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April 29, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Day of the Jackal
Shock (Australia)
Region B+A Blu-ray


 This fine international thriller has almost become an obscurity, for reasons unknown -- the Blu-ray under review comes from Australia. Edward Fox's wily assassin-for-hire goes takes on the combined police and security establishments of three nations as he sets up the killing of a head of state, France's president Charles de Gaulle. The terrific cast features Michel Lonsdale, Delphine Seyrig and Cyril Cusack; director Fred Zinnemann's excellent direction reaches a high pitch of tension, even though the outcome is known from the start. On Region B+A Blu-ray from Shock (Australia).
04/29/17



I Bury the Living
and
The Screaming Skull
Scream Factory
Blu-ray


 Trailers From Hell's Charlie Largent takes a look at two 'fifties shockers, one a garden-variety spook show and the other a quirky stand-out in that era's never-ending parade of low-budget thrillers. Richard Boone plays with diabolically deadly push pins in United Artists' I Bury The Living, and actor Alex Nicol takes on directing chores for American-International's The Screaming Skull. Each is a separate purchase on Blu-ray from Scream Factory.
04/29/17



You'll Never Get Rich
Twilight Time
Blu-ray


 "Am I decent?" They said that Ginger Rogers gave Fred Astaire sex appeal, but the teaming of Astaire and Rita Hayworth is something else. Columbia's 1941 release is a weak service comedy until the dancing starts, at which point it becomes one of the better musicals of the year, and the breakout vehicle for Ms. Hayworth. Robert Benchley, Osa Massen and Frieda Inescourt co-star; the music is by Cole Porter. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
04/29/17



and

A Farewell to Arms
KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray


 This remake of a pre-Code classic adds amazing European locations, glorious Technicolor and entire armies on the move, yet doesn't improve on the original. Producer David O. Selznick secured Rock Hudson to play opposite Jennifer Jones, but the chemistry is lacking. The last third takes its doomed lovers on an almost ridiculously glamorous 'exile from war' in the ritzy Italian Alps. Why did Selznick spend twenty years trying to top Gone With the Wind? Co-starring Mercedes McCambridge and Vittorio De Sica. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
04/29/17




Hello!

Here's what happens to disc shipments once in a while -- my mail carrier delivered this one in person, apologizing for its condition. The package was ripped literally in half, and what was left was put in a plastic bag. Two of four discs inside were missing -- and the other two pretty badly smashed. No tragedy here, as I've already borrowed one of the missing discs for review purposes. This has happened only three times in twenty years so I shouldn't complain -- although once I had to report to my German contact Ulrich Bruckner, who had spent a lot of money on postage, that all of his discs had been smashed.



Gary Teetzel has the links today: First, Star Wars Fans will be interested in this Extended Death Star Meeting Scene, which is billed as having been posted by John Knoll at Star Wars Celebration 2017. The soundtrack carries the 'original' Darth Vader voice (David Prowse?), which of course was received with laughter at the convention. Informing me of the details, Gary points out that the clip's extra dialogue includes the very first use of the term "Sith Lord."



Gary also offers a real-science link to an IFL Science article that qualifies as a disturbing Mad Science Update. It's hard to believe, but an Italian scientist is working to make B-movie nightmares a reality: An Outlandish Surgeon Who Aims To Perform The First Head Transplant Just Gave A Rat A Second Head. It's most disturbing in that he's not kidding: this man's eventual goal is to transplant human heads. He says he has the capability of splicing severed spinal cords, but the article casts some doubt on that claim -- if he could do that, repairing paraplegics would be the obvious benefit. I hope the surgeon's work isn't being wholly misrepresented, as conservatives will point to sick aberrations like this as a justification for de-funding medical research. There is a photo, so anti-vivisectionists might want to stay away. And somebody please correct me if this IFL Science page isn't legit -- it looks okay to me, at first glance.



What, me squeamish? I stay away from a lot of current horror, and to sate my curiosity for vintage horror I don't necessarily see, I normally refer to the dapper Nathaniel Thompson's great Mondo Digital Page. This week I discovered a blog with good listings for today's horror, plus reviews of some current TV horror content. It's Horror Critic.com. The principal reviewer appears to be Lisa Marie Bowman; she's been at it since 2012. I'm glad I found out about the page... I can snoop out intelligent input about things like Bates Motel.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



April 25, 2017

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Savant's new reviews today are:

The Salesman
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray


 This Iranian import made news when its director found himself on the wrong side of the recent travel ban. It's worth the bother. Asghar Farhadi's suspense story can't be topped for maturity, insight or honest emotions about social stress: after an assault in a new apartment, the strain affects everything that a wife and husband do -- driving a wedge through their marriage. Is it all built on a shaky foundation, like the crumbling apartment building they had to evacuate? On Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
04/25/17



Rumblefish
Criterion
and
The Krimi Collection
Tobis
Blu-ray


  Two eclectic Guest Reviews from Trailers From Hell's Charlie Largent. Francis Ford Coppola goes teen-fiction troubleshooting in Rumblefish, which introduces new acting talent to the 1980s. Then Charlie takes on a favorite subject with a 3-pack of '60s Edgar Wallace thrillers from Germany, The Krimi Collection: The Face of the Frog, The Mysterious Magician and The Hound of Blackwood Castle. We're nothing if not eclectic at DVD Savant. Separate releases, on Blu-ray from Criterion and Tobis.
04/25/17



Donnie Darko
Arrow Video U.S.
Blu-ray + DVD


 Other weird-world genre bending millennial epics have dated badly, but not Richard Kelly's sci-fi / horror / satirical mind-trip epic about a guy given a glimpse of time travel in another dimension. The wit hasn't faded and the menace hasn't cooled, and the cast seems hipper than ever: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mary McDonnell, Patrick Swayze, Noah Wyle, Drew Barrymore, Katharine Ross. Two versions, two formats, no waiting. A Dual-Format edition in a fat box with a 90-page hardback book as well, on Blu-ray and DVD from Arrow Video U.S..
04/25/17



and

Ophélia
Olive Films
Blu-ray


 New Wave director Claude Chabrol goes off in an odd direction with this Francophone adaptation of Hamlet. Convinced that his father was murdered, the heir to an estate behaves like a madman as he sets out to unmask the killers. The 'castle' is a country manse guarded by thugs as a precaution against the signeur's striking union workers. Special added attraction -- the stars to see are Alida Valli and Juliette Mayniel of Eyes without a Face. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.
04/25/17




Hello!

Gary Teetzel alerts me that, over at the Boxoffice Magazine site, the back issue archive is still accessible. The riches to be had are pretty incredible. The capsule reviews reveal the sometimes-odd value judgments made on movies, and the extreme conservatism against unusual or unconventional movies. Even the Academy Award winner The Lost Weekend is reviewed as a failure, that nobody will want to see. I found a 1942 RKO ad saying that The Magnificent Ambersons is being 'delayed' so that changes can be made. There are also crazy dated ads, especially during the war when exploitation films could say whatever they wanted about the Germans and Japanese. The exhibitors' letters and the opinion articles can be pretty strange as well. I recommend browsing... the ads and attitudes are a real filmic time machine.

Some interesting titles in the review queue at the moment. Twilight Time has Another Woman, How to Steal a Million, You'll Never Get Rich and Billy Wilder's The Fortune Cookie. Olive Films gives us The World's Most Beautiful Swindlers, an omnibus film by Chabrol, Godard, etc., but they had to drop Roman Polanski's episode. Arrow has come up with another Elio Petri thriller, The Assassin. Aero also has a Django movie that looks tempting. I might try Kino's new Jerry Lewis movie Don't Give Up the Ship. I remember seeing it in a theater, but I was so young I didn't really follow the story. I doubt it's as confusing as it seemed back then.

Charlie Largent will be reviewing some Shout! Factory horror pix (I Bury the Living, The Screaming Skull) and also the Universal Dracula and Mummy Legacy Sets. I've covered them all twice, so am looking forward to a fresh viewpoint. Charlie's take on Paul Verhoeven's Elle says volumes about that complicated movie in just a few short paragraphs, and without spoiling the story!

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



April 22, 2017

This picture is in solidarity with a special day.

Savant's new reviews today are:

Caltiki, The Immortal Monster
Arrow Video
Blu-ray


 It creeps and leaps and slides and glides along the wall... and then it eats your face, dude. Mario Bava and Riccardo Freda's ultimate monster mastication epic now looks sensationally gory, thanks to a full restoration. Arrow's disc has pretty much everything, including two transfers and two audio commentaries. And Savant has a guilty admission to make -- it was the tripe, the whole tripe, and nothing but the tripe. The impressive restoration is all we want it to be, with commentaries from the two top Mario Bava experts. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Arrow Video.
04/22/17



The Scar (Hollow Triumph)
KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray


 Director Steve Sekely's hardboiled film noir leans heavily on the talents of star-producer Paul Henried and camera ace John Alton -- the three of them whip up the best gimmick-driven noir thriller of the late 'forties. Strained coincidences and unlikely events mean nothing when this much talent is concentrated in one movie. It's also a terrific show for star Joan Bennett, who expresses all the disappointment, despair and angst of a noir femme who knows she's in for more misery. John Alton's chiaroscuro visuals bathe realistic settings with expressionistic lighting. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
04/22/17



and

The Rounders
The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray


 The laid-back, plot challenged non-violent western gets a boost in this folksy comedy about two aging cowboys with less sense than the horses they tame. Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda star together for the first time, leaving behind their older images... they're too tender-hearted for their own good. If the sex comedy wasn't quite so dated, Burt Kennedy's picture might be a classic. With Chill Wills, Edgar Buchanan, Kathleen Freeman, Joan Freeman -- and Sue Ane Langdon and Hope Holiday, as a pair of goofy strippers that pick our boys out on the road. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
04/22/17




Hello!

Ever wonder what Hollywood pitch meetings are like? Correspondent Phil Gray found this Alliance Francaise de Singapour article by Angela Doland, featuring a funny video in which a French producer pitches several movie ideas to Hollywood executives. They're all the concepts of highly regarded French pictures of the last few years, and of course they are all met with surprise and foolish suggestions for improvement. The problem I have with this can be summed up in a simple reaction, ''DUH.'' The concepts being touted have no place in Hollywood, aren't the kinds of movies we make and aren't the kinds of movies the mass audience here wants to see. Does anybody at all labor under the illusion that movies without action or a major hot-button hook could get green-lit, if not accompanied by a bankable star? I can name five hundred great movies that never made a dime . . . which is what the Hollywood types here are trying to do. They aren't even being crass or abusive. Making them look foolish for being unaware of every French film that comes out seems a misplaced attack.

For Los Angeles filmgoers interested in the truly arcane, the The New Beverly Cinema, on April 23 and April 24, is playing two Robert Culp movies from 1970. One is the excellent neo-noir Culp directed, Hickey and Boggs, a detective shoot 'em up. The other is one of the weirdest, most elusive productions I've ever heard of, A Name for Evil, directed by the equally mysterious Bernard Girard. The whole strange story, written up by film guru extraordinaire Marc Edward Heuck, can be read Here.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



April 18, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Savant's new reviews today are:

Buena Vista Social Club
The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray


 Cuba has just been opened up to Americans, but twenty years ago musician Ry Cooder saw to it that a vanishing music tradition was preserved for posterity. Wim Wenders followed up with this rough & ready documentary that became almost as popular as the best selling album of mambos, boleros and cha-chas. Ten old gentlemen from Havana, in their 'seventies and 'eighties, take their music to Amsterdam, and then Carnegie Hall. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
04/18/17



Chamber of Horrors
and
A Game of Death
KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray


 Two vintage horror Guest Reviews from Trailers From Hell's Charlie Largent. Edgar Wallace's The Door with Seven Locks finds mystery and madness in an English production imported by Monogram, starring Leslie Banks and a young Lilli Palmer. And Robert Wise remakes the famed The Most Dangerous Game practically shot-for-shot reusing scenes from the older movie! Separate releases, each with an audio commentary, on Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
04/18/17



The Delinquents
Olive Films
Blu-ray


 "Here is the screen's most shocking exposé, of the 'Baby-Facers' just taking their first stumbling steps down Sin Street U.S.A.!"  Robert Altman's first feature film is far too good to be described as any but an expert step toward an impressive career. But he had to deal with a young actor who drove him up the wall, Tom Laughlin. The realistic Juvenille Delinquent subgenre was born here, with a wild drinking party, a rumble at a drive-in movie and a vicious robbery that comes together on the spur of the moment. Best actor? Richard Bakalyan, as a great psycho J.D.. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.
04/18/17



and

Fahrenheit 451
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray


 François Truffaut's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's dystopian, illiterate future looks better than ever, but the scary part is that some of its oddest sci-fi extrapolations seem to be coming true. Oskar Werner and Julie Christie are trapped in a future dystopia where thought control is perfected by the destruction of books, and the ideas they carry. Nicolas Roeg's cinematography is a highlight, and Bernard Herrmann music score is one of the composer's very best. On Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
04/18/17




Hello!

Interesting disc news today: from the Warner Archive Collection comes a heads-up for three upcoming titles -- Tony Richardson's The Loved One, Lawrence Kasdan's The Accidental Tourist and John Frankenheimer's Seven Days in May. The WAC is even putting that last one OUT in May, which seems wholly appropriate. I clearly remember when the film came out back in the 1960s --- back when a military coup seemed like a BAD idea.

Twilight Time has announced their July titles -- Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex But Were Afraid to Ask, Samuel Fuller's The Crimson Kimono, the Pat Boone - Ann-Margret version of State Fair and a double bill of the 1970s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Shaun Chang's latest in-depth personality interview at the Hill Place page, is for the interesting Belinda Montgomery. It's a full interview, her whole story in detail.

And finally, for Los Angeles folks, My friend Allan Peach will have a photo from his Fantômas series on display this Saturday at a special photography gallery display in Santa Monica. Not the exact photo I've pictured, which explains that Allan's Fantômas is a woman and haunts Los Angeles, not Paris. The show is this Saturday, April 22, from 5-8pm, at the BG Gallery in Bergamot Station #G8A, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



April 14, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.


Savant's new reviews today are:

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray


 Jacques Demy's international breakthrough musical gives us Catherine Deneuve and wall-to-wall Michel Legrand pop-jazz -- it's a different animal than La La Land but the two shows are being compared anyway. The story of a romance without a happily-ever-after is doggedly naturalistic, despite visuals as bright and buoyant as an old MGM show. The stylized operetta speak-singing places everything on almost a storybook plane -- interrupted by the Algerian war, an unwanted pregnancy and young lovers that can't fulfill their pact of fidelity. The dazzling restoration came out in a pricey disc set three years ago, but is being offered now as a stand-alone, as is Demy's follow-up, The Young Girls of Rochefort. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
04/15/17



Sunset in the West
KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray


  Here's a case of modest ambitions brought off with a winning polish -- this show could reboot interest in vintage 'series' westerns. Basically a film for little kids, this 1950 Roy Rogers oater is so charming that it deserves reassessment as a nostalgic favorite. It's earnestly played by all concerned, director William Witney's direction sparkles, and the songs by the Sons of the Pioneers are due to come back into vogue. Well, maybe. The added filip that makes the difference is the beautifully restored Trucolor image -- Roy's wonder horse Trigger is indeed magnificent. I listened carefully, but I don't think Roy actually says, "Yippie-ki-yay, M_____f_____." On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
04/15/17



and

From Hell It Came
The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray


 You Axed for it, as Forry would say: the grade Z horror movie that launched a thousand bad puns is also an unbeatable party favorite. Idiotic island natives clash with condescending Anglo scientists, when a death curse initiates the hell-spawning of a horrifying, vengeance-seeking pagan demon-monster. Sounds great -- but what we get is Tabonga, a walking rubber tree stump with knotholes for eyes and a permanent scowl on its teakwood face. The excellent, flawless scan allows us to appreciate the mighty Tabonga for what it is -- absurd, lovable, awful. With a two-hour retrospective documentary hosted by Martin Scorsese, featuring George Lucas and Steven Spielberg playing with Tabonga toys. No, that's a despicable alternate fact. The only extra is a trailer, which can't even get the 'Tabonga' name right. Don't worry, security software has eliminated all traces of the Dutch Elm Disease virus. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
04/15/17




Hello!

TCM showed four and a half hours of National Film Board of Canada short subjects the other night, and I still complained to my friend Allan Peach that I can never find my favorites. He immediately turned me on to a free app that gives access to dozens of the NFB's best. I looked, and they're in perfect shape, better even than the transfers on a series of DVDs I reviewed a number of years ago. It's the only place I know of to see John Weldon's To Be (1990), a marvelous sci-fi short I wrote up in my book Sci-Fi Savant. Also ensconced within the app are such gems as Brad Caslor's Get a Job (1985), Eunice Macaulay and John Weldon's Special Delivery (1978) and Eugene Fedorenko's Every Child (1979), plus Don Owen's live-action feature Nobody Waved Goodbye (1964), which introduced Peter Kastner, the star of Francis Coppola's You're A Big Boy Now. The app is ready to download - even I did it -- look up NFB FILMS. I downloaded it to an iPad.


Back on February 24, on a sunny day in Pasadena, I recorded an interview with my friend Arianné Ulmer Cipes. It was for author-interviewer-commentator Tom Weaver to use as a resource for his commentary on Shout! Factory's upcoming Blu-ray of The Man From Planet X, Edgar G. Ulmer's classic 1951 Sci-Fi thriller. I didn't know how much first-hand information Arianné had to relate about that picture, so I took the opportunity to ask other questions about her father that raised my curiosity. Like, for instance, how many of the wild stories about his low-budget directing techniques were actually true?

I figured that, at the least, Tom could cherry-pick Arianné's statements for choice items about Planet X, to augment his commentary. Instead, he's edited it down and put it on a second commentary track, sharing space with a film analysis by author Gary Rhodes. Arianné is charming and lucid, and her own story is almost as interesting as her father's; I hope the good stuff ends up on the track. The latest word from Tom reads, "I think it's a charming chat and I encouraged Shout to call it A Conversation with Arianné Ulmer so that no listener will think, "They're not talking about Planet X, WTF is this all about?""

The tentative release date for the disc is July 11.

I just remembered that the DVD Savant graphic of me reading the promo pressbook / newspaper for The Man from Planet X has now been up online for almost twenty years. Look at all that hair! Maybe it's time to get serious about this writing thing.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



April 11, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Savant's new reviews today are:

36 Hours
The Warner Archives Collection
Blu-ray


 Long before movies routinely created 'worlds' with their own twisted fantasy logic, only a few paranoid thrillers, usually odd genre items, tried out twisted stories of deceptive 'hidden realities.' Like an extended Twilight Zone entry, this lively James Garner war pic morphs into a bizarre conspiracy worthy of Philip K. Dick. Eva Marie Saint and Rod Taylor co-star in a show directed and co-written by George Seaton. If only it weren't so "L-A-O" -- Literal And Obvious. Nicely restored in B&W widescreen Panavision; on Blu-ray from The Warner Archives Collection.
04/11/17



(The Saga of) Anatahan
Kino Lorber
Blu-ray


  Fed up with the Hollywood game, the fiercely individual auteur Josef von Sternberg got busy in Kyoto with a full Japanese film company, and the result is a picture critics have been trying to figure out ever since. It's a realistic story told in a highly artificial visual style, in un-subtitled Japanese. And its writer-director intended it to play for American audiences. Akemi Negishi is the exotic hotsy who drives nine castaway soldiers wild, lost and forgotten on an island in the Pacific. It's just me, you and thousands of dollars of visually enhanced greenery, baby! This once obscure and difficult art picture returns in great condition, in censored and uncensored versions, with a variety of extras. On Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.
04/11/17



and

Eyes without a Face
(Bfi)
Region B Blu-ray + PAL DVD


 Sometimes a movie is simply too good for just one special edition... Savant reached out to nab a British Region B import of Georges Franju's horror masterpiece, to sample its enticing extras -- a much-coveted Franju short subject, and a new commentary by Tim Lucas. The import review also gives me the chance to ramble on with more thoughts about this 1959 show that inspired a score of copycats, and that ranks among the top ten horror films of all time. A dual-Format edition on Region B Blu-ray and PAL DVD from British Film Institute (Bfi).
04/11/17





Hello!

Wow, I hope there's some patience out there... after making my recent reviews of Electric Boogaloo and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying so Savant- centric (count the "I's"), I'm back at it again with a 'personal' take on everyone's favorite show about a mad surgeon spoiling the looks of French starlets. I realize that I always did this, but the safety valve were all those footnotes I used to do, that gave me the option of breaking objectivity. I'll figure it out.

Perhaps I'll have the footnotes ironed out before what will probably be another show-off installment, when I write about the 20th anniversary of the restoration of the missing ending to Kiss Me Deadly. At least on that topic there will be other restorers to praise.

I am way behind this Tuesday -- let me bow out without the usual links. I'll save up the best for Saturday.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



April 08, 2017

No link for this: Who can pass up an opportunity to celebrate Mr. Schmidt Goes to Washington?
Savant correspondent Wayne Schmidt recently returned from a D.C. conference for the National Association of Community Health Centers -- dropping in on legislators to push for The Affordable Care Act.
I'm personally happy to see that Mr. Lincoln hasn't stood up, sworn off politics and walked back to Indiana.


Savant's new reviews today are:

Electric Boogaloo
Umbrella Entertainment
Blu-ray


  (on a double bill with Machete Maidens Unleashed!)  Director and documentarian Mark Hartley scores both a film history and comedy success with this 'wild, untold' story of the 1980s film studio that was both revered and despised by everyone who had contact with it. The 'cast list' of interviewees is encyclopedic, everybody has a strong opinion, and some of them don't need four-letter words to describe their experience. See how Chuck Norris was created and how Charles Bronson faked his way through a lot of late-career junk, while Mo and Yo fleeced investors, reneged on deals and made the most consistently awful pictures in the history of Hollywood. On Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment.
04/08/17



Property Is No Longer a Theft
Arrow Academy
Blu-ray + DVD


 Can radical theater make a good movie? Elio Petri continues his string of biting social comment movies with a black comedy about rich people, thieves, and the notion of ownership -- a penniless clerk mounts a one-man revolution against The System. His efforts at 'righteous theft' amount to a caustic position paper but also a funny satire, with quirky yet believable characters. Ugo Tognazzi is terrific as the scheming businessman, as much a prisoner of his wealth as the poor clerk is of his poverty. With Flavio Bucci, Daria Nicolodi and Orazio Orlando. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Arrow Academy US.
04/08/17



and

Lifeboat
KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray


  Alfred Hitchcock amuses himself with what might be his first major stylistic challenge, playing out an entire feature film in the confines of one lifeboat adrift at sea. The survivors of a U-Boat attack are a cross-section of Americans -- and one German who knows best how to survive, yet is pulling a dirty trick on his fellow castaways. With Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
04/08/17




Hello!

Strange color games continue with genre film transfers. Some recent transfers of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, despite being certified by Italian restorers, have had a sickly yellow caste that was definitely never an element in Technicolor prints -- perhaps the experts knew better. Gary Teetzel reports that, listening to fan complaints, Kino has tweaked the color on the GBU 4K transfer to get things back to normal. If one goes to this Home Theater Forum page and scroll down far enough -- to post # 4885 -- you can see several before-and-after split screen images provided by Kino's mysterious web contact 'MisterLime.' I've rudely nabbed one of the split-screen grabs, just above. Unless somebody can talk me into believing that Sergio Leone wanted his movie to look jaundiced, Kino's move has my full approval.


Also arrived from Kino is a new Blu-ray of Joseph von Sternberg's Anatahan, a legendary picture that hasn't been viewable since... since way before my time. Only critics around to see a brief art house release in 1953 had a direct handle on this final picture from the great filmmaker, created in a Japanese movie studio and a complete break from his famous Hollywood work. I showed the disc package to a friend, asking 'Have you seen this?' and his answer was, 'Nobody's seen this.' I suppose that's not strictly true, but in my memory I've sure never heard of it being shown anywhere.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



April 04, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Savant's new reviews today are:

Story of Sin
Arrow Academy
Blu-ray + DVD


 There's plenty of Sin in Walerian Borowczyk's searing movie, but little of it can be laid at the feet of its heroine, no matter what terrible crimes she commits. In pre-WW1 Poland, the innocent Ewa's tragedy is to fall hopelessly in love, without restraint; Boroczyk's camera doesn't flinch as the hapless Ewa falls from grace. Amour fou has been crazier than this, but rarely as destructive. Artistically this show is flawless, and in terms of sex politics it's a scream of protest. The generous extras include a score of Borowczyk's short subjects, including two of his animated classics. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Arrow Academy.
04/04/17



Being There
The Criterion Collection
After the Fox
KL Studio Classics
Two Blu-rays
reviewed by Charlie Largent


 
 Two Guest Reviews from Trailers From Hell's Charlie Largent, both starring Peter Sellers. Vittorio De Sica's flip spoof of 'foreign' films After the Fox sees Sellers whooping it up as a manic thief using a fake movie to smuggle gold; Victor Mature is charming as an aging star and the bouncy '60s music is by Burt Bacharach, with an assist from The Hollies. Then Sellers comes back from a decade of indifferent Pink Plasma movies to score in a masterpiece, Hal Ashby's amazing comic tightrope walk, Being There. Shirley MacLaine co-stars with Melvyn Douglas, who leaves his Vampire Bat at home. On separate Blu-ray releases from KL Studio Classics and The Criterion Collection.
04/04/17



Ride the High Country
The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray


 Before he became the flag bearer for cinema violence, Sam Peckinpah made his reputation with this unique western, a marvelous rumination on ethics, morality and personal responsibility. MGM all but threw it away in the summer of 1962 but it immediately became a critical favorite. Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott cap their careers as aged lawmen taking on one more job, only to be caught between a runaway bride (Mariette Hartley) and a pack of dangerous brothers with the law on their side. With James Drury, Warren Oates, Ron Starr, Edgar Buchanan, R.G. Armstrong, L.Q. Jones, John Anderson and John Davis Chandler. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
04/04/17



and

The Russians Are Coming / Career
DEFA Film Library
DVD


 Another offering of vintage East German pictures gives us all the pieces of a cinematic puzzle: Heiner Carow's 1968 memory- movie of traumatic experiences in WW2 displeased the Communist authorities and was shelved... only to be cannibalized as a back-story for a new 1970 release aimed as a dig at West German values. It's a fascinating comparison -- an ideologically-challenged art film becomes a piece of well-produced propaganda. In 1943 a Hitler Youth barely escapes alive when the Russians arrive. The second movie is set in 1968, and he's now a West German executive who resists an abusive management in the spirit of the Russian captor who exhorted him to be a 'human being.' A two-disc set, on DVD from DEFA Film Library.
04/04/17




Hello!

Not a lot to report today... Gary Teetzel says that Universal's Fahrenheit 451 Blu-ray is due to come out as a non-exclusive offering, on June 6. I've seen it; it looks good and sounds really good.

I've been trading notes with several knowledgeable experts (Bruce Kimmel, Joe Baltake, Dick Dinman) on 'B''s 'How to Succeed' -- Take 2 article; there may be even more to read about that, soon.

Newly arrived is an Australian Umbrella Entertainment disc with two of Mark Hartley's furiously edited exploitation docus -- Machete Maidens Unleashed (about Philipino movies) and Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. I have to figure out how to approach this one, as I worked at The Cannon Group for two years... in my limited experience, the company was both wilder and tamer than the docu says, and mostly in less entertaining ways.

I am glad to be covering more films -- a lot of deserving new discs are out there...

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson


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

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