Category Archives: Kino Lorber

Blu-Ray News #365: Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949).

Directed by William Castle
Starring Howard Duff, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea, Tony Curtis, John McIntire, Gar Moore, Leif Erickson

Kino Lorber is continuing their terrific noir Blu-Ray series Film Noir: The Dark Side Of Cinema with Volumes VI and VII.

Volume VI contains John Brahm’s Singapore (1947), with Fred MacMurray, Ava Gardner and Roland Culver; George Sherman’s The Raging Tide (1951) with Shelley Winters, Richard Conte, Stephen McNally, Charles Bickford, Alex Nicol and John McIntire; and William Castle’s Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949).

In Castle’s picture, Federal agents need Johnny Evans (Dan Duryea), who’s doing time in Alcatraz, to rat on some drug dealers and hit men. Johnny’s not to hip to the idea. It’s a solid effort from Castle. Recommended.

Volume VII will contain Byron Haskin’s The Boss (1956) starring John Payne; Sidney Salkow’s Chicago Confidential (1957) with Brian Keith, Beverly Garland and Dick Foran; and Dana Andrews, Dick Foran and Marilee Earle in Jacques Tourneur’s The Fearmakers (1958).

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Filed under 1956, 1957, 1958, Ava Gardner, Beverly Garland, Dan Duryea, Dana Andrews, DVD/Blu-ray News, Film Noir, Fred MacMurray, George Sherman, Jacques Tourneur, John Payne, Kino Lorber, Richard Conte, Tony Curtis, Universal (-International), William Castle

Blu-Ray News #362: Love-Slaves Of The Amazons (1957).

Written & Directed by Curt Siodmak
Starring Don Taylor, Gianna Segale, Eduardo Ciannelli, Harvey Chalk, Wilson Vianna

Kino Lorber has announced an upcoming Blu-Ray release for Curt Siodmak’s Love-Slaves Of The Amazons (1957). It’s a little over 80 minutes of the usual “guys end up someplace (planet/island/jungle) populated entirely by women” thing. Of course, the women want to enslave the men for their own vile purposes.

It’s got some shooting in Brazil, in Eastmancolor, and a poster by the great Reynold Brown (the art’s up top). Is Love-Slaves Of The Amazons terrible? Maybe. Is it wonderful? Absolutely. Coming sometime in early 2022.

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Filed under 1957, Curt Siodmak, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Reynold Brown, Uncategorized, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #356: Village Of The Giants (1965).

Produced & Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Starring Tommy Kirk, Johnny Crawford, Beau Bridges, Joy Harmon, Robert Random, Tisha Sterling, Toni Basil, Ron Howard, The Beau Brummels

Another movie about big stuff from Bert I. Gordon. This one marries Gordon’s typical size-related theme to a Beach Party atmosphere. It’s coming to Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber later this year.

A group of teenager eats some stuff called Goo and “zoom to supersize.” The gang of 30-foot-tall juvenile delinquents then terrorize the small town of Hainesville. It’s mostly played for laughs, adding in cool elements like The Beau Brummels, music by Jack Nitzsche, Ed Roth’s Surfite and the worst fake giant legs you’ve ever seen. Some of Village Of The Giants was shot at Universal on the same town square set we know from It Came From Outer Space (1953), Gremlins (1984) and Back To The Future (1985).

The whole thing is a lot of dumb fun. Recommended.

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Filed under 1965, Avco Embassy, Bert I. Gordon, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber

Blu-Ray News #348: Arabesque (1966).

Directed by Stanley Donen
Starring Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren

Stanley Donen directed a couple of my favorite films of the 60s, Charade (1963) and Bedazzled (1967). In between, he did Arabesque (1966), a fun piece of Hitchcockian eye candy starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren. It’s coming to Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber.

Donen offered the lead to Cary Grant, who’d starred in Charade. Grant turned it down, and the part went to Peck. He’s a hieroglyphics expert who can decode a secret message — and who ends up pursued by sinister agents with Sophia Loren in tow. The story’s slight, but Donen and cinematographer Christopher Challis more than make up for it with all kinds of Technicolor-Panavision loveliness.

Henry Mancini cooked up a great score, which The Ventures covered (only released as a 45). Robert McGinnis did the terrific poster art (up top) between his work for Thunderball (1965) and You Only Live Twice (1967).

Flashy 60s pictures like this are perfect for Blu-Ray, and this one comes highly recommended.

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Filed under 1966, DVD/Blu-ray News, Gregory Peck, Kino Lorber, Robert McGinnis, Sophia Loren, Stanley Donen, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #344: Masquerade (1965).

Directed by Basil Dearden
Starring Cliff Robertson, Jack Hawkins, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Bill Fraser, Charles Gray

Kino Lorber has announced that they’re bringing Basil Deardon’s spy comedy Masquerade (1965) to Blu-Ray in September.

Cliff Robertson replaced Rex Harrison in the lead, and the script was revised by William Goldman to add an American spin on Robertson’s dialogue. For fans of Bava’s Danger: Diabolik (1968) Maris Mell has a great part here. There were so many of these types of things playing theaters in the mid-60s as Bond-mania spread across the globe not unlike the coronavirus.

Shot in Spain by the great Otto Heller (The Ladykillers, Peeping Tom, The Ipcress File), this will be a real piece of eye candy in high definition. Recommended.

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Filed under 1965, DVD/Blu-ray News, Jack Hawkins, Kino Lorber, Marisa Mell, United Artists

Blu-Ray News #341: The Spider Woman Strikes Back (1946).

Directed by Arthur Lubin
Starring Gale Sondergaard, Brenda Joyce, Kirby Grant, Milburn Stone, Rondo Hatton

Regardless of its title, and even though Gale Sondergaard is in it, The Spider Woman Strikes Back (1946) is not a sequel to Sherlock Holmes And The Spider Woman (1943). 

A 59-minute horror picture directed by Arthur Lubin — whose usual output was comedies like Buck Privates (1941) and Rhubarb (1951), this was an attempt to launch another Universal Monster series. It didn’t work, and The Spider Woman Strikes Back became a rather overlooked little monster movie from Universal. The studio tried a similar tactic with The Brute Man (1946) starring Rondo Hatton — which they eventually sold to PRC.

The picture was shot by Paul Ivano, whose long career behind the camera runs from Greed (1924) and the silent Ben Hur (1925) to Frankenstein (1931) and Gone With The Wind (1939) to The Frozen Ghost (1945) to hundreds of TV shows. He was under contract at Universal in the mid-40s, and his pictures always look terrific.

Kino Lorber is bringing this goofy little monster movie to Blu-Ray sometime this summer. 

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Filed under Arthur Lubin, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Rondo Hatton, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #340: Larceny (1948).

Directed by George Sherman
Starring John Payne, Joan Caulfield, Dan Duryea, Shelley Winters

While I’m a sucker for his Westerns, you can count me in on anything from George Sherman. He was a top-notch “journeyman” or contract director, and please don’t take that as a knock to his prowess. He made some great movies.

Larceny (1948) is built around one of the scuzziest plot points ever — a con man (John Payne) trying to snake a war widow (Joan Caulfield) out of money allegedly for a memorial to her husband. When Payne has second thoughts, and develops a thing for the widow, the boss (Dan Duryea) won’t let him out of it — then Duryea’s moll (Shelley Winters) really louses things up.

Noir works best when it’s kept lean and tight, which makes it perfect for George Sherman. This is a terrific movie, and it’ll be great to see Irving Glassberg’s cinematography in high definition. Coming to Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber in July. Highly recommended.

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Filed under Dan Duryea, DVD/Blu-ray News, George Sherman, John Payne, Kino Lorber, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #332: Larceny (1948).

Directed by George Sherman
Starring John Payne, Joan Caulfield, Dan Duryea, Shelley Winters

George Sherman was at Universal-International from 1948 to 1956. He directed a lot of Westerns, along with some crime/noir pictures and adventure things. Not a lot of ’em have made their way to DVD, much less Blu-Ray. So Larceny (1948), a cool noir with John Payne and Dan Duryea, coming to Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber is big news.

We should see it turn up this summer.

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Filed under Dan Duryea, DVD/Blu-ray News, George Sherman, John Payne, Kino Lorber, Universal (-International)

The Good, The Bad And The Urine.

Lately, I’ve been wanting to watch The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966) again. It’s been quite a while since I’ve sat down with it, and my daughter has never seen it. So I dug out my Blu-Ray — and was instantly reminded why it’s been so long since I’ve seen it. I don’t have anything worth watching. 

There’s plenty out there on the internet about what’s wrong with every single version of the film available on video. The old laserdisc from 1993, which was sourced from an actual print, came the closest to what US audiences saw back in 1967. Everything since has a list of problems a mile long, from missing stuff to badly added stuff to a botched surround mix to color that turns everything the color of urine, even the sky. Of course, that sickly yellow has become the color of choice for film transfers these days, rendering them all unwatchable. Even The Searchers isn’t immune to it.

What’s really troubling about a film like The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is that so many of us have seen it a million times, we know what it’s supposed to look, and sound, like. They can’t pull one over on us so easily. We’re onto them. Why is everything so yellow? That’s not what the guns are supposed to sound like. When the 16mm print I used to check out of the library looks and sounds better than the latest 4K “restoration,” something ain’t right.

There are old prints of Leone’s masterpiece out there. The IB Tech ones won’t fade — they’re the perfect color reference, no matter how scratched or spliced up they might be. Hell, I’d prefer a decent scan from one of those prints to what’s out there now. 

This is a time when even the smallest of movies are coming to Blu-Ray with startling results. Giant From The Unknown (1958) is a good example. Doesn’t one of the biggest deserve at last as good?

Evidently so, since there’s yet another The Good, The Bad And The Ugly on the way from Kino Lorber. We’re promised the original theatrical cut, in glorious mono, with a 1967 IB Tech print used as a guide and occasional source. It’ll be both 4K and Blu-Ray, I believe. This sounds promising, but I’ll wait and see how this one shakes out before I lay down my fistful of dollars.

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Filed under 1966, Clint Eastwood, Kino Lorber, Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone, United Artists

Blu-Ray News #326: The Time Travelers (1964).

Directed by Ib Melchior
Starring Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry Anders, John Hoyt, Joan Woodbury, Delores Welles, Forrest Ackerman

Who can resist a picture from American International in 1964 that gives you a Playboy Playmate (Delores Welles, June 1960), hideous mutants and Forrest J. Ackerman and promises to let you “SEE women use the Love Machine to allay the male shortage!”

Merry Anders and Delores Welles dig the future.

Ib Melchior’s ideas were too big for his budget, but he still managed to pull off a pretty big-looking sci-fi flick. This thing just oozes mid-century, early 60s cool — from the costumes and hairstyles to the sets and the tacky Pathécolor (shot by the great Vilmos Zsigmond).

Scorpion Releasing is bringing this crazy thing to Blu-Ray, distributed by Kino Lorber, in April. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1964, AIP, DVD/Blu-ray News, Forrest Ackerman, Ib Melchior, Kino Lorber, Scorpion Releasing