Directed by Ib Melchior
Starring Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry Anders, John Hoyt, Joan Woodbury, Delores Welles, Forrest Ackerman
Who can resist a picture from American International in 1964 that gives you a Playboy Playmate (Delores Welles, June 1960), hideous mutants and Forrest J. Ackerman and promises to let you “SEE women use the Love Machine to allay the male shortage!”
Merry Anders and Delores Welles dig the future.
Ib Melchior’s ideas were too big for his budget, but he still managed to pull off a pretty big-looking sci-fi flick. This thing just oozes mid-century, early 60s cool — from the costumes and hairstyles to the sets and the tacky Pathécolor (shot by the great Vilmos Zsigmond).
Scorpion Releasing is bringing this crazy thing to Blu-Ray, distributed by Kino Lorber, in April. Highly recommended.
Sir Thomas Sean Connery
(August 25, 1930 – October 31, 2020)
What does the world do when Sean Connery isn’t around? He has passed away at 90. There will be a lot about him being James Bond, and not near enough about what a brilliant actor he was.
All along there were signs of just how good he was. Ever see The Hill (1965)? He made it look like he was walking through those Bond movies — standing his own as the locations, the sets, the everything just got bigger and bigger. That must’ve been quite a task.
Oh, that’s You Only Live Twice (1967) up top. He’s so cool in that one, he hits a guy with a couch! And at the bottom, an IB Tech frame from Goldfinger (1964).
What a night this would’ve been.
Filed under 1959, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, AIP, Boris Karloff, Dick Miller, Herman Cohen, Jack Nicholson, Mario Bava, Michael Gough, Roger Corman
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Starring Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau
The Train (1965) is a terrific action picture – and though it takes place in the later days of World War II, it’s not a war movie in the usual sense. It was shot on location in France, blowing up real stuff and wrecking real trains, with Burt Lancaster doing his own stunts.
Lancaster is a railroad worker and part of the French Resistance, near the end of the war in Europe, trying to keep the Nazis from leaving France with a train loaded with plundered artwork. He spends most of the film doing all he can to delay the train — knowing the Allies will arrive soon. Whether he’s wrecking trains, running around with a German MP 40 machine gun, or just standing around smoking, Lancaster is unbelievably cool in this movie.
Lancaster, Frankenheimer and The Train.
Arthur Penn was to direct, but he was fired after a few days. John Frankenheimer was brought in — and he stopped everything to rethink the picture a bit. As much as I like Arthur Penn, I think The Train was better suited to Frankenheimer. It’s a top-notch suspense film.
The B&W cinematography from Jean Tournier and Walter Wottitz is really something — so is the editing by David Bretherton. If the Kino Lorber Blu-Ray (coming in January) looks like the previous Twilight Time release, it’ll be stunning. Highly, highly recommended.
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)
The Stranglers Of Bombay (1960)
Cash On Demand (1961)
Scream Of Fear (1961)
Stop Me Before I Kill! (1961)
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)
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.
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
Directed by Freddie Francis
Starring Peter Cushing, Peter Woodthorpe, Duncan Lamont, Sandor Elès, Katy Wild, David Hutcheson, Kiwi Kingston
Scream Factory’s Hammer series continues with The Evil Of Frankenstein (1964), the only picture in Hammer’s Frankenstein cycle not directed by Terence Fisher. Freddie Francis did this one.
Hammer went a different route with Frankenstein, following the doctor (Peter Cushing) instead of the monster. This let them come up with a different creature for each film. Since The Evil Of Frankenstein was done in collaboration with Universal, they could approach that studio’s “classic” look for the monster. (You know, the Boris Karloff/Glenn Strange sort of thing.) I’ve always found the results a bit, um, odd.
Nevertheless, this is a most welcome addition to the Scream Factory lineup. So far, the extras have not been announced, but the disc has a release date in mid-May. Highly recommended.
Directed by Douglas Heyes
Starring Ann-Margret, John Forsythe, Peter Brown, Patricia Barry, Richard Anderson, Audrey Dalton, Leo Gordon
Universal has announced the upcoming Blu-Ray release of their exploitation/psychological horror/JD picture Kitten With A Whip (1964). It’s hard to describe this thing, so I’ll just encourage you to see it when the Blu-Ray comes out in late January. Ann-Margret is great (and great-looking) as the horrible Jody Dvorak, who seems set to destroy everything, and everyone, she comes across.
If I had a nickel for every minute I stared at this FM cover as kid…
For their 1000th release (or spine number), The Criterion Collection has gone very big with a great big giant box of Godzilla movies. Not those new things — no thank you — but the real ones.
Of course, this being a Criterion release, you can count on each of these the films — all 15 Godzilla movies released from 1954 to 1975 — shining like a jewel. And naturally, there will be tons of extras, from alternate versions to commentaries to documentaries and trailers and so on. Does my heart good to know the work of Mr. Honda and Mr. Tsuburaya will get the level of respect these folks will give it.
The films are:
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1963, 2.35 AR)
Mothra Vs. Godzilla (1964, 2.35 AR)
Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964 2.35 AR)
Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965, 2.35 AR)
Son Of Godzilla (1967, 2.35 AR)
Destroy All Monsters (1968, 2.35 AR)
All Monsters Attack (1969, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Ss. Hedorah (1971, AKA Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Megalon (1973, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974, 2.35 AR)
Terror Of Mechagodzilla (1975, 2.35 AR)
I absolutely love some of these movies. One of them I hate with a passion. Son Of Godzilla is criminally lame, and at 10, I considered it the worst movie I’d ever seen (that was before The Witches Of Eastwick). The very thought of making my way through this thing (yes, even Son Of Godzilla) makes me happy.
Stomping its way to TVs everywhere in October. Make sure yours is one of them.
Filed under 1954, 1955, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, AIP, Criterion Collection, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eiji Tsuburaya, Famous Monsters Of Filmland, Ishirō Honda, Kaiju Movies, Toho
Warner Archive has put a July release date on their complete, unedited set of Jonny Quest cartoons. “All 26 episodes… are yours in a 3-disc set, as originally first broadcast in prime-time on ABC-TV during the 1964-65 season.”
There are people scattered across the Free World going absolutely nuts about this piece of news. I’m not that far gone by a long shot, but I’m plenty stoked.
Directed by Antonio Margheriti
Starring Tab Hunter, Rossana Podestà, Umberto Melnati, Mario Feliciani, Dominique Boschero, Renato Baldini
The only time I’ve ever run into The Golden Arrow (1964) was back in the 70s on the afternoon movie. You can imagine how badly the Technirama was butchered to shoehorn it onto TV. So I’m really stoked to see it coming on Blu-Ray from Warner Archive.
This Italian epic comes from director Antonio Margheriti, who made a string of wonderfully delirious science fiction movies (the Gamma 1 saga) a few years after this picture — The Wild, Wild Planet (1966) is probably my favorite of the bunch. He’d already done a few Barbara Steele and peplum movies, too. Then there’s his 60s spy movie Lightning Bolt (1966). If your taste in movies runs toward 60s Italian weirdness, Margheriti’s your man.
Tab Hunter seems to be having a blast in this, though it’s a shame he didn’t get to supply his own voice. His leading lady Rossana Podestà made all kinds of cool Italian movies, and I’d really love to see her 7 Golden Men (1966) make it to DVD. It’s an ultra-stylish caper picture with a liberal dose of that 60s Italian weirdness I just mentioned. The Golden Arrow is scheduled for a May release.