Category Archives: United Artists

Blu-Ray News #402: Dr. No (1962).

Directed by Terence Young
Starring Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Lord

Over the years, I’ve had the Connery Bond movies in about every format there is — film, Beta tape, laserdisc (three different editions of some of them), DVD and Blu-Ray. And while I don’t see that list getting any longer any time soon, this new package is really cool and worth looking at.

Dr. No (1962), the first in the series, is 60 years old. Time flies when you have a license to kill! A new 60th anniversary “steelbook” edition is one the way from MGM UK — and it’s a really terrific package.

The deluxe package gives you:
• Steelbook of Film on Blu-ray
• A Rigid Slipcase (good idea since those steelbook things scuff easily)
• Theatrical Poster
• New 32-Page Booklet
• Dragon Tank Buildable Board Figure
• 4 Lobby Card Reproductions and Envelope

The Dragon Tank model sounds like fun, and the cover reflecting Maurice Binder’s innovative title design (there’s a great story behind those) is a nice touch. If you don’t have Dr. No, this’d be a great way to get it. Coming in October.

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Filed under 1962, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Bond, MGM, Sean Connery, Terence Young, United Artists

Screenings: The Bond Films.

The Graham Cinema in Graham, North Carolina, is running a James Bond film every Monday and Tuesday night. Tonight is From Russia With Love (1964).

The Graham Cinema
119 N Main St, Graham, NC 27253
https://www.grahamcinema.net/

This is a great old theater and they typically put a great image on the screen. Of course, you can’t go wrong with these early Bond pictures. I’m hoping they include On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

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Filed under 1964, Guy Hamilton, James Bond, Screenings, Sean Connery, United Artists

Blu-Ray News #398: Directed By Walter Hill (1975-2006).

Imprint has announced a set of six films directed by Walter Hill: Hard Times (1975), The Driver (1978), The Long Riders (1981), Extreme Prejudice (1987), Johnny Handsome (1989) and Broken Trail (2006).

This is good news, first, because I absolutely love The Driver and The Long Riders— and because among the many extras to be including in this thing, I get to do a commentary for The Long Riders.

The folks at Imprint do extraordinary work, always, and I’m overjoyed to be a tiny part of this one. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1975, 1978, 1980, 20th Century-Fox, Bruce Dern, Charles Bronson, DVD/Blu-ray News, Imprint Films, James Coburn, Robert Duvall, Ryan O'Neal, Strother Martin, United Artists, Walter Hill

Blu-Ray News #390: I, The Jury (1953) In 3-D!

Directed by Harry Essex
Starring Biff Elliot, Preston Foster, Peggie Castle, Margaret Sheridan, Alan Reed, John Qualen, Joe Besser, Elisha Cook, Jr.

Peggie Castle appears in the first film based on one of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels — and it’s in 3-D shot by the great John Alton. And to top it all off, the folks at The 3-D Film Archive are getting I, The Jury (1953) ready for Blu-Ray for ClassicFlix.

Will come through with more info as it comes available. Man, I can’t wait!

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Filed under 1953, 3-D, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray News, Elisha Cook, Jr., John Alton, Peggie Castle, United Artists

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

Dialogue Of The Day: It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963).

Benjy Benjamin (Buddy Hackett): Look! We’ve figured it seventeen different ways, and every time we figured it, it was no good, because no matter how we figured it, somebody don’t like the way we figured it! So now, there’s only one way to figure it. And that is, every man, including the old bag, for himself!

For Mr. Richard Vincent.

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Filed under 1963, Buddy Hackett, Dialogue Of The Day, Mickey Rooney, United Artists

A Night At The Movies, June 1955.

Hartford, Connecticut. By the way, Devil Take Us (1955) is an Oscar-nominated documentary short shot by the great Floyd Crosby.

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Filed under 1955, A Night At The Movies, Bel-Air, Broderick Crawford, Charles Bronson, Coleen Gray, Dennis O'Keefe, Floyd Crosby, Howard W. Koch, Lon Chaney Jr., Monogram/Allied Artists, Ralph Meeker, Sidney Salkow, United Artists

Blu-Ray News #335: Rollerball (1975).

Produced and directed by Norman Jewison
Starring James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn, Sir Ralph Richardson

I love Rollerball (1975). It’s one of my favorite science fiction films of the 70s, coming from the glorious period when James Cann was knocking one movie out of the park after another. (That’s just my opinion, mind you.)

It’s one of those pessimistic future things where the world is run by corporations and people’s pent-up anger is channelled into the sport rollerball, a deadly combination of hockey, football, motocross and roller derby. When Houston’s Jonathan E (James Caan) becomes a superstar with more power than the corporations are comfortable with, they try all sorts of tricks to encourage him to retire — including rule changes to make rollerball more dangerous than ever. But that makes people love Jonathan even more. (The world being lorded over by giant corporations used to be science fiction, but it’s getting less science fiction-y by the day.)

James Caan and the Houston rollerball team.

It’s also one of those have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too movies that pushed its anti-violence message by being really, really violent. Here, it kinda works. And man, it sure is rough along the way.

Caan is terrific, John Houseman is really creepy, Sir Ralph Richardson has a short, very weird scene, but the great Moses Gunn almost steals the movie as Caan’s trainer and friend. They say the actors and stunt men had a good time shooting the rollerball scenes and actually continued playing between takes!

Rollerball is coming to Blu-Ray from Scorpion Releasing later this month, and I’m really excited about it. It’ll have a killer lineup of interviews, commentaries, trailers, etc. But the star player will be a new 4K restoration, something I think the film richly deserves. (My old DVD was terrible.) Highly, highly recommended. Jonathan! Jonathan! Jonathan!

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Filed under 1975, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Caan, Norman Jewison, Scorpion Releasing, United Artists

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 #316: The Train (1964).

Directed by John Frankenheimer
Starring Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau

The Train (1965) is a terrific action picture – and though it takes place in the later days of World War II, it’s not a war movie in the usual sense. It was shot on location in France, blowing up real stuff and wrecking real trains, with Burt Lancaster doing his own stunts. 

Lancaster is a railroad worker and part of the French Resistance, near the end of the war in Europe, trying to keep the Nazis from leaving France with a train loaded with plundered artwork. He spends most of the film doing all he can to delay the train — knowing the Allies will arrive soon. Whether he’s wrecking trains, running around with a German MP 40 machine gun, or just standing around smoking, Lancaster is unbelievably cool in this movie.

Lancaster, Frankenheimer and The Train.

Arthur Penn was to direct, but he was fired after a few days. John Frankenheimer was brought in — and he stopped everything to rethink the picture a bit. As much as I like Arthur Penn, I think The Train was better suited to Frankenheimer. It’s a top-notch suspense film.

The B&W cinematography from Jean Tournier and Walter Wottitz is really something — so is the editing by David Bretherton. If the Kino Lorber Blu-Ray (coming in January) looks like the previous Twilight Time release, it’ll be stunning. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1964, Arthur Penn, Burt Lancaster, DVD/Blu-ray News, John Frankenheimer, Kino Lorber, United Artists