DVD News #403: The William Castle Adventures Collection (1953-54)

We can all use some good news these days, and this is good news indeed. Critics Choice has announced a DVD set featuring four adventure pictures from William Castle and Sam Katzman — The William Castle Adventures Collection — coming in September.

All four films were shot in Technicolor (none were in 3-D). The transfers should be terrific. The 1954 films should be widescreen, either 1.66 or 1.85.

Sam Katzman, Rhonda Fleming & William Castle. Fleming holds the Serpent Of The Nile.

Serpent Of The Nile (1953)
Starring Rhonda Fleming, William Lundigan, Raymond Burr, Michael Ansara, Julie Newmar

Castle’s first film for Katzman (he’d been at Columbia in the 40s), it’s an epic done on the cheap (as you might expect). Rhonda Fleming is Cleopatra, wandering around on sets left over from Columbia’s much bigger (but not nearly as much fun) Salome (1953). Another director from Katzman’s unit, Fred F. Sears, serves as narrator.

The Iron Glove (1954)
Starring Robert Stack, Ursula Thiess, Richard Stapley, Alan Hale Jr.

In this two-week swashbuckler, the Columbia backlot doubles as Scotland. Robert Stack would soon do The High And The Mighty (1954), which would give his career a boost. Katzman wanted Cornel Wilde in the lead, and at one point the title was to have been The Kiss And The Sword.

Charge Of The Lancers (1954)
Starring Paulette Goddard, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Karin Booth

Castle and Katzman raid the costume department again, this time going for the Crimean War of the 1850s (don’t expect any actual historic accuracy). One of Paulette Goddard’s last films. 

The Saracen Blade (1954)
Starring Ricardo Montalbán, Betta St. John, Rick Jason, Carolyn Jones

This was the last of Katzman and Castle’s pictures like this, and this one takes on the Crusades. There was talk of filming this in Italy, but it was probably just that, talk. In his wonderful book Step Right Up! I’m Gonna Scare The Pants Off America, Castle wrote that for “three years I had been up to my ass in queens, kings and jokers.” He’d also been making plenty of Westerns for Katzman, and in 1958, he’d go independent and make his own series of gimmicky horror pictures, most of which Columbia would release.

These cheap and tacky little movies are a lot of fun. I cannot recommend this set highly enough. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Thanks to John Hall for the tip!

8 Comments

Filed under 1953, 1954, Carolyn Jones, Columbia, Critics' Choice Collection, DVD/Blu-ray News, Fred F. Sears, Julie Newmar, Karin Booth, Rhonda Fleming, Sam Katzman, William Castle

8 responses to “DVD News #403: The William Castle Adventures Collection (1953-54)

  1. Kevin Coon

    Great news!!!

    Like

  2. Walter

    Toby, these movies are right down my lane, when it comes to just fun entertainment. SERPENT OF THE NILE(filmed 1952, released 1953) was shown a lot in my neck of the woods in the 1960’s and 1970’s on Memphis’ WREC Channel 3 EARLY MOVIE. I always get a kick out of viewing this movie and I must say, Julie Newmar’s painted gold dancing girl is something to behold. Rhonda Fleming and Raymond Burr as Cleopatra and Marc Anthony are actually quite good, in my opinion.

    I still have my GoodTimes Home Video VHS copy of this movie from the HOLLYWOOD MOVIE GREATS series from 1990.

    Like

  3. John W Hall

    William Castle made one other similar film for the Katzman unit that I’d like to see. It’s SLAVES OF BABYLON (1953) with Richard Conte, Linda Christian and Julie Newmar (billed as Julie Newmeyer) as “Dancer-Assassin”.

    I’d also love to see the Katzman-produced Paul Henreid adventures get released in a package. Titles include PIRATES OF TRIPOLI, SIREN OF BAGDAD (featuring a hilarious performance from Hans Conried), THIEF OF DAMASCUS (with Lon Chaney as Sinbad & Robert Clary as Aladdin) and LAST OF THE BUCCANEERS.

    Like

    • Columbia/Sony put Slaves Of Babylon out on DVD as part of their MOD program. Don’t have it, but I’ve heard it’s beautiful. Would love to see that one makes its way to Blu-Ray. The color has always been stunning in it.

      I’d love to see any of the “orphaned” Katzman films make their way to DVD or Blu-Ray, especially the remaining Castle movies and the rest of the Jungle Jim series. I will give ’em credit for making many of the key ones available,

      Like

      • John Hall

        All of the Jungle Jim movies are available in 3 volumes from an Australian company named Umbrella video. They can be played on American DVD players and all 3 are available on Amazon. Search for THE JUNGLE JIM MOVIE COLLECTIONS, Volumes 1,2 and 3.?

        Like

  4. I have placed my order! 🙂 Love seeing titles like this suddenly appear in a set. Great news.

    Best wishes,
    Laura

    Like

  5. Walter

    John, I’ve always liked biblical based movies and have viewed several over the years, but SLAVES OF BABYLON(filmed 1952, released 1953) has eluded me, so far. I would like to see it in a good presentation. The wonderful Julie Newmar as “Dancer-Assassin” has me intrigued. I’m also a long time fan of Richard Conte and Linda Christian. Linda Christian in TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS(filmed 1947, released 1948) anyone?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s