Category Archives: Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #292: The Ipcress File (1965).

Ipcress File US LC 1

Directed by Sidney J. Furie
Starring Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson, Stanley Meadows

Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray of the third, and last, Harry Palmer film, Billion Dollar Brain(1967), was very nice. And I’m so glad to hear they’re coming through with the first one, The Ipcress File (1965). I love this film.

I was 10 and had just gotten my first pair of eyeglasses when I came across The Ipcress File, and a smartass secret agent with glasses and a machine gun (and Sue Lloyd) gave me hope. Maybe it was going to be OK after all.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1965, DVD/Blu-ray News, Harry Palmer, Kino Lorber, Michael Caine, Sidney J. Furie, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #284: Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Film Series.

Until the DVD set came out years ago, I’d only seen one of the Inner Sanctum pictures. Boy, had I been missing out.

These cheap little mysteries are terrific, the kind of spooky hokum Universal specialized in back in the 40s. Now the series, all six of ’em, are getting a Blu-Ray upgrade from Mill Creek.

Calling Dr. Death (1943)
Directed by Reginald Le Borg
Starring Lon Chaney, Patricia Morison, J. Carrol Naish, David Bruce

Weird Woman (1944)
Directed by Reginald Le Borg
Starring Lon Chaney, Anne Gwynne, Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Morgan

Dead Man’s Eyes (1944)
Directed by Reginald Le Borg
Starring Lon Chaney, Acquanetta (“as Tonya, sister of Satan!”), Jean Parker, Paul Kelly, Thomas Gomez

The Frozen Ghost (1945)
Directed by Harold Young
Starring Lon Chaney, Elena Verdugo, Evelyn Ankers, Tala Birell, Martin Kosleck

Strange Confession (1945, re-released as The Missing Head)
Directed by John Hoffman
Starring Lon Chaney, Brenda Joyce, J. Carrol Naish, Lloyd Bridges

Pillow Of Death (1945)
Directed by Wallace Fox
Starring Lon Chaney, Brenda Joyce, J. Edward Bromberg, Rosalind Ivan, Clara Blandick

What’s striking about these movies, to me, is that though they were seen as cheap little pictures with Universal’s lower-level talent, there’s a real craft to them that shines through. Can’t wait to see them in high-definition.

Leave a comment

Filed under DVD/Blu-ray News, J. Carrol Naish, Lon Chaney Jr., Mill Creek, Reginald Le Borg, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #283: Hollywood Story (1951) And New Orleans Uncensored (1955).

Mill Creek has another William Castle hi-def double bill on the way. This one’s got a couple of his noir pictures. If you’re like me, anything Mr. Castle touched is worthwhile.

Hollywood Story (1951)
Directed by William Castle
Starring Richard Conte, Julia Adams, Henry Hull, Fred Clark, Francis X. Bushman, William Farnum

William Castle spent a few years working as a contract director at Universal-International, directing cool pictures like Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949), Cave Of Outlaws (1951) and this one, Hollywood Story (1951). It’s based on the murder of the silent director William Desmond Taylor and features a handful of silent stars in tiny parts (probably done as a promo stunt more than anything else). It was shot by the underrated cinematographer Carl E. Guthrie.

Hollywood Story was often paired with Huge Fregonse’s Apache Drums (1951).

New Orleans Uncensored (1955)
Directed by William Castle
Produced by Sam Katzman
Starring Arthur Franz, Beverly Garland, Helene Stanton, Michael Ansara, Stacy Harris, Mike Mazurki

After those years at U-I, Castle moved to Columbia and made a slew of movies in Sam Katzman’s unit. This one has a dream cast — Beverly Garland, Stacy Harris, Mike Mazurki, it’s in widescreen B&W, and it runs a brisk 76 minutes. My kind of movie!

This single-disc set comes highly, highly recommended. Let’s hope Mill Creek has more like this on the way!

9 Comments

Filed under 1951, 1955, Beverly Garland, Columbia, DVD/Blu-ray News, Julie Adams, Mill Creek, Sam Katzman, Universal (-International), William Castle

Blu-Ray News #281: Jungle Queen (1945).

Directed by Ray Taylor & Lewis D. Collins
Starring Edward Norris, Eddie Quillan, Douglass Dumbrille, Lois Collier, Ruth Roman, Tala Birell, Clarence Muse

Anything with Douglass Dumbrille as a Nazi, Ruth Roman as the Jungle Queen and Clarence Muse as anything is worth a few hours of your time. And since the Universal serials VCI has been bringing to Blu-Ray lately are absolutely beautiful, I’m really looking forward to this one.

It’s 1939, and the Nazis are trying to take over Africa. They’re looking for the fabled Sword Of Tongu, which will help them win over the natives and have them join the fight against the British. It’s up to a couple of Americans (Edward Norris and Eddie Quillan), a British agent/archeologist (Lois Collier) and the beautiful, mysterious Jungle Queen, Lothel (Ruth Roman), to stop them.

Directors Ray Taylor and Lewis D. Collins did a ton of serials, and Collins went on to direct a few of the terrific William Elliott B Westerns at Monogram and Allied Artists. Universal’s serials boast better production values than other studio’s chapter plays, though this one is a bit talky and makes liberal use of stock footage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Douglass Dumbrille, DVD/Blu-ray News, Lewis D. Collins, Ray Taylor, Ruth Roman, Serial, Universal (-International), VCI

Blu-Ray News #280: Munster, Go Home! (1966).

Directed by Earl Bellamy
Starring Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick, Debbie Watson, Terry-Thomas, John Carradine

Shout Factory is bringing Munster, Go Home! (1966) to Blu-Ray in March.

The picture gave us a chance to see TV’s Munster family on the big screen in eye-popping Technicolor. It played one of those summer matinee series when I was a kid, and I can still remember the incredible color of that battered 35mm print. And though the DVD of the picture is quite nice, it’ll be great to have it in high-definition.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1966, DVD/Blu-ray News, Shout/Scream Factory, Universal (-International)

Making Movies: King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1962).

I absolutely love behind the scenes photos from Toho’s kaiju movies. Here’s a batch from King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1962).

Eiji Tsuburaya was the special effects genius on the early movies. Here he is with the picture’s leads.

Godzilla, Kong and Tsuburaya on the Mount Fuji set.

King Kong floats above the studio. Next, Godzilla and Kong among various bits of rubble.

Haruo Nakajima played Godzilla and Shoichi Hirose portrayed King Kong. Of course, the picture was directed by Ishirō Honda.

The US Blu-Ray of King Kong Vs. Godzilla is lovely, by the way.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1962, Eiji Tsuburaya, Ishirō Honda, Kaiju Movies, Making Movies, Toho, Universal (-International)

Blu-Ray News #272: Kitten With A Whip (1964).

Directed by Douglas Heyes
Starring Ann-Margret, John Forsythe, Peter Brown, Patricia Barry, Richard Anderson, Audrey Dalton, Leo Gordon

Universal has announced the upcoming Blu-Ray release of their exploitation/psychological horror/JD picture Kitten With A Whip (1964). It’s hard to describe this thing, so I’ll just encourage you to see it when the Blu-Ray comes out in late January. Ann-Margret is great (and great-looking) as the horrible Jody Dvorak, who seems set to destroy everything, and everyone, she comes across.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1964, Ann-Margret, DVD/Blu-ray News, Leo Gordon, Universal (-International)