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March 31, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Riot in Cell Block 11
Blu-ray + DVD

Don Siegel made his name as a maker of hard hitting genre thrillers in this prison riot/exposé of prison conditions. Producer Walter Wanger assembles a terrific cast of character actors given (for once) meaty leading roles: Neville Brand, Emile Meyer, Frank Faylen, Leo Gordon, Robert Osterloh, Paul Frees, Alvy Moore, Dabbs Greer. The extras tell the whole story of the making of the movie, which is almost as entertaining as the movie itself. This one's been long neglected. A Dual-Format edition in Blu-ray and DVD from The Criterion Collection.
4/1/14

The Bamboo Saucer
Blu-ray

This 1968 picture came out after 2001: A Space Odyssey and simply couldn't compete -- it's a low budget throwback to the Cold War 1950s, with the only updated idea being that America and Russia ought to join forces against the real enemy, Chairman Mao. The awkward story is half "lost patrol" movie and the rest half-baked Sci-Fi: American and Russian spy teams find a functioning flying saucer in Red China, and must learn to fly it before the Chinese Army closes in. But good playing from Dan Duryea, John Ericson and Lois Nettleton is scuttled by some of the worst special effects in Sci-fi film history. Beautifully transferred in Blu-ray from Olive Films.
4/1/14

and

Hatari!
Blu-ray

Howard Hawks' big hit for 1962 is a relaxing African vacation with John Wayne's international crew of wild animal catchers. A casual atmosphere and typical Hawks social camaraderie are the norm, in between exciting rhino and giraffe pursuits, comedy sequences like the Baby Elephant Walk and bits of romantic horseplay. With Hardy Kruger, Elsa Martinelli and Red Buttons. With a music score by Henry Mancini, that some feel outlasted the film in popularity. In Blu-ray from Paramount / Warner Home Video.
4/1/14






Hello!

A quick column today, as we're running around preparing for the tax man -- ugh. But I would like to tell Savant readers attending the last week of the 16th Noir City film series, that I'm planning to attend on Thursday to see the "Argentinian noirs" and perhaps a few days later to finally catch up with Joseph Losey's "M". The rest of the Noir City schedule is still up at this page.

And the same goes for the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival (April 10-13), where you may see me hunkered down in a corner pecking keys on an old iPad ....

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



March 28, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Killers
Region B Blu-ray

Don Siegel's tough minded, influential remake of Ernest Hemingway's crime story gets a new lease on life in this impressive HD release from England. Hit men Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager track down mobster Ronald Reagan and his frail Angie Dickinson to find out why their last victim John Cassavetes didn't put up a fight or run away. This rude & violent picture was made for TV, but booted upstairs to the big screen after it was deemed too violent for the tube. With some great extras. A Region B Blu-ray from Arrow Academy (UK).
3/29/14

The Eddy Duchin Story
Blu-ray

Elegance and class drips from this dramatic musical biography of the New York pianist, an adaptation that doesn't smooth over the rough parts of his story. Tyrone Power is the optimistic star made bitter by tragedy and Kim Novak his beautiful uptown bride. Director George Sidney gives the picture a handsome look, with glossy romantic scenes filmed on overcast and inclement days in New York's Central Park. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
3/29/14

and

The Last Days of
Sodom and Gomorrah

DVD-R

Robert Aldrich finally gets to exercise his apocalyptic muscles in a Biblical spectacle with big stars (Stewart Granger, Pier Angeli, Stanley Baker, Anouk Aimée) and a huge production filmed in Morocco. The heroic Lot wins a major battle and is invited to move his Hebrews into the Sin Cities of the land of Canaan. It's pretty rough stuff, including murder, treachery, torture, orgies, wild dances, heavy petting and dogs 'n' cats living together. Not to mention sets by Ken Adam and music by Miklos Rosza. But there's bad news too. In DVD-R from The 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives.
3/29/14




Hello!

Some great stuff came in the door in a big hurry last week. I've already reviewed The Fox Cinema Archives' Sodom and Gomorrah and am prepping a nice transfer of their 1935 Dante's Inferno. After working on DVD extras for William Friedkin movies over the years, I'll finally be able to see Friedkin's The People vs. Paul Crump, a new disc from Facets Multi-Media. Criterion has forwarded new discs of The Freshman, Persona and The Great Beauty. And Olive Films is back in action again with Men in War, The Pawnbroker, Sleep My Love, Young at Heart, The Bamboo Saucer and the rare Joseph Losey movie Stranger on the Prowl (Italian poster, left). I don't know anybody who's seen that one. Finally, Twilight Time has glorious BDs out of Equus, Conrack, All The King's Men and everyone's favorite family film Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

Thanks to the enthusiastic response I hasten to add some more Inside Jeff Overturf's Head Wallace Wood Comic Strip links, courtesy of Edward Sullivan -- I'll stop soon, honest: Stalag 18 and Under the Waterfront, Julius Caesar!, Wild One-Half, and Movie Ads! So there.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



March 25, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Cry Danger
Blu-ray

Dick Powell is in top form as a tough-guy hero fresh from prison and bent on finding out who framed him for robbery and murder. Great hardboiled dialogue and terrific Bunker Hill locations circa 1950 place this a list-topper of films noir deserving of greater fame. With Rhonda Fleming, Richard Erdman and William Conrad as (what else?) a conniving rat. The movie is also the distinguished directing debut of Robert Parrish. In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
3/25/14

and

The Front
Blu-ray

Woody Allen thought so much of this project that he broke his personal policy to act in a movie made by others. Martin Ritt and Walter Bernstein dramatize the effects of the blacklist on New York TV writers and entertainers by weaving true events into their screenplay about lowly Howard Prince, a cashier who agrees to serve as the 'front man' for blacklisted writers. Features fine performances by Michael Murphy, Andrea Marcovicci and Herschel Bernardi, and a classic perf from Zero Mostel, whose character "Hecky Brown" combines his own experiences with that of another TV star destroyed by the pitiless witch hunts. With TT's customary Isolated Score Track and a commentary featuring actress Marcovicci. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
3/25/14




Hello!

A couple of interesting links today, provided by generous Savant correspondents:

Jon Paul Henry steers us toward a 2013 Sight and Sound video essay titled What is Neorealism? It actually points up exactly how David O. Selznick took Vittorio De Sica's expressive, humanistic romance Terminal Station and hammered it into the appallingly obvious Indiscretion of an American Wife. Essayist "Kogonada" makes some great points, and the essay's visual style works pretty well too.

Edward Sullivan sent me to a site called The Belated Nerd, where I gravitated toward a page with two (count 'em, 2) parodies of old Li'l Abner comic strips, by Will Elder and Wallace Wood. The link has nothing whatsoever to do with video discs, but I love this stuff...

I nominate Joe Dante's Trailers from Hell presentation of the coming attraction reel for Albert Zugsmith's Sex Kittens Go to College as essential viewing. Why? The commentary matches my own opinion, of course.

And finally, it's confirmed that I'll be blogging from the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival here in Hollywood, April 10-13. The schedule is just out and they have me pretty busy on Friday and Saturday, from 9am to midnight! The celebrities presenting the pictures are almost as important as the pictures themselves: Johnny Guitar (intro by Michael Schlesinger); A Matter of Life and Death (discussion: Thelma Schoonmaker); Paper Moon (intro: Ryan O'Neal); The Italian Job (discussion: Quincy Jones); I Never Sang for My Father (disc: Illeana Douglas); The Great Gatsby (1949, disc.: David Ladd); and A Hard Day's Night (disc: Alec Baldwin, Don Was).

Especially interesting will be The World of Henry Orient, as it will be introduced by (swoon) Paula Prentiss, with a rare appearance by Merrie Spaeth, the film's teenage star. And the show I'm most curious about is a bona fide rarity, Edgar G. Ulmer's Her Sister's Secret, presented by Arianne Ulmer Cipes and Jan-Christopher Horak. I, uh, can't say I know a thing about this particular Ulmer, so it's off to the library to do some research!

Thanks for reading -- ! Glenn Erickson



March 21, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Swimmer
Blu-ray + DVD

Eleanor and Frank Perry's glossy 1968 picture is a weird descent into upscale Connecticut surrealism. Burt Lancaster plays a middle-aged (but incredibly fit-looking) businessman who determines to swim his way home by stopping off at the swimming pools of his friends and neighbors. But his Sunday afternoon Odyssey becomes a highly disturbing experience. With a great supporting cast headed by Janet Rule. The extras are phenomenal -- a 2.5 hour making-of documentary with choice input from many of the surviving cast members. In Blu-ray and DVD from Grindhouse Releasing / Sony.
4/22/14

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Blu-ray

John Sturges' 1957 super-western still swings a big gun, thanks to a stunning HD transfer that brings out all the film's VistaVision power. Burt Lancaster (what, again?) and Kirk Douglas lead a cast of pros -- Jo Van Fleet, Martin Milner, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam, Lyle Bettger, John Ireland and punk Dennis Hopper. And the beefy audio track allows Dimitri Tiomkin's brassy music score to dominate the screen, along with Frankie Laine's folksy title tune about them there "killers who died" up on Boot Hill. In Blu-ray from Paramount / Warner Home Video.
4/22/14

and

Free and Easy
+ Estrellados

DVD-R

Buster Keaton's talkie shows the great silent comedian figuratively run over by a steam roller called the MGM factory system. He plays a buffoon who can't even hold the center of his own starring vehicle, opposite Anita Page and Robert Montgomery. No stunt set pieces, just some good clowning is all Buster is allowed between flat musical numbers. The presentation comes with the film's Spanish-language version Estrellados, in which Buster has to do it all over again, croaking out his lines in phonetically - prompted Spanish. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
4/22/14




Hello!

Another really busy week, but I found the time to write - even though next Tuesday's column might be a day or two late. More discs came in as well ... I think I'll need a special plan to get to all the good ones and unblock the review backup. But my schedule should be clearing up next week.

After seeing new art by Jack Davis on the Mad x4 World Blu-ray, reader Harper Payne says that the artist has also contributed to a new record album by a group called The Sex Clark Five. The CD disc reportedly also contains a drawing of a dragon by Jim Danforth.

And in doing some research, friend Ed Sullivan uncovered this non-movie bit of trivia: Revell Models Sells Secrets to Soviets for 2.98. When you think of Blu-rays, plastic submarines come to mind right away, yes? Ed thought it amusing, and so do I.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



March 17, 2014
Tuesday March 18, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Roadblock
DVD-R

Charles McGraw's last starring feature concerns an insurance investigator who goes crooked to win a woman. Joan Dixon is the minx in furs who describes herself as an expensive luxury, and who waits on the sidelines while McGraw throws in with thieves. RKO's somewhat compromised loser noir is cheaply filmed but doesn't lack for brutality -- even if its hero spends most of his time putting his own head in a noose. Capped by a notable car chase that leads to the flood control canals of the concrete L.A. riverbed. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
3/18/14

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
(1923)

Blu-ray

Blackhawk appears to control the only surviving complete copy of Lon Chaney's famed 1923 historical epic, which was released seven years ago in an Ultimate DVD Edition. Now it's been transferred to HD. The attraction is still Chaney -- his extreme makeup and progressive, mime-based acting style seems way ahead of that of his fellow actors. With some recycled extras and a couple of new ones that make for good reading and viewing. In Blu-ray from Blackhawk / Flicker Alley.
3/18/14

and

Mandela:
Long Walk to Freedom

Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet

Justin Chadwick's biographical epic is taken straight from Nelson Mandela's autobiography. It's thorough, comprehensive and historically sound, but also a little dry, with idealized visuals that make Sophiatown slums look bright and colorful. The reverential attitude affords Nelson and Winnie Mandela (Idris Elba & Naomie Harris) the proper respect while making them seem like noble types in a generic history lesson. Still, the film manages to relate fifty years of history with clarity and fairness. In Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet from Weinstein / Anchor Bay.
3/18/14




Hello!

Well, I'm happy because the most mail I've received in a long time has revolved around a favorite Savant 'mystery picture' that I wrote up a German DVD of a couple of weeks ago, Roger Vadim's Blood & Roses (...et Mourir de plaisir). The disappointing part is that I've received no discussion at all about the mystery deleted images from the movie -- I'd rather hoped to be pointed to some authoritative article, and find out that I was the last to know that it's old news. But no. Perhaps Roger Vadim told his friend and associate John Landis all about Plaisir?

I'm making a good-sized dent in my reviews, although I think family matters will require me to take the next weekend off. More Region B discs are on the way, but my list here still sparkles with fun titles: Blu-rays of A Brief History of Time, Wonderwall, The Hidden Fortress, The Swimmer and Patrick are in hand, along with DVDs of Let the Fire Burn, Midnight Lace and the much-delayed Columbia Pictures Film Noir IV box. And the Warner Archive Collection has me interested with Free and Easy (Buster Keaton), Show Boat, What Price Hollywood?, Villain, Here Comes the Navy and a documentary I couldn't pass up called Americans in Bed. I'll also be on the new Twilight Time releases as soon as they arrive. Reviewed elsewhere but due to come home to Savant's pages shortly are The Front, The Eddy Duchin Story, and Region 2/B releases of Alain Resnais' Providence and Don Siegel's The Killers.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



March 14, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

American Hustle
Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet

Savant hasn't a single negative thought for David O. Russell's superlative thriller about con men, sleazy Fed investigators and conspicuous consumption in the late '70s. Fascinating, funny, sexy and scary from one end to the other, with one of the most perceptive screenplays ever about ambitious risk-takers. Stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence form an incredibly attractive ensemble. Savant's vote for best picture of 2013. In Blu-ray, DVD and Ultraviolet from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
3/15/14

The Americanization of Emily
Blu-ray

Imagine that, a big studio producing a fine-quality Blu-ray of a B&W picture with class appeal! In this case their taste is impeccable. Paddy Chayefsky wrote this twisted (very twisted for 1964) romantic black comedy about an Admiral's aide (James Garner) with an unconventional opinion about war -- he wants no part of it and doesn't at all mind being called a coward. It's Julie Andrews' debut feature and probably her best role, the kind of mature part she was denied for most of her career. For that matter it's the best part Garner ever had, as well as a star-making opportunity for James Coburn. And Chayefsky's script is very much in the same league as his later hits The Hospital and Network. A very welcome release, in Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
3/15/14

and

Thief
Blu-ray + DVD

Michael Mann hit the ground running with this no-frills, intense study of a pro safecracker trying to put together a legit life and avoid being taken over by the Mob. Tough guy James Caan is the crook who's spent all of his adult life behind bars, and now wants to make a beeline for a home and family with Tuesday Weld. The heist sequences are authentic, with massive drills and ultra-high temperature burning rods used to melt through massive industrial safes. It's all packaged with Tangerine Dream's hypnotic music in this influential crime masterpiece. A Dual-Format edition in Blu-ray and DVD from The Criterion Collection.
3/15/14




Hello!

Some nice news this week ... Warners is apparently going to release a Blu-ray of the classic 1960 The Time Machine in July. I hope it is carefully color-timed (saw it 4 times at age eight!) with plenty of extras (dreaming is good for the soul). With Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux still among us after all these years, it seems insane not to do some kind of sequel, even if it's just a 'time traveling honeymooners still on vacation' TV spot for a credit card.

I'm not big on petitions to disc companies, because in general I've found that the politics of the business doesn't encourage the practice -- "Thou cannot petition The Lord with prayer!" But this following is an exception, mainly because its advocates have been sending me some very positive requests to pass the word along. Diabolique magazine has initiated a petition asking Warner Bros. Home Video to release their Hammer Horror film holdings on Blu-ray. In the past 2.5 years or so, envious American Region-A Blu-ray horror fans have been reading and hearing about the classic Hammer Horror pix being given deluxe Blu-ray releases in England. The out-of-reach treasures have non-compatible Region-B coding, and include gotta-see marvels like the amazing restoration of (Horror of) Dracula. Warners controls a fistful of the earliest and best Hammer offerings. As an added benefit, new Blu-ray releases would presumably enable the exacting Warners professionals to correct all manner of goofy color and aspect ratio decisions inflicted imposed on the Region B discs.

I know from experience that Warners (along with some other studios) takes consumer and critical input very seriously, even as I also realize that sometimes the numbers just don't add up... I mean, I've seen how few units some of the best discs ever made have sold. That said, I can picture a quadruple bill of Hammer's COF, HOD, TM and FMBD (you know the titles) being a big success. DVD Savant reaches many disc fans that like Hammer Horror but might not frequent sites touting the petition, so if you read this and care, consider wandering over and making your mark!

And, just in time, a link to Trailers from Hell's newest attraction, the original trailer for Mario Bava's Planet of the Vampires. It's hosted by Joe Dante, who talks about the dangers of frequenting grindhouse theaters in the 1960s, which was often the only venue where which one could see pictures by filmmakers like Mario Bava.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



March 11, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Dead Kids
(Strange Behavior)

Blu-ray + DVD

Michael Laughlin's quirky throwback slasher film evokes a kinder & gentler America, but with some creepy medical experiments going down at the local college, thanks to wicked Fiona Lewis and her seven-inch hypodermic needle. A great cast -- Michael Murphy, Louise Fletcher, Dan Shor, Dey Young, Marc McClure, Scott Brady, Charles Lane -- fills out a tale of multiple maniac homicides in a small town. Great extras explain why this very American picture was filmed in New Zealand, and delineate the makeup effects contribution of expert Craig Reardon. In Blu-ray and DVD from Severin Films.
3/11/14

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
New Theatrical Release

(Theatrical Review): A new freewheeling documentary in limited release is a bright and entertaining portrait of an entertainer whose past stretches back to classic era Broadway, through fame as an interpreter of Steven Sondheim, and recent one-woman shows and a recurring role on 30 Rock. With terrific testimony from Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, James Gandolfini, Nathan Lane and John Turturro, but the irrepressible Ms. Stritch is a joy to watch at all times. Directed by Chiemi Karasawa. A new Theatrical review from Sundance Selects & Isotope Films.
3/11/14

and

The Nuisance
DVD-R

Lee Tracy is the shyster lawyer who fakes traffic accidents, falsifies medical X-rays and uses his legal skills to torment the local streetcar company. But his foes retaliate by persuading his latest client/co-conspirator Madge Blake to be a secret agent and testify against his crooked methods. The fast-talking, ethically-challenged Tracy is a wonder - we love him despite the fact that he's a total crook. Also twisted up in this pre-Code gem are Frank Morgan, Charles Butterworth and Virginia Cherrill. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
3/11/14




Hello!

A busy day here, but I have a couple of fun links to offer, thanks to some outside help. Joe Dante has circulated a link to Terry Southern's homepage essay on Dr. Strangelove. The very funny read covers quite a bit, including the hiring of Slim Pickens and a fully detailed description of the film's legendary missing pie fight scene, right down to dialogue.

Also up is Dick Dinman's web radio show on Tyrone Power and The Eddy Duchin Story (a title I'm late in reviewing). Dick also discusses the month's other Blu-ray releases from Twilight Time.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



March 07, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Invitation
DVD-R

This stacked-deck 'woman's weepie' epic seems to unconsciously reveal an entirely different set of values than those advanced by the surface storyline - which to Savant is like a soap opera version of Rosemary's Baby. Wealthy newlywed Dorothy McGuire slowly discovers that her father has 'arranged' for her marriage to handsome architect Van Johnson. It's all for reasons that Dad feels McGuire doesn't need to know. The deception works until Ruth Roman, the woman her husband was going to marry, tells McGuire that, "you can only have him for a year. Then he'll be coming back to me." Weird, weird morality tale, that preaches a very foggy lesson! In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
3/08/14

5 Fingers
DVD-R

Joseph Mankiewicz directs and Michael Wilson wrote the intelligent & witty script for this superb, true WW2 spy tale in which James Mason's suave embassy employee sells top British secrets to the Nazis. Set in Istanbul, where it happened. Mason's handling of the complex dialogue is masterful, and he's abetted by fine support from Danielle Darrieux and Michael Rennie. It's mostly spy talk and diplomatic negotiations, as opposed to spy action -- but it's choice stuff. In DVD-R from 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives.
3/08/14

and

... Et mourir de plaisir
Region 2 PAL DVD

AKA Blood and Roses. Roger Vadim's Technirama and Technicolor horror opus brings us beautiful Elsa Martinelli and Annette Vadim in one of the most intriguing of early Euro-horror attractions. Possessed by a vampiric ancestor, Carmilla Karnstein endures weird hallucinations, such as frightening, symbolic mirror reflections of her white dress stained with blood. Claude Renoir's beautiful camerawork and Jean Prodromidès' eerie music complete the atmosphere where Gothic curses appear to invade modern France. The actual title for this German import disc is und vor Lust zu Sterben. In Region 2 PAL DVD from Media Target Distribution GmbH.
3/08/14




Hello!

On March 21 the 16th annual Noir City festival comes to Hollywood for a couple of weeks, at the Egyptian Theater. This year the festival features some newly restored prints, a selection of international noir titles and a closing night party. I'm particularly interested in catching up with their new 35mm restoration of Too Late For Tears, a title I've never seen in a decent copy. Hopefully I'll also catch up with the Brit noir classic It Always Rains on Sunday. They've dedicated screening nights to the late Joan Fontaine and Audrey Totter as well. The full schedule and details are now up at the American Cinematheque site. Hollywood Blvd. in the evening is great this time of year, too.

Review discs were just beginning to thin out when a 'spring thaw' arrived earlier in the week. Set to be posted or newly arrived are DVDs of Midnight Lace, The Nuisance, the documentary Let the Fire Burn and special DEFA discs of some rare German films: Wozzeck, Professor Mamlock, The Tango Player and The Flying Dutchman. Blu-rays in the hopper include Thief, The Front, The Hidden Fortress, Wonderwall, The Eddy Duchin Story, Dead Kids, A Brief History of Time, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and American Hustle. I'm going to cover a European Region 2 DVD of Alain Resnais' Providence as well.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson



March 03, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

Crimes and Misdemeanors
Blu-ray

Woody Allen's most accomplished film? This is the Allen picture that best meshes his brand of comedy with a heavy moral drama, and never falters in tone. Allen's docu filmmaker romances Mia Farrow while lampooning the pompous, successful producer Alan Alda; meanwhile, terrified adulterer Martin Landau considers murder as the only way to free himself of a threatening mistress, Anjelica Huston. Allen often reaches for depth without getting there, but this may be the best of his 1980s string of comedy-dramas that carry a real emotional bite. With Joanna Gleason, Jerry Orbach, Claire Bloom. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
3/04/14

Tess
Blu-ray + DVD

Roman Polanski's most romantic picture is a period classic (Thomas Hardy) acted and filmed with incomparable taste and precision. Peter FIrth, Leigh Lawson and especially Nastassja Kinski make indelible impressions in a story that fits Polanski's dark worldview like a glove. With a selection of fine interview docus that cover every aspect of the director's 'international comeback' picture. A Dual-Format edition in Blu-ray and DVD from The Criterion Collection.
3/04/14

and

The Blue Max
Blu-ray

George Peppard has perhaps his best screen role in John Guillermin's expertly-directed tale of the death of Chivalry in the air war above the trenches of WW1. Commoner Peppard rejects the gentleman's rules of combat followed by his privileged comrades, and finds himself promoted as a working man's war hero by James Mason's pragmatic general. The prize is the General's promiscuous wife, Ursula Andress. With Jeremy Kemp and Karl Michael Vogler. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
3/04/14




Hello --

Noir authority Alan K. Rode announced a day or so ago that producer & writer Stanley Rubin passed away. Seven years ago I spent a great couple of days with Mr. Rubin recording a commentary for a film noir picture made back in the late 1940s when his career was just getting going. The more I learned about Rubin from my research, the more I liked him, even before we met. He had weathered tough times for tyro producers in Hollywood, graduating from various duties at Universal before emerging as a big winner at Howard Hughes' RKO. Rubin then embarked on several productive decades working with the industry's best, including greats like Marilyn Monroe -- check out his impressive IMDB credits. He also produced the amazing The President's Analyst, a real personal favorite. I hope the obits and memoriams give Stanley Rubin his due.

Mr. Rubin's bright and generous personality was infectious. During the recording he was warm and encouraging, making me feel like a professional and probably resulting in my best work -- I think I spurred some good memories from almost sixty years in his past. Frankly, he was one of the nicest people I've met in the business.

I don't see myself as a person who makes a habit of dropping names, collecting celebrity contacts like scalps or staking out territory on certain films or subjects -- it's one of the reasons I shy away from self-promoting on the Internet. Other writers surely have genuine personal and lasting relationships with Mr. Rubin that amount to much more than my two days of creative excitement. I count myself grateful for having crossed paths with such an all-around impressive professional, who made me feel good about what I do.

Thanks for reading, Glenn Erickson


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

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