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 Gilberto Gazcón
Starring Glenn Ford, Stella Stevens, David Reynoso, Armando Silvestre, Jose Elias Moreno, Dacia Gonzalez, David Silva
Imprint out of Australia has brought out some terrific stuff in recent months, and they’re shining a light on Rage (1967), a film that’s spent way too much time stuck in the dark. This Blu-Ray will be a worldwide first.
Rage is a solid suspense picture. Glenn Ford’s a doctor in a remote construction camp in Mexico. He’s bitten by a rabid dog and has to race to a hospital for the vaccine. Ford is as good as ever, and Stella Stevens is terrific as an “entertainer” who comes to the camp and takes a liking to the doctor. David Reynoso and Jose Elias Moreno are both excellent.
Rage (it was called El Mal in Mexico) was the first true Mexican-American co-production. It was shot entirely in Mexico, in English. And it was one of the first handful of pictures to wear the “Suggested For Mature Audiences” badge in its advertising.
The Blu-Ray has a release date of December 30, 2020.
• Audio Commentary by film historian Toby Roan
• “Stella” a visual essay on Stella Stevens by Critic Kat Ellinger
• Theatrical Trailer
• Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1,500 copies
It’d been decades since I’d seen Rage, and I was really knocked out by it. Recommended.
Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb): “Flinch, and you’ll be chasing your head down Fifth Street!”
From the Dragnet 1967 episode “The Shooting.” My God, I love Jack Webb!
And if anybody cares, that’s an Ithaca 37 Deer Slayer Police Special shotgun.
I’ve never been a Dr. Who fan. But I absolutely adore Peter Cushing.
So I was really stoked to learn that Kino Lorber is bringing both of the Cushing Dr. Who theatrical films — Dr. Who And The Daleks (1965) and Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966) — to Blu-Ray in July.
These used to turn up on TV a lot in the 70s, where their Techniscope photography suffered quite a bit. It’ll be cool to see them in high definition — the Technicolor was gorgeous.
One more thing: wouldn’t that have been a fun night at Austin’s Longhorn Drive-In?
(February 23, 1904 – June 18, 1980)
Terence Fisher, Hammer’s go-to director, was born 116 years ago today. Here he is (with glasses) celebrating Susan Denberg’s birthday on the set of Frankenstein Created Woman (1967). It’s got Fisher and a birthday cake, that’s close enough.
Fisher’s classic, no-nonsense direction was behind great Hammer pictures like The Curse Of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958) and The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1959).
I’d also like to wish my wife Jennifer a happy 22nd wedding anniversary. We didn’t choose the 23rd to honor Mr. Fisher, but it’s a really cool coincidence.
Directed by Haruyasu Noguchi
Starring Tamio Kawaji, Yoko Yamamoto, Yuji Okada
Under its American TV title, Monster From A Prehistoric Planet, Gappa: The Triphibian Monster (1967) is already available from just about every public domain video company there is. Sounds like we’ll be able to throw all that pan-and-scan junk away — Tokyo Shock/Media Blasters is bringing it to Blu-Ray!
The deal with Gappa is this. It’s a Japanese Kaiju film, from Mikkatsu Studios instead of the usual Toho, that never saw theatrical release in the States. American International sent it straight to TV in 1968 as Monster From A Prehistoric Planet. It’s more or less a remake/ripoff of the British (fake Kaiju) monster movie, Gorgo (1961). In it, a sea monster is discovered and brought to London, only to have its angry mother trash the city to get her kid back. In Gappa, the monster is a “bird-lizard” — a giant reptilian chicken with green scales, and both cheesed-off parents come to Japan in search of their offspring.
As a kid, I had the 200′ Super 8mm version from Ken Films — which took the AIP TV material and printed a few minutes of it in B&W. A long way from the widescreen, color original, but since it focused on the monster stuff, I was happy with it. Really looking forward to this Blu-Ray, and a chance to see the way we were supposed to. Coming in February.
Michael J. Pollard
(May 30, 1939 – November 20, 2019)
Michael J. Pollard, who’d receive an Oscar nomination for his role in one of my favorite movies, Bonnie And Clyde (1967), has passed away at 80.
He was terrific at creating endearing, oddball characters in pictures like Little Fauss And Big Halsy (1970) and Melvin And Howard (1980). And it was great to see him back with Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy (1990).
Directed by Arthur Hiller
Written by Leo V. Gordon
Starring Rock Hudson, George Peppard, Guy Stockwell, Nigel Green, Leo Gordon
I worked in video stores all through college. One of the most-requested movies was Tobruk (1967), a tough World War II picture written by the great character actor Leo V. Gordon. It was in Technicolor and Techniscope (though the latter is never plugged in posters).
It stars Rock Hudson, George Peppard, Nigel Green, Leo Gordon and plenty of flamethrowers. It’s terrific, and I’m sure its January Blu-Ray release from Kino Lorber will make lots of people very happy. Count me as one of them.
Thanks to Mr. Richard Vincent for the news.
Directed by John Gilling
Starring André Morell, David Buck, John Phillips, Maggie Kimberly, Elizabeth Sellars, Michael Ripper, Eddie Powell
What is it about The Mummy? Both Universal and Hammer created masterpieces with their first Mummy movies, but had trouble keeping things going with the sequels.
The Mummy’s Shroud (1967) was the third of Hammer’s four Mummy films, though it’s the last one to actually feature a resuscitated mummy walking around. Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb (1971) wisely did not wrap Valerie Leon in bandages.
Director John Gilling had just done The Plague Of The Zombies and The Reptile (both 1966) for Hammer and stepped right into this one. He also wrote the script. Gilling and cinematographer Arthur Grant came up with a great-looking movie, which makes the upcoming Blu-Ray (early 2020) from Scream Factory so exciting. That and the sarcophagus full of extras we’ve come to expect from Scream Factory’s Hammer series. Looking forward to this one!