Category Archives: 1962

A Night At The Movies, Halloween 1963.

Happy Halloween from Emporia, Kansas! I’m sorry, Howl-O-We’en.

This woulda been a good one. You’ve got Godzilla. You’ve got Christopher Lee in a Hammer pirate movie. And you’ve got an Italian monster movie shot (and partially directed) by Mario Bava!

Would’ve gone, but I wasn’t born yet.

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Filed under 1959, 1962, 1963, A Night At The Movies, Andrew Keir, Christopher Lee, Eiji Tsuburaya, Halloween Marathons, Hammer Films, Ishirō Honda, John Gilling, Mario Bava, Michael Ripper, Oliver Reed, Riccardo Freda, Toho, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #310: Marco Polo (1962).

Directed by Piero Pierotti (and Hugo Fregonese)
Starring Rory Calhoun, Yoko Tani, Camillo Pilotto

Early next year, Kino Lorber will bring Marco Polo (1962) to Blu-Ray. The English-language version included scenes directed by Hugo Fregonese. American International distributed it in the States with a new score by Les Baxter.

This one’s been hard to track down over the years (I’ve never seen it), so a nice hi-def version will be quite a treat.

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Filed under 1962, AIP, Les Baxter, Rory Calhoun

Blu-Ray News #405: Hell Is For Heroes (1962).

Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, Bob Newhart, James Coburn, Nick Adams, LQ Jones

Steve McQueen and Don Siegel. How could Hell Is For Heroes (1962) not be great? 

Making the movie was hell, judging from stories you hear about the production.  Writer Robert Pirosh was to direct, but left after trying to deal with McQueen. Paramount cut the budget. McQueen threw his weight around, demanded rewrites and fought with Don Siegel. It was so hot in California in the summer of 1961, many scenes were shot at night to make things more comfortable. The prop machine guns didn’t like with the blank cartridges being used. And on and on.

But it’s a great film. The B&W cinematography of Harold Lipstein is remarkable. Siegel’s direction is as taught as always. And the performances are top-notch across the board.

And it’s finally making its way to Blu-Ray, thanks to the folks at Kino Lorber. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1962, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Coburn, Kino Lorber, L.Q. Jones, Nick Adams, Paramount, Steve McQueen

Blu-Ray News #402: Dr. No (1962).

Directed by Terence Young
Starring Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Lord

Over the years, I’ve had the Connery Bond movies in about every format there is — film, Beta tape, laserdisc (three different editions of some of them), DVD and Blu-Ray. And while I don’t see that list getting any longer any time soon, this new package is really cool and worth looking at.

Dr. No (1962), the first in the series, is 60 years old. Time flies when you have a license to kill! A new 60th anniversary “steelbook” edition is one the way from MGM UK — and it’s a really terrific package.

The deluxe package gives you:
• Steelbook of Film on Blu-ray
• A Rigid Slipcase (good idea since those steelbook things scuff easily)
• Theatrical Poster
• New 32-Page Booklet
• Dragon Tank Buildable Board Figure
• 4 Lobby Card Reproductions and Envelope

The Dragon Tank model sounds like fun, and the cover reflecting Maurice Binder’s innovative title design (there’s a great story behind those) is a nice touch. If you don’t have Dr. No, this’d be a great way to get it. Coming in October.

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Filed under 1962, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Bond, MGM, Sean Connery, Terence Young, United Artists

Blu-Ray Review: The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962).

Directed by Henry Levin (& George Pal)
Produced by George Pal
Screenplay by Charles Beaumont & William Roberts,
based on the stories of Wilhelm & Jacob Grimm
Cinematography: Paul Vogel
Film Editor: Walter Thompson
Special Effects: David Pal, Tim Barr, Wah Chang, Robert Hoag, Gene Warren
Music by Leigh Harline

Cast: Laurence Harvey (Wilhelm Grimm/The Cobbler), Karl Bohm (Jacob Grimm), Claire Bloom (Dorothea Grimm), Barbara Eden (Greta Heinrich), Yvette Mimieux (The Princess), Jim Backus (The King), Russ Tamblyn (The Woodsman/Tom Thumb), Buddy Hackett (Hans), Terry-Thomas (Ludwig), Beulah Bondi (The Gypsy), Ian Wolfe (Gruber)


The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm premiered in the US in August of 1962, with the distinction of being “the first dramatic film in fabulous Cinerama” — shot and exhibited in the original three-panel format. Next came How The West Was Won (1962), again with the three-panel setup. (Grimm was actually shot after West.) These things were expensive to shoot and hard to exhibit, so beginning with It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), non-travelogue films for Cinerama exhibition were shot in things like 70mm Ultra Panavision.

The one time  I saw The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm was on laserdisc. And while I was thrilled to be seeing it in something widescreen-ish, the merging of the three Cinerama panels was a mess and incredibly distracting. I was not impressed, though Buddy Hackett and the dragon (my reason for watching it to begin with) really knocked me out. Hooray for Jim Danforth!

All these years later, a truly gargantuan restoration of The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm has come to Blu-Ray, and it’s a really remarkable thing. The picture had been declared un-restorable, its elements too far gone. Luckily, David Strohmaier and Tom H. March, the folks responsible for the Blu-Ray of How The West Was Won, really outdid themselves here to give Brothers Grimm a new lease on life. The panel lines are practically gone, the color’s near-perfect and it comes complete with overture, intermission and all the trimmings. Even a few glitches in the original effects have been repaired, not in a revisionary way — just a subtle patch here and there.


Producer George Pal used the story of Wilhelm (Laurence Harvey) and Jacob Grimm (Karl Bohm) as a backbone for a series of Grimm’s fairy tales: “The Dancing Princess,” “The Cobbler And The Elves” and “The Singing Bone.” It’s pretty ingenious, with some nice effects and beautiful locations, but you might could argue whether this was a good fit for the mammoth Cinerama screen.

The cast in impressive. Russ Tamblyn reprises his title role from Pal’s Tom Thumb (1958) and Yvette Mimieux had been in Pal’s The Time Machine (1960). Pal was able to revisit his Puppetoon days (above) for “The Cobbler And The Elves.” It’s interesting that Jim Backus, Buddy Hackett and Terry-Thomas would soon be back on the Cinerama screens in It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. 

For movie nerds like me, the real story is the miracle this Blu-Ray pulls off. The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm looks marvelous, whether you choose the standard widescreen version or the “smilebox” setup that approximates the feel of the curved screen (and gets rid of the odd bowl-shaped effect that comes with these three-panel films). The sound has been spiffed up, with plenty of punch. My favorite thing was the documentary, which shows just all the work, and all the technical whatzits, that were needed to get Pal’s picture looking better than ever. I’ve watched it twice.

As a movie, The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm is cute, but as an example of yesterday’s roadshow exhibition and today’s film restoration, it’s nothing short of a miracle. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1962, Buddy Hackett, Cinerama, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Film Preservation, George Pal, Henry Levin, Jim Backus, MGM, Warner Archive

Blu-Ray News #376: Night Creatures (AKA Captain Clegg, 1962).

 

Directed by Peter Graham Scott
Starring Peter Cushing, Yvonne Romain, Patrick Allen, Oliver Reed, Michael Ripper, David Lodge, Derek Francis, Jack MacGowran

Night Creatures (1962, known as Captain Clegg in the UK) is Hammer’s take on the story of Dr. Syn, with Peter Cushing terrific as the rum-smuggling vicar. Disney’s version, The Scarecrow Of Romney Marsh starring Patrick McGoohan, played TV around the same time. Scream Factory has announced that they’re bringing it out on Blu-Ray in April.

By whatever name, Night Creatures or Captain Clegg, this is an outstanding Hammer film. It’s become one of my favorites, and I’m sure Scream Factory will do it justice, with a stellar transfer and some nice extras. Can’t wait! Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1962, DVD/Blu-ray News, Oliver Reed, Peter Cushing, Shout/Scream Factory

Blu-Ray News #374: The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962).

Directed by Henry Levin and George Pal
Starring Laurence Harvey, Karlheinz Böhm, Claire Bloom, Yvette Mimieux, Russ Tamblyn, Jim Backus, Terry-Thomas, Barbara Eden, Buddy Hackett

After an extensive (and expensive) digital restoration, from 4K scans of the original Cinerama camera negatives, The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962) is coming to Blu-Ray from Warner Archive. 

It played at the Museum Of Modern Art a few days ago.

Originally shot and exhibited in the three-panel Cinerama process, spiffing this thing up was no easy task. The Blu-Ray sounds like it’s really gonna be something. From Warner Archive: “…this Deluxe Two Disc Edition gives the viewer the opportunity to watch the film either in a traditional letterbox format, or in the Smilebox format which attempts to re-create the immersive Cinerama experience with a simulated curve to the screen. Both versions bring together the three original Cinerama panels with virtually no trace of the lines that joined them together when originally projected in theaters back in 1962.”

The set will come with a hefty batch of extras. Can’t wait. When it comes to film restoration, this is a real fairy-tale ending!

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Filed under 1962, Buddy Hackett, DVD/Blu-ray News, George Pal, Henry Levin, Jim Backus, MGM, Warner Archive

King Kong Vs. Godzilla Vs. James Bond Vs. Roku.

The screensavers on Roku are pretty cool, featuring all sorts of hidden references and images to old movies. Tonight, I noticed a couple of things worth sharing. First was King Kong and Godzilla (thankfully looking like their 1962 selves instead of those wretched new things).

Then, there’s 007’s bullet-marked Aston Martin DB5 parked along a Christmas street scene.

Please forgive the crummy-looking phone-photo-of-the-TV-screen quality.

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Filed under 1962, 1964, James Bond

Blu-Ray News #329: The Eurocrypt Of Christopher Lee Collection (1962-72).

Severin Films has announced The Eurocrypt Of Christopher Lee Collection, an exhaustive eight-disc set coming out May 25.

The Castle Of The Living Dead (1964)
Directed by Warren Kiefer
Starring Christopher Lee, Gaia Germani, Philippe Leroy, Mirko Valentin, Donald Sutherland
Lee plays a 19th century Count who lets a theatrical troupe spend the weekend in his creepy castle. As you’d expect, it would’ve been better if they’d turned down his invitation. 4K restoration from the Italian negative; English audio.

Challenge The Devil (1963, AKA Katarsis)
Directed by Giuseppe Vegezzi
Starring Christopher Lee, Giorgio Adrisson, Vittoria Centroni
One of Lee’s most obscure films. He turns out to be the devil. 2K restoration from the Italian negative; Italian audio.

Crypt Of The Vampire (1964, AKA Terror In The Crypt and Crypt Of Horror)
Directed by Camillo Mastrocinque
Starring Christopher Lee, Adriana Ambesi
Another adaptation of Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, with Lee as Count Karnstein. 2k restoration from a fine-grain 35mm master print; Italian and English audio.

Sherlock Holmes And The Deadly Necklace (1962)
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Christopher Lee, Thorley Walters, Senta Berger
Lee and director Terence Fisher follow Hammer’s The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1959) with Sherlock Holmes And The Deadly Necklace, giving Lee and chance to play the world’s greatest detective. (It was Peter Cushing in Hound.) Written by Curt Siodmak, based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Valley Of Fear. 2K restoration from the German negative; English & German tracks.

Theatre Macabre (1971-1972)
Christopher Lee hosts an anthology TV series, providing and intro and wrap-up for each episode. 24 surviving episodes have now been scanned in 2K from the original negatives.

The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism (1967, AKA The Blood Demon, The Snake Pit And The Pendulum, Castle Of The Walking Dead)
Directed by Harald Reinl
Starring Christopher Lee, Karin Dor, Lex Barker
Count Regula (Christopher Lee) is executed for killing 12 virgins in his dungeon. Years later, he comes back for revenge. 4K restoration from from the original German negative; English and German audio.

Relics From The Crypt
A collection of interviews with Lee over the years and other related horror featurettes.

In addition to the Relics From The Crypt disc, each disc is packed full of extras, from commentaries and interviews to trailers and still galleries. There’s a CD of Angelo Francesco Lavagnino’s score for The Castle Of The Living Dead, and an 88-page illustrated book by Lee biographer Jonathan Rigby. This is really gonna be something. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, Christopher Lee, DVD/Blu-ray News, Karin Dor, Peter Cushing, Senta Berger, Severin Films, Sherlock Holmes, Terence Fisher

Blu-Ray News #308: Hammer Films – The Ultimate Collection (1958-1971).

I’ve been really impressed with Mill Creek’s Hammer releases. They don’t have the extras we get from someone like Scream Factory, but they look good, they’re often in double bills or sets (with us DVD/Blu-Ray collectors, shelf space is always a concern), and the price is certainly right. 

Mill Creek’s newest Hammer project is the 20-picture Hammer Films – The Ultimate Collection. It’s got some great stuff — some are repeats from previous MC releases, some not. It focuses on Hammer films that were distributed by Columbia in the States. Here’s the lineup:

The Revenge Of Frankenstein (1958)
The Snorkel (1958)
The Camp On Blood Island (1958)
Yesterday’s Enemy (1959)
The Two Faces Of Dr. Jekyll (1960)
Never Take Candy From A Stranger (1960)

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The Stranglers Of Bombay (1960)
Cash On Demand (1961)
Scream Of Fear (1961)
Stop Me Before I Kill! (1961)

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The Terror Of The Tongs (1961)
The Pirates Of Blood River (1962)
These Are The Damned (1962)
The Old Dark House (1963)
The Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb (1963)
Maniac (1963)
The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964)

The Gorgon (1964)
Die! Die! My Darling (1965)
Creatures The World Forgot (1971)

I can’t wait to get my hands on this thing. These films are essential stuff. A few of these I haven’t seen in quite a while — and never on Blu-Ray. It’s coming in November.

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Filed under 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1971, Arthur Grant, Christopher Lee, Columbia, Don Sharp, DVD/Blu-ray News, Freddie Francis, Hammer Films, John Gilling, Kerwin Matthews, Mill Creek, Oliver Reed, Peter Cushing, Stanley Baker, Terence Fisher, Val Guest, William Castle