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

Tuesday July 18, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.
(T'was a chilly night in Westwood in 1970, and the thing was SCARY. Ask Mister Cook and Mister Nielson, they were there too.)

Savant's new reviews today are:

The Sea Chase
The Warner Archive Collection

 John Wayne plays a German sea captain in a film that goes out of its way to create a favorable image of our former enemy, with hardly a Nazi flag or even a German accent in sight. Wayne and his co-star Lana Turner are as Teutonic as Blondie and Dagwood, yet the film works as a basic adventure – we like the charismatic star, and the sea chase format guarantees extra interest. John Farrow's direction and a fun cast are assets as well: Lyle Bettger, Richard Davalos, Tab Hunter, John Qualen & Claude Akins are all German sailors! On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.

KL Studio Classics

 It's 007 in the saddle! Sean Connery didn't become a career cowboy but this one stint as a Louis L'Amour hero is a diverting change of pace. And we couldn't resist the pairing of two of moviedom's most attractive actors -- Connery and Brigitte Bardot. The cast is almost all-star: Jack Hawkins, Honor Blackman, Peter Van Eyck, Stephen Boyd, Alexander Knox and Valerie French -- with Woody Strode as Chato, challenging Bond Shalako to a duel to the death. Actually, it's rather good. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.


The Quiet American (1958)
Twilight Time

 There appear to be no rules governing tricky politics in movies -- Joseph L. Mankiewicz's adaptation of Graham Greene's novel about terrorism in French-held Vietnam completely reverses the author's message. Does a conspiracy theory about a movie still carry any weight, when our daily political life now plays like one giant conspiracy? All-American Audie Murphy is the whitewashed 'U.S. aid representative,' while Michael Redgrave is the dissolute Brit correspondent. The main attraction may be all the atmospheric location work filmed in Saigon in 1957. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.


October's Criterion lineup is out, and it's special: Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, Welles' Othello, Dreyer's Vampyr, Lynch's Fire Walk With Me plus the newer attractions Personal Shopper and The Lure. That's a great month -- I've been curious to see Barry Lyndon again, I'm eager to see Vampyr at higher rez (it appears to be the same restoration as the previous DVD) and . . . wait for it . . . I've never seen more than a few clips of Othello.

Twilight Time's October release list was divulged a couple of days back: Walter Hill's Wild Bill, André De Toth's Play Dirty (!), Henry King's The Captain from Castile and John Gilling's Hammer shocker The Pirates of Blood River. How about some great Hammer-Columbia B&W titles, TT? Double bills, maybe? Twilight Time's July titles just came in and I'm trying to figure out how to tackle the PC minefield indicated by the presence of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but were Afraid to Ask . . . I still find much of it charming and hilarious.

And a welcome 3-D Blu of Kong: Skull Island just sashayed in off a FedEx truck. I have no idea what to expect and am keeping an open mind.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson

Saturday July 15, 2017

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Savant's new reviews today are:

Straw Dogs
The Criterion Collection

 Trailers from Hell's Charlie Largent takes on Sam Peckinpah's contribution to the ultra-violent movies of 1971. Originally rated 'X', details of a gang rape scene weren't shown until the home video era arrived. What does a nerdy math professor do when uncouth hooligans take his wife and violate the sanctity of his solid-stone country home? Defend his turf with deadly force, that's what. Pauline Kael called it 'fascist cinema,' but it's one of Sam's better pictures. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.

The Valachi Papers
Twilight Time

 Charles Bronson plays a real-life Mafiosi in a period gangland saga with a fine script, some good performances and a production so sloppy that the whole thing could be called The Anachronism Papers. Joseph Wiseman and Lino Ventura supply the tough-guy star-power and Bronson actually commits himself to the role -- quite a change of pace for one of his later pictures. Also with Jill Ireland. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.

Cult Epics
Blu-ray + DVD

 What a great sales hook -- a feature film with a Bernard Herrmann music score that we hadn't heard of. And one of the writers was Martin Scorsese, before Boxcar Bertha and Mean Streets! But wait, it isn't as simple as that. The new release is more than a little confusing. Its own ad copy first calls this Dutch production 'obscure,' and not four sentences later describes it as a 'classic exploitation film.' Starring Alexandra Stewart. A Dual-Format edition on Blu-ray and DVD from Cult Epics.


The Angry Red Planet
Scream Factory

 Hey, Ib Melchoir's Opus Mars-us is back, in a not-bad new scan and color-grading job. If the nostalgia bug has bitten you deep enough to appreciate a fairly maladroit but frequently arresting space exploration melodrama, this may be the disc for you. Let's be honest: NOBODY can resist the allure of the fabulous Bat-Rat-Spider-Crab, and in glorious Cinemagic, no less. Starring the non-angry redhead Nora Hayden, Gerald Mohr, Les Tremayne and jumpin' Jack Kruschen. Finally remastered on Blu-ray in its proper aspect ratio, by Scream Factory.


Some fun links tonight. Longtime correspondent 'B' sends along an amusing link to Thrillist Entertainment's illustrated article The 100 Greatest Props in Movie History, and the Stories Behind Them, which has a lot of funky choices but is still an okay read. The Great Whatsis from Kiss Me Deadly is there, so I'm satisfied.

We were told he retired from audio commentaries, but perhaps this one was in the can from an earlier time: Kino says that Richard Harland Smith will be heard on the yak-track for their upcoming Blu-ray of Tobor the Great, which has been given a street date of September 12. The hero brat is the kid from Night of the Hunter!

Gary Teetzel forwards this syfywire link to The 23 Most Hilariously Wrong Genre Movie Closed Captions. I suspect that many of these are from Hong-Kong generated discs.

An excellent trailer-promo surfaced for about a day for Cohen's promised Blu-ray of The Old Dark House, and then disappeared. The quality was phenomenal for a picture we'd only seen pretty grungy quality. A facebook post claimed that Cohen had leaked a release date, but being the Savant, I missed it. If the promo pops up again, check it out, it's quite good.

And finally, judging by the online response, I ought to ditch this movie boosh-wah and call myself OLD MUSTANG CAR SAVANT. Thanks for all the notes and interest in a vehicle I had for many years, but never felt secure enough to invest in properly restoring. Now my daughter is finishing the job. Wotta gal!

I will now return to movie-brain mode, at least until the next time I get to visit my old car again.

Thanks for reading! --- Glenn Erickson

The Lost City of Z

 They don't make 'em like this any more, and the original TV spots for James Gray's accurate retelling of history almost didn't know how to sell it. Charlie Hunnam spends his life trying to solve a riddle of the Peruvian rainforest, in between fighting in WW1 and dealing with class prejudice. Yup, one could say the picture was filmed in a 'classic' style . . . can that kind of show find an audience these days? With Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller and Tom Holland. On Blu-ray from Broadstreet / Amazon Studios.

Blood Alley

 Now a successful producer, John Wayne tries a big budget action picture with an anti-Communist theme. It's The Alamo on a ferryboat, with Wayne as an apolitical adventurer who just feels like savin' Chinese and kissin' Lauren Bacall. Ace director William Wellman holds it together -- barely. Berry Kroeger is a hateful comrade, Mike Mazurki a loyal aide and Anita Ekberg can be spotted in a couple of scenes, looking very . . . Swedish. With some interesting newsreels and TV show excerpts. On Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.

Ikarie XB 1

 For the discerning science fiction fan, this is the best of the Eastern-bloc Cold War Sci-fi epics, a genuinely brilliant and warmly human 'Voyage to the End of the Universe' restored in 4k resolution. It's from before 2001: A Space Odyssey and has an equally wondrous but totally different vision of the future. Hopefully this will soon be readily available here; buying it required some clever footwork by Foreign Exchange of Culver City. Starring my favorite Czech personalities Radovan Lukavský, Zdenek Stepánek, Frantisek Smolík, Irena Kacírková and Dana Medrická. Please Marek, forgive my incompetent diacritical marks! On Blu-ray from NFA (Czech).


 At last, an expressionist silent classic that takes full advantage of cinematic principles. The legendary E.A. Dupont goes in for subjective-emotional effects of which Hitchcock would approve; Cameraman Karl Freund and effects wizard Eugen Schüfftan pull off spectacular visuals and special effects. No wonder this was a huge hit in America, it's way ahead of its time (and ours too, in some ways). Emil Jannings shows why he was considered the world's best actor in the 1920's. Plus the enigmatic Lya De Putti. On Blu-ray from Kino Classics.

Free Fire

 Have an itch to see a movie about a gunfight, the whole gunfight and nothing but the gunfight? Search no more, for Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump have the movie for you: twenty minutes of angry crooks in conference, and then seventy minutes of non-stop shootin,' with no annoying plot context or character depth to get in the way. Just say 'Bang Bang I shot you down' and then play it in a loop ad infinitum. Starring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Babou Ceesay, Noah Taylor, Jack Reynor, Mark Monero and Patrick Bergin. On Blu-ray from Lionsgate.

The Bridge at Remagen

 What's the best true-story WW2 combat film for pure-grit, no-nonsense tanks 'n' bombs 'n' crazy mayhem action on a giant scale? This non-stop battle epic gets my vote. George Segal and Ben Gazzara's GI infantry dogs are suitably tough, cynical and desperate, especially when they're repeatedly sent into danger. The history is fairly accurate -- there was indeed a race to seize the last bridge across the River Rhine. With Robert Vaughn, Bradford Dillman, E.G. Marshall, Peter Van Eyck, Hans Christian Blech & Bo Hopkins. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.

Ugetsu Monogatari

 Trailers From Hell's Charlie Largent takes a Westernized look at the great Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi and his preeminent masterpiece Ugetsu, brought to us in a stellar new release from the wizards at Criterion.. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.


 Welcome to the final film of the aesthetically precise, rigorously austere Robert Bresson, an adaptation of a fateful tale by Leo Tolstoy visualized in Bresson's frequently maddening personal style. An extreme artist makes a fascinatingly unyielding show: as with the classic paintings that Bresson admires, appreciation requires special knowledge. With an excellent vintage interview with Michel Ciment to clarify Bresson's theory of cinema: I'm still only part-way there. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.

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.

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


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