Directed by Paul Henreid
Starring Ralph Meeker, Janice Rule, Paul Henreid, Rosenda Monteros
The low-budget noir pictures are making their way to DVD and Blu-Ray at a great clip these days. Here’s a pretty obscure one — A Woman’s Devotion (1956), a Trucolor mini-noir from Republic’s dying days.
Some American newlyweds are vacationing in Mexico, and the husband (Meeker) ends up the prime suspect in the murder of a local girl. It was directed by Paul Henreid. Kino Lorber says the 4K remaster, which should look stunning, will be available early next year.
Directed by Nathan Juran
Starring Richard Conte, Joan Bennett, Wanda Hendrix, Reed Hadley, Mary Beth Hughes, Iris Adrian
Highway Dragnet (1954) is a tough little Allied Artists noir picture, from a story co-written by Roger Corman. I’ve been waiting for this one to make it to DVD and/or Blu-Ray for quite some time. It’s terrific — and it’s on its way from Kino Lorber, with a 4K restoration prepared by Paramount.
Richard Conte is a Korean War vet wanted for murder, after a woman he meets in a bar winds up very dead. On the lamb, he ends bumming a ride from a fashion photographer (Joan Bennett) and model (Wanda Hendrix).
Nathan Juran started out as an art director and became a director after World War II. He did a number of picture I really love: Law And Order (1953), The Deadly Mantis (1957), 20 Million Miles To Earth (1957), The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad (1958) and so on. Highway Dragnet was a pretty early credit for him, and he does a great job with this one, keeping things cooking as it winds its way to a pretty cool wrap-up. Watch for it early next year. Highly recommended.
Directed by Joe Kane
Starring Rod Cameron, Vera Ralston, Mike Mazurki, Don Hagggerty, Paul Picerni, Luana Anders
This is an update to a post from way back in January.
Naturama was Republic’s widescreen process, and Vera Ralston was the figure-skater girlfriend/wife of Republic’s president, Herbert J. Yates. Guys like Rod Cameron, Sterling Hayden and even John Wayne appeared with her, grudgingly. And when Republic shut down, do did Ralston’s career.
That said, she made some pretty cool movies, and The Man Who Died Twice (1958) is one of them. In fact, it was her last — the studio tanked that year (it’s also the last Republic Joe Kane directed). It’s a low-budget crime/noir thing. Rod Cameron’s cool in it (as always), Luana Anders plays a heroin addict, and Jack Marta shot it in black & white widescreen. Sounds terrific, don’t it?
Kino Lorber will bring The Man Who Died Twice to both DVD and Blu-Ray in November. For decades, seeing Republic Naturama movies in their original 2.35 aspect ratio has been damn near impossible, so this release is a real treat (and hopefully the first of many). The transfer’s excellent — got a good look at it while working on a commentary for it. Recommended.
Directed by Edwin Sherin
Starring Burt Lancaster, Susan Clark, Jon Cypher, Barton Heyman, Richard Jordan, Frank Silvera, Hector Elizondo
Kino Lorber has announced that Valdez Is Coming (1971) is coming to Blu-Ray. It’s the second of three Westerns Burt Lancaster made in the early 70s, the other two being Lawman (1971) and Robert Aldrich’s Ulzana’s Raid (1972).
It’s based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, and at one point there was talk of Marlon Brando playing Valdez, Lancaster taking the part that went to Jon Cypher and Sydney Pollack directing. What a different movie that would’ve been.
No details from Kino Lorber yet, and the release date is simply later this year.
A couple months ago, Kino Lorber announced that they were preparing The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1967) for release — a set that would bring the original cut to Blu-Ray (in mono) from 4K. Though it’ll be the umpteenth time I’ve bought this movie on video, I welcome the original cut and audio in hi-def.
Now, they announced that the first two Eastwood/Leone pictures — A Fistful Of Dollars (1964) and For A Few Dollars More (1965) are getting the same treatment and will be coming later this year. They will standalone releases, not a set. I can’t wait.
Directed by Sergio Leone
Starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach
Like a lotta folks, The Good The Bad And The Ugly is one of my favorite movies. I could easily sit down and watch it every day. But I couldn’t stand that restoration from 2004. While it looked terrific, the reworked surround sound drove me nuts. Unfortunately, that was the version that made its way to Blu-Ray — so I’ve clung to the old MGM pre-2004 DVD.
Sergio Leone directing one of the greatest scenes in cinema history.
I was overjoyed to learn that for the picture’s 50th anniversary, the original version would be given the deluxe 4K treatment — in the original mono! The set from Kino Lorber also gives you the extended version, also in mono. A slew of extra’s, many carried over from the previous editions, will be included. I don’t care how many times you bought this in the past, this is essential. Coming this summer.
Directed by Giulio Petroni
Starring Lee Van Cleef, John Phillip Law
I’m rather picky when it comes to Spaghetti Westerns. While some of them are brilliant, you have to wade through a lot of crap to get to them. Death Rides A Horse (1967) is one of the brilliant ones. Van Cleef is excellent; John Phillip Law was about to make Danger: Diabolik (1968), so he’s at his supercool best; Giulio Petroni is one of the better directors for these things; and this has to be one of Ennio Morricone’s best Western scores.
It’s been available on DVD for ages, often pan-and-scan and looking like crap, so the upcoming Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber is good news indeed. They say to look for it this summer. Highly recommended.