5 items from 2016
A gritty newspaper saga about two battling tabloids shot like one of Fuller’s war movies, Park Row was one from the heart. Fuller began his career as a crime reporter at the ripe old age of 17 and claimed this period drama as his favorite of his films. Ignoring his pal Darryl Zanuck’s suggestion that he make it a star-laden color musical, Fuller financed his ink-stained morality play himself and lost his shirt. Despite its shoestring budget the period flavor is so strong you can almost smell the newsprint. Fuller regular Gene Evans stars in his greatest role.
- TFH Team
March 22nd’s Blu-ray and DVD releases are an eclectic bunch, featuring a handful of cult classics, a thriller with the likes of Val Kilmer and Michael Madsen, Goth Katie Holmes fighting against the oppressive nature of her educational system, cowboys taking on prehistoric creatures, and a special edition of Fear the Walking Dead’s inaugural season. Yes, there’s truly something for almost every genre fan.
Notable home entertainment releases arriving this Tuesday include Disturbing Behavior (from The X-Files alum David Nutter), The Black Sleep, Donovan’s Brain, Kill Me Again, All Hell Breaks Loose, Curse of the Poltergeist, Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs, and as mentioned above, Fear The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season Special Edition.
- Heather Wixson
Both of the Siodmak brothers made indelible contributions to genre filmmaking, particularly Robert Siodmak’s sterling film noir titles. His brother, Curt Siodmak was more recognizable as a screenwriter, penning a variety of B horror titles such as The Wolf Man (1941) and usually assigned to pen sequels to a number of other franchises, such as The Invisible Man, Dracula, and Frankenstein. Oddly, his 1942 science fiction novel Donovan’s Brain would receive three separate cinematic adaptations of its own (including The Lady and the Monster in 1944 and The Brain in 1962), all informed by particular topical elements of the decade they were mounted in, though none of them particularly astounding in their rudimentary illustrations of science gone wrong.
- Nicholas Bell
Blinded by science! And no, it's not a sequel to Donovan's Reef. Lew Ayres yanks the living brain out of a dying millionaire, plugs it into his mad lab gizmos, and is soon obeying the know-it-all noggin's telepathic commands to scheme and murder. Gene Evans and Nancy Reagan assist in Curt Siodmak's creative, compelling tale of possession by mental remote control. Donovan's Brain Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1953 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 83 min. / Street Date March 22, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Lew Ayres, Gene Evans, Nancy Reagan, Steve Brodie, Tom Powers, Lisa K. Howard, James Anderson, Victor Sutherland, Harlan Warde, John Hamilton. Cinematography Joseph H. Biroc Film Editor Herbert L. Strock Production Design Boris Leven Original Music Eddie Dunstedter Written by Felix Feist, Hugh Brooke from the novel by Curt Siodmak Produced by Allan Dowling, Tom Gries Directed by Felix E. Feist
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Sci-fi and horror »
- Glenn Erickson
Fixed Bayonets!, 1951.
Directed by Samuel Fuller.
The story of a platoon during the Korean War. One by one Corporal Denno’s superiors are killed until it comes to the point where he must try to take command responsibility.
Here’s a tightly wound ball of suspense with the duality of fatalisms and heroism at the heart. It’s the Korean War and there’s snow up to the knees, and for an hour and half Samuel Fuller puts us amongst the American platoon who have the unenviable task of acting as the rear guard, and fooling the enemy into thinking they are in fact the whole damn regiment; with a little subterfuge, planning, and a whole lot of courage these brave few show us it can be done. Heroes will be made and heroes will be lost. »
- Amie Cranswick
5 items from 2016
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