Articles by Glenn Erickson

War of the Worlds 4K Ultra HD

Skipped this one because it’s by Spielberg?  The 9/11- inflected take on H.G. Wells’ classic reproduces thrills from the book not captured in George Pal’s 1953 atom-age update. For this reviewer it was a big surprise — a Tom Cruise movie in which he plays an appropriately terrified character instead of his annoying big star…

Funeral in Berlin

Myopic Harry Palmer, the great cook, lover and reluctant spy, returns to where his trouble with the British Army began. This time he’s tangled up in a political snarl that might have dire consequences: not only are the Russians involved, ex-Nazis are on the payroll. Israel may have an agent in the field, and not…

Inside Daisy Clover

It’s a Hollywood rags-to-riches tale seen as a cruel coming-of-age story — when Natalie Wood’s feisty street kid becomes a child star, she learns that tinsel town is not only fake, but oppressively evil as well. Cut off from her dotty mom (Ruth Gordon) and surrounded by the sinister minions of studio head Swan (Christopher…

Film Noir the Dark Side of Cinema II

Although only one of these 1950s B&W thrillers falls within a mile of a hard definition of film noir, all give us glamorous actresses in interesting roles. Claudette Colbert takes her turn at playing a nun, Merle Oberon tries a femme fatale role on for size and Hedy Lamarr does very well for herself as…

Danger: Diabolik

Oh Joy, Oh Rapture!  Mario Bava’s comic book thriller makes the jump to Blu-ray in fine shape, with knockout visuals and eye-popping color. John Philip Law, Marisa Mell, Terry-Thomas and the late Michel Piccoli are all irreplaceable in this one-of-a-kind show. Bava’s film translates action comic fantasy into cinematic terms, pictorial appeal and dynamism intact….

The Curse of the Werewolf

Rip-roaring Oliver Reed’s silver-coated were-beast is one of Hammer Films’ very best screen monsters, which is more than enough reason to sample this colorful 1961 shocker. It was apparently ripped to shreds by the U.K. censors, a horror-crime spared us lucky Americans. The movie has been released more than once on Blu-ray but Shout’s new…

Cisco Pike (Region B)

Easy Rider terrifies twenty confused studio executives because they don’t understand it. Hoping to keep their jobs, they rush to hire more longhairs to make movies ‘the kids’ will see. Ex- UCLA film student B.L. Norton parlayed his way into writing and directing on the streets of Los Angeles, with new stars Gene Hackman and…

Pool of London

I’d never heard of this gem of a British production; now it goes on my list of highly recommended titles. A dock area on the Thames is ‘the pool,’ and the sailors that disembark from the cargo ships are susceptible to the temptations of black market trade. A single eventful weekend traces the fates of…

Blood on the Moon

Robert Mitchum intercedes in a range war in this ‘A’ western, and he’s got the pro team of director Robert Wise and cameraman Nicholas Musuraca on his side. All but one action scene plays out at night, which is why this is sometimes called a Noir Western. The dark visuals fit that mold but the…

Taza, Son of Cochise 3-D

Great 3-D thrills — Hollywood was working to perfect 3-D movies just as the craze died out. An impeccable Blu-ray 3-D restoration, the glory of young Rock Hudson and some of the best Utah scenery in depth makes this a very enjoyable disc. Director Douglas Sirk was itching to do a western, and the swiftly…

Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain

Guest reviewer Lee Broughton returns with a Region B review of Tsui Hark’s mystical tale of derring-do in ancient China. Hark revived a once popular variant of the wuxia film form — the Chinese shenguai wuxia films from the late 1920s — which paired chivalric martial arts with more overtly mystical and mythological elements. The…

Mystery of the Wax Museum

  Talk about a worthy title for restoration — somebody up there likes us. Digital tools and film preservation expertise have advanced far enough to revive this marvelous pre-Code comedy-shocker in a form that showcases its wild designs and stylized 2-color Technicolor sheen. Director Michael Curtiz’s adept direction highlights Glenda Farrell’s racy dialogue delivery as…

Brighton Rock

  Graham Greene’s tense crime tale is as important as his classic The Third Man but nowhere near as well known. Down Brighton way the race-track boys have sharp ways of solving disputes and terrorizing the common folk — think ‘straight razor.’ Richard Attenborough’s breakthrough film is also a showcase for Hermoine Baddelely and a…

Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales

  Welcome to the exciting, hesitant, guilt-laden and provocative world of Eric Rohmer, and his varied voyages of slightly intimidated romantic discovery. There are six Moral Tales (and some short subjects) and each finds a main character stymied by indecision: should he hew to the narrow moral path, or stop being so conflicted and let…

The Golem: how he came into the world

A top movie monster is back from filmic perdition, restored to his full might and power. Rabbi Lowe’s answer to the persecution of the ghetto is a mysterious unthinking automaton capable of terrible destruction. Paul Wegener’s indelible clay statue stands as a core myth in Jewish lore. But he’s still here, usually in allegories about…

John Ford at Columbia 1935-1958

For producer-director John Ford Columbia Studios was apparently a calm port in a hostile movie climate. Away from the bankability guaranteed by John Wayne, Ford never quite regained the power of his earlier triumphs, from the silent era to his socially conscious classics at Fox. The four Columbia-controlled pictures presented on Powerhouse Indicator’s lavishly appointed…

The Love of Jeanne Ney

  When does a silent classic really become a classic?  When we can see a reconstituted full original version, which in this case meant decades spent waiting. G.W. Pabst’s celebrated 1927 jeopardy-soap has romance, treachery, murder, a revolutionary war and a score of terrific characters embodied by Brigitte Helm, Sig Arno, Vladimir Sokoloff and the…

The Great Escape

  Images from this picture were burned into our Boomer childhood brains … we actually sat still for almost three hours to watch it. John Sturges’ epic show is like a fine-tuned watch — its unbreakable story is populated by ideal characters that become instant heroes, just for acting like normal men that want free…

The Cremator

Horror films aren’t only about vampires and goblins — Czech director Juraj Herz’s mind-chilling study of a Fascist opportunist communicates truths about aberrant psychology and Fascists, that audiences would never read in print. A bourgeois burner of cadavers leverages his Reich-useful trade into his own little warped empire of evil. Karl Kopfringl’s modus operandi hardly…

Sweet Bird of Youth

Not all Tennessee Williams film adaptations are successful, but Richard Brooks’ blend of romance, show biz venality and political thuggery is just too entertaining to dismiss. The entire cast is better than good, with Geraldine Page shining and Paul Newman well-cast. And the ingenue Shirley Knight receives her most iconic role, right at the beginning…

Europa Europa

Director Agnieszka Holland pulls off a difficult task — her true-life Holocaust tale neither trivializes the horror nor glamorizes individualized victims at the expense of the big picture. Marco Hofschneider is the inexperienced German teenager who by strange quirks of fate becomes a staunch Stalinist in a Communist school, then a Nazi war hero and…

Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson

Exploitation films have their mavericks, their patron saints and their bad boys: this well-researched and lovingly assembled shock-bio introduces us to a particularly talented persistent filmmaker whose sexed-up horror & action grindhouse non-epics proved commercially viable even into the video age. Then comes the Ghastly Death part, a cruelly undeserved finish for a movie guy…

Rachel and the Stranger

Here’s a pleasant surprise: one of RKO’s most popular releases of 1948 has suddenly emerged in an uncut version that’s a full twelve minutes longer than anything most of us have seen. The gentle, family-oriented frontier tale has an attractive trio of star performers, excellent location work and a thoughtful, teasing script. I must have…

Billy Liar

Do you ever lapse into daydream fantasies to escape from everyday life? Tom Courtenay and John Schlesinger changed their destinies and that of Julie Christie with this brilliant (black?) comedy about what ought to be a tragic situation. The frustrated Billy rebels against his dull routine with outrageous lies and chicanery, but hasn’t the courage…