Category Archives: Kino Lorber

Blu-Ray News #407: Hustle (1975).

Directed by Robert Aldrich
Starring Burt Reynolds, Catherine Deneuve, Ben Johnson, Paul Winfield, Eileen Brennan, Ernest Borgnine, Catherine Bach, Jack Carter

Glad to see this one getting some attention. Kino Lorber is bringing Robert Aldrich’s Hustle (1975) to Blu-Ray later this year. It’s a cool movie with a great cast.

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Filed under 1975, Ben Johnson, Burt Reynolds, DVD/Blu-ray News, Ernest Borgnine, Kino Lorber, Paramount, Robert Aldrich

Blu-Ray News #405: Hell Is For Heroes (1962).

Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, Bob Newhart, James Coburn, Nick Adams, LQ Jones

Steve McQueen and Don Siegel. How could Hell Is For Heroes (1962) not be great? 

Making the movie was hell, judging from stories you hear about the production.  Writer Robert Pirosh was to direct, but left after trying to deal with McQueen. Paramount cut the budget. McQueen threw his weight around, demanded rewrites and fought with Don Siegel. It was so hot in California in the summer of 1961, many scenes were shot at night to make things more comfortable. The prop machine guns didn’t like with the blank cartridges being used. And on and on.

But it’s a great film. The B&W cinematography of Harold Lipstein is remarkable. Siegel’s direction is as taught as always. And the performances are top-notch across the board.

And it’s finally making its way to Blu-Ray, thanks to the folks at Kino Lorber. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1962, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Coburn, Kino Lorber, L.Q. Jones, Nick Adams, Paramount, Steve McQueen

Blu-Ray News #373 UPDATE: Samson And The 7 Miracles Of The World (1961).

Directed by Riccardo Freda
Starring Gordon Scott, Yôko Tani, Hélène Chanel

It’s great that these peplum pictures are turning up on Blu-Ray, and Kino Lorber has announced an upcoming release of Samson And The Seven Miracles Of The World (1961).

Designed to use sets designed for Marco Polo (1962, also with Yôko Tani), this was a Maciste picture elsewhere in the world — Maciste (Gordon Scott) was renamed Samson in the English dubbing for the UK and US. In the UK, the title was shortened to Samson And The Seven Miracles (1962). It sends Gordon Scott to the Orient where he has to come to the aide of a Chinese princess. The earthquake in the final reel is pretty cool.

Released in Italy in late 1961, it was almost 1963 before AIP put it out, re-scored by Les Baxter — and with yet another incredible poster by Reynold Brown. I’m sure Kino Lorber will give us something to make us forget those horrible pan-and-scan 16mm TV prints.

The disc will include both the longer international cut and the shorter AIP version — and a commentary from Tim Lucas. Coming in August. Can’t wait!

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Filed under 1961, AIP, DVD/Blu-ray News, Gordon Scott, Kino Lorber, Les Baxter, Peplum, Riccardo Freda

4K News #396: Escape From Alcatraz (1979).

Escape From Alcatraz LC

Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom, Jack Thibeau, Fred Ward

Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood’s final collaboration, Escape From Alcatraz (1979), is tight, tough, cool and exciting — just what you’d expect from the guy who directed Riot In Cell Block 11 (1954), Baby Face Nelson (1957), Dirty Harry (1971), Charley Varrick (1973) and so many others.

Well researched and actually shot at Alcatraz (which had to be partially restored prior to filming), it’s coming to 4K from Kino Lorber later this year. I love seeing Siegel’s work get this kind of treatment. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1979, Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Paramount, Patrick McGoohan

Blu-ray News #391: Planet Of The Vampires (AKA Terrore Nello Spazio).

Directed by Mario Bava
Starring Barry Sullivan, Norma Bengell, Ángel Aranda, Evi Marandi

Mario Bava’s supremely creepy Planet Of The Vampires (1965) is getting a new 2K restoration (with expanded supplemental stuff) from the folks at Kino Lorber. Even though their previous Blu-Ray was quite nice, this is very good news indeed.

Written by Ib Melchior, Planet Of The Vampires a bit more going for it than most, script-wise, that a lot of Italian science fiction movies, which tend to not make much sense. But with Mario Bava, it’s the visuals we’re concerned about, and Planet Of The Vampires doesn’t disappoint. This thing’s got enough style and atmosphere (and fog) for 20 movies (and oddly enough, no vampires). I see a lot of this film’s influence in Alien (1979), with a heavy dose of It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1957) thrown in.

VHS copies of Planet Of The Vampires in the Eighties replaced the original score with some dreadful synthesizer stuff. The MGM DVD and the later Kino Lorber Blu-Ray restored the music from the original Italian and AIP versions. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1965, AIP, Barry Sullivan, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Mario Bava

Blu-Ray News #381: Shamus (1973).


Directed by Buzz Kulik
Starring Burt Reynolds, Dyan Cannon, John P. Ryan, Joe Santos, Larry Block

Burt Reynolds is in his early-70s prime in Shamus (1973), a cool private eye picture co-starring Dyan Cannon. Kino Lorber will be bringing it to Blu-Ray later this year.

Burt’s a pool-shooting PI hired to track down some stolen diamonds. Naturally, he gets into all sorts of trouble along the way.

Shamus has great NYC location stuff and a pre-Rockford Files Joe Santos. Director Buzz Kulik worked steadily in TV, directing lots of outstanding TV movies (such as Brian’s Song). Shamus is one of his few theatrical films. Recommended.

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Filed under 1973, Burt Reynolds, Columbia, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber

Blu-Ray News #379: Human Desire (1954).

Directed by Fritz Lang
Starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Edgar Buchanan, Peggy Maley

Human Desire (1954) is small-town noir as only the great Fritz Lang could do it — and Kino Lorber is bringing it to Blu-Ray later this year.

Glenn Ford’s a train engineer who gets involved in murder, blackmail and about every kind of seediness you can think of — all thanks to Fate and Gloria Grahame.

Lang and DP Burnett Guffey come up with some stunning widescreen visuals, especially around the railroad yard. And while it’s not quite the seedy masterpiece The Big Heat (1953) is — which first brought Lang, Ford and Grahame together — it shows how Lang’s stylistics can elevate substandard material. (There were all kinds of problems with this thing as it came together.)

I’m a huge fan of Lang’s Hollywood pictures, film noir and trains, so this one’s a real favorite. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1954, Broderick Crawford, Columbia, DVD/Blu-ray News, Fritz Lang, Glenn Ford, Kino Lorber

Blu-Ray News #375: Son Of Samson (1960).

Directed by Carlo Campogalliani
Starring Mark Forest, Chelo Alonso, Vira Silenti, Angelo Zanolli

Kino Lorber has announced that they’re prepping another Italian peplum picture for Blu-Ray, Son Of Samson (1960). It will be available later in 2022.

Inspired by the success of Hercules (1959) starring Steve Reeves, Italian producers starting hiring American bodybuilders — Mark Forest, in this case — and putting them in sword-and-sandal “peplum” pictures as fast as they could. Son Of Samson is one of the better ones.

Those of us who saw these movies on TV have no idea what they looked like in theaters — many in Scope and Technicolor. And that’s why Blu-Ray releases like this are such a treat. Thanks to Kino Lorber for wrestling up so many of these!

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Filed under 1960, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Mark Forest, Peplum

Blu-Ray News #368: Edgar G. Ulmer Sci-Fi Collection.

Man, I can’t wait for this! Kino Lorber has announced a three-picture Blu-Ray set of Edgar G. Ulmer science fiction movies, coming in late March. Of course, Mr. Ulmer was a master at making a decent movie for an insultingly paltry amount of money and time. Just look at Detour (1945) or The Naked Dawn (1955) for evidence of that. These three science fiction things show that same level of ingenuity, along with Ulmer’s habit of giving bigger parts to actors normally seen in second lead or character parts.

The Man From Planet X (1951)
Directed by Edgar G, Ulmer
Starring Robert Clarke, Margaret Field, William Schallert

Shot in a week on leftover sets from Joan Of Arc (1948), you’d think that the biggest line item in the budget was the smoke machine, since the picture uses tons and tons of fake fog to approximate a Scottish moor and hide things they don’t want you to see. The alien’s suit is really cool and the overall effect — from the fog to the spacesuit to the alien’s musical language — is creepy as hell. 

The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)
Directed by Edgar G, Ulmer
Starring Marguerite Chapman, Douglas Kennedy, James Griffith, Ivan Triesault

Beyond The Time Barrier (1960)
Directed by Edgar G, Ulmer
Starring Robert Clarke, Darlene Tompkins

Ulmer did these two pictures back to back over two weeks in Dallas, Texas, for Miller-Consolidated Pictures. Robert Clarke, the star of The Man From Plant X, had just directed and starred in The Hideous Sun Demon (1960). He was the producer of Beyond The Time Barrier and brought in Ulmer to direct. When Miller-Consolidated Pictures went broke, AIP bought these up (for pretty much just the lab costs) and released ’em as a twin bill. 

Seeing these in high definition is gonna be a real treat. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1951, 1960, DVD/Blu-ray News, Edgar G. Ulmer, James H. Griffith, Kino Lorber, William Schallert

Blu-Ray/4K News #366: Touch Of Evil (1958).

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Filed under 1958, Albert Zugsmith, Charlton Heston, DVD/Blu-ray News, Janet Leigh, Kino Lorber, Orson Welles, Universal (-International)