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DVD Savant 2015 Favored Disc Roundup


or, Savant picks
The Most Impressive Discs
of
2015

 

This is the actual view from Savant Central, looking due North.

What a year!  I was able to take one very nice trip back East too see Washington D.C. for the first time, or at least as much as two days’ walking in the hot sun and then cool rain would allow. Back home in Los Angeles, we’ve had a year of extreme drought — my lawn is looking patriotically ratty — and we’re expecting something called El Niño, that’s supposed to be just shy of Old-Testament build-me-an-ark intensity. We withstood heat waves like those in Day the Earth Caught Fire, and now we’ll get the storms part.

This has been a wild year for DVD Savant, which is still a little unsettled. DVDtalk has been very patient and generous, and so have Stuart Galbraith & Joe Dante; so far everything is fine except that I have to do everything twice — once for the postings at the guest host site Trailers from Hell and a second warehoused file. I always liked my old plain-wrap page, where my HTML tinkerings probably come up all screwy on different browsers. The fancier graphic look at Trailers from Hell is spoiling me.

Collecting discs is becoming a slightly more rarified hobby – we certainly become excited over the new releases. As the boutique labels continue to release excellent Blu-rays of what were once marginalized titles, many rarified favorites are suddenly in our greedy hands. I thought the industry would follow the example of Warners’ Archive Collection, but Sony’s excellent MOD discs have slowed down, MGM’s have all but stopped and Fox continues to put out many old, unremastered transfers. Cukor’s Justine and Sarne’s Joanna are not the best movies ever made, but I’ve always liked them. The pan-scanned DVDs being sold are pretty unwatchable, which means that we have to go to foreign-region Euro releases to find them. When Fox does release a desirable disc, I try to spread the word, as with Hand of Death and Day Mars Invaded Earth, which look and sound very good. I’ve seen almost no promotions from the other MOD companies.

Meanwhile, the Warner Archive Collection continues to thrive, and handsome WB Blu-rays are trickling out under both the WHV and WAC banners. Paramount is reissuing some of their product through Warners now, as well as some welcome Blu-rays. Twilight Time offers superb collectors’ discs of Sony and Fox product, and consistently holds out for new & improved remasterings — the news leaked out that the Gary Cooper ‘Scope & Technicolor Garden of Evil will arrive sometime next year, a highly desired Savant favorite from way back.

Some of the ’boutique’ labels are doing great work with disc extras now. This can make a huge difference when it comes to purchasing. If I wait long enough I can see Queen of Blood on cable TV, but Kino’s new disc has a featurette with a genre expert, Robert Skotak. Commentators like Tim Lucas, Tom Weaver and the relative newcomer Richard Harland Smith made a big difference in my enjoyment of discs this year. Shout! (and Scream) Factory has also gone to great lengths to find relevant and entertaining extras. Curated by outfits like Arrow Films, many genre discs achieve a level of quality equaling that of Criterion. The domestic Eyes Without a Face has superb extras; but I’m considering buying the UK BFI edition for Tim Lucas’s commentary and a Franju short subject I very much want to see. Digital downloads are convenient, but that’s about it… I want something I can keep, that I know will be there even if some lawyer decides it must be withdrawn from circulation. And so far, downloads don’t offer added value extras.

Another audio commentary this year.
I didn’t like it until I heard it back, then it seemed okay, except for that voice.


What’s the state of collecting at Savant Central?  I still have 400 or so laserdiscs in the attic, about 200 of which are still sealed as they were given to me by MGM. Of the others, about half I bought cheaply when they were remaindered or offered in various bargain bins in record stores or at the old Lazer Blazer and Dave’s the Laser Place. I probably paid retail for fewer than 200 of them, but back then it wasn’t uncommon for a special disc to cost $50.00. This is why I get a little impatient with people today that think a Criterion or a Twilight Time is overpriced at $40 — it has far greater visual quality and is cheaper. With inflation one would expect prices to be much higher. But money was never the issue. I remember the fury that came down when DVD came in, and laser collectors realized that their ‘investments’ were now worthless — they expected a $150 disc set of Terminator 2 to accrue in value. I just wanted to possess the movies. Why haven’t I thrown my old lasers away? They were too much effort to acquire. No, I like the artwork. No…. I have no good excuse to still keep them. When I had to move as a student, I lost everything from my childhood. Just dumped it all. The magazines weren’t all that precious, but I had artwork, things I’d written, even a few high school comic books I’d drawn. When I finally rooted myself I started saving things.

The issue that’s really pressing is DVD and Blu-ray storage. I wrote about this in an article from 2008, when the problem was half as bad as it is now. If I weren’t a reviewer, I should think I might have maybe five hundred discs, and most every one of them would be a personal item. But I review them, and they pile up pretty quick. It becomes a problem when you have three walls covered with shelves with discs two-deep, and you still have boxes and boxes of them in the attic. If I want to find a particular film noir, it might be in several places, or no place in particular because the wall space was filled up. A bunch of shelves filled with discs might impress somebody, but the disorganization I have now makes me look out of control. When I can’t find a disc, it defeats the whole purpose of collecting.


Revisiting an item from the past, now on display in Dee Cee.

I’ve tried everything. I’ll give very old discs away, but I don’t sell them — gotta keep on the honor system with the providers. And I don’t really want to get rid of many, anyway. So the next solution I’m going to try is a two-tier system. I’ll keep a number that will fit in my present array of shelves downstairs, They’ll be newer, favorites, or ones more likely to be seen more often, whatever. For the rest I’ll invest in storage boxes, and keep them in the attic, with their location in a computer file. The filing system will make them accessible. I think this plan is the best. If I were to croak tomorrow, my kids would have a hell of a mess to clean up. Who wants them to remember dad as an out-of-control hoarder?

So there you have my 2016 Resolution, I guess… I’ll report back at the end of the summer.


Bored yet? I will desist. Here’s the boilerplate text I place in front of every list:

The pictures are taken from what I’ve seen and reviewed. It is not a list of the best-looking discs or the most expensive restorations, although titles like that are represented. It’s a subjective grouping of what releases meant the most to me, and why. Some are old favorites, some offered major revelations and others were just movies that I’m really glad I saw. It’s a recommendation list — if you know my taste you can filter out my subject affinities and political bias to fit your own temperament. Note that each disc title is a link to the original review.

 


 

And Now…

Savant’s picks for 2015

 

1.
Arrow Video (UK)
Blood and Black Lace
Blu-ray + DVD
Arrow’s constant flow of revamped Euro-curiosities pays off with a fantastic, everything-we-wanted presentation of Mario Bava’s deliriously expressive masterpiece, a murder thriller that relies on exotic imagery and brain-altering color to make its impact. A group of fashion models are being killed one by one over a dead woman’s diary, and our job is to witness every mangling and mutilation. Cameron Mitchell and Eva Bartok preside over the mayhem. The extras include one of Tim Lucas’s best audio commentaries yet. We’re still gaga over the sheer colors in Arrow’s scan, as if Bava invented some new ones. If I were to put “Singin’ in the Rain” in the player after this disc, I’d almost expect to see an onscreen prompt reading, ‘Sorry, but you’ve used up your allotment of color this month.’

 

2.
Twilight Time
Carla’s Song
Blu-ray
Ken Loach knocked me out with this wrenchingly human movie about the stark contrast in living conditions between ‘developed’ countries and those made unstable by economic conflict. It’s kept mostly at the personal level. Destitute Nicaraguan expatriate Oyanka Cabezas dances on the street in Glasgow, and meets a free-spirited bus driver (Robert Carlyle) who eventually travels with her back to her home country. They can barely communicate across the language barrier, which makes their relationship all the more poignant; what they find is a country in a terrible civil war guided by outside political interests. This is the reality suppressed in the news, told on a personal level. The only flaw is the function of a character played by Scott Glenn, present to deliver bad-news blame exposition. This was my most special discovery of the year. Now if they could only subtitle the impenetrable English dialects in Ken Loach movies!

 

3.
Kino Lorber Classics
Diary of a Lost Girl
Blu-ray
There’s a special thrill in seeing a fully restored presentation of a show remembered only as a collection of confusing tattered scenes, from one screening thirty years ago. Once again the Friedrich Wilhem Murnau Stiftung reconstructs something marvelous. Louise Brooks is just as good here as she is in the haunting Pandora’s Box. The daughter of a German pharmacist is victimized by his employee and her stepmother, and ends up making her living in a brothel. The message of institutionalized cruelty and moral hypocrisy rings true. We need to see more movies by G.W. Pabst, and with the German archivists on the case, I have a feeling we will.

 

4.
Flicker Alley
Masterworks of American Avant-Garde Experimental Film 1920-1970

Blu-ray + DVD
Some of the best experimental movies seen in earlier DVD compilations have been retransferred to HD. The quality varies but the improvements include accurate frame rates, stabilized sharper images and in some cases more accurate audio. All the usual suspects are here. Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, James Broughton, Oskar Fischinger, Fernand Léger, Jan Leyda, Jonas Mekas, Ralph Steiner, Slavko Vorkapich are just my favorites. Maya Deren’s Meshes in the Afternoon is improved, but Francis Thomson’s N.Y., N.Y looks incredible now. Bruce Posner offers full notes. An effort this noble can’t be ignored.

 

5.
Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Pitfall
Blu-ray
Dick Powell’s Cry Danger made my best-of list last year, and he’s back in another restored/rescued film noir title, this time thanks to the UCLA Film Archive. This powerful tale of life in L.A. seems subversive because it looks at the unpleasant underside of an institution nobody was knocking back in 1947, the American marriage. Bored hubby Powell strays from the homestead with the innocent, hopeful model played by Lizabeth Scott, in one of her two or three best roles. But their adultery also brings retaliation from an unscrupulous private detective played by Raymond Burr. Can Powell defend his family and make things right? The scariest thing in the picture is the damage done to matrimonial trust — Jane Wyatt’s hurt wife is never going to forgive or forget. What may be André De Toth’s best film nails a kind of domestic misery seldom portrayed on screen.

 

6.
The Warner Archive Collection
Face of Fire
DVD
The Archive has remastered most of the gems from the Allied Artists library, but this odd item stands out. Albert Band decided he could make something more artistic in Sweden, and spent a couple of months with crews that had worked people like Ingmar Bergman, fashioning a sensitive adaptation of a Stephen Crane novella about a disfigured handyman. He took with him a fine cast — Cameron Mitchell, James Whitmore, Royal Dano, Lois Maxwell, Richard Erdman. The result is a weird mix of Phantom of the Opera and An Enemy of the People, that looks and plays like parts of The Miracle Worker. Sold as a horror film, the show falls into no genre, but nobody who saw it new ever forgot it. It’s been out of reach for forty years – several of these ‘best of’ films are here just because a renewed access to them is so welcome. And hey, this means that actor Cameron Mitchell makes both #1 and #6 slots.

 

7.
The Criterion Collection
The Bridge
Blu-ray
(Die Brücke)  Compliments to Criterion for wandering away from the obvious European classics to check out this popular West German war film, that’s interesting for reasons separate from the usual cinematic concerns. How does a defeated nation address the war experience in film? Fourteen years later nobody wants to see a downer about defeat and dishonor. Upbeat fluff or anything too nationalistic would be equally unacceptable. Bernhard Wicki’s answer is to field a squad of untrained teenagers, basically innocent patriots who think they’re making a crucial last stand for the Heimat. Some moral and political dodges are in play, but the basic spin on the story is valid. Better yet, Criterion’s extras contrast the author’s true-life experience with the teen characters he invented for his source book. Even without a single recognizable actor, this was a must-see item on American TV in the early ’60s.

 

8.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Spartacus — Restored Edition
Blu-ray
Already the recipient of a grand 70mm restoration back in 1991, the Trumbo-Douglas-Kubrick blockbuster gets the digital kiss of bliss via a massive effort by Universal’s in-house tech division. This looks better than what I saw on the giant screen, with a rich sharp image and all the flaws in the deleted scenes ironed out beautifully. Even Robert A. Harris, the original restoration producer, hails the result — the color detail is remarkable. The epic story of slave revolutionary Spartacus is better than ever, and the stellar cast has a blast with Dalton Trumbo’s wickedly clever dialogue — there are at least twenty memorable speaking roles. Universal does the movie proud in the extras department too, rounding up the contents of older special editions. Comparing this Blu-ray to the older ‘okay’ Blu-ray transfer shows what state-of-the-art tools and the right talent can accomplish.

 

9.
Koch Media GmbH (Germany)
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Blu-ray
To restore this vintage Road Show classic would easily require a million dollars that it likely could not earn back — and that’s if a full set of Technicolor separations existed ready for digital reconstitution. We’ve had to be content with a so-so DVD for ages. It was produced by Paramount and is now controlled by Universal, and a German outfit went to the trouble of making a Blu-ray of a newer conventional transfer. The movie is a feast for fans of Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Akim Tamiroff and Katina Paxinou, not to mention the wall-to-wall design effects of William Cameron Menzies and the superlative music score by Victor Young. The disc title is Wem Die Stunde Schlägt but the main feature inside is the full 165-minute uncut Road Show version, with improved image and audio. The shorter reissue version is present on a second disc, not as well restored. I found that the exact same thing happening with Fox’s Forever Amber: the domestic MOD DVD is pretty sad, and a French Blu-ray is much improved.

 

10.
Kino Classics
The Mask 3-D
3-D Blu-ray
Now we get to praise the pioneering work of the 3-D Archive, which co-produced this remarkable restoration in conjunction with a Canadian archive. Barely above average as a straight thriller, Julian Roffman’s 1961 scare show goes berserk in three fantastic 3-D sequences, each proceeded by a psychic command to, “Put the mask on, NOW.” The ensuing nightmare imagery — half haunted house spook show and half surreal-occult — gives us eyeless ghouls, a Mayan sacrificial altar, and various incarnations of the disturbingly demonic title artifact. Restored by the 3-D Archive in true Polaroid 3-D instead of the old theatrical anaglyphic process, the nightmare depth scenes finally work well: no more red and green fringes. The 3-D scenes are too obsessive to be hokey. Variety’s used the words ‘acid trip’ to describe them, way back in 1961.

 

11.
Warner Home Video
Warners’ Special Effects Collection
Blu-ray
By popular demand, WB brought out a hotly desired Hammer Films Blu-ray set this October, and followed it with a dream quartet for stop-motion fans: Willis O’Brien’s The Son of Kong, his later Mighty Joe Young that marked the feature debut of Ray Harryhausen, and Harryhausen’s smash solo effects debut The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The transfers are so good that we can examine the filmic illusions in detail. In 24 fps HD there’s no frame-sharing– every animation frame is there to examine, one by one. The fourth item in the set is a new widescreen encoding of Them!, which after some online squabbling, has been confirmed is an accurate scan… it looks incredibly good and sounds even better. That influential big-bug classic has no stop-motion, but it’s still the most accomplished ‘crossover’ sci-fi monster movie of the ‘fifties.

 

12.
The Criterion Collection
Kwaidan
Blu-ray
Wait long enough, and everything is discovered, recovered, restored and perfected. I just know they’ll find The Magnificent Ambersons the day after I pass away!   We’ve been scratching our heads wondering when an improved copy of Masaki Kobayashi’s magnificent horror art film would surface, and now it’s come to pass. It’s in silky clear, brightly colored HD, with a bizarre music track that sounds like ghosts and demons are trying to break through into this world. The eerie stories of Kwaidan range from the uncanny revenge of the Yuki-onna to the odd fable about Hoichi The Earless, who performs an ode to a disastrous sea battle for an audience of the vanquished dead. It’s slow but rich:  horror in Stasis.

 

13.
The Cohen Film Collection
Jamaica Inn
Blu-ray
This Alfred Hitchcock costume thriller is nobody’s idea of his best work, but it’s still good, and movies with the grandly eccentric Charles Laughton are always in demand. Robert Newton, Leslie Banks and Maureen O’Hara — in one of her first major roles — are quite good as well, and the tale of ‘wrecker’ pirates is beautifully produced. What’s the clincher? This picture has always looked lousy, as in unwatchably lousy. Cohen’s new restoration is a revelation. We just don’t see 1939 English films looking this good. The stage effects and mattes for a fierce storm are very impressive. Hitchcock may have been too eager to leave for his American career to even edit the movie, but it’s a fine achievement outside of his normal subject matter.

 

14.
Twilight Time
Devil in a Blue Dress
Blu-ray
A sparkling presentation makes all the difference with Carl Franklin’s terrific adaptation of Walter Mosley’s first ‘Easy Rawlins’ story, that sees the aircraft worker-turned detective tracing an elusive white woman for two powerful and dangerous men. Both Franklin and star Denzel Washington were robbed — this should have been as popular as L.A.Confidential, and become the first chapter in a long-running franchise. Tom Sizemore and Jennifer Beals are characters that could come from a Chandler story, but the ambience is  the dance halls and jazz spots of South Central scene in the late ’40s. And you need to see the performance that put actor Don Cheadle on the map: he’s an irresistibly unstable strong-arm ‘assist man,’ who goes by the name of Mouse Alexander. Great stuff.

 

15.
The Warner Archive Collection
Bloody Sunday
DVD
Before United 93, Paul Greengrass wrote and directed this riveting expose of a notorious massacre in Northern Ireland, a black day in the ongoing conflict between Unionists and Nationalists, with the British Army taking the attitude that the locals need to be taught a lesson. It’s all done in a convincing docudrama style, as if cameras just happened to be in the right place as the fateful day played out. Political messes don’t get any worse than this, and Greengrass shows how hopeless things were, with radical thugs intent on making trouble and British soldiers with itchy trigger fingers. The man trying to keep the peace is an MP with split loyalties — he’s a Protestant but also a strong anti-occupation activist. Star James Nesbitt is superb, and English subtitles are present to help us follow the difficult accents. What can I say? I was convinced I was seeing the real thing.

 

16.
The Criterion Collection
A Special Day
Blu-ray
What a great discovery – with the evidence of this film writer-director Ettore Scola comes off as one of the great Italian filmmakers. A housewife and a political undesirable are left alone in a large apartment building, because the other thousand residents are all off watching Mussolini welcome Adolf Hitler to Rome. It’s an anti-Fascist statement without guns, torture, or melodramatic devices — yet it demonstrates what it’s like to be without civil liberties and pressured to conform to a totalitarian ideal. Scola unwraps his story like a stage play but uses the unique location beautifully, with long takes staged in depth.  The stars are Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, startlingly un-glamorous (she) and unassertive (he). The strange color scheme contributes to the overall effect as well.

 

17.
Olive Films
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors
Blu-ray
Another arcane favorite that’s been scarce for a long time, at least in a version worth watching. Probably Milton Subotsky’s finest hour in the screen trade, this pack of uneven but lively horror vignettes hangs together by virtue of Peter Cushing’s creepy performance. A mysterious Tarot card reader has grim news for each of the occupants of a train compartment on a dark night. The late Christopher Lee takes top honors, this time on the receiving end of the scares instead of dishing them out. Meanwhile, newcomer Donald Sutherland steals scenes with his oddball — but arresting — screen presence. Chalk this up to pure nostalgia.

 

18.
The Warner Archive Collection
Run of the Arrow
DVD
How much do we love writer-director Sam Fuller? He’s a patriotic original and he imbued his rough & ready movies with the instinct of a tabloid reporter and the stealth of an infantry rifleman. Almost all of Fuller’s phenomenal movies are out on disc, but we’ve been waiting a long time for this perfectly scripted and thoughtfully directed western classic to show up. Infuriated by the Confederate defeat, Rod Steiger denies his country and discards his racial identity (but keeps his religion) to join a tribe of Sioux. Naturally, he’s immediately forced to confront Yankees that can’t believe he’d turn ‘traitor.’ Fuller gives Ralph Meeker, Brian Keith and Sarita Montiel some fine scenes. Dances with Wolves and Avatar are in debt to this movie, big-time.

 

19.
Scream Factory
The Brain that Wouldn’t Die
Blu-ray
Why choose this strange triple-Z horror picture from the trashy edge of the early 1960s? Even with the bizarre acting, primitive direction and relentlessly sleazy attitude, it comes off as a fruity, out-of-control exploitation epic. Virginia Leith has the unenviable job of playing a severed head in a lab dish, but she pulls off an acting coup, saying the sooth like Cassandra while snickering at her captors and telepathically communicating with a major mutation in the closet.  Throw in a sordid cat fight, some superfluous icky gore and wait for the applause: “Like all quantities, horror has its ultimate — and I am that.” Art is where you find it, and this is a prime example of unconscious brilliance.

 

20.
Warner Home Video
Kiss Me Kate 3-D
3-D Blu-ray
Home 3-D can be quite a kick now — it uses cheap passive glasses and looks great simply plug-and-play. We wish more vintage ‘depth’ pictures would arrive remastered for the home video format. So far I think the studios have given us one Universal film and three Warners, of which this great 1953 musical is the third. Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel sing Cole Porter songs, and fans of dancer-choreographer Bob Fosse will jump when they see him and Carol Haney perform All That Jazz- like moves almost three decades earlier. Ann Miller’s fierce tap to “Too Darn Hot” is some of the best 3-D ever. The theatrical lighting helps with the perspective as well. Also available in Warners’ Musicals: 4-Movie Collection.

 


 

So that’s that – twenty great releases that made it well worth staying alive in 2015. What follows are the titles that made the short list — I’ve already watched most of them more than once. The list got narrowed down to thirty, and by the time I reached twenty there were just too many keepers to cut again. All are links to the original reviews.


Agnès Varda in California: Uncle Yanco, Black Panthers, Lions Love (…and Lies), Mur Murs, Documenteur  DVD  Eclipse
The Andromeda Strain  Blu-ray  Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Battles without Honor and Humanity: The Complete Collection  Review not yet written Blu-ray  Arrow Video
The Brood  Blu-ray  Criterion
Come and Get It  DVD  The Warner Archive Collection
The Connection  Blu-ray  The Milestone Cinematheque
Croupier  Blu-ray Hen’s Tooth Video  
Deutschland 83  DVD Kino Lorber
Fat City  Blu-ray Twilight Time
Fearless Frank (Frank’s Greatest Adventure)  DVD MGM Limited Edition Collection
55 Days at Peking  Region B Blu-ray Anchor Bay UK
Journey to the Center of the Earth  Blu-ray  Twilight Time
Five Came Back  DVD  The Warner Archive Collection
The Friends of Eddie Coyle  Blu-ray  The Criterion Collection
Fury  Blu-ray Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night  Blu-ray Kino Lorber
God Told Me To  Blu-ray Blue Underground
The Golden Year: 5 Classics from 1939: Dark Victory, Ninotchka, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dodge City, Gone With the Wind  Blu-ray Warner Home Video
Five Films by Patricio Guzmán: The Battle of Chile, Chile Obstinate Memory, The Pinochet Case, Salvador Allende, Nostalgia for the Light, Filming Obstinately: Meeting Patricio Guzmán  DVD Icarus Films Home Video
Hand of Death  DVD  20th Century Fox Cinema Archives
Horror Classics: Four Chilling Movies from Hammer Films: The Mummy (1959), Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Frankenstein Must be Destroyed, Taste the Blood of Dracula  Blu-ray Warner Home Video
The Hound of the Baskervilles  Region B Blu-ray Arrow Video UK
House of Bamboo  Blu-ray Twilight Time
The Hurricane  Blu-ray KL Studio Classics
I, Madman  Blu-ray Scream Factory
The Incredible Shrinking Man  Region B Blu-ray Koch Media GmbH (Ger.)
Inherent Vice  Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Warner Home Video
It Follows  Blu-ray Anchor Bay
It! The Terror from Beyond Space  Blu-ray Olive Films
J t’aime, j t’aime  Blu-ray  Kino Classics
First Men in the Moon  Blu-ray  Twilight Time
Kiss Me, Stupid  Blu-ray Olive Films
The Knack, and How to Get It  Review not yet written Blu-ray  KL Studio Classics
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau  Blu-ray Severin Films
Miracle Mile  Blu-ray KL Studio Classics
Mr Holmes  Blu-ray + Digital HD Lionsgate/Miramax
Mulholland Dr.  Blu-ray  Criterion
Murder, My Sweet  Blu-ray  The Warner Archive Collection
Night and the City  Blu-ray  Criterion
Nightcrawler  Blu-ray  Universal Studios Home Entertainment
The Night They Raided Minsky’s  Blu-ray  Olive Films
No Highway in the Sky  DVD 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives
The Old Gun  DVD MGM Limited Edition Collection
Places in the Heart  Blu-ray  Twilight Time
The Premature Burial  Blu-ray  KL Studio Classics
The Prowler  Blu-ray  VCI
Queen of Blood  Blu-ray  KL Studio Classics
Richard III 1995  Blu-ray Twilight Time
Riffraff ’47  DVD The Warner Archive Collection
The Satan Bug  Blu-ray  KL Studio Classics
1776  Blu-ray Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Kern & Hammerstein: Showboat  Blu-ray Euro Arts
Storm Fear  Blu-ray  KL Studio Classics
Stormy Weather  Blu-ray  Twilight Time
Tarantula  UK Region B Blu-ray  Koch Media GmbH
Tenderness of the Wolves  Region B Blu-ray + DVD Arrow Video UK
That Guy Dick Miller  DVD Indiecan Entertainment
Thieves’ Highway  Region B Blu-ray + DVD Arrow Video UK
3-D Rarities  3-D Blu-ray  Flicker Alley
Thundercrack!  Review not yet written Blu-ray  Synapse
Thunder Road  Blu-ray Shout! Factory/Timeless Media
Tomorrowland  Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Walt Disney Home Video
Wake Up and Kill  Blu-ray Arrow Video
Watership Down  Blu-ray  Criterion
W.C. Fields Comedy Essentials Collection: Million Dollar Legs, If I Had a Million, International House, Tillie and Gus, Alice in Wonderland, Six of a Kind, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, You’re Telling Me!, The Old Fashioned Way, It’s a Gift, Mississippi, Man on the Flying Trapeze, Poppy, The Big Broadcast of 1938, You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man, My Little Chickadee, The Bank Dick, Never Give a Sucker an Even Break  DVD Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Why Be Good?  DVD The Warner Archive Collection
Wolfen  Blu-ray  The Warner Archive Collection
“X”  Blu-ray  KL Studio Classics



A grateful word of thanks goes out for all the ‘friends of Savant’ that wrote in last year, helping me with corrections, etc. My favorite opening line is, ‘I’ve been reading you since ____ .’  I think the column will keep going for some time still — as long as they release fun movies on disc I’ll be curious about them. I think I’ve done better sticking on topic when reviewing, too. There’s so much awfulness happening in the world right now that I’ve tried to be as apolitical as I can, even with movies that push a political POV. Way back in the past San Bernardino was my home town, when it still had one of the busiest Air Force Bases in the country. Of course, that was when we 11 year-olds could wander the neighborhood on our own, with a reasonable level of safety. I hope 2016 is a sane, patriotic, peaceful and drought-free election year, and I’ll try to keep as much as I can of it away from DVD Savant.

Thanks again,
Glenn Erickson, December 12, 2015

 

Not new paint, but a new license plate… in code.

Follow this link for a
A Chronological List of DVD Savant’s Reviews for 2015

Nostalgic?
Check out previous DVD Savant Favored Disc Roundups:

Savant’s 2014 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2013 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2012 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2011 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2010 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2009 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2008 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2007 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2006 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2005 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2004 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2003 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2002 favored disc roundup
Savant’s 2001 favored disc roundup

This has been a yearly tradition since 2001. Happy Holidays!

DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2015 Glenn Erickson