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September 16, 2017

DVD Savant is moving, and Changing its name.

Glenn Erickson's new CineSavant page will continue as before (that's the plan). It is up now with today's reviews at the new URL:

www.cinesavant.com

My new contact email -- please use it -- is

[email protected]

I'll be keeping my 'DVD Savant' logo as a sub-identity, to avoid total confusion.

Please note the link change, change your bookmarks, etc. DVDtalk has been a kind and gracious host for many years, and I still hope to be contributing reviews to the massive DVDtalk review database.

I hope the format of the new page is pleasing. As ever, thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



September 12, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Savant's new reviews today are:

One Million B.C.
VCI
Blu-ray


 Leapin' Lizards!  The original cavemen vs. dinosaurs saga is a winner -- if viewer involvement trumps visual effects, it's got a narrow lead over the Hammer/Harryhausen remake. Victor Mature, Carole Landis and Lon Chaney Jr. all made career hay out of their weeks spent running in loincloths, out in the desert. And the new is a terrific UCLA Archive restoration, with an informative commentary by Toby Roan. On Blu-ray from VCI.
9/12/17




The Big Sick
Lionsgate
Blu-ray + DVD


 This modern romantic comedy about stand-up comedians generates a genuine warmth about people, the ones-who-need-people kind. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon's comic dramatization of the way they became a couple is a big winner, with heart-tugging performances from Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan, and fine characterizations by Holly Hunter, Zenobia Shroff, Ray Romano, and Anupam Kher. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate.
9/12/17




and

The Illustrated Man
The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray


 Ray Bradbury adapted to the screen is always something to check out; this Jack Smight- directed trio of stories bound together by a mystery man wearing the graffiti of the title at least works up a little ethereal-cereal excitement. Husband and wife Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom spout ominous dialogue as they face various futuristic threats. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/12/17





Hello!

Gary Teetzel links us to the world today, starting with two Metropolis- themed items. A Smithsonian Magazine article by Matt Novak from 2012 takes a look at a vintage explanation of the film's effects: 1927 Magazine Looks at Metropolis, 'A Movie Based On Science'. Then, in Wired Magazine from the same year, Geeta Dyal displays another rare item: Recovered 1927 Metropolis Film Program Goes Behind the Scenes of a Sci-Fi Masterpiece. My only comment is about the method used to create the 'electric bolts' in the machine room -- the article implies that they were shot live on the set, like a foreground miniature, when they were double-exposed at a later time. Just a detail. The second document was for years the main source of technical info on the film, so it's nice that it was so carefully written.

Film collector Wade Williams, over at the Home Theater Forum, is saying that he's contributed a film source to a Warners restoration of the long version of Howard Hawks' The Thing From Another World, a show long in need of a visual reupholstering job. When the show plays on TCM now, the long-version scenes drop to a low-quality 16mm source. It would be nice if a smart new restoration were indeed on the way, but Williams' note mostly clouds the issue. He says he loaned his print to WB ten years ago, and recently as three years ago I was told that WB still lacked decent elements with which to 'fix' the movie -- a collector's print might or might not be good enough, and WB has pretty high standards. When Williams says the film is 'newly restored,' is he saying that something new and unannounced has happened? Only when Warners issues a confirmation will we know.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



September 09, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Emperor in August
Twilight Time
Blu-ray


 This great recent Japanese epic is all but unknown here -- and is the kind of adult historical show that we seem incapable of these days. The intense diplomatic storm at the end of WW2 with an Army command willing to sacrifice the country in a national suicide pact, is given an exciting, thoughtful treatment. Tokyo is all but ashes, yet the militarists want to fight on. Directed by Masato Harada, starring Koji Yakusho, Masahiro Motoki and Tsutomu Yamazaki. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
9/09/17




David Lynch: the Art Life
The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray


 Trailers From Hell's Charlie Largent takes a look at David Lynch's other job: that of the painter in his studio. There are similarities between the canvases and the films and it all adds up to an intriguing portrait of a great artist, by Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm. Charlie also adds insights to the just-completed Twin Peaks Showtime miniseries. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/09/17




The Love of a Woman
Arrow Academy
Blu-ray + DVD


  Welcome to the world of Jean Grémillon, where adult characters work through adult problems without benefit of melodramatic excess. The impressively directed experiences of Micheline Presle's lady doctor on a storm-swept island opts for a progressive point of view, not sentimentality.Co-starring Massimo Girotti and Paolo Stoppa. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Arrow Academy.
9/09/17




and

Love with the Proper Stranger
KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray


 What are two individualistic, highly motivated movie stars supposed to do when faced with an unimaginative studio system eager to misuse their talents? Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen collaborate with a great writer, director and producer for an urban romance with an eye on the sexual double standard. It's a hybrid production: a gritty drama that's also a calculated career move. Street reality guides Robert Mulligan's direction, but he keeps one foot in pure romantic escapism. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/09/17





Hello!

Partly inspired by John Kirk's efforts twenty years ago to locate a missing musical number called 'Coffee Break', Joe Baltake takes on the larger issues behind the show How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, both on stage and film. It is indeed a favorite, partly because the writer-director David Swift befriended me back at MGM. Baltake's September 4 entry at The Passionate Moviegoer is the one to read, but I will put in a plug for my short piece that stirred the pot on this issue back in 1998: Wanted: The Missing 'Coffee Break' Scene.


A great article by Beth Daniels over at Smithsonian.com caught my fancy -- it's How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Sophisticated Political Satire. That's Bullwinkle J. Moose, I'll remind you. Thanks to Edward Sullivan, who gave me the tip for this item. Unlike Savant, author Daniels was too young to see The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle when it was new. Since we kids in 1960 hadn't a clue about many of the show's cultural and political references, she must really have been confused ten years later, when kids had no way of knowing what a big deal Hula Hoops were.

Actually, I only think it was Edward that sent me this link ... Edward Sullivan has been sending me meaningful and useful notes and links forever. I checked, and since he started in 2005, there have been 571 emails from Ed, all of them with something really valuable enclosed. I up 'n' blab that information in this way because I'm against the Facebook idea of a rolling obituary, where we only find out who the good guys were, famous or just friends, after they're gone. So thanks, again Ed.


And, as Gary Teetzel reminds me, the holidays are just around the corner, and you know, I never felt it was a bad idea to, you know, suggest little gift ideas when they arise! Gary found the ideal item, and now we just have to figure out the price. A part of my completely non-binding 'gift suggestion' today appears in the photo above. Assuming the link still works, you can see all of it at this Bonham's Auction Page link. Hey, thanks in advance! I won't ask for new car until next year.

Thanks for reading --- Glenn Erickson



September 04, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.
And since this is Labor Day, have you done YOUR twelve labors, like Steve Reeves?

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Lost World (1925)
Flicker Alley
Blu-ray


 It's the wonder movie of the silent era, which pits five intrepid explorers against Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fantastic South American plateau where marvelous animals from the dawn of time still live. Blackhawk Films and Lobster's latest digital restoration includes footage never before seen in its original tints; it's dedicated to film restorer David Shepard. Extras include an excellent commentary by Nicholas Ciccone, and a new restoration of the silent short subject The Ghost of Slumber Mountain. Starring Wallace Beery, Bessie Love and Lewis Stone. On Blu-ray from Flicker Alley.
9/04/17




La Poison
The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray


 Yes, Love is Definitely a Battlefield and Charlie Largent reports from the front line. Writer-director Sacha Guitry’s caustic 1951 black comedy is about a bad marriage gone worse, and it appears to be a forerunner of How to Murder Your Wife, but with the gloves off. Starring the great Michel Simon, with Jean Debucourt and Jacques Varennes. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
9/04/17




Flipper Season One
Olive Films
Blu-ray


 Back in 1964 a lot of people still thought dolphins were fish, but by the time this TV show was finished, we all knew that our happy undersea friend was smarter than the average bear and lives in a world full of wonder. Ivan Tors' grandly successful Florida-shot family show kept a lot of seagoing movie veterans in green seaweed, including both original 'Creature' Gill Men. With Brian Kelly, Luke Halpin and Tommy Norden, plus a long list of guest stars. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.
9/04/17




and

A 'Close Encounters' Example of Forced Perspective
Savant Article
Blu-ray


 'Close Encounters' awareness is up this week, what with a national mini-release of the 1977 Steven Spielberg hit, so I reached into the bottomless Savant archives for something to show-and-tell. This might be educational for fans of old-school visual effects, in this case, I focus on the miniature-making genius of Gregory Jein.
9/04/17





Hello!

If you've already read my just-previous Krakatoa East of Java review, it just became a lot longer, with an 'additional information' letter from correspondent "B," aka 'woggly.' Maybe it's too much, maybe not, but how can one resist MORE knowledge about this unforgettable picture. The producers liked it -- they covered half a block in New York with a poster.

And, to sneak away early on this Labor Day, I'll finish with a link from Gary Teetzel, for an item everyone needs: a Godzilla / Mothra Rug. Looks good to me.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



September 02, 2017

Today at the Cinerama Dome -- who'd have thunk it?


Savant's new reviews today are:

Krakatoa East of Java
KL Studio Classics
Blu-ray


 'Things Blowing Up Good' has been surefire entertainment since the beginning of cinema, but this ill-fated Cinerama extravaganza about the biggest explosion in recorded human history limps along despite some pretty darned impressive volcanic effects. It's quite an entertaining spectacle, with various good performers in three soap opera plots, either overacting or loitering about with nothing to do. And don't forget the from-left-field musical striptease. An all-star cast slugs it out with some lively special effects courtesy of cult fave designer Eugèné Lourié. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
9/02/17




Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex*
(*But Were Afraid to Ask)

Twilight Time
Blu-ray


 Trailers From Hell's Charlie Largent bolts the door and, in the company of a consenting adult, watches the terrific new Blu-ray of Woody Allen's 1972 spoof of David Reuben's bestseller. Woody Allen has us in his pocket from the first shot of bunnies behind a vintage make-out ballad -- his encyclopedic look at sex comedy has been in and out of good taste several times already. John Carradine's timeless performance as a perverted sex researcher was nominated for an Oscar, but he turned it down (is anybody reading?). On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
9/02/17




and

The Law and Jake Wade
The Warner Archive Collection
Blu-ray


 Many of MGM's productions were scraping bottom in 1958, yet the studio found one more acceptable western vehicle for their last big star still on contract. Only-slightly corrupt marshal Robert Taylor edges toward a showdown with the thoroughly corrupt Richard Widmark in an economy item given impressive locations and the sound direction of John Sturges. With Patricia Owens, Robert Middleton and Henry Silva as a low down no-goodnik who hates coyotes. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.
9/02/17





Hello! We're melting in Los Angeles on a Labor Day weekend.

The newest radio show from the DVD Classics Corner On The Air is Dick Dinman & Eddie Muller Reach Their Breaking Point. If that isn't self-explanatory, host Dinman and TCM's 'Noir Alley' cable host to sing the praises of Michael Curtiz’ John Garfield masterpiece, which reached Blu-ray a couple of months back via The Criterion Collection's excellent Blu-ray. Eddie Muller considers it Curtiz' best directed feature; I wonder if Alan K. Rode's new book will concur.

Is this for real? Joe Dante has been circulating this link to a Sun article, with a video, of what is supposed to be a real water creature. You have to look hard to get the name of the thing, and the locale is hard to pick out as well ... the article and video are titled Terrifying blob creature that looks like a BRAIN discovered in a spooky lake called ‘The Lost Lagoon’. I don't know . . . the hazy description makes the thing sound like a 'composite organism' of the kind seen in the old sci-fi thriller Quatermass 2.

What with the interest in Arrow Video's new Blu-ray of Erik the Conqueror, correspondent Edward Sullivan has sent in a new link to performances by The Kessler Sisters, Alice and Ellen, who are still kicking over a half century later. I've had this blurry music video-like Scopitone Kessler Sisters do 'Quando Quando Quando' song & dance number on my desktop for ten years now -- the multiple languages and peppy orchestration appeals. The flashy 2016 Kessler Sisters TV performance found by Ed isn't as exciting, but it sure is a testament to the powers of longevity. Good for them -- !

And judging by the reviews just in, Guillermo del Toro's new fantasy picture The Shape of Water may be the del Toro smash hit we've wanted to see for years. It stars Sally Hawkins in what reads like perfect casting, a role suited to a master 'silent' actress like Judith Evelyn. (Extra points if you know who she is.) I stopped after two paragraphs into the Daily Variety rave review and am going to keep my head down in an effort to see the movie with a clean slate. It's nice to be excited about something new again, and I hope all the positive thinking pays off.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson


Don't forget to write Savant at [email protected].

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