits rings a bell. Also on hand are Katherine Emery, Hillary Brooke and Michael Pate. The reveal of the mystery man in the film's final scenes was quite a shock -- the first sight of him looked like a genuine living, oversized animal.

The only downside to the screening was an unwanted sound effect. The "thing" in the tower room seemed to make these noises, which sounded like a quietly whimpering dog. It was a very strange effect, and really creepy. Then I heard the sound effect again but in a staircase scene, where it didn't seem to fit. I was a little embarrassed to be told after the show that somebody had brought a dog to the screening. It was up in the Egyptian Theater balcony with us, and it wasn't a service dog. I now will have a false memory of The Maze with a weird, unplanned sound effect.

Mr. Mirisch had some interesting things to say about the film's 3D process. He wasn't expecting to be able to use the format because the leading companies renting the equipment charged a lot of money and also demanded a piece of the film's profits. As The Maze was to be an Allied Artists / Monogram picture, that wasn't feasible. Then an ambitious cameraman assured Mirisch that for a price he could put together a perfectly good 35mm 3D rig, on his own. Mirisch was pleased when the system worked just fine, making The Maze yet another of the producer's upscale successes.

I ran into several interesting people at the screening. One is a friend from college days who's the son of a famous producer. I haven't seen him in several years, even though I send him links when I review one of his father's pictures. Another is a talented animator-director I was fortunate to meet on a long-term job back in the late 1970s. A true 3D fanatic, this fellow shows up to all of these festivals, to further his goal of seeing every 3D film ever made. I also got to talk with Bob Furmanek and Jack Theakston, who were serving as festival consultants. Both are incredibly well-informed on film matters technical and historical, notably the history of 3D and film formats; I think twice about asking them questions as they're likely to send me a full evidence file to back up their information. I've been corresponding with Bob for at least eight years and finally got to shake his hand in person.

Anyway, the festival was a great opportunity to get out of the house and back with living people at a real screening. It's too bad that 11am feels too early in the day to gobble up a bag of popcorn. Now to sell that full expo pass to the highest bidder see if I can come back next week for Bob Furmanek's newly-refurbished Dragonfly Squadron. It was finished in 3D when new, but never exhibited that way. Bob has personally revived and made screening-ready a great many 3D features.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



September 06, 2013

Savant's new reviews today are:

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
Blu-ray

James Cagney's final bad-guy gangster epic sees him at his most ruthless and rotten. Ralph Cotter murders people right and left, gleefully blackmails detectives into giving him carte blanche to rob what he will, and callously uses both a loyal girl friend (Barbara Payton) and a flighty heiress (Helena Carter). The accomplice and enemy list includes Luther Adler, Ward Bond, Barton MacLane and Steve Brodie; directed by Gordon Douglas for Cagney's own production company. In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
9/07/13

Going Hollywood

Bing Crosby croons while star-struck French teacher Marion Davies pursues him all the way to Tinseltown. Director Raoul Walsh gets harmonious performances from Stuart Erwin, Fifi D'Orsay, Ned Sparks and Patsy Kelly. Some memorable songs, a good joke or two and a couple of energetic musical numbers. "Out where they say / Let us be gay / I'm goin' Hollywood!". Yep, they just don't write lyrics like that any more. From The Warner Archive Collection.
9/07/13


The Atomic City
Blu-ray

Olive releases this atom age suspense tale in HD! Nuclear scientist Gene Barry's son is kidnapped, and the ransom demanded is the full file on America's secret bomb program. FBI agents turn California and New Mexico upside down to track down the commies responsible -- saving the son takes second priority. An excellent thriller, with Lee Aaker as the tough little kidnapee and a young Nancy Gates. In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
9/07/13

and

NCIS: The Tenth Season

That bunch from the Navy Yard are back for number ten, as the most popular network show on TV. The six-disc set carries all 24 episodes plus extras. It's an eventful season, from mopping up after a terror bomb to the cliffhanger with Gibbs seemingly dishing out a little terror of his own. With Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray, Cote de Pablo, David McCallum, Pauley Perrette, Brian Dietzen & Rocky Carroll. From CBS/Paramount.
9/07/13




Hello! Well, I am heading off to the Egyptian Saturday morning to see one 3D show, William Cameron Menzies' 1953 The Maze. It's the one with Richard Carlson investigating a mysterious relative, a Scottish Laird with evolution issues. Will be very curious to see how the master designer Menzies handles the 3D -- his Invaders From Mars always gave the impression of 3D, even though it's flat. Will also try to bring back a photo or two.

Otherwise am just reacting to a couple of great video experiences. Cohen's Blu-ray of the Jean-Pierre Melville Two Men in Manhattan is an impressive time capsule of New York in 1958. Several passes through Times Square show six or seven well-known movies playing first-run. The show itself is a weird Franco-American hybrid, with interiors filmed back on sets in Paris. The acting by the French leads (one of them the director himself) is fine, and Melville almost gets it right, but the English language sections still feel a bit false.


The other show came as a pleasant surprise from the 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives, which has been making a botch of pictures from the 1950s by selling pan-scan copies of 'scope films, etc. Their new disc of 1932's Me and My Gal is a delightful comedy by Raoul Walsh with Spencer Tracy and a marvelously spirited Joan Bennett -- and the restored transfer is excellent. The racy dialogue and salty characters down on the docks are pretty marvelous. It's obvious that Fox is sitting on a treasure trove of relatively unseen PreCode gems.


I may report back on The Maze before the weekend is over, otherwise see you on Tuesday!

Thanks for reading, Glenn Erickson



September 02, 2013

Savant's new reviews today are:

Violeta Went to Heaven
(Violeta se fue a los cielos)

This accomplished & moving musical biography from Chile's Andrés Wood doesn't sugarcoat the facts around the inspiring, contentious creator of the modern Chilean folk song. Actress Francisca Gavilán is remarkable as Violeta Parra, providing her own voice for the stirring musical segments. Beginning in poverty, Parra becomes an activist artist, performing the world over. She even gets her art exhibited in the Louvre, but happiness eludes her in her personal life. Very well made, this sounds great in stereo and has English subtitles for all the song lyrics. From Kino Lorber.
9/03/13

Bullfighter and the Lady
Blu-ray

Budd Boetticher is famous for his westerns, but his first love shows through in what is the best American movie about bullfighting. Robert Stack plays an adventurous New Yorker who talks top matador Gilbert Roland into teaching him how to perform in the arena. Joy Page and Katy Jurado shine as Stack's lover and Roland's faithful wife. In addition to its insider's view of an insulated sport, the film reflects a respectful attitude toward Mexican traditions and customs, some of which have surely faded by now. It's one of the most original "unknown" pictures of the 1950s. In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
9/03/13

and

Flat Top
Blu-ray

Navy flight commander Sterling Hayden puts Richard Carlson's carrier-based aviators through the wringer in the campaign to retake the Philippines. The film's commercial draw is its half an hour of prime combat footage, beautifully edited. Film fanatics will want to see this disc to judge its accurate transfer of the odd Cinecolor two-color process. The art direction and some creative timing decisions make it all work, even if the Red-Blue Cinecolor system has no true Greens or Yellows. With William Schallert, John Bromfield and William Phipps; produced by Walter Mirisch In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
9/03/13




Hello!

... as I was saying, a nice Labor Day weekend it was, although here I am working on Labor Day. There are no days off at the beehive known as DVD Savant.

It's always fun when Joe Dante comments on the trailers over at Trailers from Hell. This week he has a trio of coming attractions dubbed "Brains on Ice:" Captive Wild Woman, Donovan's Brain and the unusual Black Friday. When he made his first feature, Dante actually studied Captive Wild Woman for editing tips ... find out why.

The screening calendar is online for the World 3D Expo to be held at the Egyptian theater from September 6-15. It looks very well organized this time, if a little pricey. I'm hoping to see consultants Bob Furmanek and Jack Theakston, should I catch one of them between shows. My suggestion to the festival people is to engage Theakston for one of his illustrated lectures. I attended one on film preservation a couple of years ago that was better than anything I've seen in Hollywood, and I'm sure Jack is just as prepared to do one on 3D.

Finally, for all the Hammer fans frustrated by the English Region B Blu-rays ... Mirek Lipinski finally puts the record straight. This one's for Gary, Wayne and Darren! : Hitler Reacts to the new Blu-Ray of The Brides of Dracula.

Good reviews today, and more coming shortly -- Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson


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

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