The Film Detective has ten new film restorations waiting in the wings for DVD delivery on Mar. 21.
Priced to own is a new restoration of actor-turned-writer/director Coleman Francis’ 1961 atomic age sci-fi thriller, The Beast of Yucca Flats, starring former professional wrestler-turned-horror icon, Tor Johnson (made famous by Ed Wood with such films as Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 from Outer Space).
Johnson stars as Joseph Javorsky, a Soviet nuclear scientist who has defected and arrives in the United States with a cache of top secrets. Before he can make the handoff, he is ambushed by KGB hitmen, but manages to escape into the vast atomic testing grounds at Yucca Flats, Nevada.
As with Lt. Colonel Glenn Manning in director Bert I. Gordon’s 1958 sci-fi gem, The Amazing Colossal Man, Javorsky is also exposed to heavy amounts of radiation. Instead of growing into a mutated giant, he is transformed into a super-human killing machine; his brain gone — insane — he just wants to kill, kill, KILL!
Also on the DVD release docket on Mar. 21 from The Film Detective is director Walter Colmes’ 1945 World War II mystery, Identity Unknown, starring Richard Arlen as one of four possible soldiers … his three buddies were killed — burned beyond recognition and their dog tags were scattered about. He has no memory of the dive-bombing incident and the army has no idea which one of the four soldiers he might be. That’s your set-up, as the confused Arlen heads home on a military transport ship.
Once in port, he takes it upon himself to go to each of the homes of the four men to possibly discover who he is … but during the confusion, the army thinks that he has deserted (that’s a bit of a red herring to build suspense).
At each stop he impacts the live of the people he meets, often in unexpected ways — he even finds romance in the form of Sally (Cheryl Walker — Murder is My Business, Stage Door Canteen, etc.), the widow of one of the dead men. The end has a twist … he isn’t any of the four dead soldiers.
Another surprise in the mix is the 1935 Monogram Pictures film adaptation of Edward Eggleston’s popular 1871 novel, The Hoosier Schoolmaster, starring Norman Foster, Fred Kohler, Jr. and Charlotte Henry as the woman they both have an eye for.
Other films in the Mar. 21 release mix include not one, but three starring Roy Rogers — the 1948 Western, Grand Canyon Trail (with Roy Rogers as Roy Rogers and co-starring Jane Frazee), In Old Cheyenne (1941, Roy is a newshound onto a big story; Joan Woodbury co-stars, plus Gabby Hayes) and also from 1941, Bad Man of Deadwood (with Roy as trick shot Brett Starr … with Carol Adams and Gabby Hayes).
Rounding out the film restorations are The Great Flammarion (1945 film noir entry directed by Anthony Mann and starring Erich Von Stroheim as the title character, with Mary Beth Hughes and Dan Duryea), The Great Mike (1944, starring Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer and Robert 'Buzz' Henry), The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959, starring Steve McQueen) and writer/director Newton Arnold’s 1962 horror tale, Hands of a Stranger, starring Paul Lukather, James Noah and Joan Harvey.