1950s, astor, Blu Ray, CLASSIC, cult, dvd, film, Film Detective, FILM HISTORY, genre, Horror, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, John Ashley, review, Richard E Cunha, Sandra Knight, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

FRANKENSTEIN’s DAUGHTER :S.E. Blu Ray (Film Detective )

FRANKENSTEIN’s DAUGHTER :S.E. (Film Detective ) Original film release Dec. 15 ,19 58 Astor Pictures. B&W . 85 mins. 1:85 aspect ratio. Blu Ray release Oct 26,2021. 2K 1080p DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono S.R.P. $24.95 https://www.amazon.com/Frankensteins-Daughter-Detective-Special-Blu-ray/dp/B096WK8KTJ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=11F62IPEFI3PG&keywords=frankenstein%27s+daughter+blu+ray&qid=1637845417&qsid=133-9648026-2913731&sprefix=frankenstein%27s+daughter+BLU%2Caps%2C165&sr=8-1&sres=B096WK8KTJ%2CB07SG7RM8R%2CB09G73317L%2CB07DV5NSM2%2CB08QLY97LW%2CB08FRSR16Q%2CB08KJ66H5B%2CB08Z4B13ZL%2CB096WNY182%2CB094L6WQRX%2CB0107GC9AU%2CB07WSKJCVP%2CB00A8KJN14%2CB08GJ7D1FN%2CB00945XF8Q%2CB00CXJR7AC


Also on DVD for $19.95
https://www.amazon.com/Frankensteins-Daughter-Film-Detective-Special/dp/B096WXL4BL/ref=tmm_dvd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1637845417&sr=8-1

Richard E. Cunha, the man who brought us GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN (see review ),MISSLE TO THE MOON, SHE-DEMONS , all Astor horror/sci fi films , tried his hand with adding a new family (dis)member to the Frankenstein line.


The year prior, Hammer /WB and AIP both experienced boffo box office by reviving the creation from the mind of Mary Shelley. Both had small budgets (£ 65,000, or approximately $270,000 for CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, with I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN costing about half of that amount).


Astor wanted in , and with a budget of around $60 grand & a tight six- day shoot, FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER was born. This was Cunha’s longest film(his other clock in usually at 77-78 minutes) but the gonzo goings-on make it seem one of his fastest paced films.


Oliver Frank (Donald Murphy ,who played Virgil Earp in the William Castle directed MASTERSON OF KANSAS, Columbia, 1954) works for elderly Dr Morton (Swiss born Felix Locher, who was the real-life father of Jon Hall, but who himself didn’t start acting himself until he was 73 in HELL SHIP MUTINY, Republic, 1957). Oliver Frank, it is revealed is the grandson of the original Dr Frankenstein (oddly, REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN ,Columbia ,1958, ends with the doctor using the alias of Dr Frank). However, the title Grandson of Frankenstein is a bit clunky, so it is his creation the film’s title refers.


Oliver has been experimenting on Trudy Morton (Sandra Knight, who later married & divorced her later costar Jack Nicholson whom she met on THE TERROR, AIP,1963, before she switched to being a painter https://www.sandraknight.com/# ), slipping her experimental drugs that make her change into hideous creature (that resembles Frida Kahlo with a nasty overbite )to roam the streets at night . She of course , thinks that she only is having nightmares .


Oliver’s big wish , however, is to create life from scratch, or stiches, just like grandpa did . Trudy’s friend (Sally Todd, the Feb 1957 Playmate of the Month)has the misfortune to be run over by Oliver , who truly only wants her for her brains.

Frank was truly mad….

“We’re aware the female mind is conditioned to a man’s world. It therefore takes orders, where the other ones didn’t.”

Mad & misogynist Olivier Frank places the brain into his creation, & with the assist of Elsu the gardener (Wolfe Barzell ,who mostly appeared in small roles on TV) ,he creates …what is supposed to have been a female creation.


Oddly , no one seemed to have told casting or makeup artist Harry Thomas ,for the monster was portrayed by Harry Wilson. Besides playing character parts in films like ONE MILLION B.C.(Roach, 1940),the British born Wilson ,who ,like Rondo Hatton, was afflicted with acromegaly , also had a career as Wallace Beery’s stand in & double . Here, the ex-wrestler has work that resembles the half-melted face Tor Johnson had in Ed Wood’s NIGHT OF THE GHOULS (Atomic ,1959),which also had makeup by Harry Thomas. When they discovered the gender of the creature, a bit of lipstick was added. Still , the makeup is effective, especially with work created from only the contents of a make-up case.


Throw in a rather bland John Ashley as Johnny ,who’s acting grew MORE bored as the decades went on , Page Cavanaugh and His Trio performed the song “Special Date” with Harold Lloyd Jr. singing , & 2 rather ineffectual police officers and you have most of the people in this flick. Poor Harold Lloyd Jr lived in the shadow of his famous father, and he was alcoholic from an early age. Plus, he was a homosexual when it was socially unacceptable. He did have a singing career, which was interupted when he had a stroke in 1965, from which he never fully recovered, dying just 3 months after his father in 1971.


The film continues on its gonzo way, with Trudy transforming & getting bug eyes for a while, Elsu massaged on the shoulders to death, John Ashley fighting the monster, throwing Acid ,missing the creature but hitting Oliver(oops), giving him a melted face (the make up here is very effective , and better served by only showing it for a moment) ,then the poor creature ignites itself ,resulting in self-immolation(Oops!).

The film ends on a return to “normalcy,” with Johnny & Trudy swimming ,Johnny telling Trudy the wedding vows, emphasizing “OBEY!” Has Trudy avoided one man controlling her (albeit in a stitched together body) for another man expecting her servitude? We don’t get much time to think on this , as Johnny pushes Harold Lloyd Jr into the pool, and everyone laughs. THE END.

The funny thing is, I rather enjoyed this film because of its craziness . Trudy feels that she is dreaming, & perhaps she is ,bringing us along. It is like it is a cinematic haunted house ride , twisting & turning with various things happening as it clatters along . A guilty pleasure ,perhaps, but still a pleasure, hopelessly misogynistic as it is.

This film & indeed many of the Astor Studio releases have passed into public domain. The quality ,or lack thereof ,on late night tv or cheap vhs tapes made these films look less competently made then they were .

FILM DETECTIVE has already done a superb restoration of Richard E Cuhna’s GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN ( GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN -Film Detective Blu Ray | scarletthefilmmagazine (wordpress.com) ) . Now they bring us this incredibly sharp print of FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER.


The print that they use is from an original camera negative and given the 4K restoration treatment. The resulting image is sharp with nice gray scales and deep black tones. I do not recall any film damage or speckling upon the image.


The DTS-HD dual mono sound is crisp and clear.


Optional Easy to read subtitles are available in English & Spanish.


Extras include:
a running commentary track .


RICHARD E CUNHA: FILMMAKER OF THE UNKNOWNBallyhoo Motion Pictures creates another wonderful mini documentary , which includes footage of director Richard Cunha ( March 4, 1922 – September 18, 2005) himself commenting upon his work and career.


JOHN ASHLEY : MAN FROM THE B’s – Film historian and writer /director C. Courtney Joyner (LURKING FEAR , Full Moon, 1994) comments upon the career of actor/singer/producer John Ashley (December 25, 1934 – October 3, 1997). A chance encounter with John Wayne led to his acting career starting in 1957, to becoming a producer in 1971, leading to him becoming one of the producers of the major tv hit ,THE A TEAM (Universal, 1983-87).

Is FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER a classic ? Heck no. Is it a fun film you will go back to again & again ?
I would think so !

Recommended .
–Kevin G Shinnick

Other Film Detective reviews
https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/the-vampire-batrestored/

https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2020/12/27/giant-from-the-unknown-film-detective-blu-ray/


https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2021/08/04/flight-to-mars-1951-film-detective-blu-ray-s-e/

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THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (MVD Blu Ray)

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1983) (MVD Rewind Blu-ray S.E.) – Color. 91 mins. R. Regions A, B, C. $29.95 s.r.p.

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (Film Ventures) came out during the height of the slasher films of the 1980s. First time writer director Mark Rosman was partially inspired by the French Classic LES DIABOLIQUES (Cinedis,1955), though the killer was obviously inspired by the one in the successful FRIDAY THE 13th (Paramount ,1980). Originally titled Seven Sisters, it was shot in Pikesville Maryland in the summer of 1980, with additional photography taking place in Los Angeles.

Given a limited release at first in late 1982, the distributor expanded it in January ,1983, where it reached Number One at the box office, earning $10.6 million at the box office, not to mention various video releases and cable showings.   Not bad for a film that cost less than half a million to make.

The 2009 remake (Summit, the people who gave us the TWILIGHT films, need I say more?) was one of those films that was almost instantly forgettable WHILE you watched it. The original, though not perfect, is worth revisiting over and over.

The plot has 7 sorority sisters who, while celebrating their graduation, accidentally kill their house mother Dorothy Slater (Lois Marie Kelso, making her screen debut at age 53) when a prank goes wrong and she ends up dead in their pool.

While they decide what to do next, someone else is going around killing people.   Can the women hide the crime, and uncover who is going around killing people, including whittling down the members of their society?

As stated, THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW has been available on Home Video in the U.S. from Vestron (VHS), DVD from Elite, then a 2- disc set from Scorpion, who then released the title on Blu Ray in 2018.

This new MVD REWIND Blu Ray release is markedly superior to the old Elite DVD (I do not have the Scorpion release for comparison). The picture is infinitely sharper with brighter colors. Flesh tones are superior in the new release, and the sound is ultra-sharp, with the dialogue, sound effects, and score by Richard Band coming through cleanly & hiss free.

The print used was given a good cleaning and a hi-def (1080p) release, in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The film’s sound is available in LPCM 2.0 stereo, and an alternate version of the film presented in mono audio, with a new director approved pre credit sequence that was more to Roseman’s original vision.

Other extras are :

 Audio Commentary with director Mark Rosman (still active, working on various tv productions), who gives an informative and honest history of the film.

A second commentary track with the director joined with two of the stars, Eileen Davidson (now a mainstay on the daytime soap opera THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, CBS, since 1984) and Kathryn McNeil (recently seen in the powerful mini-series THEM, Amazon,2021).

Get the Pool skimmer.

Short interviews with Roseman, Davidson, McNeil ,and fellow actress Jane Kozak ( recently on THE SHOW MUST GO ONLINE ,where actors from around the world did readings of Shakespeare’s plays in the order they are believed to have been written ),composer Band(still composing ,with DON’T LET HER IN just having been released by Full Moon in 2021)  and producer Igo Kantor (who passed away in October ,2019 , having produced such films as MUTANT, Film Ventures,1984 where he replaced original director Rosman with  John “Bud” Cardos , and KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS, Dimension ,1977 ) .

Also available are storyboards with an alternate ending

The original theatrical trailer and tv spots.

Optional English subtitles.

Reversible cover art .

If you do not have this thriller in your collection, I suggest you may wish to add this Special Edition to your horror blu- ray library.

Recommended .

-Kevin G Shinnick

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FLIGHT TO MARS (1951) – Film Detective Blu Ray S.E.

FLIGHT TO MARS (1951) – Film Detective Blu Ray Special Edition $24.95 (also available on DVD, $19.95) 72 minutes. Color  https://www.thefilmdetective.com/flight-to-mars

FLIGHT TO MARS (1951) was one of the first science fiction films to deal with interplanetary travel that was not a serial. That said, with its alien civilization where they speak perfect English subplot, it is not too far removed from the Flash Gordon episodes that had gone before.

 It was an expensive production for Monogram Pictures, better known for Bowery Boys and inexpensive programmers. Luckily, the year prior, ROCKETSHIP X-M (Lippert,1950) and DESTINATION MOON (Paramount,1950) proved that there was an audience for these kinds of adventures.

Monogram was beginning to try and transition into more expensive pictures and began to use color in their films. Cinecolor was a two-color process, rather than the pricier three strip Technicolor or the Ansco Color favored by MGM on several films before LUST FOR LIFE (MGM,1956) became the last in that process.

Even though it was an expensive project for the studio, a lot of material from other studios was repurposed or rented for the production, including sets and props from ROCKETSHIP-XM, as well as leftover military surplus, like the leather flight jackets and helmets.

Still, there are a lot of original costumes, sets, and props, as well as the several special effects shots, making this film more impressive when you learn that, according to the late star Cameron Mitchell, the actors completed their work in only five days!

Though the effects are attributed to Jack Cosgrove, who had worked on GONE WITH THE WIND (MGM,1939), it seems most of the work was done by the uncredited effects team of Jack Rabin, Louis DeWitt, and Irving Block. Some of the work they did on this film was echoed on the later FORBIDDEN PLANET (MGM,1956).

FLIGHT TO MARS
FORBIDDEN PLANET

The film was directed by Lesley Selander, an odd choice, as he had directed mostly westerns, though he had directed with great style one of Republic’s few horror features, THE VAMPIRE’S GHOST (1945). The short shooting schedule of this film would allow little in the way of directorial flourishes, but he kept the story going in a clear manner.

Screenwriter Arthur Strawn had written the 1944 Broadway farce SLEEP NO MORE (that played all of seven performances!) but had been writing screenplays since the 1930s, including the classic Karloff thriller THE BLACK ROOM (Columbia, 1935).

The first earth expedition to Mars is made up of reporter Steve Abbott (Cameron Mitchell, who was coming off a Theatre World Award winning performance as Biff in the original production of DEATH OF A SALESMAN on Broadway as well as recreating his role in the 1951 Columbia film),who is their to record the historic event ,the expedition leader Dr. Lane (John Litel, who in real life had enlisted in the French Army during WWI because he didn’t want to wait for the U.S. to enter the fray, and he was twice decorated for bravery!) ,Professor Jackson(Richard Gaines, who appeared that same year in Billy Wilder‘s ACE IN THE HOLE , Paramount), engineer Jim Barker (Arthur Franz ,BUD ABBOTT & LOU COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN ,Universal, 1951) and Carol , his assistant (Virginia Huston, FLAMINGO ROAD,W.B.,1949).

There is talk about the dangers of the voyage, knowing that any number of things could happen that would result in their deaths (someone must have seen ROCKETSHIP -XM). Sure enough, they encounter a meteor that damages some of their equipment, including their radio and landing gear. The Professor crash lands the ship, still hoping to collect data that they can send back, even though they themselves may never return to earth.

Donning outfits better suited for a B-25 than an extraterrestrial expedition, they discover that there are intricate structures created by an advanced civilization. Sure enough, they are met by a group of Martians in colorful space suits and helmets. Ikron (Morris Ankrum, who switched sides, as he had been Dr Fleming in ROCKETSHIP X-M!) informs the earthlings that they have been monitoring Earth transmissions and thus have learned their languages, keeping the film moving rather than a long time figuring out how to communicate. Kiron is the current President of the Martian Planetary Council, and he invites the visitors to see their vast underground city.

The Martian civilization is advanced in many ways, though it seems all the women are incredibly young and wear miniskirts (well, STAR TREK, Paramount TV, 1966-69 did the same) while most of the men seem middle aged or older. Seeing the scientific advances, the earth crew asks for help with repairing their spaceship, to which the Martians eagerly agree. We find out that the Martians an atmosphere by use of a material called Corium . We soon learn that their supply of the mineral is depleted.

Ikron and the council plan to fix the ship, copying it and using this new fleet to make a mass exodus to earth. Alita (Marguerite Chapman, later in Hammer’s THE LAST PAGE /MAN BAIT ,1952 directed by Terence Fisher), one of the Martian scientists, helps with the repairs, unaware of the plans of the council. Also helping is Terris (Lucille Barkley, who appeared in the 1951 Universal surprise hit, BEDTIME FOR BONZO). Terris is spying upon the visitors and the progress of the repairs, reporting back to Ikron.

Jim begins to suspect what the Martians are up to and fakes an explosion. He then informs the other crew members that the ship is really ready and will take off the next day , with the addition of Alita and Tillamar (Robert Barrat, who had been acting on Broadway as far back as 1918,and who  in 1950 played the Judge in the Sam Fuller picture BARON OF ARIZONA, Lippert ,1950),a former Council President who is sympathetic to the humans.

There is a desperate getaway attempt after Terris reports her suspicions to the council, but the ship takes off, bound back for earth.

The film is a fun pulpy science fiction film that exhibits the mindset of the times in which it was made (when asked what she would like to see in the Martian Civilization, Carol first wants to see- a kitchen!!).

Long available in blurry prints, FILM DETECTIVE has sourced their new 4K restoration copy from an original 35MM Cinecolor Separation Negative, giving us a much clearer idea of how great the film must have looked when it was first released. The copy is superbly clean, and the mono sound is reproduced cleanly.

There are also optional subtitles in either English or Spanish.

Other extras include :

A running commentary by film historian Justin Humphreys (co -author with William Goldstein of THE DR PHIBES COMPANION, Bear Manor ,2020). Justin is not afraid to point out the flaws of the film but is also quick to defend its entertainment value as well, and the difficulty of doing a color science fiction film back in the early 1950s with a low budget.

WALTER MIRISCH: FROM BOMBA TO BODY SNATCHERS– a new documentary about the producer who helped Monogram evolve into Allied Artists, while attracting bigger names and better productions to the studio, before he left and formed his own production company, producing some of the biggest hits in the 1960s like WEST SIDE STORY (UA,1960). Being a Ballyhoo documentary, you know that it is informative and very well done, hosted by filmmaker C. Courtney Joyner (screenwriter of PRISON, Empire,1987).

Interstellar Travelogues: Cinema’s First Space Race – a celebration of sci fi space race films hosted by Hugo winning artist historian Vincent Di Fate. It examines the importance of the earlier German film Frau im Mond (DEFA,1929) and moves forward to cover a few other films that dealt with interplanetary flight that followed. Oddly, it ignores Himmelskibet (Denmark ,Nordisk Films,1918) ,which was probably the first film to have a space exploration of Mars.

 Himmelskibet

The documentary was an interesting idea, and I wish it had been expanded to go into greater depth of that film and those that followed, like PROJECT MOONBASE (Lippert 1953) and CONQUEST OF SPACE (Paramount ,1955). The recording of Di Fate sounds like it was from an older tape recording or a phone call, being a bit echoey. Still the information is fascinating to hear.

Inside the slipcover is a small booklet that has an essay by Don Stradley that covers the production of FLIGHT TO MARS as well as other films that visited the Red Planet.

If you are a fan of pulpy science fiction films, I can recommend that you pick up The Film Detective’s release of FLIGHT TO MARS.

-Kevin G Shinnick

FLIGHT TO MARS on Blu Ray and DVD is  available on Amazon and other fine DVD/Blu Ray dealers.

If you would like to contribute to SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE,

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THE DAIMAJIN TRILOGY -Arrow Films Blu Ray Ltd Ed

The Daimajin Trilogy (3-Disc Limited Edition) [Blu-ray] Ltd Edition $99.95

1966, Color. (250 min., individually 84,79,87mins) plus extras Arrow Video. Region 0.

https://www.amazon.com/Daimajin-Trilogy-3-Disc-Limited-Blu-ray/dp/B0942DX54S/ref=sr_1_1?crid=5BGL76YBKQJ5&dchild=1&keywords=daimajin+blu+ray&qid=1627433579&sprefix=daima%2Caps%2C191&sr=8-1

Arrow Films is truly coming out with some remarkable foreign films, especially in the fantasy genre from Japan. Most of these gems from Japan come from Daiei Films .

Recently they released
THE INVISIBLE MAN APPEARS/THE INVISIBLE MAN VS THE HUMAN FLY https://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Man-Appears-Human-Blu-ray/dp/B08R27N3VN/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=THE+INVISIBLE+MAN+APPEARS&qid=1626446035&s=movies-tv&sr=1-1

as well as GAMERA : THE COMPLETE COLLECTION https://www.amazon.com/Gamera-Complete-Collection-Eiji-Funakoshi/dp/B084Z13QYD/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=gamera+collection&qid=1626446097&s=movies-tv&sr=1-3 .

Not only are these amazingly sharp and beautiful prints, they also come with a lot more extras and knowledgeable commentaries than you might expect .

Now ,added to this must have collection of the Daiei fantasy films is the magnificent DAIMAJIN trilogy .
The three films all were released it seems in quick succession in the year 1966 and then no further films followed . The film was perhaps harder to sell overseas and thus was a subject more focused upon the home market . The films did have some tv sales ( AIP-TV bought two of the films , retitling DAIMAJIN as MAJIN, MONSTER OF TERROR and DAINAJIN IKARU as RETURN OF GIANT MAJIN . They were dubbed into English by Titan Productions ,but in cropped and scanned prints .One wonders why AIP didn’t buy and release all three?

Retromedia released a DVD of these dubbed prints so you can judge for yourselves).

The films do not fit into the usual Kaiju (giant monster) films ,in that the title character doesn’t usually become active until the last third of the film, acting as the ultimate Deus ex machina , in which the gigantic stone god comes to life and rights wrongs, before returning to immobile stone.

Daiei Studios, founded in 1942 and producing war propaganda films ,in 1949 they revamped themselves and made their product internationally received with the likes of Akira Kurosawa’s RASHOMON (1950) .as well as the artistic haunting ghost story UGETSU (1953). The studio made films for both arthouse and fantasy films (the second film by the revamped studio was THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS,1949). Alternating between historical and fantasy films, they often combined the two with great success. The popularity of their Gamera films (starting in 1965, with two films in 1966 ,also available on Blu Ray from Arrow Films ) set the stage for the Daimajin films.

DAIMAJIN : In 18th Century Feudal Japan ,A cruel lord overthrows the rightful ruler . The children of the ruler escape . Years later, they encounter the vicious lord, who has been extreme in his cruelty to the people Capturing the two young people, he ties them upon crosses for execution . However, prayers to the stone idol Daimajin ,whom we earlier being worshipped and appeased after some natural disasters, now comes to life ,frees the two young people and goes on a rampage of destruction against the evil lord (who is killed in a very satisfying fashion) before a villager pleads for the destruction to end cries and the tears fall upon the giant’s feet . The rioting ends, and the giant returns to stone, before crumbling away.

RETURN OF DAIMAJIN (1966): Another evil warlord pops up (Japan seems rife with them) .This time he chases villagers to an island where there is a giant statue of the god. Is it the same one reassembled, or another one, like the giant stone heads of Easter Island , it is never made clear. The warlord must have seen the previous film, and orders the statue to be blown up. However, the pieces end up in the lake and the giant arises again to seek vengeance and chew Amonoya, and it is all out of Amonoya .Tears again summon the god and lay it to rest. This time ,it turns to water at the end of its mission .

Amonoya

DAIMAJIN STRIKES AGAIN-this time the story is set in a snowy mountain valley, where the statue is buried in snow (is it the same statue ,or are their several of these dumped around Japan?). Once again, Daimajin is summoned, the god rising from the layers of snow to defeat another evil Lord who is mistreating the people who the Lord almost dumps into a sulfur pit ,before he and his minions are disposed of . The god, his work finished now, his life force leaves him as he turns first to stone before he then turns to snow and blowing away

The three films use the elements of stone, water , and wind , making one wonder if a fourth film had happened, would he have turned to fire? Mind you ,I have not seen the 2010 tv series (DAIMAJIN KANON, 26 episodes, TV Tokyo) which retold the story ,only with it being set present day so I am unsure if they used that element .

The one other thing that struck me watching all three back to back was that it reminded me of the legend of the Golem , best known as the Jewish legend of a man of clay brought to life to avenge .

This Arrow Films Blu Ray release is a real treat. A limited edition (order yours now), this beautiful collection has all three films in a sharp colorful 1080p High Definition restoration.

Original Japanese print with clear sharp optional subtitles.

A new intro to the first film by fantasy cinema expert Kim Newman (also author of the must have horror series ANNO DRACULA)

Brand new commentaries by Japanese film expert Stuart Galbraith IV (The Toho Studios Story ,The Japanese Cinema Book, many others), Tom Mes, Jasper Sharp .and Jonathan Sharp .

These full-length running commentaries are fact filled but never overwhelming as he explores the films, it’s players, and their histories.

Original trailers.

Alternate tv credits for Majin-the Monster of Terror (TV title for the AIP release).

An interview with cinematographer Fujio Morita ( 1927-2014),who talks about his long career ,working at DAIEI STUDIOS on such films as RASHOMON ,and especially the Daimajin films. Morita worked as a cinematographer from 1950 to 1995 . His beautiful use of color makes these films stand out , as well as some wonderful compositions that make the effects even more impressive.

Image Galleries.

A plethora of new documentaries for this release :

MY SUMMER WITH DAIMJIN -film Professor Yoneo Ota talks about his summer job working on making the original film .

FROM STORYBOARD TO SCREEN-compares storyboards to actual scenes in the film RETURN OF DAIMAJIN .

BRINGING THE AVENGING GOD TO LIFE– a superlative explanation of how the still dazzling special effects were done on these movies, by Japanese film historian Ed Godziszewski .

Not included with the review discs but in the actual box set will be

  • Illustrated collector’s 100 page book featuring new essays by Jonathan Clements, Keith Aiken, Ed Godziszewski, Raffael Coronelli, Erik Homenick, Robin Gatto and Kevin Derendorf
  • Postcards featuring the original Japanese artwork for all three films
  • Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank

Some fans of kaiju films may feel that these films are too slow and not enough stomping , but for those who want to see a beautiful series that is a bit different from the average stomp Tokyo films, I highly recommend this series.

Kevin G Shinnick


ARROW FILMS Highly Recommended

DAIMAJIN TRILOGY
THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS
GAMERA COLLECTION

All available on Amazon and other fine Blu Ray dealers.

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Order DAIMAJIN now !!
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40S UNIVERSAL MONSTERS: A CRITICAL COMMENTARY

Universal ’40s Monsters: A Critical Commentary

by John Soister , Harry H. Long, Henry Nicolella , and Dario Lavia . BearManorMedia 798 pages. Hardcover : $52 https://tinyurl.com/3x3jc35e Paperback $42 https://tinyurl.com/39tm7ey3

We are pleased to present another chapter from the now just released new book covering the classic Universal monster films, going from THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS ,1940 ( see our preview : https://tinyurl.com/udjxvcw )to 1948’s ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEETS FRANKENSTEIN.

One point that I would like to make. There are certain toxic members of fandom who feel that they PERSONALLY own the classic films and make snarky comments about others who dare to cover the genre . These people need to realize that others love these films and have the right to write about the movies . The “toxics” can of course voice an opinion , but they need to review the work itself and not make lame childish swipes to make themselves feel superior . Fan was derived from “fanatic” , and the toxics bring negativity to what is supposed to be an enjoyable exchange of ideas on a subject that we all enjoy .

Now , with that out of the way , SCARLET is glad to share another chapter of this new book . This chapter : THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN:

The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

Synopsis: We open in the village of Frankenstein, as the villagers receive the mayor’s permission to blow up the remains of Castle Frankenstein, which they see as the cause of all the misfortune that has befallen them. This proves to be harder than anticipated, for Ygor – the broken-necked, vengeful blacksmith from Son of Frankenstein – is not above tossing a few rocks at them from a parapet. Fleeing to the castle’s nether-regions for safety, Ygor espies a hand sticking out of the now-hardened sulfur pit. Digging in, he is astonished to see that the hand belongs to the arm of the Frankenstein Monster who – albeit somewhat the worse for wear – is still alive. Freeing his “friend,” Ygor leads the Monster off into the nearby woods.

A thunderstorm rises suddenly, and the Monster is struck by lightning; remarkably, rather than destroying him, the lightning restores his strength. Putting two and two together, Ygor leads his friend off to Vasaria, wherein dwells Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein, younger son of the mad scientist who first cried out, “It’s alive!” Somehow, despite his bearing one of the most unique and infamous surnames in all of Germania, Ludwig has avoided being associated with his father’s woeful experiments by everyone in the vicinity – and that includes his daughter, Elsa. While Ygor is putting the arm on Ludwig, the Monster has killed one of the locals and is now in police custody. Only after Ygor threatens to spill the beans about Ludwig’s patronymic does the good doctor head down to the courthouse to see about the Monster. The Monster, possibly seeing a family resemblance and sensing an ally, is nonetheless enraged when Ludwig denies knowing anything about him, and bursting his chains, runs off to the hills again, accompanied by Ygor.

Come nightfall, the pair make for the castle Frankenstein, where the Monster tears through the doctor’s laboratory in an effort to carry off Elsa, killing assistant Dr. Kettering in the process. Both Monster and Ygor are overcome by gas pumped in through the air ducts, and Ludwig – determined to disassemble the Monster piece by piece – asks Dr. Bohmer for advice and assistance. Bohmer talks Ludwig out of the dissection and suggests that the placement of a normal brain inside the Monster’s body might result in a creature who is an actual boon to mankind. Seeing as he has Kettering’s brain on hand, Ludwig agrees and prepares for the operation. Bohmer, looking to regain his professional reputation (tarnished by past experiments-gone-wrong), conspires with Ygor to place the blacksmith’s brain in the Monster’s skull instead of Kettering’s. In the meanwhile, the Monster has kidnapped young Cloestine – a child who has acted in a friendly fashion toward him – and brings her to the laboratory, insisting that her brain go into his head. Ludwig straightens things out (in the course of which Ygor is crushed behind a sturdy door by his erstwhile “friend”), preps the Monster for the transplant, and then – unbeknownst to him – connects Ygor’s brain to the Monster’s circuitry, thanks to Bohmer.

Back at the village, everyone is frantic about the Monster having vanished and the sudden disappearance of Cloestine. As they prepare to storm the castle, Elsa’s boyfriend, Erik Ernst, confers with Ludwig, who informs him that – the operation having been quite successful – the Monster’s personality is now that of the gentle Dr. Kettering. All – except for Dr. Bohmer – are shocked when the Monster, now speaking with Ygor’s voice, boasts that with his newly recovered strength he will rule the world! Moments later, though, the Monster is apparently going blind, due to incompatibility of blood types. While the angry mob breaks into the castle, the Monster, raging about the laboratory sends Bohmer crashing to his death into an electric panel. Thrashing about wildly, he knocks chemicals onto the floor, where they combine to set the place afire. Erik and Elsa escape with their lives, but Ludwig and the Monster perish in the flames .

Much of the fun one has with Universal’s Frankenstein series, of course, is to be found in marveling over nomenclature and inconsistencies. The 1931 Frankenstein originally keyed in on the epic missteps taken by Colin Clive’s Henry Frankenstein in an abandoned watchtower high in the hills above the village of Goldstadt. “Missteps” is a moral evaluation of Henry’s purposeful experiments, which suffered also from muck-ups, like the breaking of the neck of the cadaver cut down from the gibbet, and the deceitful substitution by Fritz of an abnormal brain for the good one he dropped, having been startled by the dramatically inexplicable sounding of a gong at Goldstadt Medical College. (Said college is doubtless part of the larger Goldstadt University from which Dr. Pretorius will admit to having been “booted” in Bride.) Lying somewhere between missteps and muck-ups are also mysteries, such as why Henry is disturbed when Dr. Waldman informs him that the brain FritzDwight Frye, enacting his second straight tormented sidekick for Universal – had filched had belonged to a criminal, when the first place Frankenstein had ventured in search of a brain was the body of someone publicly hanged by the neck (and presumably not for acts of charity). Or what was the logic behind issuing the new creation a pair of black platform shoes? Were these – like what would become the Monster’s trademark black suit – found in a cupboard someplace? Despite all this, we had our iconic “Frankenstein Monster.”

With Frankenstein a hit, Junior Laemmle’s production team had begun readying the world for The Return of Frankenstein – the sequel to the earlier sensation and the film that marked the reunion of James Whale and Mary Shelley’s legacy – in 1933. Soon enough, the project was retitled Bride of Frankenstein, and it was bandied about by the publicity department that a “search” was underway for just the right actress to portray the titular bride. Although Colin Clive had reportedly been disappointed that his much-anticipated death scene at the end of the 1931 classic had been supplanted by Frederick Kerr’s toast to an heir for the “House of Frankenstein” and the need for his character to survive to experiment another day, he was happy to be involved in the sequel, which would open with his Henry and the Elizabeth of

… ummm… Mae Clarke? making good on the old baron’s toast. Okay. While Clarke would soon appear again at Universal with the increasingly popular Boris Karloff (Night World, 1932), she was either unavailable, unwilling, or unasked to come to the signing of contracts a couple of years later. For all the good-natured folderol of the supposed search for one bride or the other, there was little mystery as to with whom said “bride” would be paired. Only had Elizabeth’s heart been used to power up the female creature the Monster would briefly woo – as plotted in the original script – would anyone have paid a brass farthing to witness the goings-on of Valerie Hobson.

Although little flower-tossing Maria had ended up in the drink as she was bonding with the Monster in the 1931 original, the next time the Monster was a total emotional mess had to be when O.P. Heggie’s blind hermit sawed away at the “Ave Maria” in his cottage (a musical hommage to the Monster’s first, inadvertent victim?). In fact, following the clever opening badinage between Byron and the Shelleys, Bride gets underway as Maria’s dad, Hans (Reginald Barlow), spews righteous anger over his daughter’s death, a moment that allows the audience to recall the scene in which Maria’s dad, Ludwig (Michael Mark), had carried her lifeless body through the streets of Goldstadt in the earlier film. Hey, if Elizabeth can undergo such an amazing transformation (for the better, many argue), why not old Hans… errr… Ludwig?

And why can’t the torch- and whip-wielding Fritz metamorphose into the near-imbecilic Karl, in what would be Dwight Frye’s third straight take on a half-wit at Universal? (Please recall that Frye’s appearance as a cogent, articulate reporter in Whale’s The Invisible Man [1933] was uncredited.) In his seminal It’s Alive: The Classic Cinema Saga of Frankenstein, film historian Gregory William Mank explains the hemi-demi-semi-nature of Frankenstein’s latest assistant:

To showcase Frye’s talents at lunacy and comedy, Whale combined two separate roles of the original script: Karl, ‘a bit of a village idiot,’ quoth the script, and Fritz, the ‘first ghoul’ who assists Pretorius, into simply Karl, who became both a village idiot and a ghoul and one of Frye’s most memorable performances .

Frankenstein’s Monster also became simply “Frankenstein” a lot sooner than it took the studio to acknowledge the maneuver via Basil Rathbone at the town railway station (please note: town also now apparently yclept “Frankenstein”) four years later. No one (that I’ve ever met, at any rate) ever raised an eyebrow over Henry Frankenstein’s having miraculously survived the climactic laboratory detonation that was set off by the jilted Monster (please ignore the long-shot to the contrary that somehow survived the final edit), or his subsequently making an honest woman of Elizabeth, or her bearing him a couple of sons, or his ending up a baron (the original script for the 1931 film had called for Frederick Kerr’s character to die of shock, thus passing the title down to Henry), or even that the “Henry” of the first two features turned out to be the “Heinrich” of the third .

Come that third – the Whale-less Son of Frankenstein of 1939 – and we learn that Heinrich und Elizabeth had a son, Wolf, who at some point married a redhead named Elsa, moved to the USA to teach at an American college, and had his own son, Peter. (The order in which these events occurred is of no importance.) Unlike his dad and grandfather (called plain old “Baron Frankenstein” in the 1931 film), Wolf goes by von Frankenstein, which can be translated of or from Frankenstein. Per our colleague, AllMovies.com reviewer Hans Wollstein, there’s a method to this morass:

If dear old Frederick Kerr’s character was a baron, then his son’s name should have been Heinrich, Baron von Frankenstein all along. Heinrich/Henry would have had his father’s family surname – which might well have been Müller or Schmidt – when he was CREATED Baron Frankenstein, at which point the “von” would then have been applied when spelled out. The title would have been awarded by the emperor, Wilhelm I, or his chancellor, Prince von Bismarck, and it would be in evidence from the costumes and setting.

Thus, God only knows what the family name of the baron and his progeny and their issue was “in reality.” If the men insisted on bearing the title that was evidently handed down from one generation to the next, they could wander about known only by it and their Christian name (Guten Tag!Ich bin Heinrich, Baron von Frankenstein!) Wolf either took a pass on the title (his brother, Ludwig – who gets embroiled in this mess in Ghost – didn’t toss his being a baron in anyone’s face, either) or adopted this short-cut en route to assimilating into the USA. A tempest in a teapot? Yessiree!, but we learn from that conductor’s timely interruption of Wolf’s diatribe that the eponymous terrain on which stand the family castle and old watch tower is a village large enough to be worthy of its own train station, grumbling populace, and hair-splitting Burgomeister: “We come to meet you, not to greet you!”

Again, there’s that bit of nonsense about just who is being touted in the picture’s title. Wolf is, of course, the son of Heinrich, “Maker of Monsters” (per the torch-inscribed snarl that someone managed to sneak in and scrawl onto his tomb); little Peter is the son of Wolf, and it is Peter’s precarious position (under the platform-shoe’d foot of the Monster) that leads his father to finally do something more action-oriented than playing darts. As for the Monster… well, Ygor’s intriguing insistence to Wolf that “Your father made him, and Heinrich Frankenstein was your father, too!” does little more than once again poke those viewers who had chuckled their way through the “Bride” kerfuffle some years earlier. (One of the kids with whom I formed a monster club a lifetime ago argued at the time – seriously, and not a little persuasively – that Karloff’s Monster in Son was the offspring of Karloff’s Monster from Bride, as the 1939 iteration was “not dressed” up in his trademark black suit, but instead “wore a sweatshirt.” So how, my old friend continued, could that Monster – the one kicked into the sulfur pit whilst accoutered in something akin to what we would now call a “fleece”-be the same Monster who was resurrected from the pit in The Ghost of Frankenstein ? We weren’t familiar with technical terms like “continuity in those days …)

Anyhow, with The Ghost of Frankenstein (why the “The” and why now?), we’re back at it; the
ambiguity has returned with this, the first ‘40s execution of a radically ‘30s concept. Ghost-wise, one
might opt for the ethereal Sir Cedric Hardwicke (transparent of figure and naked of scalp as
Henry/Heinrich) as he lays a guilt trip on the corporeal Sir Cedric Hardwicke (who is weighted down
with hair appliances) as Ludwig (no “von”) Frankenstein. Or one might take the low road and claim
that Chaney’s initial appearance onscreen as the Monster – covered with “dried sulfur” and as white as
any flour-dredged apparition in a Mantan Moreland comedy – gave him dibs on the meaning behind
the title. Discussions like this one are always fun, even if they seldom matter; as neat a shot as the
erstwhile House That Carl Built took in 1942, it was the very “Frankenstein” franchise that was but a
shade of its former self .

James Whale had bailed after the first sequel – and he hadn’t much wanted to do that one until
he was given assurance that his stylistic approach to the rest of Mary Shelley’s screed would be
welcomed – and fama erat it was he who had contrived to have the Monster blown to atoms to save
himself (and others) the trouble of yet another follow-up. Karloff had jumped ship after the second
sequel; in his opinion, his beloved Monster was rapidly becoming a stooge, a henchman. Although
only three films – quality outings, all – had been made, Boris felt that the integrity of the original
concept was being sacrificed to Mammon. The gentle Briton was enough of a realist to understand that
the undying Monster’s immortality was due to profitability, rather than to electricity or lightning, but
enough of an idealist to quit while he – and his immortal alter-ego – was ahead of the game.

For a while, the actor had gone AWOL from the industry itself. While the boys at Universal’s
publicity department were stirring up enough pap on the impending production to keep the trades and
the dailies happy, the Great White Way had taken Boris Karloff and all his boogeyman baggage to its
heart. Arsenic and Old Lace proved to be everything for the ‘40s-vintage actor that Frankenstein had
been for his younger self. Boris found that his reputation had preceded him, and that he could bring
down the house night after night by chalking up his latest murder to the victim’s unfortunate choice of
words: “He said that I looked like Boris Karloff!” The word was out that the actor did not mind
guying himself and was not at all upset about publicity pieces highlighting Jack Pierce’s famed makeup, those asphalt-spreaders boots, and/or even the unseen five-pound steel “spine” that the first film’s
publicity campaign claimed was “the rod which conveys the current up to the Monster’s brain.”

Back at the studio, of course, the bullshit was flying fast and furious. A glance at the stuff that Universal’s PR staff cranked out for The Ghost of Frankenstein makes one doubt – if not outright
disbelieve – anything he/she has ever heard about any of these films. The baloney stretched from the
news of the “search” (Zounds! Déjà vu, all over again!) for a successor to Karloff to Greg Mank’s
revelation of a “studio policy” that dictated which actors would always be seen in Frankenstein
movies: uncredited, perhaps, but still Lawrence Grant’s Burgomeister was back, as were Michael Mark
and Lionel Belmore as town councillors [sic] (despite their having been killed by the Monster in Son),
Dwight Frye as a villager, and even Colin Clive, via stock footage – he had died of a combination of
tuberculosis and alcoholism some five years earlier – as Henry/Heinrich Frankenstein’s
younger/handsomer self. In on the never-ending stream of absurdity came prefab and ludicrously
headlined pressbook articles like “Lon Chaney Appears as Monster in Horror Film” (as opposed to his
appearing as a monster in a comedy of manners or a Civil War drama). With the nonstop peddling of
blarney such as this, one might readily have come to the conclusion that Universal not only thought ten
or so to be the age of the average horror moviegoer, but also that ten might be on the high side of that
movie fan’s I.Q.

There’s probably more truth to that than any of us would care to admit. How old were my
colleagues and I – and I’d venture to ask the same of many of the readership – when we first fell under
the spell cast by Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, or any of the old horror movies we still embrace
so passionately? The TV fodder introduced by “Shock Theater” or “Son of Shock” at the end of the
‘50s had, in the ‘30s, been pitched to grownups; they offered offbeat takes on adult themes – life after
death, medical ethics, forbidden love, etc., etc., – and served them up in the company of grotesques
perfectly capable of scaring the drawers off the patrons. Come the ‘40s, and half the population was
either overseas fighting the war, or involved in the home front outfitting the war. No one needed
“adult” themes shoved down his or her throat, even if they were couched in greasepaint and putty;
wartime anxiety, death, and deprivation provided enough unwelcome fodder without any help from
Hollywood. Moviegoers were looking for escapism, and the grownups and the kids sought a breather
from Hitler and Hirohito in the company of Kharis and Frankenstein.

And The Ghost of Frankenstein didn’t just fill the bill back in April of ’42, it was – critics be damned – a hit. Wartime ticket-buyers were a different breed than the seat-warming populace looking
for a bit of relief from the Great Depression. The formula for most “B”-movies (please, let’s not get
unrealistic about Ghost) seemed to be that mood was fine and the plot important, but pacing was
everything. Especially in cases like this one – where most regular moviegoers knew the ongoing
details of the story backwards, forwards, and inside out – the picture could forego footage usually
devoted to exposition and cut right to the chase. (Would that the Son of Dracula crew had shared a
beer with Ghost of Frankenstein’s.)

Many fans regard this picture as being the last “solo” appearance of the Monster. Heck, I
maintain that that pitiable giant figure was never able to get by without his support system of mad
scientists, deformed/demented assistants, and the like – all of whom would be in on the official count
of monsters come the publicity campaigns for the House(s) of Frankenstein and Dracula a couple of
years down the road. The box office receipts in 1931 had assured that Henry Frankenstein’s problem
child would become far too profitable for him to handle only once and far too risky for him to handle
alone. Still, as the Monster returned for each successive misadventure, he became encumbered with
extra weight that may have added dimension to the ongoing saga, but also robbed it of its innocence
and purity.

Ghost was hardly a solo venture. Beginning with Son of Frankenstein, the Monster had been
terrorizing the countryside, so to speak, under the influence of an evil genius – Ygor. In the first two
films, Whale and Karloff crafted a Monster who was adept enough to tell right from wrong, to rescue
an innocent from drowning after having inadvertently drowned another, to relish the moments of
friendship and camaraderie with a person unable to judge a book by its cover, and so on and so forth.
In Son, the Monster came to rely, almost blindly, on his broken-necked friend and to lash out at the
most innocent of the assemblage (Peter) following Ygor’s death. Here, Chaney’s Monster – whose
capacity for recognition (Ludwig at first, Cloestine later) is the most human of his virtues and for
whom loyalty and friendship ultimately play no part – ignores, betrays, and finally kills his broken-necked comrade. With Lon under the makeup, no spark that might temper the supercharged Monster
can be seen; none of the sensitivity of his predecessor – the originator of the role – survived the
transition. While Ghost’s Monster latched onto a child, there was none of the childlike spark that
permeated his predecessor’s take on the role. Karloff, by far the more cerebral of the two actors, gave
us presence; Chaney, by far the more physical of the two, gave us volume.

Universal Horrors does a grand job of summing up the early aberrations of the script which
the eponymous MagicImage Film Book volume includes in toto, so there’s little point into going into
that here. Yet for all the effort at innovation – its new Monster, the new Frankensteins, and (save for the Messrs. Grant,Mark,Belmore,et al) the new villagers- Ghost is mired in a lot of same old same old.

Take the “fly in the ointment” wrinkle: from its inception, the cinematic Frankenstein success
story included an element of surprise, both logical and unpredictable, which had led to a cocking up of
the initial game plan. In 1931, the fly had been Fritz’s sneaky-ass substitution of the abnormal brain
for the good one; this, (we were told) led to the Monster’s propensity to lash out violently whenever he
was being whipped or seared with a torch. Bride’s fly was the woman; if the rallying cry of most men
is “You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them,” just who did the Monster think he was?
More importantly, why would Henry Frankenstein imagine even for a moment that an old queen like
Pretorius could concoct a female who would soothe the Monster’s troubled breast? In Son, Wolf (like
the Monster) falls victim to Ygor’s mind-games and the loopy grandeur of the family residence; the
resultant misguided drive to restore his father’s good name leads to his firing up the furnaces once
again. (By comparison, the incredible 180 Frank Mannering pulls in 1943’s Frankenstein Meets the
Wolf Man
is a total misfire. Even though his veins are completely free of Frankenstein blood, and he’s
strengthened by the resolve of yet another [and curvier] Elsa [who’s standing close by his side],
Mannering opts for the dark side only because, if someone doesn’t do something fast, the bell will ring
and the audience will have to go home.)

Here, we have more wrinkles than Ayesha after that second fire. The Monster’s all for the
transplant, but wants the brain of Cloestine (where do they get these names?) to sleep over forever.
Ygor, the sly devil, plots to have his own noodle plopped into that square skull, as he can see where
this would ease his way into prestige, power, and some real money. Dr. Bohmer, who at first doesn’t
seem to do much other than hang around in his smock and suffer Ludwig Frankenstein’s thoughtless
and insensitive comments, is lulled as much by a desire to marry his fist to Ludwig’s stiff upper lip as
he is by Ygor’s silver tongue. Even with all this slumgullion boiling on the fire, one knows that the
chances of Dr. Kettering’s brain making it into the Monster’s rigging start at zero and go down from
there.

<The Monster wonders how someone else got Wolf Frankenstein’s jacket >

Another leftover from earlier installments has already been brought up for consideration: the
Monster’s best suit. This – the absence of which in Son had sent Boris Karloff into rounds of
kvetching (about “furs and muck”) that were not at all like him – was accepted with not so much as the
blink of an eye upon its reappearance. Karloff had been right; the Monster’s Sunday best was part of
the larger picture, as closely interwoven in the Frankenstein mythos as the Wolf Man’s work clothes
and Dracula’s ever-crisp soup and fish were essential to their respective personas. The restoration of
the basic black ensemble and its presence throughout the rest of the Universal canon only made the furry miscalculation in Son seem more of a head-scratcher than it had been originally.

Bela’s Ygor is a sight for sore eyes. Happily as resistant to small-arms fire as had been George
Zucco’s Andoheb, the remarkably resilient high priest in the Kharis series, Ygor is hale, hearty, and –
if an apparent good scrubbing and the periodontal work is any indication – in better shape than he was
in the earlier feature. Along with his appearance, Ygor’s goals have been ratcheted up; ridding the
village of old nuisances is no longer a pastime worthy of his attention. The crafty old blacksmith’s
master plan now encompasses taking over the entire country! While this might be biting off more than
any one man (or Monster) can chew, Ygor’s yodeling away that he now possesses “the strength of a
hundred men” is a picture of megalomania unrivaled since Boris Karloff’s less exuberant but equally
daft claims in Mask of Fu Manchu.

(And yet you have to wonder if, indeed, the Monster did grow stronger with each successive
picture. In the first, Heinrich and the elderly Dr. Waldman [along with a hypodermic needle and a
bludgeon] managed to wrestle him to the floor. Bride witnessed him being tied down and carried off –
semi-crucified – by a mere dozen or so yokels, while in Son, a bit of momentum behind a well-placed
kick was all it took to topple the Monster from his pins. Still, this sudden blossoming of superhuman
power in the Monster’s mighty arms may exist only in Ygor’s feverish [and transplanted] mind; the
only other times we hear of such outlandish claims are in the excised scenes between a gabby Ygor-cum-Monster and Larry Talbot in Ghost’s own son, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.)

Ghost marks the first time since Frankenstein that brains are bandied about like wholesale
commodities, but the idea here seems particularly apt. You could watch any of Karloff’s three
performances and see his Monster turning over thoughts and ideas in his mind. Even in Son (wherein
Ygor does most of the mental heavy-lifting for the pair), his acceding to his partner’s decisions is
visible. With the vintage-1942 Monster bearing inscrutable and near-frozen features, there is very little
indication as to whether the lights are on upstairs and if, indeed, anyone is home. A new brain is
clearly called for, but the plethora of available raw materials not only skirts the edge of risibility, but
also foreshadows the “monster rally” sequels wherein frenetic brain-swapping would prove a plague
on both houses.

So long as you don’t require much humanity amid the horrors and can get past his perpetual
squint and scowl, Lon Chaney is not too bad as the Monster. His attachment to Cloestine is obviously
meant to reflect the Karloffian viewpoint where children were concerned, but no more perfect image of
the depths to which this concept had sunk can be had than the still whereon a stiff-limbed Eddie Parker
(doubling for Chaney), clutching a wooden stand-in for Janet Ann Gallow, has just sent a buttocks-grabbing stuntman plunging to his out-of-frame mats. The childlike confusion on the Monster’s part
that resulted in little Maria’s being tossed into the river had given way to slick contrivance. And again,
as Chaney’s Monster offers no other sign of fidelity and is evidently capable of turning his rage toward
anyone who stands in his way (including his old goombah, Ygor), no assurance is had that the brute
might not dropkick the little girl 100 yards or so down the road if someone else were to become the
apple of his eye. After all, Dr. Kettering is killed without so much as a second – or any – thought
(although the impulsive action does free up a brain for future use); killing is what monsters do best,
and Chaney’s giant is – first, last, and always – a monster.

The rest of the dramatis personae are fine – they almost always are in the Frankenstein series.
Sir Cedric Hardwicke’s cool and imperturbable Ludwig is an interesting sibling to Basil Rathbone’s
near-frantic Wolf, albeit the latter’s fairly constant state of near-hysteria makes him much more a chip
off the old Heinrich than his younger brother. Ralph Bellamy does better by Erik Ernst than he did by
Captain Montford in The Wolf Man, but this may be due to W. Scott Darling and Eric Taylor’s
screenplay providing him with a more well-delineated part; said screenplay also gives the delectable
Evelyn Ankers to him this time ‘round. Miss Ankers, in a role that’s essentially interchangeable with
that of Gwen Conliffe in The Wolf Man, takes another step toward her accession of the title of ’40s
Scream Queen. And Lionel Atwill is as enjoyable in his quieter moments (as when he’s glaring
daggers while Ludwig runs off at the mouth at Bohmer’s expense) as he is in his premature snarl of
triumph in the last reel.

Having all but snatched Son of Frankenstein away from Boris and Basil a couple of years
earlier, Bela’s copping the honors in Ghost must have been a walk in the park for him. With Chaney
portraying an unpredictable automaton, Bela runs the show, not realizing – until it’s too late – that
although the Monster can recognize Ludwig Frankenstein (whom he has never met), he will fail to
consider Ygor’s place in his heart while crushing the old boy behind the laboratory door. More so here
than in Son, Lugosi’s blacksmith has to shift gears constantly; here, he goes from being the guy in the
driver’s seat to the victim of his erstwhile friend’s petulance before being back (albeit quite briefly) on
top of the world. Performance-wise, Bela is in command every step of the way, and had Chaney
happened to glance sideways even once through those slits he used for eyes, he’d have learned more in
a moment from Lugosi than he’d cadged from Erle C. Kenton during the entire 25-day shoot.

dir Earle C Kenton

Not up to the snuff introduced back in the ‘30s, The Ghost of Frankenstein was just fine, thank
you, for the tastes of the next decade. Hans J. Salter’s pulsating score keyed the film’s more ominous
moments, and both Woody Bredell and Milton Krasner performed the kind of visual magic in which
Universal’s cinematographers were known to excel. (If the puffs in their respective press-books were
meant to be taken – ahem! – at face value, the 1931 Monster stood seven feet tall, while Chaney’s
goblin was merely six foot, nine. Nonetheless, this very minor discrepancy might explain why James
Whale had Arthur Edeson’s camera capture the Monster head-on, while Erle C. Kenton had Krasner
and Bredell constantly aim the lens up at the shorter of the giants. The following year, George
Robinson – tasked with making Lugosi’s Monster as threatening as Eddie Parker’s [or even Gil
Perkins’] in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, had to contend with changes in perspective in almost
every scene.)

The New York Times’s Bosley Crowther – who never seemed to like much very much – ended
his rather tepid review with an act of prognostication that was hardly a foregone conclusion in 1942:
To be sure, the replenished monster is being consumed by fire when we see him last, but the
thought that he may yet return for further adventures with his body and Lugosi’s sconce fills us with
mortal terror. That is the most fearful prospect which the picture manages to convey.
-4 April, 1942

Richard L. Coe, assigned the picture as part of his responsibilities at The Washington Post, took
a somewhat unusual approach to informing his readership of the film’s story line:
This morning we will discuss the love life of your old friend ‘Frankenstein,’ the monster
who’s assumed, in the course of years, the name of his creator. This titivating subject has been raised
on the Pix screen of ‘The Ghost of Frankenstein,’ a yarn employing, uh, should we say, talents of Sir
Cedric Hardwicke, Lon Chaney, Jr., Lionel Atwill, and Bela Lugosi. But, of course, by now you’re
palpitating for further details of this beguiling passion – what’s she like, is she pretty, how big is she?

The “beguiling passion” mentioned in this 1 May 1942 appreciation of the picture turns out to
be Janet Ann Gallow’s Cloestine, and Coe – after averring that “Bela Lugosi becomes the town’s
philosopher, a sort of perverted Frank Craven” – concludes with “… there are other things you can read
in this morning’s paper, so we’ll let you go now.” Earlier that year, on the 25 March, the Los Angeles
TimesPhilip K. Scheuer tersely opined that “It’s a spooky movie, all right, in the best Universal
manner and fairly ingenious. At the close the monster goes down in flames again – but that doesn’t
fool us for a minute. He’ll be back, girls; he’ll be back. Grr.” Yet another prediction, but one that was
ultimately less impressive than Bosley Crowther’s.

A fast paced, atmospheric romp through familiar countryside, The Ghost of Frankenstein might
well be the next logical step to Boris Karloff’s well-stated fear: the Monster as henchman. Pretty much
a callow bully here, he had moved from a date that went tragically wrong to finding a homey with
whom to hang to palling around with little kids, all the while being manipulated by those who claimed
to act in his – and science’s – best interests. No offense is intended in calling the picture an excellent
journeyman effort, albeit the lack of a master’s touch is obvious and lamentable. The Monster and the
franchise could – and would – do worse.

The Ghost of Frankenstein – 13 March 1942 – 67 minutes (SoS)
CAST: Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein; Lon Chaney as The Monster; Ralph
Bellamy as Erik Ernst; Lionel Atwill as Dr. Theodor Bohmer; Bela Lugosi as Ygor; Evelyn Ankers as
Elsa Frankenstein; Janet Ann Gallow as Cloestine Hussman; Barton Yarborough as Dr. Kettering; Olaf
Hytten as Hussman; Doris Lloyd as Martha; Leyland Hodgson as Chief Constable; Holmes Herbert as
Magistrate; Lawrence Grant as Mayor; Brandon Hurst as Hans; Otto Hoffman & Dwight Frye as
Villagers; Julius Tannen as Sektal; Lionel Belmore & Michael Mark as Councillors; Harry Cording as
Frone; Dick Alexander as Vision; Ernie Stanton & George Eldredge as Constables; Jimmy Phillips as
Indian; Eddie Parker – stunts

CREDITS: Producer: George Waggner; Director: Erle C. Kenton; Screenplay: W. Scott Darling;
Original Story by Eric Taylor; Directors of Photography: Milton Krasner and Elwood Bredell; Art
Director: Jack Otterson; Associate Art Director: Harold H. MacArthur; Film Editor: Ted Kent; Musical
Director: Hans J. Salter; Set Decoration: Russell A. Gausman; Sound Director: Bernard B. Brown;
Technician: Charles Carroll; Assistant Director: Charles S. Gould; Makeup: Jack P. Pierce; Gowns:
Vera West

  • JTS
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MORGUE (blu ray contest is over 5/7/21)

SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE contest for MORGUE (courtesy of WELL GO USA) is OVER.

CONTEST NOW OVER .CONGRATS TO WINNERS TOM SHUMAKER ,JAMES P, and Anonymous (requested) . FOLLOW SCARLET FOR FUTURE CONTESTS- 5/13/2021

MORGUE Synopsis : After a harrowing accident, the perpetually down-on-his-luck Diego Martinez accepts a gig as a security guard at the local morgue. He thought he’d had a lucky break, but as the night wears on, eerie occurrences and the suddenly not-quite-lifeless body of the victim leave him to wonder: how much otherworldly rage does it take to wake the dead?

The best Paraguayan horror film. –Cinéfiloz

HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST FOR A CHANCE TO WIN : (update contest now over )

Send an email to ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com

In the subject line write “MORGUE 

In the body of the email
Put in you name and address

Then answer this question :

Name a Horror Film that has a scene set within a Morgue.

That’s all you need to do.

Only One Entry Per Person .

Include your name and mailing address so winners can be notified and their prize mailed.

DEADLINE is May 7 ,2021 . Winners will be notified and their prizes sent out shortly thereafter .

UPDATE- CONTEST NOW OVER- WINNERS ARE BEING NOTIFIED. THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED . 5.7.2021

Only one entry per person.
No purchase is necessary.
Void where prohibited.
All federal, state, and local regulations apply.
You must be at least 18 to enter.
You must live in the United States or Canada.
All prizes are awarded “as is.”
Prizes are nontransferable and cannot be exchanged. No substitute prize will be awarded to a winner who declines to accept a prize.
Three(3) winners will be selected randomly.

Please allow 4-8 weeks to receive the prize.

UPDATE-CONTEST NOW OVER- THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED – 5.7. 2021- WINNERS ARE BEING NOTIFIED.


  • Aspect Ratio : 2.35:1
  • Not rated
  • Director : Hugo Cardozo
  • Media Format : Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, Surround Sound. color
  • Run time : 1 hour and 21 minutes
  • Release date : May 11, 2021
  • Actors : Francisco Ayala, Maria del Mar Fernandez, Abel Martinez, Pablo Martinez, Raul Rotela
  • Subtitles: : English
  • Language : English (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Studio : Well Go Usa
  • Number of discs : 1
  • $29.98 S.R.P.

Follow SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE here and on Facebook .

Thanks Once again to WELL GO USA .

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COSMOBALL Blu Ray Contest (Well Go USA (update 3.27.21 – contest over )

COSMOBALL Blu Ray Contest (Well GO USA).

(update- 3.27. 2021-contest over -winners have been notified .This contest is over .Follow Scarlet The Film Magazine

Congratulations to JAMES PHILLIPS and the other 2 winners who wish to remain anonymous )

The Breathtaking, Family-Friendly Sci-Fi Action Epic

Materializes on Digital, Blu-ray & DVD March ,2021

Includes an All-New English Dub!

Now you can enter for a chance to win one of three Blu Ray copies of this new release.

(update- 3.27. 2021-contest over -winners have been notified .This contest is over .Follow Scarlet The Film Magazine

for future reviews, articles , and contests )

Send an email to ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com

In the subject line write “COSMOBALL 

In the body of the email
Put in you name and address

Then answer this question :

What is your favorite FAMILY FRIENDLY Science Fiction Film ?

That’s all you need to do.

Only One Entry Per Person .

Include your name and mailing address so winners can be notified and their prize mailed.

DEADLINE is March 25 ,2021 . Winners will be notified and their prizes sent out shortly thereafter .

(update- 3.27. 2021-contest over -winners have been notified .This contest is over .Follow Scarlet The Film Magazine

Only one entry per person.
No purchase is necessary.
Void where prohibited.
All federal, state, and local regulations apply.
You must be at least 18 to enter.
You must live in the United States or Canada.
All prizes are awarded “as is.”
Prizes are nontransferable and cannot be exchanged. No substitute prize will be awarded to a winner who declines to accept a prize.
Three(3) winners will be selected randomly.

Please allow 4-8 weeks to receive the prize.

(update- 3.27. 2021-contest over -winners have been notified .This contest is over .Follow Scarlet The Film Magazine

Life on earth is desolate after a brutal intergalactic war, brightened only by a dangerous, high-flying sport … but no one knows that at each match, four gifted humans are fighting furiously to ensure the survival of humankind in the action-packed, sci-fi thriller COSMOBALL, from Well Go USA Entertainment. Top-notch visual effects result in a breathtaking, family-friendly sci-fi film from Director Dzhanik Fayziev (The Turkish GambitAugust Eighth).  COSMOBALL stars Evgeniy Mironov (SpacewalkThe Lenin FactorSpace Dogs), Evgeniy Romantsov (PetropolisNu), Viktoriya Agalakova (The Bride, Mermaid: The Lake of the DeadRasputin), Maria Lisovaya (Guests) and newcomer Ivan Ivanovich in the post-apocalyptic superhero “space opera.”

Synopsis:

COSMOBALL, directed by Dzhanik Fayziev (The Turkish GambitAugust Eighth), takes place after an intergalactic battle that destroys Earth’s moon and causes worldwide devastation, leaving the human race desolate and clinging to survival. The film follows four athletes with the rare ability to teleport, which makes them the only humans capable of playing “cosmoball,” a dangerous sport requiring unimaginable speed, reflexes, and courage. While the rest of the world religiously scans the sky to catch the high-flying tournaments, no one suspects that with each match, they are actually witnessing four young humans fighting furiously to ensure the survival of humankind.

Country of Origin:    Russia . (English Dub ).

COSMOBALL  has a runtime of approximately 115 minutes and is not rated. The Blu Ray is in Audio: DTS HDMA 5.1 / Stereo

Thank you, https://www.wellgousa.com/home-entertainment

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WAXWORKS-1924 (Flicker Alley Blu Ray)

WAXWORKS (Flicker Alley Blu Ray/DVD combo) Das Wachsfigurenkabinett, original release U.F.A. 1924 b&w /tinted. 81. Silent with original musical scores. Region Free                     $39.95 https://www.flickeralley.com/classic-movies-2/#!/Waxworks-Das-Wachsfigurenkabinett/p/226878548/category=20414531

Omnibus horror films are very tricky. The film is made up of several short stories and oft times the tales can feel truncated or a bad tale in the bunch can affect the overall effect. 

When they work, they are cinema classics (DEAD OF NIGHT, Eagle Lion, 1945/Universal 1946). When they do not, you end up with DR TERROR’S GALLERY OF HORRORS (American General Pictures ,1967).  

In the classic category is WAXWORKS /   Das Wachsfigurenkabinett. The last German film directed by Paul Leni (co-directed with Leo Birinski) before he went to America to create such works as THE CAT & THE CANARY (Universal, 1927), it continues the Germanic fantasy horror films begun with films like THE STUDENT OF PRAGUE (Deutsche Bioscop ,1913) and is a superb example of the German Expressionism movement.

German expressionism had its start in Munich with avant-garde artists using bold exaggerated shapes and colors. It soon spread to both theatres, and even architecture.  In theatre, it was a rejection of realism to use it archetypes as well as strong use of lines and exaggerated shadows to emphasize the mood of the scenes and characters.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Potsdamer Platz, 1914

In 1920 (101 years ago as I type this), Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (Decla-Bioscop) introduced cinema audiences to German Cinema expressionism. With the end of WW1, German films were once again being shown around the world.

The German cinema of the 1920s was some of the most creative at that time, with films like THE LAST LAUGH (UFA,1924) enthralling world wide audiences . WAXWORKS was another masterwork from the time.

The original screenplay by Henrik Galeen who wrote, directed and acted in THE GOLEM (Deutsche Bioscop, 1915) and the screenplay for NOSFERATU (Prana,1922) was reworked by director Leni, dropping a planned fourth story. The wax figure for the dropped tale still can be seen in the film, the character of Rinaldo Rinaldini from the Penny Dreadful story   Rinaldo Rinaldini, the Robber Captain (1797) by Christian August Vulpius. Director Leni also designed the look of the film.

Cinematographer Helmar Lerski was quite busy in the teens and twenties, working upon Leni Riefensthal ‘s THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (Der heilige Berg, UFA, 1926), but in the 1930s became a documentary filmmaker covering the Zionist movement, leading up to the formation of Israel in 1948.        

A young man (played by Wilhelm Dieterle, later famous as director WILLIAM Dieterle of such magnificent works as PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, Selznick, 1948) is hired by the owner of the Panoptikums (played by John Gottowt, who had played Professor Bulwer in NOSFERATU) to write background stories about his exhibits. Meeting the daughter of the exhibit’s owner (Olga Belajeff ) the author decides he will stay and write about the various wax pieces.  However, as he writes, he and the young woman become characters in each tale.

The first tale is about Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid (Emil Jannings, a star of the Max Reinhardt Theatre Company, star of THE LAST LAUGH and later THE BLUE ANGEL(UFA,1930) a sound film shot in both English and German that introduced Marlene Dietrich to the cinema. Jannings sadly later worked on several pro-Nazi productions.). The author notices the statue is missing an arm, and his tale involves how the character lost his appendage.

This segment is the longest of the three (about 40 minutes) and is more a fantasy tale than horror story. It perhaps was inspired by the Douglas Fairbanks THIEF OF BAGHDAD (U.A.,1924) that opened in the U.S. in March, with WAXWORKS opening in Germany in November. Oddly, Conrad Veidt who appears in this film’s second tale, appeared in the 1940 remake of THIEF OF BAGHDAD (Korda/London Films/UA).

The second tale about Ivan The Terrible (Conrad Veidt) is a story of madness, cruelty, torture, and poisoning. Veidt is quite terrifying in the role, having made a name in film history as the somnambulist Cesare in THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI and later in such roles as Major Heinrich Strasser in CASABLANCA (WB,1942). This story is about 37 minutes.

After writing the two-prior tales, the poet and Eva find themselves stalked by Jack the Ripper (Werner Krauss, Dr Caligari himself from that film) who chases them through the museum, ending with the writer waking up and realizing that it was all a dream, certainly one of the earliest uses of that device. This is not really a fully fleshed out segment but merely a good scary tag to the film.

The original German cut of the film, supposedly about 25 minutes longer sadly, does not survive. The version that is used here is an incredible collection of various prints (English, French, Czech) based upon a safety print in the B.F.I., that give us the best and most complete version currently available, running 81 minutes.  The restoration was a joint effort by the Deutsche Kinemathek and Cineteca di Bologna, L’Immagine Ritrovata (with funding from the German Commission for Culture and the Media). The nearly 100-year-old film looks amazing, considering all this. The occasional scratch does not detract from the often remarkably sharp images throughout the film.  The film elements were scanned in 4K resolution and restored in 2K. This Blu-Ray /DVD release is presented Flicker Alley and Eureka Entertainment.

This version has TWO new musical scores to choose from, both recorded in DTS-HD in either 2.0 Stereo or 5.1 surround. The first is a piano score while the second a fuller orchestral score.  While both are quite good, I rather leaned into the second more (personal choice). There is also an informative audio commentary by Australian Art and Film Critic Adrian Martin (THE MAD MAX MOVIES, Currency Press Pty Ltd ,2003).  Not bad for a “silent” film.

As for subtitles, you get a choice of German, French Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and Chinese subtitles for this Region Free release.

Other extras include.

Paul Leni’s Rebus-Films Nr. 1 (1925) – these were crossword puzzles that were shown before and after main features, representing a clue and then the answer. (This featurette was provided courtesy of Kino Lorber).

 In search of the original version of Paul Leni’s Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (2020)– An interview Julia Wallmüller from Deutsche Kinemathek about the Homeric efforts to restore this film.

A Conversation with Kim Newman (2020) – the film historian puts the film ‘s importance into perspective and discusses other wax museum horror movies.

A DVD copy of the film.

Collector’s Edition Souvenir Booklet – A photo illustrated booklet with new essays by Phillip Kemp and Richard Combs on the film’s history and significance; notes on the restoration process by Julia Wallmüller.

Silent films are sometimes hard for today’s ADHD audiences. They demand your complete attention without distractions. That said, if you make this slight effort, the rewards are well worth it.

Kudos to FLICKER ALLEY for their preservation and presentation of these rare important films. They also offer such rarities as DER HUND VON BASKERVILLE (1929) https://www.flickeralley.com/classic-movies-2/#!/Der-Hund-von-Baskerville/p/125716170/category=20414531 and Leni‘s last film , THE LAST WARNING https://www.flickeralley.com/classic-movies-2/#!/The-Last-Warning/p/130760328/category=20414531 .

Highly Recommended.

Kevin G Shinnick

If you would like to contribute to SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE,

contact Kevin at

ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com

Please follow SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE
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NELSON ALGEN LIVE (Olive Films Blu Ray) Willem Dafoe

NELSON ALGEN LIVE (Olive Films Blu-Ray release December 2020).  88 minutes Not Rated. Region A. $24.95

tinyurl.com/6hafe4o5

I miss theatre. During this pandemic, Broadway, indeed, most theatre, like everything else shut down.

There have been a few musicals that have been shown on the internet that keeps the joy alive (HAMILTON on the Disney Plus Channel) but few stages plays per se.  There are Zoom performances that have actors in different parts of the world performing but it is not quite the same as the energy when actors are performing together live.

Therefore, I was incredibly pleased to get this disc of NELSON ALGREN LIVE from Olive Films.

In 2009, the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago premiered NELSON ALGREN LIVE as a staged reading (scripts upon podiums), starring among others Barry Gifford as Algren and Willem Dafoe as both a down and out car dealer “Frankie Machine “(from MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM) and as prize fighter “Blackie Cavanaugh” from a then newly discovered work by Algren, THE LIGHTLESS ROOM.

(Barry Gifford as Algren)

To be honest, I knew extraordinarily little about Algren, save that he had written the classic THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (Doubleday ,1949) that was made into the gritty Frank Sinatra starrer in 1955 that changed a lot of the novel ‘s story.

Nelson Ahlgren Abraham, (March 28, 1909 – May 9, 1981) wrote his first story in 1933. He stole a typewriter and spent several months in prison, an experience that helped him understand those who were considered outsiders. In 1935, he won the first of three O. Henry Awards for his short tale “The Brother’s House” published in Story Magazine.

(not the issue with Algren’s debut story)

His first novel was unsuccessful (SOMEBODY IN BOOTS, Vanguard,1935) and went out of print. His second novel NEVER COME MORNING, Beasley Books, 1942) won praise by no less than Ernest Hemingway.

His last successful novel, A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE (Farrar Straus and Cudahy,1956) was later made into a 1962 Columbia film, as well as inspiring the title of Lou Reed’s 1978 classic song.  Algen passed away in Long Island NY in 1981.

Algren’s subjects were like those found in the writings of Charles Bukowski ,in his wonderfully detailed look at people in all walks of life, but especially those on the slide to obscurity.  The language at times would not now be considered politically correct but is how the characters portrayed would have spoken.

It is therefore odd that Algren is not better known.   The 2009 stage reading by Steppenwolf was a good step in bringing the writer’s work before a new audience.  Taking passages from interviews and his stories, one can bask in the wonderfully descriptive writing that can go from sadly tragic (dealing with a young woman dying from drug addiction) to wonderfully humorous observations and comments.

Dafoe is of course the highlight of the evening and brings gusto to his performances as the two characters who he plays. His Irish accented prize fighter captures the sense of one who refuses to stay down.

Directed for the stage by David New, the cinematic record directed by Oscar Bucher intercuts photographs that help illustrate the tales and stories that are being told. The film was released in 2016 by a company called Pacific Film Archive, but this Olive Film Blu Ray release really is the first time that many people would be able to experience it.

The 1080 HD picture and DTS-HD Master Audio sound quality are fine, perfectly capturing the nuances of a live performance and the reactions of the audience. There are also optional English subtitles.  

Extras include a teaser clip as well as a trailer. Best of all is a photo essay booklet by Art Shay, actor Barry Gifford, and Dan Simon.  Indeed, I might suggest you flip through this booklet before watching the film.

An interesting performance that may make you seek out the author’s writings.

Recommended.

-Kevin G Shinnick

If you would like to contribute to SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE ,

contact Kevin at

ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com

Please follow SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE
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SYNCHRONIC Blu Ray Contest(ended 2.5.2021)

Well Go USA Entertainment  has once again given SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE a few more Blu Rays for another contest ! UPDATE- CONTEST IS OVER FEB 5,2021 .Winners have been notified and prizes going out next week!

Congratulations to our winners

R. Cole

S. Rieux

Our third winner Name withheld by Request


the new mind-bending Sci-Fi Action Thriller :

SYNCHRONIC

When New Orleans paramedics and longtime best friends Steve (Anthony Mackie, AVENGERS : ENDGAME) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan, FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY ) are called to a series of bizarre, gruesome accidents, they chalk it up to the mysterious new party drug found at the scene. But after Dennis s oldest daughter suddenly disappears, Steve stumbles upon a terrifying truth about the supposed psychedelic that will challenge everything he knows about reality and the flow of time itself.

Language: English
Subtitle: English SDH

BONUS FEATURES:
Commentary with Directors and Producer
Making of
Previsualization
VFX Breakdown
Deleted Scene
Alternate Ending
Trailers

“Twisted, Trippy Trips Through Time” –The New York Times

“a unique, sci-fi-tinged drama with supernatural elements rooted in real-world stakes and emotion.” –The Chicago Tribune

“an inventive time-travel thriller” –Daily Herald

The title was released on DVD and BLU RAY on January 26,2021 ,
and
WELL GO US ENTERTAINMENT
has given
SCARLET
three BLU RAY copies for a drawing . (update contest ended and winners notified )

Send an email to ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com

In the subject line write “SYNCHRONIC

In the body of the email
Put in you name and address

Then answer this question :

What is your favorite Cerebral Science Fiction Film ?

That’s all you need to do.

Only One Entry Per Person .

Include your name and mailing address so winners can be notified and their prize mailed.

DEADLINE is FEBRUARY 5 ,2021 .
Entries received after that date will not be counted.

(UPDATE CONTEST IS OVER AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED)

Winners will be drawn randomly and then notified FEBRUARY 5,2021 , with their prizes sent out soon after .(UPDATE WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED AND THIS CONTEST IS OVER)

Only one entry per person.
No purchase is necessary.
Void where prohibited.
All federal, state, and local regulations apply.
You must be at least 18 to enter.
You must live in the United States or Canada.
All prizes are awarded “as is.”
Prizes are nontransferable and cannot be exchanged. No substitute prize will be awarded to a winner who declines to accept a prize.
Three(3) winners will be selected randomly.

Please allow 4-8 weeks to receive the prize.

(UPDATE- CONTEST IS OVER ,WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED .Feb 5,2021)

Thanks to WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT .

https://www.wellgousa.com/home-entertainment

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