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DVD SAVANT

picks
The Most Impressive Discs
of
2013




Greetings!

2013 has been a fantastic year for DVD Savant, mainly because it saw so many personal favorites released on Blu-ray -- you know, the kind of titles Savant has been whining and moping about online for sixteen years now. Jeez, it was 1997 when the MGM website exec at MGM approved my adopting the web moniker "MGM Video Savant", and in 1999 Steve Tannehill of the old DVD Resource Page said he'd sponsor the name DVD Savant. Those were the days. Tannehill was extremely generous - at the time, the dot-com boom hadn't quite busted yet. He was getting big money for advertising hits and he shared it with me for as long as it lasted. I haven't gotten that square of a deal since, but the website has meant enough to me to be a worthy compensation.



A favorite photo I tacked onto dozens of emails last year: this is Charles Chaplin welcoming a visitor to his studio on La Brea... Helen Keller.


Anyway, about this year's discs: studios are still backing away from the market but smaller companies and in one case a studio subsidiary are taking up much of the slack. For diehard collectors who know what they want, the studios have licensed what are often excellent Region B European Blu-rays for dozens of titles not available here. A small investment gets some collectors into the all-region game, which is much more rewarding in Blu-ray than it was in DVD -- Blu-rays don't suffer from that maddening 25fps PAL format speed-up.

Of course, the experimentation with all-region has a price. My region-free player refused to cooperate for a few weeks, so I've backed off giving readers recommendations -- and how can I recommend a good player if my experience has been with only one machine? Besides, as a content reviewer rather than a bit-rate and waveform scientist, I should be asking advice about hardware, not giving it out. A goodly chunk of my readership own disc collections that far exceed my own (hmm, I've never thought to ask any of them for a loan!). Some view their discs and stream their video on systems that look as if they were designed by NASA. Make that the old NASA, before the Chinese were on the moon.



A Savant first from April 2013, courtesy of writer, film archivist and friend Darren Gross: the story of the 'missing' character Beth Rostes, in The Legendary Deleted Massacre Scene in Major Dundee.


This 'most impressive of 2013' list is entirely subjective and Savant-centric. I don't push movies on individual houseguests (except the Tuesday night bunch, who never agree on anything to see) but these are the pictures from 2013 that meant the most to me. A few others might have made the list if I'd received screeners, I suppose. In general terms my list isn't going to prioritize releases that are the most prestigious, most popular or the most accomplished restorations of the year. Nope, it's a list of what I'd grab if the house caught on fire and I could only save an armload of favorites. I guess I can't call myself a real video fan, because the wife and kids would come first. But the dog is out of luck.

Bored yet? I will desist. Here's the boilerplate text I put in front of every list:

The pictures are taken from what I've seen and reviewed. It is not a list of the best-looking discs or the most expensive restorations, although titles like that are represented. It's a subjective grouping of what releases meant the most to me, and why. Some are old favorites, some offered major revelations and others were just movies that I'm really glad I saw. It's a recommendation list -- if you know my taste you can filter out my subject affinities and political bias to fit your own temperament.



And Now...


Savant's picks for 2013



1.

Severin Films:
Zulu Dawn
Blu-ray
I remember turning down an opportunity to see this on a big screen in 1980 or so, when it played at one lousy theater way out at the other end of the San Fernando Valley. I have a collection of inferior laserdisc copies and earlier pan-scan abominations, but Severin's disc is everything one could hope for. I've never understood why fans of historical action didn't flip over Zulu Dawn; even on murky "Z"-channel broadcasts I was floored by the enormous action scenes. Is it maybe because the movie is about a rout of arrogant Brit colonials, instead of the rah-rah 'war is noble' message of the original Zulu? One reader conveyed his lack of enthusiasm by telling me that Elmer Bernstein's music sounded like it belonged in a Western, a thought I can't fathom. I humor myself by thinking these end-of-year shout-outs will turn viewers on to movies I love, so give it a go, if only for the cast -- Burt Lancaster, Peter O'Toole, John Mills, Freddie Jones, Michael Jayston, Simon Ward, Denholm Elliott, Ken Gampu, Bob Hoskins. Zulu Dawn is a real nail-biting, fearsome joy.



2.  

20th Century Fox Home Video:
Wild River
Blu-ray
Ignored when new, Elia Kazan's quiet, compelling drama sneaks up on viewers. If this be real Method acting, lead on -- Montgomery Clift's portrayal of a conflicted, overly-sensitive TVA agent catches fire with Lee Remick, who exudes sex appeal in an old house where we can feel the fall chill coming in with the wind-blown leaves. The movie has been described as "a celebration of the positive healing power of old-fashioned heterosexual lust." Jo Van Fleet is amazing as a nonagenarian pioneer woman fiercely holding on to what's hers, as Roosevelt's Depression-era dams arrive to put her entire valley underwater. The picture's got serene CinemaScope vistas, impressive period detail (Kazan had bummed through Appalachia for the WPA) and astute race-issue content that doesn't pander to contemporary politics. Can a Washington bureaucrat make a go of a relationship with a young backwoods widow? Wild River is the least sensational but perhaps the most fulfilling of Elia Kazan's Americana movies.

Fox licensed out most of its older films for Blu-ray but did release some worthy vintage titles on its own, The items that I was able to review are Tracy & Hepburn's Desk Set, Joseph Mankiewicz's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and the original 1958 The Fly. The 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives finally released Jack Cardiff's Sons and Lovers as well as a much-desired Film Noir holdout, Robert Siodmak's Cry of the City.



3.  

VCI:
Gorgo
Blu-ray
VCI is not a label we associate with pricey restorations, and this filmic re-upholstery job isn't going to take any prizes. But the ability to see a childhood favorite in a worthy presentation was the biggest news Savant heard in five years. Previously seen only in miserable contrasty transfers, Gorgo finally gets his chance to roar in a grandiose, colorful, mostly-sharp widescreen HD transfer. Yes, this makes the variable special effects seem even more like a patchwork, but when they're good they're superb. The story of the Irish sea dragon-turned circus attraction is also a brilliant editorial save job, with impressively frantic cutting that keeps it from seeming dated. VCI packs the extras with a sentimental Daniel Griffith docu and images of scores of Gorgo tie-in publications and products, not to mention posters from around the world. He's big, his mom's colossal and they both love to flap their kid-approved floppy ears: "Ogra the Sea Fairy" is a lavish Last Word on the classic giant monster genre.



4.  

Lionsgate UK/Hammer:
Dracula (Horror of Dracula)
Region B Blu-ray
Hammer fans old enough to have seen some of the classics first-run in theaters long ago gave up on the rumors of 'uncut gory Japanese versions', even notable experts like Ted Newsom. But a felicitous interview in a Japanese archive led to full access just as a newly re-birthed Hammer was in the process of reissuing its films on UK videodiscs. Possibly the best Hammer film ever and the classic that established Christopher Lee as a strikingly original international star, the '58 Dracula now has more gruesome detail in The Count's dawn demise on the floor of his own library. Un-restored sections of the Japanese print reveal a longer series of edits, that display even more of Chris Lee's sensational nonverbal acting -- an image of Drac's defeated, despairing face invites sympathy for the Devil. The only downside is that whoever is in charge of the New Hammer transfers is like a drunk on the highway/ Some are badly framed, most are weirdly timed, and inquiries elicit little more than squishy semantic evasions. Dracula '58 is framed well but the whole thing has been timed dark and blue, like something from the Twilight or Harry Potter series. Just the same, the new footage is so sensational that just seeing this version is a major thrill.

Other great Region B Blu-rays, both from England's Arrow Video: Jack Hill's Spider Baby and Roger Corman's The Fall of the House of Usher.



5.  

The Criterion Collection:
3 Films By Roberto Rossellini starring Ingrid Bergman: Stromboli, Europe '51, Journey to Italy
Blu-ray
Here's what happened in film school in the 'seventies -- you spent three years absorbing everything one could see, after which one sometimes waited decades to see those 'transcendent' foreign art classics the professors said were so great. And too many of them turn out to be less relevant or significant than you were led to expect. But for me these three Roberto Rossellini - Ingrid Bergman movies opened up new horizons. The stellar pair could have made commercial fluff, bought more villas in Capri and told the world to go to hell. They instead tackled the human condition in post-war Italy as seen through three different kinds of women. In one film Bergman plays a selfish "displaced person" marooned on a volcanic island with a dullard husband. In the next she's a society woman who undergoes a transformation into a secular sainthood that her family and friends decide is a mental illness. In the third she's an English visitor who discovers that the cultural and artistic past of Naples and Pompeii pierce to the emptiness at the center of her bourgeois marriage, and existence. Criterion packs the extras with fascinating docus and interview pieces about Bergman's banishment from Hollywood, and Rossellini's pursuit of a pure cinema. The films are also restored in multiple language versions, where possible.

Criterion gave us an unusually large number of important releases this year, all in both Blu-ray and DVD formats (Toward the end of the year, all new Criterions became dual-format presentations). The ones I watched more than once were Michelangelo Antonioni's La Notte, René Clair's I Married a Witch, Charles Chaplin's City Lights, Georges Franju's Eyes without a Face, Lewis Allen's The Uninvited, Terrence Malick's Badlands, Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Robert Bresson's A Man Escaped, William Cameron Menzies' Things to Come, Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet, Elio Petri's Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, and Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone.



6.  

The Cohen Collection:
The Damned (Les Maudits)
Blu-ray
Forget Das Boot for a minute; French technical whiz and terrific actor's director René Clément scores big with this obscure, sensational submarine picture, filmed not long after the end of WW2. The story isn't about combat per se but instead follows a boatload of Nazi officials, officers and hangers-on. Just as the Third Reich is falling, they flee Europe for a safe haven in South America. The hero is a French doctor kidnapped by men who will kill him as soon as his usefulness is ended. The filmed-at-sea realism is astonishing. Clément has access to real submarines and surface vessels, and a terrific cast that includes Marcel Dalio, Florence Marly, Paul Bernard and Michel Auclair. And we get the same kind of claustrophobic, realistic sub interior scenes seen in Das Boot, only forty years earlier. It's a crime that this one was ever allowed to become scarce. The HD restoration is terrific.

The Cohen Collection made a pleasant entry into the Blu-ray field this year, with stunning restored presentations of classics and rarities. Among them: D.W. Griffith's Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages , Jean-Pierre Melville's Two Men in Manhattan, Douglas Fairbanks' silent The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and Luis Buñuel's Tristana.



7.  

Flicker Alley/Cinerama:
Cinerama South Seas Adventure
Blu-ray
Taking the prize for specialized restoration is the amazing job done by David Strothmaier and his associates on the classic 3-Panel Cinerama films, which present a seemingly endless number of problems both on film (the elements are never in the best shape) and on video. This is the team that invented the clever "Smilevision" format that approximates the curvature of the screen in vintage Cinerama theaters. Cinerama's 'super travelogue' from 1958 may be the best -- a multi-character exploration of the Pacific islands, New Zealand and Australia. First, the scenery is just too beautiful to resist; and second, the show takes a look at a great many places, not just the tourist traps. It's a time capsule of upscale attitudes -- the young ladies cruising on an ocean liner sit at the Captain's Table, as if they wouldn't be caught dead anywhere else. The disc's extras are fascinating, dominated by detailed explanations and anecdotal tales of the difficulties of working in the Cinerama format. Also included is a rare, fully restored Cinerama short subject showing the manufacture of a Renault automobile.





8.  

Twilight Time:
Hard Times
Blu-ray
This 1970s underdog classic is the potatoes & gravy modern classic behind writer-director Walter Hill's reputation as a maker of tough-minded masculine action pictures. A perfectly cast Charles Bronson and James Coburn are given rich characters to play as they travel the south promoting pickup bare-knuckle boxing matches. The bouts aren't the BS seen in nonsense like Rocky, but the kind of matches where Bronson defeats more powerful opponents by putting up a strong defense. Great depression-era period detail enhances the show, which cleaned up on release. At the time it seemed influenced by the graphic martial arts pictures being imported from China.

Hard Times is only one of many impressive Twilight Time releases, which put uncommon care into titles licensed mostly from Sony and Fox on a limited edition, 3,000 unit basis. In January, they'll be tapping MGM's vault as well. Other must-have collectable Twilight Time titles this year are John Ford's Drums Along the Mohawk, James Coburn in Our Man Flint, Blake Edwards' Experiment in Terror, John M. Stahl's Leave Her to Heaven, Henry King's The Song of Bernadette, Robert Mulligan's The Other and Sir Carol Reed's Oliver!



9.  

The Warner Archive Collection:
Loophole
DVD
The sharp little B-picture film noir is a prime example of what continues to make us closely watch The Warner Archive Collection's release announcements. Long a particularly promising but unavailable entry in Film Noir books, this tiny story of a bank teller under suspicion of grand larceny delivers noir angst and action not seen in many a more expensive big studio film. Barry Sullivan finds his accounts short to the tune of $50,000, and it's not long before the bulldog-like Insurance investigator (Charles McGraw) is haunting and harassing him like a vengeful ghost, determined to force a confession. What has happened to Sullivan could happen to any of us - the real villain is an anonymous creep who has found a trick enabling him to get rich at the expense of another workaday schmoe. Loophole has a lot to say between the lines. The WAC's widescreen transfer makes this 1954 Allied Artists quickie look like it was filmed yesterday. Savant recognized locations less than a mile from his house, buildings still standing; the final showdown happens at the same Malibu location as Kiss Me Deadly.

The Warner Archive Collection's activities have expanded this year into streaming, plus the release of a few Blu-rays and some reissues that have migrated from Paramount, which has seemingly abandoned interest in 99% of its back catalog. WAC titles from 2013 that warrant special mention -- and you ought to see them -- are The Forbidden Hollywood Collection Volume 7: The Hatchet Man, Skyscraper Souls, Employees' Entrance, Ex-Lady; the Boris Karloff Triple Feature: West of Shanghai, The Invisible Menace, Devil's Island; Robert Florey's The Beast with Five Fingers, the wartime juvenile delinquent romp Where Are Your Children?, Ramon Novarro and Jeanette MacDonald in The Cat and the Fiddle, Eddie Cantor in Kid Millions, Edgar G. Ulmer's Murder Is My Beat, and in Blu-ray, Hugh Hudson's Greystoke, the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.



10.  

The Puppetoon Movie
Blu-ray
George Pal's Puppetoons knocked us out as kids, and then they disappeared along with Little Lulu and other Paramount- sourced cartoon series. I didn't realize until adulthood that the non-PC aspects of the Jasper cartoons had made them an afternoon TV no-no. Arnold Liebovit has formed a career from maintaining the legacy of George Pal that includes two feature-length documentaries of his work. The 1987 Puppetoon Movie is here, plus galleries of extra Puppetoons in HD and standard -def. Also included is Liebovit's docu The Fantasy Film World of George Pal (SD) and Pal's entire first feature The Great Rupert in HD. But that's not all -- another extra is a kinescope of KTLA's entire 30-minute early remote TV broadcast from the Hollywood set of Destination Moon, in 1949 or 1950. It's rare, it's all special and it's made and sold independently.



11.  

Warner Home Video:
The Big Parade
Blu-ray
It looks as if a chosen few silent pictures were the beneficiaries of fantastic preservation treatment by their studios. Two years ago Paramount brought us a brilliant Blu-ray of the aviation classic Wings, and now Warners has refurbished King Vidor's classic, known in 1925 as the movie about the war to end all wars. The restoration makes it look as if it were filmed last week, not 88 years ago. Vidor's scenarist Laurence Stallings forges at least half of the "young recruit in the trenches" conventions used in war pix ever since, but it's Vidor who makes it all seem vital. John Gilbert goes sans mustache to play a gee-whiz green recruit, and you won't believe how touching a simple farewell to a French sweetheart can be. It's all keenly calculated to remind vets of the French sweethearts they left behind, or the sweethearts they wish they'd met in the first place. A big plus for this presentation is Carl Davis' mighty orchestral music score, and a WB souvenir book that contains not publicity blurbs, but an authoritative essay by the great champion of silent cinema, Kevin Brownlow.

Warners continues to release quality high-end Blu-rays on a regular basis. Going neck for neck with Vidor's picture was Philip Kaufman's The Right Stuff, which is a much more personally rewarding picture trumped by the restoration miracle of The Big Parade. I was also knocked out by Warners' terrific restorations of other favorites: William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives, The James Dean Ultimate Collector's Edition: East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, Giant; and The Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, The Petrified Forest and White Heat.



12.  

Icarus Films:
Le joli Mai
DVD
(The Lovely Month of May) 2013 brought us a number of great docus but none as innovative and influential as this terrific show by the brilliant Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme. The new portable synch sound cameras (many of them custom-made) enabled two- and three-man film crews to roam freely, imposing a minimal impact on their subjects. Marker and Lhomme's glorious moving, talking snapshot of Paris in May of 1962 is a deep experiment in "Direct Cinema." Timing is everything with documentaries. The filmmakers chose a month when France was rocked by service strikes and right-wing acts of terror by an ex-army group furious that De Gaulle had pulled out of Algeria. But the filmmakers mostly cruise the back neighborhoods of Paris, asking old timers, new residents, the poor, immigrants, minorities and political progressives the big questions: are you happy? What worries you? We really do feel as if we've been transported to a magical city inhabited by marvelous people, a place that no longer exists. And Marker and Lhomme's judgment, taste and filmmaking skills are second to none. The epic-length docu comes with several other examples of early "Direct Cinema."

Documentaries are big these days, but more attention needs to be given to great work both old and new. 2013 saw significant work surfacing on disc, in fine quality: Vera Iwerebor's Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room, Mark Jonathan Harris's Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport, Laura Archibald's Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation, Claude Lanzmann's Shoah, Todd Robinson's Wild Bill Hollywood Maverick, Lost and Found American Treasures from the New Zealand Film Archive, and Andrea Ujica's The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaçescu.



13.  

Olive Films:
The Bullfighter and the Lady
Blu-ray
Western fans will dispatch a posse after Savant for this statement, but director Budd Boetticher's first love was bullfighting, and his best realized movie is surely this 1951 tale that sends New York producer Robert Stack to Mexico City to become a Torero. Adopted by the famous bullfighter Gilbert Roland, Stack's fortunes go from success to tragedy and back again, but the primary theme celebrates his cultural adjustment to a place where Tradition and Honor are unwritten laws, and an arrogant Gringo faux-pas can result in violent death. The show has remarkable women characters, fully adjusted to a patriarchal society. Katy Jurado's fierce matador's wife has a career-making scene putting a man in his place, and the lovely Joy Page knows a hundred ways of elegantly steering a suitor's affections in socially-accepted directions. Boetticher's producer was John Wayne, who allowed Republic Pictures to cut the movie radically before its general release. Happily, the original cut was restored in the 1990s. Olive Films' Blu-ray gives us Budd Boetticher's highly personal masterpiece at full length.

Olive Films' output has been prodigious, to say the least; the company has released a near- endless stream of desirable Republic and Paramount attractions, including some bona fide classics and scores of exotic independent titles we'd plain lost track of. This is only a list of the ones that gave Savant the biggest kick this year: Joseph H. Lewis's The Big Combo, Hubert Cornfield's Plunder Road, John H. Auer's City that Never Sleeps, Edgar G. Ulmer's Ruthless, Sam Wood's The Devil and Miss Jones, Kurt Neumann's She-Devil, Richard Wallace's It's In the Bag!, Robert Siodmak's The File on Thelma Jordon, Bretaigne Windust's The Enforcer and R. G. Springsteen's The Red Menace.





14.  

Sony Pictures Classics:
No
Blu-ray
The final official top-15 title is this remarkable Chilean production that makes a strong political statement without inciting anyone to radical action. Fifteen years after the horrifying government takeover and the death of Chile's elected leader, the military dictator Pinochet is forced to hold a plebiscite to determine if his ruling junta will continue in power, or if open elections will be held. Nightly half-hour TV airtime slots are reserved for opposing Yes (more Pinochet) and No (new elections) campaigns. A successful advertising man (Gael García Bernal) takes on the job of creating the "No" messages, while his boss, who has ties to one of Pinochet's generals, works for the "Yes" faction. The sloppy coalition of socialists and communists behind 'No' become furious when Bernal insists that accusatory messages stressing Pinochet's torture outrages won't work, and that a positive feel-happy campaign is indicated. Meanwhile, the "No" people become frightened when government surveillance picks up -- could the plebiscite be a scheme to identify and eliminate the leftist opposition? Bernal has a kid to think of, while his ex-wife still thinks of him as a sell-out to capitalism. The unique thing about No is that we see the actual TV campaigns used in 1988. There is indeed a dramatic contrast between Pinochet's Nazi-like appeals to blind patriotism and fear, and Bernal's happy-talk positive musical messages that make people smile. The whole movie was filmed on an old-fashioned 1988 video format, to better match the authentic TV material. It's a great, suspenseful show from a country still reeling from the U.S. - supported coup.



15.  

Shout! Factory:
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec
 Blu-ray + DVD + Digital copy
High-falutin' critic friends still treat Luc Besson like dog deposit for his movie The Messenger, and it's true that I haven't seen what are said to be his worst efforts. But this visually magnificent foray into graphic-novel fin de siècle Victorian adventures has charm and wit, and is my idea of great entertainment. Adèle Blanc-Sec (Louise Bourgoin) is a nervy, impetuous author-anthropologist whose expeditions to South America and Egypt bear fantastic results. A professor friend in Gay Paree uses brain power to bring to life a million year-old pterodactyl, and send it flying over the city; and Adèle is off to Egypt to recover a mummy who happens to have been the brain surgeon to the Pharaoh. It's all Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes filtered through a goofy French sensibility, with a grotesque gallery of friends and foes that include Matthieu Almaric as a crooked archeologist nemesis. And though I risk excommunication for saying it, there's more love of Georges Méliès in this picture than all of Scorsese's bloated Hugo. So there. Where else can you meet a cultured Egyptian mummy who likes tea and converses in perfect French?

Shout! Factory is busy licensing MGM's United Artists, Orion and Cannon Blu-rays as fast as it can -- already for January we have Die Monster Die! on the way, along with a double bill of The Neanderthal Man and The Beast of Hollow Mountain. Other big releases from Shout! in 2013 were Tobe Hooper's hotly desired Brit sci-fi Lifeforce, and Roy Ward Baker's prime Hammer Horror The Vampire Lovers.



Hold on -- Savant is cheating. I'm tacking another movie onto this list.

16.  

Kino Classics:
Little Fugitive
 Blu-ray
My other big-appeal title from this year is this snappy HD rendering of Ray Ashley, Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin's magical little epic from 1953, the two-steps-above-amateur picture about a 5 year-old Brooklyn kid who thinks he's killed his brother and runs away to live the rest of his life at Coney Island. The hand-held camerawork is marvelous, and the hour we spend among the boardwalk amusements is a major documentary in itself. But you'll never forget little Richie Andrusco, the freckled kid with an open mind and a big heart, who loves to ride the ponies and learns to fund his hot dog and cotton candy addiction by collecting the deposit pennies on discarded bottles. The picture has a strong narrative but grabs us with scenes that couldn't be repeated, such as Richie's growing exasperation as he repeatedly strikes out in an automated batting cage, or the way he runs from the cops he thinks will put him behind bars. They say this picture inspired the critics-turned-directors of the French New Wave, and I believe it: all one needs to make a great movie is a camera and a good idea. Too bad Godard was too sophisticated to make pictures like this one.

Kino Lorber and Kino Classics released a great many horror pictures along with silent classics and terrific recent foreign films this year, all in Blu-ray: Aleksandr Sokurov's Russian Ark, Christian Petzold's Barbara, Daniel Auteuil's The Well-Digger's Daughter, Sidney Lumet & Joseph L. Mankiewicz's King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis, Erich Von Stroheim's Foolish Wives, Jésus Franco's The Awful Dr. Orloff and Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel / Der blaue Engel







Still selling - and I've been encouraged to write a follow-up.


And 2013 slips into history! As I finally saw decent Blu-ray copies of Gorgo, Zulu Dawn and Wild River find places on my shelves, I looked back eleven years to one of the Savant Articles, to a piece I wrote called 2002 Waits & Wants List. It was motivated by reader frustration with the then- slow rollout of DVD product, and was of course an opportunity to squawk about movies I wished were showing up on disc. Between my text and a reader-generated list, the article names a couple of hundred wanted titles -- almost all of which are now on disc, with quite a few on the Blu-ray format that in 2002 was still four or five years away. Take a look... from the 2002 list only a few holdouts are still unaccounted for: 55 Days at Peking, A Boy Ten Feet Tall (or better, Sammy Going South), Blood and Roses (...et morir de plaisir), The Ghost (Lo spettro), Caltiki The Immortal Monster (in this region), a few more Russian obscurities. My list has grown longer since then, but I have to admit that most of the core pictures I was after are all here in one acceptable version or another.

Besides learning how to covet things like a real pro, what is the point of collecting, exactly? When a Blu-ray of Blood and Roses rests in my wrinkled fingers, will I then have earned permission to die? The point being that even I need to remind myself that these films are mainly there for enjoyment. My little 'favorites' shelf that I feel comfortable showing to family visitors, etc., has the same kind of pictures anybody else might choose. Defending Your Life, anyone?

Thanks for all the corrections, advice and friendly notes in general -- and for your enthusiasm and tolerance. Let's hope 2014 is a good year... !

Thanks again,
Glenn Erickson, December 19, 2013



Follow this link for a
A Chronological List of DVD Savant's Reviews for 2012

Nostalgic?
Check out previous DVD Savant Favored Disc Roundups:

Savant's 2012 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2011 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2010 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2009 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2008 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2007 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2006 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2005 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2004 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2003 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2002 favored disc roundup
Savant's 2001 favored disc roundup

This has been a yearly tradition since 2001. Happy Holidays!




DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2013 Glenn Erickson

See more exclusive reviews on the Savant Main Page.
Reviews on the Savant main site have additional credits information and are often updated and annotated with reader input and graphics.
T'was Ever Thus.

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