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Tuesday August 22, 2017

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Savant's new reviews today are:

The Long, Hot Summer
Twilight Time

 Barns are a-burning, Paul Newman is recommended to Joanne Woodward as 'a big stud horse' and Lee Remick oozes sexuality all over Martin Ritt's CinemaScope screen. William Faulkner may be the source but this tale of ambition in the family of yet another southern Big Daddy is given the faux Tennessee Williams treatment -- it's a grand soap opera with a fistful of great stars having a grand time. Looking better than ever on Blu-ray, with Orson Welles, Anthony Franciosa and Angela Lansbury. From Twilight Time.

Held for Questioning
The DEFA Film Library

 Sylvester Groth shines in this East German movie about a luckless private in a Polish prison, thrown in with a group of defeated Nazi war criminals. For a country that usually paints the ideological divide in black and white red, Frank Beyer's film of Hermann Kant's semi-autobiographical story is surprisingly even-handed; in the awful aftermath of WW2, millions of soldiers never found their way back to their countries of origin. An excellent addition to films from behind the old Iron Curtain, on DVD from The DEFA Film Library.


Prizzi's Honor
KL Studio Classics

 It's a crime comedy with class. Richard Condon and John Huston's gangland version of Moonstruck bounces effortlessly between earnest romanticism and cynical satire. Jack Nicholson's hit man is a brass-knuckle Romeo, and Kathleen Turner's mysterious bicoastal Juliet has nothing but surprises for him. Near the end of his career, Huston's direction is as assured as can be. With Anjelica Huston, William Hickey, Robert Loggia and John Randolph. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.


Altair Four's eclipse was good, but there's nothing like witnessing the real thing. Yes, Monday's solar eclipse was fun to watch -- a glimpse of the sun's orb was partly blocked here in Los Angeles, and we saw a lot of viewers become either elated or disappointed in the various network coverage. The experience of darkness at noon is pretty strange; I remember an overcast feel for some eclipse witnessed in my past, but never real darkness such as we saw on TV.

My joke is that, if some uncomprehending person got the time confused and ran out to see the eclipse at 11:30 last night, they might say, "Wow, it really IS an eclipse -- it's pitch black out here." That's a spin on the old joke about alien invaders: How did they get through the Solar System without being detected? -- They snuck in after darkness.

Every picture tells a story. A colleague of my wife ran out to get some eclipse glasses yesterday, and bought an extra pair 'just in case.' They proved to be useful, as demonstrated by the family dog, Riley. I think Riley has the appropriate attitude for a special day.

Reviews coming next: ClassicFlix's The Noose Hangs High with Abbott and Costello, Twilight Time's Kid Galahad with Elvis, directed by Phil Karlson; and Kelly Reichart's Certain Women from Criterion. Langushing on Charlie Largent's to-review plate are Visit to a Small Planet, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask, La Poison, They Shoot Horses Don't They and Suddenly, Last Summer

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson

Saturday August 19, 2017

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Savant's new reviews today are:

The Criterion Collection

 Andrei Tarkovsky's bizarre philosophical science fiction epic may be his most successful picture overall -- every image and word makes its precise desired effect. Three daring men defy the law to penetrate 'the Zone' and learn the truth behind the notion that a place called The Room exists where all wishes are granted. Plenty of art films promise profound ideas, but this one delivers. Extra interview pieces give us the inside story from Tarkovsky's collaborators. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.

The Man with Two Brains
The Warner Archive Collection

 Steve Martin brings down the house with this adoring, hilarious pastiche of mad doctor and disembodied brain motifs -- surely the epitome of cultured comedy. Under Carl Reiner's direction Martin is marvelous, and he's aided and abetted by the daring sexpot-turned comedienne Kathleen Turner -- who has a better handle on outrageous sexy comedy than they do. It's class-act nonsense and inspired silliness. Where else can a crazed surgeon proclaim his special screw-top skull surgery method, and utter the immortal words, "Scum queen?!" With David Warner and Paul Benedict; on Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.


Tobor the Great
KL Studio Classics

 Robot roll call! This also-ran robotic fantasy from the 1950s is precisely the kind of movie one would expect from Republic, a two-fisted anti-Commie tract for juveniles. The studio comes up with an impressive robo-hero, but short-changes us when it come time for action thrills. Still, as pointed out in Richard Harland Smith's new commentary, Tobor filled the the kiddie hunger for sci-fi matinees, at least until Robby the Robot came along. Charles Drake is the adult scientist, and genius-brat Billy Chapin is the one who sets Tobor on a Robot rampage. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.


I haven't seen a lot of discussion on the The Good, The Bad and The Ugly disc I reviewed a week back, but I was pleased to read this The Edit Room Floor article on various versions of the film. It jibes closely with my own memories of what happened with the versions at MGM, and also agrees with my assessment on the film's color. I have heard from a couple of European contacts that, in their opinion old IB Tech prints from Italy were a little more yellow -- but that they were nothing like the 2014 Fox disc, with its green skies.

A couple of nice items from This Isn't Happiness, a challenging image & ideas page I've been looking at almost daily for at least 13 years now. This item "Oh Boy" is a quote from an old ABC News broadcast, about the impending solar eclipse, but also about a future that happens to be our present.

The second This Isn't Happiness item is Harry Frankfurt's Bull****, a frank and concise appreciation of the difference between fact and baloney in modern discourse. Whups -- those were two non-film related links, even though the second uses some prime film clips to make its case. My quota for the summer is now filled.

Is it true what correspondent Andrew LeBlanc tells me, that a particular Warner disc of King Kong Skull Island is now hitting astronomical prices online? The disc in question, says Andrew, is a Best Buy Exclusive, containing a 4K + 3-D + Blu-ray + Digital. Mine doesn't have the 4K, so I guess I'm out of luck for the Big Payday.

And collectors have found out that Kino's expected Blu-ray of William Dieterle's Portrait of Jennie (due October 24) won't be overloaded with extras, but will be favored with a new commentary from Troy Howarth. I'm hoping Troy supplies more insights into the film's twisted, convoluted production and release history: I've been following it ever since reading an article in one of the very first Cinefantastique magazines. Actually, if Kino delivers a high-quality transfer and audio track, that will be more than enough to rock my jolly meter: The Wind Blows -- The Sea Flows -- No -- bo -- dy knows.

Over at the new page Current Thinking on the Western, Italo-western connoisseur Tom Betts has a new article up detailing the history of his 'zine Westerns… All’Italiana!, from its origins in 1983, when typing and photocopying pages gave way to primitive first-generation home computers. Mr. Betts was an inexhaustible and generous resource for the documentary featurettes we cut on the Sergio Leone movies fifteen years ago, but I was only tangentially aware of the scope of his network of Italo western fandom. Tom's terrific 21st century online 'zine iteration, the Westerns… All’Italiana! webpage, goes into incredible detail on the genre and its colorful stars and filmmakers.

And Gary Teetzel closes out the column with a link to a new trailer for a thing called Godzilla: Monster Planet. You're on your own, brave Kaiju fans...

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson

Night Moves

 Arthur Penn's detective movie is one of the best ever in the genre, one that rewards repeat viewings particularly well. Gumshoe Harry Moseby compartmentalizes his marriage, his job, his past and the greedy Hollywood has-beens he meets, not realizing that everything is interconnected, and more than capable of assembling a world-class conspiracy. Gene Hackman tops a sterling cast in the film that introduced most of us to Melanie Griffith, here playing a disturbingly convincing bit of teen jailbait. With Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, Edward Binns, John Crawford and James Woods. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.


 Robert De Niro picks up a gun once again as a highly paid spy-mercenary-thief hired for a bit of international larceny, robbing a courier of some undisclosed secrets of one kind or another. Juicing up a Melville- like stoic crime fantasy with superb car stunt work puts director John Frankenheimer back in the game, with a worthy project. With Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Sean Bean, Stellan Skarsgard, Michael Lonsdale and Jonathan Pryce. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video.

Bob Hope on Blu-ray

 Trailers From Hell’s Charlie Largent reviews the new releases of Bob Hope’s mid-career comedies on blu ray. The films only occasionally hint at his prodigious skills but, like the great comedian’s career, the results are a mixed but ultimately rewarding experience. Road to Rio, My Favorite Brunette, Road To Bali, The Lemon Drop Kid, Son of Paleface. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.

Duel in the Sun

 David O. Selznick's absurdly over-cooked western epic is a great picture, even if much of it induces a kind of hypnotic, mouth-hanging-open disbelief. Is this monument to the sex appeal of Jennifer Jones, Kitsch in terrible taste, or have Selznick and his army of Hollywood talents found a new level of hyped melodramatic harmony? It certainly has the star-power, beginning with Gregory Peck as a cowboy rapist who learned his bedside manners from Popeye's Bluto. It's all hugely enjoyable. Also starring Joseph Cotten, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Walter Huston, Butterfly McQueen, Charles Bickford and Tilly Losch; directed by King Vidor, William Dieterle and several others. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

 Will Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes be forever facing off on the giant threshing wheel? Sergio Leone's Civil War gunslinger epic is everybody's favorite western, and most everybody has a bone to pick regarding problems with the previous DVDs and Blu-rays. The good news is that Kino's 50th Anniversary Special Edition takes giant leaps in correcting older audio issues . . . but the bad news . . .. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.


 Nobody stands up for Britons in the lower class trenches like the fierce, opinionated and outright brilliant Mike Leigh; his unusual writing and directing method yields terrific results in his first feature made for TV. And the early performances of Tim Roth, Phil Daniels and Gary Oldman should be the stuff of acting legend, '80s style. With Marion Bailey, Pam Ferris, Tilly Vosburgh, Alfred Molina and Jeff Robert. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.

The Crimson Kimono

 Another great Samuel Fuller film on Blu-ray -- this one is a crime tale set in downtown Los Angeles' Little Tokyo, that forms an interracial romantic triangle. It's risky for its year because of the sexual dynamics -- a Japanese-American man falls in love with a Caucasian woman. Fuller's approach is years ahead of its time, even if Columbia's sales job was a little weird. Victoria Shaw and Glenn Corbett get top billing, but newcomer James Shigeta steals the show. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.


 Trailers from Hell's Charlie Largent resurrects a real favorite, Stuart Gordon's epic gross-out about the grisly adventures of H.P. Lovecraft's Dr. Herbert West. Filmdom's maddest mad scientist brings dead flesh back to life and proves conclusively that the grave is no barrier to one man's libidinous lust. This 2-disc limited edition contains two versions of the film and a long list of extras -- full cast and director commentaries, the works. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video.

August 2017
 Beggars of Life  Blu-ray By Charlie Largent  Freebie and the Bean  Blu-ray  The Dinner  Blu-ray  Hopscotch  Blu-ray  Silkwood  Blu-ray
July 2017
 Night People  Blu-ray  You Only Live Once  Blu-ray  Terror in a Texas Town  Blu-ray  Where the Boys Are (1960)  Blu-ray  Lost in America by Charlie Largent  Blu-ray  The Breaking Point  Blu-ray  Kong: Skull Island  3-D Blu-ray  The Battle of the River Plate  Region B Blu-ray  The Sea Chase  Blu-ray  Shalako  Blu-ray  The Quiet American  Blu-ray  Straw Dogs  Blu-ray  The Valachi Papers  Blu-ray  Obsessions 1969  Blu-ray  The Angry Red Planet  Blu-ray  The Lost City of Z  Blu-ray  Blood Alley  Blu-ray  Ikarie XB 1  Blu-ray  Varieté  Blu-ray  Free Fire  Blu-ray  The Bridge at Remagen  Blu-ray  Ugetsu Monogatari by Charlie Largent  Blu-ray  L'argent  Blu-ray
June 2017
 The Savage Innocents  Blu-ray  Hell and High Water  Blu-ray  Hell in the Pacific  Blu-ray  They Live by Night  Blu-ray  Running on Empty  Blu-ray  Comfort and Joy  Region B Blu-ray  Brother Can You Spare a Dime  DVD  The Bird with the Crystal Plumage  Blu-ray  Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy: Rome Open City, Paisan, Germany Year Zero  Blu-ray  The Man from Planet X  Blu-ray  Marcel Pagnol: The Marseille Trilogy: Marius, Fanny, César  Blu-ray  8 Million Ways to Die  Blu-ray  Death Line  Blu-ray  The Lodger (1927)  Blu-ray  Good Morning (ohayo)  Blu-ray  The Man in the Moon  Blu-ray  Blast-Off  Blu-ray  Joe Versus the Volcano  Blu-ray  Le désordre et la nuit  All-Region Blu-ray  The Paradine Case  Blu-ray  Spotlight on a Murderer  Blu-ray + DVD  The Picasso Summer  DVD  The Gumball Rally  Blu-ray
May 2017
 Dracula Complete Legacy Collection by Charlie Largent  Blu-ray  The Mummy Complete Legacy Collection by Charlie Largent  Blu-ray  The Ballad of Cable Hogue  Blu-ray  Trespass  Blu-ray  Inferno  3-D Blu-ray  One, Two, Three  Blu-ray  Ghost World  Blu-ray  Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project 2: Insiang, Mysterious Object at Noon, Revenge, Limite, Law of the Border, Taipei Story  Blu-ray + DVD  Things to Come (2016) Blu-ray  Who'll Stop the Rain  Blu-ray  Rescuing the Runes: The Almost-Lost Original Long Cut of Night of the Demon Guest Article by Wayne Schmidt  Those Redheads from Seattle  3-D Blu-ray  Night of the Demon (Rendez-vous avec la peur)  Region A+B Blu-ray + DVD  Decoy (TV Show)  DVD  The World's Most Beautiful Swindlers  Blu-ray  Pelle the Conqueror  Blu-ray  Kiss Me Deadly Restoration Savant Article  Blu-ray  The Walerian Borowczyk Short Film Collection  Blu-ray  Marjorie Morningstar  Blu-ray  The Assassin  Blu-ray + DVD  The Loved One  Blu-ray  Broken Arrow  Blu-ray  The Mephisto Waltz  Blu-ray  100 Girls by Bunny Yeager  Blu-ray  Seven Days in May  Blu-ray  How to Steal a Million  Blu-ray  The Indian Fighter  Blu-ray  The Young Girls of Rochefort  Blu-ray  I Am Not Your Negro  Blu-ray  The Accidental Tourist  Blu-ray
April 2017
 The Day of the Jackal  Blu-ray  I Bury the Living + The Screaming Skull by Charlie Largent  Blu-ray  You'll Never Get Rich  Blu-ray  A Farewell to Arms  Blu-ray  The Salesman  Blu-ray  Rumblefish  Blu-ray and  Edgar Wallace Collection Edition 1: The Face of the Frog, The Mysterious Magician, The Hound of Blackwood Castle  Blu-ray by Charlie Largent  Donnie Darko  Blu-ray  Ophélia  Blu-ray  Caltiki, The Immortal Monster  Blu-ray + DVD  The Scar (Hollow Triumph)  Blu-ray  The Rounders  Blu-ray  Buena Vista Social Club  Blu-ray  Chamber of Horrors &  A Game of Death by Charlie Largent  Blu-ray  The Delinquents  Blu-ray  Fahrenheit 451  Blu-ray  The Umbrellas of Cherbourg  Blu-ray  Sunset in the West  Blu-ray  From Hell it Came  Blu-ray  36 Hours  Blu-ray   (The Saga of) Anatahan  Blu-ray  Eyes without a Face UK import  Blu-ray + PAL DVD  Electric Boogaloo  Blu-ray  Property Is No Longer a Theft  Blu-ray + DVD  Lifeboat  Blu-ray  Story of Sin  Blu-ray + DVD  Being There & After the Fox by Charlie Largent Blu-ray  Ride The High Country  Blu-ray  The Russians are Coming and  Career  DVD  The Vampire Bat  Blu-ray  The Skull  Blu-ray  'How to Succeed' -- Take 2  Savant Article
March 2017
 Invisible Ghost  Blu-ray  Blow-Up  Blu-ray &  Elle  Blu-ray by Charlie Largent  Julieta  Blu-ray  Peyton Place  Blu-ray  How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying  Blu-ray  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  3-D Blu-ray  23 Paces to Baker Street  Blu-ray  Tower  Blu-ray  Multiple Maniacs by Charlie Largent  Blu-ray  Fences  Blu-ray  Phaedra  Blu-ray  Our Man in Havana  Blu-ray  Film / Notfilm separate releases  Blu-ray  Summer Storm  DVD  World Without End  Blu-ray  September Storm  3-D Blu-ray  Cinema Paradiso  Blu-ray  Compulsion  Blu-ray  We Are the Flesh & Lovers on the Bridge by Charlie Largent  Blu-ray  RoboCop 2 Collector's Edition Blu-ray  45 Years  Blu-ray  The Valley of Gwangi  Blu-ray  The Man Who Could Cheat Death  Blu-ray  Finian's Rainbow  Blu-ray  Chilly Scenes of Winter  Blu-ray  A*P*E  3-D Blu-ray
February 2017
 The Before Trilogy: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight  Blu-ray  Framed  Blu-ray  Kiss of Death  Blu-ray  Edge of Eternity  Blu-ray  The Tree of Wooden Clogs  Blu-ray  Panther Girl of the Kongo  Blu-ray  Deluge  Blu-ray  3 Classic Films by Claude Chabrol  Blu-ray  By Sidney Lumet  DVD  The Boy Friend  Blu-ray  The Gate  Blu-ray  Breakout / Der Mann Ohne Nerven  Blu-ray  Arrival  Blu-ray + DVD  A Walk in the Sun  DVD  Loving  Blu-ray + DVD  The Edge of Seventeen  Blu-ray + DVD  Manchester by the Sea  Blu-ray + DVD  Hacksaw Ridge  Blu-ray + DVD  Valkoinen Peura The White Reindeer  Region B Blu-ray  One Million Years B.C.  Blu-ray  When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth  Blu-ray  Inferno  3-D Blu-ray  Gabriel Over the White House (revisited)  DVD
January 2017
 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown  Blu-ray  Love in the Afternoon  Blu-ray  What a Way to Go!  Blu-ray  Mildred Pierce  Blu-ray  The Lair of the White Worm  Blu-ray  Dr. Orloff's Monster  Blu-ray  The Yakuza  Blu-ray  Wagon Tracks  Blu-ray  The Sicilian Clan  Blu-ray  No Highway in the Sky  Blu-ray  Seddok, l'erede di Satana  Region 2 PAL DVD  Stanley and Iris  Blu-ray  Who?  Blu-ray  Two for the Road  Blu-ray  Gas-s-s-s –Or– It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It  Blu-ray  The Mad Magician  3-D Blu-ray  Revenge of the Blood Beast  Blu-ray  David and Bathsheba  Blu-ray  Something Wild  Blu-ray  The Accountant  Blu-ray + DVD  The Keys of the Kingdom  Blu-ray  The Barefoot Contessa  Blu-ray  The Internecine Project  Blu-ray  Battleground  Blu-ray  The People vs. Fritz Bauer  Blu-ray  His Girl Friday &  The Front Page  Blu-ray  The Driller Killer  Blu-ray
December 2016
 Wait Until Dark  Blu-ray  'Pimpernel' Smith  Blu-ray  Loophole (1981)  Blu-ray  Deepwater Horizon  Blu-ray + DVD  50 Years with Peter Paul and Mary  DVD  Bad Day at Black Rock  Blu-ray  Sully  Blu-ray  The 3 Worlds of Gulliver  Blu-ray  Dreamscape  Blu-ray  Savant Picks the Most Impressive Discs of 2016  Fellini's Roma  Blu-ray  I Want to Live!  Blu-ray  100 Rifles  Blu-ray  Brazil  Blu-ray  The House on 92nd Street  Blu-ray  Short Cuts  Blu-ray  The Exterminating Angel  Blu-ray  Bad Girl  Blu-ray  Pretty Poison  Blu-ray  Sudden Fear  Blu-ray  Cry of the City  Blu-ray  Pete's Dragon  Blu-ray + DVD

  Reaching further back in time?  Chronological 2015 and 2016 can't be uploaded yet, but you can search back in the archives, immediately below. Available now is
A Chronological List of DVD Savant's Reviews for 2014
... and for 2013 ... 2012 ... and 2011
Use the search function at the top of the page for individual titles -- it's new and improved and works well.

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