Directed by Peter Medak
Starring George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, Jean Marsh, John Colicos, Barry Morse
As I see it, The Changeling (1980) was one of the last really good horror movies. It’s just old-fashioned enough, while plenty modern — and it’s certainly scary. There’s even a strong murder mystery vibe to it. It’s really terrific.
George C. Scott’s a composer who, after his family is killed in an accident, moves into a Seattle mansion. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that something’s going on in his new home. Turns out Scott’s sharing his digs with the ghost of a murdered little boy, and that’s all you’re gonna get out of me.
Scott’s excellent, but the rest of the cast is just as good. Peter Medak’s direction and John Coquillon’s camerawork give us plenty of atmosphere, and Russell Hunter’s story is based on stuff he actually experienced in a mansion in Denver.
Severin has announced an upcoming extra-packed Blu-Ray of The Changeling, from a new 4K restoration. It’s also playing in New York this week.
I love haunted house movies — The Uninvited (1944), Robert Wise’s The Haunting (1963) and Legend Of Hell House (1973). The Changeling can hang with those heavyweights with no trouble. This upcoming Blu-Ray seems like a must.
Directed by Richard Fleischer
Starring George C. Scott, Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Rosalind Cash, Erik Estrada, Clifton James
Richard Fleischer’s The New Centurions (1972) is a tough look at the lives of three rookie cops in L.A. — Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson and Erik Estrada — and what the job does to their personal lives. We also get to know the veteran cops who show these rookies the ropes — and try to help them stay alive.
What has always struck me about The New Centurions is how solid the acting is. Given the cast, what would you expect?
This is certainly not Feel Good Hit Of The Year material, folks. But it’s very good and it’s coming to Blu-Ray from Carlotta FIlms out of France.
Sir Ken Adam
(5 February 1921 – 10 March 2016)
Ken Adam, the production designer of the James Bond films of the 60s and 70s, has passed away at 95.
Adam’s volcano rocket base for You Only Live Twice (1967, above) is jaw-dropping-ly cool — especially on the big screen in Panavision and dye transfer Technicolor. It absolutely floored me the first time I saw it.
He worked for Stanley Kubrick twice: Dr. Strangelove (1964), with the incredible War Room, and Barry Lyndon (1976). Oh, and an early credit came for Night Of The Demon (1957).
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.