Category Archives: DVD/Blu-ray News

Blu-Ray News #327: Blondie – The Complete 1957 TV Series.

Arthur Lake was put on this earth to play Dagwood Bumstead from Chip Young’s Blondie comic strip. That’s an absolute fact. And he did it marvelously in 28 features from 1938 to 1950 — and again in a TV series in 1957. And that series is coming to Blu-Ray from ClassicFlix in April, transferred from original 35mm elements of all 26 episodes.

Blondie is played by Pamela Britton, who many of us know from My Favorite Martian. (Penny Singleton played Blondie in the movies.) The show perfectly captures the spirit of the strip, with many episodes directed by Paul Landres. Funny stuff, easy to recommend!

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Filed under 1957, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray News, Paul Landres, Television

Blu-Ray News #326: The Human Monster (AKA Dark Eyes Of London, 1939).

Directed by Walter Summers
Starring Béla Lugosi, Hugh Williams, Greta Gynt

ClassicFlix is doing us all a big fat favor, bringing another Bela Lugosi picture — 1939’s Dark Eyes Of London (released in the States in 1940 as The Human Monster) to Blu-Ray.

Though distributed in the US by Monogram, this is not one of Lugosi’s infamous “Monogram Nine.” This is a British adaptation of an Edgar Wallace novel. It was the first British film to receive an “H” certificate (for “Horrific”) from the British Board of Censors. Children under 16 weren’t allowed to see it.

Lugosi sailed over on the Queen Mary to do this one, shot in about a week. He has a dual role, as Dr. Feodor Orloff and John Dearborn, in this story of a series of murders traced back to insurance policies with the Dearborn Home For The Blind as the beneficiary.

This is great stuff, and I’m dying to see it in high definition. Coming at the end of February. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 30s Horror, Bela Lugosi, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray News, Monogram/Allied Artists

Blu-Ray News #325: Escape To Athena (1979)/March Or Die (1977).

Here are two late-70s pictures from Sir Lew Grade. Shout Factory is bringing the twin-bill Blu-Ray out in just a few days.

Escape To Athena (1979)
Directed by George P. Cosmatos
Starring Roger Moore, Telly Savalas, David Niven, Stefanie Powers, Claudia Cardinale, Richard Roundtree, Sonny Bono, Elliott Gould, Paul Picerni

Escape To Athena has a crazy cast (Sonny Bono?), gorgeous Greek locations, a terrific motorcycle chase and a cameo from William Holden.

Roger Moore made some interesting pictures in-between his Bond films, and this is one of them — though I’m a bigger fan of Shout At The Devil (1976) and The Wild Geese (1978)

March Or Die (1977)
Directed by Dick Richards
Starring Gene Hackman, Terence Hill, Catherine Deneuve, Max von Sydow, Sir Ian Holm

They tried to make Terence Hill a star in the US, and it didn’t work. Me, I much preferred the Trinity films. Anyway, this is a pretty lavish production, but it should be better than it is. Hackman is always good, of course.

I’m so glad films like this are making their way to Blu-Ray. I’m looking forward to seeing Escape To Athena again.

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Filed under 1977, 1979, David Niven, DVD/Blu-ray News, Elliott Gould, Gene Hackman, Roger Moore, Shout/Scream Factory

Blu-Ray News #324: The Green Hornet (1940).


Directed by Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor
Starring Gordon Jones, Wade Boteler, Keye Luke, Anne Nagel, Cy Kendall

In April, VCI is bringing The Green Hornet (1940) serial to Blu-Ray. 

It’s a terrific 13-chapter Universal serial, one of my favorites, with Britt Reid and Kato up against The Chief. Can’t wait to see this thing in high definition! Highly recommended.

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Filed under DVD/Blu-ray News, Serial, Universal (-International), VCI

Blu-Ray News #323: Peter Falk Comedy Collection (1967-1987).

Mill Creek has scooped up four Peter Falk movies, all done for Columbia, and made a Blu-Ray set out of ’em. Since I love Peter Falk, I see this as a really good thing, even if the movies aren’t his best.

LUV (1967)
Directed by Clive Donner
Starring Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, Elaine May, Nina Wayne, Harrison Ford

The 60s brought a lot of change to Hollywood, thanks to films like, say, Bonnie And Clyde (1967). It also brought about a lot of weird things like LUV (1967). It’s got Falk and Jack Lemmon in it, and that’s enough.

The Cheap Detective (1978)
Directed by Robert Moore
Written by Neil Simon
Starring Peter Falk, Madeline Kahn, Louise Fletcher, Ann-Margret

Funny stuff, though I preferred Murder By Death (1976), which clearly inspired this one. While Murder By Death spoofed Agatha Christie mysteries, this one pokes fun at Bogart pictures. Bet Neil Simon had a blast writing these things. Peter Falk, Madeline Kahn — can you really go wrong?


Big Trouble
(1986)
Directed by John Cassavetes
Starring Peter Falk, Alan Arkin, Beverly D’Angelo, Charles Durning, Robert Stack, Richard Libertini

The In-Laws (1979) was wonderful, and a big hit, so Falk and Alan Arkin (and Beverly D’Angelo and Richard Libertini and writer Andrew Bergman) were reunited for this one. Falk’s friend John Cassavetes was brought in to direct — it was his last film. The results are mixed, for sure, but I’m really looking forward to seeing it again. And since I saw it on VHS in the early 90s, I can count on it looking 47,000% better this time around!

Happy New Year (1987)
Starring Peter Falk, Charles Durning, Tom Courtenay

A caper comedy with Falk and Charles Durning, and Falk dresses up in all sorts of disguises. I’ve never seen it, but it sure sounds promising.

Thanks to Mill Creek for putting these kinds of movies out on Blu-Ray. It’s sure appreciated, so keep ’em coming!

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Filed under 1967, 1978, Alan Arkin, Ann-Margret, Columbia, DVD/Blu-ray News, Jack Lemmon, John Cassavetes, Madeline Kahn, Mill Creek, Peter Falk

Blu-Ray News #322: Mickey & Minnie – 10 Classic Shorts, Vol. 1.

When I first saw the announcement for Mickey & Minnie – 10 Classic Shorts, Volume 1, I thought JUST 10? Really?

Then I saw that the price wasn’t too bad, and that one of the shorts was Steamboat Willie (1928), which I saw about 150 times as a kid in the wonderful 16mm Milestones In Animation collection. If Steamboat Willie is there, then I’m in. Haven’t been able to find a complete line-up, but here’s some of what you’ll get — Steamboat Willie, Brave Little Tailor, Hawaiian Holiday, On Ice “and six more delightful stories!”

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Filed under Cartoons, Disney, DVD/Blu-ray News

Blu-Ray News #321: Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon (1956).

Written & Directed by Curt Siodmak
Starring John Bromfield, Beverly Garland, Tom Payne

Wow, here’s one I never thought I’d see. Vinegar Syndrome is bringing Curt Siodmak’s Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon (1956) to Blu-Ray — from the 35mm dupe negative.

It’s got a great cast of 50s sci-fi/horror veterans (I’d watch Beverly Garland in anything). Writer-director Siodmak had already written The Wolf Man (1941), Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943) and I Walked With A Zombie (1943) — and the novel Donovan’s Brain.

So, there’s a bird monster in the jungle and it gets ahold of an expedition looking for a drug used by natives to shrink heads. It’s sort of like a Jungle Jim movie in color, with the added benefit of a bird monster. In other words, it’s perfect.

Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon was shot in Brazil in Eastmancolor for about $150,000. Universal International distributed it, pairing it with The Mole People (1956) — what a night at the movies! And it got a glorious poster from Reynold Brown.

Since U-I had it in 1956, it played at 2.00:1, which is how Vinegar Syndrome is presenting it. There will be a commentary and other supplemental things. Recommended!

Thanks to Dick Vincent for the news!

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Filed under 1956, Beverly Garland, Curt Siodmak, DVD/Blu-ray News, Reynold Brown, Universal (-International)

DVD News #320: Crazylegs (1953).

Directed by Francis D. Lyon
Written & Produced by Hall Bartlett
Starring Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch, Lloyd Nolan, Joan Vohs, James Millican, The Los Angeles Rams

Seems like everybody’s talking about football these days (sure hope Damar Hamlin’s OK). Well, here’s something for us old movie nuts to talk about — Kit Parker has brought Crazylegs (1953) to DVD. It’s the story of Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch, a football star at the University Of Wisconsin and the University Of Michigan — and later with the LA Rams.

Hirsch plays himself and does a fine job. He’d go on to have a pretty solid, if short-lived, run in the movies. Hall Bartlett wrote and produced the picture, with Republic handling distribution.

Kit Parker has loaded the DVD with some nice old extras — and a new featurette on Bartlett from Ballyhoo. I’m a big fan of Ballyhoo’s work and got to work on the script for their piece here. It’s a cool little movie and a very nice presentation. Recommended.

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Filed under 1953, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kit Parker, Republic Pictures

Blu-Ray News #319: The Long Wait (1954).

Directed by Victor Saville
Starring Anthony Quinn, Charles Coburn, Gene Evans, Peggie Castle, James Millican

Looks like the New Year’s gonna be pretty good — at least when it comes to DVDs and Blu-Rays. ClassicFlix has just announced another Mickey Spillane picture, The Long Wait (1954), with Anthony Quinn and the great Peggie Castle.

It was shot by Franz Planer, who did all kinds of great stuff: The Face Behind The Mask (1941), Criss Cross (1949), The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T (1953), 99 River Street (1953). 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954), The Big Country (1958), The Unforgiven (1960), King Of Kings (1961), Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961) and many more. Seeing Planer’s work in high definition is always a treat.

ClassicFlix does great work, so this’ll look wonderful. They’re promising a commentary from Max Allan Collins and an image gallery.  This is one I’ve never seen, and I can’t wait. (The long wait, indeed!) Coming in March.

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Filed under 1954, Anthony Quinn, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray News, Mikey Spillane, Peggie Castle, United Artists

4K News #318: The Girl From Rio (1969).

Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Shirley Eaton, Richard Wyler, George Sanders, Maria Rohm

A few years ago, Blue Underground released a series of Blu-Ray double features of some Harry Alan Towers pictures — from Christopher Lee as Fu Manchu to some Edgar Wallace things to a couple Bond ripoffs and beyond. One of these sets gave us the two Sumuru films starring Shirley Eaton and directed by Jess Franco — The Million Eyes Of Sumuru (1967) and The Girl From Rio (1969).

Like a lot of stuff from Harry Alan Towers, these were based on a character from Sax Rohmer. But they are very much a product of their time and place — oozing with the James Bond and Bava’s Danger: Diabolik vibe. I’m not a Franco fan, but I have a soft spot for these two films. The Blu-Ray twin bill looked fantastic — pretty much a given with Blue Underground. My bet is that the 4K of The Girl From Rio will be incredible. 

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Filed under 1969, Blue Underground, DVD/Blu-ray News