Category Archives: Paramount

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 #406: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1931) And Mark Of The Vampire (1935).

Man oh man, am I excited about this! Warner Archive has announced a couple of terrific 30s horror pictures for October release on Blu-Ray — Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1931) and Mark Of The Vampire (1935).

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian
Starring Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart, Holmes Herbert

Fredric March won an Oscar for this excellent pre-Code horror picture, which came way too close to being a lost film. When MGM started working on their Spencer Tracy version, they bought the rights to the March film and the 1920 silent version with Lionel Barrymore — and destroyed all the material they could find. Luckily, something survived. 

Mark Of The Vampire
Directed by Tod Browning
Starring Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Jean Hersholt, Carroll Borland

Tod Browning revisits his silent London After Midnight (1927), adding sound and replacing Lon Chaney with Bela Lugosi. (Browning directed the 1931 Dracula.) Lugosi is at his Dracula-y best, Lionel Barrymore is a hoot as an expert on the occult and Carroll Borland is creepy as Lugosi’s daughter.

These played theaters in the early 70s along with Boris Karloff in Mask Of Fu Manchu (1932). What a night of 35mm wonderfulness that would’ve been. (Why didn’t my parents take me to this? I thought they loved me.) That’s the poster for the “terrifying triple show” up top.

You can always count on Warner Archive for exquisite transfers, and I’m really looking forward to seeing these look as good (or better) than they did back in the 30s. This is essential stuff, folks!

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Filed under Bela Lugosi, DVD/Blu-ray News, MGM, Paramount, Tod Browning, Warner Archive

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

4K News #400: When Worlds Collide (1951) And War Of The Worlds (1953).

Paramount is bringing George Pal’s masterpieces When Worlds Collide (1951) and War Of The Worlds (1953) to 4K as a double bill — which is how I saw these back in 1977. They were re-released, with the poster above, when everybody went sci-fi nuts over Star Wars (1977). Those of us who were lucky, got to see original IB Tech prints. They were glorious!

These pictures have already made it to Blu-Ray and they both look great. This 4K bump sounds exciting.

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Filed under 1951, 1953, DVD/Blu-ray News, Gene Barry, George Pal, Paramount, Paul Frees

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 #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