Category Archives: 1973

Blu-Ray News #105: The Creeping Flesh (1973).

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Directed by Freddie Francis
Starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Lorna Heilbron, Michael Ripper

Mill Creek Entertainment has announced a three-picture Blu-Ray set for April called Psycho Circus. It consists of three features: Torture Garden (1967), The Creeping Flesh (1973) and Brotherhood Of Satan (1971).

For me, The Creeping Flesh is the cream of the crop. It’s a Tigon picture with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, directed by Freddie Francis. What’s not to like? A scientist comes back from Papua New Guinea with some bones. They get wet and flesh forms around them again — with slimy, murderous results.

Torture Garden (1967) is an Amicus anthology film from Freddie Francis again. It stars Jack Palance, Burgess Meredith and Peter Cushing, based on stories by Robert Bloch.  Then there’s Brotherhood Of Satan which I’ve never seen, but am eager to see — it stars Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones, just a couple years after they played Coffer and T.C. in Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969). The recent Mill Creek Hammer Blu-Ray twin bills were terrific, so I’m really looking forward to this set.

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Filed under 1967, 1971, 1973, Christopher Lee, DVD/Blu-ray News, Freddie Francis, Mill Creek, Peter Cushing, Sam Peckinpah

DVD News #96: The Blue Knight (1973).

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Directed by Robert Butler
Starring William Holden, Lee Remick, Anne Archer, Sam Elliot, Joe Santos, Vic Tayback

Word on the street is that Warner Archive has located decent material for an eventual DVD release of The Blue Knight (1973), the terrific mini-series starring William Holden as L.A. cop Bumper Morgan. It won a few Emmys (including a well-deserved one for Holden), played theaters overseas in a feature-length cut, and spawned the series starring George Kennedy.

Thanks to Graham for the news.

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Filed under 1973, DVD/Blu-ray News, Television, Warner Archive, William Holden

DVD News #44: Tales From The Prison Yard 6-Film Collection.

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Mill Creek Entertainment and Columbia have done us another big favor, this time assembling a big collection from the big house (for a February 2016 release): Tales From The Prison Yard. It gives us six prison movies, ranging from a Sam Katzman quickie to Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail (1973). For me, the attraction is two more Fred F. Sears pictures to add to my collection.

Convicted (1950)
Directed by Henry Levin
Starring Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford, Millard Mitchell, Dorothy Malone, Will Geer

Cell 2455 Death Row (1955)
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Starring William Campbell, Marian Carr, Kathryn Grant, Harvey Stephens, Vince Edwards

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Escape From San Quentin (1957)
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Starring Johnny Desmond, Merry Anders, Richard Devon, Roy Engel

City Of Fear (1959)
Directed by Irving Lerner
Starring Vince Edwards, Lyle Talbot, John Archer, Patricia Blair, Steven Ritch

The Valachi Papers (1972)
Directed by Terence Young
Starring Charles Bronson, Lino Ventura, Jill Ireland, Joseph Wiseman

The Last Detail (1973)
Directed by Hal Ashby
Starring Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid, Clifton James, Carol Kane

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Filed under 1950, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1972, 1973, Charles Bronson, DVD/Blu-ray News, Fred F. Sears, Mill Creek, Sam Katzman

RIP, Alex Rocco.

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Alex Rocco
February 29, 1936 – July 18, 2015

Alex Rocco is one of my favorite 70s character actors, appearing in a couple pictures I really love: Slither (1973) and Freebie And The Bean (1974). Of course, he was also Moe Green in The Godfather (1972). He passed away on Saturday.

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Rocco only has one scene in Freebie (both images here), as a DA who tells James Caan and Alan Arkin they don’t have enough evidence (and that they’re idiots), but he’s hysterical — and Caan and Arkin have to work hard to keep up. I love those goofy 70s comedies.

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Filed under 1972, 1973, 1974, Alan Arkin, James Caan

Screening: Don Siegel Triple Feature At The Mahoning Drive-In.

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Boy, what a great night this will be for those fortunate enough to be there. A tribute to director Don Siegel, at a drive-in, featuring three of his finest films: Coogan’s Bluff (1967), Charley Varrick (1973) and The Killers (1964).

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Don Siegel Triple Feature
Friday, July 17, beginning at dusk
General Admission: $10.00
Children’s Admission: $7.00

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The Mahoning Drive-In Theater
635 Seneca Road, just of Rte. 443
Lehighton, PA 18235

One of my favorite filmmakers. Three of his best pictures. All in 35mm on “the largest CinemaScope screen in Pennsylvania.” Sounds like heaven.

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Filed under 1964, 1968, 1973, Andy Robinson, Angie Dickinson, Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Lalo Schifrin, Lee Marvin, Screenings, Walter Matthau

Blu-ray Review: Tales From The Crypt (1972) And Vault Of Horror (1973).

TFC PC comes back

Scream Factory really went the extra mile on this one. After announcing the Amicus double feature of Tales From The Crypt (1972) and Vault Of Horror (1973) for Blu-ray — two British anthology pictures based on the great EC Comics of the 50s, they ran into trouble finding uncut material for Vault. This pushed the release date from Halloween to early December. And the result turned out to be worth the wait.

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Directed by Freddie Francis
Written by Milton Subotsky
Director Of Photography: Norman Warwick
Cast: Ralph Richardson, Joan Collins, Peter Cushing, Roy Dotrice, Richard Greene, Patrick Magee

Tales bikeAnthology films are always a bit uneven, no matter who makes them. There’s typically one story that stands tall — and sometimes one that falls short. But Amicus had a way with them, and theirs tend to hold up pretty well. With Tales From The Crypt (1972), the visuals are very strong — the work of Freddie Francis and cinematographer Norman Warwick. Images like Peter Cushing coming back from the grave (top) or the biker skeleton are easily identifiable to anyone who ever flipped through a 70s horror movie book or magazine as a kid.

Of course, a lot of the credit has to go to the original source material — those great EC Comics. Milton Subotsky obviously knew how good they were and he wisely left the stories alone, though they traded a bit of the black humor for a Twilight Zone feel. I don’t have a favorite segment, but there are moments throughout the film that have stuck with me for decades. Again, those visuals.

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Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Written by Milton Subotsky
Director Of Photography: Denys Coop
Cast: Terry-Thomas, Curd Jürgens, Tom Baker, Dawn Addams, Denholm Elliott, Michael Craig

Amicus dug up five more stories from EC for their follow-up to Tales From The Crypt, Vault Of Horror (1973). Roy Ward Baker (A Night To Remember) directs this time, and while it’s not as visually arresting as Crypt, it better captures the overall EC vibe. The black humor is certainly more pronounced. Vault Of Horror was cut here and there over the years by various distributors in various countries, leaving Scream Factory with some real detective work to do to bring us a complete cut. They succeeded, and present both the cut and uncut versions.

Vault vampire

On Blu-ray, both Tales From The Crypt and Vault Of Horror look better than I ever thought they would. The color is strong in Crypt, and a bit muted in Vault, but the grain is perfect and the blacks are fine. Both titles really put the distinctive look of film on your TV — and that’s what I want when I drop any disc in my machine. There’s a bit of dust here and there, and a few inconsistencies, all of which I prefer to a bunch of obvious pixel pushing. The mono audio is clear and strong.

Tales From The Crypt and Vault Of Horror are good, creepy, stylish fun. I really appreciate the care Scream Factory put into this set and doubt many companies would’ve bothered. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1972, 1973, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Freddie Francis, Peter Cushing, Roy Ward Baker, Shout/Scream Factory

Blu-ray News #19: The Bank Shot (1974).

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Directed by Gower Champion
Starring George C. Scott, Joanna Cassidy, Sorrell Brooke, Bob Balaban, Clifton James, G. Wood, Bibi Osterwald, Frank McRae

Based on one of Donald E. Westlake’s Dortmunder novels (as was 1972‘s The Hot Rock), this is a very funny heist picture. It was done a terrible disservice years ago by a pan-and-scan DVD, so Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray announcement (for June) adds width to the normal upgrade in resolution. This one’s been on my Want List for years.

Jack Davis’ poster art is a bit like his stuff for It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), ain’t it?

Oh, another Westlake adaptation, Cops And Robbers (1973), arrives the same day. It stars Joseph Bologna, with a screenplay by Westlake himself.

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Filed under 1973, 1974, DVD/Blu-ray News, George C. Scott, Kino Lorber