Summer Movie Blitz!
That’s what is coming on July 7 courtesy of The Film Detective … a 50 DVD release package loaded with star power and featuring action films, Westerns, comedies, mysteries and more that have been restored and remastered from original vault materials.
There are a dozen action films counted among the DVD product offering in The Film Detective’s July 7 release mix.
Let’s begin with actor-turned-director Paul Guilfoyle’s 1953 Cold War-atomic bomb thriller, Captain Scarface, starring Barton MacLane as the double-dealing “Scarface” and Leif Erickson as the unlikely hero — a lothario on the run from a local plantation owner who unwittingly boards the disguised Soviet “Trojan Horse” cruise ship. Its destination is the Panama Canal where an atomic bomb will be detonated!!!
The dangers of diving for sponges in Florida (filmed on location in Key West) are played out in director Robert D. Webb’s 1953 Technicolor (an Oscar nomination for cinematographer Edward Cronjager) release of Beneath the 12 Mile Reef — teaming Robert Wagner with Gilbert Roland as father and son divers. J. Carrol Naish, Richard Boone, Peter Graves and Terry Moore round out the excellent cast.
Pre-war conspiracies in Japan are on display as newsman James Cagney refuses to kowtow to Baron Tanaka (played by John Emery) in director Frank Lloyd’s 1945 film release of Blood on the Sun (which won the Oscar for Best Set Design).
Director Laslo Benedek’s 1949 film noir thriller, Port of New York, features a young Yul Brynner as narcotics smuggler Paul Vicola, with Scott Brady and Richard Rober as the lawmen out to stop him (shot on location in New York City).
Director William Cameron Menzies Civil War-era conflict, Drums in the Deep South, pits West Point grads Guy Madison and James Craig on opposite sides in the battle of Devil’s Mountain.
Also plucked from the Civil War period is director R. John Hugh’s 1955 swamp thriller, Yellowneck, starring Lin McCarthy as Sergeant Todd, a Confederate deserter, who together with Stephen Courtleigh as “The Colonel” (and three others) try to make their way through the Florida Everglades (actually filmed on location in the Everglades) and an escape attempt to Cuba. Only one of the five will survive their ordeal.
Also on the DVD July 7 release calendar from The Film Detective is Susan Hayward, who is driven near-crazy with a lust for revenge in director Stuart Heisler’s 1949 oil boom saga, Tulsa. An elaborate oil field fire sequence earned the film an Oscar nomination for Best Special Effects.
Other action film offerings include: Daniel Boone (1936, directed by David Howard and starring George O'Brien as Boone, with John Carradine and Heather Angel), director Rowland V. Lee’s 1941 swashbuckler, The Son of Monte Cristo, starring Louis Hayward with Joan Bennett) and “Jungle” Sam Newfield’s 1944 film release of Nabonga, teaming Buster Crabbe with Julie London (in her film debut), Barton MacLane and Ray “Crash” Corrigan as the gorilla.
On the Western front, The Film Detective is right there with three featuring sceen legend John Wayne … these are director Robert Bradbury’s 1934 film release of Blue Steel (with Gabby Hayes, Yakima Canutt and Eleanor Hunt), Bradbury’s 1937 film, The Trail Beyond, featuring both Noah Beery and Noah Beery Jr. and director Charles Barton’s 1937 Western, Hell Town (aka: Born to the West), teaming John Wayne with none other than Johnny Mack Brown (Marsha Hunt co-stars).
Another Western film legend getting some action from The Film Detective on July 7 is Roy Rogers. He stars in director Joseph Kane’s 1939 film release of In Old Caliente (with Gabby Hayes, Jack La Rue and Lynne Roberts) and director Frank McDonald rodeo action film, Lights of Old Santa Fe (with Dale Evans and Gabby Hayes).
Rounding out this Western stampede is director Robert Springsteen’s 1946 Red Ryder Western, Stagecoach to Denver, starring Allan Lane as the legendary comic strip hero and with Robert Blake as his sidekick, Little Beaver. And lastly, Mickey Rooney, Robert Preston, Robert Stack and Wanda Hendrix team in director Elliott Nugent’s 1951 film release of My Outlaw Brother (filmed on location in Mexico).
Drama, you want drama? How about director John Cromwell’s 1934 film adaptation of the W. Somerset Maugham novel, Of Human Bondage, starring Bette Davis and Leslie Howard (they would reteam in 1936 for The Petrified Forest)? Bette Davis would be nominated for Best Actress — her first of eleven — for her performance here.
Another film adaptation on the July 7 release calendar is that of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play (1938), Our Town, which was adapted for the screen in 1940 and subsequently nominated that year for Best Picture (losing out to Rebecca). William Holden and Martha Scott (she was nominated for Best Actress) star as sweethearts George Gibbs and Emily Webb.
Continuing with adaptations from literary sources, we have the remake of the D. W. Griffith’s silent era classic (1919), Broken Blossoms, which was a loose adaptation of Thomas Burke’s short story. This 1936 remake, being released by The Film Detective on July 7, was directed by John Brahm and starred Dolly Haas, Emlyn Williams and Arthur Margetson.
Another silent remake (also from D.W. Griffith) is director Henry King’s 1935 film release of Way Down East, starring Henry Fonda as David and Rochelle Hudson as Anna, with Edward Trevor as the evil Lennox Sanderson and Margaret Hamilton as Martha, the town’s big mouth gossip.
And then there’s Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, which is also to be found among the 50 films on the July 7th release calendar. This one is the 1933 version, directed by William J. Cowen and starring Dickie Moore as Oliver with Irving Pichel as Fagin.
From the same year, 1933, we have the Best Actor-winning performance of Charles Laughton in director Alexander Korda’s Best Picture nominee, The Private Life of Henry VIII … Merle Oberon, Wendy Barrie, Elsa Lanchester, Binnie Barnes and Everley Gregg co-star as Henry’s fives wives after he dumped Catherine of Aragon.
On the comedy front, we have director Archie Mayo’s 1946 romantic comedy, Angel on My Shoulder, starring Paul Muni, Anne Baxter and Claude Raines (as the devil),
Roger Corman’s 1960 film release of The Little Shop of Horrors will also be available, as will director John Cromwell’s 1939 comedy teaming James Stewart with Carole Lombard, Made for Each Other.
Others in the comedy mix include Never Wave at a WAC (1953, Rosalind Russell), Private Buckaroo (1942 with the Andrews Sisters, Donald O’Connor, Dick Foran, Joe E. Lewis and Peggy Ryan) and cult filmmaker Edgar G. St. Benny the Dip, starring Dick Haymes, Lionel Stander and Roland Young conmen who become “saints” in the Bowery (filmed on location) … Nina Foch co-stars.Ulmer’s 1951 film
And then there’s Bill and Coo, which is one of these “specialty films” that doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. This one — which won an honorary Oscar for its inventiveness — is strictly for the birds. Released theatrically in 1948, it stars … birds, dressed in costumes as they go about their business in the little town of Chirpendale.
The Film Detective does indeed have a Summer Movie Blitz! There’s something here for everyone … so enjoy!!!