Category Archives: Kino Lorber

DVD/Blu-Ray News #180: The Black Windmill (1974).

Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Michael Caine, Donald Pleasence, Delphine Seyrig, Clive Revill, Janet Suzman, John Vernon

Kino Lorber has announced an upcoming DVD and Blu-Ray release of Don Siegel’s The Black Windmill (1974). Often called a misfire, this Michael Caine spy picture has been on my Wanna See list for a very, very long time.

Not sure when this is coming out, but I can’t wait. And while I can’t give it a real recommendation, there’s the simple fact that Don Siegel directed it (coming between 1973’s Charley Varrick and The Shootist from 1976). That should be recommendation enough. (If Don Siegel directed an instructional film about dental hygiene, I’d want to see it.)

Thanks to (fellow Siegel nut) John Knight for the tip.

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Filed under 1974, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Michael Caine, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #177: Sangaree (1953) In 3-D.

Directed by Edward Ludwig
Starring Fernando Lamas, Arlene Dahl, Patricia Medina, Francis L. Sullivan, Charles Korvin

Kino Lorber Studio Classics and the 3-D Film Archive have announced the upcoming 3-D Blu-Ray release of Sangaree (1953).

Sangaree was to be another Pine-Thomas picture, but Paramount picked it to be their first 3-D production. Shooting was underway when the 3-D decision was made, so some scenes had to be re-shot. Be sure to read all about it here and watch for the Blu-Ray in September.

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Filed under 1953, 3-D, DVD/Blu-ray News, Edward Ludwig, Kino Lorber, Paramount, Pine-Thomas

Blu-Ray Review: Shield For Murder (1954).

Directed by Edmond O’Brien and Howard W. Koch
Screenplay by Richard Alan Simmons and John C. Higgins
Adaptation by Richard Alan Simmons
From a book by William P. McGivern
Music by Paul Dunlap
Photography by Gordon Avil
Film Editor: John F. Schreyer

Cast: Edmond O’Brien (Barney Nolan), Marla English (Patty Winters), John Agar (Mark Brewster), Emile Meyer (Capt. Gunnarson), Carolyn Jones (Girl at bar), Claude Akins (Fat Michaels), Larry Ryle (Laddie O’Neil), Hugh Sanders, William Schallert, Richard Deacon, Vito Scotti

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One the best things for any old-movie nut is to come across something new — not new as in released last week, but new in that you’ve never seen it. Well, Shield For Murder (1954) was a new one for me. And I loved every frame of it.

“If ever a picture was crammed with guts — this is it!” Even the ad copy for this movie is great.

Barney Nolan (Edmond O’Brien) is a good cop gone really, really bad. Before the main title even appears, he’s killed a bookie for the $25,000 he’s got on him. Barney does it because he wants to buy a Castle Heights tract home and marry his girlfriend Patty (Marla English). The cops get the idea that Barney might’ve done it, but his best friend on the force (John Agar) refuses to believe. As the evidence mounts (and bodies stack up), we watch Barney get more desperate, more bitter, more violent as things spin out of control. Eventually, of course, Barney’s on the run and there’s nothing left of his hopes for a nice, quiet life in the suburbs with his girl.

O’Brien co-directed Shield For Murder with producer Howard W. Koch. The division of labor worked like this — O’Brien rehearsed the actors, and once the cameras rolled, Koch was at the helm. They gave the picture a sparse, bare-bones, almost documentary feel — with perfectly gritty camerawork from Gordon Avil (who shot the 1930 Billy The Kid in 70mm).

The performances are good across the board. Carolyn Jones really knocked me out here as a girl O’Brien meets in a bar. Claude Akins is great as a thug trying the retrieve the missing $25,000. Here and there, folks like Hugh Sanders, William Schallert, Richard Deacon and Vito Scotti turn up. You can’t go wrong with those guys.

But Shield For Murder is Edmond O’Brien’s picture all the way. He’s terrific. Watching Barney slide into the gutter is downright uncomfortable, as his American Dream turns to crap. You cringe with every wrong turn he takes, knowing Fate’s gonna kick in at any minute.

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This movie’s perfect, down to Edmond O’Brien’s loafers.

Researching the commentary for Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray of A Strange Adventure (1956) a couple months ago, I got to focus on Marla English and her brief, very interesting career. (Wish I’d been able to do a commentary for this one!) Marla was a teenage beauty queen and swimsuit model from San Diego who signed to Paramount in 1952. They put her in a few little parts — she’s one of the partygoers in Rear Window (1954). But when she turned down a role in The Mountain with Spencer Tracy, Paramount dumped her. She was soon doing independent pictures for Bel-Air, Republic, AIP and the like. And as we all know, that’s when things usually get interesting. Marla’s in stuff like Runaway Daughters, The She Creature — she’s the She Creature, Flesh And The Spur with John Agar (all 1956) and Voodoo Woman (1957) with Mike Connors. She gave up on acting after Voodoo Woman. Though she was in a few pictures before Shield For Murder (she was only 19 when it was released), she gets an “introducing” credit in it.

Shield For Murder was a first for both of our co-directors. O’Brien would only direct a few more things, but Koch kept at it. His next picture, Big House, USA (1955), is a B Movie masterpiece. And he gave us jewels like Untamed Youth (1957), Violent Road (1958) and Frankenstein 1970 (1958). Koch also produced a string of very successful A pictures — things like The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Odd Couple (1968) and Airplane! (1980).

From a Castle Heights subdivision to West Hollywood alleys to a great public pool, Shield For Murder makes excellent use of LA locations. It’s perfectly rough around the edges and captured by Gordon Avil in all its gritty, appropriately grainy glory. And all of that’s perfectly preserved on the Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1954, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Edmond O'Brien, Howard W. Koch, John Agar, Kino Lorber, Marla English, United Artists, William Schallert

DVD/Blu-Ray News #162: The Woman In The Window (1944).

Directed by Fritz Lang
Starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey, Edmund Breon, Dan Duryea

After seeing Man Hunt (1941) in high school, I figured that if Fritz Lang did it, it was in my best interest to watch it. One of the first movies I tracked down after this realization was The Woman In The Window (1944). It proved my theory.

Mild-mannered professor Edward G. Robinson sees a painting in a store window, then notices that the beautiful woman in the painting (Joan Bennett) is standing next to him. One thing leads to another, and before you know it, Robinson is in a helluva mess and Lang has you completely tangled up in knots.

Kino Lorber is bringing this noir-y masterpiece to Blu-Ray in June. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under Dan Duryea, DVD/Blu-ray News, Fritz Lang, Kino Lorber

Blu-Ray News #157: The Maze (1953).

Directed by William Cameron Menzies
Starring Richard Carlson, Veronica Hurst, Hillary Brooke, Michael Pate

Kino Lorber has announced the upcoming release of The Maze (1953) on Blu-Ray in 3-D, “restored… in 4K from original stereoscopic left/right 35mm archival elements by Kino Lorber Studio Classics and the 3D Film Archive.”

The Maze is an atmospheric Gothic horror movie with a great cast: Richard Carlson (fresh from It Came From Outer Space and about to meet up with The Creature From The Black Lagoon), Hillary Brooke (so great in The Abbott & Costello Show on TV) and Michael Pate (who would soon appear with a 3-D John Wayne in Hondo). William Cameron Menzies’ visual style — he layered things to accentuate the depth — made him an ideal director for 3-D.

This is gonna be a great one, folks!

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Filed under 1953, 3-D, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Monogram/Allied Artists, Richard Carlson

Blu-Ray News #150: Irma La Duce (1963).

Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Lou Jacobi

Kino Lorber has announced a Blu-Ray of Billy Wilder’s Irma La Duce (1963), from a recent 4K restoration. While I love Wilder and Jack Lemmon, and this is certainly a funny movie, I have to admit that I wanted to post something on it so I could mention the great Saul Bass, who did the poster.

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Filed under 1963, Billy Wilder, DVD/Blu-ray News, Jack Lemmon, Kino Lorber, Saul Bass, United Artists

DVD/Blu-Ray News #144: A Woman’s Devotion (1956).

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.

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Filed under 1956, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Ralph Meeker