Monday, July 24, 2017

Mill Creek Entertainment Adds Watch Around The Clock DVD Collections To Its Sept. 12 Release Calendar

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Mill Creek Entertainment has added five new price-to-collect DVD releases to its Sept. 12 product calendar.   If you will recall, last week we reported on new Blu-ray editions of director Peter Yates’ 1987 courtroom thriller, Suspect, starring Cher, Dennis Quaid, John Mahoney and Liam Neeson and Leonard Part Six.

So let us get to it.   

There are two very clever DVD collections that are targeted for insomniacs, both of which promise 24 hours of programming (imagine spending an entire day watching vintage television) … both volumes are titled Watch Around the Clock.

In the first one, we being our day at 6AM with six straight hours of kid-friendly programming, which includes selections from Popeye and Friends, Casper, The New Street Stooges and Paddington Bear.   When noon arrives we have the entire afternoon filled with four feature films — Gulliver's Travels, The Borrows, Rescue from Gilligan's Island and The Over the Hill Gang — and that gets us to six in the evening, when programming shifts to episodes from nine different television series.   Counted among these all-evening selections are Mannix, The Lucy Show, The Cisco Kid and Bonanza.   

Still six hours to go for our night owls and that means a selection of all-night movies — The Last Time I Saw Paris, The Missouri Traveler and The Proud Rebel

If you have anything left in the tank, Mill Creek has thrown in a bonus disc featuring “Holiday TV Favorites!”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The second all-day marathon also begins at six in the morning with “Cartoon Cavalcade” and selections from Betty Boop, Felix the Cat and Popeye, plus episodes from such shows as Howdy Doody and Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney (to name just a few).   The noon hour hits and we get a bonanza of classic game shows — What’s My Line?, You Bet Your Life, To Tell the Truth … and more!

Six o-clock and the television series begin for six solid hours.   Episodes can be viewed from 11 different vintage series, including Dragnet, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet and The Andy Griffith Show and then the late night is capped off with an hour’s worth of episodes from The Milton Berle Show.

From midnight until dawn we have a movie marathon that includes The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Man with the Golden Arm.  If you are still awake, there’s that bonus disc of “Holiday TV Classics!!”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAn additional bonus included with each of these five-disc SKUs is Mill Creek Entertainment’s Digital Copy viewing option.

Up next is Trick or Treat Spooktacular Collection - 13 Haunted Tales, which features selections from the Storybook Series (six haunting tales), four Casper “spooky tales” and a trio of classic Fleischer Studio selections — The Cobweb Hotel, The Fresh Vegetable Mystery and Magic Mummy.

Rounding out the Sept. 12 DVD editions are two mini-series events, Voyage of the Unicorn (2001, with Beau Bridges, Chantal Conlin and Heather McEwen) and The Lost Empire (also from 2001, starring Thomas Gibson, Bai Ling and Russell Wong).

MVD Entertainment Group Targets Sept. 26 For The DVD And Blu-ray Rollout Out Of Writer/Director Bev Land's Lycan

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
MVD Entertainment Group will be guiding to market on Sept. 26 both DVD and Blu-ray editions of writer/director Bev Land’s Lycan.   A brief theatrical run by Parade Deck Films is planned for Aug. 4.

You know that you are going to be in for a horror “joy ride” when your professor (played by Vanessa Angel) assigns a group project.  Yes, group projects in college are hellish experiences … there are always slackers who let the others do all of the heavy lifting.   

But, the group assignment itself, while fraught with perils, is not the real horror tale here, but what the little cadre is assigned to research.    It’s 1986 and the six students (which genre fans will immediately recognize as “the victim pool”) are to gather what they can and report back on a series of events that took place roughly 100 years ago in their home state of Georgia.   

The story, the legend of the Talbot County Werewolf, has been passed down over the years.  Emily Isabelle Burt (a real person), the daughter of a wealthy widow by the name of Mildred Burt, returned home from a year at boarding school in Europe and began to act strangely.   She would go off into the nearby (spooky) woods at night.   She also began to grow body hair (as the legend says) and her teeth grew “pointed” (the legend also).   In the meantime, the local farmers were perplexed by the wholesale slaughter of their livestock.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyYou can see where this is going.   Strange girl, dead livestock and a local man (from somewhere in “Eastern” Europe) who warned his neighbors what was afoot, which they naturally dismissed as nonsense … that was until their efforts to track and kill the beast that was slaughtering their farm animals was to no avail. 

He basically told them that they had to wait until the next full moon and prepare by gathering all of the silver that they could and fashion the silver into bullets to properly hunt the beast.   The full moon came, they went on their hunt, cornered it, shot it, but it escaped howling into the woods … meanwhile, Emily was out wandering and her mother heard the commotion and went to investigate and found her daughter wounded.   The legend was born.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
This is the backdrop for Land’s horror tale — a real, honest to goodness, story about a local werewolf.   So Isabella (Dania Ramirez — as “Jacinda” in the Once Upon a Time TV series and as “Maya” in Heroes) and her five classmates head off into the local countryside (filmed in around Columbus for the campus scenes and in nearby Upatoi, which is on the northern edge of Fort Benning, for atmosphere) to complete their assignment.   

The assignment is only the pretext for a fun-packed weekend of camping and “other stuff” (wink wink, nod nod).   But suppose, just for the sake of argument, that the legend was more than just a legend passed down over the years by the local “backwoods” folks!

Filmmaker Bev Land has delivered a terrific entry into the canon of werewolf-based film tales … backed with a solid script that blends mystery with your prerequisite horror jolts and it is served up with a twist that you are unlikely to ferret out in advance.   Lycan, Sept. 26 on DVD and Blu-ray, put it on your must-see list, especially if you can’t catch a local screening.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Bonus goodies include video sessions with cast members Dania Ramirez, Rebekah Graf and Vanessa Angel, writer/director Bev Land, co-writer Michael Mordler, second unit director Steve C. Pitts and actress-turned-producer Crystal Hunt (Magic Mike XXL, Sydney White and as Stacy on One Life to Live), plus there is a panel discussion with Lycan producers and writers.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The Film Detective Readies Five New Film Restorations For Aug. 1

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective begins the month of August (Aug. 1) with five new film restorations lined up for the collectible DVD marketplace.

We begin with director Christy Cabanne’s 1933 (pre-code) “Poverty Row” crime drama, The World Gone Mad.   A young Pat O’Brien stars as a New York City beat reporter, with a nose for the street (meaning that he has contacts on both sides of the proverbial tracks), who tumbles to a stock swindle scheme being run by Christopher Bruno (Louis Calhern) when the DA (Wallis Clark) is bumped off just as he was about to start an investigation. 
A mob hit on the DA sparks his interest and that eventually leads to Bruno and his hitman, Ramon (J. Carrol Naish).   But before we can get to the final payoff, there’s a new crusading DA (Neil Hamilton) on the case (who uses modern crime-fighting methods) and O’Brien gets to spend some time in bed with Bruno’s moll (remember, this is pre-code), Carlotta, who just happens to be played by Evelyn Brent.   

Next up is director William McGann’s post-Civil War cattle saga, American Empire, starring Richard Dix and Preston Foster as business partners who abandon the riverboat trade to start a cattle empire — hello Texas!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
In a breezy 82 minutes this indie production (from Harry Sherman) — with a seven year theatrical distribution deal through United Artists beginning in 1942 — sees Dix and Foster build their Texas cattle empire, from stolen cattle seized from Dominique Beauchard (Leo Carrillo) over his inability to pay his freight bill.  He will cross their paths several times during the film’s many twists and trns, meanwhile Preston Foster falls in love and eventually marries Richard Dix’s sister, played by Frances Gifford.   

From nothing to empire, which eventually pushes Foster’s character to his emotional limit, especially after his actions contribute to the death of his son.  Just when all seems lost, he comes to his senses, patches things up with both his partner and his wife and comes to the aid of his neighbors — which he detests — and has a final showdown with Beauchard.   
Whew, that’s quite the saga for a film with this short of a running time … imagine if Giant, a similar Texas oil saga, was released with this an 80-something minute running time and you would end up with the equivalent of American Empire.

Rounding out the Aug. 1 film restorations heading to DVD from The Film Detective are Paradise Island (1930, an early sound film starring Marceline Day), the 1932 film release of Three Broadway Girls (aka: The Greeks Had a Word for It), starring Joan Blondell, Ina Claire and Madge Evans and The Wrong Road (1937, teaming Richard Cromwell with Helen Mack).

Arrow Video Preps Restored Edition Of Children Of The Corn For A Blu-ray Release On Sept. 19

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, will be bringing a new Blu-ray edition — a 2K restoration from the original negative — of director Fritz Kiersch’s surprise 1984 horror hit adaptation of Stephen King’s 1977 short story, Children of the Corn, to market on Sept. 19.

If you love haunted house thrillers, then Children of the Corn takes it one step further with a “haunted town” tale!   Gatlin, Nebraska is that town and that’s where Burt (Peter Horton) and Vicky (Linda Hamilton) find themselves, with the dead body of a throat-slit boy in the trunk of their car.   

The two are on their way to California — needing time off to patch up their struggling marriage — but once in Gatlin they discover that there is no way out.   The creepy little kids have killed off all of the adults and they now worship “He Who Walks Behind the Rows,” who demands that no one who reaches the ripe old of age of 19 can live.   Burt and Vicky are well passed that threshold, so we know what fate awaits them if they cannot find their way out of Gatlin!

Bonus goodies include two commentary options.  The first is a vintage commentary track featuring filmmaker Fritz Kiersch (Tuff Turf, The Stranger), producer Terrence Kirby and actors John Franklin (as the evil Issac) and Courtney Gains (Malachi) and the second is a newly minted one featuring John Sullivan of the web site “,” who is joined by writer, director, actor and producer Justin Beahm (check out his web site at
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Other bonus nuggets include a video session with Linda Hamilton that is titled “It was the Eighties!,” and five additional featurettes — “Harvesting Horror: The Making of Children of the Corn,” “Return to Gatlin,” “Stephen King on a Shoestring,” “Welcome to Gatlin: The Sights and Sounds of Children of the Corn” and “Feeling Blue.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The Criterion Collection Announces Its October 2017 Release Calendar — 4K Restoration Of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon Leads The Way

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Criterion Collection announced its October release of new DVD and Blu-ray product offerings this past week, but before we get to these there is a new (and hopefully final) street date for auteur filmmaker Orson Welles’ 1952 film release of Othello … it will now be released as double-disc DVD and Blu-ray editions on Oct. 10.

As to the new announcements, it is always a subjective starting point, but this month we’ve landed on fellow auteur filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 film release of Barry Lyndon as the leading October restoration entry.   

This new 4K restoration will arrive on Oct. 17 as both double-disc DVD and Blu-ray selections.   

While the film can be rightly criticized for being long and even tedious, nevertheless the camera techniques and construction of the film by Kubrick far outweigh these flaws. I set there in an exhibitor screening in the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood prior to its release (on a day when the air conditioning had failed) and was totally distracted by hearing what was going to befall Ryan O’Neal’s character at every turn?   I am sure that Kubrick had a point to it, but to this day it escapes me.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
As to bonus goodies, there is a new, untitled, documentary featuring cast and crew interviews, which includes bits from a 1976 audio interview with Kubrick, plus there are new video sessions with film editor Anthony Lawson and Oscar-winner Ken Adam (Best Art Direction-Set Decoration), who is joined by historian Sir Christopher Frayling … and more.

On Oct. 24 writer/director Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper will be making its home entertainment debut as both DVD and Blu-ray editions.   The ARR works out to 214 days and domestic box office receipts were $1.3 million.

This supernatural thriller — blending a murder mystery and the protagonist’s (played by Kristen Stewart) search for a spiritual connection with her recently deceased brother — arrives with only one bonus feature.   This is the Cannes Film Festival press conference with cast and crew members, including Stewart.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Other films on the way from The Criterion Collection in October include: director Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1932 German-language film, Vampyre (Oct. 3), director David Lynch’s 1992 theatrical release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (Oct. 17, a new 4K transfer supervised by Lynch … plus a new 90 minute presentation of deleted and alternate takes that is titled The Missing Pieces) and lastly on Oct. 10 we have the offbeat “mermaid” tale from Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczyńska, The Lure (it too is making its home entertainment debut here … ARR is 249 days and arthouse exhibition receipts were $98,818).

VCI Entertainment Sets Oct. 17 For The DVD Debut Of Director George Nicholls, Jr.’s The Soldier And The Lady

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
VCI Entertainment announced this past week that director George Nicholls, Jr.’s 1937 film adaptation of Jules Verne’s 1876 novel, “Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar,” The Soldier and the Lady, will be making its DVD debut on Oct. 17.

This RKO release was an odd choice for an action tale in mid-1930s.   The Czar (Alexander II) had been assassinated in 1881, and his grandson, Nicholas II was murdered by the Soviets during the summer of 1918 … who were now firmly in control of Russia when the film was released and adding to that, there were war clouds on the horizon in Europe.    

So doing a remembrance of the glory days of the Russian Empire, who, by the way, were the bad guys in director Michael Curtiz’s The Charge of the Light Brigade (released the previous year by Warner Bros.), seemed a tad out of step.

Nevertheless, here it is.   Michel Strogoff (played by Anton Walbrook, who also played the same role in both the 1936 separate German and French versions) is a courier for the Czar, who has been dispatched with plans that must be delivered to the Grand Duke (William Stack), who is isolated in Siberia (telegraph communications have been cut) by the combined forces of the Mongols and the Tartars, who are under the command of Ivan Ogareff (Akim Tamiroff).  
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

It is one grand adventure after another as Strogoff must make his way across the vast expanse of Russia to deliver his communication.   Along the way he meets “the lady” in question, Nadia (played by Elizabeth Allan — A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Mark of the Vampire, etc.), his mother, who he must deny (or reveal his identity) is killed, he saves the life of a spy (Margot Grahame), who returns the favor and she too dies … it often looks bleak for Strogoff, but The Soldier and the Lady does have a happy ending.