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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

11 items from 2016


To Have and Have Not

10 July 2016 2:53 PM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Bogart finds Bacall and movie history is made; for once the make-believe romantic chemistry is abundantly real. Howard Hawks' wartime Caribbean adventure plays in grand style, with his patented mix of precision and casual cool. It's one of the most entertaining pictures of the 'forties. To Have and Have Not Blu-ray Warner Archive Collection 1944 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 100 min. / Street Date July 19, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan, Hoagy Carmichael,Dolores Moran, Sheldon Leonard, Walter Szurovy, Marcel Dalio, Walter Sande, Dan Seymour. Cinematography Sid Hickox Art Direction Charles Novi Film Editor Christian Nyby Original Music Hoagy Carmichael, William Lava, Franz Waxman Written by Jules Furthman, William Faulkner from the novel by Ernest Hemingway Produced by Howard Hawks, Jack L. Warner Directed by Howard Hawks

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Speaking for myself, I can't think of a more 'Hawksian' picture than To Have and Have Not. »

- Glenn Erickson

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The Newsstand – Episode 60 – The September 2016 Criterion Line-up, Cameraperson, Phantom Pages and More!

23 June 2016 5:00 AM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

This time on the Newsstand, Ryan is joined by David Blakeslee and Keith Enright to discuss the September line-up from Criterion, a number of the phantom pages that have gone up recently, and a few other pieces of news.

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Topics Criterion Completion Podcast September 2016 Criterion Collection Line-up John WatersMultiple Maniacs Tarkovsky Blu-rays from Artificial Eye Phantom Pages Galore Cameraperson Night Train To Munich Night Train to Munich (1940) Night Train to Munich Episode 85 – Carol Reed’s Night Train To Munich June 2010 Criterion Collection New Releases Announced! Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman The November 2013 Criterion Collection Line-up: … The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939) Kenji Mizoguchi – Explore Watch The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum | Hulu The Boland Design Co. Wacky New Years Drawing Hints At The Criterion Collection’s »

- Ryan Gallagher

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Kieslowski, ‘Cat People,’ and the Coen Brothers Lead The Criterion Collection’s September Line-Up

16 June 2016 3:00 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

September tends to be the time of year that movie studios start busting out the big guns, and 2016 finds the Criterion Collection following suit, as the boutique home video label will be releasing one of the most significant cinematic landmarks on which they’ve yet to put their stamp.

Krzysztof Kieślowski’s mammoth “Dekalog” makes the company’s September lineup something of a bumper crop in and of itself, but — lucky for us — it’ll be accompanied by an essential Kenji Mizoguchi classic, two ample doses of Jacqueline Susann-inspired campiness, some old school Coen brothers and much more. Check out the full release slate below, listed in rough order of our excitement for each title.

1.) “Dekalog” (dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1988), Spine #837

This would be at the very top of the list regardless of what else Criterion is releasing in September. One of the greatest achievements in all of film (though »

- David Ehrlich

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They Were Expendable

10 June 2016 7:30 PM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

John Ford's best war movie does a flip-flop on the propaganda norm. It's about men that must hold the line in defeat and retreat, that are ordered to lay down a sacrifice play while someone else gets to hit the home runs. Robert Montgomery, John Wayne and Donna Reed are excellent, as is the recreation of the Navy's daring sideshow tactic in the Pacific Theater, the 'speeding coffin' Patrol Torpedo boats. They Were Expendable Blu-ray Warner Archive Collection 1945 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 135 min. / Street Date June 7, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed, Jack Holt, Ward Bond, Marshall Thompson, Cameron Mitchell, Paul Langton, Leon Ames, Donald Curtis, Murray Alper, Harry Tenbrook, Jack Pennick, Charles Trowbridge, Louis Jean Heydt, Russell Simpson, Blake Edwards, Tom Tyler. Cinematography Joseph H. August Production Designer Film Editor Douglass Biggs, Frank E. Hull Original Music Earl K. Brent, Herbert Stothart, Eric Zeisl Writing credits Frank Wead, Comdr. U.S.N. (Ret.), Based on the book by William L. White Produced and Directed by John Ford, Captain U.S.N.R.

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

They Were Expendable has always been appreciated, but hasn't been given a high roost in John Ford's filmography. Yet it's one of his most personal movies, and for a story set in the military service, his most serious. We're given plenty of service humor and even more sentimentality -- with a sing-along scene like those that would figure in the director's later cavalry pictures, no less. Yet the tone is heavier, more resolutely downbeat. The war had not yet ended as this show went before the cameras, yet Ford's aim is to commemorate the sacrifices, not wave a victory flag. By 1945 Hollywood was already rushing its last 'We're at War!' morale boosters out the gate and gearing up for production in a postwar world. Practically a pet project of legendary director John Ford, They Were Expendable is his personal tribute to the Navy. Typical for Ford, he chose for his subject not some glorious victory or idealized combat, but instead a thankless and losing struggle against an invader whose strength seemed at the time to be almost un-opposable. They Were Expendable starts at Pearl Harbor and traces the true story of an experimental Patrol Torpedo Boat unit run by Lt. John Brickley (Robert Montgomery), his ambitious second in command Lt. Ryan (John Wayne) and their five boat crews. The ambience is pure Ford family casting: the ever-present Ward Bond and Jack Pennick are there, along with youthful MGM newcomers Marshall Thompson (It! The Terror from Beyond Space and Cameron Mitchell (Garden of Evil, Blood and Black Lace) being treated as new members of the Ford acting family. Along the way Ryan meets nurse Sandy Davyss (Donna Reed). Despite their battle successes, the Pt unit suffers casualties and loses boats as the Philippine campaign rapidly collapses around them. Indicative of the unusual level of realism is the Wayne/Reed romance, which falls victim to events in a very un-glamorous way. There's nothing second-rate about this Ford picture. It is by far his best war film and is as deeply felt as his strongest Westerns. His emotional attachment to American History is applied to events only four years past. The pace is fast but Expendable takes its time to linger on telling character details. The entertainer that responds to the war announcement by singing "My Country 'tis of Thee" is Asian, perhaps even Japanese; she's given an unusually sensitive close-up at a time when all Hollywood references to the Japanese were negative, or worse. MGM gives Ford's shoot excellent production values, with filming in Florida more than adequate to represent the Philippines. Even when filming in the studio, Ford's show is free of the MGM gloss that makes movies like its Bataan look so phony. We see six real Pt boats in action. The basic battle effect to show them speeding through exploding shells appears to be accomplished by pyrotechnic devices - fireworks -- launched from the boat deck. Excellent miniatures represent the large Japanese ships they attack. MGM's experts make the exploding models look spectacular. Ford's sentimentality for Navy tradition and the camaraderie of the service is as strong as ever. Although we see a couple of battles, the film is really a series of encounters and farewells, with boats not coming back and images of sailors that gaze out to sea while waxing nostalgic about the Arizona lost at Pearl Harbor. The image of civilian boat builder Russell Simpson awaiting invasion alone with only a rifle and a jug of moonshine purposely references Ford's earlier The Grapes of Wrath. Simpson played an Okie in that film and Ford stresses the association by playing "Red River Valley" on the soundtrack; it's as if the invading Japanese were bankers come to boot Simpson off his land. Equally moving is the face of Jack Holt's jut-jawed Army officer. He'd been playing basically the same crusty serviceman character for twenty years; because audiences had never seen Holt in a 'losing' role the actor makes the defeat seem all the more serious. The irony of this is that in real life, immediately after Pearl Harbor, Holt was so panicked by invasion fears that he sold his Malibu beach home at a fraction of its value. Who bought it? According to Joel Siegel in his book The Reality of Terror, it was Rko producer Val Lewton. John Wayne is particularly good in this film by virtue of not being its star. His character turn as an impatient but tough Lieutenant stuck in a career dead-end is one of his best. The real star of the film is Robert Montgomery, who before the war was known mostly for light comedies like the delightful Here Comes Mr. Jordan. Montgomery's Brickley is a man of dignity and dedication trying to do a decent job no matter how hopeless or frustrating his situation gets. Whereas Wayne was a Hollywood soldier, Montgomery actually fought in Pt boats in the Pacific. When he stands exhausted in tropic shorts, keeping up appearances when everything is going wrong, he looks like the genuine article. Third-billed Donna Reed turns what might have been 'the girl in the picture' into something special. An Army nurse who takes care of Wayne's Ryan in a deep-tunnel dispensary while bombs burst overhead, Reed's Lt. Davyss is one of Ford's adored women living in danger, like Anne Bancroft's China doctor in 7 Women. A little earlier in the war, the films So Proudly We Hail and Cry 'Havoc' saluted the 'Angels of Bataan' that stayed on the job, were captured and interned by the Japanese. Expendable has none of the sensational subtext of the earlier films, where the nurses worry about being raped, etc.. We instead see a perfect girl next door (George Bailey thought so) bravely soldiering on, saying a rushed goodbye to Wayne's Lt. Ryan over a field telephone. Exactly what happens to her is not known. Even more than Clarence Brown's The Human Comedy this film fully established Ms. Reed's acting credentials. The quality that separates They Were Expendable from all but a few war films made during the fighting, is its championing of a kind of glory that doesn't come from gaudy victories. Hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned, the Navy, Army and Air Corps units in the Northern Philippines that weren't wiped out in the first attacks, had to be abandoned. The key scene sees Lt. Brickley asking his commanding officer for positive orders to attack the enemy. He's instead 'given the score' in baseball terms. In a ball club, some players don't get to hit home runs. The manager instead tells them to sacrifice, to lay down a bunt. Brickley's Pt squadron will be supporting the retreat as best it can and for long as it can, without relief or rescue. Half a year later, the U.S. was able to field an Army and a Navy that could take the offensive. Brickley's unit is a quiet study of honorable men at war, doing their best in the face of disaster. According to John Ford, Expendable could have been better, and I agree. He reportedly didn't hang around to help with the final cut and the audio mix, and the MGM departments finished the film without him. Although Ford's many thoughtful close-ups and beautifully drawn-out dramatic moments are allowed to play out, a couple of the battle scenes go on too long, making the constant peppering of flak bursts over the Pt boats look far too artificial. Real shell bursts aren't just a flash and smoke; if they were that close the wooden boats would be shattered by shrapnel. The overused effect reminds me of the 'Pigpen' character in older Peanuts cartoons, if he walked around accompanied by explosions instead of a cloud of dust. The music score is also unsubtle, reaching for upbeat glory too often and too loudly. The main march theme says 'Hooray Navy' even in scenes playing for other moods. Would Ford have asked for it to be dialed back a bit, or perhaps removed from some scenes altogether? That's hard to say. The director liked his movie scores to reflect obvious sentiments. But a few of his more powerful moments play without music. We're told that one of the un-credited writers on the film was Norman Corwin, and that Robert Montgomery directed some scenes after John Ford broke his leg on the set. They Were Expendable is one of the finest of war films and a solid introduction to classic John Ford. The Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray of They Were Expendable looks as good as the excellent 35mm copies we saw back at UCLA. This movie has always looked fine, but the previous DVDs were unsteady in the first reel, perhaps because of film shrinkage. The Blu-ray corrects the problem entirely. The B&W cinematography has some of the most stylized visuals in a war film. Emphasizing gloom and expressing the lack of security, many scenes are played in silhouette or with very low-key illumination, especially a pair of party scenes. Donna Reed appears to wear almost no makeup but only seems more naturally beautiful in the un-glamorous but ennobling lighting schemes. These the disc captures perfectly. Just as on the old MGM and Warners DVDs, the trailer is the only extra. We're told that MGM shoved the film out the door because victory-happy moviegoers were sick of war movies and wanted to see bright musicals instead. The trailer reflects the lack of enthusiasm -- it's basically two actor name runs and a few action shots. The feature has a choice of subtitles, in English, French and Spanish. On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor, They Were Expendable Blu-ray rates: Movie: Excellent Video: Excellent Sound: Excellent Supplements: DTS-hd Master Audio Deaf and Hearing Impaired Friendly? Yes; Subtitles: English, French, Spanish Packaging: Keep case Reviewed: June 6, 2016 (5135expe)

Visit DVD Savant's Main Column Page Glenn Erickson answers most reader mail: dvdsavant@mindspring.com

Text © Copyright 2016 Glenn Erickson

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- Glenn Erickson

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Blood Bath

23 May 2016 9:37 PM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

This four-feature set is the weirdest cinematic treasure box of the year, a sort of anti-matter film school. Three of the films are derived from a single Yugoslavian picture rejected by Roger Corman. His acolytes Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman proceeded to add serial killings, supernatural hauntings, a goofy vampire, and an ending that could be called 'Zombies In The Wax Museum.' Tim Lucas tells the whole story in a fascinating feature-length extra docu. Blood Bath Blu-ray Arrow Video (USA) 1963 - 1966 / B&W / 1:66 widescreen / 95 - 81 - 62 - 75 min. / 2-Disc Limited Edition / Street Date May 30, 2016 / 49.95 Starring William Campbell, Patrick Magee, Rade Marcovic, Miha Baloh, Irena Prosen; Marissa Mathes, Linda Saunders, Sandra Knight, Carl Schanzer, Biff Elliot, Sid Haig, Jonathan Haze. Cinematography Nenad Jovicic, Dan Telford, Alfred Taylor. Original Music Bojan Adamic, Ronald Stein, Written by Vlasta Radovanovic, Vic Webber, Jack Hill & Stephanie Rothman Directed by Rados Novakovic, Michael Roy, »

- Glenn Erickson

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Dillinger

18 April 2016 9:23 PM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Guns! Guns! Guns! John Milius' rootin' tootin' bio of the most famous of the '30s bandits has plenty of good things to its credit, especially its terrific, funny cast, topped by the unlikely star Warren Oates. The battles between Dillinger's team of all-star bank robbers and Ben Johnson's G-Man aren't neglected, as Milius savors every gun recoil and Tommy gun blast. Dillinger Blu-ray + DVD Arrow Video U.S. 1973 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 107 min. / Street Date April 26, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Michelle Phillips, Cloris Leachman, Harry Dean Stanton, Geoffrey Lewis, John Ryan, Richard Dreyfuss, Steve Kanaly, John Martino, Roy Jenson, Frank McRae. Cinematography Jules Brenner Special Effects A.D. Flowers, Cliff Wenger Edited by Fred R. Feitshans, Jr. Original Music Barry De Vorzon Produced by Buzz Feitshans Written and Directed by John Milius

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

There it was in the dentist's office, an article in either »

- Glenn Erickson

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Paris Belongs to Us

15 March 2016 12:10 AM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Director Jacques Rivette just passed away back in January. There's more interest lately in his 12-hour opus Out 1, but if you'll settle for just 2.5 hours, this unique early New Wave feature will take you inside Rivette's world of artists, students, and refugees from political persecution, all in conflict in a sunny Paris of 1958. It's just as revolutionary as an early Godard or Truffaut, but in a style all Rivette's own. Paris Belongs to Us Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 802 1961 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 141 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Paris nous appartient / Street Date March 8, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Betty Schneider, François Maistre, Giani Esposito, Françoise Prévost, Daniel Crohem, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jean-Marie Robain, Jean Martin. Cinematography Charles L. Bitsch Film Editor Denise de Casablanca Original Music Philippe Arthuys Written by Jacques Rivette, Jean Grualt Produced by Claude Chabrol, Roland Nonin Directed by Jacques Rivette

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

The French New »

- Glenn Erickson

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The Black Sleep

23 February 2016 10:33 AM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

It's an All Star monster rally -- Lon Chaney Jr.!, John Carradine!, Bela Lugosi!, Basil Rathbone!, Tor Johnson! -- with Akim Tamiroff in there pitching as well. It's considered a must-see picture, and this HD presentation is nothing to sniff at. Added bonus: a Tom Weaver commentary. The Black Sleep Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1956 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 82 min. / Dr. Cadman's Secret / Street Date March 22, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Basil Rathbone, Akim Tamiroff, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Bela Lugosi, Herbert Rudley, Patricia Blake, Phyllis Stanley, Tor Johnson, Sally Yarnell, George Sawaya. Cinematography Gordon Avil Film Editor John F. Schreyer Original Music Les Baxter Written by John C. Higgins, Gerald Drayson Adams Produced by Howard W. Koch Directed by Reginald Le Borg

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Older monster kids know that the 1956 chiller The Black Sleep existed for years only through stills in Famous Monsters magazine. We saw tantalizing »

- Glenn Erickson

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The Forgotten: "The Black Vampire" (1953)

20 January 2016 10:34 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Dazzling urbanites of the New York persuasion will no doubt wend their way to MoMA's season of Argentinian noirs in February, seeking the familiar, morally-compromised pleasures of noir in an exotic new form. They will enjoy Carlos Hugo Christensen's Cornell Woolrich adaptations, subject of a previous Forgotten, the great, underrated French filmmaker Pierre Chenal's version of Native Son, and early work by Hugo Fregonese, later a decent Hollywood journeyman who made one classic for Val Lewton (eerie siege western Apache Drums).But they'll also get the chance to see a stylish remake of Fritz Lang's M, which is as free with its source material as Joseph Losey's recently reappraised 1951 version, and which might almost have cut its ties to its German role model to make its own way as an original work. It's faintly disappointing whenever its plot reconnects with Thea Von Harbou's masterly 1931 scenario, »

- David Cairns

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Hitler’s Children

12 January 2016 10:22 AM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Rko's morale-building wartime thriller adds an element of sexual perversion to its story of Nazi crimes against children, thus creating one of the studio's all-time biggest hits. Bonita Granville is the victim Tim Holt her Nazi-youth heartthrob, and Otto Kruger provides the perverted sneers. Hitler's Children DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1943 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 82 min. / Street Date December 1, 2015 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Tim Holt, Bonita Granville, Kent Smith, Otto Kruger, H.B. Warner, Lloyd Corrigan, Erford Gage, Hans Conried, Gavin Muir, Nancy Gates, Egon Brecher, Peter van Eyck, Edward Van Sloan. Cinematography Russell Metty Film Editor Joseph Noriega Original Music Roy Webb Written by Emmet Lavery from the book Education for Death by Gregor Ziemer Produced by Edward A. Golden Directed by Edward Dmytryk

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Perhaps the most popular anti-Nazi info-propaganda thriller of the war, Hitler's Children is a very well made shocker that »

- Glenn Erickson

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The Captive City

4 January 2016 3:44 PM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Robert Wise's taut noir suspenser about the Mafia takeover of a small city is like an underworld Invasion of the Body Snatchers. John Forsythe's newsman slowly realizes that gambling corruption has infiltrated the business district, city hall, and even his close associates; he's expected to become a crook too, or else. Great docudrama style aided by a special deep-focus lens; Estes Kefauver makes a personal appearance touting the crime-busting Washington committee that inspired the picture. The Captive City Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1952 / B&W / 1:33 flat full frame / 91 min. Street Date January 5, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring John Forsythe, Joan Camden, Marjorie Crossland, Victor Sutherland, Ray Teal, Martin Milner, Geraldine Hall, Hal K. Dawson, Paul Brinegar, Estes Kefauver, Victor Romito. Cinematography Lee Garmes Film Editor Robert Swink Original Music Jerome Moross Written by Alvin M. Josephy Jr., Karl Kamb Produced by Theron Warth Directed by Robert Wise

Reviewed »

- Glenn Erickson

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

11 items from 2016


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