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January 31, 2015

Savant's new reviews today are:

Why Don't You Play In Hell?
Drafthouse/Cinedigm
Blu-ray + Digital HD

  Shion Sono captures the crazy joy of amateur film insanity in this DYI moviemaking / Yakuza bloodbath combo that mixes up an irresistible kiddy commercial jingle, desperately ambitious movie nuts and two clans of daffy Yakuza miscreants. Great design, forceful filmmaking and post-modern nonsense run wild as the gangs stage a real gang battle -- so the gory event can be filmed. Not a horror picture, but a goofy over-the-top comedy. In Blu-ray + Digital HD from Drafthouse / Cinedigm.
1/31/15



Running on Empty
The Warner Archive Collection
DVD-R

  Sidney Lumet's film follows Christine Lahti, Judd Hirsch and the now-missed River Phoenix as a family on the run and living underground. Eighteen years ago they were militant radicals and they're still considered public enemies. It's a fascinating story -- how can the criminal parents expect their kids to live like phantoms? They even ditch their lovable dog, America... how can we let these monsters roam free? Also starring Martha Plimpton. Now in Widescreen, in DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
1/31/15


and

55 Days at Peking
Anchor Bay UK
Region B Blu-ray

  Nicholas Ray's presence as director is barely felt in this sprawling, enormous, pretty darn big epic with colossal sets, big stars and go-to spectacular icon Charlton Heston. The violent story of the Boxer Rebellion is told from the POV of the occupying European forces, who chafe at the inconvenience. With Ava Gardner, David Niven, Flora Robson, John Ireland, Elizabeth Sellars, Harry Andrews, Leo Genn, Robert Helpmann, Kurt Kasznar, Philippe Leroy, Paul Lukas, and every Chinese extra that could be induced to come to Franco's Fascist Spain. The Dimitri Tiomkin music score is a knockout. Is it good? Well, it's really big! In Region B Blu-ray from Anchor Bay UK.
1/31/15




Hello!

I can't imagine a better film trailer commentary than I heard today over at Trailers from Hell -- I learned several new things about one of my favorite Bond pictures, and the director-commentator is terrific: Brian Trenchard-Smith on From Russia with Love. He's better than professional, I find myself believing everything he says.

It's Criterion Collection Day at Savant -- arrived and ready for review are Watership Down, Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now, Jean Renoir's A Day in the Country, Federico Fellini's Fellini Satiricon and Yasujiro Ozu's An Autumn Afternoon. Another much awaited disc came in but it seems to be defective... I'll have to check it out on another machine to make sure.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



January 27, 2015

Savant's new reviews today are:

Pork Chop Hill
Blu-ray

  Lewis Milestone's last war film is also Gregory Peck's effort to show that combat can be worse when politics require sacrifice without the possibility of victory. A terrific cast -- Rip Torn, Harry Guardino, Woody Strode, George Peppard, Robert Blake and many more look good in this gritty dirt-in-your-face true story: Lt Clemons is ordered to hold a hill even though the Army refuses to reinforce him... and he only has 25 men left. It all happened in 'peacetime' 1953, during the U.N.'s Korean Police Action. Great B&W cinematography in an excellent Blu-ray encoding from Olive Films.
1/27/15


The Palm Beach Story
Blu-ray

  Preston Sturges' wittiest comedy about romance between the ultra rich and those that wannabe is one inventive laugh after another with original characters in every scene. The Ale and Quail Club alone is worthy of a follow-up feature. Claudette Colbert wants to help her beloved husband Joel McCrea by ditching him to search for a millionaire-provider; she finds Mr. Right in Rudy Vallee's impossibly detail-oriented heir. Vallee comes with a gilt-edged sister called The Princess Centimilla (Mary Astor), who has her own pet consort named Toto. It gets crazier from there. Prime Sturges brilliance, the darn thing doesn't date despite being 73 years old. In Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
1/27/15

and

The Black Scorpion
Widescreen-formatted DVD-R

  Big bugs are bugging out all over, gobbling up cows and train passengers and tossing tanks and helicopters around like they were toy tanks and helicopters. Willis O'Brien's late career special effects are sensational, with fast-moving scorpion horrors skittering all over the landscape. Richard Denning and Carlos Rivas drop into a hole in the ground to wipe out the critters, which isn't easy when the big Black one is the size of... it's really big. With gorgeous Mara Corday; this WAC reissue reformats the movie in its proper 1:85 screen shape. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
1/27/15




Hello!

Gary Teetzel passes on the news that Universal will be giving us Blu-rays of the post-2001 sci-fi movies Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (Robert Parrish) and Silent Running (Douglas Trumbull) on April 7. We're grateful but naturally demanding... where's a domestic Blu of the unappreciated Joe Sargent movie Colossus, the Forbin Project? For that matter, where's the long overdue widescreen Blu of the good old classic This Island Earth? Did Mystery Science Theater convince Uni that it's not a serious contender? The good news here is that Universal's The Andromeda Strain will be out on February 17, as a Best Buy Exclusive.

What is coming that's good? Savant has screeners in hand for Kino's Black Sunday (reportedly legally kopasetic now), Cult of the Damned and Le Pont du Nord; Olive's A Hole in the Head, Shout! Factory's double bill of Jean de Florette & Manon of the Spring, Fox Cinema Archives' Seventh Heaven (1937), the MGM Limited Edition's DVD of The Monster that Challenged the World, The Warner Archive Collection's Incident, Running on Empty and Forbidden Hollywood 8... plus a title that seems all the rage in current horror circles, Cinedigm's Why Don't You Play in Hell?

PLUS, the English Region B Blu of 55 Days at Peking arrived, and I'm expecting a newer and Bluer Blue Underground Blu of Larry Cohen's God Told Me To in a day or two. So Blu! it's time to ramp up the reviews.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



January 24, 2015

Savant's new reviews today are:

No Highway in the Sky
DVD-R

  Nevil Shute's tense drama of jeopardy on a prototype passenger turbojet puts absent-minded aviation metallurgist James Stewart, movie star Marlene Dietrich and stewardess Glynis Johns in harm's way. It's an exciting ride, with a warm human story behind the technological details -- that sound like science fiction yet turned out to be 100% accurate. With Jack Hawkins, Janette Scott and Niall McGinnis as the pilot who doesn't know if his plane is about to disintegrate -- or if Stewart's scientist is crazy. The transfer looks GREAT... but I'm not sure yet where it can be bought. Part of a 3-Title James Stewart Collection, on DVD-R from Fox Cinema Archives.
1/24/15


The Weapon
Blu-ray

  A boy finds a gun in the London bombing ruins and accidentally shoots his best friend; Army cop Steve Cochran wants to find the kid because the gun's a clue to a murder. The boy's mother Lizabeth Scott seeks help from the wrong man -- the gun's previous owner. Much of Val Guest's police thriller was filmed on the streets of London from the viewpoint of an 8-year-old; it's like stepping in to a way-back machine to 1956 London. With Herbert Marshall and Nicole Maurey. In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
1/24/15


and

The Bride Wore Black
Blu-ray

  François Truffaut's 'Hitchcock' picture really goes in its own direction to tell a stylized tale of cold revenge. Angel of death Jeanne Moreau hunts down, seduces and murders the men responsible for the death of her husband right at her wedding; she uses their own vanity and hubris against them. Quite a different movie, with a very-non thriller look; the main Hitchcock connection is the music score by Bernard Herrmann. An extra included is a lengthy audio interview with Herrmann, sure to appeal to soundtrack addicts. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
1/24/15




Hello! I've got some fast links for a happy Saturday:

Trailers from Hell from Friday has our old favorite monster romp Tarantula, hosted by Joe Dante, who remembers it being too scary to watch back in 1955. I believe there's a widescreen Blu-ray of it available on Region B. TFH lets us see what its original widescreen framing is supposed to look like.



Form sort of the same direction comes a link that will please fans of classic directors: Duke Beers' YouTube page of Screen Directors Playhouse TV episodes. Each is directed by a theatrical name: Allan Dwan, Stuart Heisler, Frank Tuttle, John Ford, George Marshall, Frank Borzage. You just have to check in with the IMDB to see what was directed by who.



Savant friend Ed Godziszewski is a Toho Kaiju expert without peer; in this Scified article When Roses Attack: 25 Years of Godzilla vs. Biollante he talks about, among many things Big G, the unused commentary he recorded for Godzilla vs. Biollante. I've always liked that particular movie -- the surreal monster designs do it for me.



Constant source of great links Gary Teetzel directs us to a Sploid page showing photos of Incredible Spaceship Models made by an unnamed Japanese artist -- out of paper! You won't believe your eyes. The models are so realistic that some of the photos look photoshopped. A second Link takes you to the craftsman's own page. It just doesn't look like paper to me, but what do I know?

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson





January 19, 2015

Savant's new reviews today are:

May in the Summer
Blu-ray

  Imagine, a movie in which a Jordanian-American visits her home country for a wedding, and the subject isn't war, terrorism or shooting foriegners with a sniper rifle. Cherien Dabis wrote, directed, produced and stars in a comedy-drama that is neither a vanity showcase nor a marginalized ethnic production. The funny, intelligent story sees the heroine dealing with her sisters, her absent father, and a devout mother having difficulty accepting her daughter marrying a Muslim. What's a modern, professional, secular woman supposed to do? I was very positively surprised. In Blu-ray from the Cohen Media Group.
1/20/15


World for Ransom
Blu-ray

  Robert Aldrich's first independent feature is a real mess cobbled out of the availability of the crew, star and studio set of a low-budg TV show, given a terrific premise (and title) but with real problems in the script and production department. A shady adventurer in Singapore interrupts his obsessive love for his best friend's wife, to break up an atom-age conspiracy: a nuclear scientist is kidnapped, and held for sale to whatever world power will pay the price. Star Dan Duryea shouts his dialogue and Aldrich's direction is patchy at best, but we recognize his distinctive style motifs right away. With Patrick Knowles, Gene Lockhart, Douglass Dumbrille and Marian Carr. This precursor to Kiss Me Deadly has been a rarity for over forty years -- Aldrich fans will jump for it. In Blu-ray from Olive Films.
1/20/15

and

Breaking Away
Blu-ray

  Peter Yates's story of working-class high school graduates in a university town is a crowd-pleaser that plays even better now than it did in 1979. Like American Graffiti, several cast members became notable names later. Dennis Christoper's aspiring racing cyclist affects an Italian accent to court a college girl, seeking an 'out' that his friends Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and Jackie Earle Haley don't have. Barbara Barrie & Paul Dooley shine as the boy's parents. The 'big race' at the finish brings audiences to their feet; the movie makes Middle American life seem hopeful again. With Robyn Douglass and Amy Wright. In Blu-ray from .
1/20/15




Hello!

No links or messages of import today -- I've been dipping into January's releases, shopping for a new television and working on other writing chores. I haven't seen The Man in the High Castle yet and hope that the first instalment is still free. It's been that busy. Sunny and warm here in Los Angeles.

Oh, one thing... I'm not asking for The Interview. It doesn't sound like a Savant movie, I'm sure it will do well without my help and I wish it well.

To make up for today's lack of links I include just below a picture taken from a recent trip to Bronson Caverns, up under the Hollywood Sign. I guess the secret's out, for we used to have the place to ourselves and this time we passed a score of fellow visitors. The cave opening to the right, I believe, is the one used by the Batmobile in the Adam West TV series. The canyon setting still impresses -- it's really not very big, but in pictures it looks enormous.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



January 17, 2015

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Night Porter
Blu-ray

  It sounds like 'Nazista' trash -- an ex-concentration camp victim re-ignites an insane sadomasochistic relationship with her former captor, a sadistic SS officer -- but it's actually a reasoned examination of the sexual politics of Fascism done with class and taste. Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling are weirdly perfect as the obsessed couple, in what amounts to an 'amour fou' of the damned. Director Liliana Cavani is on hand in an interview, but the disc's real revelation is a 50-minute Cavani docu about women resistance fighters in WW2... it's great stuff. In Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
1/17/15


The Girl Who Knew Too Much
UK Region B Blu-ray + PAL DVD

  Mario Bava's attempt to mix travelogue romance, comedy and mystery-horror ends up as a bad comedy but an excellent Bava exercise in sophisticated visual horror. Letícia Román is the confused babe who witnesses a murder and John Saxon the handsome Italian doctor who wants to kiss instead of chase down a killer; Valentina Cortese is the landlady who helps the girl learn the 'too much' that she ends up knowing. Great B&W photography of select Roman locations. Comes with featurettes, interviews, trailers and a glossy illustrated souvenir booklet. A Dual-Format edition in UK Region B Blu-ray and PAL DVD from Arrow Video UK.
1/17/15

and

The Russians are Coming the Russians are Coming
Blu-ray

  East-West tension is defused in this likeable family-oriented Paul Revere vs. the Russkies yarn: Norman Jewison and the Mirisch brothers play it safe, smart and sentimental. A Soviet sub runs aground just off a Massachusetts island, sparking invasion fears. The slapstick is as thick as the sweetness and plenty of individual gags are funny -- and in his first movie the Oscar-nominated Alan Arkin is a sheer delight, humanizing the entire show. Atop the long cast list are Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Brian Keith, Jonathan Winters, Theodore Bikel, Paul Ford and John Philip Law. The disc looks and sounds great too! In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
1/17/15




Hello!

It's a lazy links day -- some good ones wandered by my window.

First-off is Trailers from Hell's NSFW posting of the crazy coming-attractions for Hollywood Boulevard by Joe Dante and Allan Arkush, with a commentary by its producer Jon Davison. I remember going to the New Beverly way after the fact and catching a really beat-up print of this patch-job comedy invented by ambitious trailer editors. Its saving grace is that the last thing on its mind is good taste -- it's not a film to take home to Mom.

This link will take you to the first hour (for free) of Amazon Prime's new webseries, the Ridley Scott-produced The Man in the High Castle. The book is one of my personal favorites; I'm told that the show looks good and I'm almost afraid to watch it. This sort of programming could drag Savant onto a new media platform.

People are also commenting on Steven Soderbergh's 110-minute re-cut of 2001: A Space Odyssey, currently viewable online as well. I'll be curious to see what Soderbergh is up to, if time allows... I think one could suck a great deal out of the movie just by cutting a lot of shots in half, but I like them the way they are. He slams WB's HD transfer even as he rips it off ... how can I get away with things like that?

Wanna see what our own homegrown satire magazine, sometimes as offensive as France's Charlie Hebdo, was all about? Correspondent Keith West tells me that Archive.org has several early issues of The National Lampoon Magazine on hand for our perusal. Yes, a lot of the comedy was tame but they let folk like Nixon and the Watergate mob have it right in the censored and had no qualms about taking tasteless approaches to other subjects, from Che Guevara to starving Bangladeshis to, well Nixon again. I recommend the High School Yearbook Parody. The mag had some excellent raunchy semi-porn cartoons too, nostalgic items from the brief period when I (ha-ha) fancied myself a closet radical. Oh, and I'm told that this same archive has a pile of Famous Monsters of Filmlands as well.

I have new titles to review: Criterion's Sword of Doom, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, My Winnipeg and The Palm Beach Story, plus Olive Films' La belle captive, The Weapon, Track the Man Down, Woman they Almost Lynched and the much-awaited World for Ransom. There's also Twilight Time, checking in with Breaking Away, The Bride Wore Black, The Purple Rose of Cairo, The Bandit Queen and another limited edition release of their previous sold-out title Fright Night.

Question for Savant readers -- should I review the new comedy The Interview, just for curiosity? I might be able to snag a copy if the studio is generous. What two weeks ago was the #1 story in the whole world is now almost forgotten. It's scary that the attention of the planet can be squandered on such trifles when (old man talking here) so many important crises need our attention.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



January 12, 2015

Savant's new reviews today are:

Fury
Blu-ray + Digital HD

  It's the most intense high-quality WW2 combat film in fifteen years. Battle-scarred tank commander Brad Pitt leads his tough crew through three horrendous combat actions in one day, finally committing to a slaughter that seems utterly un-survivable. It's fast, tough and gory as all get out -- and very likely a credible recreation of what the worst of tank warfare was like. Director David Ayer has a great supporting cast --Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, John Bernthal -- and terrific production values that include the use of a score of authentic, still-running tanks. We also get plenty of interesting extras along with input from actual surviving tank corpsmen. In Blu-ray + Digital HD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
1/13/15

Bloody Sunday
DVD

  Before his Hollywood success writer-director Paul Greenglass took the big prize at Sundance with this convincing, compelling docudrama recreation of the 1972Bloody Sunday Massacre in Derry, Northern Ireland. It's the version of events as experienced by Civil Rights marchers that were opposed by Royal Paratroops; fourteen locals were shot dead and as many wounded. The complex story is told from the viewpoint of an MP organizer, showing how hooligans broke the peace and the occupying army attacked with live ammunition. A reissue from Paramount, this comes with two commentaries and two featurettes, with input from eyewitnesses. In DVD from The Warner Archive Collection.
1/13/15

and

52 Pick-Up
Blu-ray

  Powerhouse director John Frankenheimer takes on Elmore Leonard's dark, dark tale of a philandering businessman (Roy Scheider) blackmailed by sleazy crooks from the porn industry. Scheider finds out in the long run that his wife (Ann-Margret) is a fighter too. With a great performance by John Glover and some cringe-inducing scenes of torture and murder. Although it's not exactly an uplifting experience -- Yups vs. Pervs -- his is one of the more prestigious mid-'80s releases from The Cannon Group. In Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
1/13/15




Hello!

I'm going to have to come up with some non-violent movies soon, as I think I'm OD'ing on war pictures and cutthroat crime pix. Readers must have noticed this all-action congestion lately. Actually, an interesting French romance from Cohen Media just came in the door, and KL Studio Classics' The Russians are Coming x2 is a fun title I've always wanted to review. And I think I'm morally obligated to cover At The Earth's Core because it's got Peter Cushing and Kino has seen fit to include star interviews and a director commentary. But hey, playing with dinosaur finger puppets was more satisfying than those Rubbermaid dinosaurs and special effects by Crayola .

I'd mention what I'm doubling back to review but I'm ashamed that I'm weeks late; and it's unwise to announce upcoming reviews before the discs materialize. I'm considering sending to the UK for the Blu-ray of 55 Days at Peking. I like that movie for inexplicable reasons... the music, perhaps.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



January 10, 2015

Savant's new reviews today are:

Till the End of Time
DVD-R

 Everything you might think is new, really isn't. Young Marines back from combat overseas must deal with interrupted educations, emotional disturbances and in some cases combat wounds. It's not 2015 but 1946, and Dore Schary's movie focuses on the situation as a social issue. Dorothy McGuire performs opposite newcomer Guy Madison, aided by new star Robert Mitchum. Los Angeles is the kind of place that encourages young people to drift instead of deal with their problems. Also with bouncy talent Jean Porter, and directed by Edward Dmytryk, just before he joined The Hollywood Ten. In DVD-R from The Warner Archive Collection.
1/10/15


Into the Woods
Blu-ray

  By an amazing coincidence, this American Playhouse recording of the original Broadway musical is being reissued just in time for a movie version starring... oh, somebody famous. The 1990 taping gives us Bernadette Peters, Chip Zien, Joanna Gleason, Tom Aldredge, Robert Westenberg, Kim Crosby, Danielle Ferland and Ben Wright creating delightful characters. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's show is funny, heartwarming and genuinely profound. Being the original, it's also uncut and un-adapted... offering viewers the ability to experience its full brilliance. Why can't more original Broadway shows be recorded like this? In Blu-ray from Image Entertainment.
1/10/15

and

The Twilight Samurai
Blu-ray

  An interesting and surprisingly successful wrinkle on the Samurai genre. Writer-director Yoji Yamada of the 'Tora-san' films gives us star Hirojuki Sanada as Seibei, a 'salaryman' widower Samurai struggling to raise his family and stay out of debt. Unexpected circumstances and harsh feudal obligations force him to perform his superiors' dirty swordwork. Seibei's just hoping to live in peace. He also loves the sister of a friend, but by the social rules can't possibly afford to marry her. It's like Mr. Dithers forcing Dagwood Bumstead to become a hit man (but serious). Also with Tetsuro Tanba and Keiko Kishi. In Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
1/10/15




Hello!

A couple of fun links on this rainy afternoon in Los Angeles!



Joe Dante points us to a .flickr page where we can read the entire debut issue of Forrest J. Ackerman's magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. Yep, when I was ten years old all those awful, awful puns read like good writing to me. And he has a whole article about famous horror heroines ... and gives none of the actresses' names! Yet Ackerman's rag mag steered many of us to take movie history seriously. Will this page remain up very long?  Don't know.


Advisor Gary Teetzel reminds me of this great new link to NZ Pete's Matte Shot, a site that usually features long, in-depth pages devoted to matte paintings. This time the subject is Movie Miniatures. The author 'NZPete' has collected a prodigious mass of great photos. One still that he thinks might be The Sky Hawk I've always seen attributed to the early Sci-fi film High Treason. Pete also asks what's wrong with the gigantic warship models filmed in the Salton Sea for the epic In Harm's Way. Well, for starters all the ship models in that film sit far, far too high in the water to be credible. Ace miniature maker Greg Jein also told me that Otto Preminger insisted that much of the detail be stripped from them. That's a shame, because if all the little flags, wires and bric-a-brac trimmings were present, the oversized models could be much more convincing than they are.


Gary is also accusing me of blackmailing the Warner Archive Collection over their choice of titles to release on Blu-ray: they're all my personal favorites! The Americanization of Emily, Pete Kelly's Blues and now Vincente Minnelli's The Band Wagon (March 3) and John Schlesinger's Far from the Madding Crowd. Can Ryan's Daughter be next? Should my next criminal demand be for Hammer horrors in Blu-ray?  I wish it worked that way.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



January 06, 2015

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Ultimate
Invaders from Mars

Savant Article

  Savant has rewritten and re-illustrated his two-part essay from 1999, that re-defined William Cameron Menzies' stealth masterpiece. Back then no decent video version was available and we're still stuck with an only so-so Image transfer from 2002. This is one title that needs to be given the works, restoration-wise. The essays try to explain the visionary designs and radical editorial ideas in Menzies' film, which still has the power to freak kids out while introducing them to the wonderful world of futuristic paranoia: "Don't worry son. They aren't going to use a complicated device like this just to kill people." A Savant Article originally posted at Steve Tannehill's old DVD Resource page.
1/06/15

Ten Seconds to Hell
Blu-ray

  Exiled to Europe, tough-guy director Robert Aldrich takes his first project to Hammer Films, and makes a thriller about an irregular bomb disposal unit playing a suicide game in the ruins of Berlin. Six defusing experts agree to pool half their pay, the proceeds to be distributed three months later among those still living -- if any are. Jack Palance and Jeff Chandler each try to make time with their landlord Martin Carol, while Wes Addy, Robert Cornthwaite and others find their own reasons to roll the dice with booby-trapped Allied bombs. Aldrich's cut was reportedly chopped by half an hour. In a new, polished widescreen Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.
1/06/15

and

Adua and Her Friends
Blu-ray

 Antonio Pietrangeli's insightful drama gives adult roles of great power to a quartet of fine actresses -- Simone Signoret, Sandra Milo, Emmanuelle Riva and Gina Rovere. When an official edict closes Italy's brothels and grants prostitutes a clean slate, four friends decide to open a restaurant. They find their path to new lives obstructed by a social double-cross. An altogether compassionate picture that dramatizes forces arrayed against women seeking independence; this very beautiful picture makes the same year's Never On Sunday look like a fairy tale. Also with Marcello Mastroianni. In Blu-ray from Rarovideo.
1/06/15




Hello!

Isn't that a nice picture up top of Sarah Miles, Christopher Jones and Robert Mitchum? Warners needs to arrange more 70mm screenings of that movie, which is incredible in the giant format. And I hope someone gets off their duff to polish up the great Invaders from Mars. I was prepping an image from that movie and thought, I should just take out the typos in my old essay and properly illustrate it. So here it is.

Announcements: Kino, probably through their KL Studio Classics branded line, has announced Blu-rays in May of two fine Ray Milland pictures from the Roger Corman-Poe era, The Premature Burial with Hazel Court and "X" - The Man with the X-Ray Eyes with Diana Van der Vlis and Don Rickles. The Sci-fi title will be a brand new scan; the other one is several years old but reportedly a beauty with a correct title card, unlike on the old DVD.


Let's start the week off with a couple of links.

My late friend and teacher Robert Porfirio was on the trail of film noir knowledge before almost anyone. Cinephilia Beyond has republished his fine Interview with Billy Wilder on Film Noir, so this is a good opportunity to share it.

Compatriot and lover of all things Sci-fi Kevin Pyrtle just sent me a great link to his neat page on Crack in the World. Kevin writes:

"Hi Glenn!  From one aficionado of that 1965 Sci-fi/disaster picture to another, I though you might find this interesting. The master recordings for Johnny Douglas' score are presumed lost at this point, but a 45 rpm recording of two Crack in the World-related tracks was issued in the UK in 1965 and still shows up occasionally at auction.

I had no idea what was on it (beyond the titles "Crack in the World" and "Time") until I finally snagged a copy for myself. It's neat stuff -- a variation of the main theme, now with prominent electric guitar and an extended version of the film's romance theme (very briefly heard in the film, if memory serves) with vocal accompaniment by The Rita Williams Singers.

Anyway, here's a link where you can hear the Crack in the World in 45rpm. Hope you're doing well in this new year, and look forward to reading Savant as always. Kevin Pyrtle"

Kevin's site Exploder Button has some good reading for Sci-fi and horror fans. Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson



January 03, 2015

Savant's new reviews today are:

Eclipse Series 41:
Kinoshita and World War II

Five- DVD Set

  This set presents five Japanese features lucky to have survived -- dramas made during the war and supervised by Japan's military censors. Here finally is the 'morale building' Tojo propaganda to compare to Hollywood's prolific WW2 output. The surprise is that fledgling director Keisuke Kinoshita proves committed to humanistic values beyond the jingoistic slogans -- one film definitely subverts its own pro-war messages. Kinoshita's great talent is apparent from the first. Includes Port of Flowers, The Living Magoroku, Jubilation Street, Army and one film made after the surrender and supervised by the American occupiers, Morning for the Osone Family. In DVD from Eclipse.
1/03/15

and

The Boys from Brazil
Blu-ray

  Ira Levin's supermarket blockbuster becomes the lavishly filmed, embarrassingly tacky thriller in which Gregory Peck's aged Dr. Mengele seeks a fourth Reich by cloning a new Adolf Hitler. Laurence Olivier's geriatric Nazi hunter goes mano a mano with the vile mastermind to stop his evil conspiracy. Everything in between is gorgeous location photography, fine supporting performances (James Mason, Lilli Palmer, Uta Hagen, Steve Guttenberg) and movie-of-the-week skullduggery. Is the show's trivialization of the Holocaust offensive? Or doth Savant protest too much? I can't decide myself. In Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.
1/03/15




Hello!

Holiday responsibilities and fun family activities have slowed up reviews for the last two weeks, but it gives me pleasure to say I don't feel the slightest bit guilty. Just the same, it's good to be able to write without distractions. Nothing could have barred me last week from seeing all of Eclipse's Keisuke Kinoshita movies, which are a real revelation. 'Propaganda' from other countries fascinates me, which is why I like to review those East German films from DEFA. They make the subtle and not so- subtle messages in our own films all the more easy to spot. Since the Eclipse set's release came after I announced my 'best of year' choices it will certainly be considered for the Best of 2015.

Tyrone Power fans -- Savant correspondent Michael Evans forwards some stills and clips from a documentary of Power acting in Solomon and Sheba. The actor died partway through the filming and his role was entirely re-done by Yul Brynner.

Japanese fantasy film enthusiast August Ragone has seen the newly-found additional footage and improved-quality footage for the Japanese versions of the 1960s Toho spectaculars Battle in Outer Space and King Kong vs. Godzilla, both shown recently on Japanese television. KKVG is now restored from 35mm elements and includes its original stereophonic soundtrack. BIOS reportedly now contains three additional minutes of restored visual effects footage, cut from the final release version. Ragone's original post about the rediscoveries is a good entry to his informative website. He's hoping for new releases of the restored versions, at least on Japanese discs.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson


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

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