Category Archives: Paramount

Blu-Ray News #388: Rough Cut (1980).

Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Burt Reynolds, Lesley-Anne Down, David Niven, Timothy West, Joss Ackland, Patrick Magee

Burt Reynolds news, two days in a row!

Don Siegel’s Rough Cut (1980) is a picture I’ve been wanting to revisit for quite some time. And this summer, Paramount is bringing it to Blu-Ray — good news for Siegel nuts like me.

It was a very troubled production — Siegel was fired, replaced, then rehired, and it’s a shame Burt Reynolds and Siegel never got a chance to work together again. Together, they could’ve made a really cool, tough movie. I have a feeling time has been kind to Rough Cut, and I’m looking forward to a high-definition chance to find out.

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Filed under 1980, Burt Reynolds, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, Paramount

Blu-Ray News #371: The Hunter (1980).

Directed by Buzz Kulik
Starring Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, Kathryn Harrold, LeVar Burton, Ben Johnson, Richard Venture, Tracey Walter

Imprint out of Australia has announced a deluxe Blu-Ray of Buzz Kulik’s The Hunter (1980), Steve McQueen’s last movie.

McQueen with the real Ralph “Papa” Thorson.

Based on the real-life bounty hunter Ralph “Papa” Thorson, the picture gives McQueen a chance to play around with his image. He’s feeling the aches and pains of age and needs reading glasses. And there’s a running gag about Thorson being a terrible driver. McQueen probably had a lot of fun tolling around in his character’s 1951 Chevrolet. The Thorson character has a love of goofy old things, from gas pumps to jukeboxes to wind-up toys, as did McQueen. They say McQueen had a lot of input on this one, even directing some stuff, and it shows.

Time has been kind to The Hunter. Back in 1980, it seemed rather small compared to what we expected from McQueen, and it had a bit of a TV-movie feel about it (Buzz Kulik was a long-time TV movie director). But now, its more eccentric, character-driven nature is a big part of its appeal — along with the opportunity to watch Steve McQueen for an hour-and-a-half. (I’d take it over 1974’s The Towering Inferno any day!)

Other highlights are a nice scene with Ben Johnson and McQueen in a Massey Ferguson combine chasing a Trans Am through a cornfield! The ensemble cast does a great job of elevating a pretty lazy script, and its episodic structure actually works in its favor.

Imprint has promised a commentary and vintage documentary, along with a collection of trailers and TV spots. But, with all releases like this, the main attraction is the movie itself, restored in high definition. I’m so happy to see this cool little action movie, and its star, get a nice valentine like this.

Someone once said that Steve McQueen could act with the back of his head. Lots of folks call him the “King Of Cool.” For me, any movie he’s in comes highly recommended.

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Filed under 1980, Ben Johnson, DVD/Blu-ray News, Imprint Films, Paramount, Steve McQueen

Blu-Ray News #342: In Harm’s Way (1965).

Directed by Otto Preminger
Starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Paula Prentiss, Brandon De Wilde, Dana Andrews, Henry Fonda, Slim Pickens, George Kennedy, Bruce Cabot, Barbara Bouchet

Nothing makes me love the Blu-Ray format more than black and white ‘Scope movies. They look just wonderful. So I’m really stoked that Paramount is bringing Otto Preminger’s In Harm’s Way (1965) to Blu-Ray in June.

It’s a bit of a soap opera, but John Wayne’s in it, the model work is really cool, Loyal Griggs’s cinematography is beautiful and Jerry Goldsmith’s score is terrific. Highly recommended.

One gripe: back in ’65, this picture boasted a brilliant poster design from the great Saul Bass (above). Why would Paramount ditch that in favor something totally cheeseball?

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Filed under 1965, DVD/Blu-ray News, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Paramount, Saul Bass, Slim Pickens

Blu-Ray News #324: Targets (1968).

Directed by Peter Bogdanivich
Starring Boris Karloff, Tim O’Kelly, Peter Bogdanovich

Targets tells the stories of a troubled young man with a thing for guns (Tim O’Kelly) and an aging horror film star (Boris Karloff). O’Kelly’s character is based on Charles Whitman, who shot a bunch of people from the tower at the University Of Texas in Austin in 1966. Karloff’s character is based on, well, Boris Karloff. The movie gets creepier, and more topical, as time goes on. It also illustrates the shift from Gothic horror to more contemporary horror in a very literal way.

Targets came about because Boris Karloff owed Roger Corman a couple days’ work. Corman let Peter Bogdanovich make a picture out of the two days of Karloff and some footage from The Terror (1963). Bogdanovich and his wife Polly Platt based the story on Whitman, which was then in the news. Samuel Fuller helped out on the script, without credit or payment. The director managed to sell the picture to Paramount, which landed Corman a profit before it was even released.

The British Film Institute is bringing Targets to Blu-ray in March 2021, which will give us all a good look at the cinematography by László Kovács. The BFI will certainly load this up with supplemental stuff, too, making for a terrific package, I’m sure (hopefully, they’ll keep Bogdanovich’s commentary from the Paramount DVD). Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1968, BFI, Boris Karloff, DVD/Blu-ray News, Paramount, Peter Bogdanovich, Roger Corman

Blu-Ray News #322: The Court Jester (1956).

Directed by Melvin Frank
Starring Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury and Cecil Parker

Paramount is bringing the very funny Danny Kaye movie The Court Jester (1956) to Blu-Ray in January. A 6K (yes, 6!) should make for an eye-popping presentation of its Technicolor and VistaVision. This is one a lot of folks have been wanting to make its way to high-def, and it sounds like it’s gonna be worth the wait.

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Filed under 1956, Basil Rathbone, DVD/Blu-ray News, Paramount

Blu-Ray News #317: Duel Of The Titans (1961).

Directed by Sergio Corbucci
Starring Steve Reeves, Gordon Scott, Virna Lisi

Germany’s Explosive Media, through Koch, has announced a January release date for Duel Of The Titans (1961, AKA Romulus And Remus). Bringing Steve Reeves (Hercules) and Gordon Scott (Tarzan) together as Romulus and Remus, with Sergio Corbucci directing, and with Virna Lisi — not to mention “primitive passions,” “volcanic thrills” and “pagan worship,” how could it go wrong?

Paramount cut the picture to less than 90 minutes for the States. Koch seems to be offering up the fill 109-minute version. These peplum movies have really suffered over the years, with wretched pan-and-scan transfers and faded Eastman Color. The few that have made it to Blu-Ray have looked splendid. So while the pictures themselves are a matter of taste, it’s hard to knock ’em on Blu-Ray. For fans of this stuff, this one comes recommended.

Thanks to the mighty John Knight for the tip!

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Filed under 1961, DVD/Blu-ray News, Explosive Media, Gordon Scott, Paramount, Peplum, Sergio Corbucci, Steve Reeves

Blu-Ray News #296: The War Of The Worlds (1953).

Directed by Byron Haskin
Starring Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Jack Kruschen, Henry Brandon

The Criterion Collection has announced that they’ll unleash a Blu-Ray of the 4K restoration of George Pal’s The War Of The Worlds (1953) in July. In typical Criterion fashion, it’ll be piled high with extras.

Saw this in a re-release in the late 70s, paired with When Worlds Collide (1951). The War Of The Worlds was terrific — one of the best science fiction films of the 50s (hell, ever!), and they were both beautiful to look at. Can’t wait to see how that incredible Technicolor will look after a 4K touch-up. Absolutely essential.

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Filed under 1953, Criterion Collection, DVD/Blu-ray News, Gene Barry, George Pal, Paramount

Blu-Ray News #289: King Creole (1958).

King_Creole_advertisement_-_Modern_Screen,_August_1958Directed by Michael Curtiz
Starring Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, Walter Matthau, Dolores Hart, Dean Jagger, Vic Morrow

Paramount has announced “Paramount Presents,” a new line of Blu-Ray releases and limited theatrical runs. Along with Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief (1957), they’ll be launching the line with King Creole (1958). One of Elvis’ better films, with one of his best performances (I’d say Flaming Star is his best), King Creole should make for a terrific Blu-Ray. It’s for a great cast — Carolyn Jones, Walter Matthau are both excellent, good songs (“Hard Headed Woman” is awesome) and fabulous B&W cinematography from Russell Harlan.

They’re promising deluxe packaging and a slew of extras. Watch for ’em in April.

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Filed under 1958, Carolyn Jones, DVD/Blu-ray News, Elvis Presley, Paramount, Walter Matthau

Blu-Ray News #286: The War Of The Worlds (1953).

Directed by Byron Haskin
Starring Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Jack Kruschen, Henry Brandon

Here’s one we’ve all been waiting for. The Australian label Imprint has announced a brand new 4K restoration of The War Of The Worlds (1953), coming to Blu-Ray on May 27.

This is one of the films caught up in the widescreen push of 1953-54. Wonder how it’ll be presented? Sounds like it’ll be piled high with extras. Not sure about its Region status, but this will be essential.

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Filed under 1953, DVD/Blu-ray News, Gene Barry, George Pal, Imprint Films, Paramount, Uncategorized

Blu-Ray News #278 – Danger: Diabolik (1968).

Directed by Mario Bava
Starring John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi, Claudio Gora

You can have all 57 Avengers movies and those new Batman and Joker things. Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik (1968) is the best comic book movie ever made. And it’s a Blu-Ray folks (including me) have been screaming for for years.

Shout Factory is bringing Danger: Diabolik to high definition in May — and at this time, the specs haven’t been announced. There’s been some controversy over the years about the two different English dubs, so it’ll be interesting to see what they wind up with. But one thing’s for sure, Bava’s incredible use of color and whacked-out camera angles, along with Ennio Morricone’s fuzzed-out score, will be well-served on Blu-Ray. Highly, highly recommended.

Why take my word for it? A more qualified movie expert, Glen Erickson of CinemaSavant, is just as nuts over this thing as I am.

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Filed under 1968, DVD/Blu-ray News, Ennio Morricone, John Phillip Law, Mario Bava, Marisa Mell, Paramount, Shout/Scream Factory