Aug. 11 will see an additional 39 new film restorations ready for delivery on DVD by the Film Detective.
It is always an eclectic selection of collectible treasures, so let’s start the review of this hit parade with the film offerings from the silent era.
We begin with D.W. Griffith’s 1918 film release of Hearts of the World, starring the Gish sisters, Lillian and Dorothy, in a World War I drama that has the American army coming to the rescue of a French village just when all seems lost. Also from filmmaker D.W. Griffith is the 1920 “South Seas” adventure (actually filmed in the Bahamas), The Love Flower, which stars Carol Dempster and Richard Barthelmess.
Mary Pickford stars in both writer/director Frances Marion’s 1921 tear-packed drama, The Love Light, and director Marshall Neilan’s 1918 mining camp drama, M’Liss, which has her as a wild frontier girl who falls in love with Thomas, the new school teacher, who might be on the lam for murder!
Also from 1918 we have one of the earliest film adaptations of the Louisa May Alcott novel, Little Women. Harley Knoles handled the direction, with the filming taking place at the historical homes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott in Concord, Massachusetts … Isabel Lamon, Dorothy Bernard, Lillian Hall and Florence Flinn starred as the four March sisters.
Director Alfred E. Green’s 1926 release of Ella Cinders is a Hollywood-themed spin on the Cinderella fable, with Colleen Moore escaping her wicked stepmother and stepsisters by winning a trip to Hollywood … which turns out to be a scam!
Also on the schedule is the rare 1921 silent short film Frauds and Frenzies featuring a young Stan Laurel … it would be another five years before the comedy team of Laurel and Hardy was born!
Turning to the 1930s, we begin with director Fred C. Newmeyer’s Discarded Lovers, a delightfully wicked mystery involving the murder of movie star Irma Gladden (Natalie Moorhead), who is a man-hungry temptress that leaves in her wake more suspects than fleas on a dog.
Santa Catalina Island and the old California Studios on Melrose stand in for Hong Kong and Macau in director E. Mason Hopper’s 1935 romantic drama, Hong Kong Nights … Customs Agent Tom Keene must deal with gangsters and at the same time figure out how he and Wera Engels are going to get off a deserted island. Hong Kong Nights is a very creative film effort for never leaving Southern California!
The Dark Hour is a 1936 whodunit based on a novel by Sinclair Gluck. Charles Lamont, who would go on to direct many of the Ma and Pa Kettle and Abbott and Costello films at Universal Studios, handled the direction, with Irene Ware and Ray Walker starring.
Sally Eilers, Patricia Farr and Neil Hamilton star in director Lloyd Corrigan’s 1937 romantic comedy, Lady Behave!, while Tim McCoy goes undercover as El Puma in director Sam Newfield’s frontier thriller, The Fighting Renegade … Joyce Bryant is the romantic lead.
Another Western in the mix is the Johnny Mack Brown entry, Lawless Land. Released in 1937, Albert Ray provided direction with Louise Stanley as the Brown’s love interest.
Continuing with the Western theme, the famed Rough Riders ride in the 1942 film release of Down Texas Way … this entry in the series teamed Buck Jones, Tim McCoy and Raymond Hatton as U.S. Marshalls. And in an unlikely spin on the Billy the Kid legend, Buster Crabbe stars as Billy, who is out to clear his name in director Sam Newfield’s 1943 release of Fugitive of the Plains.
Crime is the mainstay of director Phil Tucker’s Dance Hall Racket (1953), Gambler's Choice (1954, directed by Frank McDonald and starring Nancy Kelly and Chester Morris), director Rudolph Maté’s The Green Glove (1952, with Glenn Ford and Geraldine Brooks) and auteur filmmaker Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1943 Girls in Chains (Arline Judge).
Martha Scott stars as the beloved teacher, Ella Bishop, who sacrifices her chance at love to care for her dead sister’s child in director Tay Garnett’s 1941 film adaptation of Bess Streeter Aldrich’s novel, Cheers for Miss Bishop.
Love and marriage are tested in director Albert S. Rogell’s post-war comedy, The Magnificent Rogue (1947, starring Lynne Roberts, Warren Douglas and Gerald Mohr) and the film noir gem from the following year, He Walked by Night, starring Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Whit Bissell and Jack Webb are also to be counted among this Aug. 11 DVD release package the Film Detective.
During the summer of 1953 director/producer Ron Ormond served up Jackie Coogan as a mad doctor out to create a race of superwomen by filling his test subject’s veins with spider venom … welcome to the world of Mesa of Lost Women!!!