Category Archives: 1956

Blu-Ray News #201: The Mole People (1956).

Directed by Virgil Vogel
Starring John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont, Nestor Paiva, Alan Napier

Boy, the good news keeps on coming. Scream Factory has announced The Mole People (1956), coming to Blu-Ray in February 2019.

This is one a lot of the Universal monster nuts complain about, but I love it as much as an adult as I did as a kid. It’s really stupid, it’s fun, the monsters are cool. It’s got a great cast — you can’t beat John Agar and Nestor Paiva. And Reynold Brown cranked out another masterpiece for the posters. Can’t wait!

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Filed under 1956, DVD/Blu-ray News, John Agar, Nestor Paiva, Reynold Brown, Shout/Scream Factory, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #194: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956).

Don Siegel directs Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter.

Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan, Carolyn Jones

The more Don Siegel, the better. Olive Films has announced his Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956) as part of their ongoing Signature series. For one reason or another, I’ve been disappointed in the previous DVDs and stuff of this great film. I have a feeling this one’s gonna knock it out of the park. All the Signature titles I’ve seen have been terrific.

Olive Films says this will hatch October 16. Happy Halloween indeed!

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Filed under 1956, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kevin McCarthy, Olive Films

Blu-Ray News #172: Creature From the Black Lagoon: Complete Legacy Collection (1954-1956).

Universal has announced that their Creature From The Black Lagoon – Complete Legacy Collection set is coming to Blu-Ray. It includes Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954), Revenge Of The Creature (1955) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956). The first two were in 3-D and directed by the great Jack Arnold (and feature Nestor Paiva).

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Revenge is finally making its way to Blu-Ray in 3-D. For me, the great benefit of this set will be having all three pictures in their original 1.85 aspect ratio. While the first two are among my all-time favorite films — and I’ve got a pile of Creature toys to prove it, Walks Among Us is a mess. But I’m looking forward to revisiting it in high definition. This stuff is essential, folks.

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Filed under 1954, 1955, 1956, 3-D, DVD/Blu-ray News, Jack Arnold, John Agar, Julie Adams, Nestor Paiva, Richard Carlson, Universal (-International)

A Cool Car In A Strange Adventure.

Maybe that should read A Strange Adventure in a cool car. Either way, I recently tracked down the hot rod Ben Cooper drives in the 1956 Republic B noir picture A Strange Adventure (1956), directed by the great William Witney.

It’s a customized 1939 Mercury (its 1940 grill adds a bit of confusion) called The Caribbean, belonging at the time to a young man named Glen Hooker. Glen worked on the car as a teenager and was too young (and unlicensed) to drive it to its first car show. His dad got it there. The car appeared in a number of hot rod magazines before making its motion picture debut.

Glen sold the Merc not long after the film, but years later it made its way back to his garage. He began a much-needed restoration, but sold it again to someone who plans to return it to its former glory.

A Strange Adventure is coming to DVD and Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber. They’ve got the movie, and therefore the car, in show-winning condition.

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Filed under 1956

Dear Santa.

Just saw that the original Robbie The Robot suit/custume/prop from Forbidden Planet (1956) will be auctioned off by Bonham’s next week.

Robby The Robot: “If you do not speak English, I am at your disposal with 187 other languages along with their various dialects and sub-tongues.”

The prop, built by MGM at a then-huge cost of $125,000, does not actually speak 188 languages. Keep that in mind as you consider a bid.

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Filed under 1956, MGM

DVD/Blu-Ray News #144: A Woman’s Devotion (1956).

Directed by Paul Henreid
Starring Ralph Meeker, Janice Rule, Paul Henreid, Rosenda Monteros

The low-budget noir pictures are making their way to DVD and Blu-Ray at a great clip these days. Here’s a pretty obscure one — A Woman’s Devotion (1956), a Trucolor mini-noir from Republic’s dying days.

Some American newlyweds are vacationing in Mexico, and the husband (Meeker) ends up the prime suspect in the murder of a local girl. It was directed by Paul Henreid. Kino Lorber says the 4K remaster, which should look stunning, will be available early next year.

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Filed under 1956, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Ralph Meeker

Blu-Ray Review: The Killer Is Loose (1956).


Directed by Budd Boetticher
Screenplay by Harold Medford
From a story by John Hawkins and Ward Hawkins
Cinematography: Lucien Ballard
Music by Lionel Newman
Film Editor: George Gittens

Cast: Joseph Cotten (Det. Sam Wagner), Rhonda Fleming (Lila Wagner), Wendell Corey (Leon Poole), Alan Hale (Denny), Michael Pate (Det. Chris Gillespie), John Larch (Otto Flanders), Dee J. Thompson (Grace Flanders)

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To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than a little movie that pays off big. And Budd Boetticher’s The Killer Is Loose (1956) is that in spades.

Detective Joseph Cotton accidentally shoots Wendell Corey’s wife while arresting him for bank robbery. On his way to prison, Corey swears he’ll get his revenge. And when he escapes, his only thought is to put Cotton through the same pain he suffered: the loss of his wife.

Where do you begin with this thing? From Lucien Ballard’s cinematography to Budd Boetticher’s crisp direction to the editing by George Gittens to the terrific cast, this movie knocks everything out of the park. Wendell Corey was never better than he is here as the milquetoast banker turned robber and murderer. You somehow feel sorry for him, even as you wish they’d hurry up and blow him away. Rhonda Fleming is quite good as Cotton’s wife, Corey’s target. It’s a part that’s pretty unlikable — she hates her husband being a cop, forcing Cotton to not only search for Corey, but conceal the fact that Fleming is who he’s after. Then there’s the great use of LA locations and the decision to set some of the film’s tensest scenes in the most mundane of places (kitchens, suburban neighborhoods, lettuce fields, etc.).

1956 was a great year for movies, and many of the folks behind The Killer Is Loose were on a roll. Boetticher was about to begin his superb Ranown Cycle with Randolph Scott — Seven Men From Now would arrive in a few short months. Rhonda Fleming’s next picture was Allan Dwan’s Slightly Scarlet (1956). And Lucien Ballard would continue working with Boetticher on the Ranown pictures and shoot The Killing (1956) for Stanley Kubrick.

Ballard (beside camera with scarf) and Boetticher (in front of Ballard) shooting on an LA bus.

Ballard’s camerawork not only sets this movie apart, it allows the new Blu-Ray from ClassicFlix to really shine. This is exactly how a black and white film should look in high definition. Film grain is present throughout, in a good way. Contrast levels are near-perfect, the blacks are very true and the proper 1.85 aspect ratio is preserved (the full-frame DVD looks awful clunky in comparison). And the lossless audio is rock solid.

The Killer Is Loose is a picture I’ve been lifting up for years, and this Blu-Ray is just as easy to recommend. Trust me, you need this.

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Filed under 1956, Allan Dwan, Budd Boetticher, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Joseph Cotton, Rhonda Fleming, Stanley Kubrick, United Artists, Wendell Corey