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[Savant Links] [Year Five Report]
Write Savant (Glenn Erickson) at

Tuesday July 26, 2016

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Savant's new reviews today are:

'Neath Arizona Skies
Olive Films

 This early John Wayne oater displays the natural star quality and winning personality that sustained him through the 1930s -- it's a naïve, charming western that features some of The Duke's closest early associates, like Gabby Hayes and Yakima Canutt. Wayne is a true-blue cowpoke who comes to the defense of a half-Indian girl being cheated out of her oil lease money -- those serial western bad guys are worse than Beagle Boys. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.

Miss Sadie Thompson 3-D
Twilight Time
3-D Blu-ray

 Rita Hayworth in 3-D, in a hot story that was acceptable for 1925 and 1932, but too racy for repressed 1953. On a tropical island, a prostitute cabaret singer battles a fiery preacher missionary inspector for her freedom. Hayworth is dynamite, and it takes all of her talent to keep the show afloat, with so much interference from the interfering censors. José Ferrar is the intolerant sort-of churchman, and Aldo Ray is the Marine with Sadie on the Brain. Filmed in Hawaii; the depth effects are very nice. On 3-D Blu-ray from Twilight Time.


Crimes of Passion
Arrow Video
Blu-ray + DVD

 Flamboyant artist Ken Russell was eventually sidelined for what the industry calls 'excess,' but he was a genuine artist, as indicated by this, his last American film. Absolutely beyond the pale in terms of polite viewing, it's by turns awkward and insightful, profane and... more profane. Kathleen Turner and Anthony Perkins turn in terrific performances; Russell gets straight 'A's in the shock and awe department, even if we don't buy the film's thesis about sex and human relationships. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Arrow Video.

Hello! The week's moving along pretty well, with more discs in from Kino, Twilight Time and the Warner Archive... rather than research a column today, I'm going to concentrate on catching up with more reviews, and hopefully put myself back on schedule. Today's fare coincidentally features two films about fallen women clashing with sort-of religious men, and one more fun early talkie western featuring John Wayne. Although it scares me, I'm going to give Alain Resnais' Muriel a try -- it's not exactly the easiest film to understand.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson

Saturday July 23, 2016

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Savant's new reviews today are:

Mill of the Stone Women
(Die Mühle der versteinerten Frauen)
Region B Blu-ray

 Mad doctors! Mortiferous maidens! Horrifying hallucinations! A key early Euro-horror and one of the very first in color, this French-Italian production is a medical horrorshow crossed with a folk tale -- its centerpiece is a vintage carillon attraction in an old mill; creepy Scilla Gabel is the minatory seducer who bridges the gap between life and death. This Deutsche release offers three separate international versions of Giorgio Ferroni's gothic thriller. On Region B Blu-ray from Subkultur.

Gun the Man Down
Olive Films

 This almost completely forgotten '50s western couldn't compete with the big productions, but it has a good cast -- James Arness, Robert J. Wilke, Emile Meyer, Harry Carey Jr. Plus early work by writer Burt Kennedy, and the debuts of actress Angie Dickinson and director Andrew V. McLaglen. Miss Dickinson is like a dream walking, only younger than we're used to seeing her; McLaglen's direction more or less went downhill from here forward. On Blu-ray from Olive Films.


Silk Stockings
The Warner Archive Collection

 It's in glorious Technicolor Metrocolor, CinemaScope and StereoPhonic Sound! Fred Astaire's final MGM musical gives him Cyd Charisse and a Cole Porter score, plus some nice Hermes Pan choreography. The script and Rouben Mamoulian's direction aren't the best, but the combined magic of the musical and dancing talent saves the day. Extra added attractions: showgirl comedienne Janis Paige, and dear old Peter Lorre as a sad-faced Commissar. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.


The final week of cutting was intense, but I'm now back on the review-writing warpath, with important new discs in from Kino Lorber and Twilight Time... we'll be getting into gear without delay. Some announcements:

Mike Ballew informs me that the 3-D Film Archive is getting up a campaign to restore a rare 1960 3D feature called September Storm with Mark Stevens and Joanne Dru. The details are over at this Kickstarter page.

Correspondent Cameron Mackert directed me to a French page called retour sur les lieux de tournages/return to the filming locations, where can be found location comparison photo coverage for, among other movies, Giu la testa and La valleé de Gwangi.

Ear-to-the-ground informer-agent Gary Teetzel has told me that an Australian Blu-ray of Frank Capra's Lost Horizon is being promoted with this text blurb:

"In 2014, Sony Pictures Entertainment completed an all digital restoration at Colorworks, using the preservation negative created in 1998 as the primary source, scanned at 4K and integrated with the director's personal nitrate print. Additional material was located in a badly worn 16mm print of the scene of the first meeting with the High Lama, where previously missing footage had been represented by the original soundtrack and still images."

Director's personal nitrate print? Does this mean that an intact copy of the 1937 film exists? Apparently not, if they had to source a 16mm copy. Just the same, maybe I'll finally get to review that fascinating old show.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson

3 Bad Men
 What's this? John Ford's final silent western is as exciting and entertaining as his later classics. A trio of horse thieves turn noble when given the responsibility of a young woman lost on the prairie; Ford gives the show comedy, drama and spectacle. It was filmed in 1926, yet is instantly recognizable as Ford's work; his brilliant, effortless compositions and storytelling style is fully developed. With George O'Brien, Olive Borden, Tom Santschi, J. Farrell MacDonald and Frank Campeau, and also a peek at the cute Phyllis Haver. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.

Night and Fog
 The first and most powerful Holocaust reassessment extends the horror with the assertion that, as early as 1955, its reality is already fading from the world memory. Alain Resnais uses the form of the art movie and his own essay-film innovations to communicate the yawning wound in the human consciousness -- a moral disconnect that allows the repeat of the same intolerable crimes. This new edition comes with a French documentary about the political circumstances under which the film was produced. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.

Scott of the Antarctic
 There's nothing more earnest than an English national epic: the story of the ill-fated polar explorer is told straight and clean, like a 'Boy's Own' adventure that unfortunately finishes in a low-key disaster. It's a beautifully filmed primer on how to behave in the face of doom. Filmed in Technicolor by Jack Cardiff and starring John Mills, Derek Bond, Harold Warrender, James Robertson Justice, Kenneth More and Reginald Beckwith, and featuring a team of ponies and a couple-dozen hardy sled dogs. And look fast to see a young Christopher Lee. On Region B Blu-ray from Studiocanal UK.

To Have and Have Not
 Bogart finds Bacall and movie history is made; for once the make-believe romantic chemistry on-screen is abundantly real. Howard Hawks' wartime Caribbean adventure plays in grand style, with his patented mix of precision and casual cool. Walter Brennan gets to ask people if they wuz ever stung by a dead bee, and Hoagy Carmichael puts a smile on our face with his rendition of "How Little We Know." This is one of Howard Hawks' best, and one of the most entertaining pictures of the 'forties. With Marcel Dalio and Dolores Moran. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.

Carnival of Souls
 Cinema Art from Lawrence, Kansas?  Industrial filmmaker Herk Harvey comes through with a classic horror gem for the ages. A haunted church organist begins to suspect that her hallucinations are more than just nerves. And who is that ghoulish man who keeps appearing in reflections, or popping up out of nowhere? What was always a 'special' ghost tale now looks like inspired filmmaking thanks in part to a dazzling new transfer; with excellent extras. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.

With the Ghouls in Lawrence, Kansas
 PBS producer Bill Shaffer recounts his experience documenting a cast and crew reunion for Carnival of Souls back in 1989, an assignment that developed into becoming an associate producer on Criterion's first DVD of the 1962 feature film. Herk Harvey, John Clifford, Candace Hilligoss all returned for a re-premiere of the genuine cult item that put Kansas on the map of horror film history. Harvey attended in his ghost makeup from the film, as Shaffer's photos recorded. By Bill Shaffer.

 The director-centric 1970s were a time for pushing the boundaries of 'acceptable' film content, but John Byrum's witty and profane period piece about a Hollywood porn director was a step too far. Maybe three steps too far. Richard Dreyfuss leads five utterly fearless actors in a witty and wicked dissection of movieland decadence. The lineup includes Jessica Harper, Veronica Cartwright, and in his first feature of note, Bob Hoskins. The all-star period piece plays out in one location in real time. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.

Invisible Invaders
 "Earth Given 24 Hours to Surrender!" Invisible murderous moon maniacs invade, with invisible troops and invisible flying saucers! John Agar, Jean Byron and John Carradine do their best to keep this underfed sci-fi turnip on its feet --- and we diehard monster fans love it. Carradine and his echo-chamber voice make an appearance; also starring every stock shot known to man. On the other hand, even George Romero said that this picture was the prime inspiration for Night of the Living Dead. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.

July 2016
 The Daughter of Dawn  Blu-ray  Blood and Black Lace  Blu-ray  The Taking of Pelham One Two Three  Blu-ray
June 2016
 99 River Street  Blu-ray  The In-Laws  Blu-ray  Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan  Blu-ray  The Panic in Needle Park  Blu-ray  The Ninth Configuration  Region B Blu-ray  Forbidden Hollywood Volume 10: Guilty Hands, The Mouthpiece, Secrets of the French Police, The Match King, Ever in My Heart  DVD  Appointment with Crime  Blu-ray  Night Will Fall  DVD  The Hound of the Baskervilles  Blu-ray  Fantastic Planet  Blu-ray  Rollercoaster  Blu-ray  La Chienne  Blu-ray  Gold  Blu-ray  The Magnetic Monster  Blu-ray  Shield for Murder  Blu-ray  They Were Expendable  Blu-ray  Doctor Strangelove  Blu-ray  The Wave  Blu-ray  Hello, My Name is Doris  Blu-ray  Here Comes Mr. Jordan  Blu-ray  Le Amiche  Blu-ray  She Wore a Yellow Ribbon  Blu-ray  Antonia's Line  Blu-ray  The Whip Hand  DVD
May 2016
 The Angry Hills  Blu-ray  City of Women  Blu-ray  The Player  Blu-ray  Cat Ballou  Blu-ray  Hail, Caesar!  Blu-ray + DVD  Dark Passage  Blu-ray  Journey to Space  4K Ultra-HD, Blu-ray + 3-D Blu-ray  Blood Bath  Blu-ray  Woman on the Run  Blu-ray + DVD  The King and Four Queens  Blu-ray  Too Late for Tears  Blu-ray + DVD  La fièvre monte à El Pao  Blu-ray + DVD  Buster Keaton: The Shorts Collection 1917-1923  Blu-ray  Eureka  Blu-ray  The VVitch: A New-England Folktale  Blu-ray  Wim Wenders: The Road Trilogy : Alice in the Cities, Wrong Move, Kings of the Road  Blu-ray  Edge of Doom  DVD  The Private Affairs of Bel Ami  Blu-ray  Garden of Evil  Blu-ray  That's Sexploitation!  Blu-ray  The Naked Island  Blu-ray  A Married Woman  Blu-ray  Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood  DVD  The Chase (1946)  Blu-ray  Mustang  Blu-ray  Roman Polanski's What?  Blu-ray  A Kiss Before Dying  Blu-ray  Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  Blu-ray  Phoenix  Blu-ray  Candy  Blu-ray
April 2016
 In a Lonely Place  Blu-ray  Janis: Little Girl Blue  DVD  Where to Invade Next  Blu-ray  Julia  Blu-ray   Theory of Obscurity: A Film About the Residents  Blu-ray  Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street  Blu-ray  When You're Older Dear Adam  DVD  Berlin Around the Corner  DVD  In the French Style  Blu-ray  Three Brothers  Region B Blu-ray + DVD  The Second Civil War  DVD  Father of the Bride  Blu-ray  Cutter's Way  Blu-ray  Dillinger  Blu-ray  Try and Get Me!  Blu-ray   The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates  Blu-ray  The Gallant Hours  Blu-ray  Exodus  Blu-ray  The City of the Dead  Blu-ray  Suspicion  Blu-ray  Blue Denim  DVD  Panic in Year Zero!  Blu-ray  The Stuff  Blu-ray  Alexander the Great  Blu-ray  Journey to the Seventh Planet  Blu-ray  "Manos" The Hands of Fate  Blu-ray
March 2016
 The Purple Plain  Blu-ray  Anastasia  Blu-ray  Brooklyn  Blu-ray  Susan Slept Here  Blu-ray  Dreams Rewired  DVD  The Hateful Eight  Blu-ray + DVD  A Brighter Summer Day  Blu-ray  Kill Me Again  Blu-ray  Vessel  DVD  The Manchurian Candidate  Blu-ray  Losing Ground  Blu-ray  Spies (Spione)  Blu-ray  Michael Collins  Blu-ray  Paris Belongs to Us  Blu-ray  Her Majesty, Love  DVD  I Knew Her Well  Blu-ray  The Trip  Blu-ray  Psych-Out  Blu-ray  Spring Takes Time  DVD  The Strangler  DVD  When Eight Bells Toll  Blu-ray  Murders in the Rue Morgue &  The Dunwich Horror  Blu-ray  The Big Heat  Blu-ray  Bad Boy  DVD  The Decline of Western Civilization + Part II The Metal Years  Blu-ray  Contagion  Blu-ray  Donovan's Brain  Blu-ray  The Hawaiians  Blu-ray  Revolt of the Slaves  DVD
February 2016
 The Vincent Price Collection III :
Master of the World, Tower of London, Diary of a Madman, Cry of the Banshee  Blu-ray  Cowboy  Blu-ray  The Graduate  Blu-ray  Key Largo  Blu-ray  Childhood's End  Blu-ray  The Black Sleep  Blu-ray  5 Dolls for an August Moon  Region B Blu-ray + DVD  Oh! What a Lovely War  DVD  L'Inhumaine  Blu-ray  Spotlight   Blu-ray + DVD  Where the Sidewalk Ends  Blu-ray  Millennium + R.O.T.O.R  Blu-ray  The Vikings  Blu-ray  Inside Llewyn Davis  Blu-ray  All Things Must Pass, The Rise and Fall of Tower Records  DVD  The Big Sleep  Blu-ray  The Emigrants & The New Land  Blu-ray  The Happy Ending  Blu-ray  GOG 3-D  3-D Blu-ray  Woman in the Moon  Blu-ray  Deep Red  Blu-ray  Station West  DVD  Harlock: Space Pirate 3-D  3-D Blu-ray  Crimson Peak   Blu-ray + DVD  Bridge of Spies   Blu-ray + DVD  Death By Hanging  Blu-ray
January 2016
 Gilda  Blu-ray  The Last Detail  Blu-ray  The Wrong Man  Blu-ray  Hawaii  Blu-ray  Beyond the Valley of the Dolls  Region B Blu-ray  The Southerner  Blu-ray  Curse of the Faceless Man  Blu-ray  I Confess  Blu-ray  The Undesirable  Blu-ray  Ex Machina  Blu-ray  Let There Be Light: John Huston's Wartime Documentaries  Blu-ray  Wind Across the Everglades  DVD  From the Terrace  Blu-ray  Figures in a Landscape  Blu-ray  Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things  Blu-ray  Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)  Blu-ray  The American Friend  Blu-ray  Bitter Rice  Blu-ray  Hitler's Children  DVD  Everest 3-D  3-D Blu-ray + Digital HD  The Look of Silence  Blu-ray  The Complete Lady Snowblood  Blu-ray  Four Men and a Prayer  DVD  The Captive City  Blu-ray  The Beginning or The End  DVD  Mysterious Island Encore Edition  Blu-ray  Nightmares  Blu-ray  Born Free  Blu-ray  Faust (1926)  Blu-ray  The Girl Most Likely  DVD

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A Chronological List of DVD Savant's Reviews for 2014
... and for 2013 ... 2012 ... and 2011
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