Category Archives: Republic Pictures

DVD News #320: Crazylegs (1953).

Directed by Francis D. Lyon
Written & Produced by Hall Bartlett
Starring Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch, Lloyd Nolan, Joan Vohs, James Millican, The Los Angeles Rams

Seems like everybody’s talking about football these days (sure hope Damar Hamlin’s OK). Well, here’s something for us old movie nuts to talk about — Kit Parker has brought Crazylegs (1953) to DVD. It’s the story of Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch, a football star at the University Of Wisconsin and the University Of Michigan — and later with the LA Rams.

Hirsch plays himself and does a fine job. He’d go on to have a pretty solid, if short-lived, run in the movies. Hall Bartlett wrote and produced the picture, with Republic handling distribution.

Kit Parker has loaded the DVD with some nice old extras — and a new featurette on Bartlett from Ballyhoo. I’m a big fan of Ballyhoo’s work and got to work on the script for their piece here. It’s a cool little movie and a very nice presentation. Recommended.

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Filed under 1953, DVD/Blu-ray News, Kit Parker, Republic Pictures

Screening: The Quiet Man (1952).


Directed by John Ford.
Starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Ward Bond

This is the 70th anniversary of the release of John Ford’s The Quiet Man (1952), and TCM is celebrating it with a couple screenings around St. Patrick’s Day — March 13 (tonight) and 17 (Thursday). Sorry for the short notice.

Click here to find “a theater near you.”

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Filed under 1952, John Ford, John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Republic Pictures, Screenings, Ward Bond

Blu-Ray News #343: Silver Screams Cinema Collection (1945 – 1957).

Imprint has announced their upcoming Silver Screams Cinema Collection, six pictures (complete with extras) on three Blu-Ray discs. You might dismiss this as a bit of a random, grab bag assortment of old horror movies. But that downplays all the cool stuff that’s in here — some Republic stuff, one of Bela Lugosi’s Monogram Nine and a couple of Regalscope pictures. You get:

The Phantom Speaks (1945)
Directed by John English
Starring Richard Arlen, Stanley Ridges, Lynne Roberts, Tom Powers

The Vampire’s Ghost (1945)
Directed by Lesley Selander
Starring John Abbott, Charles Gordon, Peggy Stewart, Grant Withers, Emmett Vogan, Adele Mara

Valley Of The Zombies (1946)
Directed by Philip Ford
Starring Robert Livingston, Lorna Gray, Ian Keith, Thomas E. Jackson

Return Of The Ape Man (1946)
Directed by Philip Rosen
Starring Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, George Zucco, Frank Moran, Judith Gibson

She Devil (1957)
Directed by Kurt Neumann
Starring Mari Blanchard, Jack Kelly, Albert Dekker

Unknown Terror (1957)
Directed by Charles Marquis Warren
Starring John Howard, Mala Powers, Paul Richards, May Wynn

To me, the real jewel here is the last film, Unknown Terror, a pretty solid Regalscope picture. You won’t find this one in widescreen anywhere else, and having it in high definition is an added treat. It’s a pretty good example of the ultra-cheap Regal films. It concerns mutants and rampant fungus — and has a good part for the lovely Mala Powers.

Imprint always does really nice work, so you can count on this set being top-notch. Recommended.

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Filed under 1957, Bela Lugosi, Charles Marquis Warren, DVD/Blu-ray News, George Zucco, Imprint Films, John Carradine, Lesley Selander, Lippert/Regal/API, Mala Powers, Mari Blanchard, Monogram/Allied Artists, Republic Pictures, Sam Katzman, The Monogram Nine

The Flying Tigers (1942).

That’s John Wayne in Republic’s Flying Tigers (1942).

The real reason for this post is to honor Mr. Frank Losonsky, the last survivor of the Flying Tigers, who passed away this week at 99.

The Flying Tigers were 311 U.S. military service members recruited to help the Chinese Air Force fend off the Japanese in mid-1941. Mr. Losonsky was a crew chief and sergeant with the 3rd Squadron. Thanks to the John Wayne movie, a number of books on the subject and those cool-looking planes, I’ve been in awe of these men since I was a little kid.

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Filed under John Wayne, Republic Pictures

Blu-Ray News #263: House By The River (1950).

Directed by Fritz Lang
Starring Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman, Jane Wyatt

Another great filmmaker heads to Republic Pictures after getting the shaft by the majors — and knocks one out of the park.

Like Orson Welles and John Ford, Fritz Lang found Republic a friendlier place to make movies than the major studios had been. His House By The River (1950) is a terrific period noir/melodrama with incredible cinematography by Edward J. Cronjager. It should be stunning on Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber (we’ve seen Kino’s beautiful transfers of Republic pictures). Coming in January 2020.

I’m a huge fan of Lang’s Hollywood movies and it’s great to see some of his more obscure pictures, like this one and Moonfleet (1955), make their way to Blu-Ray. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1950, DVD/Blu-ray News, Fritz Lang, Kino Lorber, Republic Pictures

DVD/Blu-Ray News #146: The Vampire’s Ghost (1945).

Directed by Lesley Selander
Starring John Abbott, Charles Gordon, Grant Withers, Peggy Stewart, Adele Mara

Neither Republic Pictures nor director Lesley Selander made many horror movies. Which makes The Vampire’s Ghost (1945) something worth seeking out. Add to that the fact that it’s got both Peggy Stewart and Adele Mara in it, with a story from the great Leigh Brackett, and it’s not to be missed.

The Vampire’s Ghost is making it way to DVD and Blu-Ray thanks to Olive Films in time for Halloween.

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Filed under DVD/Blu-ray News, Lesley Selander, Olive Films, Republic Pictures

DVD/Blu-Ray News #97: The Man Who Died Twice (1958).

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Directed by Joe Kane
Starring Rod Cameron, Vera Ralston, Mike Mazurki, Don Hagggerty, Paul Picerni, Luana Anders

This is an update to a post from way back in January.

Naturama was Republic’s widescreen process, and Vera Ralston was the figure-skater girlfriend/wife of Republic’s president, Herbert J. Yates. Guys like Rod Cameron, Sterling Hayden and even John Wayne appeared with her, grudgingly. And when Republic shut down, do did Ralston’s career.

s-l1600-28That said, she made some pretty cool movies, and The Man Who Died Twice (1958) is one of them. In fact, it was her last — the studio tanked that year (it’s also the last Republic Joe Kane directed). It’s a low-budget crime/noir thing. Rod Cameron’s cool in it (as always), Luana Anders plays a heroin addict, and Jack Marta shot it in black & white widescreen. Sounds terrific, don’t it?

Kino Lorber will bring The Man Who Died Twice to both DVD and Blu-Ray in November. For decades, seeing Republic Naturama movies in their original 2.35 aspect ratio has been damn near impossible, so this release is a real treat (and hopefully the first of many). The transfer’s excellent — got a good look at it while working on a commentary for it. Recommended.

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Filed under 1958, DVD/Blu-ray News, Joe Kane, Kino Lorber, Republic Pictures, Rod Cameron, Vera Ralston

DVD/Blu-Ray News #101: Panther Girl Of The Kongo (1955).

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Directed by Franklin Adreon
Starring Phyllis Coates, Myron Healey, Arthur Space, John Day

The next-to-last Republic serial, Panther Girl Of The Kongo (1955), is coming to DVD and Blu-Ray from Olive Films.

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Stock footage was the order of the day in the final years of Republic serials, and this one lifts liberally from Jungle Girl (1941) starring Frances Gifford. What really sets Panther Girl Of The Kongo apart are the always-terrific Phyllis Coates and the really cool giant crayfish (here in North Carolina, we call them crawdads). I guess Hollywood’s big bug trend (Them!, Tarantula, The Deadly Mantis, The Black Scorpion) infested the Republic lot — and it’s all brought to life by the genius of Howard and Theodore Lydecker. They built scale jungle “sets” and turned real crayfish loose on them.

It all makes for a really fun serial that comes highly recommended.

UPDATE 2/10/17: Amazon has this available for pre-order at just $12.99!

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Filed under 1955, DVD/Blu-ray News, Lydecker Brothers, Olive Films, Phyllis Coates, Republic Pictures

DVD/Blu-Ray News #92: Adventures Of Captain Marvel (1941).

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Directed by William Witney and John English
Starring Tom Tyler, Frank Coghlin, Jr., William Benedict, Louise Currie

Republic’s Adventures Of Captain Marvel (1941), maybe the greatest serial of them all, is coming to Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber in early 2017. Shazam!

Across its 12 chapters, Howard and Theodore Lydecker, two of my all-time movie heroes, give us all kinds of tremendous special effects — Captain Marvel’s flight, typhoons, volcanoes, explosions, ships and on and on. William Witney and Republic’s team of stuntmen work their usual magic in a number of great fights. This thing really delivers the goods.

I can’t imagine a serial fan who hasn’t seen this one, so I don’t really need to recommend it. You know how absolutely essential it is.

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Filed under DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Lydecker Brothers, Republic Pictures

DVD/Blu-ray News #74: Daredevils Of The Red Circle (1939).

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Directed by William Witney and John English
Starring Charles Quigley, Bruce Bennett, David Sharpe, Carole Landis, Miles Mander, Charles Middleton, C. Montague Shaw

Boy, the new releases are coming fast and furious these days. Here’s another, and it’s a really good one — Republic’s 12-chapter serial Daredevils Of The Red Circle (1939) is coming from Kino Lorber (not sure on the date).

Serial nuts often list this as a favorite, and for good reason. It’s terrific.

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Filed under DVD/Blu-ray News, Kino Lorber, Lydecker Brothers, Republic Pictures, William Witney