The Film Detective returns to the DVD market place on Nov. 10 with 26 newly restored film collectibles that will have film buffs and library-builders ready to fill those gaps and/or upgrade their film holdings. So let’s get right to it …
Prolific ‘50s screenwriter and B-action film producer Jeff Pollexfen made one of his rare directing appearances with the 1956 sci-fi thriller Indestructible Man. This Allied Artists product stars Lon Chaney, Jr. as Butcher Benton, a condemned murderer whose body is sold secretly to Professor Bradshaw (Robert Shayne) — a mad scientist of the first order — who injects the cold corpse with a secret formula and then runs massive amounts of electricity through Butcher’s body.
The result, a man who is seemingly indestructible, who has vowed revenged on those who sold him out … he hunts them down one by one without mercy!
Speaking of mad scientists, from 1942 we have director Sam Newfield’s The Mad Monster, starring George Zucco as Dr. Cameron, a genius who has been rebuked by his peers, his career is in ruins ... and payback is on his mind.
It is World War II and our goofy mad scientist has come up with an idea for an army of super-human wolves. His subject turns out to be his man-child gardener (played by Glenn Strange) and the formula works, but with tragic results as a young girl falls victim to the now ravenous wolfman.
No matter, the formula works and that means that those who ridiculed him are doomed!!! Anne Nagel stars as Zucco’s daughter, with Johnny Downs on hand as both her boyfriend and reporter assigned to the strange death of the little girl. Soon they suspect that dear old dad is at the bottom of the brutal murders … no one is safe!
Also on the sci-fi front from the Film Detective on Nov. 10 is director Roger Corman’s summer of 1960 end-of-the-world thriller, The Last Woman on Earth. Filmed on location in Puerto Rico, con man Harold Gern (Anthony Carbone), his latest trophy bride, Evelyn (Betsy Jones-Moreland), and Gern’s shyster lawyer, Martin (played by future Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Towne — Chinatown in 1975) have chartered a boat and are on a seemingly uneventful dive. When they surface, they find the shipper dead and only the remaining air in their tanks keep them alive.
Once ashore the oxygen levels return to normal and they soon discover that they just might be the last three humans left on the planet. Two men, one woman … do the math, soon the planet will be populated by just two (who survives?).
Of note — Leave it Roger Corman to get the maximum out of a location. Carbone, Jones-Moreland and Towne also starred in Creature from the Haunted Sea, which was shot at the same time and released theatrically the following summer.
On the action front we have the World War II spy thriller, The Adventure of Tartu (directed by Harold S. Bucquet — he directed most of the Dr. Kildare films for Metro Goldwyn Mayer), starring Robert Donat as a British officer sent to Romania, where he assumes the persona of a ruthless Nazi sympathizer, Captain Jan Tartu. It is then on to Czechoslovakia to destroy a Nazi gas plant, but the entire plan soon falls apart — he is not only in danger of being discovered by the Nazis, but the Czech resistance has marked Capt. Tartu for death!
The game’s afoot as Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) is on the case in director Roy William Neill’s summer of 1945 mystery, The Woman in Green. A beautiful woman, named Lydia (Hillary Brooke), leads Holmes and Watson (Nigel Bruce) on a merry chase through the streets of London in a mystery that revolves around a series of seemingly random murders. But, are they really random? With the sinister Prof. Moriarty (Henry Daniell) involved, you can bet that there is a method to his madness!
Also on the Nov. 10 release schedule are The Milky Way (1936, starring Harold Lloyd), director Kurt Neumann’s 1956 release of Mohawk (teaming Scott Brady, Rita Gam and Neville Brand) and director Phil Karlson’s 1949 outdoor thriller, The Big Cat (featuring Lon McCallister, Peggy Ann Garner, Preston Foster and Forrest Tucker).
For a complete list of Nov. 10 re-mastered DVD releases please see page 19.