The Criterion Collection has an exciting October lineup of new film restorations that will be making their way to movie buffs as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings during the course of the month.
There’s no better place to start than with director Raoul Walsh’s double-bill on Blu-ray (two disc set) and DVD (a three-disc configuration), which streets on Oct. 12. Topping the action is a new 4K film restoration of Walsh’s January of 1941 film adaptation of W. R. Burnett's novel, High Sierra, starring Ida Lupino and “B-movie” gangster veteran Humphrey Bogart as Roy "Mad Dog" Earle … after this, Bogart was a star with top-billing (it only took ten years and 38 previous film roles to get there).
But even getting the role was a struggle for him to land as George Raft, Paul Muni, James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson were all considered for the part, but without Bogart here, it might have been just another crime drama.
Teamed with High Sierra is Walsh’s 1949 remake as a Western, Colorado Territory, starring Joel McCrea as Wes McQueen (the Bogart equivalent), Virginia Mayo as Colorado Carson (Ida Lupino), with Dorothy Malone as Julie Ann Winslow, which was the Velma character portrayed by Joan Leslie in High Sierra.
Bonus features include documentary filmmaker Marilyn Ann Moss’ 2014 feature-length documentary titled The True Adventures of Raoul Walsh, the April of 1944 Screen Guild Theatre radio broadcast of High Sierra (with Ida Lupino), The South Bank Show episode titled “Bogart: Here's Looking at You, Kid” and more.
Another terrific release — especially for genre fans — from the Criterion Collection during the month of October takes place on Oct. 19 with the arrival of Blu-ray and double-disc DVD editions of director Jack Arnold’s 1957 atomic-age sci-fi thriller, The Incredible Shrinking Man.
This is a new 4K film restoration.
Tarantulas have a relatively short life-span, but “Tamara” got two starring credits in her short film career. Here, as the normal-sized menace of the once-normal guy by the name of Robert Scott Carey (Grant Williams — The Monolith Monsters, The Leech Woman), and as the featured creature in another Jack Arnold classic, the Thanksgiving of 1955 theatrical release of the sci-fi treasure, Tarantula.
In The Incredible Shrinking Man, we have Carey out on a routine boating trip one afternoon with his wife Louise (Randy Short — I Was a Male War Bride, Man from God's Country). While she is below deck, their boat passes through a strange mist and he ends up being covered with a powder-like substance … he thinks nothing of it.
Time passes and he begins to notice that his clothes are not fitting right. He is literally shrinking, getting smaller each day. Doctors deduce that his exposure on the boat was somehow related to radiation and begin work on an experimental serum to stop the process, but sadly, cannot reverse it.
The effect is only halted for a while and then Carey begins getting smaller once again. He is attacked by the family cat and Louise assumes the worst. Alone in the basement, the third act features one of the great man-versus-creature battles of all time as the inch-sized Carey is pitted against a deadly spider in a fight for his life!
Bonus goodies include a newly-prepared commentary teaming film historian Tom Weaver with horror-music expert David Schecter (the pair teamed for the book titled “Universal Terrors 1951-1955: Eight Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Films”), documentary filmmaker Daniel Griffith’s 2013 documentary titled Auteur on the Campus: Jack Arnold at Universal, a vintage interview with Jack Arnold (circa 1983), the 8MM home-cinema version of the film … and more.
Rounding-out the October selections from the Criterion Collection are: Japanese filmmaker Kaneto Shindô’s 1964 film, Onibaba (Oct. 5), writer/director Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcatcher (Oct. 19), and the month concludes with the Oct. 26 releases of director Satyajit Ray’s 1960 film, Devi and the writing and directing team of Benny and Josh Safdie’s Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler.