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

Saturday October 18, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

(They Came from Within)

Region B Blu-ray + PAL DVD

  David Cronenberg's first commercial feature is barely more than a softcore porn film, but in conception and execution it's a little masterpiece. All of Cronenberg's main horror themes are here, in an "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"- like tale that makes perfect biological sense. Barbara Steele has an enticing and revealing supporting role. The extras are excellent -- a key reason to consider accessing foreign-produced Blu-rays. A Dual-Format edition in Region B Blu-ray and PAL DVD from Arrow Video UK.


  Billy Wilder's last good movie is an intense, curious critique of Hollywood, a round-up of previous Wilder situations and a strange thriller that stops midway to explain itself through extended flashbacks. It's all to tell the story of a retired legend, a sort of malign Greta Garbo who goes too far to maintain her glorious image. With a terrific cast -- William Holden, Marthe Keller, Hildegard Knef, José Ferrer, Frances Sternhagen and (ulp) Stephen Collins. It's a new restoration of what was once a difficult-to-see title. In Blu-ray from Olive Films.

Yankee Doodle Dandy

  THE most successful all-time patriotic crowdpleaser tells the happy story of George M. Cohan, the toast of Broadway who wrote both songs and plays and performed as well. If he wasn't a legend already, star James Cagney seals the deal in some of the most energy-charged dance scenes ever. The delightful Joan Leslie takes second billing with Walter Huston and Rosemary DeCamp not far behind. With a ton of "Warner Night at the Movies" extras, including impressive newsreels and a frightening WW2 morale propaganda movie that pushes the edge of the format. In Blu-ray (even the cartoon extras) from The Warner Archive Collection.


(Merci pour le chocolat)


  Claude Chabrol rolls out a cultivated mystery about domestic murder -- or the threat of same. Isabel Huppert leads an attractive cast in this low-key tale about a wealthy Swiss family, a famous pianist and his new pupil, babies switched at birth and a quiet, undetected psychopathic killer. Great music from the director's son is here, along with the Chabrol mark of even-handed calm from which dastardly crimes always seems to emerge. And since this is Switzerland, don't forget to drink your chocolate. In Blu-ray from The Cohen Collecion.


It's an exciting week with plenty of good discs to review ...pick and choose carefully should you move to buy.

Remember how I said in my review for the Universal Classic Monsters Collection that it would be good if some of the lesser horror titles were to be released on disc? Gary Teetzel just sent me this link to The Universal Vault, where shows like The Mystery of Marie Roget, Horror Island and Captive Wild Woman are up for sale. I'm not pushing them, just educating myself that they are indeed available.

Finally, a Trailers from Hell trailer for a movie that makes John Landis struggle for an accurate description -- Roger Vadim's Pretty Maids All in a Row. Cheer on Landis as he tries to explain this most enjoyably tasteless of all misogynist sex fantasies!

Two more great Gary Teetzel links, and this time they're of the musical variety: The Godzilla Theme played on traditional Japanese instruments, and a bizzaro Ukranian Political Ad featuring a musical Darth Vader. The Balalaika Strikes Back? Godzilla at Cherry Blossom Time?

Thanks for reading --- Glenn Erickson

Tuesday October 14, 2014

Savant's new reviews today are:

True Confessions

  An impressive pairing of actors Robert DeNiro and Robert Duvall elevates this drama of corruption in late- '40s Los Angeles to an unheralded classic. Ulu Grosbard's strong direction highlights a script about brothers dealing with a scandal so big, there's no way to do the right thing without doing terrible harm as well. The supporting cast is magnificent: Charles Durning, Rose Gregorio, Kenneth McMillan, Ed Flanders, Cyril Cusack, Burgess Meredith. It isn't neo-noir, it's period noir of the best kind, inspired by the famous Black Dahlia case. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.

Dragonfly Squadron
Blu-ray + 3-D

  This unique disc is the premiere of a 1953 3-D movie that was never publicly exhibited in stereo until a recent restoration by the 3-D Film Archive. John Hodiak is commanding a Korean fighter plane field when hostilities break out, and the North Koreans' Russian tanks are on the way. Barbara Britton is the doctor's wife he's fallen in love with, while other parts are filled by Gerald Mohr, Chuck Connors and Adam Williams. The vintage 3-D has been well restored for this modest but entertaining Cold War pot-boiler. Who's the Commie spy sabotaging the planes? In Blu-ray + 3-D from Olive Films.

Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

  Universal offers new Blu-rays of several Spielberg titles in conjunction with a couple of shows that fans have most likely already bought -- it's like the Alfred Hitchcock Collections, all over again! But the image and sound quality of what's offered is top-rank. Jaws, E.T., Jurassic Park and The Lost World; Jurassic Park 2 are back, but the Blus of Duel and Sugarland Express are new, and the disc of 1941 includes the theatrical cut and the extended (by almost half an hour) preview version, both beautifully restored picture and sound. It's a pricey, tempting package! Blu-ray from Universal Home Entertainment.


The Blob

  Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont had a hit with this remake of the 1958 creep 'n' leap classic. No Steve McQueen this time but the same exact story with the addition of a government conspiracy, a willingness to kill off all the interesting characters, and a surfeit of gory blob attacks. The victims melting and dissolving really look inconvenienced. Twilight Time includes plenty of extras on this '80s favorite that's bound to be an early sell-out, even with the company's thoughtful new policies that discourage scalpers. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.


I had a fun, busy weekend with a welcome surprise visit. When not entertaining it's been disc-scrutinizing time. I'll have to see some of them again under less stringent circumstances. Don't worry, just like anybody else, I often watch a show just to relax and veg out. Preferably something I've seen 40 times before. Is this a real life? I'm certainly not suffering.

Last week the Warner Archives Collection announced Blu-rays of The Picture of Dorian Gray and Pete Kelly's Blues; today they've added the Joan Crawford noir Possessed (1947) to the schedule. And Gary Teetzel has tipped me off that other sites are reporting that The TCM Vault Collection will be releasing a Blu-ray of Columbia's Howard Hawks classic Only Angels Have Wings. So we have more vintage winners to look forward to.

Gary also sends me a link that's kind of fun -- Carl Mahnke's compilation of familiar musical themes used often in movies, TV and advertising, identifying their correct names and composers. It's a good mental quiz: 79 Instrumental songs everyone knows, but no one knows the name of. The page has a zillion hits, so maybe you saw it years ago. In that case, be more frustrated with this second batch of quizzable tunes.

Finally, helpful Norwegian correspondent Even Bjerkellen reminds me to mention a couple of classic Films Noir recently restored by the Film Noir Foundation: Woman on the Run (1950) and The Guilty 1947. The story can be read on the News Page over at the Film Noir Foundation site.

I have 1941 on the brain this weekend. Here's
a picture of an airplane test on the Ocean Park set in 1978.

Thanks for reading! Glenn Erickson

My Darling Clementine
  Ford's best non- John Wayne western tells the mythical version of the feud between the Earps and the Clantons in Tombstone. Henry Fonda is the best frontier Marshal ever, and Victor Mature is Doc Holiday. The extras include the longer preview version and Bob Gitt's breakdown of the differences, plus a featurette on the real Wyatt Earp. Also present: a silent western short subject with John Ford co-starring. In Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.

Drum Beat
  Delmer Daves' movie about making peace with the Indians is really a call to deal harshly with rebellion in any form (think Civil Rights). Peace envoy Alan Ladd ignores his Modoc sweetheart Marisa Pavan in favor of Washington beauty Audrey Dalton. Played by a young Charles Bronson, rebel Indian chieftain Captain Jack is conceived as an incorrigible juvenile delinquent, wholly worthy of eradication. A sprawling story with a big cast, filmed in Sedona Arizona in early, extra-wide CinemaScope. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.

Billion Dollar Brain
  Ken Russell's first film is a marvelous Harry Palmer spy caper filmed in snowy Finland, with Michael Caine discovering that Karl Malden is using a giant computer to engineer a fake revolution in Latvia. He's cheating Texas millionaire Ed Begley, a crazy anti-communist preparing a private invasion. Françoise Dorléac is the treacherous beauty in furs and Oscar Homolka the jolly Russian general returning from Funeral in Berlin. With impressive music by Richard Rodney Bennett. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.

Run Silent, Run Deep
  Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster command a U.S. sub on a forbidden personal mission of vengeance, seeking out the Japanese destroyer that sank Gable's sub a year before. Director Robert Wise keeps the film on course while making sure that the large male cast comes across well -- Jack Warden, Brad Dexter, Don Rickles, Nick Cravat, Joe Maross, Joel Fluellen. For 1958 the show was the height of realism, and even the miniature sub work is of a high degree of quality. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.

The Last of the Unjust
  Claude Lanzmann's nearly four-hour documentary is almost entirely taken up with an interview of Benjamin Murmelstein, the last 'Elder of the Jews' to run the 'model work camp' Theresienstadt for the Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann. His testimony is a study in memory, the unreliabiity of historical records and the horrifying politics of death that enter into everything, even a bureaucrat's efforts to preserve the lives of his charges. Branded by some as a war criminal, Murmelstein wasn't called to Eichmann's trial, even though he worked for him for six years. A self-contained moral dilemma set aside during Lanzmann's work on Shoah, this is an important historical document. In Blu-ray from Cohen Media Group.

Edge of Tomorrow
  Live. Die. Repeat.   A clever, exciting and funny screenplay, good direction and a fine peformance from Tom Cruise (he plays a jerk) grace a Sci-fi combat action spectacle that rather brilliantly mixes ideas from Groundhog Day, Starship Troopers, Tron and even The Americanization of Emily. Alien tumbleweeds have all but conquered the Earth when a reluctant soldier discovers that he's inherited their secret for victory: a time-warping ability to re-play a battle until he gets it right. Emily Blunt is Cruise's super-soldier warrior companion, and the capable director is Doug Liman. "Live - Die - Rinse - Repeat! In Blu-ray + DVD + HD Digital from Warner Home Video.

  Raro -- I mean rare -- is right. Cult director Monte Hellman's 1988 pirate-survival-despotic kingdom microcosm mini-epic is an exception to the rule: it never got a real release, yet is one of the director's best pictures. A disfigured misanthrope enslaves captives on a desert island and takes what he wants from them -- obedience, sex -- with threats of violence. It's brutal and raw but also honest and strangely poetic. Beautifully filmed in the Canary Islands; with Everett McGill, Michael Madsen, Fabio Testi, Maru Valdivieso and Joseph Culp. It has also been restored to full length, with the help of the director. Discoveries don't get any odder than this. In Blu-ray from Rarovideo.

The Lieutenant Wore Skirts
  Tasked with concocting a follow-up to The Seven-Year Itch with new star Sheree North, Fox's chosen challenge to Marilyn Monroe, ace comedy director Frank Tashlin finds new ways to emasculate top banana leading man Tom Ewell -- he becomes a military housewife when his missus enlists in the Navy. The CinemaScope and color farce rushes from one teasing sex situation to the next, all to humiliate the all-American male. Also with a scorchingly hot Rita Moreno, a new "Girl from Upstairs." In DVD-R from Fox Cinema Archives.

October 2014
 Arrowsmith  Bloody Mama  Blu-ray  La Bamba  Blu-ray
September 2014
 Chef  Blu-ray  The Vincent Price Collection II: House on Haunted Hill, Return of the Fly, The Raven, The Comedy of Terrors, The Last Man on Earth, Tomb of Ligeia, Dr. Phibes Rises Again  Blu-ray  The Universal Classic Monsters collection: Dracula, DrĂ¡cula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, Werewolf of London, Dracula's Daughter, Son of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man Returns, The Invisible Woman, The Mummy's Hand, The Wolf Man, The Ghost of Frankenstein, The Mummy's Ghost, The Mummy's Tomb, Invisible Agent, Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, Son of Dracula, House of Frankenstein, The Mummy's Curse, The Invisible Man's Revenge, House of Dracula, She-Wolf of London, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, Revenge of the Creature, The Creature Walks Among Us  DVD  Che!  Blu-ray  The White Tower  The Young Savages  Blu-ray  Night of the Comet  Region B U.K. Blu-ray  To Be and To Have  The Moonshine War  The Killer Elite  Blu-ray +  Noon Wine  Blu-ray  Brute Force  Region B U.K. Blu-ray  The 'Burbs  Region B (UK) Blu-ray  The Dogs of War  Blu-ray  The Innocents  Blu-ray  Hangmen Also Die!  Blu-ray  Roman Polanski's Macbeth  Blu-ray  Across 110th Street  Blu-ray  Black Sunday  Blu-ray CANCELLED  Black Sabbath  Blu-ray CANCELLED  Ghostbusters  Blu-ray  Ghostbusters II  Blu-ray  Eraserhead  Blu-ray  The Buddy Holly Story  Blu-ray  The Death Kiss  Blu-ray  The Big Operator  Blu-ray  The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden  The Great Race  Blu-ray  Distant Drums  Blu-ray  God's Pocket  Blu-ray  Queen Margot  Blu-ray  Seizure  Blu-ray  The Secret of Santa Vittoria  Blu-ray  Captain America: The Winter Soldier  Blu-ray  Juggernaut  Blu-ray  Vengeance is Mine  Blu-ray  What's New Pussycat  Blu-ray  Follow that Dream  Blu-ray
August 2014
 Man Hunt  Blu-ray  High School Confidential!  Blu-ray  Out of the Clear Blue Sky  7 Faces of Dr. Lao  On the Beach  Blu-ray  Testament  Arch of Triumph  Blu-ray   Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!  Blu-ray  Call Her Savage  Pickpocket  Blu-ray  Out of the Past  Blu-ray  The Unforgiven  Blu-ray  Wildcat Bus  The Essential Jacques Demy: Lola, Bay of Angels, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Donkey Skin and Une chambre en ville  Blu-ray  Bankers of God: The Calvi Affair  Blu-ray  Marty  Blu-ray  Performance  Blu-ray  Scanners  Blu-ray
July 2014
 Werner Herzog, The Collection: Even Dwarfs Started Small, The Land of Silence and Darkness, Fata Morgana, Aguirre the Wrath of God, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Heart of Glass, Strozek, Woyzeck, Nosferatu the Vampyre, Fitzcarraldo, Ballad of the Little Soldier, Where the Green Ants Dream, Cobra Verde, Lessons of Darkness, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, My Best Fiend  Blu-ray  Savant Article: Military Boomer Movie Confessions  Dark Crimes Volume Two: Ministry of Fear, You and Me, Undertow, Hollywood Story  Paris Blues  Blu-ray  Born Yesterday  Blu-ray  Witness for the Prosecution  Blu-ray  Hearts and Minds  Blu-ray  Violent Saturday  Blu-ray  The North Star + Armored Attack!  Blu-ray  The Scalphunters  Blu-ray  The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes  Blu-ray  Caught  Blu-ray  Picnic at Hanging Rock  Blu-ray  Woman's World  The Lost Moment  Blu-ray  I Vinti (The Vanquished)  Blu-ray  The Time Machine  Blu-ray  A Hard Day's Night  Blu-ray
June 2014
 Operation Petticoat  Blu-ray  Judex  Blu-ray + DVD  Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid  Blu-ray  L'eclisse  Blu-ray  World on a Wire  Blu-ray  Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison  Blu-ray  All that Heaven Allows  Blu-ray  What Price Hollywood?  Crack-Up  The Train  Blu-ray  The Great Flood  The Man from Laramie  Blu-ray  Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq  Kismet  Blu-ray  The Max Linder Slapstick Symposium Collection  Home of the Brave  Blu-ray  Sullivan's Travels  Region B Blu-ray  Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide  The Nutty Professor 50th Anniversary  Blu-ray  Weekend of a Champion  Bible Quiz
May 2014
 Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?  Prime Cut  Blu-ray  Here Comes the Navy  Red River  Blu-ray  Fate is the Hunter  Blu-ray  Warner World War II Collection: The Big Red One, Where Eagles Dare, The Dirty Dozen, George Stevens D-Day to Berlin (DVD), Memphis Belle, Battle of the Bulge, Defiance  Blu-ray  Two Rode Together  Blu-ray  Johnny Come Lately  Blu-ray  The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou  Blu-ray  The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection: South Pacific, The Sound of Music, State Fair, The King and I, Carousel, Liliom, Oklahoma!  Blu-ray  Monte Walsh  Blu-ray  Overlord  Blu-ray  Flying Tigers  Blu-ray  Il sorpasso  Blu-ray  The Flying Dutchman  Thunderbirds are GO! &  Thunderbird 6  Blu-ray  Wild at Heart  Blu-ray  Memphis Belle  Blu-ray  Ace in the Hole  Blu-ray + DVD  Midnight Lace  White Zombie  Blu-ray + DVD  A Brief History of Time  Blu-ray  Forever Amber  Sorcerer  Blu-ray  Backlash  All-Region Blu-ray  Nosferatu the Vampyre  Blu-ray  The Wind and the Lion  Blu-ray  The Inspector Lavardin Collection  Blu-ray  Show Boat  Professor Mamlock  Dante's Inferno  The Trials of Muhammad Ali
April 2014
 All the King's Men  Blu-ray  The Revengers  Blu-ray  Young at Heart  Blu-ray  The Freshman  Blu-ray + DVD  Get Carter  Blu-ray  King of the Hill  Blu-ray + DVD  Man Without a Star  All-Region Blu-ray  Broadway Danny Rose  Blu-ray  Disco & Atomic War  The Pawnbroker  Blu-ray  Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation  Blu-ray  Touch of Evil  Blu-ray  Used Cars  Blu-ray  Villain  Double Indemnity  Blu-ray  Wonderwall  Blu-ray  Let the Fire Burn  Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia  Blu-ray  The People versus Paul Crump  Men in War  Blu-ray   Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics IV: So Dark The Night, Johnny O'Clock, Walk A Crooked Mile, Between Midnight And Dawn, Walk East On Beacon!  Stranger on the Prowl  Blu-ray  Providence  Region 2 DVD  King Kong vs Godzilla  Blu-ray  The Hidden Fortress  Blu-ray + DVD  Riot in Cell Block 11  Blu-ray  The Bamboo Saucer  Blu-ray  Hatari!  Blu-ray
March 2014
 The Killers (1964) Region B Blu-ray  The Eddy Duchin Story  Blu-ray  The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah  Cry Danger  Blu-ray  The Front  Blu-ray  The Swimmer  Blu-ray + DVD  Gunfight at the O.K. Corral  Blu-ray  Free and Easy + Estrellados  Roadblock  The Hunchback of Notre Dame  Blu-ray  Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom  Blu-ray  American Hustle  Blu-ray  The Americanization of Emily  Blu-ray  Thief  Blu-ray  Dead Kids Strange Behavior  Blu-ray  Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me Theatrical Review  The Nuisance  Invitation  5 Fingers  ...Et mourir de plaisir (...und vor Lust zu Sterben, Blood and Roses)  Region 2 DVD  Crimes and Misdemeanors  Blu-ray  Tess  Blu-ray + DVD  The Blue Max  Blu-ray  Foreign Correspondent  Blu-ray + DVD  Margin for Error  Jupiter's Darling
February 2014
 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot  Blu-ray  Thirst  Blu-ray  Du Rififi chez les hommes  Blu-ray + DVD  Heart of Darkness   Come Back, Africa - The Films of Lionel Rogosin, Volume 2  Blu-ray  Gravity  Blu-ray  Khartoum  Blu-ray  Savant Q&A Interview: Greg Kintz of The 3-D Film Archive on Man in the Dark  Dusty and Sweets McGee  Thor: The Dark World  Blu-ray  It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World  Blu-ray + DVD  This Woman is Dangerous  The Vincent Price Collection: The Fall of the House of Usher, Pit and the Pendulum, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, Witchfinder General, The Abominable Dr. Phibes  Blu-ray  Million Dollar Baby  Blu-ray  Zulu  Blu-ray  Trans-Europ-Express  Blu-ray
January 2014
 Grey Gardens  Blu-ray  The Lady from Shanghai  Blu-ray  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)  Blu-ray  Fearless  Blu-ray  Taxi  The Killing Fields  Blu-ray  Throne of Blood  Blu-ray + DVD  Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project: Touki-Bouki, Redes, A River Called Titas, Dry Summer, Trances, The Housemaid  Blu-ray + DVD  Man in the Dark 3D  Blu-ray + 3-D  I Cannibali  Blu-ray  The Jerry Warren Collection Volume 1: Man Beast, Curse of the Stone Hand, The Wild World of Batwoman  Captain Phillips  Blu-ray  Royal Flash  Blu-ray  Young America  More Than Honey  Blu-ray  Sabata  Blu-ray + Region 2 DVD  Vivacious Lady  Many Wars Ago (Uomini contro)  Blu-ray  Corruption  Blu-ray  Lee Daniels' The Butler  Blu-ray  The Beast of Hollow Mountain  Blu-ray  The Neanderthal Man  Blu-ray  The Big Gundown Region A  Blu-ray  Stella Dallas

  Reaching further back in time?
A Chronological List of DVD Savant's Reviews for 2013
... and for 2012 ... and for 2011

 Savant's DVD Wish List FINAL NOTE 2012

Hundreds more Savant reviews at the Other End of this Link!


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

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