Monday, January 23, 2017

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Unbundles Joan Crawford Classics On Feb. 28 — Twiggy To Blu-ray On Feb. 21


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced this past week that five Joan Crawford film vault treasures, which were previously only available as part of The Joan Crawford Collection, Volume 2 (released back in the winter of 2008), will be reissued on Feb. 28.

Topping the list is director Michael Curtiz’s 1949 film noir gem, Flamingo Road, starring Joan Crawford, Zachary Scott, Gladys George and Sydney Greenstreet.

Also being set loose on the same date as stand-alone film offerings from the aforementioned box set are Strange Cargo (1940, Crawford teams with Clark Gable), Torch Song (1953, Crawford co-stars with Michael Wilding, who was married to Elizabeth Taylor at the time), Sadie McKee (1934) and A Woman's Face (1941, bad girl Joan Crawford gets a second chance from plastic surgeon played by Melvyn Douglas … but can she change her ways?).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAlso heading to the DVD market place on Feb. 21 are: director Richard Thorpe’s 1949 tearjerker, Challenge to Lassie; director Sidney Franklin’s early sound film, A Lady’s Morals (1930) with Grace Moore, Reginald Denny and Wallace Berry; writer/director Elliott Nugent’s 1933 film adaptation of his own stage play, Whistling in the Dark, starring Una Merkel, and Mary Astor does everything she can to ruin the chances of Virginia Bruce and Herbert Marshall to find happiness in director Robert B. Sinclair’s film release of Woman Against Woman.

On the Blu-ray release front, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has The Yakuza ready for delivery on Feb. 14, Twiggy stars in director Ken Russell’s 1971 film release of The Boy Friend on Feb. 21 and director Val Guest’s 1970 battle between cavemen and dinosaurs, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.


The Criterion Collection Announces It April 2017 DVD And Blu-ray Release Selections


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Criterion Collection announced its April DVD and Blu-ray release selections this past week, and as always, there is something for everyone among the six-strong array of new 2K and 4K restorations … so let us get right to it (with our personal choice, among several).

The one that caught our eye this month is the Apr. 18 double-disc DVD and Blu-ray releases of director George Stevens’ 1942 romantic comedy, Woman of the Year, teaming Katharine Hepburn with Spencer Tracy in their first of nine films together.   

The film is also noted as ground zero for a 25-year long romance between the two iconic actors that lasted until his death in 1967 (their last film together was Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, which was released theatrically six months after Tracy’s passing).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Criterion Collection has a new high-def transfer of the film and a trio of newly-prepared video sessions featuring: George Stevens Jr.; writer Marilyn Ann Moss — the author of “Giant: George Stevens, a Life on Film” — and writer and The New Yorker magazine contributor, Claudia Roth Pierpont (her piece on Hepburn in The New Yorker appeared in July of 2003 and was titled “Born for the Part” … just days after Hepburn’s death at 96 years of age).  

There is also director David Heeley’s 1986 feature-length documentary, The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn, included in the list of bonus goodies.

Other films getting the Criterion treatment during the month of April are two of French New Wave filmmaker Jacques Demy’s mid-sixties works (at the height of his filmmaking career) — The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) — both street as newly minted 2K digital restorations as either DVD or Blu-ray product offerings on Apr. 11.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyIncluded with The Young Girls of Rochefort is award-winning filmmaker Agnès Varda’s 1993 documentary on her husband’s early work, The Young Girls Turn 25.   Varda and Demy were married for 28 years until his death in 1990.

Rounding-out the selections are a new 4K restoration of auteur filmmaker Francis Ford Rumble Fish (streets on Apr. 25 — complete with commentary from Coppola, Chilean filmmaker Alberto Fuguet’s 2013 feature-length documentary tribute to the film, Locations: Looking for Rusty James, and much more), Japanese filmmaker 1985 award-winning comedy, Tampopo (available on Apr. 25) and Wim Wenders’ 1999 Oscar-nominated documentary, Buena Vista Social Club (Apr. 18).
Coppola’s 1983 film release of

Polyscope Media Group, LLC To Release Comic Book Cover Promotion Of Night Of The Living Dead And Two Other Classics On DVD


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Polyscope Media Group, LLC, with sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment Group, will be releasing three classic 1960s sci-fi/horror films on Feb. 14 with a twist.

The twist is that they have commissioned noted comic book artists to design collectible DVD cover art for each of these films … and from the looks of it they’ve done a pretty spectacular job.

The films getting this special treatment are director George A. Romero’s 1968 icon horror film, Night of the Living Dead, Italian filmmaker Antonio Margheriti’s 1961 (1963 for the US market) alien invasion thriller, Battle of the Worlds, and director Peter Bogdanovich’s 1968 film release of Voyage To The Planet Of Prehistoric Women.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey


Well Go U.S.A. Picks Mar. 28 For Six-Disc Blu-ray Release Of The Phantasm Collection


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Well Go U.S.A., which has tapped into a rich source of films coming out of Mainland China and South Korea, will be taking a slightly different tack on Mar. 28 with the six-disc Blu-ray collection titled The Phantasm Collection.

Included in the set are: Phantasm: Remastered (1979), Phantasm II (1988), Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994), Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998) and the last in the series, Phantasm: Ravager (2016).

Bonus features include commentary on all five films (with Don Coscarelli), deleted scenes, video sessions, vintage home movies and a special bonus disc featuring the Phantasmagoria documentary and much, much more.

Paramount Home Media To Release DVD • Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack • And 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack Editions Of DirectorRobert Zemeckis’ Allied On Feb. 28


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media has targeted Feb. 28 as the release date for a three-SKU array of home entertainment products for director Robert Zemeckis’ World War II-era spy thriller, Allied.

This blend of espionage and romance, teaming Brad Pitt with Marion Cotillard (Oscar winner for Best Actress in 2008 for her performance as Édith Piaf in La Vie en Rose … and also nominated in the same category for the 2014 film release of Two Days, One Night), arrives with an ARR of 95 days and domestic ticket sales currently stands right at $40 million.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyBonus features, which are exclusive to the Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD editions, are ten productions featurettes — “Story of Allied,” “From Stages to the Sahara: The Production Design of Allied,” “Through the Lens: Directing with Robert Zemeckis,” “A Stitch in Time: The Costumes of Allied,” “‘Til Death Do Us Part: Max and Marianne,” “Guys and Gals: The Ensemble Cast,” “Lights, Pixels, ACTION! The Visual Effects of Allied,” “Behind the Wheel: The Vehicles of Allied,” “Locked and Loaded: The Weapons of Allied” and “That Swingin’ Sound: The Music of Allied.”

Also added to the release calendar by Paramount Home Media this past week is the Comedy Central production of Drunk History: Season 4, which will be available as double-disc DVD set — featuring all ten episodes — on Mar. 14.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyHost Derek Waters is joined by guest “storytellers” — who all have had perhaps a tad too much to drink — who “retell” historical events and details about historical figures as they best can (considering their state of being).    
Subjects covered during season four range from the legend of Sadie the Goat (Cub fans know this one well), to events in the life of presidents Roosevelt (both Teddy and Franklin) Jackson and Washington, and little known facts about the Wright Brothers, Timothy Leary and Buster Keaton.

On Mar. 21 the Nickelodeon hit animated series starring Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael returns with the double disc DVD collection of 11 thrill-packed adventures in Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Super Shredder.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey


Oscilloscope Laboratories Tabs Mar. 14 As The Street For DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Writer/Director Anna Biller's The Love Witch


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Writer/director Anna Biller’s The Love Witch, a beautifully mounted horror yarn about a witch named Elaine, arrives as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings from Oscilloscope Laboratories on Mar. 14.

The ARR is 123 days and domestic ticket sales from the film’s limited major metro theatrical run are $191,476.

Great beauty can drive a woman mad.  This is the fate that plagues Elaine (Samantha Robinson — Sugar Daddies, Labyrinths), who is not only incredibly beautiful, but sexy to the point of being sinful.  

She is also a witch, who finds that her spells and her appearance drive men mad with desires … desires that ultimately consume them.    Elaine can’t have a normal, loving relationship, rather she is a flame that burns brightly and men are willing moths drawn to that flame and their own destruction.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
What makes this tale all the more inviting is the way in which filmmaker Anna Biller has constructed it.   First, the cinematography by M. David Mullen (noted for his work on such films as Northfork, Twin Falls Idaho and Akeelah and the Bee) is seemingly a stylistic throwback to 60s and 70s genre films — you half expect Barbara Steele to appear in a scene from a 4K transfer of one of her vintage horror flicks from the period.

Secondly, Biller — and we are only guessing here — appears to have seen her fair share of Hitchcock films.  The framing, rear-screen sequences and a number of exterior shots appear to be an homage to the master.

After losing her husband, Elaine takes to the road in effort to get away from her past (police are also curious) and to find a new love.   However, her spells often end up with unintended consequences — that would be dead lovers — so its try and try again.   Which leaves her repeatedly alone and somewhat malicious in her desire to satisfy her needs; sympathetic and yet monstrous.  
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey


Bonus features include commentary from filmmaker Anna Biller, who is joined by cinematographer M. David Mullen and actors Samantha Robinson and Jared Sanford, deleted and extended scenes, a newly prepared video session with M. David Mullen and a behind the scenes video with Anna Biller.


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey


The Film Detective Delivers 12 New Film Restorations To The DVD Market Place On Jan. 17


DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective has a pleasant surprise for film buffs and collectors in general this past week with the release of a dozen new films restorations on DVD.

Leading the way — and that is always very subjective — is director George Marshall’s Christmas of 1934 film release of 365 Nights in Hollywood.   Starring songstress Alice Faye in one of her early film roles (filmed and released in the same year as George White’s Scandals (her film debut), she plays the role of newbie actress (a remarkable resemblance to Jean Harlow, who was at the peak of her career about this time) who enrolls in a phony acting school.   There she meets Jimmy (James Dunn) and the two manage to outwit the proprietors of the school — something of a forerunner to the type of films that Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland would perform in at MGM within a few years.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyFrom the same year, 1934, comes director William Nigh’s romantic mystery, Monte Carlo Nights, teaming Mary Brian (Man on the Flying Trapeze, Charlie Chan in Paris, Affairs of Cappy Ricks, etc.) with John Darrow, who is a man, wrongly convicted, on the run who finds help from an unlikely source in bringing the real killer to justice.

In 1935 director Clifford Sanforth delivered an indie mystery with the odd title (for the period) of Murder by Television.   A professor (played by Charles Hill Mailes) invents major improvements to television broadcasting and everyone is out to get it!

On the night of the first presentation of his new invention he is murdered and Police Chief Nelson (Henry Mowbray) locks up everyone in the creepy old house (the murder scene) until he can crack the case.   June Collyer plays the professor’s daughter and none other than Bela Lugosi is one of the suspects!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyWesterns?   If you are a Western fan, then this Jan. 17 package from the Film Detective has you covered.   Included in the mix are: The Driftin' Kid (1941, Starring Tom Keene and Betty Miles, with “Rusty the Wonder Horse); Red Ryder rides in Vigilantes of Boomtown (1947, with Allan Lane as Red Ryder and Robert Blake as his sidekick, Little Beaver); Wagon Trail (1935, starring Harry Carey and Gertrude Messinger, with “Sonny the Marvel Horse”) and Water Rustlers (1939, with Dorothy Page and Dave O’Brien … Stanley Price is the villain).

Rounding out the film restorations in this group are: My Dog Shep (1946, Lanny Rees — who played Junior Riley in The Life of Riley television series — stars as a runaway orphan whose only friend is a stray dog); Sunny (1941, Anna Neagle stars under the Big Top); Hollywood: My Home Town (1965, vintage Hollywood home movies … hosted by Ken Murray); Garden of Eden (silent 1928, starring Corinne Griffith and Charles Ray with direction by Lewis Milestone) and Fangs of the Wild (1939, starring Rin Tin Tin, Jr., with human actors Dennis Moore and Laura Walters).