Directed by Phil Karlson
Starring Richard Widmark, Sonja Ziemann, Howard Vernon, Senta Berger
Phil Karlson is one of my favorite directors, and it’s always good to see one of his films come to Blu-Ray (from Kino Lorber in the fall). The time, it’s The Secret Ways (1961), a pre-007 spy movie. Karlson and Widmark didn’t see eye to eye on the approach to the movie, and Widmark took over direction of the last week of the shoot. There’s plenty of the typical hard-edged vibe you get with Karlson to recommend this one. A very cool movie.
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Starring Hiroshi Koizumi, Kyôko Kagawa, Yûmi Itô, Emi Itô, Ken Uehara
Mill Creek has announced a Blu-Ray of Mothra (1961) in one of those spiffy-looking steel cases, seen above, with extras like a commentary and still gallery. Mothra‘s a picture with really gorgeous Technicolor, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it in high-definition. A digital showing at a local theater a couple years ago was really something to see. Coming in July.
Yesterday was Raleigh’s hottest day of the year so far. Today, it’s 94 degrees, and I swear the humidity has to be 413%. Anyway, this movie came to mind.
Filed under 1961, Val Guest
Directed by Sidney J. Furie
Starring Kieron Moore, Hazel Court, Ian Hunter
This one slipped by me — it’s available now. Doctor Blood’s Coffin (1961) is an English zombie picture that was very influential in how movie zombies work. These are resurrected corpses, not the voodoo-type zombies of I Walked With A Zombie (1943).
Nathan Juran came up with the story, and its setting was moved from the US to the UK. Sidney J. Furie does a solid job on a 10-day schedule, demonstrating some of the stylistics that he’d let run rampant on The Ipcress File (1965).
Doctor Blood’s Coffin is a pretty cool movie, and I’m so glad it’s received the white-glove Scream Factory treatment. Previous versions have never been all that great. By the way, this Eastmancolor picture played some US theaters in black and white.
Indicator has announced their upcoming boxed set Hammer Volume 3 Blood and Terror. It gathers up four non-horror pictures from Hammer’s glorious do-no-wrong period. The set includes —
The Camp On Blood Island (1958)
Directed by Val Guest
Starring Carl Möhner, André Morell, Edward Underdown, Walter Fitzgerald, Barbara Shelley, Michael Ripper
Yesterday’s Enemy (1959)
Directed by Val Guest
Starring Stanley Baker, Guy Rolfe, Leo McKern, Gordon Jackson
The Stranglers Of Bombay (1959)
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Guy Rolfe, Jan Holden
The Terror Of The Tongs (1961)
Directed by Anthony Bushell
Starring Geoffrey Toone, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Monlaur
POWs, firing squads, Thuggee cults, Chinese crime families — this set’s got something for everyone.
Chung King (Christopher Lee): “Have you ever had your bones scraped, Captain? It is painful in the extreme I can assure you.”
As a kid, The Terror Of The Tongs haunted me for days after catching it on TV. Yesterday’s Enemy is one of the best films Hammer ever did. The Camp On Blood Island and The Stranglers Of Bombay (in Strangloscope!) are both wonderfully exploitive. Coming in July. It’s gonna be great.
Directed by Sergio Leone
Starring Rory Calhoun, Lea Massari, Georges Marchal, Angel Aranda
Warner Archive is bringing Sergio Leone’s first picture as director, The Colossus Of Rhodes (1961), to Blu-Ray. Rory Calhoun stars, replacing a fired John Derek.
It’s certainly a notch above the usual Italian sword-and-sandal stuff of the period, with the well-orchestrated battle scenes you’d expect from Leone. And while it has its stylistic quirks here and there, they just hint at what the director would put into the Eastwood pictures. Of course, Leone’s use of the wide screen, called SuperTotalscope here, is incredible. And the statue, the colossus of the title, is very cool.
Some will see this as little more than a curio, a glimpse at Leone’s development as a director. Mistake. Others will see it as the usual peplum stuff with a bigger budget and better director. But it’s a very unusual, stylish movie with some terrific sequences — and an interesting performance from Rory Calhoun. Recommended.
Here’s Christ’s birth as staged by the great Nicholas Ray for King Of Kings (1961), a movie I find really moving in places. It’s also got some of the most breathtaking widescreen photography you’re ever likely to see. Ray’s mastery of the Scope-shaped image is unmatched.
I’d like to wish you all a 70mm Super Technirama holiday. Toby