Directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr.
Starring Robert Lansing, Lee Meriwether, James Congdon, Robert Strauss, Edgar Stehli, Patty Duke
The people behind The Blob (1958), producer Jack H. Harris and director Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr., put their Blob money into their next picture, 4D Man (1959). Yeaworth had a company that made 35mm religious films in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Those resources give this homegrown, independent picture a very distinctive, and somehow perfect, blend of grit and polish. The Blob was made the same way.
Robert Lansing has developed a way to pass through matter. The hitch is, every time he does it, he ages — a complication that has murderous results.
4D Man is a cool movie, plain and simple. I loved it as a kid. So I’m really stoked that Kino Lorber is bringing it to Blu-Ray this August. Highly recommended.
James Maitland Stewart
(May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997)
Jimmy Stewart, surely one of the greatest movie actors of all time, was born 111 years ago today.
Having just finished a commentary for Kino Lorber’s upcoming Blu-Ray of Anthony Mann’s Thunder Bay (1953), and Bend Of The River before that, I’ve been marveling at Stewart’s craft — over and over again. Nobody underplays quite like he does, and nobody uses their own personal quirks to such a huge advantage.
But, of course, it doesn’t stop at the movies. Stewart also flew in the Air Force during World War II and beyond — something he rarely spoke about, and never waved around to bring attention to himself. They guy was a real national treasure.
Directed by Roger Corman
Starring Vic Morrow, Suzanne Pleshette, Michael Ansara, Cesar Romero, Stanley Holloway, Victor Buono, Charlotte Rampling
This thing’s been almost impossible to track down over the years — a Roger Corman-directed TV movie deemed too violent for TV and sent to theaters instead (similar to Don Siegel’s The Killers). And now Kino Lorber’s bringing it to Blu-Ray.
This is the only Corman picture I haven’t seen. It pairs Batman‘s Joker and King Tut. It was edited by Monte Hellman and scored by Les Baxter. I can’t wait.
Directed by William Friedkin
Starring Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands, Paul Sorvino
After the box-office failure of his masterpiece Sorcerer (1977), William Friedkin turned out a gem of a heist picture, The Brink’s Job (1978).
It’s a shamefully overlooked movie — from a script by Walon Green who wrote Sorcerer and The Wild Bunch (1969), and I’m so happy to hear it’s getting a Blu-Ray release from Kino Lorber. Can’t wait.
Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Starring Roger Moore, James Mason, Anthony Perkins, Michael Parks, David Hedison, Jack Watson, Lea Brodie, Brook Williams
Roger Moore made some really interesting films in the late 70s and early 80s — maybe out of guilt after appearing in Moonraker (1979). Andrew V. McLaglen’s ffolkes (1980, North Sea Highjack in the UK) is one of the better ones. (I’m also a big fan of 1978’s The Wild Geese.) Kino Lorber is bringing ffolkes to Blu-Ray, which I’m sure will make plenty of people very happy indeed.
With ffolkes, Moore gets to poke fun at the Bond thing — he’s an eccentric, bearded cat-loving terrorism expert instead of a suave playboy secret agent. He’s got a great cast along for the fun, too: James Mason, Anthony Perkins, Jack Watson, even Brooks Williams — who’s in a couple of my favorites, The Plague Of The Zombies (1966) and Where Eagles Dare (1969).
This is one of those movies where it looks like everyone was having a good time. It’s an under-seen gem. Highly recommended.
One final thing. The US poster for ffolkes is brilliant, with Bond artist Robert McGinnis spoofing his work for Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, Inger Stevens, Harry Guardino, James Whitmore, Susan Clark, Don Stroud
Madigan (1968) is yet another terrific picture from Don Siegel, from that late 60s, early 70s period when he was knocking out great movies one right after another. It came between The Killers (1964) and Coogan’s Bluff (1968), and it’s one of the best cop movies of the 60s.
Richard Widmark is Madigan, a New York cop, and he’s got 72 hours to track down a fugitive. That’s all you’re gonna get out of me. Except that it’s a great film and that Kino Lorber is bringing it to Blu-Ray later this year. I can’t wait.
You can get this thing on Amazon right now for a little over 50 bucks. It holds 531 DVDs or 630 Blu-Rays. I’m pointing this out because with all the terrific stuff released or announced lately, we’re all gonna have some storage issues.
Look at the Hammer horror pictures that have come out, or are coming, from Warner Archive, Scream Factory and Mill Creek. That’s some serious shelf space right there. Then there’s Universal 50s monster/sci-fi stuff coming from Kino Lorber and Scream Factory. The Thing (1951) from Warner Archive. A great-looking Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956) from Olive Films. Forty Guns (1957) from Criterion. And that’s just getting started.
This is a great time to be an old-movie nut. Seems like every day we’re finding out about something else making its way to our HDTVs — thanks to the companies I mentioned above, along with others like Indicator, Arrow and VCI. So, as you deck out your house for the holidays, think about where to put all these wonderful old movies.