The Film Detective upped its game this past week with news that not five, but ten new film restorations will be ready for the DVD collectible market on June 20.
When it comes to collecting films on DVD everyone has an opinion. So we will reach into the hat and draw out one priced-to-collect selection and start there … drum roll please!
Ah ha, we begin the June 20 hit parade with director Gordon Wiles’ summer of 1974 independent theatrical release of Ginger in the Morning, which stars Sissy Spacek as the title character, Ginger. This film was between Terrence Malick’s Badlands (which was her theatrical release after debuting Prime Cut) and her signature role of Carrie White in Brian De Palma’s 1976 film release of Carrie.
Ginger is a “free spirit” who is picked up hitchhiking by a middle aged, recently divorced advertising executive named Joe (Monte Markham), who is attracted to her carefree nature. They hit it off, but Ginger has a secret and her affection for Joe is packed with ulterior motives!
Others in the cast include Susan Oliver, Slim Pickens and Fred Ward (he was just starting out here).
Also in the June 20 mix is writer/director Andy Milligan’s 1970 horror flick, Guru, the Mad Monk. This hard to find rarity, which was released theatrically by Nova International Productions (which came and went faster than you can say Guru, the Mad Monk), stars Neil Flanagan as a 15th Century priest named Guru, who is the titular religious figure at an island prison.
He takes pleasure in torturing and killing anyone he takes a disliking to … and is ably assisted in his crimes by Olga (Jaqueline Webb), a necrophiliac, who fancies herself a vampire, and Igor (honest, Igor), his one-eyed hunchback sidekick (played by Jack Spencer). The movie itself is so bad that it is considered a cult classic (Ed Wood would be proud).
Director Robert Tansey’s 1950 film release of Forbidden Jungle, starring veteran character actor Don C. Harvey as Tom Burton, a famous big-game hunter, who is hired to find a young boy who has gone missing the jungle. There is a lot of money on the table, but the crusty Burton has a change of heart and covers up the secret of the boy’s (played by Robert Cabal) new found home with Trader Kirk (Forrest Taylor) and his adopted daughter, Nita (Alyce Lewis).
Other adventure-themed films in the June 20 mix include Call of the Forest (1949, with Robert Lowery, Chief Thundercloud and Ken Curtis), Men of the Plains (1936, with Rex Bell and Joan Barclay) and director Harold Daniels’ 1953 son of the Count of Monte Cristo tale, Sword of Venus, teaming Robert Clarke with Catherine McLeod.
On the Western front on June 20, the Film Detective has the Hoot Gibson 1935 film release of Frontier Justice and director John English’s 1937 film, Whistling Bullets, starring Kermit Maynard as Texas Ranger who is sent to prison in order to infiltrate a gang of thieves.
Rounding out the June 20 release calendar are Damaged Lives and Miracle in Harlem.