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Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid – 4K

by Glenn Erickson

Criterion comes through with the spectacular special edition hinted at by Alex Cox back in 2022… Sam Peckinpah’s final western sees the light of day in three versions, two of them remastered to a glowing 4K Ultra HD. Sam’s shooting-gallery rumination on loyalty and betrayal in a corrupt New Mexico is an unending parade of…

Reptilicus – 4K

by Glenn Erickson

“I’m Reptilicus!” “No, I’m Reptilicus!”  That inspirational scene is not to be found in either version of this monster-on-the-loose epic — but a flying monster is, along with the bizarre Tillicus song. The last movie anybody expected in a deluxe 4K remaster, this Danish farrago takes on a special charm. Included for the first time…

American Gigolo — 4K

by Glenn Erickson

Paul Schrader, Richard Gere and the studio way of packaging movies hit the jackpot with this tale of an ultra-glamorous professional ladies’ man up to his neck in trouble. On-call gigolo Julian Kay has attained a lavish lifestyle that requires discretion and privacy — things that vanish when he becomes a person of interest in…

When Worlds Collide

by Glenn Erickson

Paramount gives us a stand-alone release of its newest remaster of George Pal’s visionary, ambitious and amusingly dated Sci-fi epic followup to his smash hit Destination Moon. It’s the classic fantasy, first considered for Cecil B. De Mille, of a ‘space ark’ built to spare a tiny group of humans from a cataclysmic End of…

Film Noir the Dark Side of Cinema XIX

by Glenn Erickson

Kino’s 19th ‘Dark Side of Cinema’ mega-series — now 57 individual films and counting — presents three more solid noir entertainments from good directors and top stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Lizabeth Scott, and Charlton Heston in his first Hollywood feature. The lineup:  Dark City,  No Man of Her Own and  Beware, My…

Invasion of the Body Snatchers – 1956, 4K

by Glenn Erickson

This chiller would have given Franz Kafka nightmares!  The most sophisticated & influential Sci-fi film of the 1950s uses few special effects yet blows away audiences unprepared for its creep-out insights into personal insecurity and paranoia. This new 4K upgrade remaster offers its intended camera aspect ratio, plus the ‘Superscope’ reformat imposed on its original…

Picnic at Hanging Rock – 4K

by Glenn Erickson

Peter Weir’s tale of a mysterious disappearance in 1900 is even more disturbing than his The Last Wave:  the ‘New Australian’ movement must have needed an ethereal art picture to balance more exploitative fare. ‘Unexplainable’ doesn’t get more weird than this: four school girls and a teacher vanish without a trace near the base of…

Act of Violence

by Glenn Erickson

Fred Zinnemann’s dark thriller gives us Robert Ryan as a gun-toting killer, with Van Heflin’s respected family man his intended victim. But who is the villain?  Murky morality enters via the aftermath of a heinous wartime crime. What are the limits of personal responsibility in extreme circumstances?  Does the movie imply that American prosperity is…

Death Sentence

by Lee Broughton

UK correspondent Lee Broughton returns with coverage of a striking Spaghetti Western. High culture operator Mario Lanfranchi was primarily known for directing operas and the works of Shakespeare when he seized the opportunity to work on a Western in Spain. The result was a very personal film which featured a stylish look, an interesting narrative…

Strangers Kiss

by Glenn Erickson

Independent filmmakers attract attention by using a Kubrick semi-classic as a movie-within-a-movie! Blaine Novak’s tale of love on a movie set mirrors the jeopardy of the story being filmed: the leading lady’s gangster boyfriend bankrolls the movie only to see her attracted to someone else. Stars Victoria Tennant, Peter Coyote and Richard Romanus take the…

The Man I Love

by Glenn Erickson

Ida Lupino shows ’em how a real movie star takes possession of the screen in Raoul Walsh’s excellent romantic drama set among night clubs in Long Beach. The war is over and Lupino’s Petey Brown can’t stop drifting, looking for the right man. A chance trip to visit her siblings entangles her in their personal…

Victims of Sin – Víctimas del pecado

by Glenn Erickson

Mexican showbiz from the wrong side of the tracks: it’s big, it’s vulgar, it’s overcooked: but it’s highly effective cinema with sensational authentic music, terrific images and a vivacious star to promote. Cuban fireball Ninón Sevilla dances up a storm for her star vehicle, reportedly insisting on Mexico’s best behind the camera: director Emilio Fernández…

The Soldier’s Tale

by Glenn Erickson

Originally made for Public Television, R.O. Blechman’s adaptation of Stravinsky’s theater piece combines a score of animation techniques within the illustrator’s eccentric, expressive personal style. A soldier returning from war makes a deal with the Devil, trading his violin for a book that tells the future. The message is ‘You can’t go home again’ with…

Bandits of Orgosolo

by Glenn Erickson

This in-the-wilds thriller about Sardinian shepherds that become outlaws is an almost perfect movie experience, and truer to Italian neorealist theory than the accepted classics. Director Vittorio De Seta filmed on location with almost no crew, using actual shepherds for actors — and comes back with a masterpiece hailed by film festivals as the best…

Ennio

by Glenn Erickson

Morricone fans and students of music will discover a real treat in Giuseppe Tornatore’s exhaustive, comprehensive epic documentary of All Things Ennio. With Il Maestro’s full cooperation, we get a life history and direct coverage of his greatest accomplishments, and the ‘musique concrète’ ethic that inspired things like coyote screams in ‘The Good, The Bad…

Columbia Noir #6: The Whistler

by Charlie Largent

Columbia Noir #6: The Whistler Blu-ray – Region B Powerhouse Indicator 1944 – 1948 Starring Richard Dix, Michael Duane, Leslie Brooks Written by Eric Taylor, William Castle Photographed by James S. Brown Jr., Allen G. Siegler Directed by William Castle, Lew Landers, George Sherman A crime drama with a horror movie heart, The Whistler premiered…

2001: A Space Odyssey — 4K

by Glenn Erickson

No, it’s not a new disc … CineSavant updates an older review to take in Warner’s 2018 4K edition — mainly to wax enthusiastic about the long-gone thrill of Road Show moviegoing. We have the story of when (and where) Stanley Kubrick trimmed the movie by a reel, in its first week of release in…

Blue Velvet – 4K

by Glenn Erickson

David Lynch’s dark vision of vice and cruelty beneath a quiet rural town solidified his rep as The Most Out-There big-studio director. Kyle Maclachlan’s curious Jeffrey can relate to Laura Dern’s sweet teenager, but he’s also drawn to Isabella Rossellini’s disturbed victim of sexual tyranny. With his tank of amyl nitrite gas, Dennis Hopper’s Frank…

Man’s Castle

by Glenn Erickson

Old-school Hollywood romance is back in force. This pre-Code dazzler by Frank Borzage is one of the best, emotionally valid despite its dated gender assumptions. The innocent Loretta Young adores Spencer Tracy’s charming lout — their meet-cute finds them homeless and helpless in a Manhattan shanty town at the bottom of the Depression. The new…

Chinatown – 4K

by Glenn Erickson

This masterpiece qualifies as a ‘period neo-noir’ despite being produced before the noir craze found traction. The murder of a city commissioner reveals a dark, greedy chapter in the history of Our City of the Angels. Robert Evans’ studio production found a perfect roster of collaborators for Robert Towne’s screenplay. Romantic and suspenseful, it’s a…

Obsession – aka The Hidden Room

by Glenn Erickson

The most accessible of the pictures director Edward Dmytryk made during his brief political exile in England is this tight ‘perfect crime’ murder thriller. A jealous husband plots to do away with his wife’s lover — keeping him alive in a ‘Hidden Room’ (the American release title) until he’s sure Scotland Yard has lost the…

Republic Pictures Horror Collection

by Charlie Largent

Republic Pictures Horror Collection Blu-ray Kino Lorber 1944 – 1946 Starring Erich von Stroheim, Richard Arlen, Tom Powers Written by Dane Lussier, John K. Butler Photographed by John Alton, William Bradford Directed by George Sherman, John English Founded by Herbert J. Yates in 1935, Republic Pictures was the Frankenstein monster of movie studios, pieced together…

City of Hope

by Glenn Erickson

A previously scarce John Sayles films surfaces in a beautiful widescreen edition. Cynicism and frustration pits a town against itself, in a story of civic trouble that echoes Bruce Springsteen’s laments for America’s crumbling cities. Builder Tony Lo Bianco is in hock to the Mob, and can’t pretend he’s not part of the corruption; activist…

The Nun’s Story

by Glenn Erickson

It’s the kind of movie we get dragged to see … which then becomes a respected favorite. Robert Anderson, Fred Zinnemann and Audrey Hepburn’s interpretation of Kathryn C. Hulme’s book is a stunningly mature woman’s odyssey, about a young nun’s attempt to find fulfillment in a a demanding social-spiritual vocation, that seeks to reconstruct its…

Fear and Desire – 4K

by Glenn Erickson

Stanley Kubrick’s early work can tell us a lot about the artist, as might a collection of Da Vinci or Renoir sketch books. His tentative first feature has big problems — a ponderous script and war-movie ambitions it can’t deliver — but qualifies as a noble, promising first effort, especially because he was such a…

You’re a Big Boy Now

by Glenn Erickson

Come back to the middle 1960s, when America’s hottest film student Francis Ford Coppola started on his path to directorial glory by parlaying his UCLA film school thesis film into a full-on studio production. A canny synthesis of youth trends and Coppola’s own weird sense of humor, the free-form comedy announces ‘I’ve arrived.’ The music…